Books on Tape

Raised on punk rock and related products, Todd Drootin got turned on to electronic music and hip-hop in the nineties. With Matt Dennebaum, he forms the duo Subverse, whose sole, self-released cassette Nobody Likes You (1998), although a fairly obscure item in itself, got them some well deserved kudos. Unfortunately, the band had to split shortly afterwards as their members moved to opposite coasts: Matt went to New York City, and Todd made a home out of Los Angeles.

Fueled by this experience, Todd went solo under the name Books on Tape, a project in which he would craft his now instantly recognizable signature. Unlike many electronica producers (bedroom or otherwise), Todd is unafraid to do things you are not supposed to do, like trying to recreate a guitar strumming effect in a sequencer, or laying his songs upon shockingly unorthodox rhythms. However, two important qualities can be found in equal measure in his entire oeuvre: energy and groove.

In December 2002, the first widely available Books on Tape CD was released under the title Throw Down Your Laptops (Deathbomb Arc). As a companion release, No Type released a 10" EP featuring a different version of the song “Hey Typical!” plus unreleased material. Following that, a CD, titled Books on Tape Sings The Blues, was released in September 2003 by No Type and Greyday Prouductions. In October 2003, Books on Tape made its first New York City appearance at the esteemed CMJ festival, garnering rave reviews. This was followed up by an eastern Canadian tour and more New York dates in early 2004. Books on Tape has also appeared at Pop Montreal and the MACRock conference in Harrisonburg, VA. In late 2004 came the 40-minute EP The Business End (Greyday), which hit Chart Attack!’s (Canadian college radio) electronic #1 slot for seven weeks and ended the year as the number two electronic record in Canada for 2004.

In 2005, Books on Tape hit the road numerous times in preparation for his upcoming release on Alien8 (The Unicorns, Les Georges Leningrad) exposing new parts of the country to the unique, high-energy live efforts that have made a name for Books on Tape. Dinosaur Dinosaur is out now, and is widely being hailed as Books on Tape’s finest release to date, and more closely representing Todd’s punky live sound. Books on Tape’s notoriously raucuos live shows have occured on bills with such diverse and respected acts as Cursive, Restiform Bodies, Parts and Labor, TV on the Radio, John Frusciante and Flea, Daedelus, Stars as Eyes, Rilo Kiley, The Good Life, XBXRX, Wolf Eyes, OOIOO, Shonen Knife, Prefuse 73 and many more.

Photograph of Books on Tape
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