A new alt-folk/emo/indie rock compilation project transports Ben Yost back to past shows, favorite venues and life-changing friendships.
The Blank Tape Tax vocalist-guitarist specially curated the five-track EP via Kickpop Records to share deep cuts from Greet Death’s Logan Gaval, For Once in My Life, The Flaks and Broadacre as well as his current band.
“The most important music to me is my music and the music of my friends because it’s the soundtrack to my life. It makes me think of old venues like the Genesis, the old Sanctuary, Toepfer House and Elijah’s (Q-Nails),” said Yost, who’s based in Detroit.
“It also makes me think of our friendships and our time together as a family. Starting Kickpop Records is about releasing music for me and my friends and to maintain the catalogs of a few artists so their music will always be out there to listen to.”
Yost launched Kickpop Records, a small DIY label, during the pandemic and released his first project, KP-005, or Kickpop Records Sampler No. 1, on 10-inch vinyl earlier this summer. While the vinyl release quickly sold out, listeners can still spin the compelling, cerebral project via Spotify.
“KP-005 (or Kickpop Records Sampler No. 1) is just a little taste of what you might expect to hear in the future from Kickpop Records. The first three songs (Logan Gaval, Blank Tape Tax and For Once in My Life) all stick to a theme and were recorded on a Tascam Portatstudio. The last two songs are from out-of-print records of the two bands I drummed and wrote for – The Flaks and Broadacre,” Yost said.
“The idea for the (compilation) came from Broadacre bassist Matt Farrett. Matt and I were talking about releasing the nine-song Broadacre project, and he suggested we test the waters on a (compilation) first.”
Yost’s distinctive, refreshing sampler opens with Gaval’s contemplative alt-folk ballad, “Heather, I Miss You,” as solemn acoustic strums, pensive drums and wistful electric guitars echo deep loneliness in response to a brief separation.
Gaval reflects, “I’ve been thinking of you/When you’re not with me/I’ve been feeling so blue/Feeling weird about leaving you/I’ll be back in a few months/And we can talk about/How you’re feeling now.”
“Logan Gaval recorded his first solo record with me, which was released on Flesh and Bone. This newest song is from a new batch of songs I recorded for him,” Yost said.
Yost openly revisits the theme of loneliness on The Flaks’ “Cradle Your World,” which takes listeners on an emo, punky thrill ride while tackling internal struggles and self-doubt. Fiery, rotational electric guitars, tingling cymbals, frantic drums and propulsive bass quickly release pent-up frustration and anguish.
He sings, “And you’re falling down, right down to your knees/Feel the systemic-toss and the cold breeze/It seems you’d buy anything, everything/Just to escape your thoughts in your mind race.”
“With nostalgia in mind, my favorite song that I’ve ever written is ‘Cradle Your World.’ The Flaks’ song comes off of our 2014 swan song album, Smithcrawler, which has never seen a legitimate physical release,” said Yost, who drummed in The Flaks from 2009 to 2014.
“Right now, there are no plans to make new music or perform with The Flaks or Broadacre. I was happy to put those two songs out in one place. At some point, The Flaks’ full discography will see at least a digital re-release when the time is right, as will the Broadacre nine-song demo.”
Going forward, Yost (guitar, vocals) is heavily focused on Blank Tape Tax, which features newly added members Hayley McNichol (bass) and Caleb Horvath (drums) as well as a rejiggered rock sound akin to The Flaks or Broadacre. Additional Kickpop Records samplers will stay top of mind for Yost, too.
“We’re moving away from the jazz, folk and hip-hop influenced writing and going for more stripped down rock and roll. Right now, we’re finishing writing our 10-song album, and we plan touring in March 2022,” Yost said.
“At the moment, I don’t have any plans for a second run of (Kickpop Records Sampler No. 1 vinyl). I’m very happy with how the lathes turned out. Audio Geography Studios did a great job, and their turnaround time was fast. I do plan on doing more Kickpop Records samplers, but I don’t have any in the works right now.”
Blank Tape Tax fans also can catch the band at two upcoming live shows, a Sept. 25 backyard bash in Ypsilanti at 333 E. Cross St. with Carmel Liburdi, Easy Beach and Freedom From Concern, and an Oct. 16 set at Hamtramck’s New Dodge Lounge with Permanently Pissed, Spacecadet and Palmer.