Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tsunami - Cow Arcade tape (1991, Simple Machines)

Now this is my idea of wish fulfillment.  A couple years ago I compiled and published a list of hopelessly rare records (and even a few tapes) that I had been keeping my feelers out for, for years.  One of those super scarce reels was a demo cassette by one of my most cherished '90s favorites, Tsunami.  I knew only of it's title, Cow Arcade.  Much to my amazement, and deep gratitude, a fellow that frequents Wilfully Obscure was on the same wavelength as me, and he had procured an original copy of Cow Arcade for himself.  I would have been utterly jealous of his discovery were it not for his sheer generosity in sharing MP3s of said tape in it's entirety, not to mention copying the tape sleeve for me as well!

I had a couple of misconceptions going into Cow Arcade prior to my newfound tangibility of it.  First, I was expecting a traditional demo length release - three to five songs.  Not.  Instead, I would be treated to no less than an album's worth of material.  Additionally, I was operating on the false assumption that the songs contained within were exclusive to the tape.  Hardly.  In fact, the majority of these prototypes would be re-cut for a myriad of Tsunami singles.   And "prototypes" they are to a fault.  Arcade's ten tracks were cut fast, loose, and live in one five hour stretch to four-track in 1991.  As such, the audio quality is a little choppy and the performances a tad hasty, but the key ingredients were already baked into the cake.  From the get go, they had the formula down - jagged, jittery guitar mannerisms, Jenny Toomey's headstrong vocal panache, and Tsunami's overarching rhythms that swayed and undulated like...well, a small-scale tsunami.  For the unacquainted, Cow Arcade might not be where to jump aboard, as the more representative "finished" versions of many of these songs have conveniently been compiled on the 1995 singles anthology, World Tour and Other Destinations (that and their debut LP Deep End).  Otherwise if you've been sailing the S.S. Tsunami as long as I have, may I introduce you to this long lost port of call.  Enjoy.  A huge debt of gratitude goes out to Josh for setting me up with everything.

01. Answerman
02. Flameproof Suit
03. Kickball Babe
04. Breakdown
05. Ski Trip
06. World Tour
07. Jonathan (She Cracked)
08. Writing Letters
09. Andrew #1
10. Candyman


Josh said...


wllmtwd said...

i have the my new boyfriend tape but cant seem to make it listanable..

wllmtwd said...

this is something ive wanted as well for so long thank you

shane moberly said...

Thanks for this! I've been looking for it for a while. Here are some rips of my Tool Set Cassettes (

SM TOOL 1 Geek - Hammer (See Tsunami)

SM TOOL 2 Slack - Bates Stamper (See Hated, Lungfish, Ida, Dag Nasty & Tsunami)

SM TOOL 3 Late! - Pocketwatch (See Dave Grohl)

SM TOOL 4 Hated - Awl (See Outrageous Cherry)

SM TOOL 5 Saturnine - Roto Chipper Paint Remover (See Versus & Nice Strong Arm)

SM TOOL 6 Mommyheads - Swiss Army Knife

SM TOOL 7 My New Boyfriend - Super Saw (See Bikini Kill, Seaweed & Tsunami)

Thanks again!

slovenlyeric said...

Thanks. I really liked Tsunami and never heard about this cassette. I also want to thank Shane for the Tool set series. I remember them being listed in the inserts that came with Simple Machine records back then. I was kind of anti-cassette at the time and went more for the 7" vinyl.

spavid said...

Hey everyone. Thanks for your comments, and Shane, your rule in the mightily! I only have originals of the Late! and Hated, and mp3s of Slack. Had no idea there was a Geek tape. That's what I call going above and beyond. Thanks again!

Scraps said...

Oh, thank you thank you thank you!

lucky said...


this is a real find, along with the tool cassettes.

Perhaps I can enlist your support in finding my holy grail tapes

Nothing Painted Blue's Logorrhea and
Biographer's Ruse

As well as that Object Lessons: Songs About Products that came with Beer Frame

Scraps said...

Ooooh, I've never heard of that Nothing Painted Blue thing....