One hip rock band is releasing a box set on refurbished 8-Track tapes
These handmade tapes were recycled from four-decade-old releases.
Image: 5Seven Records
Perhaps it's their San Francisco roots, but Thee Oh Sees play a brand of psychedelic garage rock that has not been heard in the mainstream since the late 1960s. Through tireless touring and constant recording (about two dozen studio albums since the turn of the millennium) Thee Oh Sees have become one of the darlings of the underground.
But their music is not too important for this story. We're here to talk about their packaging, not their sound.
The rip-roaring rock band has announced a retro-minded collectible that feels straight out of the early 1970s. Thee Oh Sees have made a box set — on Stereo 8-Track cassettes. Until now, the last album commercially released on 8-Track cassette was Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits in 1988.
You might ask, how exactly did a group manufacture a batch of 8-Tracks in the year 2019? That is where the story gets interesting. According to the press release, the tapes were "reconditioned by hand from 40-plus-year-old cartridges."
Yep, some of these babies might have been old Foghat and Carpenters tapes. Manually recycling, rerecording and repacking the vintage tapes took more than a year to complete. That would explain why the box set costs $420. And why they only made 100 copies. And why they are not making a profit on the endeavor.
It's strictly for the love of the format.
Just one question — how is anyone going to play it?
Do you still have an 8-Track player?