On their website, you can watch a video of Tape Deck Mountain playing a cover of Danzig’s “Mother” that’s both inappropriate and perfectly right. These unassuming San Diego indie rockers seemingly couldn’t have any less in common with metal god Glenn Danzig, but their understated, moody, atmospheric version of the song conveys all the spookiness that Danzig tries to muster by letting out his famous baritone wail. More, in fact: when Tape Deck Mountain’s version gets loud and then explodes into guitar noise and piano tinkling, it sounds more disturbing than the original.
Spookiness is a big part of Tape Deck Mountain’s sound on the band’s recently released debut album, appropriately titled Ghost. Unidentifiable sounds whisper in the background, and guitars and keyboards spiral around in echo and reverb effects that call to mind an empty church. The lyrics touch on graveyard scenes and people being eaten by wolves. Guitarist and singer Travis Trevisan recorded the album largely himself while undergoing an extended period of unemployment. He had help from Paul Remund, who plays drums and other instruments. (You can watch Remund switching from drums to keyboards and back to drums, all while singing backup, on that “Mother” video.) Jordan Clark plays bass for the live shows.
Don’t let this talk of Danzig and ghosts make you think Tape Deck Mountain is some kind of Goth act. Their publicist describes their sound as “slacker-fuzzed lullabies.” The band tends to prefer the term “mid-fi.” Those descriptions aren’t far off: On the album closer “Scantrons,” Tape Deck Mountain does sound like Pavement covering Galaxie 500. But on the “City Light Remix” of the same song, Tape Deck Mountain sounds positively anthemic.
TAPE DECK MOUNTAIN: The Casbah, Saturday, December 12, 3 p.m. 619-232-4355. No cover.