OAG's '93 demo tape reissue toplines Cassette Store Day celebrations in Malaysia

Old Automatic Garbage's 'Spastically' demo tape gets a Cassette Store Day 2019 reissue at Sputnik Recordz today. Photo: Handout

A forgotten piece of Malaysian indie music history makes a return to the headlines this Cassette Store Day weekend with the release of Old Automatic Garbage's demo tape called Spastically from 1993.

"This archival release - a DIY demo - is probably where it all began for Malaysian indie music. We all know how Old Automatic Garbage, better known as OAG, made a mainstream breakthrough with its self-titled album in 1994 when it signed to the Positive Tone label. But this Spastically demo tape is what people at Positive Tone and producer Paul Moss heard first when it introduced the raw potential of OAG," says Naza Mohamed, the owner of Sputnik Recordz - a record shop and music label in KL.

Old Automatic Garbage's Spastically, featuring six songs, laid down the foundation for the band's "60s crunchy pop fuzz" sound. The band's early line-up on this release includes frontman Radhi, guitarist Ivan Loh, bassist Lam and drummer Chi.

"A young Radhi, then 16, shows why he is a force to be reckoned with, and why Old Automatic Garbage will forever be considered one of the all-time Malaysian indie greats of the 1990s," adds Naza.

Spastically is being reissued, with Radhi's consent, by Sputnik Recordz as a Cassette Store Day (CSD) release this year.

As part of the CSD celebrations today, the Sputnik Recordz store in KL's Taman Tun market will be banking on Old Automatic Garbage's Spastically tape reissue to draw in the masses.

Naza's band The Times' Ballad Of Jimi Acid EP and 199x's Someday EP will also be released on cassette, with Pastel Lite's album Pop Bilik Tidur (on CD) and ACAB's debut Eastern Oi! (on LP) completing the main CSD exclusive offerings at Sputnik Recordz.

The five exclusive Cassette Store Day 2019 releases from Teenage Head Records, include (clockwise, top left) albums from Couple, Playburst, Plague of Happiness, Muck and Da Vagabonds. Photo: ERO D

"I think, as a small indie record store, we have come up with a good mix of exclusive releases for CSD. That should get people excited to come over! We're also having mini launch parties, live bands and a pop-up music market, so there is no reason to stay at home," says Naza.

Sputnik Recordz's CSD party at the market starts at 2pm today.

To make the CSD store weekend a colourful street party, then music fans need to head down to Teenage Head Records' CSD celebrations tomorrow at 11am. The Subang Jaya-based indie record store is no stranger to bumper events and eye-catching releases put out by its in-store label.

Five exclusive cassette releases have been lined up for Teenage Head Records' (THR) official CSD list. They include album reissues (first time on tape) for Couple's Teenage Disc Fantastic (2009), Da Vagabonds self-titled mini album (2013) and an anthology of indie rock legend Muck's career called Muck Suck. New albums are also in the mix with tapes from Playburst and Plague Of Happiness.   

"It's all about keeping the momentum going. If you want to keep record stores alive, you need to work hard to get people interested in buying music. CSD is definitely one of THR's big events and we have five exclusive tapes this year. But the good news is there will be more than 10 other tapes - coinciding with CSD - also available at the store," says Mohd Radzi, the owner of Teenage Head Records, which released its first CSD tape in 2014.

Other CSD tapes on sale at THR tomorrow include releases from Search, Free Love, Sweetass, Hacktick!, Integers, Nirmala and Butterfingers. An estimated 17 local tapes (at press time) will be part of the CSD event there.

"Cassette culture isn't going away anytime soon. The tape revival, which started kicking in in Malaysia two years ago, has been a good thing. New bands have something to put out. Tapes are also not as expensive as records. You can now release something that is affordable and also very arty. Yes, new cassettes today look retro and trendy. Even the tapeheads can't deny that," says Radzi, who embraces all kinds of cassette enthusiasts - from purists to hipsters - to his store.

"At the end of the day, it's about supporting the music. New cassette prices can range between RM15 and RM30, and that makes the format a very attractive proposition for younger music fans," he adds.

All of THR's tape releases for CSD - except the Playburst album - have been manufactured in Britain.


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