August 29, 2021. Los Angeles, CA
The gentle jangle announces the entry of the Renaissance Parlor. There are no casual shoppers at Coventry Village’s Renaissance Parlor – only the coolly serious in search of pristine paisley, faded denim, and worn leather. Tidy displays of autographed records and rock fliers complete the space as the Velvets drift off into the ether of the aging building’ steam-heat. There, behind the glass displays of bakelite bangles and beads, sits teenage Alex Tapié, taking it all in, brewing her future psych rock opus.
That’s Alex E.T. To me, Alex E.T. will always be the impossibly kind retail associate chopping up the register in the hippest resale shop in Coventry Village. That was 2004. While the sun has set on the Renaissance Parlor, today, the swaying Telecaster of Alex E.T. is the solo architect of “The Ashes”, a ten-song mastercraft of sound and beauty. Look for “The Ashes” October 2021 release on Ghost Tower Records.
With touches of dreamlike mood and reverb, “The Ashes” is a collection of emotion rather than a cohesive lyrical narrative. Songs, such as opener “Hollow Man”, waver with the humming melody of perfect tone and pitch.
Alex hits her vaulting pace with the album’s strongest track: “Magic Misery”. The reconciliation of wilting mood and strident voice, “Magic Misery” melts the listener in the embrace of her vocal power. This is a great song, plain and simple.
Given her pedigree, it is not surprising that Alex fell into the post-Levitation orbit of musicians like the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Jeffrey Davies and Dead Meadow’s Jason Simon. I am guessing it was likely the other way around, Davies and Simon, recognizing the brilliance of a new voice for the LA underground.
Listen up, listeners! Let’s get this thing straight: Alex is her own woman. That voice is all hers. “The Ashes” is the result of three years of crafting her perfect DIY sound. And what a sound! Mastered at LA’s Kingsize Soundlabs, “The Ashes” boasts spot-on production, layers of tremelo and reverb, peace and love.
By any measure, “The Ashes” is a strong record. Dig it for the brooding mood or the ship-shape song craft. Take a bow, Ms. Tapié, your accolades are much deserved. RIYL: The Sundays, Dream Syndicate, Mazzy Star.