Crooks on Tapes Archive

Crooks on Tape, Nowhere Squares

Crooks on Tape

CROOKS ON TAPE is John Schmersal (Enon, Brainiac), Rick Lee (Enon, Skeleton Key, Butter 08), and Joey Galvan (Mannheim Steamroller, Anthrax). The unscripted band was born out of a simple notion: convene, improvise, and record every moment.

In 2010, the Los Angeles trio assembled a rotating fortress of instruments, synthesizers, samplers, and loopers. Crooks recorded hundreds of hours of material, largely instrumental in its original performance. FINGERPRINT is the first evidence of this undertaking and a window into the band’s sound. The debut record you hear is analogous to tiny snapshots of an altered crime scene.

In many ways, Crooks picks up where Enon left off. Rick and John created two instrumental records in Enon’s early days (“Long Play” and “On Hold”). “Fingerprint” is an outgrowth of those directions, spun in a totally live, improvisational context, augmented by vocals. Though unpredictable, Joey’s marked drumming style provides the adhesion, gluing the group together when sessions become too cacophonous.

Misra Records is now based in Dayton, OH — the hometown of Schmersal and his former band Brainiac. Strange, unformed, wildly intriguing snippets of “Fingerprint” began making their way to the label in early 2013. Each song sounded like a…

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