Album Review: Cult Love & Friends Vol. 2

Get an Earful with Cult Love Sound Tapes' 2nd Jam-Packed Compilation Cassette Showcasing Tulsa Fringe Musicians

Compilation albums, for better or worse, always have range. They are, by their very nature, collections—almost archives—of a time, a mood, a place. What the compilation album Cult Love and Friends Volume 2 has curated is a sonic snapshot of Tulsa, a diverse feast of genre serving 26 tracks.

This is the second—and longer (by 8 tracks)—compilation from Cult Love Sound Tapes, a Tulsa DIY music and artist collective.

The sheer size of this album allows it to feature an artistic assemblage extending from punk and hardcore bands like BLURT, Søaker, and IMGONNADIE, to hip-hop artists like Find Solace, St. Domonick, and Benzo.

Strewn among these are techno beats from Heartwerk, go-hard vocals from Kee-rah, some less classifiable sounds from self-proclaimed “Queer Mutant Death Synth Punk” group GayCay, and noise art from Narco Alms (Nathan Young). These wild cards are placed beside more established acts like Graveyard Party and Tulsa Artist Fellow Kalup Linzy.

Some artists like Black Gambit, Rainbeaux, and Olivia Woodall, who appear on the first compilation, make an encore on this compilation, testifying to Cult Love’s commitment to a tight artistic community.

Cult Love Sound Tapes boasts 6+ years of musical promotion and production in Tulsa. The variety that composes this compilation comes from Cult Love’s devotion to finding and pushing Tulsa music—of all sorts. The result is that aside from a range of genres, another spectrum in the compilation is production value; some songs have a self-recorded sound while others feel right out of a professional studio. 

This goes back to Cult Love’s mission which seems to be encouraging creativity and welcoming everyone with that patented DIY spirit. All of this explains why the compilation album is, true to its name, a production of Cult Love and friends, where “friends” is defined as anyone and everyone ready to create.

With an eclectic range like this, not every song will suit every listener, but this album isn’t trying to be back-to-back bangers. What this album does provide is a comprehensive earful of Tulsa’s underground. It is an impressive record of a city’s creative output and, hopefully, an arrow pointing ahead to the future of Tulsa music.

The ‘a little something for everyone’ model serves the curious listener well; anyone can be sure to find a gem that glitters for them buried among these tracks if they are willing to dig for it! 

Given that 26 tracks is a lot to chew, here are a few good places to start on this massive music sampler:

Graveyard Party - "Lady Lazarus"

For indie-rock lovers, look no further than Graveyard Party’s “Lady Lazarus”. The song’s title comes from the Sylvia Plath poem of the same name. In Graveyard Party’s track, the music resurrects the late poet, with lead singer, Charlotte Bumgarner singing, “She rises from the ashes/With her red hair” as if chanting a rock-n-witchy spell. The lyric is a direct allusion to the closing stanza of the poem: “Out of the ash/I rise with my red hair.” Graveyard Party is undoubtedly familiar with dark-femme poetry and knows how to add its own musical flair to a bit of old verse. The band released an accompanying music video for “Lady Lazarus” on April 3rd.

Zunis - "G.W.T.P."

Zunis is another good starting place for indie rock fans. The band’s song “G.W.T.P.” is good fun, plain and simple. The production on this track stands out on the album. “G.W.T.P.” is reminiscent of the best and most atmospheric parts of 2010s alt rock with glimmering guitars and downy lead vocals. The last minute of the song features a wonderful instrumental play-out.

Kee-rah - "High (Tragedy Mask)"

Kee-Rah’s “High (Tragedy Mask)” is another stand-out. This is only the second release from Kee-Rah, who debuted under the name Kyra Bruce on the last cult Love compilation with the song “Carrie”. “High (Tragedy Mask)” balances turbulence with softer moments where Kee-Rah peeks out from behind a punk-rock mask.

St. Domonick - "Stellar"

St. Domonick’s track “Stellar” is another jewel on this album. It’s short, weighing in at only 2 minutes and 4 seconds, but make no mistake. This rapper is a heavyweight. St. Domonick already has two albums and two EPs under his belt, and his experience shows. His natural flow rolls out easily over the music.

Kalup Linzy - "Old Man Trump"

Kalup Linzy presents a timely cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Old Man Trump”. Though the original song was aimed at Trump’s father, Fred Trump, this updated version seems to have a modern target. In his inflected falsetto, Linzy roasts the former president, Donald. Though the lyrics are Guthrie’s, this cover takes none of his folky influence. Linzy’s “Old Man Trump” is more retro in sound with an electronic drum-beat.

Cult Love & Friends Vol. 2 is available on Bandcamp as a name-your-price digital download as well as, naturally, a limited edition run of cassettes. The Vol. 1 tape sold out when it was released, so grab your choice of three cassettes while you still can. Only 125 exist.

Visit cultlovesoundtapes.com to discover more from this burgeoning DIY collective.

Elizabeth Wenger
Website | + posts
Born and raised in Tulsa, OK, Elizabeth Wenger is a writer and journalist. She's into absurdist literature, art, and music.
You can contact her at wengerjayne@gmail.com.

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