Ten Bands You Need to Know About

Lesley Bargar, LA Alternative Press, October 22, 2003

[…] Valley native Todd Drootin (a.k.a. Books on Tape) suffers from a severe case of electronic epilepsy. Standing behind his series of odd sequencers and mysterious boxes bursting with knobs, levers, and who-knows-what, the man seems to compose in a fit of spontaneity. However, the brilliant premeditation is evident in how friggin’ good his stuff is. Using samples as minimal as a single guitar chord or bass line as his palate, Drootin mixes in blips, buzzes and other kinds of primitive electronic noises to create music that is somewhat punk, somewhat dancey and often cinematic in scope. The project began when Drootin wanted to play music but lacked the space necessary to store his various bulky traditional instruments. Sequencers, about the size of shoeboxes (but a lot more fun), seemed like the way to go. What has grown out of this space-issue is a full-fledged act that is less “electroclash,” and more a direct result of influences such as jazz, punk, indie, and just plain rock. Books on Tape shows have been described as “high-energy gymnastics” and even the most die-hard electronic traditionalists and jaded indie-rockers have been known to break a smile watching the frantic, knob-turning, pedal-slamming spectacle that is a Books on Tape show. Drootin has had the opportunity to play with such established acts as Cursive, Rilo Kiley and Stars as Eyes. The debut Books on Tape album received high critical acclaim and became a staple on college radio stations nationwide. Drootin feels that his recently released second album, Sings the Blues, captures the vibe of his live performances. He has been invited to play at this year’s CMJ festival in New York City and can be expected to surpass the Los Angeles underground soon enough. […]

… the brilliant premeditation is evident in how friggin’ good his stuff is.