Two years ago saw the release of Malls Across America, a stunning coffee table book filled with photos taken at a number of malls during the 1980’s. While browsing through it’s pages you could almost smell the sweet aroma combination of new plastic, hot pretzels and fountain water.
However, it left more to be desired…
Enter DEADMALLS, the new musical endeavor created by the artist formerly known as Betamaxx. Their new LP “Departmentcore” is an audio dreamblast which takes you back up the escalator and into the mecca of mall memories. Here’s how they explain it…
“DEADMALLS is a musical project focusing the transposition of sounds to the visual aesthetic of dying retail. Just imagine: It’s 1989, and you’re at a Montgomery Ward department store trying on a ‘Members Only’ jacket. While looking at your sweet selection in the mirror, you hear the trebly, faint sounds of a pop song coming through on the tiny circular speakers above you on the ceiling – That’s DEADMALLS. However, the focus is more of a dive into a dream, an idea of past times. The songs you remember are now washed out, demented, and slowed down, giving the imagery of what was once a big deal: shopping malls (if that makes sense). Check out the “Departmentcore” LP coming late summer for free on bandcamp. You will find each track title devoted to a defunct department store.”
“Kauffman’s” is the only brief first taste of DEADMALLS at the moment but it definitely leaves us with plenty of intrigue and wonder at what this project has “in-store” for all us mall maniacs.
Photo credit: C3Nostalgia
All this walking and cruising by the food court must have made you disciples mighty hungry, so here’s something to tie you over: an entire collection of Kmart in-store background music from 1989 to 1993!
Let us explain. A guy named Mark Davis worked behind the service desk at a Kmart in Illinois for five aching years. Each month the corporate office would issue the store a cassette – filled with elevator type music and some advertisements peppered throughout – to be played over the store speaker system. Instead of throwing the cassettes away at the end of the month, brave soul Mark figured it’d be a good idea to slip each cassette in his apron to save. In 1991 the store began playing more mainstream hits and the tapes started arriving weekly. Shortly after the store went to strictly satellite streaming.
Two decades later Mr. Davis archived his entire collection of 56 cassettes in a digital package and made it available to all of you psychos at this location. He explains in the video below about his bizarre collection.