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Someone once called Chris Austin’s songs “nightmare lullabies”. It’s imagery that sits well with the band, themselves generally dysfunctional and often at odds with the world around them. Hailing from the Medway towns in north Kent, Tape Error formed in 2011. Originally comprised of Chris Austin on guitar and vocals alongside Matt Bell on bass, the duo were later joined by Stan Read on drums and David Hughes on guitar.

As the band found its feet, Tape Error increasingly became about home-made music, lo-fi and acoustic at heart, built up around the edges by vocal harmonies and drums recorded with only one microphone.

Tape Error’s debut EP, Perfect Conditions for a Cure, was released in 2013, with the band playing a number of live shows across London and the Medway towns to an ever growing fanbase.

But just as they were getting in their stride and gearing up for an album release, tragedy struck. The band’s brainchild Chris Austin, passed away at the age of 38, just a day after discovering that he had cancer. Instead of staying for treatment after hearing the news, he strode out of the ward so he could spend his last hours with his mother Bev.

Chris’s death sent shockwaves through the Medway music scene. Nicknamed Afro Chris for his wild shock of black hair, his early career had seen him playing with local indie singers who hit the big time like Kid Harpoon and Lupen Crook.

His musical journey had seen him create bands including Hospital Bombers and Burn Paper Tigers as he honed his songwriting and creative output. As the creator of Tape Error, Chris was on the cusp of receiving the widespread recognition that his talent so richly deserved.

Chris AustinChris’s untimely passing led to the band downing tools and going their separate ways. But it wasn’t the end for Tape Error’s music. In the years since, a new generation of fans have continued to discover them through the band’s debut EP and also via a handful of music videos Chris created created on YouTube for songs including Murderfires, Red Skies, Frames and Telescopes.

In 2023 – the 10th anniversary of Chris’s death – Tape Error’s self-titled debut album will finally be released. Featuring previously unheard tracks, it is packed full of heartfelt honesty and also includes previously unseen artwork created by the band’s drummer Stan Read.

The album promises to be a fitting tribute to a rare talent who touched all who met him, and will ensure a lasting legacy for one of the Medway town’s great bands.

Buy Tape Error’s debut album here