Rattofer – “Nineteen Eighty Floor”

rattofer1I can’t tell you much about Rattofer other than that he’s based in Reykjavik and his new cassette on Lady Boy Records kicks all kinds of electronic ass.  I’m a sucker for steady beats and vocal samples and Nineteen Eighty Floor is right in my sweet spot, slightly faster than mid-tempo beats, the occasional flourish, and samples from Star Wars and Mortal Combat (both on the jamming “The Force”, my favorite track on the tape).  There are some  chiptune elements at times as well, and the whole thing has a very “modern retro” feel to it – harkening back to 80s and 90s stylings, but with more contemporary beats.  The best example of this is “Magnum” with its various bloops and beeps making me feel like I was back in an arcade in the mid 1980s, walking from the bright natural light and into the dark, air conditioned hall of fun, with a pocket full of quarters and the CRTs giving off a cool glow…

Nineteen Eighty Floor is available for streaming HERE, and there’s even more stuff available on Rattofer’s Soundcloud page HERE.  Both are worth a visit, but only if you feel like getting yo groove thang on…

“Record Records 10th Anniversary 2007-2017” Compilation

Normally things on Life in the Vinyl Lane take a hard turn to all things Icelandic in early November, generally running through the end of the year.  The reason, of course, is because that’s when we head to Reykjavik for Iceland Airwaves and return home with a bag full of amazing new (and not so new) albums to share with you.  But this year my record pusher dealer enabler collecting friend Ingvar came to Seattle for a visit and brought with him a big box of stuff that Reykjavik’s Lucky Records had on hold for me.  That means that my “To Listen To” shelf is full of Icelandic records (and a smattering of tapes), so we’ll be getting an early start on Airwaves this year.  Don’t fret though, because Ingvar and I did a fair amount of record shopping here in Seattle during his visit too, picking up a lot of interesting non-Icelandic stuff and meaning I have so much “To Listen To” stuff right now that it’s actually causing me anxiety.

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So without further ado, I’m dropping the needle on the beautiful 2XLP Icelandic label comp Record Records 10th Anniversary 2007-2017.  I was lucky enough to get the red vinyl version, which is limited to 100 copies and comes in simple and elegant gatefold

The Record Records roster is deep – Of Monsters and Men, Retro Stefson, Agent Fresco, Mammút, Vök… it’s an Icelandophile’s dream.  Of the 15 bands on the album there’s only one that I haven’t heard of – Ensími; and I’ve managed to see about 2/3 of them live over the years.  You don’t really need me to tell you much about a label comp that’s this deep – these are great bands, and while I may personally have made a few different song selections, they definitely go this one right. (♠)  Most of the tracks are from the second half of the label’s lifetime, including some new 2017 tunes like Mammút’s “The Moon Will Never Turn On Me” and Moses Hightower’s “Mjóddin”, giving the whole thing a more contemporary feel.

Is Record Records 10th Anniversary 2007-2017 a good Icelandic music primer?  Yes… but with caveats.  Record Records has a certain style, so while there’s rock, reggae, and singer-songwriter stuff, you won’t hear any punk or metal or electronica.  What you will get though is a broader sample of the type of stuff that you may catch of whiff of on the radio, and there are some beautiful performances here such as Vök’s “BTO” and “Jolly Good” by Ojba Rasta.  I know one thing for sure though, and that’s that this record is getting me hyped for Iceland Airwaves 2017!

(♠) OK… I definitely would have included a song by Bloodgroup… but given that they’re no longer active, I can understand their exclusion.

Warmline – “Warmline”

warmlineDisko Obscura’s 2015 vinyl release Warmline is actually the third iteration of Warmline’s five-song EP Sad, which first came out unofficially in 2011 and then got the cassette treatment from Ritual Tapes in 2014.  The first side is comprised of the original Sad, while the B side is given over to some demos and one-offs.

Warmline is goth post-punk, deep and poppy with more than a hint of moroseness and melancholy.  In other words it’s absolutely fantastic, like some long lost record by The Cure or The Church, but even slower than the gothic gloom of their new wavy counterparts.  If it reminds me of anyone it would be contemporaries MALLEVS in all of their rich darkness.  Is this kind of post-punk undergoing a resurgence?  Because it sure feels like it with great bands like these guys and Wichswut putting out some edgy and dystopian stuff.  The best of the original Sad tracks is the self-indulgent “Empty” with it’s killer bass line and slightly brisker pace; it’s far from uptempo, but definitely something you can sway to.  The real gems, though, are on the B side, specifically the snappy percussion on “Fade With My Heart” and the chiptune-y elements of “Waiting Room” providing interesting counters to Warmline’s overall atmospherics.

We picked this up at Disko Obscura in New Orleans, but was surprised to learn that this project originate from our neck of the woods with Warmline’s Nic Hamersly being based out of Portland, Oregon. (♠)  I’m not sure how we missed this all these years, but I’m glad we found it, and you can find it too with all the songs available for listen on Bandcamp HERE.

(♠) I have also seen him credited as being from Sarasota.

Metallica – “August 9, 2017 – Seattle, Washington”

The first time I saw Metallica perform live was in Seattle at the Kingdome on July 27, 1988, the second-to-last stop on the Monsters of Rock Tour featuring them, Kingdom Come, Dokken, Scorpions, and Van Hagar.  It was right before …And Justice for All came out and of my group of friends at the show that hot summer afternoon I think I’m the only one who knew any of their music, though it’s not like I was a big fan, I’d just heard Master of Puppets a handful of time at my friend Jason’s house.  It was a hell of a show.

The second time I saw Metallica live was almost exactly 29 years later, in a different stadium that stood literally where the Kingdome used to stand before it was imploded in 2000.  We were at the south end of the stadium toward the top of the lower bowl… roughly in the same spot I sat for Monsters of Rock.

Two shows, one band, 29 years apart, and in almost the identical cartesian location.  It trips me out just thinking about it.

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In many ways the shows couldn’t be more different.  Metallica is mainstream now, with pyro and huge screens and entire tractor trailers (literally) full of merch, a far cry from the underground thrash band that was on the verge of exploding with their first major hit.  You can hear Metallica playing in supermarkets now.  It is what it is.

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As for the merch, Metallica have been putting out their live shows for quite a while, and with my ticket purchase I got an email offering me a two CD copy of the Seattle show for something like twenty-five bucks.  Now I’ve heard about these live recordings, both complaints about the sound quality form prior tours and the complaining on Discogs about how these things have totally f’ed up the Metallica discography.  But I’m 40-something-years-old and don’t need a Metallica shirt or poster or coozy, so why not get a recording of the show?

Well, it showed up in mail the other day.  And it’s pretty damn good.  I assume this was mic’ed through the soundboard, and it’s clear the crowd up front was also mic’ed because you can hear them throughout the recording, something that wasn’t audible from my seats out in what was the first base line of the ghost of the Kingdome.  In fact by time “For Whom the Bell Tolls” kicks in I find myself wanting to pour a big Jack Daniels and close the laptop.  So I think that’s what I’m going to do.

If you are on the fence about one of these CDs for a show you attend, they’re worth it.  Now if you’ll excuse me…