Reptilicus – “Initial Conditions” 7″ (2011)

When I picked this up over at Reykjavik’s Lucky Records a few weeks back, for some reason I thought it was by the Icelandic band Reptile.  Well, I got the Icelandic part right, because the duo who comprise Reptilicus are indeed from there, but I was way off base with the whole Reptile thing.  Not that it’s a big deal, because it turns out this 7″ from 2011 is pretty damn hot.

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The clear blue record contains two versions of the same song, “Initial Conditions,” with the B side given over to a somewhat longer remix by Senking.  Stylistically Reptilicus are putting the dark into darkwave.  The music is slow and heavy, like something you’d expect to be playing while you walked through a ruined church on Halloween during a new moon – echo, percussion that is sometimes slow and sometimes sounds like a heartbeat, and the occasional vocalizations that will make you sure that the inside of your skull is haunted.  The kind of thing that if you listened to it on headphones while stoned in the dark, it might actually give you a heart attack.  The remix is a bit less eerily oppressive, but not by much.

“Initial Conditions” was a great accidental acquisition, and I can promise you I’ll be keeping my eyes open for some of the prior works by this duo.  Most of it is on CD only, but that won’t deter me when the music is this good.  This particular 7″ is limited to only 301 hand-numbered copies, and I didn’t see any listed for sale on Discogs or eBay, so you might want to pull the trigger if you should see a copy of it available.  Happy hunting!

Norn – “BÖRN: Vltima Permonvm Conea” (2015)

nornlpfrontOnce upon a time, on a small island bobbing about in the northern Atlantic Ocean, there were two bands that both went by the name of Norn, the Icelandic word for “witch.”  One played punk; the other, black metal.  People became confused.  Chaos reigned.  Punk and metal fans eyed one another warily.  It was a dark time.

Then the punk band known as Norn figured it was just easier to change their name.  So they did, to the similar sounding (but with a very different meaning) Börn, which means “children.”  The sun rose again over smokey bay and all was right with the world, and all the punks and metalloids lived happily ever after.

I’ve written a fair amount about Börn who put out a full-length album in 2014 and a 7″ earlier this year (I even wrote about the tape they released when they were still named Norn HERE).  But I’d never heard the other Norn, the black metal one.  Well, that changed when I found a copy of their relatively new LP BÖRN: Vltima Permonvm Conea.  Originally this was released as a cassette by the Icelandic metal label Vanagandr, but this title also got the vinyl treatment, which worked out for me because somehow I never got around to buying the tape.

BÖRN: Vltima Permonvm Conea is less atmospheric and more musical than what I’m generally used to hearing in my black metal, plus they make use of some audio/vocal sampling here and there, which is also a bit different.  There are elements of punk, grindcore, and even electronic music here, as well as few moments that can best be described as acoustic.  If you’re a black metal purist you probably won’t be happy by all this extra stuff, but as someone with only a very general interest in extreme metal I find it all combines to make Norn very  listenable and, more importantly, very enjoyable.

The entire thing is available HERE for your listening pleasure.

Duran Duran – “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” (Sh*t I Play On My Crosley #5) (1983)

My musical awakening happened in 1983, the same year that Seven and the Ragged Tiger came out.  Back then as an insecure middle schooler the kind of music you liked seemed like some incredibly serious business, something along the level of being a Trotskyist versus a Stalinist, or preferring the cop in the Village People to the construction worker.  What you listened to defined who you were as a person and what you were about.  Kind of like being part of a cult.  Even though, of course, that was all bullshit.  But it seemed real at the time, and I chose to define myself as a “rocker” by listening to Ratt and Quiet Riot and Van Halen (including wearing a Van Halen painters hat with VH buttons on it, which just oozed cool at the mall).  There were certain tweener bands an aspiring rocker could still confess to liking, like maybe Big Country or Dexy’s Midnight Runners or Toto.  One of the bands you could not confess to liking was Duran Duran.

I secretly liked Duran Duran.  A lot.

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I could never admit this, of course, because that would have invited ridicule and wedgies.  But to see the “Rio” video on MTV was captivating, and when “The Reflex” came out I just about lost my mind.  Fortunately my mom worked at the mall, so during the summers I’d sometimes go to work with her and hang out there all day by myself, much of which was spent in whatever mall chain record store we had in Columbia, South Carolina at the time. Which gave me the opportunity to secretly buy a copy of Seven and the Ragged Tiger on cassette, a format that was much easier to hide in my room without the risk not of my parents finding it, but one of my friends.  Such things seemed very important back then.

A year or so later we moved from South Carolina to Seattle, which of course could mean only one thing to my parents – road trip.  We drove.  In a van.  With a dog.  It took a few weeks as we made some visits to friends and family along the way.  We went to Canton, Ohio to visit friends and see the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and then made a stop off in St. Louis to visit some other family friends.  Their son Tommy and I had been quite close as little kids when our families both moved to Seattle (my first stint here) at the same time and both families were living in the same hotel for what seemed like forever.  Tommy and I would run up and down the halls between our rooms and trade football cards – he wanted the Cardinals, I wanted the Eagles, and we both agreed that Kenny Stabler was cool.  These are the things upon which friendships are based.

Tommy also had a sister who was a couple of years older, and though I’m not sure how it came up during our visit to St. Louis, she learned I had a copy of Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  She also thought she was pretty good at Intellivision baseball, which led to a bet – she put up a dollar against my Duran Duran tape.  I was even more entrenched in my rockism to the point I couldn’t even allow myself the guilty pleasure of “Union of the Snake” any longer.  As I recall I won the game pretty handily, but gave her the tape anyway.  I wonder if she still has it…

This was a no-brainer for a Crosley record – an album so popular that it sold a ba-jillion copies, yet is dated enough to have landed in lots of dollar bins, making it supremely un-rare.  I found a playable copy the other day at Half Price Books and figured “why not” since I had some store credit.  And I’m glad I did.  Because at my age I can admit to liking whatever I want, and as the Beastie Boys said, “and if you don’t like it then hey fuck you.”

Muckrackers – “Muckrackers Versus La Fensch Valley Industrial All Star – La Destruction Est Aussi Création” (2012)

If this post was a tweet, I may not have had enough characters to post the artist name and album title at the same time.  Plus this 10″ allegedly has 20 tracks on it.

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Frankly I have no idea what’s going on here.  I found this in the Industrial section of Paris’ Souffle Continu record shop, one of Buzzfeed’s “27 Breathtaking Record Stores You Have to Shop at Before You Die,” which is a bold assertion.  While it wasn’t my favorite of the shops we visited in Paris it had the broadest range of material, including books about music, and that gets a lot of points in my book.  The other shops we hit up were genre-specific, which can be great or horrible, depending on how you feel about that genre in question.

Side A is all Muckrackers, while Side B has 10 different bands on it, which is a lot for a 10″.  The A side is heavily industrial, and while much of the B side is as well, but given that there are different bands involved you get some variance.

Given how short the tracks are it’s all a bit disjointed, which is OK, but not great.  I feel like there are some amazing song segments here, just maybe not fully realized tracks.  The record comes with a DVD as well, which I have admittedly not watched yet and will likely misplace since I don’t keep my DVDs with my records.  Which is pretty industrial of me, maybe, kinda.  Or not.

Update – December 24, 2015:  I traded some emails with Emmanuel from Muckrackers and he’s a cool dude who is very passionate about his music and the challenges the people of the Lorraine are facing as industrial jobs disappear.  He also sent me the link tot he website that was created as part of their project, which includes a lot of music from this record.  You can check it out HERE.  Hearing from artists is one of the great things about writing Life in the Vinyl Lane – they’re all so passionate about their projects, and they just want people the hear their music.  So if you’re down with industrial, go check out some Muckrackers!

“Habemus Paname” Compilation (2015)

habemuspanameSome records call out and beg me to write about them.  Others beg me to shut up, pour a cocktail and wallow in them.  This brand new French deep house compilation is the latter.  The double album came out in October and we picked it up at Paris’ Syncrophone Record earlier this month, definitely one of my better shot-in-the-dark purchases.  Because this collection of music oozes groove and just begs me to chill the hell out after a rotten day of work.  So I think I’m going to just go with it, top off my ice cubes, and melt into the couch…