“Healthy Experience” Compilation Cassette (2021)

It’s hard to believe this is only my second post on Life in the Vinyl Lane so far in 2021. You’d think with COVID continuing to keep us all in various states of lockdown that I’d have done way more writing here, but clearly that’s not what happened. I’m not entirely sure why – I’ve definitely continued picking up new stuff at a brisk pace, though mostly by mail given the lack of travel and limitations on in-person shopping. But such is life. Truth be told I just haven’t really felt like it.

That is, of course, until this little gem arrived in the mail yesterday from Reykjavik. I’m not sure who is behind this brand new Healthy Boy Records label (though I have my suspicions), but as soon as I found out about the debut release I ordered one of the super limited (individually numbered edition of 50) cassettes. With artists like Kuldaboli and ThizOne and Volruptus contributing, I knew it was going to be good, and in fact it’s better than that, it’s great. There’s a sort of creepy, dark edge the the eight tracks, an unsettling undercurrent of anxiety that stops just short of fear, leaving the listener on edge and agitated.

I for one will be keeping an eye on the Healthy Boy Bandcamp page for future releases. You can stream the release there, as well as purchase digitally. It looks like the cassettes are still in stock for now, but I wouldn’t wait if I were you. These suckers won’t last.

Mondernte – “RÅ” Cassette (2020)

Hard to believe it’s been almost a month since my last post. I have no excuses outside of simply feeling like I didn’t have much to say on the music front. Have I run out of blog posts and anecdotes? Maybe. Perhaps I’ll start doing my album reviews as short stories, or haiku or interpretive dance videos. Probably not though.

Fortunately this unexpected little gem brought me out of my COVID post-election-post-innauguration stupor. I’d almost forgotten I ordered it given how long stuff is taking to make it from Europe to the US these days. But the other day this plastic hunk of onyx-black metal arrived from Iceland and I thought, “cool, I have something new to listen to, assuming I can get the drawer on my tape deck to work again,” which I did.

I’ll admit my expectations were marginal. I’m by no means a big black metal fan, despite the fact that I seem to have a lot of it, mostly on tape. But Mondernte brings something different on. It’s not blast beats and growls, but something more… I don’t know, perhaps more gloomy, more personal? This isn’t the sound of the hounds of hell tearing at your flesh or wailing despair. It’s the sound of the cold, damp, foggy forrest, the one with a lot of dead trees, where you’re lost and can’t find your way, the chill sinking into your marrow as it slows your reactions and mental processes, nature patiently cooling your body down degree by degree. First your toes burn, then they go numb. Then it’s the tips of your fingers, the lobes of your ears. The mist from your exhalations creates a layer of not-quite-frost along your upper lip as the color drains from your extremities. Those female voices.. where are they? Everywhere… and nowhere… are they coming from shrinking core of you soul as the flame slowly dies to just a flicker, dangerously close to going out? And will you embrace the blackness when it does?

This thing is a must-have, and you better get it while you can because the cassette release is in a ultra limited edition of 50 copies. Get yours on Bandcamp HERE.

Steindór Kristinsson – “Klippur” Cassette (2020)

Iceland’s Eyewitness Records, now renamed as Eyewitness Inc, is back again with another intriguing electro release. This time it’s a six-song cassette by Steindór Kristinsson. It’s an interesting collection of tracks. Two (“Anin” and “Upstairs”) are beat-driven yet still experimental, the beats standing front and center and providing enough structure to hold things together. The next three songs (“Noise”, “Aspect”, and “D”) offer more of a horror sensation, creating fluid and sinister vibes that lack the structure of their predecessors. The tape concludes with “Windy”, a track that brings the two themes together, a blend of styles and tempos that keep you unsettled.

You can listen to Klippur on the Eyewitness Bandcamp page HERE, and it looks like they still have copies of the cassette for sale as well. I suspect this is limited – some of the other Eyewitness releases were in editions of 50 or less, so you may want to jump on it if you want a physical copy.

MYRKFÆLNI #4 Compilation Cassette (2020)

My favorite zine from Iceland is back with its fourth issue, the third to include a cassette comp of some of the most interesting music coming from the island. There are a few bands here I’ve only recently discovered, like AfterpartyAngel (“Cathexis” might be my favorite track), Captain Syrup, and BSÍ, but most of the rest are new to me. Stylistically the tape covers a lot of ground, from the dream pop of AfterpartyAngel to the quasi-industrial Ægir, the haunting post-punk of Umer Consumer to the garage funk of Captain Syrup.

You can pick up the new issue of MYRKFÆLNI on Bandcamp HERE, along with back issues and some cassette releases they’re putting out as a label.

Captain Syrup – “Eyraland” Cassette (2019)

Get out your blender and put it on the counter. No, it’s OK, you don’t need to clean it first. A little leftover grime from those margaritas a few months ago is fine. Now put in some ice and some whiskey and some kind of non-carbonated fruit drink. Add some rock, a fistful of funk, and a dash of hardcore, blend and serve. Congrats. You’ve made a big pitcher of Eyraland.

I know, I know. Everyone wants Iceland to give us things like Sigur Rós and The Sugarcubes and Of Monsters and Men. But you know what, sometimes life doesn’t give you what you want. Sometimes it gives you filthy, funk garage rock. And when that happens you put it in the blender with a bunch of booze, get loaded, black out, and try to use your phone like an episode of CSI to piece your night together. Or a trip to the ER to get checked for SDIs.

This kinda-sorta new tape from Captain Syrup is the bomb. Funky and weird and fun and fresh and guaranteed to piss off the neighbors if you crank it up. When you want to have a good time just set your tape player to loop and hit play. Or if you’re not a luddite like me, just bring it up on Spotify, because you can stream it there too. Or better yet, kick the guys a few bucks and buy a digital copy straight from the band HERE and support the future of sleazy funk.