In an era cluttered with music industry noise, Mint 400 Records stands as a beacon of authenticity, harking back to the fundamental essence of music. Founded by Neil Sabatino who has stated in the labels mission statement, "good songwriters make good records, and little else matters."
Mint 400 Records has made waves with its exceptional compilation albums, including full cover albums of The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" and Nirvana's "In Utero." Their latest offering, a compilation featuring 32 tracks from the '90s grunge, indie, and alternative rock era, epitomizes the label's eclectic approach. From Radiohead and Bjork to Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, this compilation captures the essence of a generation with exact replicas and innovative reinterpretations.
Highlighting this compilation are contributions from artists like Renee Maskin, Swiims, Tom Barrett, and a multitude of talents from Mint 400's roster. From folk to indie and acts from years past, the compilation showcases the label's dedication to musical excellence.
Based in Toronto Canada, SWiiMS is influenced by Dream Pop, Shoegaze, Indie, Brit Pop and New Wave. Formed in 2019 the band is Mai Diaz Langou – Vocals & Guitars, Colin Thompsons – Guitars and Vocals & Cian O’Ruanaidh – Bass. “Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins is an iconic song from and iconic band. Swiims has stated, "We felt like it would be a good challenge to take a song so well-known and try something a little bit different. The Smashing Pumpkins were the first band we can remember, to take hard rock and make it really melodic and make it cooler, like a combination of 80’s new wave melody and lyric, mixed with that hard fuzz. Seeing the video on MTV and wanting to learn to play it, we wanted to sing and we wanted ice cream while doing it. The 80’s was the music of youth, but the 90’s was so influential on the young adult. The mixture of emotion, fuzz, melody, guitar effects, with simplicity and complexity. The 90’s was our introduction into alternative music."
Last Legs is an indie-rock 5 piece that sounds both lush and rhythmically intricate, filled with lush synth pads floating over 2 drum machines, a drum kit, and assorted percussion. John Gleason's lyrics are deeply honest and vulnerable, often focusing on the wild emotional turmoil of youth - a time when everything was felt more deeply. “Nightswimming” by R.E.M. is a perfect song. It captures that essential feeling of doing something for a moment in time that reveals itself immediately to be special, important. You can look back and remember things to be that way, add your own importance to a memory over time, but sometimes (rare times) it’s happening simultaneously and you get it. You embrace it. You also recognize you don’t want it to end. I think nighttime heightens this a bit. It’s also youth, nights when we were young had that much more freedom in them. Anything could have happened, funny that most times nothing remarkable happened, but we were ripe and primed.
Last Legs states about hearing the song for the first time, "My memory is shit, but I probably first heard it by seeing the video on 120 Minutes. I’m not the kind of person who is free enough to go swimming (maybe even naked?) at night, especially not in a lake. I’d like to be. It may be too late. Regardless, I envy people who can see a lake at night and just jump in without fear."
On the 90’s the band had this to say, “there was a feeling, a universal feeling that anyone could (and should) make their own music. Indie films and filmmakers like Quentin Tarentino, Coen Bros., Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, etc were hitting the mainstream. There was a cultural backlash against the glitz and polish of the 80's that led to a short lived but glorious return to gritty, honest art.
And then came Limp Bizkit. The late 90s, not so inspiring.”
Lisa LoVell is the keyboardist and one of the vocalists in The Extensions, an exciting Asbury Park Indie Pop band that also appears on this compilation. Also appearing on this particular track is the guitar player in Calling the Cosmos, and a multi-instrumentalist. Lisa chose Blackhole Sun because Chris Cornell was one of her favorite 90's artists and that song had the right flow for her voice. She says “I'm a big fan of Soundgarden and Audio slave as well. Chris' voice was so iconic and powerful. The first time I heard it was indeed in the 90's on MTV, y'know when they played music. The 90's was a magical time in music because that was my childhood, and those songs have a way of sticking with you as you grow up. Those dirty grungy riffs and teen angst vibes were definitely part of who I was.”
Mint 400 Records remains an oasis for musicians in a world often marred by industry noise, where music reigns supreme. Their latest compilation invites music lovers to join the journey, celebrating the purity of the 90's experience.