Here are 8 record labels that are worth your time.
Back in the day when I was a teenager, I would search out certain record labels in the record store and buy albums on those labels simply because of the cultural cache their brand held. These days, I do something similar but on Bandcamp. Below are some of my go to labels when I’m searching for something new. Have fun.
Established in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 2005, Gilead Media are purveyors of raw ferocity. Bands range from the noise rock of Couch Slut to the experimental post-hardcore of Less Art to the melodic black metal of Inexorum. Something here for all fans of extreme music. Especially if you like it filthy and raw.
San Franciscan label The Flenser claim they release “dark and heavy” music. That’s a pretty accurate description. It’s not just heavy in distortion though as evidenced from the restrained emotion of singer-songwriter Midwife. Other recent releases include the drony doomgaze of Planning For Burial and the experimental metal of Mamaleek. Overall, fans of the experimental and intense should apply here.
3Exploding In Sound
New York based label Exploding in Sound is definitely one of our favourite record labels on this list. They champion a kind of slacker/loser alt-rock sound. It is somewhat similar in spirit to the Sub Pop of old, but with fewer metal influences. So many great bands: Pile, Two Inch Astronaut, Big Ups. The list could go on and on.
Based in Los Angeles, Sargent House is one of the premier homes of experimental rock that likes to actually rock. With a roster that features Chelsea Wolfe, And So I Watch You From Afar and Deafheaven, the guarantee here is that the music will challenge you but also rock your face off.
German label Pelagic Records takes us into slightly more metal territory. Still with a taste for the experimental though. It’s the home of experimental post-metal of The Ocean, the soaring post-rock Mono and the ferocious noise rock of Whores. We are currently really enjoying the intricate post-metal of Psychonaut.
Founded by Nuclear Blast CEO Markus Staiger and former vice president of Sumerian Records Shawn Keith, SharpTone Records focus on metalcore, post-hardcore and rock. For us, a recent highlight is the second album from Liverpool’s Loathe. Titled I Let It In and It Took Everything, it is a powerful balance of ferocity and melody.
7Holy Roar Records
Founded in 2006 by Alex Fitzpatrick, Holy Roar Records focus is on the more experimental sides of the rock/metal such as the psych metal of Elephant Tree, the post-metal explorations of OHHMS, and the delicate and beautiful post-rock of We Lost The Sea. We are psyched for the upcoming OHHMS album. It promises to be an intense and rewarding listen as always.
8Double Double Whammy Records
Our second record label from Brooklyn on the list, Double Double Whammy love the alt/indie rock sound. There’s a very cool slacker vibe to much of the music on their roster. One of our favourite bands on their roster is Great Grandpa who craft a sometimes lilting and sometimes distorted melodic alt-rock.