Just over a year ago, we posted a list of The Top Ten Indie Labels You Should Know. Some people hated it, some people found it useful, and some people really need to relax. The truth of the matter is is that there are way, way too many excellent independent record labels out there to be able to confine our choices to just ten. With that in mind, we have made another list creatively titled Ten More Indie Labels You Should Know.
Let us know how much our list sucks in the comments.
10. Orchid Tapes
New York via Toronto label Orchid Tapes uniqueness is their dedication to artist and also listener. The label is run by Warren Hildebrand and Brian Vu, a couple who want to be involved in music that pushes boundaries, reflects its creator and provokes an emotional response in its listener. Admirable goals. Personally, I like the D.I.Y. lo-fi nature of their releases which creates an intimate, familial vibe that seems to pervade their releases.
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9. Exploding In Sound
Exploding In Sound is another New York based label. Brooklyn based to be precise, and set up by Dan Goldin and Dave Spak in 2011. They like rock. They like it loud. And they like it weird. They released You’re Better Than This by Boston weirdos Pile. For that, we should all be eternally grateful. That’s not all though! Check out their roster: Dirty Dishes, Geronimo!, Krill, Lvl Up, Palehound, Gnarwhal. The list goes on. Oh! And they released Speedy Ortiz’s Sports EP in 2012. Cheers Dave and Dan.
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8. Odd Box Records
Indiepop. We can’t really get enough of it here at Overblown. And lots of Britain loves it too. Which would explain why Trevor McCabe set up his indie pop label Odd Box Records in London. Only starting up in 2009, the label has already become an essential part of the D.I.Y. music scene alongside older labels like Fortuna POP! by contributing not only to releasing records but also organising gigs and the legendary Odd Box Weekender festival. We were honoured to premiere a track by the Ethical Debating Society who reside on the label. Legends.
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7. PNKSLM Recordings
There’s a number of things to know about PNKSLM (Punk Slime) Recordings. They were a blog. Then a club night. Now they’re a label. They are based in London and Stockholm. They also make a fine t-shirt. But tough! I think I got the last one on their website. They also love garage rock. That’s not my favourite thing about the label though. I love their penchant for lo-fi, super retro tunes that have bucket loads of charm. I’m thinking of Magic Potion, angelic milk, and Boys. Lovely people too.
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6. Fika Recordings
Very DIY, and sometimes very twee, London based Fika Recordings has been on the go since 2011. In that time they’ve released music by Owl & Mouse, Red Shoe Diaries, Tigercats amongst others. They organise gigs too. They’ve a band on their roster called The Smittens and you’ll be smitten when you start to explore Fika’s catalogue. Thank you. I’m the Ernest Hemingway of music journalism.
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5. Cascine Records
Yumi Zouma are on London/New York based alternative pop label Cascine. That should be enough to make anyone fall in love with them. But, they’ve also released music by Summer ’94, Morly, and Chad Valley.
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4. Burger Records
By their own admission Burger Records are: “a rock n roll philanthropic quasi-religious borderline-cultish propaganda spreading group of suburban perma-teen mutants releasing rare to well-done records and tapes since 2007.” This is a surprisingly accurate descirption as the music they push can be quite out there while remaining melodic and catchy as all hell. I mean check out The Garden. Weirdos.
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3. Tough Love Records
Tough Love was started in London in 2005 because, and I quote, “We didn’t know what else to do.” Turns out that they’re really good at it though, releasing records by Girls Names, Yung, CYMBALS, and AUTOBAHN. Plus, according to our resident obsessive vinyl collector Martin, they really go the extra mile for their customers when things go missing in transit. Legends.
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2. Hardly Art Records
This could be a controversial choice. After all, Hardly Art is a subsidiary of Sub Pop, and Sub Pop is pretty much owned by Warner Music. However, Protomartyr are on Hardly Art. I love Protomartyr. Plus, they distribute all their releases through the Alternative Distribution Alliance. Founded in 2007 by the aforementioned Sub Pop, the label is run by two Sub Pop employees who obviously have great taste in music. In addition to Protomartyr, Colleen Green, Chastity Belt, and Shannon and the Clams also call Hardly Art home. Can’t go wrong with that.
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1. Father/Daughter Records
Diet Cig, PWR BTTM, SPORTS, Never Young, Anomie, Pupppy, Happy Diving. Jessi Frick and her dad Ken Hector certainly have shown an ear for an up and coming band since forming the literally named Father/Daughter Records in 2010. The label has also be involved in the forming of the Bay Area Record Fair and the Keep In Touch flexi postcard subscription series launched in January 2015. Simply put, without a doubt one of the best record labels out there. Plus, Jessi sends an entertaining email.
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