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A Half Dozen Indie Labels You Should Know About

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Guilt Ridden Pop

Based out of the crazy fertile Minneapolis/St Paul scene and run by the very astute Keith Moran, this little-label-that-could (and can) brought us “The Return of the Multiple Cat” last year along with gems from Brief Candles and the Chambermaids. Their roster also includes Kitten Forever and the immortal Jack Logan, along with a host of others we haven’t heard yet but can hardly wait to!! Exactly the kind of quality arbiter we want our indie labels to be. If every label were as bloody right-on as GRP, peace would reign upon this world. A fairly complicated kind of rock’n’roll peace, but peace nonetheless.


Happy Happy Birthday To Me (HHBTM)

THE label documenting the latest rise in Athens, GA’s indie profile, Mike Turner’s HHBTM has brought us stunners by The New Sound of Numbers (feat. ex-members of Pylon, Olivia Tremor Control and others), the inimitable and irrepressible Tunabunny, punk/ambient groundbreakers Muuy Biien, Eureka California, and the incredible Caspar & The Cookies. And that’s just scraping the surface. Kind of label that restores your faith in the record business. In our dreams we own every one of the records on this label.


Occultation Recordings

What can be said for a label that painstakingly, and at great expense, releases lavish issues of such resurrected legends as The Distractions, The Wild Swans, The June Brides, and Factory Star (led by guitarist and original Fall founder and head Blue Orchid Martin Bramah) for the sole reason that to not do so, to not spend the time/effort/money to get it so very right in the first place, would be an unacceptable sacrilege. No compromise here, it’s artifact over artifice at Occultation, and ain’t that a great thing to be able to say in these fleeting, often cheapened times. And all that’s said without even mentioning the glory that will be the new Granite Shore album (owner and part-time Distraction Nick Halliwell’s band) due out later this year.


Metal Postcard Records

Based out of Hong Kong and run and solely owned by one Sean Hocking, who else is keeping their finger on the pulse on the rabid goings-on along the Pacific Rim, from Korea’s Chang Wordling Girl to punksters Pairs out of Shanghai to the Cambodian Space Project? No one, that’s who, and that’s surprising given what Sean’s been able to find from Beijing to Phnom Pehn. And Metal Postcard doesn’t just settle for covering the west side of said rim (which is the Far East side but, umm, well, never mind). It’s also branched out to ‘our’ side by scooping up acts from Portland (White Fang, Woolen Men) and sending them on tour in poor unsuspecting Europe. Keeping the world spinning while keeping boredom at bay, Metal Postcard is here to save us from ourselves.


Lotuspool Records

“Listeners First! Bands Next! Labels Last!” Under the direction of Chris Garibaldi and a dedicated cohort, Lotuspool Records consists of a group of friends that have grown their musical appreciation via mix tapes, burnt compilations, and MP3 swapping. So they’d be hypocrites to support the suppression of people trying to listen to and share music for free. All Lotuspool-released music can now be downloaded at for free. The latest, essential releases by Bully Pulpit (Bylaws: an original, fun, and creative combination of indie, folk, and classic rock) and Hollow Body (I Hate to Tell You This: a 22-minute song cycle comprised of 10 spare instrumental pieces for two electric guitars) are available on the site, as well as equally crucial releases by Mild 7, Zoom, Panel Donor, and Suneaters. If you like what you hear and have the means, you can purchase Lotuspool music from the bands at their shows or from any online retailer.


Fishrider Records

Ahh Dunedin, how do you do it? How do you rock the world with some of the most sublime, nerve-tingling rock for over 30 years now without breaking stride? It’s a mystery, but if any label holds the key to unlocking it, that would be Fishrider. Begun in 2006 by Ian Henderson, himself a musician and as knowledgeable a tour guide to the history of the longstanding Kiwi magic as anyone, the label has more than ably carried on the tradition begun by the renowned Flying Nun, as is made exquisitely plain by releases from Opposite Sex, Trick Mammoth, Males, The Prophet Hens, Shifting Sands and New Zealand pop-masters (and best-kept secret) The Puddle (his brother George’s band, in which Ian plays drums), any one of which we dare you to listen to just once. It’s physically impossible, like turning your eyes away from a sprawling sunrise, the kind that promises a genuinely memorable day. Impeccable.