With a roster that boasts Nada Surf, Death Cab For Cutie, and John Vanderslice (to name a few), the little Seattle label known as Barsuk Records has made quite a name for themselves amongst the indie crowd. Now, they're stepping up their game even further by adding three indie-tastic, fairly established bands to their roster - Mates Of State, Viva Voce, and the Starlight Mints.
Husband and wife duo Mates Of State will be the first to release a new album for their new label. Called Bring It Back, the album will be the fourth in a string of critically-acclaimed albums by the duo, including 2000's My Solo Project, 2002's Our Constant Concern (a personal fav) and 2003's Team Boo. It will be released on March 21, 2006.
Viva Voce are the Portland-based duo of Anita and Kevin Robinson and yes, they're married too. Formed back in 1998, the two have had a steady output of albums including 1998's Hooray For Love, 2003's Lovers, Lead The Way!, and last year's stunning The Heat Can Melt Your Brain. Both are multi-instrumentalists, the kind who's bios have an ".etc" listed after the listing of instruments they play (ex. guitar, drums, keyboards, etc.). So, unlike Mates Of State, who take a more bare bones approach to their music, Viva Voce smear layer after layer of musical goodness on the piece of breakfast toast that is their creative output. The duo pack an eclectic mix of influences into their indie pop mish-mosh, including R&B, '60s psychedelia, down tempo electronica and just about anything else you can shake a stick at. Their upcoming fourth album will be released in mid-2006.
Hailing from the same home state that gave birth to equally oddball pop stars The Flaming Lips (OK), the Starlight Mints are a group of five talented musicians with a love of all things weird and as far as I know, none of them are married to each other. Their music is filled with spacey, largely instrumental compositions with lyrics that straddle the line of surreal and absurd. They have released two albums, 2000's Dream That Stuff Was Made Of and 2003's Built On Squares. Their third album will be released in April 2006.
Big ups to Barsuk for landing all three of these fine acts. The label will begin their 2006 release cycle with Seattle-based singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato's Barsuk debut, Makers, on January 24.