Labels to Watch

December 15, 2011

Five record labels that are making their mark.

The Sounds of Sweet Nothing
Location: London, UK
What: Ned Hodge quit his job at Rough Trade Records in 2009 with the intention of getting out of the music business—until he heard Unknown Mortal Orchestra. He reached out to UMO frontman, Ruban Neilson, and eventually released a 7-inch late last year under his new label, The Sounds of Sweet Nothing. He intends to fill the seven hours of allotted space left on his SoundCloud account with new music from left-of-center bands with mainstream appeal. Or, as he puts it: “timeless classics in a disposable age.”
Previous releases: Unknown Mortal Orchestra 7-inch
What to expect in the future: Shoe Gazer, Distresser 12-inch; Gross Magic, Teen Jamz EP; Tashaki Miyaki, Tashaki Miyaki EP; Halls, Fragile EP; Au Palais, Tender Mercy EP

Location: New York, NY
What: Charles Damga created UNO in 2010 with the intention of rescuing great music getting lost in the system, “undiscovered records from popular artists and yet-to-be-heard records from normal guys.” Electronic music has undergone many, many shifts in the past few years, and UNO sits nicely on the strange and catchy side of things. Blending Kuwaiti music, soft rock, house and everything under the sun, the label is a microcosmic melting pot.
Previous releases: Eddie Mars, “Future” 12-inch; Jacques Greene “Lay It Down” 12-inch; CFCF, “Cometrue” 12-inch; Fatima Al Qadiri, Genre-Specific Xperience EP
What to expect in the future: Releases from producers like Gobby, Twilite Tone and Arca

NNA Tapes
Location: Burlington, VT
What: Toby Aronson and Matt Mayer started NNA Tapes in 2008 with a thirst to contribute to tape culture, releasing cassettes and vinyl under the ethos “curatorial, not corporate”—weird synth jams, psychedelic 7-inches and other brain-melting records all find a comfortable home (and attractive packaging! Each release also comes with original, hand-painted cover art) at NNA Tapes. Don’t expect any of this to hit the radio anytime soon, but if you’re looking for music that sounds like drugs, this is your place.
Previous Releases: 39 records total, including: Nautilus, Blaster Vision; Head Boggle, Unsounds and Domo Live; Ken Seeno, Invisible Surfer On An Invisible Wave; Diamond Catalog, Magnified Palette
What to expect in the future: Three new cassettes along with two new LPs: Co La, Daydream Repeater; Nate Young, Stay Asleep

Location: Brooklyn, NY
What: For eight years, Brooklyn-based clothing line, Mishka, has been fueled and influenced by music. In turn, they’ve supported artists by putting out original releases like Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire’s Lost In Translation and Main Attrakionz’ 808s and Dark Grapes 2 and remixes to accompany their merchandise. They also have an electronic music series called “Keep Watch,” curated by a different DJ each month. The aim is to create an extended family, founded on a mutual love for each other’s craft.
Previous Releases: Cvlts/Virgin Spirit split EP; Blessure Grave, “Stranger in the House” 7-inch; Tense, “Turn It Off” 7-inch; Hussle Club, “Loose Tights” 7-inch; Mater Suspiria Vision, “Seduction of the Armageddon Witches” 7-inch
What to expect in the future: Mishka has decided to keep it more open and reach out to people if they have something readily available, in order to avoid a waiting period for a release

Greedhead Music
Location: New York, NY
What: Himanshu Suri, bka Heems from Das Racist, started Greedhead Music in 2008 as a management and recording company. The management side is co-operated with partner Julia Simpson, but Greedhead Recordings is all Suri. Their first releases were Das Racist mixtapes, with Greedhead Music acting as the ultimate DIY vehicle—specifically if that vehicle is a jalopy nicely upgraded into something running surprisingly smooth. With some luck, other artists under the Greedhead banner will enjoy the same success as Das Racist.
Previous Releases: Das Racist, Shut Up, Dude; Das Racist, Sit Down, Man; Das Racist, Relax; SAFE, SAFE EP
What to expect in the future: Keepaway, Black Flute; releases from Greedhead artists like Tony Castles, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, SAFE, Fort Lean, Headless Horseman, Fat Tony and reissues of old Indian records

Labels to Watch