Labels to Watch

Five record labels to watch in 2014: Ascetic House, LA Club Resource, PMR Records, Lit City Trax and Death Waltz.

December 02, 2013

From the magazine: ISSUE 89, December 2013/January 2014

In FADER's annual Now Issue, we get up close and personal with the artists setting the tone for the next year. We looked at producers, models, authors, video directors and many more. Here are five record labels to watch in 2014.

Location: Phoenix, AZ, with another chapter opening soon in Brooklyn, NY
Founders: Jes Aurelius and Nick Nappa from the bands Destruction Unit and Marshstepper, Alex Jarson from Body of Light and an extended network of friends and collaborators
Signature sound: All over the place, but mostly punk, hardcore, techno, noise and sound art
Notable releases: Tapes from the founders’ bands and associated Phoenix acts like Jock Club, Deep Pill and R. Rousseau; miscellaneous chapbooks and zines, including a book of lyrics from Merchandise’s Children of Desire; a batch of 41 cassettes to be released in January 2014, including tapes from Iceage, Lust for Youth and Merchandise side projects and a bunch of underground bigwigs playing under mystery names
Mission:  To support “honesty and spontaneity in music,” according to Jes Aurelius.

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Founder: LA native and L.I.E.S. artist Delroy Edwards
Signature sound: Fucked-up, textural house music emanating from lonely bedroom studios all over the world, but mostly in California,
and especially Los Angeles
Notable releases: An inaugural two-track EP from Delroy Edwards; forthcoming releases from Edwards’ noisier, more experimental alter ego DJ Punisher and little-known beatsmiths like DJ Harlow and Delivery
Mission: “There’s not much of a scene for house music in Los Angeles, and there hasn’t really ever been. But there’s still lots of artists who are doing it, so the reason I have this label is to get it out there, to educate people and just get these artists paid. We’re looking to build up what American house music used to be.”

Location: London, UK
Founders: Former Polydor A&R Ben Parmar and his brother, Daniel
Signature sound: Beats from the UK dance underground that are hooky enough to get anybody dancing
Notable releases: Disclosure’s breakout record, Settle, and Jessie Ware’s anthemic debut, Devotion; EPs from “Latch” guest vocalist Sam Smith and Swiss-born, Canada-based producer Cyril Hahn; full-lengths from Ware and Bristol house producer Julio Bashmore in 2014
Mission: “I was really frustrated with the way big labels look at signing artists—chasing buzz bands and paying lots of money to sign artists who are aren’t always half-brilliant. I just felt like I wanted to get more involved in artist development—working with people early on and guiding them through the music business, approaching things with a long-term attitude instead of chasing quick turnovers.”

Location: New York, NY
Founder: Jamie Imanian-Friedman, aka DJ/promoter and Future Brown member J-Cush
Signature sound: Chicago footwork, London grime, Portuguese kuduro and other niche, geographically specific styles of club music
Notable releases: A multi-volume Tek Life series spotlighting footwork heavyweights DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn and Traxman; two EPs from grime-inspired producer Visionist; upcoming records from kuduro producer DJ MarFox and another from DJ Spoko, inventor of a variant of South African house called bacardi house
Mission: “I just want to do me and support raw and deep music that I think needs to be heard.”

Location: London, UK
Founder: Spencer Hickman, former manager of Rough Trade East
Signature sound: Horror movie soundtracks from the VHS boom of the ’80s, remastered to shock and delight as stand-alone pieces of art
Notable releases: Reissues of spine-tingling, synth-heavy scores from John Carpenter classics like the Halloween movies and Escape from New York; an EP of new material from Italian giallo film staple Goblin; upcoming reissues of the Twin Peaks and Fire Walk with Me soundtracks
Mission: “I want to win reissue of the year in every hole. I just want them to be amazing, because I’m a collector.”

Labels to Watch