Tag Archives: Label Profile

Electric Assault Records Lets the Metal Do the Talking

Electric Assault

Henry Yuan went to Norway and had an epiphany. This was back in 2011, the last year that the extreme Norwegian metal festival Hole In The Sky raised its flag over the city of Bergen. Yuan was covering the fest as a reporter for Guitar World magazine. At some point during the four-day extravaganza, he went to a listening party for the new album from a renowned Norwegian metal band that, for the purposes of this article, shall remain nameless. “I’d never been to a listening party before, but I remember thinking that we’d probably just drink beer at a bar and listen to the record,” the 27-year old Brooklyn native explains. Instead, all the journalists that the record label had invited were marched to the local aquarium. On the way, they took a detour to one of the area’s fabled fjords, where a table was set up with wine and cheese. “I was like, ‘What the fuck is going on?’” Yuan recalls with a laugh. “Of course, I was real young at the time, but I thought it was supposed to be this unpretentious, underground thing. It made me realize this whole business is about kissing ass.”

Before that fateful year was out, Yuan started Electric Assault Records. While celebrating the same types of metal bands that might play Hole In The Sky, its methodology is a middle finger to the wine-and-cheese way of doing business. “The whole idea of Electric Assault is that the music does the talking,” Yuan says. “Not PR agents and stock terms for bands. We want the rocking to do the talking.”

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The Auris Apothecary Label Has the “Very Real Desire to Destroy Everything”

Auris Apothecary

An island of blue in a swallowing sea of red, Monroe County is one of Indiana’s few liberal outposts, thanks particularly to the control of Bloomington, a laid-back college town of a little more than 80,000. There are essentially two brick-and-mortar record stores: one is a mainstay that caters to collectors and novices alike and has a good working relationship with Secretly Canadian, Bloomington’s indie-music administrator. The other is a basement-dwelling offshoot with a curated inventory that leans toward avant-garde, metal, and hardcore punk. There’s an art-house movie theater on campus, and a repurposed silent-movie house augmented by an ancient marquee. And on the outer fringes of the cultural scene is Auris Apothecary, an obscure micro-label operated by one guy acting as three who has become more fascinated with the destruction of music than its production.

Dante Augustus Scarlatti would seem a pretty ostentatious moniker if it weren’t for the ornate and cryptic label to which it’s inextricably tied. (That Auris Apothecary’s owner/operator requested to only be identified by said alias helps add to the label’s mystique.) To date, Scarlatti has overseen the production of nearly 150 releases, many of them experimental and naturalistic in sound—and all of them painstakingly designed and packaged. However, it’s been the label’s “anti-releases,” the records that require actual physical toil to unearth the damaged music contained within, that have confused, confounded, and delighted listeners the most. Scarlatti has become so enamored with his “very real desire to destroy everything” that he’s gone as far as to regard 2017 as “the year of the anti-release.”

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How Far Out Brought Brazilian Sounds to Britain

Far Out

Joyce Moreno

“I’ll never forget. I know the date: it was December 12, 1993,” recalled Joyce Moreno, in a 2009 interview. The singer-songwriter, a living legend in her native Brazil, was already a musical veteran and a substantial success at home. Swept up in the bossa nova revolution of the early 1960s, she began teaching herself guitar at 14 and released her first album at 20. Throughout the ensuing decades, she would record several more albums, tour extensively, and be declared “one of the greatest singers of all time” by bossa pioneer Antonio Carlos Jobim (who co-wrote the genre’s most famous song, “The Girl from Ipanema”).

Yet despite her stature, Moreno (whose professional name until the late aughts was simply “Joyce”) had never played in England, and couldn’t fathom why she ever would. Her music hadn’t been released in that country and seemingly wasn’t known within its borders, as was the case with many of her peers. There simply hadn’t been a great deal of international interest in Brazilian music after its brief flush of fame in the ’60s. (Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, and Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 were the only Brazilian artists who enjoyed extended careers Stateside, and not even they were able to maintain much momentum into the next decade.) So it was surprising when a clutch of London-based DJs and tastemakers offered to fly her and a backup band to the city to play a single concert, at a now-defunct Brixton nightclub named the Fridge. She walked onstage to a sold-out room of 2,000, many of whom were less than half her 45 years. By all accounts, it was an unforgettable event, and testament to the serious influence the dance-fusion-oriented Acid Jazz movement exerted over British nightlife at the time.

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A Guide to Drag City’s Essential Releases

Drag City

Of the many labels that spurred the indie rock (philosophy, not brand) heyday of the early ‘90s, few have stuck to their guns as thoroughly as Drag City. Owners Dan Osborne and Dan Koretzky, who formed the imprint in 1990, have welcomed a diverse range of artists into their fold over the past 26 years, but they’ve never chased the next big thing.

Instead, they’ve stayed loyal to their musicians, allowing them to change and grow without commercial pressures. So many Drag City artists have made multiple excellent albums for the label that it’s tough to choose their respective peaks. And though most share a love of classic rock and folk forms, no two musicians on the label approach those in the same manner.  

If there’s a Drag City “sound,” it’s probably the idiosyncratic voice—a singer who finds a new way to tell musical tales. Will Oldham, Jennifer Herrema, Bill Callahan, Joanna Newsom, David Berman—it’s almost impossible to think of anyone else who sounds like any of them.

To welcome Drag City to Bandcamp, we’ve chosen nine of the label’s most iconic, enduring releases.

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How the PNKSLM Label is Keeping Sweden Weird

PNKSLM

Luxury Death / Hater

It’s 1am on a hot summer night, and the site of Stockholm, Sweden label PNKSLM’s second birthday party is quickly devolving into chaos. Midway through a set by local psych tearaways Sudakistan, someone decided to set off the fire extinguisher. Now, the disused parking lot, rented for the purpose of squeezing as many loud, raucous bands as possible into a single space, has been coated in whipped-cream-like foam.

“Everyone was covered in white, a few people were throwing up—it was absolute chaos,” recalls the label’s founder, Luke Reilly. “We thought the party was over, but at least half the people wanted to stay,” says Johan Alm, who co-runs the label with Reilly.

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