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Favourite Record Labels

Posted by: Lueda Alia (02/05/12)
One of my favourite labels, Erased Tapes, are celebrating their 5th birthday today. During these 5 years, they have released some of my favourite albums and are currently home to some of the best modern classical musicians today: Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Peter Broderick, and so on. It's safe to say that I would listen to literally anything that this label puts out, because they have earned my complete trust in the short period of time that they have been around. This obviously made me start thinking of our discussions regarding Drive-Thru Records, and how, once upon a time, I used to also listen to anything that they would release, which I'm sure many of you can relate to. As my tastes have changed over the years, so has the list of labels that I admire and follow closely. You could say that Sub Pop, Arts & Crafts, Barsuk, Merge, Morr Music and Saddle Creek brainwashed me musically when I was a teenager, and they have turned me into a life-long fan -- one who will always put their albums at the top of any "Music You Must Listen To" list. I truly do have a special relationship with these labels, as well as some new ones (look below), and I like to think this applies to most avid music listeners out there. So until the Super Bowl starts, let's discuss the labels that influenced and shaped our tastes in music, the ones we adore, and some new ones that deserve more attention.

These are some of my favourites. What are yours? And what albums have made them a favourite?

Saddle Creek I think this was a gateway label for many people that grew up on music from the AP.net scene. I mean, Cursive and Bright Eyes? How many of us got a hold of their records at 15-16 and were blown away? And The Faint? They did indie-electronic before it became what is today. I was pretty much in awe with everything this label released when I was a teen. I have no doubt that they will go down as one of the most iconic indie labels.

The Faint - Danse Macabre
Bright Eyes - Lifted
Azure Ray - Hold On Love
Cursive - The Ugly Organ
Maria Taylor - 11:11

Roster


BarsukAh, what could I say to describe one of my all-time favourite labels? Sure, all the labels listed here are special to me, but I don't know.... this label is just something different. I grew up with some of these bands' music, and I owe them so much.

Rilo Kiley - Take Offs and Landings
Rocky Votolato - Makers
Death Cab For Cutie - The Photo Album
Menomena - Friend and Foe
Nada Surf - Let Go

Roster


Sub Pop RecordsWhat music fan doesn't know about this label? Even if you're not a fan of the music they release, it's easy to see why they're so renown and respected. They've been around for decades, and I can't think of a more consistent label in the industry.

Low - Things We Lost In The Fire
Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary
Iron & Wine - The Creek Drank The Cradle
Mogwai - Happy Songs For Happy People
The Postal Service - Give Up

Roster


Arts & CraftsI would say that I'm biased toward this label given that they're Canadian, but do I really need to be? Just look at their catalog -- it's so good it hurts. How could anyone resist Amy Millan's and Feist's voices? And how could anyone deny the magic that is Stars and Broken Social Scene? You would be crazy to!

Stars - Heart
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People
Feist - Let It Die
Amy Millan - Honey From The Tombs
The Most Serene Republic - Underwater Cinematographer

Roster


Erased TapesNo one knows modern classical music like this label. They create the soundtracks of my summer nights, and cold winter days, album after album. To call their releases "beautiful" would be an understatement, so take a listen for yourself.

Ólafur Arnalds - ... And They Have Escaped The Weight of Darkness.
Peter Broderick - Music for Falling from Trees
Nils Frahm - Wintermusik
A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Self-titled
Oliveray - Wonders

Roster


Morr MusicThe albums released by this label in 2003-2004 made me the indie-pop and electronic music fan that I am today. Get a hold of their Blue Skies An' Clear compilation and get to know them -- you won't regret it.

Múm - Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is Ok
Isan - Meet Next Life
American Analog Set - Set Free
Styrofoam - Nothing's Lost
Seabear - We Built a Fire

Roster


Constellation RecordsI would pretty much call this the father of all post-rock/instrumental rock labels. Some of the records listed below are timeless, and I refuse to believe that any fan of such genres does not enjoy them.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
Do Make Say Think - Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn
A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone, but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms...
Siskiyou - Self-Titled
Clues - Self-Titled

Roster


Kill Rock StarsAfter discovering Elliott Smith, it was only natural for me to delve more into this label's discography. Their love for rock/punk music made me feel right at home. And not to mention that their folk releases continue to be incredible, time and time again.

Elliott Smith - Either/Or
Horse Feathers - House With No Home
Xiu Xiu - Women As Lovers
Deerhoof - Offend Maggie
The Thermals - Now We Can See

Roster


Merge Records One look at the list below, and you really don't need an explanation. This label has, without a doubt, put out some of the finest indie-rock records out there. As you can imagine, it was extremely difficult to pick just five, but I think the first four records would be a good place to start if you want to indulge in their catalog, and the fifth album.... well, it's a personal favourite that I think everyone should hear.

The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
Arcade Fire - Funeral
Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Spoon - Kill The Moonlight
The Rosebuds - Loud Planes Fly Low

Roster


The Mylene Sheath You see that list? Yeah, those albums are pretty amazing. I can't recommend this label enough to fans of instrumental-rock. Not to mention that it's run by some of the nicest people I've had the pleasure of working with.

Caspian - You Are The Conductor / The Four Trees
If These Trees Could Talk - Above The Earth, Below The Sky
Gifts From Enola - Self-Titled
Beware of Safety - Leaves/Scars
You.May.Die.In.The.Desert. - Bears In The Yukon

Roster


Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian/Dead Oceans When I think of these sister labels, the word "hip" comes to mind immediately, which is meant in the best way possible. It's difficult to pick just five releases to list here, so I'll just go with two from each imprint that I absolutely adore.

Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Yeasayer - Odd Blood
Jens Lekman - When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog
The Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt
Bowerbirds - Upper Air

Roster: Jag, Secretly, Dead


Matador RecordsProbably one of the most recognized names in the industry, and for a reason. The people behind the label seem to have an ear for bands and records that will go down as "classics," so making a list of all the ones I enjoy is pretty much impossible. But I think these five are a good place to start...

Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
Boards of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children
Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
Shearwater - Rook

Roster


Drive-Thru RecordsBefore I started listening to the music I love today, I used to be a Drive-Thru Records fan girl. I almost feel obligated to put them on this list because the bands on their roster back in 2001-2003 made such a big impact on me as a music listener. I don't know where I would be today if I hadn't picked up a copy of SoCo's Leaving Through The Window when I was 14...

Something Corporate - Leaving Through The Window
The Starting Line - Say It Like You Mean It
New Found Glory - Stick and Stones
Home Grown - King of Pop
Finch - What It Is To Burn

Roster


Other Labels I could sit here all day and make a list of all labels that I love, so I'm going to end this post with a list off other labels that I think you should check out.

Doomtree
Graveface Records
Polyvinyl Records
Temporary Residence
4AD
Anti-
FatCat Records
Western Vinyl
Warp
Lefse


The list of labels (and albums) is by no means complete. This is simply a list of labels that I wanted to highlight to use as a start to this discussion. Feel free to complete my lists with your own suggestions, and add other labels you love!
  
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 113.
11:40 AM on 02/05/12
#2
Lueda Alia
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This is what I keep myself occupied with... instead of actually studying for my midterm tomorrow.

Let's talk music!
11:42 AM on 02/05/12
#3
Jason Tate
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This is what I keep myself occupied with... instead of actually studying for my midterm tomorrow.

Let's talk music!
Hahaha, amazing.

PS: You totally didn't respond to my iMessage last night.
11:43 AM on 02/05/12
#4
Lueda Alia
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Hahaha, amazing.

PS: You totally didn't respond to my iMessage last night.
Hahaha I didn't know that was you! I have a different number on my phone. Ooops.

Edit: I was actually lying down by then too though. I was tired as hell after reading all day.
11:43 AM on 02/05/12
#5
Holly HoX!
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Eda Eda Eda....

Merge records and no Superchunk? This must be a typo. And it's Mac's label. Shame shame.
11:44 AM on 02/05/12
#6
Lueda Alia
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Eda Eda Eda....

Merge records and no Superchunk? This must be a typo. And it's Mac's label. Shame shame.
Looks like someone missed the last sentence in italics....
11:45 AM on 02/05/12
#7
Montauk1222
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My favorites right now are Run For Cover, No Sleep, Count Your Lucky Stars and Topshelf. Always putting out quality releases.
11:45 AM on 02/05/12
#8
ÖzgürKurtoglu
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So...you have 12 favourite labels? Damn, that's quite a few...

I'll write something up while I'm trying to stay awake for Super Bowl.
11:46 AM on 02/05/12
#9
Holly HoX!
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Looks like someone missed the last sentence in italics....

Still, Mac is the man and I can't believe that's his label. What a boss.
11:46 AM on 02/05/12
schlotty
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Being from Omaha I fully approve of Saddle Creek.
11:47 AM on 02/05/12
Jason Tate
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Hahaha I didn't know that was you! I have a different number on my phone. Ooops.

Edit: I was actually lying down by then too though. I was tired as hell after reading all day.
Hahaha. I've had the same number for years now ...
11:47 AM on 02/05/12
Holly HoX!
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Sub Pop
Tri Angle
AM Discs
Moonglyph
Afternoon
Mexican Summer
Doomtree
11:48 AM on 02/05/12
bandnamexmyname
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XL, Jagjuwar, Sub Pop, Merge off the top of my head.

Inb4 fueled by ramen/decaydance
11:49 AM on 02/05/12
Holly HoX!
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Being from Omaha I fully approve of Saddle Creek.

Criteria ftw
11:50 AM on 02/05/12
sjb2k1
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barsuk is one of my favorites these days. polyvinyl has been for years.

and RIP crank!
mineral, the gloria record, onelinedrawing
sigh.
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