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Label Sampler

Friday, February 8, 2013

Moon Glyph: The Oakland Psych Label Recently Arrived From Minneapolis

Posted By on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 3:30 AM


[Many local labels are offering obscure reissues and innovative new releases on all conceivable formats. Label Sampler is an occasional column that profiles a different Bay Area independent label in each edition.]

Name: Moon Glyph

Founded: 2009

Owner: Steve Rosborough

Headquarters: Moon Glyph is currently located in Rosborough's home in downtown Oakland. He recently relocated from Minneapolis, where many of the label's artists are based.

Musical focus: To encapsulate the genre focus of his label, Rosborough reluctantly uses the term "psychedelic." The tag is misleading, though. While a thread of otherworldliness runs through the kaleidoscopic fabric of Moon Glyph's roster, a sole adjective doesn't do justice to label's 50-plus releases since 2009. Rosborough's personal affinity for ambient electronic (the genre of his own music as Olives and other monikers) makes it well represented. So are PC Worship's crude rock experimentalism and Leisure Birds' hypnotic and cosmic rock. Drone, musique concrète, electronica -- Moon Glyph's eclecticism illustrates Rosborough's open-mindedness and refusal to deal in codified sounds. "I'd rather listen to a half-baked new idea than a hyper-polished old idea," he says.

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Dulc-i-Tone Records: The Longtime Label of Mantles Bassist Matt Roberts

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 3:30 AM

Ducl-i-Tone founder Matt Roberts
  • Ducl-i-Tone founder Matt Roberts

Name: Dulc-i-Tone, although the label was founded as Yakamashi.

Founded: 1998

Owner: Matt Roberts

Headquarters: Mission District, San Francisco

Label one-sheet: Dulc-i-tone is the current name of Matt Roberts' 14-year-old record label endeavor, which he has dutifully operated throughout many phases of his own eclectic life since college. The pace of releases is occasional, but each is studiously curated and detailed. Nearly every release comes solely on vinyl. In addition to breaking new artists and reissuing obscure material, Dulc-i-tone is the home of certain releases from The Mantles, a pastoral psych outfit from San Francisco in which Roberts plays bass.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Tim Presley Started Birth Records Just to Release Jessica Pratt's Stunning Debut

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Jessica Pratt's self-titled debut LP.
  • Jessica Pratt's self-titled debut LP.

Tim Presley, mastermind behind White Fence, Darker My Love, and former guitarist of The Nerve Agents, recently founded his own record label, Birth Records. Presley, a Bay Area native who splits his time between here and L.A., started Birth solely to release the gorgeous, self-titled debut LP from San Francisco folk singer Jessica Pratt, which he describes as like "Stevie Nicks singing over David Crosby demos, with the intimacy of a Sibylle Baier."

Presley says he didn't consider the potential viability of releasing Pratt's LP, but felt compelled to do so by the sheer power of her music. "I didn't even care if it sold 100 copies, I loved it that much. So, I had this future death-bed moment, [where] I could either pay rent comfortably for three months or put this record into the world."

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Father/Daughter Records Is a Family Affair

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 3:30 AM

Father/Daughter's Jessi Frick
  • Father/Daughter's Jessi Frick

Many local labels are offering obscure reissues and innovative new releases on all conceivable formats. Label Sampler is an occasional column that profiles a different Bay Area independent label in each edition.

Name: Father/Daughter Records

Headquarters: Spare room, Inner Sunset, San Francisco

Owners: Jessi Frick and Ken Hector.

Founded: 2009

Label one-sheet: Father/Daughter is a small indie pop label run by a father in Florida and his daughter in San Francisco.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Polyvinyl Records: A Midwest Indie Thriving in San Francisco

Posted By on Fri, Sep 14, 2012 at 3:30 AM


Name: Polyvinyl Records

Founded: 1995

Headquarters: Champaign, Illinois, and San Francisco, Calif.

Founder(s): Matt Lunsford and Darcie Knight founded Polyvinyl together. For our profile of the imprint, we spoke with Seth Hubbard, the label manager who spearheaded Polyvinyl's expansion to San Francisco in 2008. In an inspiring testament to the benefits of volunteer work, Hubbard was a DJ at his college radio station, and, through playing many Polyvinyl artists, was able to land an internship at the label that became a full-time job upon graduation.

Label one-sheet: Polyvinyl is an eclectic independent record label based both in San Francisco and Champaign, Illinois. It has grown from a modest music fanzine into an institution with many stylistic incarnations, and boasts more than 200 releases.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

SmartGuy Records: Garage and Punk Vinyl Releases From an Apartment in the Mission

Posted By on Mon, Sep 3, 2012 at 3:30 AM

Jerry Connolly, SmartGuy Records
  • Jerry Connolly, SmartGuy Records

Name: SmartGuy Records

Owner: Jerry Connolly

Founded: 1997

Headquarters: Jerry's apartment, Mission District, San Francisco.

Label one-sheet: SmartGuy is an independent record label founded in 1997 with the sole intention of releasing one Billy Childish single. Since its chance beginnings, SmartGuy has evolved into a reliable garage and punk imprint focused on small batches of vinyl releases.

Musical focus: SmartGuy deals primarily in garage rock and punk. A consistent strain throughout the label's catalog is the work of Billy Childish, a multi-faceted English artist whose work in music with a number of bands shows his voracious appetite for primitive rock 'n' roll. SmartGuy released records from Thee Headcoats, The Vermin Poets, and Wild Billy Childish & The Friends Of The Buff Medway Fanciers' Association, all Childish projects. SmartGuy accrued significant notoriety as the label home of Clorox Girls, Portland's power pop-indebted garage punks, whose profile quickly rose in the mid-00's. Recently, SmartGuy is a prime importer of garage and post-punk bands from Australia, with the release of Total Control, Boomgates, and Rat Columns.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

S.F.'s Prank Records Is Only Getting More Hardcore With Age

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 3:30 AM


Name: Prank Records

Owner: Ken Sanderson

Headquarters: Richmond District, San Francisco

Founded: 1995

Label one-sheet: Prank Records is a prolific hardcore punk label based in San Francisco that boasts 136 releases from bands worldwide since its inception 1995. Bay Area bands play a pivotal role in the label's development, and owner Ken Sanderson has been deeply entrenched in the local punk scene since he arrived in 1992. As a longtime contributor to Maximumrocknroll and busy booking agent of DIY shows for both touring and local bands, punk ideology is heavily engrained in his work.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Tricycle Records: The Music Industry Training Wheels for Promising Bay Area Bands

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Julie Schuchard and Don Joslin
  • Julie Schuchard and Don Joslin

Name: Tricycle Records

Headquarters: Lower Haight, San Francisco

Owners: Julie Schuchard and Don Joslin

Founded: 2006

Label one-sheet: Tricycle Records is an independent record label based in San Francisco that exclusively signs local groups and offers such crucial services as press relations, tour booking, graphic design, and other such general management while allowing artists to retain full ownership of their music and complete creative control. Tricycle envisions itself as a launching pad for acts destined for larger labels.

Musical focus: Joslin initially wanted to start a label focused on shoegaze music, but such regimented genre focus left Schuchard lukewarm. Eventually, the duo agreed to eschew genre adherence altogether and instead sign only Bay Area bands. Regional focus replaced genre focus, and Tricycle has released local bands operating in such eclectic styles as electro-pop, post-rock, chamber-pop, and garage.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Land and Sea: The Rare Local Label That Can Claim SFMOMA as a Regular Customer

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 8:37 AM

A spread of Land and Sea releases.
  • A spread of Land and Sea releases.

Name: Land and Sea

Headquarters: Piedmont, Oakland

Owners: Chris Duncan and Maria Otero

Founded: 2009

Label one-sheet: Land and Sea is an independent record label and publishing house helmed by husband and wife Chris Duncan and Maria Otero. Its releases include consumer-level records, records as art objects, prints, and books. In their words, Land and Sea is a "sonic and visual project," with particular emphasis placed upon hosting gatherings related to releases.

Visual art in Label Sampler?: Its variety of media makes this an unusual installment of Label Sampler, but Land and Sea's impeccable curatorial consistency warrants coverage. After all, not many record labels can boast that the SFMOMA has all of its releases in the museum's permanent collection.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Misanthropic Agenda: The Oakland Noise Label That Finds Most Experimentalists Dull

Posted By on Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 3:30 AM

Misanthropic Agenda founder Gerritt Wittmer
  • Misanthropic Agenda founder Gerritt Wittmer

Name: Misanthropic Agenda

Owner: Gerritt Wittmer

Founded: 1998

Label one Sheet: Misanthropic Agenda is an independent record label based in Oakland. In addition to releasing music by its director, Gerritt Witmer, the label focuses on experimental music from around the world with absolutely no consideration for commercial potential.

Musical focus: Wittmer maintains that the only criterion for MA's releases is that he personally enjoys the sounds. Given the label's focus on harsh noise, musique concrète, sound art, and highbrow experimental, it seem likely that Wittmer must enjoy esoteric and difficult sounds to the near exclusion of everything else.

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