5 Indie Labels You Should Be Paying Attention To
With the constant hype around “indie” bands, it’s surprising that their labels don’t get more praise. With carefully curated artist line-ups and unique sounds, underground labels do most of the legwork in figuring out what’s cool, what’s going to be cool, and what might be cool. To give a little thanks to the labels that bring us our favorite music, we rounded up five underground labels that are killing it.
With a mixture of up-and-coming lo-fi bands like Girlpool and punk mainstays like the riot grrrl group Wild Flag, it’s impossible to ignore the Wichita Recordings artist line-up. With past releases that include the catchiest song in the world – Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks” – Wichita has been dropping hits right and left since 2000. As the oldest label on the list, we’ve all probably been exposed to the wonder that is Wichita, most likely without realizing it. So go listen to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and appreciate that they were on the same label that Waxahatchee is on now.
After five years on the scene, it’s surprising that more people don’t recognize Cascine as the powerhouse label that it is. With the Ryan Hemsworth-approved et aliae pumping out dreamy pop hits and Yumi Zouma releasing EPs full of summer vibes, it’s impossible to go wrong with Cascine’s lineup. The label’s unique mix of dreamy and stylish music makes it one to always keep an eye on.
While PC Music’s Sophie is definitely on everyone’s radar after collaborations with Liz and Le1f, its lesser-known signees deserve more hype. In their first compilation album, PC Music, Vol. 1, bands like GFOTY, easyFun, and A.G. Cook shine with pumped up bubblegum pop songs. While at first the high pitched voices and over saturated instrumentation can be overwhelming, they grow on you. Are they being ironic? We can’t really tell. But it makes us want to dance, which is all that matters at the end of the day.
The late 2000s held an artistic revival for Montreal. And Arbutus was in the middle of the pop revolution. While they have a roster of breakout stars like Majical Cloudz and Grimes, their current lineup is just as strong. They keep things Canadian with fuzzy pop bands like TOPS, Blue Hawaii and Sean Nicholas Savage. If you’re looking for music that makes you want to dance – but also pulls at your heartstrings – it’s a good place to look. Go Canada!
Orchid Tapes are, without a doubt, the premier purveyors of bedroom pop. Founded in 2010, the label is still young, but it seems completely dedicated to free downloads, at-home recordings, a fuzzy visual aesthetic, and accessible Twitter personalities. As artists like Alex G, Ricky Eat Acid, and Elvis Depressedly are breaking into the mainstream, keeping an eye on Orchid Tapes means keeping an eye on what band you’ll be listening to next year. The purposeful lo-fi vibes and accessible lyrics are hard not to identify with. The label can be all very sad boys – and girls!! – but in a way that’s somehow not annoying. It’s pop made for the sad teen in all of us.