Rap-Metal Is Back...and It's Good

Categories: Labels

Photo by Joshua Justice
Metal is an ever-turning and twisting genre, following wormholes into subgenres and melding any and all techniques and sounds along the way in a constant struggle to create something new and original. It doesn't always work, and anyone who lived through the '90s can attest that the addition of hip-hop elements like rapping and turntables was a serious low point.

Except now we have a whole generation who grew up on that music and wants to give it another whirl. You can find bands like Whitechapel and Suicide Silence admitting how much their sound is indebted to Korn and Slipknot, while others are even busting out those turntables again.

See also: The Top 20 NYC Rap Albums of All Time

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How Not to Run an Indie Rap Label

Categories: Labels

Matt Diamond and Kira (R.I.P.)

Ten years ago, Matt Diamond started Coalmine Records. The Brooklyn-based independent rap label's first release was "The Raw," a 12-inch single featuring the Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck, horrorcore-styled rapper Bekay, and one-time savior of New York hip-hop Saigon. Since then the Coalmine vault has stacked up contributions from a list of luminaries that includes Pharoahe Monch, Kool G Rap, and Talib Kweli, plus producers Alchemist and M-Phazes.

In celebration of a decade in the game, Coalmine has released Unearthed this week -- a 22-track compilation that's mixed by the dextrous hands of DJ Revolution and acts as the label's vital Soundbombing moment. Consider it your daily dose of fortified boom-bap goodness.

In honor of the milestone, here Diamond embarks on a good-natured reminisce about five vital learning steps that come with launching an indie rap label. Naturally, they involve advice on how to deal with Kanye West's notorious cock-blocking tendencies.

See also: Record Labels Aren't Dying, They're Thriving

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The Oral History of Mexican Summer

Just a few of Mexican Summer's Greatest Hits
Over the past five years, Mexican Summer has introduced (or helped to introduce) bands like Best Coast, Washed Out and Kurt Vile. This weekend, to celebrate their five-year anniversary, they're throwing a two-day concert at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, with Spiritualized, Ariel Pink, Lansing-Dreiden, and No Joy all scheduled to play.

That's a pretty heavy list of big-name bands, and it's been an extremely successful five year run. On the occasion of the label's five-year anniversary, we talked to bands and label insiders to get a picture of how Mexican Summer got to where it is. We heard tale of fistfights in Sweden, beers in California, and why Ariel Pink only put out one single through the label.

See also: Meet Mexican Summer's Jess Rotter, Whose Art You've Probably Already Enjoyed

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Burger Records' Caravan of Stars Rolls Deep In a Nursing Home Shuttle Bus

Photo: Steele O'Neal
Gap Dream's Gabe Fulvimar
Gap Dream's Gabe Fulvimar has had a surreal couple of years. Last December, he emailed a sample of his lo-fi glam pop to Fullerton, California's DIY visionaries Burger Records, who offered to put out his self-titled debut on cassette; after his song "58th St. Fingers" was featured on Pitchfork, "shit hit the fan" and he moved halfway across the country from Cleveland to live in a storage space at Burger's warehouse, which includes the label's record store and office space. "It's a very odd thing to make music for a long time where no one knows who you are, except for your buddies and people who think it's a joke, and suddenly people are interested in it," he tells me over the phone from a gas station somewhere between Portland, OR, and Salt Lake City. "I'm trying not to let it freak me out," he says–even when some female fans drew a picture of his face and posted it to Twitter. "I never thought that would happen."

See also: Record Labels Aren't Dying, They're Thriving

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Record Labels Aren't Dying, They're Thriving

Categories: Labels, Nostalgia

Photo: Mehrad Talaie and Captured Tracks
Zachary Cole Smith, Sky Ferreira, and Katie Garcia at Captured Tracks' fifth anniversary show
Back in 2006, Jeremy Earl was pretty much an average Brooklyn 20-something. He'd moved here straight for college, and was spending his time sharing a house with four other people, working at records stores, cafes, and sometimes places that were both (like Cake Shop on Ludlow Street). He was in a band, too, and his house was packed with music-related junk: boxes of records, boxes of cassettes, stuff to silkscreen T-shirts, pretty much anything you could imagine.

He'd been half-heartedly running a record label for a few years, releasing albums for his own band, Woods, and those of his friends. "I'd be doing every element of it: dubbing the tapes, everything," he told me recently over the phone, using the tone of voice you use when remembering something crazy, but kind of admirable you used to do, like studying really hard for the SATs, or learning to ride a unicycle.

See also: Brooklyn Record Label Captured Tracks Takes Risks, Avoids Soundscan, and Sees Results

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"Go Go Power Rangers!" and Its Badass Guitar Riff Turn 20 Years Old

Saban Entertainment
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Believe it or not, it's now been 20 years since Mighty Morphin Power Rangers premiered, changing the way '90s kids saw the world by combining teen drama with dinosaur robots. It also introduced a generation to the power of electric guitars as the show's immortal "Go Go Power Rangers" theme has become a pop culture staple and irrefutably responsible for the baddest-assest riff in the history of children's television. To commemorate this milestone, we spoke to the series' composer Ron A. Wasserman, who now scores many projects including Hot in Cleveland, about how the theme came together, scoring with rock music and the restrictions of the increasingly politically correct world of '90s children's television. It's Morphin Time!

See also: Top 10 Douchiest Guitarists of All Time

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Hunters Sign to Mom + Pop, Announce Tour With JEFF the Brotherhood

Categories: Labels

File Under: BIG THANGS POPPIN'! Brooklyn cool kids and Voice cover subjects Hunters have just inked a deal with the Mom + Pop record label, the home of Big Deal bands like Sleigh Bells, Wavves, Metric, Tokyo Police Club, FIDLAR, Neon Indian, Freelance Whales, etc. etc., so on and so forth. They've also just announced a tour that will see them playing dates with both Bleached and JEFF the Brotherhood. In our cover story about them in early December of last year we (very accurately) wrote they invoke "a grimy, bygone New York City rock born of the loins: raw, sexy, scary, fuzzy, fun, fucked up." The band's producer, ex Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, said nice things too. Ditto Yeah Yeah Yeahs' guitarist Nick Zinner. So, congrats Hunters! It was only a matter of time. Tour dates and other stuff after the jump.

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Hydra Head Records: A Personal Recollection

Categories: Labels

Gary Copeland, courtesy of Torche

By Paul T. Bradley

This week, Hydra Head Records founder Aaron Turner announced the label's closing. The L.A. metal imprint -- by way of Boston and New Mexico -- is home to first-rate acts including Torche, Botch, Cave In, Harvey Milk and, occasionally, Converge. Co-founder Aaron Turner says that they'll stop putting out new music after December and then continue clearing out their back catalog for debt-servicing purposes.

See Also:
- Q&A: Bettina Richards of Thrill Jockey Records
- The Top Ten DIY Venues In New York City
- How Can My Band Go From DIY To The Next Level?

I'm originally from Boston, and there was a time when Hydra Head catered specifically to a small scene of Massachusetts hardcore kids, of which I was more or less one. Some of us, either bored by the monotony or the territoriality of the Boston punk scene -- with its collection of tired punk tropes and alcoholic anomie -- turned to the quiet post-industrial Merrimack Valley 30 minutes north of the city. The Valley was where they had the empty VFW halls and barns willing to host the first free all-ages shows by now-nationally-known bands like Converge, Cave In and Piebald.

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This Week In The Voice: Greg Tate On Marsha Ambrosius, Sadat X On Wine

This week in the Village Voice: It's the comics issue! We're celebrating by having Ben Westhoff talk about wine with Sadat X, host of YouTube's premier hip-hop-and-wine show True Wine Connoisseurs, and giving Greg Tate the opportunity to dissect Marsha Ambrosius' slightly Stepfordized new album. Plus, there's a great illustration of Willow Smith by Anthony Pugh.

Six Great Records That Likely Put Touch & Go Out of Business

Thumbnail image for touch & go logo.jpg

Big Black established Chicago's Touch & Go Records, Butthole Surfers nearly undid it, and Ted Leo stuck with the indie for far longer than anyone expected. But there's also a whole roster of lesser-known, weirdo, commercially doomed T&G releases that likely contributed to yesterday's announcement that the label's manufacturing and distribution wing will end. That doesn't make them any less excellent. Behold six of our favorites.

Girls Against Boys, House of GVSB (1996)

15 seconds into this video it's painfully clear these guys weren't quite as badass as I'd thought back when I was 18, but growing up basically involves having that realization over and over and over, I suppose. Big fans of The Wet Look and surly, debatably erotic noise-punk, these dudes obviously scan as a wee bit corny nowadays (I can't believe I owned a single with the title "Disco Six Six Six,"), but "Super-Fire" sounded fantastic on my town's one "alternative rock" station, mashed betwixt Smashing Pumpkins and Alanis and whoever else it would traumatize me to now remember. Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby and Cruise Yourself are much much higher regarded generally, bu when I throw on House of GVSB tonight I suspect it will trigger much air-bass nostalgic delight. Bonus points for having the second-best song on the Mallrats soundtrack.

(That GVSB's frontman has a new solo record called Failure American Style is a pretty good indication of how their jump to a major turned out.)--Rob Harvilla

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