Independent record labels aim to create a platform for non-commercial artists to release their music and increase their listenership. The indie labels' roster of artists boast individuality, experimentation, and creativity that is often pushed aside by commercial labels. London prides itself on its array of local artists - many of whom have launched their careers with the help of the talented label owners here. We've rounded up our favourite record labels actively releasing that local goodness.
A Person Disguised as People: Ian Doig-Phaneuf
CHRW’s very own music director, Ian Doig-Phaneuf runs his label A Person Disguised as People out of London. Since its launch in 2014, the roster boasts a variety of electronic music artists including Chenosky, Zachary Gray, O’Haara, Para Palabras, Worldcatcher, Wormwood, JFM, and SXXN. The label boss also hosts a show at CHRW under the same name on Thursdays from 1:30 - 3:30. You can expect to hear a diverse mixture of electronic music styles from independent artists. And if you still need more, APDAP is its own blog through London Fuse. Listen to the latest releases here.
Out of Sound Records: Adam Sturgeon
Out of Sound Records is a locally-run boutique label founded by Adam Sturgeon specializing in DIY home recordings, vinyl, and silkscreened artifacts. It showcases music from the Canadian stage with artists like WHOOP-Szo, Walrus, Wild Domestic, I Smell Blood, and FOAM. The sound can be described as punk, rock with lots of awesomeness. Check out their Bandcamp to purchase merch and music!
Yeah Right! Records: Tony Lima
Yeah Right! Records launched here in London on Canada Day in 2002. The founder, Tony Lima started the label to help local bands get their records into people’s ears. It has also given him the freedom to focus on vinyl releases, although not exclusively; there are digital releases available on their bandcamp. You can expect rock n' roll and punk bands complete with guitars, loud drums, bass, and screaming voices from bands like Wasted Potential, The Matadors, Danko Jones, Sonny Vincent, and The Icarus Line. Check out their website and Facebook or listen to Tony’s radio show, Solid Action, on Thursdays from 3:30-6:00pm on 94.9FM!
4. Get Party Records: Dustin Andrews
Dennis Anderson put his punk rock label Get Party Records into operation in 2013. He started it to to help promote bands and releases that he felt needed more attention. He wanted to create a family-like atmosphere for the artists to be a part of and says, "We are stronger together than we are on our own we help each other out." They work with bands to release their work, most of which are on vinyl or cassette tape. In the past, the label has released music for Brutal Youth, Deforesters, Wasted Potential, Danny Kidd, and Heart Attack Kids. Stay up to date by following them on Facebook!
5. Shakey Wheel Records: Aaron Allen & Gracie Mae
Shakey Wheel Records is a collective of artists that hosts folk, alternative country, bluegrass, punk, soul, and rock music. The music is catered towards people who appreciate non-commercial, independent music. Hardcore music fans who spend their time shuffling through record stores and obsess over new, experimental releases will love the label. The artists include Jack Richardson Award nominees, Aaron Allen and the Small City Saints and Gracie Mai, a 3-piece experimental rock band. The label's goal is to promote independent artists in London who value artistic and creative integrity and want to reach their personal and musical goals. Check out their website to stay up to date with their releases!
6. It's TRASH! Records: Jesse Allison
It's TRASH! was founded by Jesse Allison in the summer of 2013. His brand functions as a label and show on CHRW 94.9 on alternating Friday evenings at 6-8pm! Jesse appreciates raw, fast, loud, yelling pop elements and lo-fi recordings. It's TRASH! strictly offers vinyl releases by artists like Flesh Rag, Excelsior, Paul Jacobs, Zex, BSHC, Strange Attractor, Noble Savages, Foam, Get off the Cop, and Heart Attack Kids. Follow the label on their Facebook page to stay up to date on their newest releases!
7. Scratch Down Records: Julio Alfonso
Julio Alfonso launched his hiphop and R&B label Scratch Down Records in 2013 to help artists, writers, and producers to be heard. He describes it saying, “ScratchDown means being apart of something bigger than yourself. Creating music with those apart of the same streets you were raised on and giving those same voices and many more a microphone and a chance to tell the world where they came from.” Artists on the label include TKP (who you can expect an album drop from in the upcoming months), TY-2, and Ehllis Von. Check out the label's Facebook page to stay up to date!
8. Speed City Records: Michael Todd
Speed City Records launched in 2008 and functions as a popular record store and label under the direction of Michael Todd. Many record stores started their own record labels, so the business venture seemed like a natural next step for the boss. The label has released punk records by locals, Johnny Terrien and The Bad Lieutenants, Captain Bringdown and The Buzzkills, and 63 Monroe. As of now, the label is currently on hiatus while Todd focuses on moving his retail store, but you can always stop by Speed City Records or follow them on Facebook!
9. Chisel Recordings: Andrew Turnbull
Chisel recordings originally operated as a record store in 2010 and transitioned into a label about 3 years ago. All of the current recordings can be considered punk in sound and spirit. Their affordable vinyl releases some releases have a bit more of a pop-punk sound than others, but they all loosely fit into the punk genre. Artists include Caffiends, Edmonton, Fat Heaven, Awkward Age, You Vandal, and Warm Needles. The owners started the label to help out some smaller bands and friends get their music into other people’s ears. In the future, Andrew hopes to stay afloat whilst keeping a high standard of ethics and to keep putting out records that he loves by people that he loves. Stay in the know on their Facebook page!
10. Why Gang Records: Preston Lobzun
For Preston Lobzun, Why Gang Records originally began as a joke label referencing a universe of characters him and his friend made in public school. Eventually, he started to "catalog" his music that he has released personally, which led tohim wanting to put out more music for other people. Most of the releases fall in the realm of punk, noise, or extreme metal and come in the form of tapes and occassionally CDs. Recently, he's been doing a lot of releases for the Toronto noise act "Goth Girl", the American death metal project "Artifact of Skulls" and a couple of tapes for the Italian noise project "No Joy". Preston says, "It also helps get some bands from outside of the region get something out and often it's reciprocated through other labels who do the same. There's a sort of tradition with it and I'm proud to be a part of it despite what some people say about certain mediums being "obsolete". Check them out on Facebook!
11. Bad Press Records: Alex Jaworsk and James Oag
Bad Press Records recently launched in September of 2015 when they released their first Lathe Cut with Vice Ring. The genre currently exists in the realm of hardcore and punk music, but the label owners hope to branch out to anything that has that experimental, DIY feel in the future. They hope to keep putting out releases and start having shows put on under the label.They are currently working with a new venue that will be announced soon! Stay on the lookout for new releases and announcements on their Facebook page!