Saturday, 24 June 2017

LABEL INTENSIVE: Christine Kelly of Tridroid Records Lists her Top 10 Labels to Watch in 2017

Tridroid Records is an independent metal label launched in July, 2012 by original owner Andrew Rehberger and was one of the earlier labels responsible for the metal tape resurgence in the US. In 2016, after 4 years and around 80 releases to their name, the label would change hands and who better to take over than self confessed Tridroid fan Christine Kelly.   Having been involved in underground metal for about 15 years and with a desire to run a metal cassette label for years taking over at Tridroid Records seemed like hand of fate had dealt a winning hand.

Tragically Andrew would suddenly and tragically pass away, so what better endorsement to his memory than to continue what he created, indeed under Christine’s tenure the label is going from strength to strength.  So with recent releases from  Heavy Temple, Un and the forthcoming album from our own Daniel Jackson via project Void Ritual,  we have invited Christine to talk about 10 labels she digs and one’s you should to watch out for in 2017 and beyond. 

Before the days of Bandcamp, I mostly just looked for label owners who shared my taste and bought up anything they put out.  It's easier to pick and choose these days, but I still value finding labels that I can blind-buy from and trust that the release will look and sound amazing. Here's a few that I'm keeping my eye on this coming year: (click on the labels name for web links)

Graven Earth came from nowhere in 2016 and put out 100% quality releases straight outta the gate. Sarcoptes, Possessor, and the cassette version of Khemmis – “Hunted” are just 3 of the things that caught my eye.  I can't wait to see what comes from this label in the New Year, because if I don't know the material, I know I should.

Full disclosure: Label owner Joe Beres does a lot of design work for Tridroid, but that's because I saw his work while I was in Minneapolis and liked his clean style and taste so much that I pulled him into my camp. Small Doses releases material more on the drone/industrial/noise side of the spectrum but also represents the diversity of those genres, with everything from Locrian to Bastard Noise to Whitehorse released under his aegis. You can be sure that anything coming out of Small Doses looks amazing, too, because Joe's aesthetic sense and knowledge of packaging ensure that his output is nothing short of stellar.

If you're even remotely into electro-synth music, Werkstatt is a label to seek out. I'm a relative newbie to the new wave of electro, so I value someone who can sift through the glut and present the best of the best. The excellent art and design on Werkstatt's releases is something that inspires me, especially with their high level of output.

Sylvan Screams is the only label I've made it my business to own every single release by. To me, Mitch King at Sylvan Screams represents everything good about DIY cassette culture – he's a maniac, he knows his shit, and his releases consistently introduce me to bands I need to hear. It ain't an easy gig owning a tape label, and his devotion to it was one of the reasons I got into the biz. His stuff sells out pretty quick, so make sure you follow him on Facebook if you don't already.

The level of quality cassette releases on this label is just unprecedented. In 2016 they put out some of my favorites, including I Shalt Become – “Wanderings”, Krieg – “Blue Miasma”, and Onirik – “Casket Dream Veneration”. All have great packaging without being over-the-top. As a label owner, you want to see what other people are doing, and I'm always paying attention to FS/CofN.

Medusa Crush has been on my radar for a while. Their releases definitely don't adhere to a genre, and I know I'll hear something new and different every time. Then, MC released one of my favorite albums of the year with Lightsabres – “Hibernation”. Now I'm keeping an even closer eye on 'em, because, while they're not the most prolific label on my list, there's a lot to be said for quality over quantity.

The only reason this label isn't #1 on my list is because, if you're anything like me, you already know Bindrune. I've been blind-buying from Marty for over 10 years now, and his releases are the pinnacle of musical taste and design. I hope to still be buying everything he puts out 10 years from now.

This is another one that's lower on the list because, again, you probably know Caligari. When it comes to US tape labels that brought the format back to the fore, Caligari is one of the biggies. If it's a metal release on tape, Caligari has it. Not to mention that the label name belies a love of Weimar cinema that I very much appreciate.

Grimoire Records is another label I'm always watching. Genevieve, Torrid Husk, Myopic, Barbelith, and Dendritic Arbor are just a few of the reasons why. It's also nothing short of remarkable to me that the owner does all the recording, mixing, and mastering for all of his own releases. This level of involvement is a rare thing these days, and I give huge props to his vision.

Broken Limbs can do no wrong. Wode, Our Place of Worship is Silence, Thrawsunblat, Cara Neir, Crowhurst, Sea of Bones, Immortal Bird... I'm gonna be honest, every single release is a worthy listen. And the artwork? Simply amazing. Definitely one of my biggest inspirations.

For more information on Tridroid Records check out the link below

Label Info: bandcamp || facebook