The Soda Shop
Fans of music that sounds like glaciers moving will probably be overjoyed at the news of the newest blog on this list — The Soda Shop Records, which was announced all of two days ago. As per its mission statement, The Soda Shop blog specializes in “stoner rock/metal and doom metal,” and its brand-new record label will be geared in broadly the same direction. The label’s first release is the debut album for suitably heavy-sounding Chicago five-piece Low of the Low. Rawk.
This is another joint blog venture, this time combining the efforts of two fine blogs in I Guess I’m Floating and YVYNYL. It was launched last years and its catalog currently comprises three 7″ releases (from Idiot Glee, Campfires, and Guards). There’s no word on what might be up next, and there’s not been a lot of activity on the label’s Facebook page of late, so we’re hoping that it’s still an ongoing proposition.
Daytrotter is an interesting case — it’s not really a label, in that it’s not selling music, but it’s probably published more music than the rest of the blogs on this list put together, in the form of its regular Daytrotter Sessions. The blog was founded as an offshoot of Illinois recording studio The Horseshack, where the sessions are recorded on a selection of vintage, analog equipment. A Daytrotter session has become an almost compulsory routine for any indie band looking to promote a new record, and a trawl through the site’s extensive archive is a very pleasurable and rewarding way to spend a couple of hours.
Founded last year by Craig Lile of My Old Kentucky Blog, Roaring Colonel is part of a burgeoning empire that also encompasses gig promotion (under the MOKB Presents banner) and a radio show. In a way, this model represents everything that’s good and potentially problematic about blog labels — look, for instance, at Indianapolis band Hotfox, who were promoted via the blog, asked to play shows, and eventually signed to the label. It’s an interesting model — there’s no doubt that a genuine affection for the band in question is at play here, and this can only be a good thing. But it also shows that we think about blogs in a different way to how we think about, say, magazines; we might regard it as a wee bit cynical if, say, Vice kept banging on about the virtues of Vice Records signees Black Lips.
Displaying the sort of precociousness that sends shivers down the spine of anyone over about 25, Good Weather for Airstrikes founder Derek Davies co-founded this NYC-based label with former Vice intern Lizzy Plapinger while both were still in college, using the savings from summer jobs to do so. They’ve since hit it big with Passion Pit and Marina and the Diamonds, both of whom Davies was championing with his blog before he put out their records. The ensuing success no doubt makes having waited all those tables seem like not such a bad thing after all.
Although it isn’t really a label per se, Stereogum has nevertheless been responsible for some fascinating releases over the last few years in the form of its tribute compilations. The best is probably OKX, its tribute to OK Computer, but there’ve also been similar projects for R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People and Björk’s Post. The projects have certainly been excellent exposure for the artists featured (who’d have ever thought Vampire Weekend covering Radiohead could sound good?) and demonstrate both the selling power and cultural cachet a site like Stereogum has in 2011.