Over the last few years, my passion for music, combined with the unlimited availability of music provided by Spotify, have combined to lead me to a maniacal completism of the new: to think that I can know all the new music that is released week by week, month by month, year by year. Having abandoned, or almost abandoned, the filter of the specialised press, I approached the realisation of this utopia by following directly the record companies I was interested in (i.e., the independent popular music companies and all the important classical music companies). I distinguished them in meticulous lists of links by geography, notably the US, UK, Italy, Canada, France, the rest of Europe and Australia. In 2015 I wrote a whole big pdf book called The Atlas of Independent Music, and it listed the works released that year by the major independent record labels around the world.
Today, I’ve made a dedicated microblog, which is called Festival of Music and I need it to have easy access to the links of these record companies.
For example, in 2018 Anti- released the second album by Kristine Leschper’s band Mothers: Render Another Ugly Method. And then Marc Ribot’s Songs Of Resistance 1942-2018, which includes a poignant version of Bella Ciao sung by Tom Waits. Quiet River of Dust Vol 1, by Richard Reed Parry (a member of Arcade Fire, a band I once loved) is out. Also out are the works of Deafheaven, Calexico, Andy Shauf’s Foxwarren, Saintseneca’s Pillar Of Na, and Neko Case. Anti- is the Epitaph branch set up in 1999 specifically to acquire the catalogue and new works of Tom Waits (who was looking for a quiet home away from the majors).
Burger Records in 2018 went ahead with the usual extensive collection of teenage punk rock: new releases included Gymshorts, Turbonegro, Dwarves, The Garden, Longmont Potion Castle, MIEN, The Growlers, Veneer and many others you’d struggle to distinguish.
New York-based Cantaloupe, dedicated to elite contemporary music, released Mystery Sonatas by David Lang and Augustin Hadelich, the music and film project The Unchanging Sea, again David Lang with Writing On Water, and Michael Gordon’s Clouded Yellow with the Kronos Quartet.
Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks featured Australian Gabriella Cohen, Canadian Chastity’s debut, Gift Wrap, Molly Burch, Mourn, Robert Earl Thomas, Wild Nothing, Drahla. But none of these strike me as particularly original.
Other record labels in the US include: Dead Oceans, Drag City, Fat Possum, Important Records, Jagjaguwar, K Records, Matador, Merge, Mexican Summer, Not Not Fun, Polyvinyl, Run For Cover, RVNG Intl., Sacred Bones, Sargent House, Secretly Canadian, Thrill Jockey, Topshelf, Trouble In Mind, Western Vinyl, Woodsist.
Among the English record companies, almost all based in London, we have for example: 4AD, Bella Union, Big Dada, Brownswood, Chemikal Underground, Domino, Erased Tapes, Fat Cat, Fire, Ghost Box, Hyperdub, Leaf, Memphis Industries, Moshi Moshi, Mute, Ninja Tune, One Little Indian, Opal Tapes, Play It Again Sam, Planet Mu, Rough Trade, Touch, Transgressive, Warp, Wichita, XL, Xtra Mile, Young Turks.
For Italy: 42 Records, Artist First, Bomba Dischi, Believe Digital, Boring Machines, Carosello, Dischi Bervisti, Garrincha, La Tempesta, Maciste Dischi, Martelabel, Picicca, Sugar, To Lose La Track, Trovarobato, Urtovox, V4V, Woodworm.
From the rest of Europe comes the Belgian label Crammed Discs.
For many years, my supreme object of musical desire was ECM, ever since I worked in the CD department of Corso Como in Milan. Then when the Spotify era began, ECM records continued to be coveted because they couldn’t be found streaming. Then in 2017, all of a sudden, the whole catalogue was put online and today even the latest releases are always available.
And then there are the houses properly dedicated to classical music, such as BIS.« Cane Broccolone Classe disagiata »