In 2019 we somehow put out 28 different releases on 7”, 10”, 12”, LP, CD, tape and good old-fashioned download. Here’s a playlist of the highlights that are available on Spotify. Below is a bigger and better explanation of everything we did, with links, videos, bells and whistles…
We started on January 11 with De Facto, the incredible fifth album by Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – it got some really nice reviews in places like the Guardian who don’t normally bother with our releases and, due to demand, we just repressed it on grey vinyl, which you can BUY HERE.
On January 18 we released the Rymixes EP for Sobrenadar, which rounded up reworkings by Slowdive, Mark Peters, Gwenno and XAM on a beautiful 12”, which you can BUY HERE.
On February 6, the Sonic Cathedral Singles Club kicked off with Buffalo Postcard and their magnificent ‘Morning Chimes’. This was especially poignant as Henrique from Buffalo Postcard was also in The Tamborines, who were the first ever release on Sonic Cathedral way back in 2006.
A month later, on March 6, the second Singles Club release by Measured appeared. ‘My Heart Waits’ was amazing collaboration between Brian and Eva from Elika and Ulrich Schnauss, and still sounds like Ray Of Light-era Madonna crossed with Mazzy Star.
On April 10 came the third Singles Club release. Linda Guilala’s ‘Estado Natural’ fizzed like Stereolab in a Soda Stream, while ‘Espacio De Tiempo’ still sounds really lush. The launch gig at The Social with Mildred Maude was a truly special one as well
On April 19, we put out New Routes out of Innerland, which saw Mark Peters’ debut solo album reimagined by Andi Otto, Olga Wojciechowska, Brian Case from Disappears/FACS, Ulrich Schnauss, Moon Gangs, Odd Nosdam, E Ruscha V and Jefre Cantu Ledesma. BUY HERE.
As a result, somehow, this album of ambient instrumentals became politicised just by being inclusive and looking out rather than in. As Mark himself said: “If there is a wider theme with Innerland, it’s the reconciliation between the personal and the universal and these reworkings showed this idea being translated the world over.”
It was hard not to feel a bit defeated by politics in 2019 and with Brexit looming at the end of January, who knows what the future will hold? Thanks to James Moore for writing this nice profile piece for The Independent all about the label and its role amid all this bullshit.
Anyway, the next release came from the EU in the form of ace Austrian duo MOLLY. We hooked up with our friends at Dalliance Records for this and ‘Weep, Gently Weep’ – the first taster of their debut album – came out on May 3.
Number 4 in the Singles Club dropped on May 8. It was the magical ‘Melting Trees’ by Perfect Body and sounded like a cross between MBV circa Isn’t Anything and Pebbles-era garage with Martin Hannett producing.
Our poster-zine – Crypt – is a way of writing about our bands (and other stuff we like) because not many others do. The first issue, obliquely numbered Crypt 119, came out in May and had exclusive interviews with Slowdive, Mark Peters and Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins. There are still a few copies left HERE.
It also featured an illustration of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona by Spectres’ guitarist Adrian Dutt that was so good we made it into a T-shirt that you can BUY HERE.
On June 17, Moon Diagrams returned with the turbo-charged title track from his mini-LP Trappy Bats and its mad video by Mia Kerin.
On June 20, we were incredibly proud to release a 7” for the legendary Luna as part of the Singles Club. The A-side was a cover of ‘Something In The Air’ by Thunderclap Newman, the B-side a couple of spacey instrumentals. You can find digital versions of these on their self-released EP, Postscripts.
The launch party at The Social was fun, too, with members of Buffalo Postcard and the Trimdon Grange Explosion forming a supergroup to play a selection of covers after a screening of Matthew Buzzell’s brilliant documentary film Tell Me Do You Miss Me.
The next day, June 21, we put out another song from the MOLLY album, the fantastic ‘The Fountain Of Youth’.
The following week, on June 28, the album came out. All That Ever Could Have Been is a masterpiece across two slabs of what we called ‘alpine clover’ coloured vinyl. There are a few left to BUY HERE.
It came with probably the most pretentious press release ever written (it managed to quote both Simon Schama and Goethe), but it was all true! As several of the reviews pointed out, this really is music that is made out of mountains. Here’s the video for ‘Vogelnest’…
We first heard bdrmm’s ‘c:u’ on Steve Lamacq’s BBC Radio 6 Music Recommends show and it blew us away, so it was an honour to put it out as a yellow vinyl 7” as number 6 in the Singles Club on July 3.
We also put out a digital release of the flip-side of the bdrmm single – the new track ‘Question Mark’ – the following day (July 4). It already sounds like a soaring shoegaze classic.
On August 2, Moon Diagrams’ Trappy Bats mini-album finally appeared. It looked amazing on split colour yellow/black vinyl and boasted some radical remixes from Shigeto, Jefre Cantu Ledesma (you wait years for a JCL remix and then two come along at once) and this beauty from Deradoorian.
On August 7, the seventh Singles Club 7” by Topographies was released. Both sides of this single are perfect and Gray Tolhurst (son of co-founder of The Cure, Lol Tolhurst, no less) from the band came over to London the following month and played a solo ambient/noise set at The Social, too.
On August 8, we put out the first of three MOLLY remixes to coincide with their two London shows. Maps was the guest DJ at one of the shows and his reworking of ‘Weep, Gently Weep’ is utterly sublime.
The eighth release in the Singles Club was out on September 4. It was by the terrific Oakland based artist Hannah Van Loon, aka Tanukichan, and was produced by Toro Y Moi. It came on gorgeous green vinyl and the extra gift was another first – a pack of bespoke rolling papers.
We loved bdrmm so much, we signed them and put out another brand new song – ‘Shame’ – on September 18. It was another instant postpunkgaze classic and got some nice plays on the radio, too.
On October 4 we put out a second MOLLY remix. This version of the title track of their debut album All That Ever Could Have Been was by William Doyle, who gave the whole thing a KLF Chill Out relocated to the Austrian Alps vibe.
On October 11 we released the If Not, When? EP for bdrmm, which neatly rounded up all of their singles to date. It came on a nice die-cut sleeve clear vinyl 10” (with four tracks) and as a download (six tracks).
There was also a six-track tape version which came out the following day (October 12) for Cassette Store Day.
Weirdly, October 12 was also National Album Day (whatever that means), which seemed like a good excuse to give a long-awaited digital release to Mark Peters’ Ambient Innerland, which originally came out as a Rough Trade exclusive LP in 2018.
In October we finally finished the second issue of Crypt, which focused on newer stuff and had interviews with Maps, MOLLY and BDRMM memorably asking Neil Halstead from Slowdive about his favourite food related records. There’s a few left to BUY HERE.
There was also a quote from James Chapman of Maps which was so good we made it into a T-shirt and a nice A2 screen print. Some of the former still available to BUY HERE.
The whole issue of Crypt was loosely based around our 15th anniversary, which we celebrated on October 23 with a party at The Social (where else?) featuring live sets from Andy Bell, Pye Corner Audio and bdrmm… and lots of purple balloons.
The same day we released our Singles Club’s big number 9 – Andy Bell from Ride making his solo debut with the brilliantly understated Big Star Third-meets-The Perfect Prescription vibes of ‘Plastic Bag’.
Also that same day we released an incredible remix of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete’s ‘Unificado’ by the night’s headliner, Pye Corner Audio – the first taster of a new EP that will be out early in 2020.
Then, on November 1, we released the third of the MOLLY remixes. This time it was Mark Peters’ beautiful MBV-esque reworking of both parts of ‘Coming Of Age’.
On November 14, we realised a lifelong ambition and released a record for our favourite band of all time – Slowdive – who were number 10 in the Singles Club. It was one of the most stunning things we’ve ever heard (their set-closing live cover of Syd Barrett‘s ‘Golden Hair’ extended to infinity) that was so good even the Discogs arseholes couldn’t spoil the moment.
We could’ve happily retired after that, but had already made plans for 2020 and still had to release the 11th and final Singles Club single on December 17. Mark Peters covered the theme from The Box Of Delights (ask your parents), which came with an equally delightful remix by Maps.
The single was compiled with Mark’s two previous Christmas releases (versions of ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Jingle Bells’) as the digital only Winterland EP, which came out the same day.
And finally there was the third issue of the Crypt, which was all about 1989 and the nascent shoegaze scene, featuring interviews with Ride, Pale Saints, Emma Anderson from Lush and lots more, including some amazing photos. There are a few copies left here.
So, that was 2019 in a (very long) nutshell. Thanks to anyone who has bought, listened to, read or worn any of the stuff we’ve put out there over the past 12 months. If Brexit doesn’t kill us, there’s more to come in 2020 and beyond…