Sunday, March 08, 2020

The misfits

Often artists and labels are a completely natural fit, to the extent that you can't conceive of the former being signed to anyone else. There are Dischord bands, 4AD bands, Bella Union bands and so on. But there are occasional instances where the marriage seems bizarre or surprising: Maximo Park cropping up on Warp; Eels leaving Dreamworks for emo label Vagrant; Tom Waits and Merle Haggard signing with Anti-, affiliated with punk imprint Epitaph.

As this Treble article underlines, there were several such cases in the early 90s, when the alt-rock gold rush resulted in "one of the weirdest periods of major label activity" - one that saw the likes of Boredoms, John Zorn and Mr Bungle given a home at the big boys. The phenomenon must have brought leftfield music to at least some mainstream consumers' ears, and I'm grateful to the article's author, Jeff Terich, for doing a great job of selling Shudder To Think's Pony Express Record.

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