Here at For The Rabbits we don’t do a run down of our favourite labels of the year, and as far as we’re aware no other site does either. In the end of year rush to put anything and everything into list form we guess you have to draw the line somewhere!
If we were going to do such a thing who would we look at? There’s the usual suspects, Jagjaguwar gave us stunning efforts from Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, Moshi Moshi treated us to Teleman‘s superb debut, and a cracker from Tom Vek, whilst the ever consistent efforts of Domino saw albums from Wild Beasts and Real Estate, whilst Fat Cat combined old hands The Twilight Sad, with some superb newcomers in the form of Honeyblood & Gentle Friendly.
There were some wonderful albums on smaller, less established labels too though, Gringo Records gave us The Wharves, Brighton based Faux Discx were on fine form with albums from Teardrop Factory and Dignan Porch, and Fortuna Pop once again gave us the best in Indie-Pop with albums from Allo Darlin’, Flowers & September Girls.
If we had to pick one label though, and for the sake of this article we probably should, we’d have to go with the label that has for so many years now been a consistent source of stunning new acts, a home to the great and good of Americana-infused-Indie, the unquestionably brilliant, Bella Union! How a label that’s already so good can keep getting better and better is beyond us! Horse Thief, John Grant, Marissa Nadler, Snowbird, 2:54, Arc Iris, The Flaming Lips, Philip Selway, remarkably we could go on! Simon Raymonde and his team seemingly have the perfect combination of budget, enthusiasm, great ears and great bands that make a label truly worth listening to!
And with releases from the likes of Father John Misty and BC Camplight already scheduled for 2015, we wouldn’t bet against them being our label of the year again next year either!
BC Camplight (formerly B.C. Camplight punctuation fans) is the stage name of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brian Christinzio.
His records are all rich and stylistically varied collections, his music going from Beach Boys inspired 60s pop to Broadway inspired, Scott Walkerish piano ballads via Psych, Surf and Pop. If it sounds like it wouldn’t fit together it’s all underpinned by his impressive vocal, honest introspective lyrics and superb piano playing.
Brian grew up in New Jersey, but in search of like minded individuals, in his own words, people, “willing to go through shit to be a musician,” he ended up relocating to Philadelphia. His reputation there saw him play with members of The War On Drugs as well as appearing on the Sharon Van Etten album, Epic. When things took a turn for the worse in Philly fearing death or prison, he moved to Manchester in 2011 and claimed to have written half an album in two weeks.
Brian started playing piano at the tender age of just four! Being a slacker it took him 21 years to get an album out, though we guess if you’re being kind he was a child for the majority of that time! That album, Hide, Run Away, appeared on One Little Indian as did the 2007 follow up Blink of a Nihilist. By his own admission a self-destructive streak threatened his career, which might explain why his new album, has not only seen him relocate across an ocean, but took eight years to appear, however on January 19th that album, How To Die In The North, will be coming out on Bella Union.
If you ask Bella Union, like his label-mate John Grant, his is a story of taking your second chance to make the most of your outrageous talent, and certainly he shares more than just a contact book with John. They’ve got a similarly humorous, self-destructive and sharply accurate outlook on the world, and both possess a non-conformist streak that make them utterly unique as artists. On How To Die In The North, Brian’s ambition and musical knowledge shine through on a collection of seemingly disparate ideas that somehow tie in to make a stunningly cohesive album. He manages to recall Noel Coward, Brian Wilson and Randy Newman in equal measures, which is probably not something you can say about anyone else!
In a word…Theatrical! Like John Grant or Rufus Wainwright his take on pop-music is camp, dramatic and somewhat tongue in cheek, as such it’s not for everyone, but like those two artists there’s a great emotional depth to his music and the music that’s produced is absolutely brilliant! An early contender for album of the year 2015!
How To Die In The North is out on Bella Union on the 19th of January.
BC Camplight has announced a series of shows across the UK from the start of January to March. Including a show at The Lexington in London on March 10th.