I don’t think we’ll be shocking anyone to the core with this revelation, but maintaining a successful independent record label in 2019 is not an easy job. The shifting way we consume music has both reduced the amount consumers pay and given bands a platform (both for good and bad) to do it themselves. Thankfully, there are still labels not just putting great music out but managing to keep it going. One such label is the fabulous Beth Shalom Records, who recently celebrated their fifth birthday.
Beth Shalom Records is one of those fabulous labels that is almost impossible to pin down to a specific genre, yet manages to always offer something intriguing to embrace. Whether it’s the angular math-pop of itoldyouiwouldeatyou, the emo-punk clatter of Americansignlanguage or our personal favourites, the wonderful swooning sound of Rosehip Teahouse, the label always pushes boundaries and rejects any attempt to tie them down.
Celebrating the labels five years of brilliance, we invited Joe from the label to put together a playlist featuring some of his favourite tracks from their discography, as well as talking us through some key moments, which you can check out below.
Joe: This playlist features 25 songs across the discography of Beth Shalom Records since 2014, but I’d like to take some time to talk about a few specific tracks that stand out to me in my time running this label.
Joe Booley – What Did You Expect
I know it probably seems too egotistical to start this off writing about myself, but writing my own music and my wish to release it on any sort of platform is where BSR begun. In a world where everyone was obsessed with being signed I decided to self-release and sign myself to release my own music, and this track is part of an EP which is the earliest release of mine. I was really proud of the production on this, given that I’ve self-produced all of my releases.
itoldyouiwouldeatyou – Letters
Having known itoldyouiwouldeatyou for years through the local Hampshire/Surrey music scene it was a blast to be able to release their EP, I Am Not Your Fault, on cassette tape alongside Failure By Design Records (a local label I’d admired for some years). This particular track that I selected closes this EP and I have many fond memories of being in the crowd watching this track and also blasting it through my cassette deck in my first car. Joey’s lyricism is second-to-none (as it continues to be now) and this track will always be a stand-out from the scene at that time.
Americansignlanguage – Ellipsis
Releasing this band’s music came round in a very interesting way. Having announced their indefinite hiatus in late 2017 I was gutted, but then about 5 months later I received I Exist in my emails. I genuinely think I cried upon first listening to it. With the emotion and topics discussed by frontman Adam Hyman it cut through me, and even just the EP title has since had numerous meanings to me personally, even to the point I now have the title inked on my skin. Since this record was released I have toured alongside the band and in 2019 I joined them as a permanent member on guitar. I remember specifically this track being one of the first we played together.
Rosehip Teahouse – Growth
Have you ever seen a band and straight away you feel connected to the music, whether through the vocals, guitars or rhythm? Rosehip Teahouse was one of those bands for me. I played alongside them at a house show in Cardiff when they were just performing stripped back sets as a three piece. Straight away I knew I’d love to work with them and after that moment I would receive regular updates on recording, gigs etc and then we finally got to release their single Same Sky (it’s a belter, believe me) in March 2019. I went up to Cardiff for the launch and it was packed out!! But just a week before that show they sent me Growth. This beautiful ballad hits you with every emotion in just over 3 minutes, particularly with Faye’s soaring vocals in the last minute of the track.
Petlib. – Disintergrate
I started working with Petlib. under their previous moniker (Pet Library) when they played very different music to what they make now. I knew they were going under the radar to reinvent themselves but I never quite imagined that they would create an album like Maker. It was a perfect combination of Radiohead and heavier artists such as Loathe and Code Orange. It’s still my album of 2020 and this track in particular I have on repeat fairly often, and when they perform it live it’s on another level!