It’s been an exciting year for music, despite – or probably because of – the recession. That and the good ol’ internet has forced the music business to evolve. “It’s on its knees,” say the guys behind TURNSTILE, a new label born through “boredom, frustration and the quest for survival”. Label trio Alun, Keith and Kevin go on to explain over email (they’re currently on tour with two of their signings, Girls and Swanton Bombs) that Turnstile was “conceived from a management point of view”. Not surprising when you learn they also manage folks like Los Campesinos!, Super Furry Animals and Late of The Pier. In layman’s terms, they apparently offer a more artist-friendly deal: a partnership instead of the traditional record label/artist relationship. All good to know but here are the three things that make Turnstile one of our new favourite labels.
They sign awesome artists
GIRLS, the San Francisco duo with the yearning lyrics and heartbreaking reverb, have taken centre-stage so far. Their debut record ‘Album’ is a definite contender for long player of the year but it’s live that they really knock you sideways. Tour mates SWANTON BOMBS (download their track Calm Down above), are another duo but are more of a sweaty-brow/pounding-rock persuasion. Then there’s London grungey punk five-piece VIDEO NASTIES, with their fondness for white noise. And finally, Seattle’s PERFUME GENIUS makes arty videos to accompany his strange and unsettlingly beautiful piano ballads.
They give away music
Turnstile started their very awesome free digital Bento series in July. The first saw them giveaway tracks by each of their artists. Consequent Bentos have been curated by friends of the label including Gareth of Los Campesinos!, excellent blog/label Transparent and – hot off the press – noise pop stalwarts No Age. After all, “free music (has) always happened through all formats except in the 50s when vinyl ruled,” say Turnstile.
They don’t talk music business crap
Try as I might to get them to answer questions about why and how they set up the label, they were having none of it. And hallelujah for that. My questions were very boring anyhow. So, apparently, they got involved with the bands through “drinking games in France”, signed them up on the basis of “the football team they support”, would most like to sign “Lionel Messi and Fernando Torres” and, on which label they most admire, they say “Lyle & Scott Vintage Range are timeless classics”. Oh, and apparently Bluetooth is the future of connecting bands with their fans. Hang on, maybe they weren’t kidding about that last one…
Like No Age? Read Adam’s review of ‘Losing Feeling’.