Labels to watch in 2019
If 2018 was anything to go by then 2019 promises to be another hot year for underground and electronic music. At Trackhunter HQ we've picked out a few labels to watch in the coming months and who've already made an impact this year. All of those we picked have put out some excellent music in the last year and will no doubt continue on that ascendency. We look forward to hearing what else they have lined up.
Whilst the vinyl revolution has mostly focused towards the larger LP and 12 inch formats for dance music, hip hop has quietly been championing the beauty of the 7 inch single. Part of that passionate movement has been Waxnerds who released five choice cuts in 2018. Started in 2014 by Mark One as an Instagram group chat with the aim to explore and share interests in vinyl culture. Later Matt Love and Jamez Gant joined and since then have released almost a dozen finely selected hip hop, soul and disco singles. 2019 has started strong with another fierce release that mashes Shirley Bassey and Public Enemy once again with 'Harder than Jezahel. Whilst Mobb Deep also takes on Dame Shirley and her 'Light my Fire' classic to wonderful effect.
Bristol is often thought of the more chilled corner of UK dance music, but it's also a bastion of four on the floor and Livity Sound has long championed the techno cause in the the South West. Set up by Tom Ford (AKA Peverelist) in 2011 it has gone through various revisions visually but always released a consistent flow of forward thinking music. 2018 may not have been as busy as the previous year but already they have been working hard for 2019 by repressing the excellent 2018 double album Apparitions by Forest Drive West. Deep, dubby techno that locks you into its hypnotic groove and is as comfortable on the dancefloor as it is in the living room. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
Set up by Dennis Kaun in 2010 , Jolly Jams has tipped past the half century mark in terms of releases (some of which are digital only). 2019 has started strong with a three track release by Balearic Skip AKA former pro skateboarder Alex Olson. Old classic and forgotten gems are dusted down and polished to give them a new lease of life. Sylvester's 'You make me feel mighty real' is slowed down and gets a anthemic house piano rework that makes it a whole new entity. Another gay icon is transformed through the mixing desk as Freddie Mercury's 'Love Kill's get tripped out and covered in space dust for a deep disco floorfiller.
Heading forwards a quarter century of putting out uncompromising techno, Adam Beyer's label longevity is down to quality control and a keen ear for fine music. 2018 was an incredibly busy year with almost an epic number of releases which is no mean undertaking. So we hope not to see any burnout from such manic activity and another busy year of high impact dance floor business. 2019 has already started well with Julian Jeweil's Transmission double long player which explores the deep recesses of banging techno, acid and electro.
Fans of the disco and house re-edit will be well versed in the Brooklyn based label's output. Mostly delivering hand stamped gems it's released over 40 12 inches with Tom Noble providing the first of 2019's offerings. Four tracks of obscure disco goodness that is topped by the latin vibes of 'Parang-A-Teng'. Tom Noble combines his extensive dancefloor music knowledge alongside an ability to execute a fine edit.
Str Mrkd (Pronounced Star Marked)
A bit of a punt here as this new label has just put out a debut release in early January. That punt soon diminishes when you realise that it's firstly on a new sub label of Axis Records from Detroit and that it's by label boss Jeff Mills. Like anything created by Mills, it is extremely well polished and takes us on a cosmic journey with a metronomic and hypnotic beat. At this stage, little is known about the new off-shoot but it's very unlikely to be a single offering.
Unknown to the Unknown
Another label that worked over time in 2018 and released a truly epic amount of records across various catalogue numbers. The first release for 2019 comes from prolific producer Marquis Hawkes who has also produced for Aus Music, Houndstooth and Dixon Avenue Basement Jams. Hawkes delivers four funk driven house workouts that are aimed at the mind, body and soul of the dance floor.Get those 2019 gems first with Trackhunter
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