Celebrating Independence with… Twin/Tone Records

In honor of Independence Day, KEXP is saluting some of our favorite indie record labels who’s DIY-spirit helped revolutionize the music industry. As an independent radio station ourselves, KEXP is thrilled to give a 13-gun salute to these pioneers with a series of label spotlights through the Fourth of July.

In an interview almost a decade after Twin/Tone Records went “in moth balls”, label co-founder Peter Jesperson said that he and the other label founders ran Twin/Tone “made it up as we went along and were fortunate to be sort of the documentarians of an outrageously fertile scene.” Founded in 1978 and named after their home city’s nickname, Minneapolis’ Twin/Tone Records became the center of all things musical in the midwest during the 1980s. Although they began primarily issuing punk 7″s, the national success of The Replacements allowed the label to expand its horizons, issuing records from Soul Asylum, Curtiss A, the Mekons, Robyn Hitchcock, The Suburbs, and The Feelies. Despite signing influential bands like Babes in Toyland, Ween, and The Jayhawks, the label’s fortunes began to wane in the ’90s, and by 1994, they had entered their current state of being a solely archival entity. Although it only existed 16 years, Twin/Tone will forever be remebered exactly as Jesperson described it – a sometimes-faded, always honest document of the wild ride that was the Minneapolis music scene. In tribute, you can watch video of Twin/Tone alumni The Jayhawks playing “Two Hearts” for KEXP in 2011 below, alongside videos from other Twin/Tone artists.

Key Releases:
The Suburbs – The Suburbs 7″ (1978)
Curtiss A – I Don’t Wanna Be President 7″ (1979)
The Replacements – Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out The Trash (1981)
Soul Asylum – Say What You Will (1984)
The Replacements – Let It Be (1984)
The Feelies – This Good Earth (1986)
The Jayhawks – Blue Earth (1989)
Robyn Hitchcock – Eye (1989)
Babes in Toyland – Spanking Machine (1990)

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