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.
From the basement of Academy Records in New York, Caleb Braaten has built an empire out of Sacred Bones that only seems to be growing stronger with time. A good friend of Mike Sniper (the man behind Captured Tracks) and a lover of the New York music scene, Braaten originally intended to use Sacred Bones as a jumping point for the music of his friends. Sniper’s band Blank Dogs has several releases on the label, as do other New York locals The Hunt and Hunchback. From the get go, Braaten had the awesome retro 12″ vinyl design that has become ubiquitous with Sacred Bones that bands could take or leave as they wanted. But as bands from across the country (and eventually outside the country) flocked to this odd new home, Braaten’s label quickly became more than just a basement project, even if it stayed there, geographically.
The 9th release from Sacred Bones records was a 7″ single from a little known Michigan artist called Zola Jesus. Since then, Zola Jesus has released all of her records on the label and, in the past two years, has become one of the label’s biggest names. The Men found their home at Sacred Bones in 2011 with Leave Home and have since grown immensely. Trust has also released several singles through Sacred Bones. Other artists on the roster include Moon Duo, Pop. 1280, War, and Psychic Ills. The collection of sounds on Sacred Bones is indeed bizarre, but however diverse, they are united by Braaten’s big picture. Sacred Bones has a graphic designer who works on all the cover art and package design, a filmmaker who works on all their music videos, and others who watch every detail until release day. Braaten makes sure that when a Sacred Bones record hits the shelf, you will know it at first glance, and you will know to expect great things when you listen to it.
A product of love, Sacred Bones is a quirky and refreshing approach to the modern concept of a record label, and it is without a doubt one of the best places a band can find themselves in today’s scene.
Here is a list of some of Sacred Bones’ staple releases:
Dream Code – The Pink Noise (2008)
The Spoils – Zola Jesus (2009)
Flowers – Factums (2009)
Cult of Youth – Cult of Youth (2011)
Mazes – Moon Duo (2011)
Leave Home – The Men (2011)
Conatus – Zola Jesus (2011)
Open Your Heart – The Men (2012)