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.
Touch and Go Records, like most things punk rock, started in a teenager’s bedroom. Spawning out of Tesco Vee’s Touch and Go hardcore punk zine, Touch and Go Records was founded in 1981 as a way for the punk band Necros to release their first 7″. Necros bassist Corey Rusk eventually teamed up with Vee, turning Touch and Go into a full-scale operation out of his bedroom. As the label grew to become a staple of the 80’s Midwest hardcore punk scene, Touch and Go relocated to Detroit before finally settling down in Chicago. Although Touch and Go became known for signing some of Hardcore’s most notorious groups, including Big Black, Killdozer, and The Butthole Surfers, some of their most well known releases came from influential the noise-rock groups they signed, including Scratch Acid, The Rapemen, and The Jesus Lizard. In more recent years, Touch and Go expanded their catalog to reach an even wider audience, becoming home to bands like Don Caballero, TV On the Radio, and Pinback, as well as releasing albums from Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs among many more.
In 2009, Touch and Go announced they would stop releasing new music for the time being in order to survive as a label. They continued to re-release albums until March of 2012, when they released a single by the band CocoRosie. Although it’s unclear whether Touch and Go has plans to release any additional albums, be sure to check out some bands from their incredibly diverse and remarkable catalog below. For an in-depth look at some of their greatest records, head here.