The Brooklyn DIY Music Scene: A User’s Guide

05/12/2010 4:00 AM |


Where to Send Your Demo


Captured Tracks
Captured Tracks, run by one-time Academy Annex mainstay Mike Sniper, is the most tirelessly productive label in Brooklyn, firing off 50 or so releases spanning 7″ and 12″ singles, full LPs, cassettes, and CD-Rs in barely two years of existence. There’s a certain messy aesthetic to most of their records, but also a willingness to try anything. They’ve quietly released some of the best nuggets of the recent local DIY boom, by bands like The Beets, Beach Fossils, and Sniper’s own Blank Dogs and Mayfair Set projects. They’ve also launched the career of the now legitimately big Dum Dum Girls, and started looking across the Atlantic to distribute low-profile British singles like Veronica Falls’ great “Fell in Love in a Graveyard.” Though the label is a household name in only a very small circle of households, when the story of Brooklyn music in this era is re-told, Captured Tracks will loom large.

Sacred Bones
With some of the most austere, handsome album covers around, Sacred Bones (operating from the belly of the Bedford stop beast on North 7th Street) has been providing wall candy for local shops for a few years now. The music hasn’t been bad either, veering in to even more experimental ground than kindred spirit Sniper (whose Blank Dogs have released material on the label as well). But now, with new signees like Wisconsin goth Zola Jesus gaining legitimate buzz, their profile is likely to extend past the vinyl snobs.

Rare Book Room
Nicolas Vernhes has yet to have the same kind of smash success as a label head that he’s had as a producer and engineer for bands like Animal Collective, Deerhunter or The Dirty Projectors, but it’s only a couple years old yet, and interesting if noncommercial bands like Talk Normal bode well. The already formidable legend of the Nassau Avenue recording studio the label’s named for just casts a long shadow, is all.

Terrible Records
Since Grizzly Bear records have gotten so lush and commercial-ready, it might be tough to see Terrible Records‘ founder Chris Taylor as a DIY OG. Until you remember that he produced those records himself, and you know, built the studio they were recorded in. Their roster is slicker than most local start-ups, which at Taylor’s level of success (and supposed super-niceness) isn’t that surprising. But still, Taylor’s solo work as CANT, Class Actress’s stylish debut EP, and even unearthed Arthur Russell tracks from the 70s are very strong products. If any of Brooklyn’s imprints are primed to supernova, it’s this one.

Infinite Best
One of the newest labels of note, Infinite Best is only three releases deep, the third of which is Color Your Life, the breakthrough EP for Twin Sister, suddenly one of the hottest bands in town. All eyes on number four, then.




WHERE TO SIZE UP THE COMPETITION | WHO TO IMPRESS | WHERE TO DIVERSIFY YOUR INFLUENCES | WHERE TO SEND YOUR DEMO | WHO NEEDS A LABEL, ANYWAY? | MAIN

2 Comment

  • Loved the latest edition of the L Mag. Now there is home-grown Brooklyn (Williamsburg) DIY music promotion technology for bands and their managers available. Check out Guguchu.com. Currently in free public beta and offers sleek and easy to use web apps for gig booking, fan development, communication, promotion and more…. they got a database of over 15,000 venues and sleek tools. Easier to use than Reverb and best of all, it comes for free. How’s that possible? The guys are currently running it in free beta. Look out for those t-shirts and guitar picks in Bedford Ave…

  • Loved the latest edition of the L Mag. Now there is home-grown Brooklyn (Williamsburg) DIY music promotion technology for bands and their managers available. Check out Guguchu.com. Currently in free public beta and offers sleek and easy to use web apps for gig booking, fan development, communication, promotion and more…. they got a database of over 15,000 venues and sleek tools. Easier to use than Reverb and best of all, it comes for free. How’s that possible? The guys are currently running it in free beta. Look out for those t-shirts and guitar picks in Bedford Ave…