What's this? Brand New has started a record label?
The always-wildly evolving troubadours of despair have taken stock in the formation of Procrastinate! Music Traitors. The new label features Kevin Devine, an appropriate cross between Brand New and deceased indie mega-star Elliott Smith, as its first acquisition. Am I excited? Perhaps a more appropriate question would be, "Did Vice President Dick Cheney eat a small child for breakfast this morning?"
Nothing excites me more than when a band I hugely respect goes out and starts a label. A few examples:
Epitaph Records: begun by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz
Fat Wreck Chords: pioneered by Fat Mike of NoFX
Fueled by Ramen: started by John Janick and Vinnie Fiorello of Less Than Jake (who left the label recently because he was unhappy about the direction it was taking)
Dischord Records: beautiful punk rock a la Ian McKaye of Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Fugazi, and various other awesome projects
Hellcat Records: run mostly by Tim Armstrong of Rancid, whom I slightly dislike for pretending to be a rock star, but still maintain some respect for
Alternative Tentacles: hell yea, Jello Biafra. You may be crazy, but you sure know how to make punk rock music.
...to name a few. And then, record labels begun by people I have little respect for and the shitty bands they sign:
Decaydance: Pete Wentz's label. An imprint of Fueled by Ramen and most likely a major reason why Fiorello left.
A-F Records: Anti-Flag's way of employing the very same indoctrination techniques they so vocally rebel against.
...to also name a few.
2001's Your Favorite Weapon presented the pop flair of Taking Back Sunday and the lyrical despair of Alkaline Trio. It took several listens (and two years, in my case) to recognize the genius behind YFW, but it was always there.
Not until 2003's Deja Entendu did I question my musical values and re-examine YFW -- that is, after Deja had exited my disc player (several months after I'd picked it up). The lyrical sensibility was cocky and sad and excited all rolled up into one. I'd never heard music that was quite as haunting as that.
And, of course, in early 2006, Brand New dropped The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, which I could have bought and left in the wrapping the title had left me so satisfied.
Kevin Devine was certainly the right draft pick for the label; having been dropped by Capitol Records (Smoking Popes, anyone?) after it merged with Virgin (from here-on-forth known as 'EMI's colossal shit-show'), he was a label-less, talented young prospect with years of quality music ahead of him. His slightly off-kilter pop-mentality personifies exactly what I would hope to see out of a label helmed by the quirky boys of Brand New.
Good pick-up, gents. I'm stoked to see who you'll be drafting in the second round.
"But I've seen what happens to the wicked and proud / when they decided to try to take on the throne for the crown."
- Jesse Lacey, "Jaws Theme Swimming"