An Insight into the DIY Industry and Underground DIY Labels

Despite the age of digital and online media being the generation we are in, there is a generation of under the radar bands taking the industry back to the scatty DIY nature of 70s punk and 90s grunge, creating an immersive and exciting reputation for themselves, and the DIY scene in turn. The growth of self made zines, as well as a rise in DIY rock promoters and club nights around the UK, has helped fuel the DIY element of the rock industry, and many psych rock, grunge, and punk bands are putting releases out on vinyl now, as well as via online platforms. The remarkable thing about the shiny 7″ disc is the immense nostalgia and history that comes with it; the modernism, the romanticism, the authenticity. DIY labels like Flying Vinyl and Vallance Records are pushing more and more new bands into scratching their music into physical wax copies, whilst underground bands are working with smaller producers and studios to recreate their scatty, punk grit on record. I’ve picked out some of my favourite DIY labels within the industry, including my top releases from a few of these labels

Confidence/ Water – Dead Pretties – Big Score Records

Released as the band’s last 7″ before splitting up, Dead Pretties released Confidence and Water as a split A-side last year on Big Score Records. The label has an impeccable reputation regarding their work with smaller, grungier bands who bring an element of shouty 70s punk to their abrasive, sweaty tracks. Bands like Yowl, Gently Tender and Hotel Lux have put out releases on the label,  as well as Crewel Intentions who signed to the label last November


My Obsession/ Cheap Date Expensive Drugs/ Piece of Strange – Table Scraps/ Black Mekon – self released

Of all the records I own, this 7″ is definitely my favourite aesthetically speaking. The artwork is blurred with red and blue lines and comes with a pair of 3D glasses, giving the split front and back covers a 3D look. This is such a unique and intriguing thing for a band to do, yet not something unsurprising as Table Scraps have always managed to shock and excite with their music. My Obsession is the raw, scatty single from Table Scraps, with the b-side of the vinyl playing Cheap Date Expensive Drugs & Piece Of Strange from fellow Birmingham band Black Mekon

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Swine/ Ramona Flowers – The Blinders – Rockart Records

Despite now being signed to the more mainstream label Modern Sky, 2016 saw the release of Swine and Ramona Flowers by three piece The Blinders. The abrasive social commentary and intelligent view of politics projected in their music has always been a point of discussion and at times, controversy. The DIY rawness to the band was matched perfectly by Rockart Records who released the 7″, working alongside Art Beat Promo (run by Caffy St Luce, who is one of the most perfect examples of a media visionary who cares about new bands, currently working alongside 485C and The Velvet Hands)

I’m Gonna Do Well/ Getting Closer – Calva Louise – Flying Vinyl

Released on limited edition pink vinyl, Calva Louise released their debut single I’m Gonna Do Well and follow-up single Getting Closer through Flying Vinyl. Flying Vinyl apply the old school ethic of releasing physical music by picking out five new singles each month and pressing them into 5 individual 7″ records which then get boxed up and posted to subscribers. The two Calva Louise singles were recorded by Margo Broom who runs Margo’s Living Room (perfect for new music exposure) and released by Craig Evans who runs Flying Vinyl. Through his company, I am also lucky enough to own limited edition records from artists like Estrons, Free Money, and Willie J Healey

Retina/ Said and Done – False Heads – Vallance Records

Elliott Hale runs one of my favourite DIY labels, Vallance Records. Sisteray and Strange Cages are signed up to his roster, but he also releases singles from other bands, including False Heads who released Retina at the start of the year on red wax. He also works as an A&R for 1234 Records, who have put on bands like Thee MVPs, Frauds, Table Scraps, Haze, and Milk Disco at live events. Based in East London, the label rarely puts out standard black 7″ records; more so, they release coloured discs, splatter vinyl and tapes, bringing a proper old school authenticity to his releases

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A few of the best DIY Labels: 

1234 Records – Scab Hans, AKA Matador, Factotum

The label also runs free entry showcase events in South London and East London, with some intensely hedonistic and exciting live bands playing for them over the next month

16/8/2018- POSA / Slags / Sleaze / Mr Marcaille @ The Victoria, Dalston

29/8/2018- Artificially Yours / Italia 90 / Scab Hand / CXR @ The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch

Rough Trade Records – Goat Girl, Sleaford Mods, Starcrawler

Fat Possum Records – Yak, Fat White Family, YUCK

Clue Records – Avalanche Party, Forever Cult

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Roadkill Records – Projector, The Sly Persuaders, Weird Sex

Roadkill Records are run by Josh Cooper, and put on some of the best live events. Very scatty and fuzzy in nature, the nights are purely DIY, with an abrasive fun feel to them. There’s a focus on grunge and psych surf rock with the artists signed up to Roadkill, and live nights and weekender events are put on in London regularly

24/8/2018 – Muertos / Déjà Vega / Never Never Man / Something Leather @ The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston

10/11/2018 – Projector @ Moth Club, Hackney

Transgressive – Blaenavon, Pulled Apart By Horses

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