Label Spotlight: In The Red Records
In The Red can do no wrong. I am convinced that they are the rockin-est label there is around. Gold Standard Laboratories (GSL) was definitely a close second (although they sadly closed up shop in 2007). While most of GSL's stuff tended to be a little more left-field, In The Red serve up intense rock 'n' roll, but with a hint of melody, all the same never compromising their true modern take on the garage rock sound. Let me take this moment to also give props to the label name, as a college radio DJ the cleverness is not lost on me! Not to mention, the label boasts what is quite possibility the best live performances ever from anyone on their roster. You can tell they must scout most of their acts from their live shows. The first, and sadly only time since they broke up, I saw The Fuse!, I nearly died. It was at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. They were drunk; I was getting there. The drummer couldn't sit still and would run around his dilapidated drum kit all while playing with one hand, beer in the other. The last song of their short intoxicated set, the drummer jumped into the crowd with his bass drum. I was front row and though scared, was too into the set and mostly cared that he was going to spill my Shiner Bock. You see, luckily they are able to carry this forceful energy into their records (peep The Fuse!'s The Fisherman's Wife).
The Ponys' record, Laced With Romance is easily one of my favorite albums from the entire In The Red catalog. It's one of the more melodic releases on the label, intertwining 60's inspired garage rock and actually hints of 60's girl groups ala Phil Spector as well. Then you have The Hunches. Another amazing live band; during their performance at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco a few years ago, I saw the singer flail himself off the stage, kick the wall, fall on his back, slither across the floor Grinch-core, climb his way up on the speaker and feed his beer to a nervous looking fan. The Hunches have just released their third album, Exit Dreams. Of course there are a number of other amazing bands including, The Lost Sounds, Mystery Girls, recent editions Vivian Girls and In the Red staple, the Dirtbombs. Please do yourselves a favor and see any of their bands live, and make sure to check out www.intheredrecords.com.
- Nicole Coxe