Label Spotlight: Mush Records
Mush Records takes more risks than Kobayashi with his health in a hot-dog eating competition, unlike Kobayashi Mush never disappoints.
There are very few record labels that cause me to get excited like a kid at Christmas, eagerly anticipating the contents inside each and every beautifully wrapped package although containing what I've been dreaming about getting all year. Los Angeles based Mush Records gives me those exact feelings with nearly every single album release. Whether its the forthcoming Her Space Holiday record, XOXO Panda and the New Kid Revival, or the third release from electronic darlings Clue to Kalo, I cannot get enough of Mush Records.
The label began in 1998 with an EP from Boom Bip and DJ Osiris and continues to bring aboard equally talented artists and groups that range from electronic, hip hop, indie and a bevvy of sub-genres that fall under those broader categories: left-field hip hop, electronic-pop, dreamy shoegazer beats, etc. When breaking down the catalog of Mush artists its easy to call to mind artists like Boom Bip, Doseone (and cLOUDDEAD), Daedelus, Her Space Holiday and Busdriver; an amazing collective of hip hop and electronic artists that have even influenced recent additions to the Mush family, including Boy in Static, Head Like A Kite and previously mentioned Clue to Kalo. As for essential listening and starting points within the large collective of artists, two records jump out immediately; Her Space Holiday's The Young Machines and cLOUDDEAD's Ten.
From the starting loop of a record dropping on the opening title-track to the very last orchestral electronic sounds of "From South Carolina", The Young Machines is simply a perfect record. I've rotated through favorite songs on the album like a teenager deciding what to wear on their first day of high school. Marc Bianchi expresses himself as stripped down, true and honest in each song on the album, portraying what feels like very personal stories in his life. Thus the album becomes a very personal experience for the listener. With brutally honest lyrics that are stripped of cloudy metaphors, Marc's words beautifully accompany his trademark electronic loops and soundscapes, providing the perfect melancholy yin to previous album Manic Expressive's spring-love yang. The Young Machines is a good reflection of the different electronic-indie artists on the Mush label, and cLOUDDEAD's Ten provides the perfect example of what Mush features in terms of hip-hop.
I can pinpoint the exact moment that Bay Area rapper Doseone won me over and that moment was the very first time I heard "Dead Dogs Two." Prior to that, I found Dose's nasally raps/chants very hard to take and could not get past them to embrace what he was doing musically. With the release of Ten in 2004, though, Dose proved me wrong, showcasing a great mix of psychedelic dark-pop over beats and rhymes so abstract you wonder what excellent blend of drugs Dose and company were on at the time. cLOUDDEAD was not a Dose solo-effort though, Ten also brought the brilliant weirdness from other Bay Area mainstays Why? and Odd Nosdam, most known as being part of the Anticon collective of artists, although Odd Nosdam does have a release on Mush.
Mush continues to provide music fans with the best in electronic-pop, beats, and hip hop infused albums, never failing to impress old fans, and easily winning over new ones with each release. Whether it be left-field hip hop like cLOUDDEAD or more recent addition, K-the-I???, or more straight-up high-energy rapping from Busdriver or Radioinactive, Mush serves it up. Some of Mush's most recent releases from Head Like A Kite, Boy in Static, and 4 Bonjour's Parties reflect a more softer, indie-electronic side of the label, leaning more towards the sounds of Air, the Notwist, and label-mate Her Space Holiday. The folks at Mush aren't interested in being tied to any one sound, and they certainly aren't afraid of taking risks. For all those reasons mentioned they are one of the most impressive independent labels in the business.
- Nicole Coxe
Play our 18-song Mush Records sampler featuring the following artists:
4 Bonjour's Parties
Clue To Kalo
Head Like A Kite
Her Space Holiday
Don't forget to visit Mush Records for the latest news on upcoming releases.