Music: UJ Music Guides

Top 5: Independent Record Labels

Some of our favourite imprints

  • XL

    Our favourite of the Beggars group offshoots (which includes 4AD, Matador and Rough Trade and XL), they might be known for signing Adele, but there’s a lot more to XL. They’re picky: they only release a handful of records each year, but it’s about quality over quantity.

    Highlights: Frank Ocean, Kaytranada, Radiohead, Jai Paul, Arca.

  • Domino

    Domino is one of the UK’s biggest independent labels, and for good reason. Starting off life in the early ‘90s in South London, Domino fostered huge indie talent like Elliot Smith and Neutral Milk Hotel, but today they’ve diversified with more electronic acts.

    Highlights: Blood Orange, Four Tet, Hot Chip, Julia Holter, The Range.

  • Stones Throw

    Chris Manak – aka DJ Peanut Butter Wolf – set up his label in 1996 to posthumously release the music he’d made with the late MC Charles Hicks. But since, the label has evolved into a an influential force within contemporary hip-hop, supporting left-field rap artists like J Dilla, Madlib and Quasimoto.
    Highlights: Mndsgn, Dam-Funk, Homeboy Sandman, Washed Out, Silk Rhodes.

    Highlights: Mndsgn, Dam-Funk, Homeboy Sandman, Washed Out, Silk Rhodes.

  • Warp

    Known for supporting the weird and the wonderful, Warp fostered a range of experimental electronic artists through the 90s, such as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and Autechre. Now, the label’s ethos is largely the same as they continue to support cutting edge electronic musicians like Kwes, patten and Mount Kimbie.

    Highlights: Brian Eno, Flying Lotus, Evian Christ, Hudson Mohawke, Nightmares on Wax.

  • Mute

    Mute are responsible for nurturing the slightly stranger side of ‘80s electronic music: think Depeche Mode, Erasure, Fad Gadget and Yazoo. They continue to release music from icons like New Order, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Can, alongside an eclectic selection of contemporary artists.

    Highlights: Apparat, Yeasayer, Arca, Big Deal.

By JS

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