Take Off to Indie Labels: Sacred Bones

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Alan Vega, visual artist and frontman of punk pioneer duo Suicide, passed away in 2016 after a 50 year career in art and music. In addition to his musical output, Vega’s sculpture work gave him a notorious reputation in the New York art world, later opening a 24-hour gallery space that would go on to serve as an early venue for bands like the New York Dolls, Television and Blondie.
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Damon McMahon started his solo musical project Amen Dunes in 2006, recording atmospheric, lo-fi psych-folk alone in the Catskills before moving to Beijing and further honing this dark sound and recording occasionally. These would become his debut Sacred Bones EP Murder Dull Mind.
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Black Marble, Chris Stewart’s 80s influenced synth-pop group, began releasing music in 2012 with the EP The Weight Against the Door and later the gloomy full length A Different Arrangement. This moody atmosphere, created by an arsenal of analog synths, would later give way to lighter and warmer sounds on Stewart’s successive releases, including 2019’s Bigger Than Life and 2021’s Fast Idol, both on Sacred Bones.
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Blanck Mass uses fast paced beats, clipped vocal samples and mesmerising synths to create music that is emotionally and sonically intense. Dumb Flesh, his first album with Sacred Bones, saw Power’s incorporate more danceable beats around the chopped-up vocals and drones which were built upon in subsequent releases like 2017’s political World Eater and 2019’s melodic Animated Violence Mild.
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Born to a family of fiddlers in Texas, film actor Caleb Landry Jones was instead drawn to the psychedelia of Syd Barrett’s solo work. Throughout his acting career he remained steadfast in his commitment to recording music, amassing hundreds of demos out of his family barn. Director, musician and Sacred Bones collaborator Jim Jarmusch heard these demos and suggested Jones approach the label, culminating in the release of his debut albu...Read More
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Constant Smiles, the collective led by Ben Jones, began in 2009 on his home of Martha’s Vineyard, inspired by the music scene centered around the island’s now defunct community record store, Aboveground Records. Their new record on Sacred Bones, Paragons, arrives in November of 2021.
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Formed in 2003, Brooklyn based indie band Crystal Stilts has cultivated a myriad of influences over the last decade and half playing and recording together. In 2011 they made their Sacred Bones debut with the EP Radiant Door, following it up with the soul and folk influenced album Nature Noir in 2013.
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Sean Ragon’s dark, post-punk neofolk band Cult of Youth, began as a solo project with the release 2008’s A Stick to Bind, a Seed to Grow. Recruiting a supporting band, Ragon expanded the group’s sound on its 2011 self-titled Sacred Bones debut. This would be followed by 2012’s chamber-pop like Love Will Prevail, then 2014s Final Days.
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Founding member of Cyrpress Hill, DJ Muggs, a producer synonymous with hazy, horror-tinged hip hop of the 1990s, has made a name for himself over the years with his prolific and varied output across genres including dancehall, alt rock and trip-hop. Born Lawrence Muggerud in Queens before moving to LA as a teenager, Muggs began DJing in the 1980s, producing seminal rap hits like House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and Ice Cube’s “Check Yo S...Read More
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Formed by singer and guitarist Ryan Rousseau, Jay Reatard and Alicja Trout in 2000, Destruction Unit are a psychedelic punk band based out of Phoenix known for their tumultuous sound featuring distorted, fuzzy-guitars, loud vocals and aggressive drums.
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In 2020 Kentucky-based singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle, known for her brand of dark and expressive post-rock, teamed up with Louisiana metal band Thou for one of the most interesting collaborative projects of the year. May Our Chambers Be Full, released on Sacred Bones, channelling Rundle’s brooding lyrics and Thou’s atmospheric sludge into a record that showcases the DIY versatility of both parties.
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Exploded View’s surreal mix of post-punk and krautrock reflects the makeup of the band and it’s member’s solo projects. Founded by British-German singer-songwriter Annika Henderson and Mexico City-based musicians Martin Thulin and Hugo Quezada the group made it’s haunting self-titled debut on Sacred Bones in 2016, followed by the more focused sophomore release Obey in 2018.
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Chilean psych band Föllakzoid, known for their hypnotic rhythms and Andean folk and krautrock influences, was formed by childhood friends Diego Lorca, Domingo García-Huidobro, and Juan Pablo Rodríguez in 2008 as a trance experience, jamming on a single song for two hours in their first practice session. This free-form approach to playing and performing influenced their early output, working for years on their self-titled Sacred Bones ...Read More
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Dublin musician and former JJ72 bassist Hilary Woods returned to music after over a decade of hiatus in 2014 with melodic and airy keyboard-based songs inspired by the cinematic works of auteurs like Wong Kar-Wai and Chris Marker. Expanding on these ideas and incorporating more atmospheric electronic sounds, her full-length solo debut Colt arrived on Sacred Bones in 2018, followed by 2020’s Birthmarks.
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Australian Singer/Songwriter Indigo Sparke was born into a musical family and knew from a young age she wanted to perform. After teaching herself guitar, Indigo began establishing herself in the Sydney-music scene with quiet but commanding folk music, releasing her debut EP Night Bloom in 2016. Over the next few years Sparke would continue to build her profile in the contemporary folk world. Her first full-length album Echo arrived in...Read More
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Institute, the Austin based punk outfit founded by Moses Brown and Arak Avakian of Glue, Adam Cahoon of Wiccans, exploded onto the Texas punk scene in 2013 with lyrics of personal struggles and a dark and streamlined sound that they would continue to hone over the years. Their debut full-length, Catharsis, arrived on Sacred Bones in 2015 and featured cleaner production with broader influences, expanding on their anarchic post-punk sound.
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Norwegian singer/songwriter, producer and novelist, Jenny Hval, made her solo debut in 2006 as Rockettothesky with the dreamy, folk-pop album To Sing You Apple Trees. Hval began releasing music with Sacred Bones under her own name with 2015’s experimental, art pop/spoken word album Apocalypse, Girl, influenced by Norwegian jazz singers of the 1960s and her upbringing in Norway’s Southwestern Bible Belt.
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Jeremiah Sand was the charismatic leader of the Children of the New Dawn, a cult that descended upon a California recording studio in the 1970s to create Sand’s ultimate, psychedelic masterpiece. Not much is known of what transpired at the recording studio where these sessions took place, except that one night, Sand awoke the studio owner in the middle of the night at gunpoint and forced him to hide the master tapes in a lockbox until...Read More
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John Carpenter, the American director, producer and screenwriter has made a name for himself as a master of horror and science fiction with film scores just as memorable, and haunting as the violence they accompany. Directing and composing over a dozen features, Carpenter, along with his son Cody and his godson Daniel Davies, teamed up with Sacred Bones to release his debut studio album Lost Themes in 2015 and then the sequential Lost...Read More
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Luca Yupanqui began recording music when she was literally in the womb. The child of musicians Elizabeth Hart and Iván Diaz Mathé, the pair began recording their unborn child with biosonic MIDI technology Diaz Mathé compared to a polygraph. After her parents spent 2020 mixing the album “respecting the sounds as they were produced”, Luca made her Sacred Bone’s debut in 2021 with Sounds of the Unborn, described as an “expression of life...Read More
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Lust For Youth is a synth pop duo currently composed of Swedish and Danish producers Hannes Norrvide and Malthe Fischer. As a solo act Norrvide’s Lust For Youth was largely dark and lonely minimalist synth that verged on harsh noise, but with the expansion of the lineup the group’s releases on Sacred Bones are more associated with the catchy songs about heartbreak, most notably channeling elements of New Order and Pet Shop Boys.
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Danish rock band Marching Church began as a side project of solo musical experiments for Elias Bender Rønnenfelt of Iceage. After the success of the band’s debut album on Sacred Bones, This World is Not Enough Rønnenfelt brought in Iceage bandmate Johan Weith and trumpeter Jakob Emil Lamdahl.
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American singer/songwriter and artist Marissa Nadler’s creates a fusion of folk, gothic americana and ethereal dream pop that calls back to traditional country and folk music with aspects of indie rock, black metal and experimental music. In her over 15 year career she has released dozens of records including 6 full-lengths with Sacred Bones.
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Molchat Doma (translated as “Houses Are Silent”), was founded in 2017 in Minsk, Belarus, with a dark yet danceable sound that stands at the intersection of post-punk, new-wave and synth-pop. Their second LP Etazhi (meaning “Floors”) became a global phenomenon, leading Sacred Bones to sign the band in early 2020.
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San Francisco psych rock band Moon Duo, composed of Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada began playing and recording together in 2009, making their Sacred Bones debut with the EP Killing Time that year. The pair have continued touring, recording, exploring “all things Magick and supernatural” while incorporating new sounds and elements to their music, the 2019 album Stars Are the Light brought in sonic aspects from disco, madchester and 90...Read More
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Margaret Chardiet’s industrial noise project Pharmakon blends slow rhythmic beats with guttural synth blasts and wailing vocals that are as disquieting as they are hypnotizing. Her live shows have been described as confrontational, interrogating the division between performer and audience, an emotional trance-like experience she has attempted to recreate on her more recent albums, 2017’s Contact and 2019’s Devour, released on Sacred Bones.
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Industrial punk band Pop. 1280, named after a pulpy Jim Thompson story about a corrupt, deceptive and murderous Texas lawman, was founded by Chris Bug and Ivan Lip as a method of exploring their darker, somewhat sinister musical ideas. Their first song, “Bedbugs” would lay the groundwork for their next release, an EP called The Grid, which they followed up with the full-length The Horror, both on Sacred Bones. Their haunting, guitar h...Read More
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Experimental psych rock band Psychic Ills, formed in 2003 by the late Tres Warren with guitarist Tom Gluibizzi and later bassist Elizabeth Hart and drummer Brian Tamborello, evolved over their 15 plus year career from creating trance-like noise rock to their more recent, subtle releases that rely on more traditional psychedelic songwriting. Highly respected by their peers, the group is known for their work on indie labels Social Regis...Read More
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Brisbane garage rock band Slug Guts exploded onto the australian punk scene with the first album Down on the Meat, recorded and released only months after they started playing together in 2009. The band returned in 2011 on Sacred Bones with the full-length Howlin’ Gang, self-described as “menacingly desperate, ugly, and malnourished” this ethos would carry the band into their final LP, Playin’ in Time With the Deadbeat. Recorded in a ...Read More
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As Spellling, Oakland-based artist Tia Cabral creates experimental synth pop that is born from the haunting images and ethereal messages from her dreams. Blending hypnotic folk with darkwave and elements of soul, Cabral’s first self-released record, Pantheon of Me, arrived in 2017 and quickly raised her profile beyond the Bay Area. Her third album for Sacred Bones, The Turning Wheel, was released in 2021 to critical acclaim.
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Founded in 2010 by Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski, the group uses ethereal synth pop tones mixed over surging industrial beats. With the release of their first album TRST in 2012, the duo went their separate ways and Alfons continued to record and tour under the name. As a solo project Alfons began incorporating more elements of acid house and techno into his next release Joyland in 2014, which debuted to massive critical and commer...Read More
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The Holydrug Couple, the duo of Ives Sepúlveda and Manuel Parra, began playing together in 2008 and emerged from the Santiago psychedelic rock scene in 2011 with their LP Awe, attracting the attention and support of Sacred Bones. The group’s pop influences and vocally driven songwriting continued to blossom on their 2013 beachy, dreamlike release Nocutary. After touring extensively over the years that followed, the group returned in 2...Read More
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Brooklyn-based noise-punk band, The Men was formed in 2008 by Nick Chiericozzi, and Mark Perro, later adding drummer Rich Samis and bassist Kevin Faulkner to the lineup. Drawing on a myriad of influences including new wave, country, psych, and surf, The Men released their ambitious 2014 album, Tomorrow’s Hits before returning to their roots with the confrontational and abrasive noise rock LP Devil Music. Their most recent release, Mer...Read More
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Luis Vasquez's industrial, post-punk solo project, the Soft Moon, marries the haunting sounds of Bauhaus and Joy Division with a stripped-down approach to production and recording. Channeling his Afro-Cuban heritage and upbringing in the Mojave Desert, Vasquez’ first full-length, a self-titled LP arrived shortly after his debut singles “Breathe the Fire” and “Parallels'' in 2010. Honing his singing and songwriting over the decade with...Read More
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Longtime collaborators David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti started recording under the name Thought Gang in 1991. 25 years later, the spiritual jazz and spoken word recordings have resurfaced as a self-titled album on Sacred Bones.
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The garage rock trio of Timmy Vulgar, Blake Hill and Jeff Fournier better known as Timmy’s Organism started as an experimental solo project for the group’s frontman that quickly twisted and morphed into a full-fledged punk band. Their first full-length, Rise of the Green Gorilla, arrived on Sacred Bones in 2010 followed by the 2012 album Raw Sewage Roq.
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Noise-rock group Uniform pull from a range of discordant influences including industrial, thrash metal and power electronics. Their debut album, Perfect World, released in 2015 pushed this minimalist setup to its limit, followed later that year by the EP Ghosthouse which appeared on Sacred Bones. On their sophomore effort, Wake In Fright, the group focused on sampling and programming sounds of violence from movies and field recordings...Read More
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Vår, formerly known as War, was a lofi post-punk act from Copenhagen. The group drew influences from darkwave and goth groups of the early 80s with blown-out, lo-fi recording techniques associated with the early 2010s. Vår’s Sacred Bones, No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers, arrived in 2013 and the group disbanded the following year.
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Sonically dense and inspired by art rockers like Scott Walker and Robert Wyatt, The Fresh & Only’s guitarist Wymond Miles’ solo output is decidedly somber and draped in layers of reverb. In 2012 Miles’ released his first pieces of material including his debut album Under The Pale Moon, returning the following year with the similarly psychedelic, Cut Yourself Free. After a brief hiatus, he returned to the studio with a new creative dir...Read More
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Zola Jesus is the decade-long solo project of Nika Roza Danilova, featuring dark, haunting lyrics and mesmerizing and ever changing electronic production. Danilova’s earliest output was characterized by noisy, lofi percussion and synths paired with her airy, ascendant vocal. She would quickly begin moving away from this sound, instead opting to create her own interpretations of pop music, progressively experimenting with cleaner produ...Read More