There will come a time when the independent record label becomes a collectivist new world order. I'm not talking about 4AD or Rough Trade, these have been the backbone of alternative music for decades, but they're not in the same league as what we consider an 'independent record label' anymore. Times have changed, artists have moved on, Radiohead self-release, and the working musician gets by on bandcamp funding. There is an alternative out there, very much like what the alternative artists see in not wanting to hand over their creativity at BMG's door. One of these opportunities might just be the biggest opportunist in London - Italian Beach Babes Records.
The label was founded by Conan Roberts at the turn of the decade. Roberts set out to release cassettes in small bundles, not exceeding 100. Italian Beach Babes Records features cassette only releases, as well as vinyl releases. It's very much a bedroom project, or a side project so to speak - for Roberts to put out great music, while being involved with it himself. Roberts is bassist for Fat Cat Records' Mazes, utilising his skill and knowledge to help and spread the word of new music though his label.
Italian Beach Babes Records has been associated with some of the best independent bands to surface in recent years: VISION FORTUNE, Novella, Dirty Beaches, Fear of Men, Graffiti Island, and of course Mazes. My first Italian Beach Babes Records experience came in 2012 when listening to Novella's self-titled debut EP. The following summer saw an invasion of Italian Beach Babes Records artists in the streets of Sheffield for their annual music festival Tramlines. They pretty much took over one of the biggest stages, where Novella, Fear of Men, and Mazes played - split up by none other than Frankie Rose.
Roberts' label has become a great source of inspiration for Music Review Database over the last two years, and has been the first place to look every week to see if there’s anything new to catch my ears - more so than not, they do have something that fits the description.