It’s a common enough story: two music fans meet in a record store, bond over Joy Division, and discuss how great it would be to make a living promoting the records they love. Where this particular tale differs is that the two men in question – Michel Lambot and Kenny Gates – went onto establish a Brussels-born, London-based label named [PIAS] Recordings, that’s supported some of the best artists of the past 30 years.
In addition to releasing records by Crystal Castles, Tiga and Zulu Winter on in-house imprints Different Recordings and Play It Again Sam, they also partner with indies like Laurent Garnier’s F Communications, and legendary label Wall of Sound, who discovered talent like I Am Kloot and Röyksopp.
See below for bargains, and spotlights on some of our favourite [PIAS] artists.
Our favourite artists
The brainchild of Belgian brothers Stefan and David Dawaele, Soulwax are unequivocally one of PIAS’ biggest success stories. Not only have they produced three superb studio albums of electro-heavy indie-rock, the self-confessed vinyl-junkies now run a successful sideline mashing-up their eclectic collections live – and remixing everyone from Kylie to Justice – under the pseudonym 2ManyDJs. Latest project Radio Soulwax saw them make 24, hour-long, themed mixes with accompanying visuals, and is more than likely the reason their fourth studio album is long overdue. Still, at least the wait’s nearly over: the follow-up proper to Any Minute Now is due in 2013.
Joan As Police Woman
As a former member of Antony & The Johnsons, and session musician for Rufus Wainwright, Joan Wasser was already long-established on Brooklyn’s music scene when she unveiled her debut in 2006. For the rest of us, that record was a revelation. Encompassing jazz, rock and classical influences, Real Life offered up moments of heartbreaking intimacy – such as the pared-back, piano-led title track – and a host of soulful grooves, sensitively embellished with brass, guitars, strings, and Wasser’s honeyed drawl. Two Joan As Police Woman albums on, she continues to surprise and entrance.
If you were to plot a Venn diagram featuring Fleet Foxes, The National and Arcade Fire, you’d probably find this outfit from Stillwater, Oklahoma, in the spot where the circles intersect. On their universally-acclaimed last album, Jesse Tabish and pals used lush orchestration and vast swathes of reverb to craft stupendous, sad-eyed, indie-folk with a distinctly cinematic quality. It wasn’t just the critics that Tamer Animals impressed, either: Bon Iver and Radiohead were such fans, they subsequently invited the five-piece to open for them live.
Back catalogue gems