‘Ugly, relentless and distressing. This song is a stone-cold Box Records classic,’ muses label founder Matt Baty.
He’s considering the special qualities of Foot Hair’s pertinently tilted King of Scum.
There’s no doubt Baty revels in putting out music at the more abrasive end of the spectrum – from Foot Hair’s brilliantly troubling racket through the twin drum antics of Luminous Bodies and twisted psych of Haikai No Ku, Box Records’ releases are rarely for the faint of heart.
That said, the Newcastle-based label’s roster both past and present caters to a multitude of listeners needs and desires, so alongside the monstrous riffs of Lower Slaughter and the wily punk fire of ILL, you’ll find the Ore’s magnificently melancholy doom tuba and Richard Dawson’s singularly stirring The Magic Bridge.
Box Records started 10 years ago with the release of a split 7” from Gnod and Bong and continues to champion the best of the underground.
To mark the anniversary Box are putting on a brace of birthday bashes featuring many bands on their current roster in Manchester and London to celebrate the milestone.
Ahead of the parties, Matt has compiled a playlist to showcase some of the fine work the label has put out over the last decade. Brace yourselves and dig in…
Terminal Cheesecake – V.D.K. Neck
I’ve had the privilege of releasing two Terminal Cheesecake records on Box Records. V.D.K. Neck is from the newly released Terminal Cheesecake album Le Sacre Du Lièvre. This band are absolute masters of noisy psych rock, their new album is an unstoppable juggernaut. It’s at times terrifying, at times euphoric and perfect at silencing that loud inner monologue of mine, which I’m dearly thankful for.
Lower Slaughter – Gas
This is the opening (and my favourite) song from Lower Slaughter’s latest album Some Things Take Work. Aside from the bone crushing riff that smacks me in the face as soon as I hit play on this record, it’s also the song which best showcases what a powerful and brilliant vocalist Sinead (Young) is. It was really cool having Lower Slaughter on the road with Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs recently. They’re the loveliest people and riff hard.
Haikai No Ku – Strung Out Beyond The Rim (not on Spotify)
This band features the uncompromising brilliance of guitarist Mike Vest. This record was released in 2014 when I was just getting back into the swing of releasing records after a bit of a hiatus for the label. At the time Ultra High Dimensionality soaked up a lot of paranoia and spit it back at me. It was (and still is) very good medicine.
Big Lad – Ted Banger
If you’re listening to this and think it’s your bag make sure you see them live! Henry’s drumming at times defies what a human should be physically capable of doing with just two arms and Wayne’s electronics take no prisoners. None. They’re all freed of their shackles and partying hard to Big Lad.
Richard Dawson – Black Dog In The Sky
I’d taken some time off from releasing music when Richard self-released his Magic Bridge album. He did a run of CDs but no vinyl version. “To hell with that” thought me and my friends, so we went about trying to make a vinyl release possible, and we did! The Box Records pressing of this album has long been sold out, but it’s been reissued by Domino Records. This song makes me cry… every time.
ORE – Scarn
I got an email about an unreleased album that was described as ‘tuba doom’. “This isn’t going to work”, I thought to myself as I clicked on the listening link. I was wrong, damn wrong. There’s a solemn undertone in ORE songs which are serene but also feel quite mournful. I’m pleased I’ve played a part in releasing quite possibly the world’s only ‘tuba doom’ record. Take that Sony!
ILL – Stuck On A Loop
I think this is the closest I’ve come to releasing a ‘pop song’ (I use this term loosely) but hell, it’s got every ounce of grit, fire, attitude and energy I want from the music I release. Stuck On A Loop is from ILL’s debut album We Are ILL. I’m always very proud to be involved with a band’s debut album or release. There’s something particularly exciting about the lead up to releasing a band’s first record and ILL got off to a flyer with We Are ILL.
Girl Sweat – Gasoline Breeze
I first saw Girl Sweat do his thing in the Tyne Bar in Newcastle supporting The Cosmic Dead. He ended his performance marching up and down on top of the bar in bare feet with glasses smashing around him. It was like that scene from that film I’ve never watched, only I imagine I witnessed something much more exciting.
Casual Nun – Stripes
Casual Nun specialise in ‘No Fucking Around Noisy Psych Rock Jams’. They’re a bunch of Greek dudes and an American, and the most handsome of Box Records alumni. They’ve also released music on Hominid Sounds and God Unknown too. Two labels well worth checking out if you’re into this sort of racket.
Foot Hair – King Of Scum
Ugly, relentless and distressing. This song is a stone-cold Box Records classic. Foot Hair aren’t so active anymore but do occasionally pop their heads up from the underworld for the odd gig. They also have my favourite band name on Box Records.
Luminous Bodies – Man’s Milk
You want to come away from a gig feeling like a million bucks? Then don’t go to any gig, go to a Luminous Bodies gig. I think this band personify the blueprint of Box Records. I’m unsure if I can put any philosophy into coherent prose but if I did, I’d probably use words like ‘exuberance’, ‘celebratory’, ‘passionate’ and ‘liberating’. I’m in love with Luminous Bodies.