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The THUMP Guide to Your New Favorite Vinyl-Exclusive Labels

We did the digging, so you don’t have to.

A new boutique imprint seems to sprout up every day, many of which are choosing the vinyl exclusive route as opposed to digital sales. Pressing vinyl is very costly, which makes it risky for an imprint to release an artist's work. A digital release can have a potential of zero overhead, in comparison. Consequently, an added level of thought is put into releasing each record and inevitably the A&R is far more critical of the content. Not to say that vinyl assumes musical genius—like SoundCloud, Discogs is filled with throwaway records, but the physical is less than digital. This year has been exceptional for vinyl releases and we're fortunate that these select labels also provide digital streams.



Traumprinz - "Messed Up Jam"

This eclectic German based label has been receiving much deserved attention these past few months. Giegling—a small club in Weimar, Germany—served as the catalyst in the label's creation through their party series. Unfortunately the series was cut short, due to the club's closure. But this gave way to a determined group of artists who adopted the Giegling name and sought to catalog a requiem for the club's unique vibe and energy. The label has released everything from screwed, analog based beats to industrial techno, sometimes featured on the same record. Each release, though, holds a cohesive element of emotion—I haven't quite decided whether it's happy or sad. Vril, Prince of Denmark, Traumprinz, and Kettenkarusell are the label's mainstays, and Traumprinz's "Messed Up Jam" works as an excellent introduction to the label and their teeter-tottering mood.

Mood Hut

Jack J. – "Something (On My Mind)"

In the near future, Mood Hut will not require an introduction. The label functions as an outlet for the collaborations of a tightly knitted group of Canada's West Coast artists. Their hardware-based productions are influenced by classics from Chicago and Detroit, but the product is far from an imitation. Their new age sound has been recognized world wide, receiving praise from Four Tet, Ben UFO, Jamie XX, Seth Troxler, and the list goes on. To date, their catalog consists of solo efforts­ including Jack J., House of Doors, Cloudface, Ttam Renat. But also monumental collaborations, such as Pender Street Steppers, Aquarian Foundation. Outside of the studio, they host some of the greatest late night dance music events I have ever attended. Listening to their most recent release—a solo effort by Jack Jutson—may be the closest you get to the experiencing the sensation of a Mood Hut party without being there in the flesh.


Sex Tags UFO

DJ Fett Burger & Luca Lozano – "Electric Blue"

Classic rave vibes and raw house sounds are seamlessly combined in the 10th release of Sex Tags UFO; a sub-label of Norway's Sex Tags Mania. Launched by DJ Fett Burger in 2010, the label has offered an amalgamation of genre hybrids. From distorted disco, to new-age, to ambient—the sub-label is constantly keeping their output fresh and unexpected. Half the catalog consists of the label head's collaborative efforts, allowing listeners to easily follow his unique study of club music in its various forms. The dusty, contorted productions are seamlessly paired with a grainy visual aesthetic focused on extraterrestrials and graffiti, further alluding to the imprint's mystique and underground nature.

Dance Around 88

Ringard – "The Choice"

Not even a year old and this Rennes, France label already has three strong releases in its crate—all courtesy of Ringard. The label is heavily deep house focused. Due to music trends, this may appear to sound mundane. But Ringard has managed to stray away from rehearsing the same formula throughout his output, despite his consistent use of the tr-909. "The Choice" shows off his cheeky side with some Kerri Chandler-esque Korg M1 brass and a heavy groove of bass and percussion; dance music at its purest.

Public Possession

Henry Gilles – "Trance Atlantic"

While a German label may carry the assumption of be rooted in techno, Public Possession strays far from expectation. The Munich based record store and imprint releases some of the funkiest modern house and disco, albeit a unique take on both. Their 12-inches of original material and raw edits are comfortably enjoyed both inside and outside the club. As stated on their website, "The aim of our physical offers is not to create something that is hyped…but rather to put some stuff out that is fun to watch, listen and play around with." Their latest record, from Henry Gilles, perfectly manifests their ability to function as an opener or peak time jammer.


Pacific Rhythm

Cloudface – "Panter Bleu"

As a multi-faceted harbor to Vancouver's DJ/producer scene, Pacific Rhythm (PR) has been distributing records and hosting events with internationally renowned talent for just over a year. Late night sessions with Floating Points, Numero Group and DJ McBoing Boing aided in the online record shop's success. With friendly connections to Mood Hut and 1080p, PR employed three Vancouver locals for their inaugural 12-inch, and thus the imprint was born. Far more upbeat in comparison to the Mood Hut affiliate's previous records, Cloudface's "Panter Bleu" comes as the B-side. This tune shows no mercy from start to finish. A menacing, tb-303, peak time hitter where notable cuts from Hashman Deejay and Lnrdcroy are embedded deep within.

Stripped & Chewed

The Black Madonna – "Exodus"

Staying true to their upbringing, Chicago's Stripped & Chewed keeps it consistent with the sample heavy house and disco—all infectious killer, no filler. Contributions from Kaspar, Garrett David, Rahaan and most notably The Black Madonna, fill the heated roster. "Exodus" was originally released in 2012 apart of a compilation but has since been re-mastered and released on its own 12" thanks to popular demand. Using pianos, vocals and bongo infused percussion loops, "Exodus" holds the perfect mix of what sums up an uplifting disco-house heater. The 12", titled "Goodbye To All This," sold out in just days of the release. But with a repress on the way, don't go wasting" your time on inflated Discogs prices.

You can follow Tony on Twitter: @tonystathos