October 25, 2018 | Ashley Naftule
10 Gateway Drugs Into the World of Captured Tracks
There are still record labels out there whose cosign means something, labels whose names on the spine of a record clue you in immediately to the kind of world they're trying to build, whose logos act as a stamp of approval. For indie rock lovers, Captured Tracks is just such a label.
The Brooklyn-based label have hit their "aluminum and tin" anniversary this year. In just 10 years, they've assembled an impressive roster of indie acts, ranging from couch-surfing crooner Mac DeMarco and the dreamy Technicolor pop of Wild Nothing to rampaging grunge-punks in Naomi Punk. They've also been killing it in the reissues game, resurrecting classic British DIY groups like The Wake and The Monochrome Set, bringing cassette kingpin Martin Newell's entire discography back into print, re-releasing New Zealand jangle-pop classics from Flying Nun Records, and even putting out deluxe box sets for groups like Nebraskan post-punks For Against.
To celebrate their big 1-0, the label is doing an anniversary tour. Three of their up-and-coming acts are on the road and coming to Phoenix on Friday, October 26: singer-songwriter Lina Tullgren; warped art-rockers Drahla; and "guitarless guitar music" Auckland band Wax Chattels. They represent the label's future, so we thought it'd be fun to look back at Captured Tracks' past and highlight their "top 10." If you're looking for an introduction into the sprawling Captured Tracks discography, these 10 artists are a great place to start.
Speaking of shoegaze: You can't get much more introverted and gaze-y than the gentle dream pop of deardarkhead. A group of Anglophile rockers from New Jersey, they took their name from an Irish-language poem called “Cean Dubh Dilis” by Sir Samuel Ferguson. Captured Tracks put out a comp of their early work called Oceanside: 1991-1993 which chronicles the band's evolution from moody, Cure-esque post-punk copycats to a sound that's more lush and dreamy. While so many U.S. shoegaze groups tried (and failed) to beat My Bloody Valentine and Ride at their own game by going loud, deardarkhead eschewed tinnitus-guitars for the kind of dreamier, softer dynamic sounds that Slowdive and The Pale Saints were putting out. It’s music that wafts in and out of your ears like smoke: twisting, languorous, and ethereal.