City Paper is not for tourists
There’s no shortage of independent record labels in D.C. Some, like Dischord Records and Lovitt Records, have been around for decades putting out some of the city’s best music, while others—like Sister Polygon and Babe City—represent a new generation of musical proteges who are bringing attention to the city’s music scene with their forward-thinking releases. And it doesn’t end there: So far, 2016 has seen a new crop of local record labels pop up, continuing to push the city’s musical boundaries. Get to know ’em.
Wedderburn RecordsEst. January 2016
Background Noise: Founded by musician Janel Leppin, Wedderburn Records’ mission is to release “music which has a magical or mystical essence.”
Now Playing: Thus far, Wedderburn’s inaugural releases have been two solo records by Leppin: the ethereal, layered Mellow Diamond, and the haunting, minimal Songs For Voice and Mellotron. Up next, is a new album by Janel & Anthony, Leppin’s long-running musical project with her husband, Anthony Pirog.
Working Order RecordsEst. March 2016
Background Noise: Music has often been a vehicle for social justice and positive impact, and that’s doubly true for Working Order Records, a nonprofit organization as well as a record label. Founded by “socially conscious music lovers” Kristy Lupejkis, Stephen Petix, and Katherine Taylor. Working Order Records operates under the “belief that music is inextricably linked with the potential for positive change.” All proceeds from their releases go to charity.
Now Playing: Working Order’s inaugural release, the debut album from darkwave/electronic duo Technophobia (Katie Petix and Stephen Petix), is due out in July.
Verses RecordsEst. January 2016
Background Noise: As longtime participants in the local music scene—both as musicians, producers, and engineers—Dennis Kane and Douglas Kallmeyer have a lot of experience under their belt. So when they founded Verses Records at the beginning of the year, they did so with the mission to release more experimental and outer sound music—genres that stand apart from the punk scene they both came from.
Now Playing: Verses has been pretty busy in its inaugural year, with releases from Kane’s group Domingues & Kane, James Wolf, and a label sampler featuring an array of other artists Kane and Kallmeyer have worked with.
Trick Bag RecordsEst. April 2016
Background Noise: Paul Vivari’s bar, Showtime, is known for its great jukebox and essential DJs who regularly spin old soul, funk, and R&B, so it’s no surprise that he’s expanded his business ventures into a record label.
Now Playing: The label just put out its first release, D.C. expat Benjy Ferree’s Cry-Fi, but Vivari tells City Paper they’ve got some more stuff in the works, including a 45-rpm single of a “Showtime theme song” by the bar’s house band, Granny & The Boys.