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The L&T&W 7-inch

Cricket Cemetery is Ian Thompson‘s first record label, but it isn’t the first based out of the Arlington house he currentlylives in. That distinction goes to Lovitt Records.

But Thompson’s new project, a home for hardcore and “anything loud,” is more austere than most labels, even in this punk town: “I only do 300 copies per release,” Thompson wrote in an e-mail last week. “One pressing. Only DC artists. No cds. No myspace. No bullshit. Just fun cheap awesome records.”

Cricket Cemetery joins a number of newish, vinyl-only, punk-minded labels in the area, like Yeah Gates and Windian. “Without complaining too much, playing music in the first place is hard enough. And as you get older, it gets harder getting someone to put it out,” Thompson said over the phone. “I’m super stoked about my new band. Instead of worrying I was like, ‘Fuck it. I’ll just put it out myself.'”

That new band is Lions & Tigers & Whales, or L&T&W for short. Thompson, who’s played in groups like A Day in Black and White, plays drums; John Crum and Ryan McLaughlin of the folk-punk band Typefighter areon guitar and bass, respectively; and Bill Sirl handles vocal duties.

The group’s first 7-inch, recorded live at Inner Ear, came out late last year on Cricket Cemetery. It’s a wandering, nightmarish take on the hardcore idiom that takes up space despite spare vocals. Listening to the 7-inch’s A-side, “Big Trouble,” you can imagine L&T&W eventually doing for hardcore what Isis has done for sludge metal.

Future Cricket Cemetery releases include a L&T&W/State Violence split 7-inch, and a 7-inch from Two Tears. Thompson, who by day is responsible for quality control at Chinatown Coffee Company, says you can order Cricket Cemetery releases from the label’s website, pick them up at local record stores, and look for distro soon via Grave Mistake Records and Dischord.

LISTEN: L&T&W – “Big Trouble”