Best of 2006: Best Record Labels
The XLR8R staff has polled our favorite labels, producers, graphic designers, clothing companies, and friends to find out which record labels shipped out the goodness in 2006.
A recording artist’s/label’s graphic identity has the potential to be as important a communication/marketing tool as the music itself. To this effect, Ed Banger Records is killing it. So-Me brings a unique hand-drawn/illustrative flair while maintaining his own unique perspective on the art of the 12-inch. Oh, and they got some fly beats, too.
Dust La Rock, Knuckleduster
Ed Banger is the reason I finally broke down and started ordering my vinyl online (paying more for the shipping than for the vinyl). So-Me’s art kills shit, and they currently have one of the most solid artist lineups (Feadz, Mr. Oizo, Mr.Flash!!, Sebastian, Justice), and Uffie, of course. Okay, no, Uffie has little to nothing to do with this.
Bryant Rutledge, XLR8R
Daft Punk manager Pedro Winter once again reigns over clubland! With names like Feadz, DJ Medhi, and Justice, and releases that bang harder than a million sledgehammers, who wouldn’t be in love with this record label?
Patrick Rood, Cut NYC/Dirty Down
Forget the minimal music in clubs–it’s too boring. Ed Banger throws it down, along with other French labels
like Kitsuné and Institubes. Hard synth-dance, electrodisco- break, Eurocrunk–whatever you want to call it,
it’s so powerful on the dancefloor. You can scream, get drunk, stage dive, headbang, have fun, have sex, or
dance alone to this.
Matthieu Gazier, Ekler’o’shock
Ed Banger's Uffie, Sub Pop's CSS, and XL's Thom Yorke
While Output sadly bowed out of the game, DC was left with the task of that whole “making the indie kids dance” nonsense and instead of reaching for lame houselectrotechnoclash, they took to psych, Krautrock, and dub to flavor an unbroken string of top dance tunes.
Stephen Christian, Warp Records
Touch and Go
25 years of groundbreaking artists.
Drew Reynolds, photographer
Although not all their releases this year have been stellar, the label’s grassroots mindset hasn’t changed since day one. Plus, they are all good folks whom I feel are doing good things for hip-hop–a rarity nowadays.
David Ma, XLR8R writer
Once again, XL Recordings brings depth and diversity. [The band] Various, although the album was disappointing, is truly doing something new, and I listened to Thom Yorke’s record while cooking dinner
every night for a month. Best audiovisual moment of the year though: when a couple bars of Yorke’s
“Black Swan” leak out the radio in A Scanner Darkly.
Alex Threadgold, Sound-Ink
I don’t love everything they do, but they seem to have the most cohesive yet diverse roster around.
Jason Forrest, Cock Rock Disco
It’s just unfair that a label can remain so relevant after nearly 20 years. Must be that ol’ Seattle karma:
endure day after day of shitty weather, claim the world’s best record label as your own. Works for me. Never mind Nevermind, 2006 has been a banner year for Sub Pop, with quality releases from Band of Horses, CSS, Wolf Eyes, The Thermals, Comets on Fire, and The Album Leaf.
Steve Marchese, scissorkick.com
In a year of not too many solid artist albums, I tended to retreat to familiar favorites, and Rhino had that
shit on lock. Killer reissue packs from T-Rex, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and The Jesus and Mary Chain, along
with the absolutely bad-ass Goth box A Life Less Lived had me dancing around the apartment like a stoned 10th grader.
Ken Taylor, XLR8R Managing Editor
More of XLR8R's Best of 2006:
Justice's Best of 2006
XLR8R Downloads Player