12 Victorian music labels you should check out, based on what music you’re into
28.06.2021

12 Victorian music labels you should check out, based on what music you’re into

Milk! Records
Words by Alex Callan

Support the local music you love, and discover more like it.

“Honestly, the local scene hasn’t been good for at least 10 years” – every bloke that you meet in the smokers (who hasn’t been to local gigs in ten years.)

It can be pretty easy to write off things that you don’t know. In the gig scene, it feels all the more common. As a result, we quite often come across people with music tastes that could easily translate into what is happening currently, but they just don’t know about it. We decided to make it easy for you.

Here is a list of some of Victoria’s best homegrown labels that we felt listeners of certain genres should check out. These independent labels give a voice to artists who don’t fall into the mainstream or can’t find a channel for their art. Indies foster the diversity of Victoria’s music scene, and you can too by listening, buying merch and buying records from these labels – it’s just knowing where to look.

Punk:

Antifade: Antifade were always going to score a mention in this list. Over the last few years, their roster has consistently released incredible albums covering all forms of a punk rock aesthetic. Run by Bill Gardner, the Antifade Records roster boasts Melbourne favourites such as The Living Eyes, Spiritual Mafia, Gonzo and Constant Mongrel. Whilst they do have acts like the funk-inspired Bannagun, it seems to be the art-punk sound that fans have been flocking to. Impressively, a handful of the bands have also attained notice via Henry Rollins’ radio show, in ‘Thrasher’ branded skate videos as well as many winning over new fans from their sets at Meredith Music Festival and Golden Plains.

Check it out Andifade here.

 

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Weathervane Records: In a similar vein to Antifade, Jack Cherry’s label Weathervane Records has put a specific focus into representing a lot of the acts that dominate our local gig scene. Having previously brought out albums by Vintage Crop, Dragnet and The Floaties, the label recently announced the release of Phaedo’s newest album. If you’re into your punk on the harder, faster or more lofi side, Weathervane’s catalog is definitely one to check out.

Check out Weatherwave Records here.

Damaged Records: Starting in 2018 after members from the band Clowns took their DIY ethic to another level and made their own label, Damaged wants to “help shine a light on all music that is loud, fast and fun!” Representing Melbourne punk larrikins like Clowns and Private Function, Damaged has really made itself known as a serious label with bands that don’t take things too seriously. It’s local punk in its funniest form.

Check it out here.

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Indie Rock:

Milk! Records: Formed in 2012 by Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher, Milk! Records originally cut its teeth as a folk label. Over the last few years, Milk has locked in some impressive signings and as a result, has gradually moved towards more of an indie rock sound. Now featuring American acts like Chastity Belt and the iconic Sleater-Kinney, Milk has established itself as one of the most impressive Australian labels out there; with many loving the more upbeat dream-pop/indie side of their new roster.

Check out Milk Records here.

 

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Cooking Vinyl Australia: Cooking Vinyl has such an eclectic collection of artists that it was slightly hard to fit them into just one area. Whilst the label, which is run by Stu Harvey and Leigh Gruppetta, represents artists like Ivan Ooze, High Tension and The Chats, it’s their indie rock acts that have been making a quick name for themselves as up and comers to watch. Groups such as Eliza & The Delusionals and Ceres have earned themselves incredible legions of fans through their constant gigs and festival appearances and are quickly becoming some of Triple J’s most adored Indie Rock acts.

Have a look at the label here.

Folk, Blues:

Bonsai Records: Bonsai Records is one of the newer labels on this list, which makes them all the more exciting. Although their roster is currently small, the acts that they do have have been earning acclaim from industry professionals for the last couple of years now. Representing more of a folk based blues rock sound, groups such as Bones and Jones and Pollyman have earned themselves some impressive sets and support slots; as well as becoming favourites of the Triple J staff (with their Aus Music Tshirt day having more Bones and Jones shirts then you’d see at a headliner show). Experimenting with instruments such as lap-steel guitars, organs and harmonicas, Bonsai has established its roster as representing some of the best songwriters from our region, making it a record label that’ll feel homily to listeners of any age.

Check it out here.

Psych, Rock and Doom:

Flightless: Primarily known for being the label of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (whose own back catalog could make any label diverse), Flightless has easily made one of the biggest impacts on our psych-rock scene. With acts like Gizz, Beans and The Murlocs all being at the forefront of their roster, it’s no surprise that the Melbourne based label owned by Eric Moore has become a staple for vinyl collectors worldwide. Over the last few years, however, Flightless has taken a slight directional change towards doom metal, with Gizz releasing blistering songs like The Hungry Wolf Of Fate, ORB maintaining their Sabbath-esque stylings and Stonefield moving towards a sound influenced by Sleep. As a result, Flightless has become one of the most prolific local labels that can often be hard to fit into a specific genre; but we feel like for fans of psych or doom, it’ll have everything you could ever ask for.

Check out Flightless here.

Marthouse Records: With acts like Hideous Sun Demon, Moth and Dr Sure’s Unusual Practise all representing Marthouse Records, this ones for the listeners who like their rock on the heavier side. Incorporating influences of European punk and krautrock, Marthouse is quickly becoming a favourite amongst the Melbourne music scene.

Check it out here.

 

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Funk, Soul, Brother:

College Of Knowledge: Similar to Bonsai, College Of Knowledge are relatively fresh faces on the block, however, the few acts that they do have are some of Melbourne’s most unique and funky offerings. Groups like Surprise Chef and Karate Boogaloo have become some of the most talked-about live acts to grace Victorian Festivals over the last few years and seem to be quickly on the rise. Considering there are currently only three acts signed to the label, it seems there’s a lot to look forward to for the new label.

Accquaint yourself with College Of Knowledge here.

Dance:

Boots & Legs: I first stumbled across Boots & Legs at the launch of their ‘Volume 3’ vinyl release and truthfully, I was blown away. Defining itself as a label that “draws inspiration from 80’s Italo- disco-pop and synthpop”, Boots & Legs has one of the most unique and identifiable sounds in Melbourne dance music. Representing acts like Kayroy and Romain FX, the label’s output is infectious in it’s disco stylings; providing dancy soundscapes that feel as if they should always be accompanied by neon lights. Boots & Legs finds itself perfectly merging psychedelic synth loops reminiscent of John Maus, whilst maintaining modern day techno and house characteristics. It’s an impressive contrast that’ll be sure to get you dancing.

Check it out here.

Nothing Personal: As a relatively new venture, Nothing Personal comes as the brainchild of Loure. If you haven’t come across Loure, you haven’t been looking. The local Dj and producer has made a massive name for himself curating parties with Cassettes For Kids, as well as scoring over 1.9 million streams on Spotify. Currently ‘Nothing Personal’ has only released music from Loure and Don Glori but they are soon to become a staple of the electronic music scene.

Check it here.

Metal:

Greyscale Records: With 2021 marking the 5th year anniversary of Greyscale Records, it seemed like the perfect time to give them a mention. Created by Josh Merriel and Ash Hull, Greyscale has become one of Australia’s most prolific metal labels in it’s short tenure. With artists like Justice For The Damned and Alpha Wolf on their roster, Greyscale has made a name for itself as the metal label sticking to the heavier side. While Unify and Resist have grown to sign more metalcore bands, Greyscale has constantly maintained brutality, which as a result means that some of their acts have been delivering the heaviest breakdowns in Australian metal at the moment. A label that showcases integral listening for fans of death metal.

Check out Greyscale Records here.

 

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