Especially for Barcelona where the music and art scenes can be elusive, it always helps to check out record labels in order to discover new bands and to find interesting places and venues to go to. Barcelona has numerous independent record labels that also manage international artists, as well as some collective labels managed by musicians, or just smaller-run operations. Spain doesn’t really have a massive national indie label, because there isn’t much of an audience for it in the country, but what you will find are groups of cool, like-minded people who are trying to make something happen. THE BOMBER JACKET has been lucky enough to meet and talk to many of these folks this year.
Bcore has been around since 1990 and they claim the title of one of the most influential labels in Spain. They have a variety of different types of bands such as the sludgy ’90s rock of Betunitzer, the melodic folk of Maria Rodés, the yelping and astral guitar of Margarita, the piano storytelling of Fanny Roz, or the astrological acoustic and tape project of Aries. The label grew out of hardcore punk at the end of the ‘80s, passing around handmade records, t-shirts and posters, and the D.I.Y. mentality is still with them. It’s also one of the few in Spain that still have a physical location. In Gràcia, carrer Montamy 25 houses the record shop, full of new and old records and CDs for purchase. The collection is also available online.
Sones is another large label and management company in Barcelona, running since 2007. They pay close attention to what cool things are happening around the world and try to pull the same things out of Spain. As managers and bookers, they’ve helped out Wavves, Bill Callahan, and Dan Deacon, and even released Dirty Beaches’ last record in Spain. The most notable bands are shoegazey garage rockers Mujeres, the free-form noise oddity that is Za!, the warbling tear-filled pop rocks of Manos de Topo, and the classic Spanish folk of Lorena Álvarez y Su Banda Municipal. Read more from our interview with Sones here.
BankRobber has been around since 2002, and its bands tend to be a bit more electronic or experimental, but their roster still covers a lot of territory. Esperit! is a band that gets mentioned a lot in Spain and with good reason, making unique melodic drone music. A more acoustic act with sweet vocals and a lo-fi sound is El Petite de Cal Eril, and a BankRobber classic is the now-defunct Mr. Hubba & El Mono inventor, whose personal electronic influence was tragically underrated in Spain.
La Castanya is full of a bunch of really nice people that The Bomber Jacket had a chance to hang out with during Primavera Sound last year. They’re a newer label and work with fewer groups and mostly indie rock bands, but they’re all great and the label is doing a lot for the music community in the city. Beach Beach, Furguson, and Aliment are all classic youth inspired punk and garage bands that will get you going.
The last label on the list is more like a collective. Started by one of the members of La Castanya’s Furguson and a couple other friends, the group operates out of Vic: a suburb of Barcelona where it’s easier and cheaper to have shows and go nuts. One imagines all kinds of shenanigans (and maybe a little bit of music) going on in the dusty Catalan town. Each of the four or five bands “on the label” have something special to offer. Regalim produces the kind of stange lo-fi recordings one might imagine someone emerges from a bedroom with after three weeks without leaving. L’Hereu Escampa does all kinds of guitar and drum experiments with heavy influences from punk rock. Mates Mates and Ohios are probably the most straight forward, offering great pop songs. Read more from our interview with Famèlic here.