When Hi54lofi Records, based in Edmonton, Canada contacted us, linking their website we felt like we’d struck oil: a mountain of music from all over the globe, that unless your were an agoraphobic, insomniac no amount of Myspace/Lastfm/YouTube trawling would help you track down all the brilliant artists they cite. They aren’t really a record label as such, just a bunch of like minded folk hoping to spread the word about music they love – with no money grabbing frills on its collar, but plenty of heart on its sleeve.
The label’s ethos is simple, they encourage organic music and artistry; tending and nourishing it for sometimes no other reason than to get that little glow inside when you find something special, and you glow a little brighter when you share it with someone else. That certainly matches how I feel writing for this website, and about this label, because they give me that little “stop-in-my-tracks-wow” pretty often when I’m listening in.
As the label name might suggest their roster isn’t solely comprised of lo-fi artists, the lo-fi comes from the recording process, the “no bullshit ‘let’s get this down on tape in this truck stop if we have to'” approach to music making and the label’s marketing of that, the “hey listeners, you decide how much you want to pay for this album” instead of the “we’ll tell you ’cause we get a bigger share”. Their recently Tweeted pie chart nicely exemplifies their decision to be a little label, keeping it on the lo-, saving the high fives for their artists, not for themselves when they bank a massive cheque.
Their artists span genres from folk to electronica and soundscape to shoegaze. But combining this haberdashery of sound, and connecting the efforts of all artists, however far and wide they are spread across the globe, are the humble hearts at the centre.
Here are some notable artists to check:
Alligator Creek – Rain and Rust
3 track EP
Very Iron and Wine-esque
Lo-fi bedroom, shoegazey folk
Cold Lake Flight School – The Great Dry Lake
Awesome instrumentation, Tarantino-esque guitar riffs and jaggling percussion
Really lo-fi recordings – voices are bare and honest
Flit nicely between tight instrumentations and barren nothingness – vocals, guitar and the sense of a cold winter
An amalgamation of influences, in some places Damien Jurado – which of course is always welcome
Colder in Moscow – Great Speculation
Some kind of marriage between shoegaze and emo
Collateral Soundtrack – Long Play
A bit too electro for our station but pretty decent minimal electronica nonetheless
Employ eerie field recordings/talking etc.
Dress Up Like a Hooker, I’ll Be Charlie Sheen – Hi-Five for Lo-Fi
Acoustic – again Iron and Wine-esque
Bluesy porchstep songwriting
Fabulous band name!
Glass Cake – Demonstrations
Scratchy recordings that somehow sound like Regina Spektor trapped in the 50’s
Happiest Lion – Homemade Demos
Eighteen year old Caleb, made of a hideous amount of talent
Plays guitar and banjo, has a voice that sounds twice as old as he is, born four times as long ago
Mixes folk traditions with recycled sounds/electro
Sun Cut Flat – Running of the Bulls
A much fuller, more polished sound than the rest of the bands on the label.
Wisdom Tooth – Cathedral Park
A mix between Mountain Man accapella and Scout Niblett’s grunge. Think lo-fi grunge but happy and sung around a campfire.