For Speedy Wunderground – 2019 has been a vital and pivotal year. As well as label boss Dan Carey having produced an array of critically-acclaimed albums including regular collaborator Kate Tempest’s ‘The Book Of Traps And Lessons’ (alongside Rick Rubin), as well as the two Mercury Prize nominated offerings from Black Midi (‘Schlagenheim’) and Fontaines D.C. (‘Dogrel’) – the 7” imprint he runs alongside Alexis Smith and Pierre Hall has been developing and growing – and is fast-becoming recognised as one of the most exciting new labels in the country, culminating in an AIM award nomination for ‘Best Small Label’, hitting their landmark 30th single release, and putting out their very first non 7”/compilation releases.
With the release of the hotly-tipped Squid’s ‘Town Centre’ EP and the digital release of the 9-minute opus ‘Sunglasses’ from Cambridge’s Black Country, New Road – the label is moving outside of its original parameters to put out some of the freshest and most exciting new music in the country. ‘It’s all happening very organically’ says Carey, ‘it feels natural. As always, it is leading us. Not the other way around.’
This is clearly exemplified in the labels ‘Year 4’ Compilation (they’ve been going for 6 years in total). Among those artists / tracks involved in this collection are: the kraut-rock assault-on-the-senses of Scottibrains (Speedy house band featuring Dan Carey, and Boxed In’s Oli Bayston + Liam Hutton) – this track was mixed by Orla Carey – the 13 year old daughter of the producer. ‘bmbmbm’ (7” single version)– the first ever official release from London’s enigmatic genre-defying black midi (who Carey recently performed this track with at The Mercury Prize show in which guitarist Matt Kelvin unleashed an awe-aspiring forward flip straight after running into a piano).
There’s also Squid’s LCD-meets-Television punk-disco workout ‘The Dial’; the twisting and turning art-rock of Black Country, New Road’s ‘Athen’s, France’ and in the labels strong tradition of new/unlikely collaborations the skittering post-punk jam of All We Are’s + Alex Karpranos’ ‘Heart Attack’ – Carey having worked with the former on their self-titled debut and the latter on their third long-player Tonight:Franz Ferdinand. Also present is the blistering jangle-drenched pop of newcomers Tiña; the acerbic existential lyricism of Leeds’s Treeboy & Arc and the powerful post-punk poetry of Ireland’s Sinead O’Brien.
‘This definitely feels like a definitive collection for us’ say label co-runner/A & R Pierre Hall, ‘we love all the compilations, but this just feels like a real snapshot in time, all the bands and artists involved – despite being separate releases – all feel really connected.’
Dan Carey has also alongside regular Speedy artwork/designers DR. ME collaborated using his own black & white photography on a visual piece for the back of the vinyl + accompanying online trailer. ‘We liked the idea of having it all in black & white this time’ says Hall, ‘black midi, Black Country. It just seemed to make sense, especially in these times. It feels classic.’
With recent new single releases from new up-and-comers like Lazarus Kane and for the first time potential Speedy Wunderground albums on the horizon – it is an exciting time to be part of the Wunderground.
1. Scottibrains – Sustained Threat
2. black midi – bmbmbm
3. Squid – The Dial
4. Black Country, New Road – Athen’s, France
5. All We Are & Alex Kapranos – Heart Attack
6. Tiña – I Feel Fine
7. Treeboy & Arc – Concept
8. Sinead O’Brien – Taking On Time