Albums Features

Label Watch: Trouble In Mind Records

Our second Label Watch feature focuses on the brilliant Chicago label.

Trouble In Mind have been one of our favourite labels for years now.

Established in 2009 by Bill and Lisa Roe, the Chicago label has been home to some of our favourite releases, not least the post-apocalyptic hurricane that is FACS.

Over the years, Trouble In Mind have been pioneers in steering new sounds into people’s homes, with the likes of Smoke Bellow, Mountain Movers, Omni, Sunwatchers, Olden Yolk among the many that have entered our lives.

However, Trouble In Mind are far more than a indie-rock label. Those aspects are great, don’t get us wrong, but Trouble In Mind have often shown their more experimental side, releasing limited edition tapes from some of the more modest purveyors in the underground world of experimentation.

And while Partner Look’s By the Book has been the label’s first big release of 2022, Trouble In Mind have gone about their work quietly, and at the beginning of the month released a batch of experimental LPs from artists both already a part of label and new to it.

These releases highlight Trouble In Mind’s sonic diversity, solidifying their position as one of the most important independent labels in the world.

Label Watch: Waxing Crescent Records

Joys Union Group: Boredom Euphoria

Trouble In Mind’s first release of the year came in the way of Austin, Texas’ Joys Union Group. Consisting of Neil Lord (Future Museums), Michael C. Sharp (Uniform, Sungod, Impalers), Kristine Reaume (Sungod) and Dailey Toliver (Molly Burch), the collective released their gorgeous debut album, Boredom Euphoria.

Mixed by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg, Boredom Euphoria echoes a jazz-inspired psychedelia that reaches for all the best sound bites the American underground has to offer. Oddly enough, it captures a similar vibe to Broken Social Scene’s debut, Feel Good Lost. Not in aesthetic, but in tone and feel.

Joys Union Group make their intricacies sound so easy on the ear. It’s jamming without the exhibitionism; just effortless and something that fills the each corner of the room with a new warmth.

Jonas Reinhardt: A Ragged Ghost

At the beginning of the year, Monaco-based producer, Jonas Reinhardt, released his seventh album and first for Trouble In Mind, A Ragged Ghost.

Having released music on indie heavyweight label, kranky, and a host of others, on A Ragged Ghost Reinhardt creates the kind of soundscapes that are akin to floating in space.

Mastered by Room 40’s Lawrence English, Reinhardt offers vast spaces of sound here, with trans-orbital synths and laser-beam drones that echo John Carpenter and even early period Spiritualized. A Ragged Ghost is the kind of album that dovetails with essential ambient releases of the last two decades, making it an important addition to the Trouble In Mind catalogue.

High Tension: In Conversation with FACS’ Brian Case

Brian Case: Tropics

Brian Case is no stranger around these parts. The driving force for one of the greatest bands currently on the planet (FACS), Case uses his solo offerings as an outlet to showcase his more experimental side.

Case’s latest endeavour, Tropics, is an elastic shoegaze pyschadelic odyssey where he whips up a maelstrom of noise that illuminates the uncertainly of these times. It’s like Case finds solace through end time soundscapes, and while thematically not far removed from his endeavours with FACS, here the walls of sound contain new shades of darkness.

With Tropics Case has provided one of his most brutal offerings yet, revelling in the black pits of noise. Once again, we can file it under essential.

Cinchel: A Plan For Some/Time

Chicago-based Cinchel makes exquisite ambient music. With a plethora of releases under his belt, Cinchel arrives on Trouble In Mind with some of his more immediate set of recordings with A Plan For Some/Time.

Filled with sonic tension, warm distortion and abstract bliss, Cinchel produces the kind of sounds that evoke vivid imagery. Cinematic perhaps, however it’s a record where you see colours before hearing sounds. We often talk about artists in this space that are ripe for film scores, and Cinchel is another ready to enter that particularly world.

A Plan For Some/Time  is one of the most beautiful releases under the Trouble In Mind stable, and for those unfamiliar with Cinchel’s oeuvre (there is a lot!), this may just be the vital entry point.

Trespass Field: Trespass Field

To culminate this feature, meet Vermont duo, Trespass Field. Consisting of Henry Birdsey and Turner Williams Jr, this – to put it bluntly – is one of the drone records of the year.

While there have been several fine drone/raga releases in 2022 (The Jonny Halifax Invocation, Droneroom to name a few), none have been as visceral as Trespass Field. Here, Birdsey and Williams Jr crank up the volume with the kind withering tonality and bowel-twitching drone that would scare off even the most hardened criminals out there.

While there may not be a new Sunn O))) release in the offing any time soon, fear not; just listen to Trespass Field’s self-titled debut offering, for this is huge. Very fucking huge, in fact.

For more information and the label’s full discography, visit the Trouble In Mind Bandcamp page.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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