Tag Archives: record label

Outlander in the Emerald City: MegaFlora Records (my Hometown Heroes)

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I am sure I am not alone in saying the few weeks of winter break gave us some much needed time away from the hustle and bustle of UW life and a return to the relaxed comfort of home.  For many, home resides somewhere within Washington state or its surrounding areas; however, for a small number of us, going “home” meant traveling thousands of miles to a distant land, where culture and customs are quite different from those in Seattle.  For myself, home is a small town outside of Philadelphia called West Chester.  During my high school years I was lucky enough to be a part of WC’s small but mighty music scene, catering to a diverse set of genres that included (but was not limited to) indie/garage rock, hip hop, electronica, and a multitude of singer-songwriters.  When I was involved, the scene was kicking but remained primarily localized due to the lack of a cohesive entity to bring us all together and display us to the public.  I always thought some sort of, I don’t know, record label would do the trick.

Well, my dreams have finally been realized – two buddies of mine, Branden Bauer (of the Absolute Sky) and Ian Solonsky (Is the Rapper) have decided to put together MegaFlora Records, a compilation of the best talents hailing from West Chester and the greater Philadelphia area.  MegaFlora’s catalog is a fitting representation of the diversity of the WC scene itself, featuring indie rockers such as The Absolute Sky, the classic hip-hop styling of Is the Rapper, the poppy (and somewhat off-kilter) electronic ramblings of Pleb Mahogany, and many, many more.  It’s a rare and beautiful thing to see the talented musicians you know and love successfully promoting their own music, and an even greater feat when a number of them decide to collaborate for the common good of their musical careers.  If you dig getting in on the “ground floor” of a scene, MegaFlora is guaranteed to have something that fits your taste, coming at you in a localized, fresh package.  

Below are a few of my favorite tracks from MegaFlora’s most recent release, the Garden Showcase compilation.  Although I honestly dig the whole album and highly recommend checking it out in its entirety, I feel these tracks display the diversity of MegaFlora’s catalogue quite nicely (and also just kick ass).  Check out MegaFlora’s Facebook and bandcamp for more information!  Happy listening 🙂

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line leader – “East Coast Beach Ghost”: Lo-fi lovers rejoice, this surf-rocky tune by West Chester natives line leader shows those west coast beach bums that us east coasters know a thing or two about the beach, damnit.  With its darker, fuzzy twist, this track would make Ty Segall proud.

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Jason McCue – “Come to Me”: This song makes me melt.  Jason’s voice weaves in and out of the spacey acoustic pickings with the precision of a needle through fabric, while his beautiful lyrics paint pictures in your brain.  Although elements of the tune carry an Elliott Smith influence, the feeling of chills running up your spine when that three-part harmony kicks in is only something a Jason McCue original could make you feel. 

Is the Rapper  “Arcade” (feat. Pleb Mahogany): Featuring a menagerie of classic video arcade bleeps and bloops, frequent collaborators (Is) and Cameron (Pleb Mahogany) combine forces to bring you a hip hop track that is equal parts innovative, nostalgic (who doesn’t love arcade noises?), and tight as shit.  These clever fellows are guaranteed to show you a good time.

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Katie Hanford

Rad Report: Experimental Label–Danger Collective Records–Expands to Seattle

There are very few times that a dream is captured and transformed into reality. So often we realize that we’ve aspired our whole lives toward one goal and never fully achieved it. This is clearly not the circumstance in the case of Danger Collective Records—an experimental record label started and based in Los Angeles—which was created on a brilliant principle of “by artists for artists” in January of 2014. A few old friends of mine from high school created this label—Reed Kanter is the original founder with help from Michael Lewis, Jackson Katz, Patrick Jewett, and Nolan Pearson. “When [Reed] started the label [he] was trying to put this idea of…‘talent without fans’…into motion” 

(Reed Kanter), and the dream seems to have come true. After growing up in a somewhat isolated area in the mountains surrounding the LA area where there wasn’t a strong market for small shows and live music, Reed gathered a group of his friends and changed that with a goal in mind “to bring people together over music and make a difference for bands” (Reed Kanter). He created a record label, which is now expanding across the country. I’ve been lucky enough to stay in touch with Reed—who is currently living in New York, and I’ve also stayed close with Michael as we both made the move from LA to Seattle this past fall.

I, myself, have enjoyed jamming to the indie rock/garage punk music that I’ve experienced at the Danger Collective shows down in LA; but what really caught my attention was when I heard from Michael that Danger Collective is no longer solely concentrated in LA—and is actually expanding to both New York (courtesy of Reed) and Seattle (courtesy of Michael)! The moment I heard this, my excitement grew—just knowing that I might soon have the opportunity to jam out to the awesome tunes being produced by this innovative label whether I’m in LA, my home town; Seattle, my true love and current home; or New York, just visiting.

When I heard about the expansion, I naturally had tons of questions for Michael and Reed about this big move up north and back east. So I set up a time to meet with Michael in hopes that he could give me some inside information on the extension of the label in our very own backyard; I later was able to contact Reed as well to hear about how the expansion is progressing in New York.

Michael is now the CFO, and is mainly in control of the money and distribution in the newly forming Seattle branch. I asked him what inspired him to expand the label further north and he explained that it was mostly a mix of the convenience of being able to go to an awesome school like UW and being able to further develop the label in a remarkable city such as Seattle with such an established music scene.


The Collective’s punk bands duel it out at INSIDELANDS 2014

Danger Collective generally signs bands with a very ‘Los Angeles-esque’ sound, but the label has been really good about not boxing itself into any group of specific genres or subgenres. Danger Collective actually signs bands on an extremely wide spectrum of categories—examples of these varieties include “garage rock/post punk (Slow Hollows and Bobby T and The Slackers), Punk (Cool Runnings and P.H.F of New Zealand) psychedelic rock (Casinos and Te Amo), ambient trap (Polo Club and Best Friend, experimental (Nirvanus), singer song writer (Salmon), pop punk (Rexx), and more,” according to Reed Kanter.

However, when I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Michael, he noted that “eventually the Seattle sound, the really weird, like…electronic-y thing will…seep” into the label’s unique mix of music that they represent, which I’m really looking forward to. Despite being open-minded to the idea of letting in new genres and moods of music, Michael admitted to me that “LA had a really big influence on [the label] because that’s what [the creators of the label] were used to [listening to their whole] lives.” It seems that these LA vibes are making their way up to Seattle as Michael has gotten Danger Collective’s “releases into several record stores” in the Seattle area (according to Reed Kanter).

Reed currently does a lot for the label in addition to being the original founder; despite his role in “[managing] artists, [booking] shows, [promoting] bands, [contacting] pressing factories for vinyl, [pressing] cassette tapes, [reviewing] submitted demos, …[managing] the social media, and [taking a role in] anything else that needs to be done,” he humbly told me that he “can’t take all the credit” for the label’s success, and he is very grateful for his friends’ help and support.

He is currently busy in New York getting shows together and spreading word of Danger Collective to the east coast. There’s actually already been a New York show presented by Danger Collective in which Reed took a different approach than the label usually does as he “went for a more electronic genre. Nirvanus opened and he was followed by Best Friend, Eaves, Tele/Visions, then Young Ejecta who headlined.” It sounds like it was a fucking rad show, and I seriously recommend checking out all of these artists. It made me wish I could’ve been in New York for it, but got me extremely enthusiastic about the future potential Danger Collective has right here in the amazing city we live in.

Michael let me know that once a couple more Danger Collective representatives make their way up to Washington, he hopes to have the resources to begin signing local Seattle artists and putting together shows—so keep your eyes and ears peeled for more information on that! In the meantime, get a taste of Danger Collective’s artists in a video playlist from the New Radio presentation, Battle Show IV:

Currently involved in the label are Reed Kanter, Michael Lewis, Jackson Katz, Nolan Pearson, Patrick Jewett, Dylan Thinnes, Franklin Newby, and Nick Fenjves. The label has come a long way in just a year, with their expansion spanning across the country. According to Reed, “Danger Collective Records now has music in stores across the country and [the label has their] artists featured on iTunes and Spotify.” I’m obviously thrilled about what’s to come for the Seattle branch of Danger Collective Records, and can’t wait to see where all divisions of the label go in the future. Be sure to follow Danger Collective Records at dangercollectiverecords.com and on Facebook, and keep an eye out for upcoming shows presented by Danger Collective Records in the Seattle area (or in LA/New York if you’re ever stopping by)!

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Rad Rebs