Circuit Sweet Interview, Feature, Reviews

Rad Releases 20 – Beth Shalom Records Pt.1

December 23, 2020

Rad Releases 20 – Joe of Beth Shalom Records

It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2020 rapidly approaches and we quickly want to move away from this year- we take a personal look back on familiar names, labels, promoters, and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a challenging year for all, the one constant has been how artists and their labels have adapted and produced some of the best records of our time and it’s those releases that have the audience has depended on to get them through the year.

This year the Rad Releases special celebrates 10 years, to mark the decade-long feature we let our favorites take over the site to tell us the records that have kept them going throughout this trying year. Telling us how they’ve adapted, if they’ve returned to a loved record and what we can look forward to from them next year.

New Logo designed by Laurence Crow Illustration 

Our next takeover is the first in two parts, as we hand over to Joe Booley the founder of the ever-growing label Beth Shalom Records. This year we’ve heavily featured the expansive and diverse roster from BSR, the label have been a remarkable entity this year with their platform promoting new music and a plethora of talented artists covering all genres. This year alone the label have introduced us to some of our most listened to artists- such as Marigold, Bryony Williams, Kern Parks, Treehouse, Autumnboy, Floods in Japan to name a few. We are in awe of the work ethos of this label and can’t recommend them enough! We speak to Joe to find out more about Joe’s year in music…..

Top Releases


Keaton Henson – Monument

Usually on a year that Keaton Henson releases an LP it’s going to be my AOTY, 2020 was no different. To me Keaton Henson is a rare gem of a songwriter/composer that you don’t come across often. He can casually jump between heart wrenching ballads to stunning orchestral soundtracks. Top Track: Bed

Jonsi – Shiver

I’ve been waiting for a 2nd solo album from Jonsi for so long. His 2010 record, Go, is one of my favourite records of all time, but Shiver is the opposite end of the spectrum. Go was a very organic sounding LP even featuring suitcases to form certain types of percussion, but this time round Jonsi has gone almost fully electronic with abrasive beats and lushious synths throughout this album. Top Track: Wildeye

Loathe – I Let It In And It Took Everything

These guys will soon be one of the biggest bands in UK Metal, trust me. Their previous records we incredible, but ILIIAITE as a project is jaw-dropping. The energy that Loathe hold throughout this album is one of a kind. Really hoping I manage to catch them live in 2021. Top Track: Screaming

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

I know this is featuring in almost everyone I know’s AOTY lists, and rightfully so. It shamefully took me a while to actually listen to this once it was out, and it’s probably become one of my most listened to releases particuarly in the latter part of 2020. This is a wonderfully written LP and just what I’ve wanted to hear from Phoebe in 2020. Punisher makes me forget how crazy the world is right now. Top Track: I Know The End

Taylor Swift – Folklore

I don’t really hide my adoration for Taylor Swift, she’s an incredible songwriter and performer, but this is honestly the album I’ve been waiting for Taylor to release. It’s beautifully delicate and raw, and the production from Aaron Dessner (of the National) is a wonderful additional to Taylor’s discography. Top Track: Exile (ft Bon Iver)


Bryony Williams – State I’m In
Treehouse – Unappealing
Jockstrap – Wicked City
Poisonous Birds – We Can Never Not Be All of Us
Bring Me The Horizon – Post Human: Survival Horror


Kern Parks – Door
Idles – Grounds
The 1975 – Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America
Jordan Hunt – The Sea
Lastelle – Coping Without A Cure

Notable mentions
Modern Rituals – This Is The History
Parachute For Gordo – Best Understood By Children and Animals
Palm Reader – Sleepless
Hayley Williams – Petals For Armor
Katie Malco – Failures
Kid Dad – In A Box
Sufjan Stevens – The Acsencion 
Thundercat – It Is What It Is

The best show you have played this year / gig attended (if you had the opportunity at the start of the year)

I managed to travel over to Birmingham to see Sleep Token at the Mill (with support from Poisonous Birds) and it was incredible. Sleep Token’s LP was my no.2 of 2019 and their live show was nothing short of theatrical and emotional. The last show I managed to see before Covid hit was Chinned live at the Waiting Room, London, and it was incredible to see so many people in such a small room (unthinkable at the moment).

Has there been any record that’s got you through this year?

Keaton Henson – Monument or Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

How have you adapted with releasing/recording/promoting during this year?

For Beth Shalom Records, we’ve tried to carry on business as usual (as much as possible) without necessarily considering touring and shows in the same way as we might at the beginning of 2020 or in 2019. But instead, for bands that are releasing singles to really help build them ready for when venues can open safely and shows start to happen in the same way.  

Best discovery this year? 

For me it’s a band called Respire. They’re signed to our friends over at Church Road Records for their latest EP, and it’s the perfect mixture of Hardcore, Skramz, Post-Rock (plus they have violins and trumpets?!?!). Their record, Black Line, is really worth a listen to and I hope they come over to the UK when things clear up. 

Label Highlight of 2020

Probably the release of Parachute For Gordo’s 4th LP. It was amazing to be a part of that album, not just as a label but even seeing the record being made and playing on it too!! I’m also pretty proud of the steps we’ve taken to make the label carbon neutral and eco-friendly this year (thank you furlough). 

As this is our 10th year of Rad Releases, we want to look back on your 10 years- has there been on standout moment/standout record of the past 10 years for you?

I have a lot of highlights, whether that be tours, shows or certain releases. But for me and BSR I would say that a really special moment was being able to release Drawings’ Seven Deadly Sins as a 10 year anniversary release last summer. That was a record and a band which I don’t think got the recognition they should have outside of the Hampshire/South Coast scene. But hopefully now with the release of Salem’s EP (which is basically Drawings plus Will from Creeper) that more people will discover this record. 

Artist/Band to watch for 2021

PETSEMATARY, Buds, Brutalligators, Lastelle, Our Nameless Boy, Modern Rituals, Palm Reader, Floods In Japan, Kern Parks. I could list so many incredible people to keep an eye but that’s probably a whole article in itself. 

Label Plans for the New Year

Well, we’ve got a lot planned and while in 2020 we only released one album, we’ve currently got about 3/4 planned at this point. The only thing we’ve announced for 2021 so far is the vinyl for the new Lastelle EP (out February 26th) which is very excited and definitely a band to keep an eye on. But we’re hoping to have some big shows happening too which we’re really excited for. 

Thank you Joe, we can’t wait to see what 2021 will bring for team BSR!

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