Rad Releases 20 – Libertino Records
We’ve had a late contender into our end of year feature and this contribution needed to be shared. For the last takeover of our Rad Releases 2020 special we hand the site over to a label that has been instrumental in our year. We are in awe of Libertino and their plethora of ever-growing talented artists.
Libertino Records is a label that we cherish and has to be a label that is featured on the site the most, especially throughout 2020. Throughout the year, this label has continued to introduce us to the most compelling artists and their exciting releases. 4 of their artists and the albums released via Libertino became shortlisted for this years Welsh Music Prize, they’ve introduced us to several new acts we are obsessed with (Clwb Fuzz/ Tacsidermi), then they pushed some of the best new music of 2020- including records from Keys and Kidsmoke, which have been featured heavily on a lot of musicians’ end of year lists. We handover to Gruff to close our feature on a high.
It feels slightly strange picking label releases but this year, more so than any other, I have been living inside the Libertino bubble. Lockdown had a strange effect on me in that I couldn’t listen to new music for a long time. I retreated to my comfort records for months, it was a lot aaaaaahhh lot of The Beatles 🙂 I dived back into the first three post Beatles solo albums, George Harrison, ‘All Things Must Pass’; Paul McCartney, ‘McCartney’; and John’s, ‘Plastic Ono Band’, and I fell in love with them all over again. 60s Stones especially ‘Aftermath’, ‘Flowers’ and ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’ (any album with ‘She’s a Rainbow’ and ‘2000 Light Years From Home’ on it, should be looked at again!) Motown (Motown Chartbusters Volume 3, I love this 60s compilation, always a pick me up morning record, it’s like liquid sunshine pouring into your ears and making everything better!). 80s Electro Pop, Yazzo (Upstairs at Eric’s) Bronski Beat (The Age of Consent) and finally I got into ‘Avalon’ by Roxy Music and ‘Our Favourite Shop’, The Style Council.
As I have been working from home since March I made a point of grabbing a handful of CD’s from the collection on my way to the makeshift new office upstairs with my morning coffee, it was nice to dive back into records I had even forgot I had and those would be my soundtrack for the day.
Georgia Ruth – ‘Mai’
Georgia’s debut album, ‘Week of Pines’. is one of my all time favourite albums and her 3rd album ‘Mai’ is up there too, wonderful imagery and imaginative arrangements make for a very special album.
Kidsmoke – ‘A Vision In The Dark’
KEYS – ‘Home Schooling’
PrivatePrivet World – ‘Aleph’ World – ‘Aleph’
I got into the album via their amazing single ‘Hypnagogia’. If you like Sophisti-pop and classy Sax solos as though it is 1985 again, this is an album for you. It’s my most played album this year.
Ani Glass – ‘Mirores’
This is an album that’s really grown to be a big favourite with every listen over this year, dark city synth pop that really take you to a different place.
El Goodo – ‘Zombie’
They are one of the best bands from Wales period!! ‘Zombie’ displays genius songwriting and arrangement/production.
Phoebe Bridgers – ‘Punisher’
‘Kyoto’ is song of the year, and I just love this album, everything she creates feels so new and inspired, no clichés.
Working Men’s Club – ‘Working Men’s Club’
Dark brooding and captivating, this became our Saturday morning album. Really looking forward to seeing them live.
SISTER WIVES – ‘Gweler Ein Gofyd’
This was a late discovery at the end of the year and what a discovery, I haven’t been able to stop playing this EP.
Other big favourites were ‘Chaos Wonderland by ‘Colorama’, ‘Pastille’ EP by HMS Morris, ‘Are You Happy Now?’ by Nile Marr.
The best show you have played this year / gig attended (if you had the opportunity at the start of the year)
I can’t remember what my last show was to be honest?? It could have been the KEYS album launch for ‘Bring Me The Head of Jerry Garcia’ at The Gate in Cardiff, it was an amazing celebration show with KEYS at their best. So much love for them in the room I get really emotional thinking about it. Kidsmoke were support that night and cemented my wish to work with them as their perfectly crafted melodies filled the venue as light eliminating the dark.
Everything else has been digital shows this year, two really stand out. Georgia Ruth did an Instagram live album launch show from her living room for her album ‘Mai’, that was really special and you felt you were part of a really great moment watching it.
Adwaith performed a set streamed live on Lŵp, Welsh music channel, just before Christmas. It was magical, really missed seeing them play live this year and I had real butterflies in my stomach before they played pacing the kitchen in anticipation. They killed it, tight, confident and dynamic.
Has there been any record that’s got you through this year?
Working with Kidsmoke and KEYS on their album campaigns was special and a really positive experience. Both such great albums and the positive reaction to them was like sunshine breaking through the dark clouds.
Kidsmoke – ‘A Vision In The Dark’
KEYS – ‘Home Schooling’
Listening to demos and mixes of albums we will be releasing next year was an exciting experience as always, seeing ideas blossoming into fully realised records.
Best discovery this year?
They are a post – punk / psychedelic band from Sheffield but sing mostly in Welsh. They have a unique exhilarating sound. Can’t wait to hear more from them, their debut EP was my favourite and most played this year.
Label Highlight of 2020
It was such a privilege to have 4 albums released by Libertino shortlisted for the Welsh Music Prize. Kidsmoke, ‘A Vision In The Dark’; KEYS, ‘Bring Me The Head Of Jerry Garcia’; Silent Forum, ‘Everything Solved At Once’; Los Blancos, ‘Sbwriel Gwyn’. This was a massive highlight, we believed fully in these releases and it meant a lot to the artists, who poured their hearts and souls into the songs, to have the recognition, especially during what has been a difficult year.
Adwaith receiving PPL Momentum funding to support their second album was a wonderful way to finish the year. It will really make a difference for them in the reach of the album.
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?
For me personally it would have been a Christmas gig at the Parrot music venue in Carmarthen, 5 years ago. That was the gig where ARGRPH and Adwaith played and it was their magical performances that compelled me to sign them and working with those bands changed my life. They ignited a fire in me that is still burning bright to support bands and young artists so that they have an opportunity to fly creatively.
Actually the opening of the Parrot as a venue was one of the pivotal moments in Welsh music of the last 10 years. It is one reason why West Wales and especially Carmarthenshire has such a healthy scene now. The Parrot became the heart of the creative community and that community DIY punk spirit is still here driving things forward. We didn’t wait for Cardiff or London to tell us we were cool, we already knew. The difference with this scene is that it is unapologetically confident and supportive.
Gwenno – ‘Y Dydd Ola’
This is my stand out album of the last 10 years, it’s a classic album already and the confidence it gave Welsh musicians can’t be underestimated.
Artist/Band to watch for 2021
New on Libertino, Bandicoot and Tacsidermi for sure. Bandicoot are very exciting, I remember getting into Suede in school when they released ‘Animal Nitrate’ and I feel the same about Bandicoot. They have that bohemian poetic glamour married to the cold inner city reality of living in a post industrial landscape. With the album they have already recorded they will be the band on everyone’s lips next year.
Tacsidermi after only one single they have already started to capture everyone’s imagination. Like Gwenllian’s other band Adwaith you can’t define Tacsidermi musically, yes it’s got psychedelic leanings but you also hear the Happy Mondays and Madchester as well as the minimal driving motorik groove of Neu! Gwenllian’s voice is a revelation, emotional and hypnotic. I can’t wait to release more and get them really established as a new exciting voice that they are in Welsh music in 2021.
Label Plans for the New Year
We have seven albums scheduled for release next year as well as re-releasing older Libertino albums on vinyl that originally came out on CD only. It’s our 4th birthday on April 10th and we are planning to have a party, even if it’s a digital one. There will be a special release around that time to coincide. Gigs and tours coming back when it’s safe again is obviously a big one for us all. I’m feeling positive for the new year and to getting the great music we are sitting on, out for everyone to hear.
Thank you Gruff and the entire Libertino team who have kept us inundated with the most vital releases of 2020.