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Rad Releases 23 – Safe Suburban Home Records

December 20, 2023

Rad Releases 23 – Safe Suburban Home Records

Our annual end-of-year feature is finally here, the time we enjoy the most where we spend the final two weeks of the year discussing the music that made 2023 special. Our Rad Releases feature is now in its 13th year, and we love sharing the site with musicians, labels, and promoters as we discuss their year in music. We take a personal look back on familiar names’ most loved releases of the past 12 months. It’s a time we enjoy and look forward to, through the contributions we get to find new music discoveries, and releases we may have missed throughout the year. 

Our next take-over comes from a label that has just blown it out of the water this year. We’ve always been immensely impressed by Safe Suburban Home but this year they’ve given us some of the most vital records of the year and a personal favourite song (looking at you Dignan PorchElectric Threads”). This year the label has given us more in terms of releases, formats and venturing out on the road bringing bands to tour the UK. We’ve loved discovering their catalogue this year and finding new bands to obsess over, we hand over to Jim of Safe Suburban Home to find out more about the label’s year in music.

Top 5 releases of the year

1. Diners – Domino – Bar None Records

This is just such a perfect record, and it’s been on in our house non-stop since it was released.  Every track is brilliant, all the details are there.  It’s almost as if someone has written a record with my unique personal taste in mind.  The highlight for me – ‘Someday I’ll Go Surfing’.  Just the right amount of bite and lovely percussion touches.

2. Gladie – Don’t Know What You’re In Unit You’re Out – Plum Records

This record was doing the rounds a bit in the Teenage Tom Petties group chats earlier in the year when we were looking for production references for Hotbox Daydreams.  I really love the sound of this album, it’s very hi-fi but it retains a certain grittiness, and the vocal performance is amazing. As a ridiculous detail, I really like the hi-hats. So well done that person who performed / engineered / mixed those, lovely stuff.

3. Terry – Call Me Terry – Upset The Rhythm

My dad (also called Terry) gave me the heads-up about this record.  He was so right, they were completely new to me this year, but it’s just totally solid. I can’t put my finger on what makes it so good, but it’s great all the way through. My vinyl copy has taken a battering this year!

4. The Lost Days – In The Store – Speakeasy Studios SF

I have a bizarre relationship with music. I know exactly when I heard this for the first time, and I always think back to it (Thursday 8th June if you’re interested).  I was sat in Repeating Cloud HQ in Portland, ME completely stressing about the next few day’s activities. This record came on and immediately calmed me down. Galen at Repeating Cloud has the best taste.

5. Cut Worms – S/T – Jagjaguwar

This was a real long burner for me.  I must have tried it 4 or 5 times until it clicked, I knew I liked it, but it took a while to really appreciate how good it was.  It’s just a perfect pop record, with just a subtle amount of ‘wonk’ applied.  I’m really surprised it’s not really received a lot of critical acclaim this year.

The best show you have hosted this year

This year I put on some SSH showcase shows in November. I’ve done a bit of promotion in the past, but organising shows really stresses me out. There are far too many variables that you just can’t control when you’re acting as a promoter. This time I approached it a bit differently.  A bunch of the SSH bands hosted the shows in their own cities and this really helped take some of the pressure off me from organising everything.

The shows were brilliant, I’ve not had so much fun in ages.  The best thing is working with these wonderful bands on the label. I’d love to say that at SSH we deal with musicians who share the label ethos of being kind, fair and about community. The gang we had for the November shows totally do share these values!  Massive thanks to Wandering Summer, The Planes, Sumos, Dignan Porch and Teenage Tom Petties for making it happen.

A final note on these shows.  I spent most of the night hanging around the merch desk trying to sell records, tapes and t-shirts. I was humbled by the amount of people who popped over for a chat about the label, people I’ve met via email and social media who are super cool in real life!

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

Yup, my god, Mo Troper ‘MTV’. How did I come to this so late?!?  I’m completely obsessed with all of Mo’s output, be it his releases or the ones he’s worked on production-wise (Diners especially).  I’ve spent the year basically moving between this record and the Diners record.

Best discovery this year?

Mo Troper – see above 😊

Label Highlight of 2023

There’s been so many highlights this year. The shows and the development of the artists on the roster have been great. I suppose the main metric that surprised me was when I was comparing sales year on year.  The label has doubled its sales in 2023 compared to 2022.  I feel like I’ve been packaging up a lot more orders this year, but I was shocked at how busier it’s been.  It’s nice as I don’t feel like I’m doing anything differently, the ethos and ethics are the same, but people appear to be digging the musical output and I’m seeing so many returning customers. I can confirm it’s the best feeling in the world.

Artist/Band to watch for 2024

There’s a band from Leeds called Tulpa who I’m really into at the moment.  They’ve only got a handful of tracks online, but everyone I talk to speaks so highly of them.  It reminds me of some of the 2011/12 era stuff that really got me back into ‘guitar’ music again.  I’m desperately trying to get to see them live.

Label Plans for the New Year

More of the same.  It’s going to be busy.  I’ve got a load of deals done already, I’m working on some incredible collaborations at the moment, and then there are a couple of aspirational deals I’m trying to make happen.  Just need to make sure the day job doesn’t get in the way of it all.

Thank you once again to the Safe Suburban Home team for giving us so much to discover this year, 2024 will no doubt provide once more.

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