The Top 10 Record Label Names

By Scott Morrow
October 20, 2008
Lord knows that there are thousands of record labels in the world. So how does one go about separating itself from the rest (other than through awesome music)? That would be with a good name. Thankfully, these labels all have great music as well.

Here’s a look at the best names of currently active labels (in alphabetical order):

1. Alternative Tentacles

Why would Jello Biafra settle for an ordinary name? Alternative Tentacles could reference the outspoken owner’s far-reaching releases, or it could be a metaphor for an alternative to battle the slimy spread of big brother’s observation.

2. Blast First (Petite)

Named after an early 20th Century British Vorticist magazine, Blast First (Petite) contains a similarly avant-garde spirit, releasing records in the UK by adventurers of modern rock.

3. Cryptogramophone

The prefix “crypto” can stand for a number of things, including secrecy and an intestinal parasite. It’s up to each listener to decide whether this experimental jazz label is merely lurking beneath the radar or inducing illness.

4. Hydra Head

Combine mythology (or nerdery) with great tunes and odds are that you’ll win us over.

5. Ipecac

Like Cryptogramophone, Ipecac conjures images of gastrointestinal badness, noting its namesake’s abilities with the tagline “Making people sick since 1999.” We imagine that Ipecac, also like Cryptogramophone, simply has too much quality shit for mainstream music fans to handle.

6. Lovepump United

Where would this list be without some sort of phallic allusion?

7. Mimicry
In an industry full of repetition, Mimicry Records is a misnomer; this label run by Secret Chiefs 3 composer Trey Spruance has some of the best, most inventive artists around. Spruance gets bonus points for using Web of Mimicry as the name for his online home.

8. Ninja Tune

Shadowy hip hop + stealthy martial arts? We’re sold.

9. Planet Mu

Also written as Planet μ, this English IDM label is named after the first syllable of the word “music,” not after our bovine friends.

10. Thrill Jockey

With an audacious and expansive catalog, Thrill Jockey is aptly named and a wonderful resource for those that seek musical exhilaration.

Runners-Up:

Lengua Armada Discos

Luddite Rural Recording Cooperative

My Pal God

The Social Registry

Smalltown Supersound

By Scott Morrow October 20, 2008
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