Speedy Wunderground is the London-based label founded by producer Dan Carey (loads of stuff – from Kate Tempest to Childhood, Goat Girl, Bat For Lashes and even Kylie’s ‘Slow’) and co-run with engineer Alexis Smith and A&R Pierre Hall.
Specialising in limited 7″ singles and the very occasional 10″, recorded with an admirable air of spontaneity in Carey’s Streatham, South London studio, their releases are run-to-the-record-shop-quick collectable. But if you happen to miss any, the label handily compiles them into annual collections of their output. The latest is due out on July 27, is titled ‘Speedy Wunderground – Year 3’ and features artists including Melt Yourself Down, JW Ridley, Warmduscher and a collaboration between Boxed In & Formation.
The label’s latest release is by super-hyped Londoners Black Midi (we frothed about Black Midi here), pictured above, and you can listen to the B-side of that release, ‘Savage Gary’s dbdbdb’, in the premiere below. A reworking of the A-side, ‘bmbmbm’, it’s previously only been available on the 7″ release SW024, which came out as a run of 250 copies and is scarcer than a kind Tory.
To mark the milestone birthday, Pierre Hall looks back on three years of Speedy Wunderground by nominating the label’s five greatest releases so far.
JW Ridley – ‘Everything (Deathless)’
Catalogue number: SW020
Released: February 10 2017
Who are they: Solo project of art student/musician Jack Ridley
How we found them: “His manager works with me at my music-company day job. He sent me a link to a few of his own home produced demos – and I was blown away. They were so fully formed already.”
What makes it great: “The delivery of the vocal. The sincerity. It was everything I loved – The Cure, Arthur Russell – but with something uniquely his own. Then when he got in with Dan [Carey], he added live drums (courtesy of Liam Hutton, Boxed In) and it came to life. Then on the eight-minute version Dan extends it into this total kraut-pop whig out; bleeps, synths and god knows what else – but it sounds amazing and just builds and builds. This is my favourite ever Speedy release.”
Kate Tempest & Loyle Carner, ‘Guts’
Catalogue number: SW009
Released: 8th December 2014
Who are they: Critically acclaimed artist / poet / author / playwright Kate Tempest. Brit & Mercury nominated-rapper Loyle Carner.
How we found them: “Dan’s known Kate for ages and is her regular collaborator/producer. Loyle I found on a random blog trailing the internet before he’d blown up and I sent it to Dan straight away saying simply ‘we have to work with him’.”
What makes it great: “Loyle’s voice is so genuine, you can’t help but be affected by it. And Kate – well Kate is Kate, a force of nature. Dan had the idea to put them together and made the beat, adding this Emad Raam sample he found. The results were astounding, lyrically especially.”
FEWS – ‘ILL’
Catalogue number: SW012
Released: 15th June 2015
Who are they: Swedish / UK post punk outfit.
How we found them: “A good friend of mine sent me an early demo of ‘The Queen’.”
What makes it great: “An important release for us as we were with them from the very beginning and Dan ended up doing their album with them as a result. Striking, powerful and again – the eight minute version just builds – I like it when we have to spread the track over two parts on the 7”. Otherwise Dan will normally do a dub version on the B-Side.”
Catalogue number: SW007
Released: 7th April 2014
Who are they: Short lived London all-girl 3 piece who were subsequently signed to Island Records.
How you found them: “We’ve known Cherish (Kaya, bassist. Kaya Kaya records/Ipso Facto/XL/NTS) for ages as everyone does. A great girl with great taste.”
What makes it great: “Important for me as it was my first release after joining the label. It’s an absolute banger – like a disco ESG. They split before even releasing an album which makes it even more special/rare.”
Scotti Brains, ‘Keep Your Eyes Open Boy’
Catalogue number: SW004
Released: 2nd September 2013
Who are they: Dan Carey / Oli Bayston (Boxed In) / Beth Buxton (Oli’s wife) / Liam Hutton (Boxed In)
How you found them: “Friendship.”
What makes it great: “There’s nothing better than loving music made by all of your best friends and being astounded by the results. For me this single encapsulates Speedy perfectly; spontaneous, off the cuff and long!”