Over the last 10 years, Transgressive has gone from a bedroom-run indie to one of the most well respected labels in the UK, releasing records from the likes of Foals, Mystery Jets, Pulled Apart By Horses, The Subways, Circa Waves, Alvvays and Johnny Flynn to name a few. You can read what some of those bands have to say about the label and the masterminds behind it – Toby L and Tim Dellow – in this week’s magazine. While some of the label’s acts have gone on to great commercial success, others have stayed as more cult concerns – still brilliant but overshadowed in the general consciousness by their chart-bothering peers. Here’s five great Transgressive tracks time forgot.
Duels – ‘Potential Futures’
Leeds band Duels’ debut single set out their stall as a group who could craft a song that was both anthemic and energetic enough to rival Kaiser Chiefs’ unstoppable bounce. Support slots with Graham Coxon and an equally bold debut album ‘The Bright Lights And What We Should Have Learned’ followed soon after, but they never quite managed to burrow into the general public’s consciousness like the rest of their hometown scene.
Jeremy Warmsley – ‘Dirty Blue Jeans’
Before he was one half of Summer Camp, Jeremy Warmsley was a solo artist specializing in heartfelt folk-pop with an experimental edge. This soaring 2006 single was released as limited edition run of seven-inches, packaged in a denim sleeve, with a jean pocket on the front holding a DVD.
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – ‘Buriedfed’
Transgressive released the eponymous debut LP from Brooklyn singer-songwriter Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson and this first single from it was a masterclass in subtle but raw songwriting. “He didn’t like people much at all/Tasted much better with alcohol/Well, you know how that one goes,” sang Robinson other gentle acoustic strums and swelling Arcade Fire-esque orchestration, simultaneously hinting at his troubles with addiction and immersing his listeners in a world of emotion and despair.
So So Modern – ‘Keychain Dolphins’
Transgressive might be more readily associated with guitar-wielding indie bands but there’s an eclecticism to their approach that’s seen them sign the likes of Flume, Gaggle and Africa Express. They also released the ‘Friendly Fires + 000 EPs’ by New Zealand experimental electro band So So Modern. ‘Keychain Dolphins’ is the one of the highlights of that release, a skittering loop of glitchy beats and shrill whirrs that winds into something eerie and infectious.
Battle – ‘Children’
The existence of four-piece Battle often felt like a struggle, after an initial burst of brilliance. Their debut album was originally delayed with the band citing an improvement in their writing that meant they culled what they’d been working on, put some of it out as mini-album ‘Back To Earth’ and started again. A full LP was never officially released, although tracks apparently intended for the record were later leaked online. Tracks like the urgent, sonorous ‘Children’ are hints at what could have been.