The Greatest Indie Labels Of All Time

20 indie imprints you need to know.


Based: London
Years active: 2004–Present
History: Formed after founders Tim Dellow and Toby L met at a Bloc Party gig a decade ago, Transgressive has been putting out indie’s great and good ever since. The label recently celebrated ten years in the game with a special show at London’s Barbican, headlined by early favourites Mystery Jets.
Essential records: Mystery Jets, ‘Zoo Time’ (2005), Larrikin Love ‘Happy As Annie’ (2005), Foals ‘Antidotes’ (2008), Graham Coxon ‘The Spinning Top’ (2009), The Antlers ‘Burst Apart’ (2011)

Foals – Cassius (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Subscribe to Sub Pop’s YouTube Channel Foals’ YouTube Playlist Foals / Sub Pop “Cassius” from Foals’ 04/08/08 release, Antidotes Order the Album iTunes Amazon Sub Pop Website Like Foals on Facebook Follow Foals on Twitter Sub Pop Records Follow Sub Pop on Twitter Like Sub Pop on Facebook Follow Sub Pop on SoundCloud


Based in: Anstruther, Fife, Scotland
Years active: 1997 – Present
History: When the record shop Kenny Anderson worked in went belly-up, he bought the lease and started flogging home-recorded CDs. It’s retained that communal bonhomie, making it feel like a dusty little haven untouched by the music industry. All of its roster creaks with close-knit vibes.

King Creosote ~ Circle My Demise

“Circle my demise” by King Creosote from the album ‘Rocket D.I.Y’


Based: London
Years Active: 1968 – present
History: Named after reggae legend Duke Reid’s soundsystem, itself namedafter the brand of seven-tonne trucks needed to transport his speakers, Trojan is responsible for some of the best dub, dancehall and rock steady sounds of all time. Such was the imprint’s massive sway with British audiences, it even bred its own subculture: the “Trojan skinhead”, combining mod fashion with Jamaican Rasta style.

Lee Scratch Perry – Studio Black Ark

Lee Scratch Perry – Studio Black Ark 16:9 by blondinreims


Based: London.
Years Active: 2000 – present
History: If guitar jangles and emotional sing-along anthems are your thing, chances are one of your favourite bands from the past decade have passed through Wichita’s doors.

The Cribs – Men’s Needs

Taken from the album “Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever”, available to purchase now from the Wichita Recordings store. Watch more videos by The Cribs – Subscribe to Wichita Recordings -


Based: London
Years Active: 1993 – Present
History: Though its initial batch of releases comprised of licensing underground, American artists in the UK, a stream of new signings found Domino at the forefront of British indie – particularly when they provided an early home for Arctic Monkeys.
Essential records: Sebadoh – ‘Soul And Fire’ (1993); Pavement – ‘Brighten The Corners’ (1997); Franz Ferdinand – ‘Franz Ferdinand’ (2004); Arctic Monkeys – ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ (2006); Wild Beasts ¬ ‘Limbo, Pa

Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor

Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor ( Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, 2006 ) Lyrics: Stop making the eyes at me, I’ll stop making the eyes at you And what it is that surprises me is that I don’t really want you to And your shoulders are frozen (cold as the night) Oh, but you’re an explosion (you’re dynamite) Your name isn’t Rio, but I don’t care for sand And lighting the fuse might result in a bang, b-b-bang, go!


Based: Sheffield, before an early ‘00s move to London
Years Active: 1989 – present
History: Something strange was happening in Northern clubs as the 1980s drew to a close: an eerie new sound. Warp began as an outlet for artists dabbling in this, founded in the back room of a record shop with a government grant.

Warp Records ‎- Artificial Intelligence

Este canal se dedica únicamente a la difusión de la obra de distintos artistas de diferentes partes del mundo, si el material te gusta apoya a los músicos comprando su música. Tracklist: A1.- The Dice Man – Polygon Window A2.- Musicology – Telefone 529 A3.- Autechre – Crystel A4.- I.A.O – The Clan A5.- Speedy J – De-Orbit B1.- Musicology – Preminition B2.- UP!


Based in: Manchester
Years Active:
1978 – 1992
History: Named after a nightclub in Manchester, Factory was the northern abode for post-punk and the ‘Madchester’ scene. Home to New Order, Happy Mondays, James and Joy Division, the legend of its roster was only surpassed by the legend of its fucked financial state. By 1992 Factory Communications had declared bankruptcy, but its considerable back catalogue is testament to 14 years of brilliance.

Joy Division – 06 – She’s Lost Control

Joy Division – 06 – She’s Lost Control (from Unknown Pleasures) (1979)


Based in: London
Years: 1990 – Present
History: They took a punt on the Manic Street Preachers,back when nobody else would touch them with a bargepole. They championed the woozy romance of St Etienne and Doves and the folktronica of Beth Orton. They put on some of the biggest BOSH nights of the ‘90s with their club night The Heavenly Social, providing a platform for the fledgling Chemical Brothers and helping to spawn Big Beat.

TOY – Left Myself Behind

HVN233 – TOY ‘Left Myself Behind’ Directed by Mark Donne Director of Photography Joe Morris. TOY is a Korg Delta led five-piece formed in 2010. It consists of Tom Dougall (Vox/Guitars), Dominic O’Dair (Guitars), Maxim Barron (Bass/Vox), Alejandra Diez (Synthesizers/Modulation) and Charlie Salvidge (Drums/Vox).


Based: London
Years active: 1978 – Present
History: Under Daniel Miller’s stewardship, Mute has become a worship ground for angst-filled and lust-ridden devotees of stern music the world over – and its iconic association with Depeche Mode, helping them become one of the planet’s biggest bands, is cause for celebration on its own. Mute’s brilliance is in its diversity: as natural a home to the sparkling synthpop of Yazoo and Erasure as it is the demonic thundering of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds and Einstürzende Neaubauten.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Into My Arms

Music video by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds performing Into My Arms.

11 DFA

Based: New York
Years Active: 2001 – Present
History: Founded in New York by Mo’ Wax co-founder Tim Goldsworthy and DJ James Murphy, DFA snowballed from an idea hatched at Lower East side parties into an international phenomenon, serving as a launching pad for acts like The Rapture, The Juan MacLean and LCD Soundsystem. These days, neither Goldsworthy or Murphy are much involved in the running of DFA (indeed, the former production partners are currently embroiled in a nasty-sounding lawsuit), leaving co-founder Jonathan Galkin in charge.

LCD Soundsystem, “All my friends”

This song is part of the album, “Sound of silver” and someday (hopefully) will have a proper video.


Based: London
Years Active: 1978 – Present
History: Rough Trade has grown from a small west London record shop into one of Britain’s most beloved independent labels. The early years were marked by releases from Pere Ubu and Subway Sect but it was The Smiths who put Rough Trade on the map, though Morrissey’s relationship with them was testy.

The Smiths – This Charming Man (Official Music Video)

Watch the official music video for The Smiths “What Difference Does It Make?”


Based: Olympia, Washington and Portland, Oregon
Years active: 1991-present
History: The label’s first ever release was 1991’s self-titled compilation featuring Nirvana (‘Beeswax’), Courtney Love (‘Don’t Mix The Colors’) and Bikini Kill (‘Feels Blind’). The origins of riot grrrl and grunge are there.

“Dig Me Out” by Sleater-Kinney

I like this song. Actual video for it coming soon.


Based: Brooklyn
Years Active: 2008–present
History: Founder Mike Sniper started off his label promoting old-school values – taking a punt on bands before they’d been engulfed with hype.

DIIV – Is the Is Are (Full Album) [2016]

Buy on Captured Tracks: Buy on iTunes: Tracklist: 01. Out of Mind (0:00) 02. Under the Sun (3:07) 03. Bent (Roi’s Song) (6:53) 04. Dopamine (12:34) 05. Blue Boredom (feat. Sky Ferreira) (16:30) 06. Valentine (19:03) 07. Yr Not Far (22:21) 08. Take Your Time (25:41) 09.


Based: London
Years Active: 1976-1985, 2007-present
History: Though Stiff has come to be associated with punk and new wave, the label had theirroots in the pub rock scene of the mid-’70s – it was started with a £400 loan from Dr Feelgood’s Lee Brilleaux. Founder Jake Riviera described Stiff’s philosophy as “very simple indeed. Basically, we want to put out singles that are two and a half minutes long and have two and a half chords in them”.

04 I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day by The Pogues

I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day by The Pogues Track #4 From Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash


Based: London
Years Active: 1983-1999
History: Creation went from a champion of doomed-to-obscurity indie acts to being the biggest and most celebrated label of its era. Two things made this possible: being assimilated by Sony in 1992 and the advent of Britpop, with which its legacy is irreversibly entwined. Along the way, however, they also released some of the most seminal records of the ’80s and ’90s.

Oasis || Whats The Story Morning Glory Full Album

Oasis’ second album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? Tracklist: 00:01 Hello 03:24 Roll With It 07:24 Wonderwall 11:43 Don’t Look Back in Anger 16:31 Hey Now 22:13 Some Might Say 27:39 Cast No Shadow 32:31 She’s Electric 36:11 Morning Glory 41:15 Champagne Supernova Definitely Maybe Full Album Edit: Be Here Now Full Album Edit: The Masterplan Full Album Edit: Please like, share and subscribe for more videos.


Based: Seattle
Years active: 1986-present
History: Their ethos, according to co-founder Bruce Pavitt, was to focus on all “this primal rock stuff that was coming out”. So they signed Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Tad and Nirvana. The rest is history and Sub Pop was the epicentre of the grunge explosion. Pavitt left in 1996, after Sub Pop decided to get into bed with Warner.

Nirvana – Love Buzz

Would you believe me when I tell you You are the queen of my heart Please dont deceive me when I hurt you Just aint the way it seems Can you feel my love buzz (x4) (repeated)


Based: Long Beach, California
Years active: 1978-now (sort of)
History: Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn had his own electronics business, Solid State Transmitters, by his early teens. In the late ’70s SST became a label, with a strict anti-establishment ethos that even angered the hardcore scene when SST began releasing more out-there records by Minutemen and Meat Puppets.

Minutemen ‎- Double Nickels on the Dime [FULL ALBUM | HQ SOUND]

Double Nickels on the Dime is the double third studio album by Minutemen, released in 1984 by SST Records. TRACK LISTING: [0:00] “Anxious Mo-Fo” [1:19] “Theatre Is the Life of You” [2:50] “Viet Nam” [4:20] “Cohesion” [6:17] “It’s Expected I’m Gone” [8:22] “#1 Hit Song” [10:11] “Two Beads at the End” [12:04] “Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Truth?”


Based: London
Years active: 1989-present
History: XL began as an offshoot of the Beggars Group, specialising in rave. It has since transcended, however, becoming one of the UK’s most respected indies. XL sign few artists, those they do are afforded total creative freedom.

Radiohead – Burn The Witch

Burn The Witch.


Based: Bristol
Years active: 1987–1995
History: Sarah’s legacy is in thinking gloriously big, and believing that a label is more than a catalogue of disparate releases. They spanned everything from jangly, guitar-pop to ’70s DIY, but they all shared a knack for wide-eyed melodic vulnerability.

The Field Mice – Emma’s House

The Field Mice “Emma’s House” 1988

1 4AD

Based: London
Years active: 1979–Present
History: Birthed as a testing lab for Beggars Banquet, Watts-Russell and Kent bought the label outright in 1980 and established it as a workshop for alternative alchemists, courtesy of Bauhaus and Cocteau Twins, and graphic designer Vaughan Oliver’s artwork.

The National – Graceless

From the new album Trouble Will Find Me, out now: Directed by Sophia Peer – (full credits below) Purchase Trouble Will Find Me from Amazon: Purchase Trouble Will Find Me from 4AD: Purchase Trouble Will Find Me Deluxe Vinyl Box Set: Video credits: Director: Sophia Peer, Producer: Michelle Cameron, DP: Zoe White, Line Producer: Jason Goldman, Production Designer: Kate Stein, Color Grade: Nimblefox