A consensus seems to be growing that Los Angeles is in the midst of a renaissance for independent music. In a recent Sunday feature, we set out to discover just how it is that while the major labels continue to suffer layoffs and severe sales losses, this city’s scrappy, savvy, taste-driven indie imprints have, in fact, been thriving. As a corollary to that, we’ve spoken to and profiled 12 of L.A.’s most active young labels, from artist-owned black metal powerhouse Southern Lord to chart-climbing indie rock outlet Danger Bird to progressive hip-hop imprint Anticon. Here’s hoping they’ll all end up in a GZA song some day.
Sargent House (Echo Park)
Longtime talent manager Cathy Pellow started Sargent House in 2006 with one artist: Seal Beach prog-punk band Rx Bandits, who were ready to call it quits after selling around 150,000 records through MCA/Geffen and, according to Pellow, "never seeing a penny." Today, her stable comprises "a middle class of awesome musicians," also proggily inclined, able to live off their earnings. She also manages a sister label co-run by the Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez.