101 Cassette Labels

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In the 1980s, cassette labels played a vital role in the distribution of underground music, most notably in the noise, industrial, and punk scenes of the time. Easy and relatively inexpensive to produce, cassettes became a common format for the circulation of music lacking popular appeal. Although the majors produced cassettes as well, many of the producers of these underground labels saw their DIY business model as a stance against the greed of the mainstream music industry. Connections made through distribution and information sharing among the artists and musicians in these circles helped to establish a network for those involved.

In the age of GarageBand, Myspace, and file sharing, it may come as a surprise to some that cassette labels are still very much in operation. Tapes now function as a basic form of patronage between musicians and their audience; since a physical format is no longer necessary to send or receive music, these objects become a gesture of support. Tapes act to make tangible the connection between a creator and their listeners, and the attentive and often handmade packaging speaks to this exchange. One instance of this relationship is revealed in the description provided for the Gilgongo Records “Singular Set” series, a run of cassette releases recorded directly onto the tape by the musician in an edition of one. Gilgongo’s James Fella explains that for the project, “…the emphasis is on reaching out and sharing something specific with one other person, that an unrepeated portion of time and creation was individually cut and passed on to one other person to hold onto as their own.”

Cassettes also yield a grainy, degraded sound quality, an aspect that has its own appeal. The draw to this sound can be read as a type of nostalgia, Paul Hegarty in “The Hallucinatory Life of Tape” writes:

Within the dying of media comes the passing or slow dying of individual units - tapes, records, cylinders, cartridges - all of which decay, and in so doing, seem to take on characteristics of having lived. Once digital media arrive as ‘other’, as cyborg sound, the analogue seems to breathe, however rasping the sound. Nostalgia and melancholy imbue formats in general and individual items with pneuma (the essential lifeforce or breath of everything in the universe, according to the Stoics).

Thus, the interest in cassette releases today can, in part, be understood as a response to the proliferation of digital media. Within the realm of experimental music, where the sonic and aesthetic attributes of technological decay hold a particular importance and history, one could argue that the current emphasis on cassette releases extends from this lineage, now only heightened by the influence and expanse of digital media. (Perhaps for this reason many of the labels below would fall under the “experimental” or “noise” category.)

In an effort to provide a snapshot of this active community, I’ve decided to compile a list of 101 contemporary cassette labels as a resource. Feel free to insert additional links in the comments field.



American Tapes

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Image: The D.L Savings T.X "Cleopatra...Ruler of the Yard"



Yeay! Tapes

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Image: Bromp Treb "Bricktown Shuffle"



Period Tapes

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Image: Mother Flock, Untitled



Really Coastal

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Image: Antique Brothers, "Hot Shit"



Pizza Night

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Image: Jeff Host, "In Memoriam: Joybubbles"



Gift Tapes

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Image: Brother Raven, diving into the pineapple portal



Night People

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Image: Sewn Leather - "s/t"



Young Tapes

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Image: Steve Young "Wedge of Light"



Slime City Tapes

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Image: Various Artists, "THE BLEND" CASSETTE



Open Range Records

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Image: Vesuvan - Swamp Doctor



Drone Errant Cassettes

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Image: NIGHTMOVES U.K. "RECORDS & GOLD"



Near Tapes
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Image: Knitted Abyss, 'Summer Barn'



Midori Records
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Image: the Midori Box Set



Jugular Forest
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Image: mirror to mirror, "rerest"



Attic Cassettes
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Image: Attic Cassettes



Rayon Records

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Image: Mariners/ Head Effort split



Sloow Tapes

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Image: Benjamin Franklin, Splitsing



Ruido Horrible

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Image: Le Scrambled Debutante



Sky Fi

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Image: Dead Luke CS



bumtapes

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Image: BURNT HILLS, Blunt Greeper



Ick Ick Records

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THE VIBRARIANS, "get out of town"



kindertapes

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Image: f_oeuf, "dieu est un oeuf"



Split Tapes

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Image: OLD BLOOD / TWIN LION SPLIT CASSETTE



Darbolistic Rex

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Image: BONUS BEAST - RASTAFARIAN BACK SCRATCHER



Trapdoor Tapes

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Ark Tarp

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Image: JULIE BO, COLLECTED SONGS 2007 - 2009



Tapetektoniks

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Image: UUHUU "buch"



Blossom Rust Tapes

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Image: kinit her - menial as archivists & bone marrow artifacts



Peasant Magik

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Image: Expo 70, White Ohms



Wagon

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Image: Emeralds - Smoke Signals


Relax with Nature

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Image: Heatsick, "pre-cum fog ballet" & "total afternoon sundae"



Chondritic Sound

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Image: Raglani - Vanity Well



Deep Fried Tapes
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Image: Super Natural Hot Rug and Not Used - "self titled"



905 Tapes

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Image: SOCIAL JUNK - "EIGHT YEARS AGO"



Baked Tapes
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Image: Pork Lion - Contact High



Senseless Empire

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Image: Trigal - 3 Cruces



Fuck It Tapes

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Image: The Wooden Wand & Vanishing Voice - Michel's Portal And Crow Jane Variations



Isolated Now Waves

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Image: STARVING WEIRDOS/SHEARING PINX - Split Cassette



Catholic Tapes

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Image: BEE MASK/SAM GOLDBERG Split



Mistake By The Lake

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Image: ROT TON BONE - WHERE DID YOU GET ALL THOSE ROTTON TONES?



Meudiademorte Records

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Image: CONES - "USE YOUR ILLUSION III"



Existential Cloth Recordings

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Image: derek rogers & hashem assadullahi - "tape loop sax hiss"



El Tule

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Image: Dylan Ettinger - "Bread of the Dead"



Moon Glyph Tapes

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Image: Soothsayer - "Neptune's Daughter"



Digitalis Ltd

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Image: space dive - "twenty-first century sport"



Sonic Meditations

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Image: UMBERTO - "From the Grave"



5nakefork

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Image: Leavenworth / Hunting Rituals - "steel city sermon"



Buried Valley

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Image: Bonecloud - "XI:XI"



Sick Head Tapes

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Image: Skaters - "Dripping Avenues / Wind Drapeing Incense"



Pasalymany Tapes

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Image: METIS YETI - "Dear Despair"



Jerkwave Tapes

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Image: PINK NOISE - "MENAGERIE"



Bezoar Formations

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Image: Sudden Oak-"Causeways of the Sun"



Caligulan Records

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Image: Robedoor - Painted Seer


Plustapes

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Image: Radius - Scatterbrain Tapes Vol. 1



Goaty Tapes

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Image: Caethua/Ancestral Diet - split



FLA Records & Tapes

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Image: A Pink Cloud - Gyogyul



Cloud Valley

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Image: Unmuzzled Ox - Untitled



Shark Bite Tapes

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Image: Yellow Crystal Star - Birds of Vesta



Pendu Sound Recordings

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Image: Mialessot - Birds



Hospital Productions

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Image: Prurient - Time Began In A Garden



Tired Trails Collective

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Image: Harps of Fuchsia Kalmia w/ Delphine Dora-Pantomima Terrrestre



Heavy Tapes

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Image: Failing Lights - Dismal Winds



Paradise Vendors Inc

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Image: CHEATAHS 'MAGIC WEAPONS'



Suplex Cassettes

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Image: An Emergency - 'Wrecked Angles'



Klorofyll Kassetter

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Image: Altar of Flies - Eremiten



exbx tapes

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Image: Color Dream - Darkslide on the Moon



Throne Heap



Two Thousand Tapes

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Image: Chen Santa Maria - Live KFJC cassette



hardscrabble amateurs

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Image: U.S. Girls - U.S. Girls Cassingle



Rampart Tapes

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Image: Walter Carson - Hilltop Reverie



Factotum Tapes

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Image: TEETH COLLECTION - "oddities"



NNA Tapes

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Image: Jefre Sei Getsu Ledesma "Namu Kie Butsu"



Together Tapes

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Image: the moisturizer - 3 headed howl 2



deception island

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Image: Chris Benedetto Madak “Bees Removed” , Fragments “Kinetic Sphere”,
Bee Mask “Shimmering Braid”, Skin Graft “Brick in the Mouth of a Corpse”


Twonicorn

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Image: Envenomist - Black Bile



The Trilogy Tapes

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Image: Field Of Hats - Myriad Features



Oms-b
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Image: Matomeri - "im spitting on my grave"



The RubADub Tape Club
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Image: V/A "The Hello! Project"



Taped Sounds

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Image: Steve Hauschildt - Resplendent



Scumbag Relations

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Image: Leslie Keffer / God Willing - Split



Abandon Ship Records

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Image: Time Life - Open To Both Sides



Not Not Fun

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Image: Blank Realm - The Returner



Inverted^Crux

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Image: WASTED TRUTH



Lost Ghosts Records

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Image: Brendan Sullivan/ Bear & Pieces split tape



Gnar Tapes & Shit

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Image: Argumentix - Quest for Faults



Gilgongo Records
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Image: JAMES FELLA - "Singular Set" (series) cassette



Must Finish

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Image: GIRL TALK - HONOR AMONG THIEVES



Obsolete Units

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Image: Hells Hills - Little Matter Of Death



Earjerk

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Image: Drunjus - Chainmail Future



U|H|U

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Image: RABBITS 'fur'



Tape Drift

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Image: Stone Baby - "Vir Heroicus Subliminus"



Anathema Sound

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Image: Robe. - Desolate Mosaic



Hanson Records

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Image: Andrew Coltrane - Gongs Of Violence


Housecraft Records

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Image: Pink Buffalo - Bearded Tooth



They Live We Sleep Cassettes

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Image: TOBIN'S SPIRIT GUIDE - WASTED DAZE



Monorail Trespassing

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Image: Marble Sky - Sway



Stunned Records

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Image: Fabric/ Sparkling Wide Pressure - Late Clothes / Blue Doorways I - III



Poor Little Music

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Image: Rob Michalchuk - Venus



Disappearance

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Treehouse People - "Bubble Nuts"



Husk Records

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Image: Wretched Worst - Bleeder



RRRecords

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Image: Textured Bird Transmission - Recycled Music



Middle James Co.

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Image: Fossils - Four Cassette Box



Tapeworm Tapes

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Image: Lilypad - The Moon And Air Sparkle