Whether by choice or by chance, you have entered the internet compound of BLOODSHOT RECORDS, an independent record label based in Chicago, IL.
If you are brand new to the music and artists on Bloodshot, heard some nice things about them and became a bit curious, or heard some scurrilous accusations that titillated the gossip-monger that lies deep within us all, we invite you to take a pause in your busy day to hang around our site awhile and get to know us . We hope you like what you hear and that you’ll become frequent visitors and avid fans of some truly original music.
If you’re an old friend and ally, we want to thank you for your ongoing support, for going out to see shows, for buying the music, for informing your friends who have inferior tastes to yours in the error in their ways, and sticking with us in these times of media consolidation and homogenization.
The music biz is, after all, a venal snake pit where innovation, creativity and honest business practices are actively discouraged in favor of get rich quick, flavor of the month pre-packaged dreck appealing to accountants and advertisers instead of music lovers; where twerking to generate page views is more important than scrappy, from-the-heart artistic expression. This racket is far from a meritocracy: it's a crap shoot taking place in a septic tank balanced on the prow of the Titanic with 1,001 quickdraw snarky, dumbshits and know-it-alls pounding on the sides with baseball bats and keyboards.
We need all the help we can get and you have our continuing gratitude.
Since 1994, Bloodshot Records has championed the music that lurks between genres. We've always been drawn to the good stuff nestled in the dark, nebulous cracks where punk, country, soul, pop, bluegrass, blues and rock n roll mix and mingle and mutate. We like artists who work over American roots forms with chains and velvet gloves with little regard for formality or protocol, who aren't afraid to molest and caress these forms and take music into uncharted and exciting waters. They don't listen to the taste-makers or trend-watchers—hell, most of the time they don't even listen to us.
What we all share is a punk/DIY ethic of expression; we all appreciate that music is only innovative and interesting when you're willing to take chances with it, to follow your instincts. By not bothering with stylistic straitjackets, we haven't made it too easy for anyone to get a solid grasp on what we do or what to call it—sometimes we don't even know, but that's what makes running this asylum so much fun. It's never boring.
What do we call it? We call it music, buddy boy.
If you want unaffected rock and roll, we got it. You want some old school honky tonk untarnished by the shit Nashville has chosen to promote for the last generation? We got it. Psychedelic-inflected roots or catchy pop gems? Look no further. Deep, DEEP soul filtered through the prism of garage or surf? Yeah, baby. You want blistering fast psychobilly or thrash-grass? Yup, we got that, too. We’ve also got hundreds of sonic variations in between. Yes, a lot of it defies easy pigeonholing, but we think that's a strength, not a damnable quality or a marketing liability. The organic re-invention of music is what keeps music alive and we seek out like minded artists.
Help us support this great music, won't you? The Wal-Martization and Kardashianing of America continues unabated. Small labels, independent retail and innovative radio are becoming rarer than humility on a cable TV reality show. The end result is less choice for the discerning music fan.
We invite you to grab a frosty beverage, roam around the site, check out some new sounds and keep an open mind. Help us fight the good fight. If you like what you hear, help spread the gospel. Support independent retailers, call radio stations, annoy bloggers, bring friends to shows and help keep these struggling artists on the road. And don't assume rampant piracy and intellectual property theft don't hurt every last one of our artists. They aren’t looking to make millions, they just want to make enough to bring their art to you.
Fads come and go, but Harlan Howard's maxim of "three chords and the truth" never goes out of style. After all the time we've been doing this, we still wake up mornings (or, er, sometimes in the afternoon) excited about something we've heard, a new band we've seen, or a minor victory in the battle to dent to the world's ever-shortening attention span.
From our shabby compound on a bleak stretch of Irving Park Road on the Northwest Side of Chicago (between the dour Serbian butcher shop and the always empty Ecuadorian restaurant), we will, with your support, continue to forge ahead in an environment hostile to the little guy and keep making music that matters. Help us keep our steel-toed boots on the throats of the forces responsible for the free fall decline of the contemporary music scene.
As Joe Strummer taught us, search out the good stuff, go underground and don't buy what's shoved in front of you. Or the words of wisdom from those great unheralded punk rabble-rousers Crass "If you don't like the rules they make, refuse to play their game." Amen.
With love, ongoing hope and a long simmering rage,
Your pals at Bloodshot Records