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Gringo Records

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

When I was younger, I wasn't really concerned about labels. Did it really matter who released the music I was listening to? Yet, I was clearly missing a trick as finding a good label can open you up to a whole new world of sound. In many ways, it is a matter of trust. Finding a good label, a label on the same wavelength as you can be a particularly liberating experience. Just as you can turn to a good friend for those ever-valuable recommendations, there are record labels that you can always count on to deliver the goods.

Gringo Records is an independent, Nottingham-based label which celebrated its 15th year in 2012. I first became aware of Gringo through its significant links to the Leeds music scene and, in particular, the mighty post-punk absurdists Bilge Pump. Gringo Records are, in part, responsible for my love of the ever vibrant Leeds underground.

The label is eternally tied to the city's finest venues, such as the Brudenell Social Club, Wharf Chambers and the Cardigan Arms. We really don't need that new arena. Who wants to stand miles away from Bruce Springsteen, paying a small fortune for a small beer when you could be at the Brudenell watching Gringo's latest signings?

The label's sound has veered from the odd time-signatures and Beefheart-ian revelry of bands like Nottingham's Lords, Spin Spin the Dogs and Bilge Pump, to the current resurgence of all things motorik and psychedelic via Vision Fortune, Cold Pumas and Hookworms. For some quality punk rock, you can't go wrong with the likes of Broken Arm, Sauna Youth and Grey Hairs. The label remains a diverse playground where bands are supported to follow their instincts and make something special.

If I see the Gringo label on a record, I know it's worth investigating. With a label like Gringo, you feel involved in the process and you know that there's a level of care and attention to everything they do. You can't say the same about the huge mainstream labels. I caught up with Hookworms vocalist and Suburban Home Studio owner MJ and asked him what made Gringo a special label to him:

"I'm wearing my Gringo Records shirt right now; I carry my stuff to work in a Gringo Records tote bag. To be a part of such an incredible lineage means more to me than I could ever overstate. Growing up in Nottingham and seeing Wolves of Greece open for Fugazi probably changed my life.

I moved to Leeds and Bilge Pump became my Fugazi. The first record I bought after arriving here was the Bilge Pump/Brown Owl split. The first time I saw Kogumaza (members of Wolves of Greece) play (at the Packhorse opening for Zomes) I left resolute I would buy a wah-pedal. I did, and I took this wah-pedal to a practice with the new garage band my friends had formed. This band became Hookworms and we released a split 7in with Kogumaza on Gringo Records. We also now feature a member of Brown Owl.

Matt Gringo cooks the best Aubergine Parmigianino I've ever tasted"

Go and buy some records:

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