By Jon Milton
I’ve been a fan of the Rolling Stones album ‘Let it Bleed’ since my teens, and up to a few weeks was completely unaware of artist other than the Stones that had a song that went by that name. Ignoring the cover versions, there are loads though, by Goat, The Used, Unlike Pluto, Cough, Smrtdeath, Boysetsfire, King Gizzard and the Lizard, Dead Birds & Blind Kids, John Phillips, the list goes on.
The reason for this discovery? A new EP called Let it Bleeds, the first to be issued on Kitchen Practice, a new label based in London and the North-East. Each track on the EP is called Let it Bleed, but they’re all different songs, covers of The Rolling Stones, Goat, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and John Phillips respectively. The eclectic and idiosyncratic set of new artists featured on the EP range from the psych-folk of Spider Noises, the ambient electronica of Friends of the Monday Table, the art rock of Women’s Fashion and the garage rock of Pink Poison.
It’s good too, and fun!. A wry, playful set of songs that sound like they’ve come from a lost tape from 1968. The EP kicks off with Spider Noises psych-folk version of the Stones song, followed by Women’s Fashion’s quirky take on the Goat version, and ends with Pink Poison’s deranged lo-fi version of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s track. The highlight of the EP for me though is Friends of the Monday Table’s clever deconstruction of John Phillips’s folky number, which is converted into a trippy chill out number, that with a bit of tweaking could quite reasonably have come from an ancient Boards of Canada session.
Some of the songs were put together by the bands in isolation after the lockdown began, just when label head honcho Lloyd Bolton thought the EP would have to be put on ice. Individual parts were recorded and bounced back and forth until they arrived at the finished tracks.
Lloyd explains his motivations for starting a record label and the EP below.
I’ve always loved the idea of record labels that have their own identity that goes beyond the bands they have. Since discovering Courtney Barnett I’ve been particularly obsessed with her label Milk! Records, not because of the individual artists (who are great) but for the community they constitute together, starring in each other’s videos, touring together and making compilation albums together. The idea of starting Kitchen Practice off by releasing a compilation was largely inspired by Milk! as well as other favourites like Slow Dance, Speedy Wunderground and Bedroom Suck.
I’ve always liked the idea of indie music because it’s all about making up your own rules and not taking yourself too seriously. I feel like beginning life with a compilation of four different songs, each called Let It Bleed is a good mission statement in that regard. It’s a rather silly, tongue-in-cheek concept but has produced some great songs.
For me, that’s exactly what having your own label is about. Similarly, I feel like the weekly Instagram feature of a Kitchen Practice Kitchen Object of the week sets the right tone for the label. (The Kitchen Object is a picture of something from my actual real kitchen, which I rate out of ten for ‘kitchenality’, ‘practicality’, ‘musicality’ and ‘significance to music history’ (and ‘bonus let it bleed factor’ at the moment)- you can see the first four entries on the KP insta now.)
There was also a pragmatic reason for starting the label. All of the bands on Kitchen Practice constitute my immediate music-making community. I am in Friends of the Monday Table and Women’s Fashion, Spider Noises is the solo project of Women’s Fashion’s drummer Jack Calvesbert and Pink Poison is a band Jack is in with Tyler and their mate Louis.
With these four unsigned bands around, I was immediately attracted to the idea of grouping them together on a label, since we would probably have just ended up releasing our stuff separately anyway (indeed, Spider Noises and Pink Poison already have their own stuff out already on their respective Bandcamp pages).
It allows us to establish ourselves in reference to each other and maps out the range of output from each of us for people. In short, my love of indie labels and their capacity to express my favourite things about independent music are so integral to my enjoyment of the music they put out, it seemed obvious to start my own label to put out my own music and that of my friends.
Let it Bleeds is released today. You can listen to the entire EP here.