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Three indies that are making music that matters

Three indies that are making music that matters — Here’s a look at EW’s favorite independent record labels that care more about the bands than the bucks

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Nick Lowe
Nick Lowe: Chris Gabrin

STARTIME INTERNATIONAL
HOME BASE Brooklyn
CLAIM TO FAME Stylishly moody bands the Walkmen and French Kicks
BACK STORY ”A lot of the music business is incredibly bleak and depressing, but I really love records,” says honcho Isaac Green. ”So I started a label. I bought Business Plans for Dummies and did it with extremely little money.”
WHAT THE NAME MEANS It’s from James Brown’s ”Live at the Apollo” (”Ladies and gentlemen, it’s star time!”).
UPCOMING Albums from overlooked former Virgin singer-songwriter Brendan Benson and new signing the Natural History

YEP ROC
HOME BASE Chapel Hill, N.C
CLAIM TO FAME The latest from the great Nick Lowe, as well as impressive discs by Swag and the Mayflies U.S.A
BACK STORY Label manager Glenn Dicker built Yep Roc from the ashes of his defunct Upstart Records. Signing Lowe (who recorded for Upstart) was the turning point. ”That means a ton to the people we’d be interested in,” says Dicker.
WHAT THE NAME MEANS It’s a term invented by oddball jazz singer Slim Gaillard.
UPCOMING New CDs from Whiskeytown’s Caitlin Cary and former dB Chris Stamey

ROPEADOPE
HOME BASE New York City
CLAIM TO FAME Eclectic fare like gospel jam band the Word and Questlove-helmed fusion project the Philadelphia Experiment
BACK STORY When ‘dope head Andy Hurwitz ran the Knitting Factory’s label, he wanted to sign DJ Logic but ended up quitting and managing him instead. ”Nobody wanted to sign him, so I decided to put out his record on my own.”
WHAT THE NAME MEANS It’s from the Beastie Boys’ ”Sounds of Science.”
UPCOMING A record from the Roots’ Scratch (featuring Jill Scott and Bilal); the Detroit Experiment, with DJ Carl Craig and jazz musicians like Geri Allen and Regina Carter