After the much-publicized burning of the PIAS warehouse a few days ago, many people have been doing their best to get behind the various labels and shops that could well be severely hit by a lack of cash flow. Despite the fact that (as far as I know) most of the labels will be covered under PIAS and Sony's insurance, the fact that the labels currently have nothing to sell, and might not get the money from the insurance for a month or two (or more) will cause the delay of many new releases and could even force some of the smaller labels out of business. To this end, various people are currently organising fundraising gigs and compilations. However, the best way to help is probably to buy records, be it digitally, mail order or in independent record shops. Here's my pick of some excellent records made by some of my favourite smaller labels hurt by the fire.
Lovely singer-songwriter-y folk. There are, admittedly, a lot of albums like this released, but in my mind this has just the right blend between warm comfy guitar textures, Big Star-y power pop sensibilities and the occasional bit of rocking out. I probably prefer her debut, also available from the label, but this one shows more sign of crossing over into the mass market, something that Sonic Cathedral would definitely welcome.
Sad Day For Puppets - Pale Silver & Shiny Gold
After their debut, which was much more in the twee-pop vein, Sweden's Sad Day For Puppets turned in a second album that had much more of interest going on. There's a dash of girl groups, a dash of reverb-y shoegaze and a hefty amount of brilliant pop songwriting, this album should be high up your list. Fundamentally a pop record, with most influences obvious from first listen, it's brilliant fun, never descending into pastiche of the bands it clearly admires.
Angular Recording Company
This Many Boyfriends - Young Lovers Go Pop! 7"
Officially not released for another few days, this is the latest Angular release. I presume all the physical copies were lost in the rioting, but it's still well worth getting a hold of digitally. TMB first came to my attention with the excellent 'I Don't Like You ('Cos You Don't Like The Pastels)', a Tullycraft-style reference fest released on Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation, and I've loved everything they've released since. This song is typically shambly indiepop, and is featured on their SoundCloud.
Full Time Hobby
Tunng - Good Arrows
'Folktronica' gets a bad press, but some of this record is genuinely beautiful, and 'Bullets' was one of my favourite singles of 2007, a song that I've listened to a crazy amount and am still not really sure whether it's meant to be happy or sad. Tunng spent a long time recording this album, integrating some of the more electronic elements that were much less obvious in their previous albums, and the songs really benefit from the extra levels of detail. It's possible to see Tunng as the friendly, wholesome British equivalent of Animal Collective, and they deserve to be just as big.
One Little Indian Records
The oldest label on this list, and probably the most well-known album. This record has become a bit of a cult classic because of the way it managed to join the shoegaze of bands like Slowdive with the dreaminess and pop sensibility of bands like Rocketship, making for a lovely record that is full of not only brilliant tunes but also genuine feeling. There are also some genuinely heavy moments, a rarity for a dream-pop album like this.
Obviously, there were a lot of other labels affected. The full list is here. Go spending crazy!