Radiohead ditched EMI, Sonic Youth joined the Matador roster, and now Wilco are leaving the major label system, inking a deal with Anti- Records, where they'll start up their own label dubbed dBpm Records. Jeff Tweedy's band spent 16 years and seven studio albums under the Warner Music umbrella, but with their fervent fan following in place, Tweedy tells the Los Angeles Times' Pop & Hiss that now is the time for the band to go indie.
"This is an idea we've discussed for years. We really like doing things ourselves, so having our own label feels pretty natural to me," Tweedy said. "And, to be working with Anti- -- a label that was started by a punk rock guy to sell his own records -- seems like a perfect fit for us." Anti-, which is also the label home of Tom Waits, is an offshoot of Epitaph Records, founded by Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz. Wilco marks the second big rock band to join the Epitaph family recently; Weezer signed on for last year's "Hurley."
Wilco have famously had their issues with major labels in the past, as seen in the documentary "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," so it's not a total surprise that at this point in their career, they'd want to do things their own way. Their album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," widely regarded as one of the best albums of the 2000s, was initially rejected by Warner Music. A battle ensued between the band and the label that resulted in the Wilco being dropped from the major label, only to find "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel" a home at Warner subsidiary Nonesuch Records, which released the band's last four studio albums.
Tweedy got a taste of Anti- while working on the new Mavis Staples record, which was released on the label. "As we reached the end of our last deal, it felt like it was time for a change, and the one thing we were certain we did not want to do was to sign another traditional recording agreement," Wilco's manager Tony Margherita said. "Our discussions with Anti-... led us to thinking we might be able to come up with something quite different from the norm that could potentially be better for us and, frankly, a lot more interesting." dBpm Records, an amalgamation of "decibel" and "beats-per-minute," will release all future Wilco albums, hopefully including the follow-up to "Wilco (The Album)" at some point this year.
[Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.com]