A Year In Records

2011 was the most colourful year in our label history. Andrew discusses twelve musical months that wobbled, thundered and ultimately uplifted.

Ten years ago we began Smalltown America with a very simple idea, to release one album by our own band and to do the best job we could. That band was and is very special to me; I can see now that all the members of Jetplane during our touring life together poured it's heart into the idea that anything was possible if you wanted it to be badly enough. It proved to me that whilst having money greases the wheels of commerce it's soul that elevates music beyond the mundane. People matter and everything else is secondary.

2011 was the deepest exploration of all those ideals, as it was the first time that we made the step of signing an international artist in the shape of Feldberg. Shit gets real when you can't explain a bad decision over a pint in the pub. 2011 also saw the migration of the biggest band we've had on our label, And So I Watch You From Afar. Both of these events occured at the same time; the centre of our label's gravity had shifted all the way to Reykjavik . To be honest, I wasn't sure how we were going to get on.

But then the music started happening and gravity was an irrelevance! 

LaFaro delivered a second album so sublime it stunned us all and continues to thunder around the office weekly 'Easy Meat' was a record so good that I felt that I had grown up listening to it. ASIWYFA's 'Gangs' was as ambitous and futuristic as I hoped it would be (and worked wonderfully on the excellent Richter Collective). Feldberg's debut album was warming, sunny and gorgeous. More Than Conquerors came of age with the best sounding rock record we've ever released and Our Krypton Son brought our year graciously to a close with songwriting of the highest order.

Marty DiBergi: Do you feel that playing rock 'n' roll music keeps you a child? That is, keeps you in a state of arrested development? 
Derek Smalls: No. No. No. I feel it's like, it's more like going, going to a, a national park or something. And there's, you know, they preserve the moose. And that's, that's my childhood up there on stage. That moose, you know. 
Marty DiBergi: So when you're playing you feel like a preserved moose on stage? 
Derek Smalls: Yeah. 

I hope now that my ten years here can fold into twenty and that each record we release makes you as happy, riotous or inspired as I feel when I listen to them (handily now all via soundcloud playlists!).

Thank you to all our artists, anyone that has ever bought one of our records, booked one of our bands for a show, illustrated a poster, designed a tee, done me a favour (I owe thousands to you all at this stage), towed a van, lent a guitar or handed out a flier. We wouldn't be here without you and we hope we serve you well!