Laurence Bell founded the Domino Recording Company in Putney in 1993, with nothing but a small grant, a fistful of demos and the aim of nurturing “artists who have no choice but to make music”. More than twenty years on, Domino's operation might be substantially larger, but they're still staying true to that ethos. From American lo-fi trailblazers Pavement and Elliott Smith to mainstream-conquering Brits-rockers Arctic Monkeys, via electronic adventures with Four Tet and Hot Chip, you can check out the best of their back catalogue below.
Julia Holter’s fourth album continues to strengthen her reputation – established following the critical triumph of 2012’s Ekstasis – as a truly unique musical voice. Conventions are gleefully abandoned from the outset, with traditional song structures falling by the wayside as genres are effortlessly flitted between, including classical, jazz and progressive rock. It’s a rare treat to hear instruments as seemingly diametrically opposed as the saxophone and harpsichord in unison, as on ‘Sea Calls Me Home’, and the lyrics mirror such movement and contradiction: every song is narrated from a different perspective, with Holter inhabiting several characters throughout. The result is an undeniably theatrical record; an enigmatic collection of short stories which don’t ask to be fully understood.
Discovered by Domino in 2007, this Kendal-born, Leeds-formed, London-based quartet have four exquisite studio albums to their name so far. With each release they’ve developed and refined their art, moving from the bouncing percussion and shimmering guitars of Limbo Panto and Two Dancers, to the lush, atmospheric synth sounds that pervaded 2011’s Smother and its 2014 follow-up, Present Tense. Underpinning everything, still, is the magnetic interplay between Tom Fleming’s booming baritone and Hayden Thorpe’s operatic countertenor tones, plus a muted yet deeply-affecting sense of melancholy. Put plainly, Wild Beasts are one of the finest British bands of the past decade.
LA Priest is the nom de guerre of Castle Donington’s Sam Dust, erstwhile frontman of much-beloved dance-punks Late of the Pier and former touring guitarist with Connan Mockasin. Dust made his debut as LA Priest in 2007 – via a 12" single called ‘Engine’ on Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound imprint – but it then took him another eight years to unveil more material. Thankfully, June’s full-length was more than worth the wait. Partially inspired by a field trip to Greenland to study “the effects of the Ivittuut region’s electro-magnetic phenomena on recorded sound”, Inji found Dust cutting elements of psych and funk with more esoteric sounds, to create a host of hallucinogenic, electro-pop gems.
As a classically-trained pianist with a life-long enthusiasm for techno, Jon Hopkins is a fairly unusual proposition, not just on Domino’s roster but amongst British musicians in general. Unsurprisingly, this specialist skill-set has helped the Kingston-upon-Thames-born producer/composer to secure a diverse range of commissions, including a film score for UK sci-fi flick Monsters, a Mercury-approved collaboration with King Creosote, and production work for Coldplay and Brian Eno. In his solo work, Hopkins blends abrasive electronic textures with ambient classical instrumentation to magnificent effect, as showcased on 2013’s Mercury-nominated tour de force, Immunity.