aking its name from a blaxplotation film, Troubleman Unlimited has embraced the ethos of hip hop culture in its ten year existence. The musical output of the label, however, tends to stray further into the realm of damaged art punk. It's not too far off, however, as a large portion of the recently released music on the label maintains a hint of danceability to it, even at its most obtuse.
It is a testament to Mike Simonetti's varied tastes, however, to range the music of the label from the beginnings of hardcore/punk to an increasingly diverse label roster. Starting from a number of split 7 inches in the early 90s, Simonetti has built Troubleman into one of the largest, and most important, independent labels of the present. A quick look at the roster reveals why the label maintains this importance- nearly all of the bands signed to the label are pushing musical boundaries in some direction. Whether it be the hard edged industrial sounds of The Lack, the minimal slo core inflected musings of Kepler, or the politically minded punk rock of Erase Errata; the label is succeeding well at pushing past conceived notions of a niche that a label should fill. Instead, the label merely releases good music- whatever the genre.
One of the more interesting projects undertaken by the label was the Troubleman Solo Singles Series. This series highlighted single artists that normally work within the confines of a band, giving them a chance to experiment a bit outside of that situation. Unfortunately, it appears that the project has either been abandaoned or is on hold for the time being.
The future looks bright for Troubleman, as they are set to launch a sublabel (Metalblade Records) and full lengths should be forthcoming from both Glass Candy and the Shattered Theatre and Erase Errata.
Label Roster Highlights: The Lack, Erase Errata, The Walkmen, Kepler, The One AM Radio, Black Dice, Party of Helicopters, Subtonix
Five Essential Releases:
Erase Errata- Other Animals
Kepler- Fuck Fight Fail
Black Dice- Cold Hands
Various Artists- Troubleman Mix Tape
The Album Leaf- In An Off White Room