A Brief History of Smells Like Records
Smells Like Records was founded in 1992 by Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. The first release was a 7-inch 45rpm single by Sentridoh. Over the past decade, the label has released nearly 50 recordings by artists such as Blonde Redhead, Cat Power, Chris Lee, Christina Rosenvinge, Nod, Tony Scherr and Two Dollar Guitar, among many others. The discography page shows the entire release history. The company is and always has been a truly independent operation. In 1997, the company took on Sonic Youth’s SYR imprint, releasing 5 editions of the “Musical Perspectives” series, vinyl versions of the band’s Geffen albums A Thousand Leaves and Murray Street, and various live recordings. In 1999, the company issued for the first time on compact disk several solo albums by the unsung American pop auteur Lee Hazlewood.
How to Contact Us
Mailing address PO Box 6179 Hoboken NJ 07030
Email steve at smellslikerecords.com (inlcuding booking info, requests for promotional materials, etc)
If you are a store in the United States and want to carry our records, contact the good folks at Revolver USA. They can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax at 415 241 2421 and by phone at 415 241 2420.
Retailers in Canada, Europe, Asia, or the Pacific Rim, can buy directly from Revolver, or from Scratch, FAB, and Differ-ant (France); and Sonic Unyon (Canada); Cargo UK (Britain and the Continent); and DeKonkurrent (Benelux).
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I obtain promo copies of your releases to play on my radio show/cover in my publication?
If you are a radio station, send us a copy of your weekly playlist. If you are a print or web publication, send us a sample issue or URL to check out. If we think our releases stand a reasonable chance of being played/covered, we’ll happily add your station to our database of SLR-friendly outfits.
Our station/publication used to get all of the SLR releases, what happened?
Most likely, we stopped hearing from you. We’re not the kind of label that can afford to send hundreds of promo copies into the void and hope for coverage, and since we’re spending the artist’s money as well as our own, we try to be choosy. So PLEASE try to keep in touch with us on a semi-regular basis, let us know if you’ve moved, how you’re feeling, etc.
Are you looking for new bands to “sign”? Can I send you my demo?
Our release schedule is currently booked well into the future, so we are NOT actively looking for new music. On the other hand, we always accept submissions at the PO Box above. Please DO NOT email us MP3s. We don’t have the bandwidth or the time. Occasionally we check out a band’s URL, but our preference by far is a short (3-4 song) submission on the Compact Disk format.
Did you listen to my demo?
We might have, but given the large amount of submissions we get, we are unfortunately unable to provide individual feedback. If we are interested in releasing your music, we will contact you. One other note: if you don’t hear from us, it doesn’t mean we didn’t like your music. On the contrary, we get plenty of submissions that we very much enjoy, but for any number of reasons are not able to follow up. So by all means, keep working on your material.
Isn’t Smells Like Records funded by Geffen?
Nope. Never was, never will be. SLR is a truly independent label run in the spirit of Touch and Go, Dischord, etc. Even our distribution, courtesy of Revolver USA, is honest-to-God conglomerate-free.
I love the Lee Hazlewood reissues – are you planning any more?
We have released all of the recordings Lee has authorized us to release at this time. We are very glad you liked them and are extremely proud to have been responsible for bringing these recordings to compact disk for the first time.
How do I book an SLR artist?
Email us at steve at smellslikerecords.com and we’ll pass the inquiry on to the artist and/or their booking agent.
How come [SLR band] never plays in [small, out-of-the-way town]? We’re starting to take it kind of personally.
Well, don’t. Where artists play has more to do with how big their following is in a given town, which typically coincides with an offer to play at a club in that town. Trust us, most of our artists, especially the ones who book themselves, are always looking for new gig possibilities. If you – and ideally, a healthy handful of your friends – want to see an SLR band in your area, tell your local clubs and promoters to look into booking them. They can feel free to contact us at steve at smellslikerecords.com about it directly, and we’ll pass along the inquiry to the band and/or their booking agent.
When/where is Sonic Youth performing in my area; how much are/where can I get tickets?
We do our best to provide up-to-date details on the band’s activities as soon as they are made available to us. Their official website is the best place to look for information. We don’t have anything to do with tickets for SY shows, so please direct those questions to the venue in question.
Places of Interest on the World Wide Web
Sonic Youth’s official site has up-to-date news, gig info, a fan forum, free stuff, member mini-sites, and more.
Revolver’s alter-ego Midheaven Mailorder carries a gigantic selection of choice indie records, including ours, in their online store.
Kung-Fu designs and sells T-shirts and other merchandise for Sonic Youth, Beck, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo, and tons others. They also carry a nice selection of vinyl.
Steve is part-owner of Maxwell’s, a long time live music venue in Hoboken where you can often catch bigger acts in an intimate setting.
WFMU is a fantastic, genuinely free-form, listener-supported radio station, and our neighbor just up the road in Jersey City, NJ.
We urge you to check out the exquisite world and music of Sade.