From the early days of Manic Street Preachers and Saint Etienne to today's eclectic, psych-heavy roster, Heavenly Recordings has united outsiders and celebrated the unorthodox since 1990. Led by the inimitable Jeff Barrett, the cult indie label has gone from strength to strength since breaking free of the shackles of major labels in 2010, and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Beginning with the Heavenly Weekend at Hebden Bridge, this year has been a true commemoration of the label's acts, past and present, and their shaping of Britain's alternative music scene. Other celebratory events have included a stage at this year's End of the Road Festival, an all-dayer at Liverpool's Kazimier, and a photography exhibition at Rough Trade East.
The compilation celebrates the label's acts, but is careful to avoid nostalgia. As label founder Jeff Barrett explains: "We've been involved with incredible records, earth shattering gigs and life-changing parties – but that's all in the past and today is a good day."
The first of the compilation's two discs features acts from the label's current roster, showcasing the best of their talent, from seasoned raconteur Mark Lanegan to the vivid, psychedelic worlds of Fever The Ghost and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. While the second CD collects the label's recent Record Store Day releases, previously only available on vinyl, for which their acts reimagined each other's work. Highlights include Fever the Ghost's spooky, twisted reinvention of Temples' Keep in the Dark, and Hooton Tennis Club's cover of Neil Young's Barstool Blues, produced by ex-Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones.
With its strongest roster ever, and with a clutch of new signings under their belt, Heavenly's future looks, well… heavenly.
Words: Megan White
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