Oaken Palace Records

I've been meaning for some time now to write a little bit about Oaken Palace Records, a new label that is doing something a little different, and in my book at least, pretty darn commendable. Oaken Palace is a completely charitable record label that is donating 100% of all profits to various environmental organizations, chosen by the artists themselves. To me, that's pretty easy to get behind. All releases on Oaken Palace Records are produced by a Gold Standard carbon-neutral and ISO14001-certified company. The sleeves are made of 100% sustainable paper, and non-toxic printing colours are used.

As of right now, there are two records out, and one on the way very soon. And they're all pretty fantastic, which of course is also pretty easy to get behind. All are pressed on 180 gram vinyl and come with free download codes.

The first release, which came out a few months ago, was from a trio calling itself Parallel Lines. Said trio consists of Eric Quach (from thisquietarmy) on guitar, Ryan Ferguson on synths, and Pascal Asselin on drums, and what they've created here is an improvised, instrumental psych record that I'm convinced you'd like if you're a fan of thisquietarmy. Not that it really sounds like thisquietarmy, but Mr. Quach's signature sound is certainly a large part of what makes this record go. I've enjoyed it immensely since receiving it, and if you give it a shot (which you can do here), I really think you'll like it too. The digital album is nice, but sounds 1000% percent better on vinyl, as you might expect with a record like this. The proceeds from this album are being given to a large polar bear conservation group (though the organization cares not to have their name mentioned - it is the largest organization of its kind), as you can probably tell from looking at the cover.

The second record for Oaken Palace, just released over the last week, is from a trio called Caudal, which you may know features Nadja'a Aidan Baker on guitar, Gareth Sweeney on bass, and Felipe Salizar on drums. The record is called Forever in Another World.  Delicate but inexplicably catchy, atmosphere is the name of the game for this record, which utilizes elements of kraut rock and psychedelia and even post-punk to create something entirely its own. Very enjoyable, and of the three records on the label to this point, probably my favorite.

This release is dedicated to the European ground squirrel. All profits made through selling the records will be donated to the protection fund of the Austrian Union for Nature Preservation.

Finally, coming on May 13th is the third release for Oaken Palace, Nadja's Flipper. Utilizing many of the same the textures you would expect on a Nadja record, Aidan and Leah are joined on this record by Peter Broderick on violin, and Angela Chan on viola, thereby making this record very unique in the long Nadja discography. Like the Caudal album, this record relies on atmospheres, in this case often on alternating ones, to communicate. The hushed vocals and subtle drones set the foundation on which the spacey, metallic textures usually associated with Nadja set up camp. Those textures are actually used rather sparingly on this one, only on the first track, but the same heavy sort of feeling appears again in the latter parts of the third track. This description may sound like a lot of Nadja records, but this one is special - I guess you'll have to trust me on this one. It's really, really good.

As the name already suggests, this album is dedicated to dolphins, with all profits being donated to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

The label's website is linked above, as is the soundcloud page, but you can get more info and soundclips/downloads from the Bandcamp page (which currently only has the Parallel Lines and Caudal records on it). The label's webshop, which features a couple of package deals as well as some test pressings, is here.  Go shopping and know that your money is being put to good use.

No comments: