A record label can be a controversial tool for artists—some hail it as the ultimate platform through which to break an artist to a large audience, while some are wary of exploitation of artists and the homogenization of their sound. At Amityville Records, founders Scarer and Raygun have made it their pledge to support DIY artists who need label services without signing their lives away. Raygun, who provides the image and video expertise for Amityville, describes the label as “a positive and affordable place for people to practice their art in Nashville,” and the music-tech ninja half, Scarer, affirms their commitment to supporting independent artists in every way they can.
I attended the Amityville launch on the same day as the women’s march, a day about celebrating diversity, standing up for those without a voice, and being heard. I was inspired to see those messages carrying through to the show that night. All proceeds from the door and the Amityville merch sold went to Planned Parenthood, and several of the acts spoke about the events of the day, the need for artists to speak for those who can’t, and (my favorite topic) the power of women supporting each other’s work. The night began with Ladyshark, Scarer’s two-person punk project that was sometimes surf-y, sometimes proggy, but all times imbued with a raw, riot grrrl spirit. Scarer’s voice is clearly powerful, despite fighting a cold that night. Ian Taylor followed them, with just an acoustic guitar backing up his frank and rambling alt-folk songs, a very Bright Eyes sound. His song about Leonard Cohen’s death was a standout, as was his cover of “Brand New Key (the Rollerskates Song).” Lauren Strange and the Pretty Killers delivered a great set of their signature pop-grunge rock sound. Lauren commanded the stage with her standout voice, catchy songwriting, and I gotta say, an amazing orange dress. Last of the night was Sean Stannard, a hip-hop artist with an impressive flow and ability to engage the audience.