Focus on: Razor & Tie

In the alt-rock/pop-punk scene, there are a few indie record labels that everybody is used to. In this blog, I usually write about a scene that revolves around Fueled By Ramen, Decaydance Records, Hopeless Records, Fearless Records, Epitaph Records and a few other record labels. Recently, I’ve been interested by bands appearing under another name, Razor & Tie.

Obvisouly, Razor & Tie is not new, because you don’t pop-up out of nowhere and instantly make a name for yourself in the music industry. The record label is part of a company, Razor & Tie Entertainment, that was created in 1990 by Craig Balsam and Cliff Chenfeld. It is a record company, a music publishing company, a media buying company – as well as a company that produces music products for kids. (If you want my opinion, it looks more like a “indie corporation” than an indie record label…)

Anyways, what’s interesting to me is Razor & Tie’s artist roster.

In 2009, they signed a band called The Summer Set and released their first album Love Like This. It was a decent album, but at the time of the release, hundreds of other bands sounded exactly the same. The Arizona-based band came back this summer with their second album on Razor & Tie called Everything’s Fine. The band’s musical approach shifted a little and they created a really good pop album. I was actually surprised when I first heard it, because I was expecting something we’ve all already heard before, something not necessarily bad but unoriginal. This album turned out surprisingly good and different. On top of it, the concept of the album is brilliant and makes you want to keep on listening to discover the next chapter of the story. (If you want more details, check out this review!) Razor & Tie = 1 point.

In May 2011, Razor & Tie signed the Chicago-based band Madina Lake to prepare the release of their third album World War III. Madina Lake had been dropped by their previous record label Roadrunner Records during a promotional tour for their sophomore album Attics To Eden. Since then, their journey had not been the easiest thing, and even turned out pretty bad when bassist Matthew Leone entered hospital last year. But let’s put all that behind us. The band’s new album was released last week and they will be touring Europe in November. Madina Lake is one of those bands that matter to their fans because they are great people who are doing music they genuinely believe in. I had the chance to see them a few years ago, during a tour for their first album, and I had never seen a band seem so happy about playing music on stage, and really sharing this moment with fans during and after the show. Second good point for Razor & Tie.

Another interesting band on Razor & Tie would be Saves The Day. The band had worked with Equal Vision Records, Dreamworks and Vagrant Records for their previous records, but joined Razor & Tie in March 2011 to release the third installment of their trilogy of albums, Daybreak. Saves The Day‘s last album Under The Boards was released in 2007, so it has been quite a long time since we last heard from them. Unfortunately, the quartet lost three members (again) along the ride and vocalist/guitarist Chris Conley remains the only original member of the new line-up. Judging by the importance the band acquired in the alt-rock/pop-punk scene in the ’00s, it is no surprise this album made a lot of noise in underground music forums. You had to be smart to get Saves The Day in your artist roster. Another good point for Razor & Tie.

With these three bands only, Razor & Tie acquired more visibility these past few months, and even past few days. You don’t have to be a genius to understand the music label is expanding its artist roster and is choosing carefully who will be part of the family. I will be following them closely to see who’s next.

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