@ the Satellite Los Angeles
Waterstrider, from Oakland California, is one of the initial crop of artists signed to 30th Century Records, the new Columbia hosted record label of Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton. Waterstrider was in town last night to play for a crowd that consisted almost entirely of Columbia/Sony Music employees, employees of the William Morris Endeavor Agency and family members. Sporting a six piece set up and prominently featuring a skilled congo drum player, waterstrider evoked something like chk-chk-chk influenced by a decade of Arcade Fire records. Waterstrider are very much the project of front man/guitarist Nate Salman.
I have to confess that I am impressed by the vision behind 30th Century Records: Signing hard working rock bands that are flying under the radar of the current blog-tastemaker set. Almost every major label affiliated imprint that I've followed over the last decade of my involvement in independent music has involved poaching bands that have already drawn said attention, often with the support of a struggling indie label that has no other successful artists. Two notable examples of this typical approach have been Harvest Records and Mom and Pop- both Warner Music affiliated.
On the other hand, I don't envy the task that 30th Century Records has set itself. Having personally seen the sales figures for better known rock bands over the past few years, I can testify that there is very little music in record sales for less known bands. On the other hand, there seems to be a ton of money out there for syncs and a combination of that with touring and occasional private gigs seems to be enough to sustain younger artists.