Thrill Jockey

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Thrill Jockey
Thrill Jockey wordmark.svg
Founded1992 (1992)
Founder Bettina Richards
Genre Indie rock, heavy metal, experimental rock, electronic
Country of originUnited States
LocationChicago, Illinois
Official website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

Thrill Jockey is an American independent record label established in 1992 in New York City by former Atlantic Records A&R representative Bettina Richards.

An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels; they are a type of small to medium-sized enterprise, or SME. The labels and artists are often represented by trade associations in their country or region, which in turn are represented by the international trade body, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN).

Atlantic Records American record label

Atlantic Recording Corporation is an American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic earned a reputation as one of the most important American labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, and soul by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding. Its position was greatly improved by its distribution deal with Stax. In 1967, Atlantic became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, now the Warner Music Group, and expanded into rock and pop music with releases by Led Zeppelin and Yes.



Richards started the label with $35,000 of family and personal capital, while working at a Hoboken, New Jersey, record store, and ran it from her apartment in Manhattan. [1]

Hoboken, New Jersey City in Hudson County, New Jersey, U.S.

Hoboken is a city in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 50,005, having grown by 11,428 (+29.6%) from 38,577 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 5,180 (+15.5%) from the 33,397 in the 1990 Census. Hoboken is part of the New York metropolitan area and is the site of Hoboken Terminal, a major transportation hub for the tri-state region.

In 1995, she moved the label to Chicago, Illinois, where "rent and taxes are considerably cheaper." [1]

Thrill Jockey offers full-length streaming of every song on every release in its catalog. "I believe if people can listen to the albums, they tend to buy them," Richards said in a 2006 interview with Chicago Reader. [2]

Streaming media Continuous multimedia operated & presented to users by a provider other than conventional broadcast media channels

Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider. The verb "to stream" refers to the process of delivering or obtaining media in this manner; the term refers to the delivery method of the medium, rather than the medium itself, and is an alternative to file downloading, a process in which the end-user obtains the entire file for the content before watching or listening to it.

Artists who have recorded on the label include Double Dagger, Future Islands, Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, High Places, Trans Am, Mouse on Mars, ADULT., Nobukazu Takemura, Bobby Conn, Tom Verlaine, Freakwater, The Zincs, The National Trust, Eleventh Dream Day, Califone, Chicago Underground Duo, Howe Gelb/Giant Sand, Mary Lattimore, Oval, Town & Country, Archer Prewitt, Sam Prekop, The Lonesome Organist, OOIOO, Pit er Pat, The Fiery Furnaces, Angela Desveaux, Liturgy, Boredoms, Pontiak, and Golden Void amongst others. Artists on the label have often collaborated with other artists on the label to form spin-off groups.

Double Dagger was a post-punk trio from Baltimore, Maryland composed of only drums, vocals, and a very loud bass guitar which fills the space a guitar would normally take. Vocalist Nolen Strals and bassist Bruce Willen also comprised the graphic design team Post Typography, which has done work for some very high-profile clients, including The New York Times. Hence, Double Dagger made a habit of referring to their style of post-hardcore as "graphicdesigncore" early in their career. In October 2011, Double Dagger broke up after a small final tour. Their final EP 333 was released in April 2013 alongside a documentary of their final tour, entitled If We Shout Loud Enough.

Future Islands American synthpop band

Future Islands is an American synthpop band based in Baltimore, Maryland, and signed to 4AD, comprising Gerrit Welmers, William Cashion, and Samuel T. Herring. The band was formed in January 2006 by Welmers, Cashion and Herring—the remaining members of the performance art college band Art Lord & the Self-Portraits—and drummer Erick Murillo.

Tortoise (band) American post-rock band

Tortoise is an American experimental rock band formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1990. The band incorporates krautrock, dub, minimal music, electronica and jazz into their music, a combination sometimes termed "post-rock". Tortoise have been consistently credited for the rise of the post-rock movement in the 1990s.

Fifteenth birthday

In 2007, Thrill Jockey bands old and new recorded songs for a boxed set to celebrate the label's 15th birthday. Bands were asked to choose a song to cover by any other act on their roster. Plum 7" Box Set compilation was released in December 2007 on ten 7-inch vinyl singles.

Some notable tracks include: Directions covering Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker's "Toy Boat," while Pullman tackles the Chicago Underground Quartet's "3 A.M." Bobby Conn, Califone and Thalia Zedek all cover Freakwater songs, while the Sea & Cake reworks a version of Califone's "Spider's House." Tortoise covers Japanese artist Nobukazu Takemura's "Falls Lake," and ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne contributes a cover of the Fiery Furnaces' "Ex-Guru." [3]

Jeff Parker (musician) American musician

Jeff Parker is an American guitarist and composer based in Los Angeles. Born in Connecticut and raised in Hampton, Virginia, Parker is best known as an experimental musician, working with jazz, electronic, rock, and improvisational groups.

Chicago Underground Duo avant-garde jazz duo

Chicago Underground Duo is an avant-garde jazz duo consisting of cornetist Rob Mazurek and drummer/percussionist Chad Taylor. They formed in 1997, having both been members of Chicago Underground Orchestra. They have released numerous recordings on the Thrill Jockey label.

Bobby Conn American musician

Jeffrey Stafford, known professionally as Bobby Conn, is an American musician based in Chicago, Illinois. He often collaborates with other artists and film-maker Usama Alshaibi.

See also

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Nobukazu Takemura is a Japanese musician and artist whose style has run from jazz to house to drum and bass to chamber music to electronic glitch within less than a decade. Born in Hirakata, Osaka in August 1968, he became interested in music at a young age by listening to the radio, and began to make music at home with a tape recorder and keyboard. During high school, after a record store job that exposed him to jazz and hip hop, he had regular gigs in the clubs of Osaka and Kyoto as a battle DJ before launching his music career.

Trans Am (band) band

Trans Am is a three-piece band which originated in Bethesda, Maryland that was one of the originators of "post-rock" in the mid 1990s. Their work centers on a cerebrally robotic, usually instrumental, semi-danceable, minimalistic format, with influences including Krautrock, heavy metal, hardcore punk, synthpop, electronic music, and folk music. They are known for constant touring, cryptic album artwork, and continual thematic re-invention.

John McEntire American musician

John McEntire is an American recording engineer, producer, drummer and multi-instrumentalist based in Chicago. He is a member of both Tortoise and the Sea and Cake.

The Fiery Furnaces American band

The Fiery Furnaces are an American indie rock band, formed in 2000 in Brooklyn, New York. The band's primary members are Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger. The siblings are originally from Oak Park, Illinois, a near-western suburb of Chicago. They are known for their conceptual, highly ambitious releases, which have frequently divided critical opinion.

The Coctails were a musical group from Chicago, who formed while its members were attending the Kansas City Art Institute.

This is the discography of the record label Thrill Jockey


Califone is an experimental rock band from Chicago. The band is named after Califone International, an audio equipment manufacturer. Their work has been critically acclaimed.

Freakwater band

Freakwater is an American alternative country band from Louisville, Kentucky, with one co-founding member living in Chicago. Freakwater is known for the lead vocals of Janet Bean and Catherine Irwin, who mix harmony and melody in idiosyncratic dissonant country-folk that is reminiscent of the Carter Family.

Soma Electronic Music Studios is a recording studio owned and operated by John McEntire in Chicago, Illinois.

Eleventh Dream Day (EDD) is an American alternative rock band from Chicago, Illinois, United States.

<i>TNT</i> (Tortoise album) 1998 studio album by Tortoise

TNT is the third studio album by American post-rock band Tortoise, released in 1998 by Thrill Jockey. After Jeff Parker joined the band in 1996, Tortoise recorded TNT over the course of a year with drummer John McEntire acting as producer, editor and mixing. Taking influence from their remix material of the 1990s, the band recorded the album using hard disk technology in a "forward-then-back" approach, with members individually adding parts to tracks at different stages until the tracks were completed. As with previous albums, the band members also shared instrumental roles.

The Sea and Cake American indie rock band

The Sea and Cake is an American indie rock band with a jazz influence, based in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Thalia Zedek American musician

Thalia Zedek is an American singer and guitarist. Active since the early 1980s, she has been a member of several notable alternative rock groups, including Live Skull and Uzi both of which, according to Spin magazine, "made big noise in the underground", and Come. Critic Heather Phares writes that Zedek's music can be defined by "the permanent, aching rasp in her voice, her guitar's bluesy bite, the startlingly clear-eyed lyrics about life and loss."

Tim Rutili American musician

Tim Rutili American musician, filmmaker, and visual artist. Founder and principle songwriter for critically acclaimed bands Califone and Red Red Meat. He is also a member of the Indie rock supergroup Ugly Casanova, which included Modest Mouse singer Isaac Brock, producer and former Red Red Meat bandmate Brian Deck, and others. He is a frequent collaborator of Michael Krassner and Boxhead ensemble. He also appears on Joan of Arc's album Guitar Duets, performing a duet with Jeremy Boyle and Modest Mouse's Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks and The Moon & Antarctica.

A Lazarus Taxon is a box set by Chicago post-rock group Tortoise, released in 2006 on Thrill Jockey.

The Lonesome Organist is the one-man band project of Jeremy Jacobsen, keyboardist for Chicago Post-rock combo, 5ive Style. He has released three albums on Chicago indie label Thrill Jockey; a fourth album, Ashes... Alas was self-released in 2015.

Doug McCombs American musician

Douglas McCombs plays bass and guitar with the instrumental rock band Tortoise and leads the instrumental band Brokeback. He is also the longtime bassist for the rock band Eleventh Dream Day. In 1997, he formed Pullman with Bundy K. Brown, Chris Brokaw, and Curtis Harvey, with whom he released two albums. In May 2018, McCombs replaced Eric Claridge as the touring bassist with Chicago jazz-pop outfit The Sea and Cake.

The Zincs are a four-piece band originally from London, England, and now based in Chicago, Illinois, USA. They are signed to Chicago's Thrill Jockey Records.

<i>Take Me Round Again</i> 2009 studio album by The Fiery Furnaces

Take Me Round Again is The Fiery Furnaces' ninth album. It was first released, in MP3 format, through Thrill Jockey Records, in November 2009. The album is being described as "The Friedbergers cover the Friedbergers," in reference to core members and siblings, Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger.