Laurence Bell founded the Domino Recording Company in Putney in 1993, with nothing but a small grant, a fistful of demos and the aim of nurturing “artists who have no choice but to make music”. More than twenty years on, Domino's operation might be substantially larger, but they're still staying true to that ethos. From American lo-fi trailblazers Pavement and Elliott Smith to mainstream-conquering Brits-rockers Arctic Monkeys, via electronic adventures with Four Tet and Hot Chip, you can check out the best of their back catalogue below.
Despite boasting enough new material to fill a double album, Alexis Taylor and friends decided to narrow down the songs on their sixth album to a neat 10. That restraint proves a strength, because Why Make Sense? functions as a pretty ideal introduction to the band. For anyone seeking club-focused crowd-pleasers, there’s the soulful throb of ‘Huarache Lights’, the 90s-inspired house of ‘Need You Now’, and the De La Soul-starring, disco string-flecked 'Love Is The Future’. Tempering the big beat euphoria, you’ll find sensitive slow jams like ‘White Wine and Fried Chicken’ and ‘So Much Further To Go’.
Discovered by Domino in 2007, this Kendal-born, Leeds-formed, London-based quartet have four exquisite studio albums to their name so far. With each release they’ve developed and refined their art, moving from the bouncing percussion and shimmering guitars of Limbo Panto and Two Dancers, to the lush, atmospheric synth sounds that pervaded 2011’s Smother and its 2014 follow-up, Present Tense. Underpinning everything, still, is the magnetic interplay between Tom Fleming’s booming baritone and Hayden Thorpe’s operatic countertenor tones, plus a muted yet deeply-affecting sense of melancholy. Put plainly, Wild Beasts are one of the finest British bands of the past decade.
LA Priest is the nom de guerre of Castle Donington’s Sam Dust, erstwhile frontman of much-beloved dance-punks Late of the Pier and former touring guitarist with Connan Mockasin. Dust made his debut as LA Priest in 2010 – via a 12" single called ‘Engine’ on Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound imprint – but it then took another five years for him to unveil more material. Thankfully, June’s full-length was more than worth the wait. Partially inspired by a field trip to Greenland to study “the effects of the Ivittuut region’s electro-magnetic phenomena on recorded sound”, Inji found Dust cutting elements of psych and funk with more esoteric sounds, to create a host of hallucinogenic, electro-pop gems.
As a classically-trained pianist with a life-long enthusiasm for techno, Jon Hopkins is a fairly unusual proposition, not just on Domino’s roster but amongst British musicians in general. Unsurprisingly, this specialist skill-set has helped the Kingston-upon-Thames-born producer/composer to secure a diverse range of commissions, including a film score for UK sci-fi flick Monsters, a Mercury-approved collaboration with King Creosote, and production work for Coldplay and Brian Eno. In his solo work, Hopkins blends abrasive electronic textures with ambient classical instrumentation to magnificent effect, as showcased on 2013’s Mercury-nominated tour de force, Immunity.