FEATURE

Saddle Creek Records

Independant Record Label

Formed in Omaha, Nebraska back in 1993 as a college project by Mike Mogis and Justin Oberst it was originally known as Lumber Jack Records. Mogis then turned over his roll to Robb Nansel and armed with a slew of artists (who are now indie fan favourites the world over), Saddle Creek was born. The name incidentally was taken from a road which cuts through the east midtown of Omaha.

The name first appeared on a flyer for a showcase called Spend an Evening with Saddle Creek which would later become the name used for their fantastic 2005 documentary. The line ups were quite incestuous with numerous label-mates collaborating on each others records which even to the listener gave the label a real family feel.

From their humble roots selling limited numbers of tapes they have gone on to sign bands from the world over.

A lot of my favourite albums ever have been released by Saddle Creek but here are my essential five.

  Bright eyes - Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Conor Oberst's 4th album outing for Bright Eyes saw him at his strongest and truly sealed the "greatest songwriter of his generation" label that gets bandied around so often.
     
  Cursive - The Ugly Organ

Tim Kasher had already established himself as a great songwriter and singer but with this concept album of Emo rock they really raised the bar not only for themselves but all of their contemporaries.
     
  Desaparecidos - Read Music/Speak Spanish

Conor Oberst's only ever output as this band. It was a loud mixture of politics and love songs held together with a garage rock sensibility.

     
  Two Gallants - What the Toll Tells

A Perfect fusion of punk and country rock. It was brash but beautiful and showed that the potential of their first album wasn't just a flash in the pan.

     
  Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell

An almost master class in how to make indie pop, the songs are so well crafted and immediately catchy its hard to believe this was only their debut.

If there was a blueprint to follow for a perfect indie record label then Saddle Creek have followed it to the letter.

Phill

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