Lex Records

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Lex Records
Lex Records logo.png
Founded2001
FounderTom Brown
GenreAlternative hip hop, electronic, alternative rock
Country of originEngland
LocationCamden, London
Official websitewww.lexrecords.com

Lex Records is a British independent record label based in Camden, London, England.

Style[edit]

Lex has a varied musical output.[1] Most releases are alternative hip hop, alternative rock or electronic. The label works with a small group of artists.[2][3] Due to the small roster, Lex has a low volume of releases, rarely releasing more than three albums annually.[4]

Dazed described Lex as a label "...whose wildly creative output spans over a decade of landmark releases that have changed the music industry no end."[5]

Many Lex albums are collaborations between members of the label roster. The collaborative groups include Danger Mouse with MF Doom as Danger Doom, Boom Bip with Gruff Rhys as Neon Neon, Jneiro Jarel with MF Doom as JJ Doom, Fly Anakin with Pink Siifu and Eyedress with Zzzahara as The Simps.

Lex packaging is often striking with elaborate print.[6] Much of the Lex sleeve artwork up to 2011 was created by Ehquestionmark.[7] Other sleeve artwork has been created by Braindead, ESPO, David Lynch, Kid Acne, James Jarvis, Yu Sato, Eric Hu and Commission Studio.[8][9]

History[edit]

2001–2006[edit]

Lex Records was founded by Tom Brown in 2001.[10] It was originally an imprint of Warp Records and run from its North London offices. The label was initially intended only to release 12-inch singles. However, as Lex approached artists to contribute music, most artists offered a full album. By the end of 2003, Lex had released several albums including debuts by Boom Bip, Non-Prophets and Danger Mouse. The early success of these albums allowed Lex to expand.[11]

In 2004, Lex managed The Grey Album campaign, co-ordinating the promo on what would become the music story of the year and propel Danger Mouse into the spotlight of mainstream media, establishing him as a critically successful artist.[12] Tom Brown got a copy of The Grey Album to Damon Albarn.[5] Damon's enthusiasm for The Grey Album led directly to Danger Mouse being brought on board to produce Gorillaz's second album Demon Days.[13] Demon Days was released in May 2005 and went on to sell millions of copies worldwide[14][15] and established Danger Mouse as a commercially successful producer by the summer of 2005.[16][17]

In September 2005, Tom Brown bought Warp's share of the label and set up in new offices.[18] Lex kept its existing roster including Boom Bip, Danger Mouse and Doseone. The first release after the separation was Danger Doom's first album The Mouse and the Mask. It was Lex's biggest selling release to date.[19] Gnarls Barkley's multi platinum first album St. Elsewhere followed in 2006, released on Warner Music Group with Lex branding.

The growth of the label allowed Lex to sign new artists to the roster. In 2005, Lex signed Doomstarks for the world excluding North America. In 2006, Lex signed multi album deals with MF Doom and Jneiro Jarel.

2007–2012[edit]

In March 2008, Gnarls Barkley's second album The Odd Couple was released on Warner Music Group with Lex branding. In the same month, Neon Neon's first album Stainless Style was released, going on to be nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2008. In 2009, Lex released MF Doom's Born Like This, his last solo album and the only Willie Isz album, Georgiavania.

Lex Records also began developing multimedia projects. In July 2010, Lex released a two-hour audiobook and score of Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins' Unearthing as a boxset. Unearthing was narrated in its entirety by Alan Moore and scored live by Crook&Flail at the Old Vic Tunnels.[20] In the same month, Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse & David Lynch's Dark Night of the Soul was released on Parlophone with Lex branding.

In May 2011, Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi's album Rome featuring Jack White and Norah Jones was released on Parlophone with Lex branding. On 5 November 2011, Lex marked its tenth anniversary with a special show at The Roundhouse in Camden featuring performances by Ghostface Killah, MF Doom and Jneiro Jarel.[21] Lex also released Complex Volume 1, a compilation album to mark the occasion.[22][23]

Throughout 2012 Lex developed its first films, using the credit "A Lex Film" and releasing under the Lex Projects imprint.[24] The two short films, part of an ongoing episodic series, written by Alan Moore and directed by Mitch Jenkins were previewed online in November 2012.[25] In August 2012 Lex released JJ Doom's Key to the Kuffs, MF Doom's third successive studio album for the label.[26] Later in 2012 Lex launched Charlie White and Boom Bip's art project Music For Sleeping Children which includes photographic, electronic music and spoken word recordings.[27]

2013–2018[edit]

In 2013, Lex released Neon Neon's sophomore album Praxis Makes Perfect.[28] The album was presented live as an immersive theatre performance with National Theatre Wales.[29]

In November 2013, Lex and All Tomorrow's Parties brought MF Doom, BADBADNOTGOOD and Bishop Nehru to the O2 Forum Kentish Town.[30]

MF DOOM went on to collaborate with BADBADNOTGOOD and Bishop Nehru on Lex. BADBADNOTGOOD remixed the JJ DOOM track "Guv'nor" in 2013. MF DOOM produced the Bishop Nehru mini-album NEHRUVIANDOOM in 2014. MF DOOM appeared on BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah's 2015 album Sour Soul.

Eyedress released his first single on Lex in 2016.[31] His debut studio album, Manila Ice, was released on Lex in May 2017, followed by Sensitive G in November 2018.[32][33]

2019–present[edit]

In late 2019 Lex began releasing singles from Eyedress’ third album Let's Skip to the Wedding, including "Jealous" on 19 December 2019 and “Romantic Lover” on 12 January 2020.[34] “Jealous” and “Romantic Lover” became viral hits after the release of the album.[35] “Jealous” was certified gold in Australia, Canada, Poland and the US in 2021, and platinum in the US in March 2022.[36][37][38] "Romantic Lover" was certified gold in the US in April 2022.[39]

Lex's first feature film, The Show, written by Alan Moore and directed by Mitch Jenkins was an official selection for SXSW 2020.[40] Following SXSW's cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic film had a world premiere at Sitges Film Festival 2020,[41] and was licensed to Starz.[42]

On 31 December 2020, MF Doom's death was announced on social media.[43]

In August 2021 Lex released Eyedress’ fourth studio album Mulholland Drive.[44] The first single from the album, “Something About You” became a viral hit in the US with Rolling Stone citing the track as the fastest-rising song on American streaming services for the week ending September 2021.[45] "Something About You" was certified gold in the USA in May 2022.[46]

Through 2021, Lex marked its twentieth anniversary by releasing a series of remixes of key recordings in its catalogue. The first in the series, titled Lex-XX, was Eyedress’ “Jealous” remixed by King Krule in March, followed by Kaleida’s “Think” remixed by Actress, Nevermen‘s “Treat Em Right” remixed by Boards of Canada, MF DOOM's “Gazzillion Ear” remixed by Thom Yorke, Golden Rules’ “Never Die” featuring Freddie Gibbs & yasiin bey remixed by Prefuse 73 and Shape of Broad Minds’ “Let’s Go“ featuring MF DOOM remixed by Black Noi$e.[47][48][49][50][51][52][53]

Artists past and present[edit]

Awards and certifications[edit]

RIAA CERTIFICATION (USA)

A2IM LIBERA AWARDS (USA)

GRAMMY AWARDS (USA)

  • 2012, Danger Mouse, Rome - Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (nominated)
  • 2011, Danger Mouse, Dark Night of the Soul - Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (won)
  • 2009, Gnarls Barkley, "Going On" - Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (nominated)
  • 2009, Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple - Best Alternative Music Album (nominated)
  • 2009, Danger Mouse, The Odd Couple - Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (nominated)
  • 2009, Gnarls Barkley, "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" - Best Short Form Music Video (nominated)
  • 2008, Gnarls Barkley, "Gone Daddy Gone" - Best Short Form Music Video (nominated)
  • 2007, Danger Mouse, St. Elsewhere - Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (nominated)
  • 2007, Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere - Best Alternative Music Album (won)
  • 2007, Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere - Album of the Year (nominated)
  • 2007, Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy" - Record of the Year (nominated)
  • 2007, Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy" - Best Urban/Alternative Performance (won)
  • 2006, Danger Mouse, The Mouse And The Mask - Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (nominated)[56]

PLUG INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS (USA)

MUSIC CANADA CERTIFICATION (CANADA)

  • Eyedress, "Jealous" - Gold single[58]
  • Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere - Platinum album
  • Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy" - Double Platinum ringtone[59]

JUNO MUSIC PRIZE (CANADA)

POLARIS MUSIC PRIZE (CANADA)

  • 2015, BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah Sour Soul (shortlisted)[61]

BRIT CERTIFIED (UK)

  • Neon Neon, Stainless Style - Bronze / Breakthrough album
  • Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere - 2× Platinum album[62]
  • Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy" - 3× Platinum single[63]

MERCURY PRIZE (UK)

BRIT AWARDS (UK)

  • 2007, Gnarls Barkley – Best International Group (nominated)
  • 2007, Gnarls Barkley – International Breakthrough Act (nominated)
  • 2007, Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere – International Album (nominated)[66]

BRITISH ANIMATION AWARDS (UK)

  • 2006, Director SSSR, Subtle "Swan Meat" video - Best Music Video (won)[67]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Nicola Slade, "Life Blood: Lex Records," (Record Of The Day, 11 June 2009)
  3. ^ Mirza, Imran (10 July 2010). "Lex Records: Hip-hop that won't stop!". Liberation Frequency.
  4. ^ "Top 50 Labels: Lex Records". betterpropaganda.com. Archived from the original on 31 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
  5. ^ a b Teh, Terence (18 May 2012). "Lex Records: Through the Years in Video". Dazed Digital.
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  7. ^ "EHQUESTIONMARK? – BONAFIDE EXCLUSIVE". Bonafide Magazine.
  8. ^ Lucas, Gavin (19 April 2012). "Lex Complex Vol. 1 vinyl". Creative Review.
  9. ^ Chen, Kirsten. "End Your Summer with Eyedress' New Album "Mulholland Drive"". Hypebeast. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  10. ^ Clarke, Paul (30 April 2004). "lex records label profile". BBC.
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  67. ^ "Corpse Bride is top animated film". BBC. 9 March 2006.

External links[edit]