Mint Records

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Mint Records is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based independent record label founded in 1991, by friends and campus radio enthusiasts Randy Iwata and Bill Baker. Mint has put out over 150 releases, several of which have won Juno Awards.


Iwata and Baker started working together at CITR-FM, the University of British Columbia radio station. Three years after graduation, they left the station, and founded Mint Records in January, 1991 to release the music of up-and-coming bands in Vancouver.[1]

One of their earliest successes was a band called cub who, alongside Bunnygrunt and labelmates Maow, helped pioneer the vein of indie pop known as cuddlecore.[2] Neko Case, performed in both Cub and Maow, released her first solo album on Mint.[3]

In the late 1990s, the label was heavily affected by the financial crisis at and eventual bankruptcy of distribution company Cargo Records,[4] when Cargo's failure to pay the label for Gob's album Too Late... No Friends led to the band, then Mint's most lucrative act, defecting to rival label Nettwerk.[5]

In the year 1998, Mint Records album Get Outta Dodge by Huevos Rancheros was nominated for a Juno Award in the Best Alternative Album category,[6]

Mint achieved Billboard chart success in the early 2000s with Neko Case[7] and The New Pornographers.[8][8] In 2001, the band's album Mass Romantic won the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album.[9][10] Mass Romantic was listed at #17 in the 2001 Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll,[11] and later ranked at #24 in Blender's 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums Ever list.[12]

By its tenth anniversary Mint had released 32 albums, 23 singles and five EPs.[13]

Electric Version by The New Pornographers was listed at #7 in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll of 2003.[14] In 2009, the album was ranked at #79 on Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the Decade list.[15] New Pornographers album Twin Cinema was voted the #9 album of 2005 in the Pazz & Jop poll of 2005,[16] and PopMatters ranked the album at #1 on their Best Music of 2005 list.[17] It was later shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize in 2006,[18] while Pitchfork Media placed Twin Cinema at number 150 on their list of the Top 200 Albums of the 2000s.[19]

In October 2006, in conjunction with Exclaim! magazine and CBC Radio 3, Mint Records mounted a cross-Canada tour called the "Exclaim! Mint Road Show!" with headliners The New Pornographers along with Immaculate Machine and Novillero (except the final show in Vancouver, which featured Young and Sexy and Bella).[20]

In 2010, Mint Records album Let's Just Stay Here by Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle was nominated for a Juno Award in the Roots & Traditional Album of the Year category.[21]

In 2011, a book about Mint Records by Kaitlin Fontana was published by ECW Press. It is titled Fresh at Twenty: The Oral History of Mint Records.

Current artists[edit]

Past artists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Greetings from Vancouver!". SPIN 2 March 2006.
  2. ^ Hogan, Marc (2007-05-10), Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Cub: Betti-Cola / Come Out Come Out, Pitchfork Media, retrieved 2010-05-17 
  3. ^ "Neko Case and her enduring bond to Canada". The Buffalo News, By Michael Farrell Feb 26, 2016
  4. ^ "Still in Mint condition: A small Vancouver record label has quietly carved out an enviable 'killer brand' reputation in the indie market". The Globe and Mail, August 30, 2001.
  5. ^ Michael Barclay, Ian A.D. Jack and Jason Schneider, Have Not Been the Same: The Can-Rock Renaissance 1985-1995. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-55022-992-9.
  6. ^ "Yearly Summary | The JUNO Awards".
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ "Artist Summary | The JUNO Awards".
  10. ^ "The New Pornographers: The Last Picture Show". Magnet,
  11. ^ "Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 2001: Critics Poll".
  12. ^ "100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums Ever". Blender.
  13. ^ Larry LeBlanc (1 September 2001). Mint Records Still Fresh after Ten Years. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 49–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  14. ^ "Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 2003: Critics Poll".
  15. ^ "Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums, Songs Of The ’00s". Stereogum, 10 December 2009.
  16. ^ "Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 2005: Critics Poll".
  17. ^ "Music Reviews, Features, Essays, News, Columns, Blogs, MP3s and Videos | PopMatters". 2005
  18. ^ 2006 Polaris Music Prize
  19. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  20. ^ "Mint to release Radio 3 sessions collection for 15th Anniversary Roadshow". Punk News
  21. ^ "Artist Summary | The JUNO Awards".
  22. ^ "Get the lowdown on Vancouver's music scene". Georgia Strait, 28 February 2007.
  23. ^ "The Buttless Chaps Calling it Quits". CBC News. 
  24. ^ "Neko Case leaves Mint to sign with Anti- Records". Georgia Strait, 25 June 2008.
  25. ^ "The Organ Calls It Quits". Georgia Strait

External links[edit]