Tender Loving Empire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tender Loving Empire
Tender Loving Empire Logo.jpg
Founded 2005 (2005)
Founder Brianne Mees, Jared Mees
Status Active
Distributor(s) ADA
Genre Various Alternative, Indie rock, Indie folk, Indie pop
Country of origin  U.S.
Location Portland, Oregon
Official website Tender Loving Empire.com

Tender Loving Empire (often abbreviated as TLE) is an independent record label and local handicraft concept store based in Portland, Oregon. The record label side has established local and national recognition through a successful roster of indie rock and indie folk bands such as Typhoon, Loch Lomond, The Family Crest, Radiation City, Magic Sword, Y La Bamba and Willis Earl Beal. When the label partnered with Warner Music distributor ADA, President David Orleans called Tender Loving Empire “a major force in the vibrant Portland music scene”.[1] Carrie Brownstein, of the band Sleater-Kinney and show Portlandia, called TLE in the The Wall Street Journal a “dream boutique”[2] for its collection of local artistry and music, both important to the indie rock culture of the Pacific Northwest.[3]



Brianne and Jared Mees met while studying abroad in Oxford and returned to LA together as a couple united by their many artistic talents. He published and wrote poetry and she hand-made purses and attended craft fairs; at one point, they were in a band called ‘Julai’ (later 'July' and the name of their daughter). However, the couple soon found themselves in the LA suburbs, sidelining their creativity in order to make rent. They opted instead to live in a tent on a house built on stilts in Panama for 4 months, a life-choice they have credited for the confidence needed to start the business.[4]

Jared and Brianne settled in Portland, Oregon in 2006 after admiring the thriving music of Oregon on a roadtrip. There, they met other artists in the budding indie Portland scene[5] and made important musical friendships with acts like Finn Riggins. It was a year later that they decided to establish a platform and storefront for both publishing small press books and selling their friend’s records, calling it a tender loving empire.[4]


The first Tender Loving Empire storefront opened in June 2007 in Northwest Portland, selling music from the label as well as indie goods such as alternative comics, small press books,[6] and other handicraft items popularized by the DIY aesthetic.[7]

The stores have traditionally featured murals by local artists and are regularly decorated by local designers.[8] Like the label counterpart, the TLE store has been nationally recognized as an important part of the Portland culture. Sunset Magazine said it was “the best example of a shop committed to local talent”.[9]

In May 2010, the store moved from a small NW storefront to its downtown Portland location, nearby the popular Powells Books location in the West End shopping district of downtown Portland. In November 2014, a second location was opened in the Hawthorne District and a third was opened in September 2015 in the Nob Hill in Portland.[10]

Record Label[edit]

Tender Loving Empire was an idea born in a basement in 2005. By 2016 the label reached its 60th release.[11] The bands on the TLE label are not defined by a single genre, but many are based in the Pacific Northwest.

Various TLE Bands have reached a notable amount of national success while with the label. Typhoon performed CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman. Y La Bamba toured with folk-rock artist Neko Case multiple times after Neko heard and bought the album in a Tender Loving Empire store.[10]


Compilation Albums[edit]

Alongside traditional releases Tender Loving Empire releases various concept albums, such as the annually released compilation album ‘Friends and Friends of Friends’, which features locally- and nationally-acclaimed artists.[12]

Partial catalog[edit]

Catalog No. Artist Title Year
TLE024 Typhoon Hunger and Thirst 2010
TLE022 Finn Riggins Vs. Wilderness 2009
TLE032 Y La Bamba Court the Storm 2012
TLE038 Radiation City Animals in the Median 2013
TLE045 The Family Crest ‘’Beneath The Brine 2014
TLE051 Magic Sword Volume 1 2015
TLE058 Willis Earl Beal Noctunes 2015

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Renowned Indie Record Label Tender Loving Empire Partners With Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA)". Warner Music Group. October 19, 2012. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  2. ^ "Insider's Guide to Portland, Ore.". The Wall Street Journal. July 6, 2012. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  3. ^ "Tender Loving Empire". Travel and Leisure. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  4. ^ a b St. Marie, Terry. "Tender Loving Empire takes a walk on the artist's side". Built Oregon. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  5. ^ Clark, Taylor (September 11, 2007). "The Indie City". Slate. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  6. ^ "Tender Loving Empire". Portland Made. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  7. ^ Adams, Anne (September 1, 2011). "Jared and Brianne Mees". Portland Monthly. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  8. ^ "Ace Hotel Blog Post TLE". Ace Hotel Tumblr. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  9. ^ "Tender Loving Empire". Sunset Magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  10. ^ a b Tucker, Nathan (December 3, 2014). "Tender Loving Empire Opens New Hawthorne Store". Portland Monthly. Retrieved 2016-04-22. 
  11. ^ "A Portland store with a Portland soul". Portland Business Journal. March 15, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Tender Loving Empire Blogpost". Retrieved 2016-04-22. 

External links[edit]