Miami-Based Limited Fanfare Records Succeeds On Rock And Roll, Not Rocket Science
Record labels -- the kind that lovingly hand-pick a few bands and release real, tactile product by them -- aren't exactly cash cows in 2013. Yet two years of solvent success shows that Brian Kurtz, the proprietor of Miami-based indie outfit Limited Fanfare, has discovered a niche. In releasing music and promoting concerts by, and even managing, a selected handful of promising underground rock and roll bands, he's managed to move physical units. Imagine!
"I started out in the mid-'90s while in high school, lugging equipment, making flyers, and booking shows for friends' bands. I started managing a few of those bands and have been at it since, over 15 years now," Kurtz recalls. "I started the label because I wanted to put out music that I both love and want people to hear. What a precarious situation to get myself into, right?"
Not all of Limited Fanfare's signees hail from South Florida. Garage-stompers and super buzz band the Ettes call Nashville home, as does the vintage soul/country act Denney and the Jets. But many of the best do, in fact, either come from South Florida, or maintain ties to it. Sunday Driver, for instance, is a kind of who's-who of departed bands from Miami's active late-'90s hardcore scene, with members formerly in bands like Strongarm and Shai Hulud. Lil Daggers, meanwhile, rose indirectly out of the same scene, but now play heavy psychedelic rock and roll. And the instrumental, sludgy act Stallone features Juan Montoya, a popular figure from the metal-ish scene who formerly played in Torche.
While there's no particular genre restrictions on the roster overall, the careful listener and scene-watcher will note a common ethos among Limited Fanfare artists, and the label itself. None of them hew to particular genre limitations, prizing creativity and experimentation instead.
"I'd never release something that I wouldn't buy myself. When deciding on putting out a record, it's always the song as a whole that catches me first -- melody, structure, musicality and lyrics -- in that order. I try and think a step or two ahead and see if it'll be something that others will dig, buy and then share with their friends," says Kurtz. "It's not rocket science, it's rock and roll."
Or, maybe, not even purely rock and roll. The next forthcoming release from the label is a seven-inch vinyl record by Rickolus and Astronautalis, two Jacksonville natives whose music is rooted, however murkily, in underground hip-hop. They'll also appear on a forthcoming free digital Limited Fanfare sampler, due out April 9, which will also feature Miami acts Ex-Norwegian, PLAINS, and more. "I grew up listening to pop radio, alt rock, punk rock, classic rock and hip-hop music," says Kurtz of the stylistic spread. "Why would I limit someone's discovery of the things that I love?"
Visit Limited Fanfare online at limitedfanfare.com, and stream the label's previous annual free sampler below.