The sister label of punk institution Epitaph Records, Anti- Records announced itself as a home for artists with a singular vision almost from its inception in 1999. Among its earliest releases were career-highlight records from Tom Waits, Tricky, Merle Haggard, Nick Cave and Neko Case, a full house of mavericks if ever there was one. Sixteen years later, Andy Kaulkin's imprint continues to provide a sandbox for boundary-pushing artists from across the musical spectrum, from the black metal–meets–shoegaze epics of Deafheaven to the hushed retro-folk reveries of The Milk Carton Kids. Even as Anti- cultivates new talent, including L.A.-based electro-soul chanteuse Doe Paoro and Seattle synth-pop quartet Beat Connection, it continues to serve as a mid- to late-career sanctuary for such rule benders as Waits, Wilco and Daniel Lanois. To this day, no two artists on Anti-'s roster sound alike, a remarkable achievement in this era of music-discovery algorithms.
The Milk Carton Kids; Credit: Ryan Mastro