From Here Till Now—Hot Releases

The Label Hot Releases from Carrboro, North Carolina has been active since 2008. It’s run by Ryan Martin, alias Secret Boyfriend, who’s just as convincing as a musician, performer and event organizer. Below is a quick look into the world of Hot Releases.

Text: Marc Jauss
Image: Ryan Martin

When listening to music by the likes of American label Hot Releases, one repeatedly encounters a performance-like aesthetics which seems influenced by Sonic Youth or Maurizio Bianchi. As Secret Boyfriend, Ryan Martin’s music is distinguished by neurotic noises and reduced synths combined with a lo-fi songwriter voice—see, for example, the recent Grovl release They’re Playing Themselves or the 2013 Blackest Ever Black release This Is Always Where You’ve Lived. Martin’s performances (available online) are designed accordingly: at one point he lifts a found piece of metal and transforms it into a snare drum that he then uses as head gear that simultaneously generates reverb from his voice.

This aesthetic can also be applied to other artists in the label’s milieu: take Russian Tsarlag from Tampa, Florida, to whom the words strange and grotesque can be ascribed. His album Open Casket impresses with woozy and synthetic downer folk, making repeated forays into uncompromising noise.

For those looking for more, an additional recommendation to Hot Releases is the Savage Weekend festival in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; it too is shaped by Martin’s hand—for the past five years he’s invited more than eighty musicians and performers to the multi-day event, representing the impressive variety of the local noise scene.

Fascinating, savvy and contrast-rich: so much of the activity around Hot Releases falls outside the norm; American outsider music with a lot of devotion and a large pinch of idealism.

This text was published in the latest zweikommasieben magazine.


Secret Boyfriend – a compilation by Ryan Martin

  1. love in the shadow part 1 - orchester michel dupont
  2. la grand-volle - laurence vanay
  3. blue rose - suttee
  4. sunshine dub - prince douglas
  5. palm grove - san laurentino
  6. ronnie - blanket
  7. sorceresselectrotrance - housefire
  8. reborn ice horn (ond ton‘s reborn in 1991 remix) - 1991
  9. don‘t look in the mira - haves & thirds
  10. cannibal crowd / chamomile ant den - virusse
  11. lost in the present - i_like_dog_face
  12. some shape (excerpt) - tether
  13. nnerv - wilted woman
  14. slow fav version - cube
  15. space control - dj clent
  16. the fog show - roomdance
  17. fading fast - russian tsarlag
  18. best times (from the movie „killer party“) - alan brackett & scott shelly

compiled by ryan martin, august - 2015


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