Sup Pop Records started out in the 1990's as the home for all things Seattle Grunge. Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden all got their start here and the label is kind of famous for starting the whole Indie Label craze. Once the big Grunge explosion died down Sup Pop moved into a more varied direction signing bands like The Shins, Postal Service and Band of Horses. Suprisingly the Jesus and Mary Chain released a record under the Sub Pop banner as did British Electronic artists St. Etienne. They have lots of cool MP3's to download from their site.
Matador Records rivaled Sub Pop in the 1990's as the bastion for cool bands. Unlike Sub Pop, Matador has always signed a wide variety of artists with varying degrees of success. Once the home to Pavement, Guided by Voices and Polvo, Matador biggest claim to fame is probably Yo La Tengo. These days you'll find music by Interpol, Mission of Burma and and Mogwai here. Their site also has some excellent mp3's to download including (when they fix the link) a new Yo La Tengo track.
Matador Records Official Website
Barsuk Records got real famous real fast for signing Death Cab for Cutie. However, they have continued to sign off kilter pop artists including John Vanderslice, Nada Surf (after they left their major label) and Rilo Kiley. Alot of other blogs are hot for Mates of State, and I think the new Long Winters record will be a big deal. MP3's galore
4AD records was big in the late 80 early 90's as the home of The Pixies. They also signed Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus and Lush. These days 4AD is home to Mojave 3, TV on the radio and Thievery Corporation. I fell in love with this label right around the same time I developed an unhealthy attraction to Tanya Donnelly of Belly and Throwing Muses fame. Alas no mp3's on their site but they have lots of good info about all their bands.
Thats all for today. BTW the Angels are pounding the Devil Rays 8-4 in the top of the 2nd. Juan Rivera 4 Rbi's, no double plays...amazing.