Brandon Stevens used leftover student loan money to found his Waterloo Road studio, Exit Stencil Recordings, in 2002. Ryan Weitzel's band Mystery of Two was one of the label's first acts. He's now one of Stevens' two business partners. "We never sit down and try to crunch numbers and see if we can sell it," Stevens says, adding that Exit Stencil will work with any artist that piques he and his business partners' interests. We asked Stevens and Weitzel for some listening suggestions from the label's catalog.
MYSTERY OF TWO Stevens: "Ryan gets a lot of David Byrne comparisons vocally. It's an updated take on 1970s art punk." Listen To > "Ghost"
BLAKE MILLER Stevens: "He's a rare talent. He comes up with these incredibly complex and layered vocal melodies. It's all done with a microphone and a laptop, and he ends up with these haunting and beautiful songs." Listen To > "In the Danger"
THE DREADFUL YAWNS Stevens: "They've changed significantly from album to album. Their first record was a very Americana kind of thing. The newer stuff is psychedelic, shoe-gazing music." Listen To > "You've Been Recorded"
LIKE BELLS Stevens: "They're almost like indie jazz. The music is really dynamic and epic sounding. It kind of builds up one melody, goes all different directions and comes back to the original melody." Listen To > "Follow the Birds"
THE NEW LOU REEDS Weitzel: "They're a three-piece rock band, and the lead singer, Stephe DK, creates these characters and quirky little stories that are pretty funny. They're heavy-hitting rock, and they take some cues from the James Gang." Listen To > "The Main Frame (is Coming Down)"