Since 1994, Bloodshot Records has been a pioneer in the indie music community. While many labels perpetually struggle to capitalize on whatever fleeting sound is currently selling, over the past seventeen years Bloodshot has stayed faithfully true to its foundation and released some of the best music found in the current indie scene. For a label many expect greatness from, 2011 did not disappoint.

“I feel that this was a really excellent year for Bloodshot,” said Josh Zanger, the label’s publicist.  “We coordinated releases and tours from established artists (Justin Townes Earle, Ha Ha Tonka, Exene Cervenka, Bottle Rockets, Dex Romweber Duo, Scott H. Biram) and new signees (JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, Maggie Bjorklund, Lydia Loveless, Mekons, Eddie Spaghetti) alike, and saw promising results from both.“

You counted right, folks. Bloodshot released a staggering ten albums in 2011, five of which were label debuts, an extremely impressive feat for an indie outfit.

2011 catalog highlights include JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound’s sophomore album Want More, an eleven-track offering awash in a loutish, near belligerent rock and soul blend that leaves you...well, wanting more. In addition, The Mekons 2011 release Ancient & Modern proves that after 34 years and 26 albums the prolific British rockers still know how to flawlessly combine razor-sharp punk with thoughtful folk. Finally, Lydia Loveless’ newest effort Indestructible Machine is certainly a standout record for Bloodshot this year. The release is arguably her best album to date, and a peerless example of Loveless’ ability to merge punk attitude with country sensibilities, resulting in an album that's as deeply personal as it is captivating.

Bloodshot has always claimed they are “Drawn to the good stuff nestled in the dark, nebulous cracks where punk, country, soul, pop, bluegrass, blues and rock mix and mingle and mutate. [They] like artists who work over American roots forms with chains and velvet gloves with little regard for formality or protocol, who aren't afraid to molest and caress these forms and take music into uncharted and exciting water,” and when you look at the label’s 2011 output it’s hard to argue.  

“From Danish pedal steel, to Chicago soul, to garage/roots, I think that we had a year that also showed our great diversity,” Zanger said. “2011 was exciting and has us chomping at the bit to get into 2012.”

Us too, Josh. Us too.

Stream or download the tracks below to explore Bloodshot’s 2011 highlights.