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Later this month Walnut Tree Records will be closing it’s doors and be heading into the sunset yet it’ll be going with a bang at The Old Blue Last in London, as the label Punktastic.com and some of the labels alumni will be bidding farewell on October 10th.
For some readers you’re probably thinking "who’s Walnut Tree Records?" Sure during it’s five years of activity WTR never reached cult-like status that other independent labels have done. Yet those who know of Walnut Tree, will tell you two things, the first being WTR is a one-man ship and that man is Tom Beck. The second is that since 2007, like many indie labels, Tom has poured his heart and soul into each and every release the label has put out.
Whilst Tom and WTR hasn’t produced household names, he clearly had an eye (and ear) for talent and spotting up and coming bands. Burn The Fleet, Gunning For Tamar and Tiger Please (now known as The People The Poet) are just some of the bands Tom has worked with in the past, and it’s bands like them that helped WTR gain a solid, appreciative reputation.
From a personal perspective, I’ve had the privilege to work with Tom on a variety of occasions throughout the past four years. As a web-based music writer/journalist/”blogger” (or whatever you want to class me), I’ve always appreciated Tom’s willingness to make good use of online sites like Already Heard and along with his work ethic, Tom has (nearly) single-handedly established Walnut Tree Records as a trust-worthy, well-respected independent label. And on a side note I’d like to personally thank Tom for giving me a chance to work with him when I started in this crazy world of writing.
Unfortunately for fans of the label, Tom has called time of the label citing changes in his personal life and having “nothing left to prove” as the reason for the labels closure.
As we give a fond farewell to Walnut Tree Records, we thought it’d be an ideal time to highlight 5 key releases from it’s discography.
Portman - From Here To Your Eyes And Ears
One of the labels earlier releases, the Stamford, Peterborough six-piece provided a well-crafted record in the form of 'From Here To Your Eyes and Ears.' Throughout it delivered soaring melodies, pleasing harmonies and combined with compelling musicianship that made the album even more appealing. In addition a mixture of loud and quiet numbers showed the bands ability to vary their sound and approach. An all-round superb record that never got the attention it deserved.
Bayonets - Wishes & Wishes
The young Hereford quartet’s début release offered a lot of promise and thrived of their youthful, raw energy. Tracks like ‘The Battle of Head and Heart’ have a distinct Brand New influence yet Bayonets’ mature song-writing made them appreciative. Whilst ‘Ten More Sleeps ‘till A Good Nights Sleep’ offered a more complex side to the band. For a début record, it was and still is a fantastic and energetic release but like Portman, Bayonets are no more.
Tiger Please - They Don’t Change Under Moonlight
Before they became The People The Poet, the Pontypridd, Wales group were known as Tiger Please and this début mini-album was the first stepping stone. With strong, passionate vocals from Leon Stanford and the bands mesmerizing indie-rock sound, ‘They Don’t Change Under Moonlight’ was a fantastic release that received all the praise it deserved and opened doors for the band and WTR. Musically it offered depth, mature song-writing and overall stunning songs that had plenty of longevity.
Rob Lynch - Rob Lynch EP
After ditching the Lost on Campus moniker, Rob Lynch “restarted” with this delightful EP last year. For those who know of Lynch’s music, you will know he consistently produces harmonious, sincere acoustic pop numbers and this EP did exactly that. From the sweet ballad ‘Plans’ to the rousing 'My Friends and I,' Lynch’s stripped-back, simple approach leaves you with a bright, warm feeling. Rob is currently working on a full-length.
The Republic of Wolves - Varuna
Ok this isn’t exactly a Walnut Tree release, but it was distributed through them here in the UK. With a combination of thunderous indie-rock and dark urgency, The Republic of Wolves’ 'Varuna' more or less leaves you stunned from start to finish. Tracks like 'Sea Smoke' and 'You Missed The Point' leave you immersed in the band both musically and lyrically, whereas 'Pitch And Resin' and ‘The Attic’ showcased the bands lighter, softer side.
Walnut Tree Records links: Facebook
Details of Punktastic.com’s Walnut Tree Records Farewell Show can be found here.
Words by Sean Reid (@seanreid86)