Named after a marvellous but less well known musical nugget by The Doors, Peacefrog is a record label that deals in, well, marvellous but (initially, at least) less well known musical nuggets. Launched in 1991, the label has provided a qualitatively consistent outlet for an ever more eclectic litany of artists who excel at what they do, no matter what their genre, united only by a happy knack for parlaying this or that stripe of ‘niche’ music into the mainstream without ever compromising their creativity or originality. Peacefrog’s none-more cosmopolitan roster continues to spiral outwards from its underground dancefloor genesis, embracing an ever broader ambit of genres, including electronica, Americana, experimental soundscaping, sophisticated pop, indie-folk and singer-songwriter styles.
Nowadays perhaps best known for a number of international, chart-friendly pop acts, the label established its reputation as a purveyor of cult, twelve-inch dance and techno releases, quickly becoming a go-to European label for the cream of esoteric, mid-’90s house music then emanating from Detroit and Chicago. That meant releasing records by everyone from The Detroit Escalator Co. to Robert Hood, Theo Parrish, Dan Bell, Kenny Larkin, Gemini and of course the irrepressible Moodymann, as well as cult dancefloor releases by influential British DJ/producers such as Luke Slater, Ian O’Brien, Stasis and Neil Landstrumm, to name but a smattering of the label’s bulging ’90s roster.
Graduating from twelve-inch dance singles to blue riband electronic house and techno albums by revered acts such as Dan Curtin, Paul Johnson, David Alvarado, Wamdue Kid’s and Luke Slater’s Planetary Assault Systems, the label continued its slow but inexorable rise throughout the ’90s, before radically expanding both its stylistic compass and the shape and scope of its audience as the new millennium dawned. Initially releasing a number of leftfield electronica and avant-rock albums via a subsidiary imprint, Agenda (including a number of critically acclaimed compilations, notably the much revered Documenta series), and subsequently on the main label, Peacefrog would birth epochal releases by Gallic new wave/bossa nova interpreters Nouvelle Vague and Swedish troubadour José González, both of whom enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) major critical acclaim and familiarity with the sharp end of the pop charts all over the globe. Innumerable other acts on an increasingly eclectic roster also found widespread success, among them award-winning maverick Canadian singer-songwriter Patrick Watson and his eponymous band, Brittany pop collagists Jean-Philipe Verdin, aka Readymade FC, London’s deluxe folk-soul exponents The Beauty Room and Massachusetts folk maven Marissa Nadler.
As it celebrates its twentieth anniversary, Peacefrog continues to usher original, distinctive new acts into the mainstream spotlight, with the likes of Swedish electronic pop purveyors Little Dragon and London-based alternative folk artist Charlene Soraia enjoying protracted 2011 chart success and swelling fanbases. And with a brimming portfolio of film and TV synchronisations, a music publishing arm and a range of supplementary musical activities to its name, Peacefrog greets its third decade by expanding its horizons, finding even more places to sift for those marvellous musical nuggets.