Kindercore Records: A Look Back on Athens’ Most Popular Albums

Before Kindercore Vinyl, owners Ryan Lewis and Daniel Geller owned and operated Kindercore Records, an independent record label featuring the hidden musical talents of Athens, Georgia. Founded in 1996, Kindercore Records featured earlier versions of well known bands throughout Athens such as Of Montreal, Japancakes, and Maserati.  

Japancakes: The Sleepy Strange (2001)

After successfully releasing Down The Elements in 2000, Japancakes released The Sleepy Strange on Kindercore Records in 2001. Strange contains seven slow to mid-tempo instrumental songs that create a melodic and calming feel, emphasized by unique instruments of choice: a pedal steel guitar and cello. Songs such as “The Waiting” and “Disconnect the Cables” each exhibit the use of these unique instruments, making the songs tasteful. Each song follows a riff that gradually becomes more complex. This approach can be boring, but with the correct use of different sounds and instruments, Japancakes makes their songs simple, yet intricate at the same time, making the album an appealing listen.

Of Montreal: The Bedside Drama: A Complete Tragedy (1998)

Having a childlike, upbeat, and playful sound, The Bedside Drama: A Complete Tragedy is closely related to previous Of Montreal releases such as Cherry Peel (1997). Songs on Bedside such as “The Couple’s First Kiss” incorporate many different child-like sounds such as bells and whistles or even the sound of an ice cream truck. Every song is a light-hearted, and Kevin Barnes’ soothing voice compliments the acoustic guitar in the majority of the songs on this album. Vocal harmonies, horns, and even the saw are played during some songs, adding to the unique feel of this album. Vocal harmonies reoccur during the majority of songs on the album, but at some points, these harmonies give tracks such as “Cutie Pie” an eerie feeling. Each song is short and sweet, with 16 songs totaling up to only 39 minutes.  

Maserati: The Language of Cities (2002)

When released on Kindercore Records in 2002, instrumental The Language of Cities was only the second ever studio album to be released by Maserati. Having eight songs, this album is relatively lengthy at 50 minutes, but each song has many different parts to keep listeners interested. Overall, the songs on this album are fairly slow and darker, with the exception of “Keep it Gold,” which is much faster paced than any other song on the album. Sound wise, the instrumentation is standard. Not much of anything other than guitar, bass, or drums are played, but each part is played so well that it does not affect the overall theme or sound of the album. Intricate drum beats are also used throughout, showcased in “Being a President Is Like Riding a Tiger,” which is very melodic and slow at first, but eventually the drums come in and it gradually becomes much more upbeat and energetic.