All the best things come in pairs: spaghetti and meatballs, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and now Bedroom Suck and Milk! Records. Motivated by friendship, music and a contagious need to share the combination of those two things with the world, the independent Australian record labels are teaming up for the first time and sending the results directly to your mailbox.
Split Singles Club is a limited-edition collection of 7-inch vinyl, each pairing a track from one of Milk!’s favourite Australian artists on one side, with one of Bedroom Suck’s on the other. The idea – spearheaded by Bedroom Suck director Joe Alexander and Milk! co-founder Jen Cloher – was born out of the close familial dynamic each label has with their artists and their local communities. “We wanted to develop a project that encapsulated this family idea and also extended a hand to others,” Joe says. A significant motivating factor in the project, Jen adds, is highlighting the uniquely generous spirit of Melbourne’s music scene, one that’s earning a growing awareness around the world: “I think Split Singles Club is a great reflection of how uncompetitive and collaborative we are in this town.”
The inclusive local labels are a package deal, and so are the records in this series; over the course of three months, subscribers will receive a total of six 7-inches in the mail, along with accompanying digital downloads. By May, there’ll be songs from 12 of these beloved local labels’ favourite artists spinning on turntables around the world. And there’s no splitting these singles – when you subscribe, you receive the lot. Like milk and cookies or Milk! and Bedroom Suck, you can’t have one without the other.
The collaboration became a space for Milk! and Bedroom Suck to draw attention to artists they love, but whose work they don’t have the time or resources to release. “One of the greatest frustrations of running a small label in Melbourne is that there are so many incredible bands and artists,” Jen says, “If we could, Milk! would be releasing a new record every week. Split Singles Club was a fun and relatively cost-effective way to show off some of the bands we love that people may not have heard before.”
While some of the featured names on the Split Singles Club roster will be familiar – there’s Milk! co-founder Courtney Barnett and labelmates Jade Imagine, plus Bedroom Suck artists Blank Realm and Dag – the others have been hand-picked from across Australia to join this tight-knit family of compulsive collaborators. LA Mood, Hachiku, Primo!, Treehouse, Emlyn Johnson, Cable Ties, The Maraby Band and Lehmann B. Smith complete the line-up. “The purpose is not to have a ‘greatest hits’ from each label,” Joe explains, “but to expose a set of new, exciting and totally worthwhile artists to a larger audience.”
In addition to the selection of stunning tracks, the Split Singles Club is accompanied by 6 original artworks by local illustrator Steph Hughes, and 6 short film teasers by Hayden Somerville. Music, art and film; a match made in heaven.
From Valentine’s Day (that’s Tuesday, 14 February, in case you haven’t made that dinner reservation yet), punters can purchase a subscription to receive all six 7-inches between March and May 2017. Don’t stress if you miss out on that limited edition batch though – there are unlimited digital download-only options.