Household Ink Records

By Brett Leigh Dicks

Two things strike you when you first explore Household Ink
Records’ recent venture into the world of streaming Internet-based
radio. The first is the eclectic nature of this dynamic homegrown
label, and the second is the sheer depth of its remarkable
catalogue. For nearly 20 years, Household Ink has been a musical
haven for some of Santa Barbara’s most free-feeling and imaginative
musicians, recording and releasing everything from the plaintive
elegance of Nate Birkey to the bristling avant-pop of Flapping,
Flapping. Oblivious to trends, the label’s course has been charted
by substance. To celebrate Household Ink’s 20th anniversary,
Household head (and master critic) Joe Woodard has taken its
impressive catalogue to the digital airwaves.

“I’ve been trying to think of ways to expand the label’s
admittedly humble reach,” explained Woodard. “And the idea of
streaming was one that has been nagging at me for a while.
Actually, the label-specific streaming radio station was a
no-brainer, especially once I realized that we have a pretty
sizable catalogue now of about 25 titles — plus some CDs that are
loosely connected to us, like honorary kinfolk. To my ears, it all
hangs together. It’s hard to say what other ears will hear, but the
mix seems to me to be reminiscent of old school, freeform FM radio,
when there was a whole lot more blurring of lines between

Household Ink draws from a diverse musical armory that doesn’t
just explore musical borders — it crashes through them. First
Shelly Rudolph makes a refined offering of rhythm and blues, and
then Ellen Turner and Dudley give us tumultuous art folk until the
sublime pop sensibility of Glen Phillips finally rains down upon
us. The label might paint from a colorful musical palette, but its
impasto approach provides an enchanting alternative to formulaic
mainstream radio music programming. In an age where demographics
and marketing strategies all too often determine content, it’s
refreshing to hear something that is fueled by a real sense of
community. And that is certainly something worth celebrating. See


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