Nude Records Biography

Nude immediately hit The Big Time with Saul Galpern’s first signing Suede, acquiring the front cover of weekly music bible Melody Maker before they’d even officially released any records. The first of these records – a single called The Drowners, released on 11th May 1992 – kick-started the Britpop movement and became NME and Melody Maker’s Single Of The Year – a measure of its cultural impact was that Morrissey began including a cover of B-side My Insatiable One in his live set – whilst follow up single Metal Mickey went Top 20 and the controversial third single Animal Nitrate reached the giddy heights of No.7 and saw the band performing on stage at the 1993 Brit Awards, Needless to say, the band’s eponymous debut long player crashed in at No.1 in the UK Albums Chart in that very same year, the album becoming the fastest-selling debut album since Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks.

Suede went Platinum, won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, the band receiving six Brit Award nominations and adorning over 60 front covers as they kick-started the Britpop movement. Nude Records subsequently masterminded a further four Top 3 Suede albums – including Dog Man Star (named in the Top 100 Albums of all time in the Guardian and still regarded as one of the best albums of the 1990s) and in 1996 Coming Up, which featured five Top Ten singles including Beautiful Ones and Trash . The following year came Sci-Fi Lullabies a double album which made the top 10 and that was hailed as one of the finest B-side compilations in popular music.  In 1999 Suede released there 4th studio album  Head Music another Top 3 album which had a more Electronic approach to the band’s sound.

Defining The Sound For A New Era

As Nude Records flourished in the early 1990s – they signed The Jennifers (later to become Supergrass) and released their one off single Just Got Back Today – along with their proud siblings Suede, they seemed to renegotiate the rules of pop music whilst everyone else followed. In previous decades, aside from labels such as Rough Trade, Mute and Cherry Red, independent music seemed like something to be sidelined rather than celebrated, and bands were as likely to release EPs as they were to gaze at their feet whilst playing along to their favourite tunes. Strangely enough, being successful didn’t come into it but Nude – and Suede in particular – completely changed all that, redefining the left-field and calling it mainstream. Without them bands like Oasis, Blur and Pulp would not have existed in quite the same way.

In the mid ‘90s, Nude capitalized on the success of Suede by signing two exciting new indie acts, Sharkboy and Goya Dress. Sharkboy, formed in the early 1990s by Preston-born vocalist/guitarist Avy, came to Nude’s attention after they relocated to Brighton and became firm favorites of Suede’s Brett Anderson. The band’s blend of country, blues and post punk textures – they’ve been compared to My Bloody Valentine and Mazzy Star – conjured up four singles and two albums, Matinee and The Valentine Tapes, the latter featuring Tindersticks’ Dickon Hinchliffe on violin. Goya Dress, formed in Shetland in the early 1990s and fronted by singer/songwriter Astrid Williamson released their only album Rooms (produced by The Velvet Underground’s John Cale) in 1996 before disbanding in 1998 but Astrid did go on to release her debut solo album, Boy for You (produced by Malcolm Burn who’d worked with Daniel Lanois, The Neville Brothers, Iggy Pop, Peter Gabriel, Patti Smith, Midnight Oil, and Shaun Colvin) later that same year.

In 1996, Nude signed seminal Scottish electro-pop chanteur Billy Mackenzie (whose Top 30 album Beyond The Sun was released posthumously on Nude in 1997 after he’d tragically passed away at the start of that year) and fellow Scottish dark-indie darlings Geneva whose Top 20 debut album, Further (released in June 1997) spawned a headlining NME tour and four Top 40 singles, including Into The Blue, No One Speaks, Tranquilizer and Best Regrets. Geneva’s translucent presence on a rapidly dispersing indie scene proved something of a diversion, however, as whilst all this was going on, Nude had entered a bidding war to sign one of the most extraordinary rock bands to appear for decades. Ultrasound were that rare breed, a delicately nuanced progressive rock, punk, glam pop group – punk Floyd anyone? – fronted by a male singer housed in velour who happened to be just the wrong side of twenty stone. The world tilted on its axis for several spine-tingling moments.

Nude steered Ultrasound through the choppy waters of four single releases – including Best Wishes, Top 30 hit Stay Young, I’ll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours and Floodlit World – before the band’s debut double album, Everything Picture peaked at No.23 in April 1999. By the end of the year they’d split, disappearing as rapidly as they’d risen to prominence and Nude licked its wounds and moved on.

A Nude Decade

In 2000, Geneva released their second album Weather Underground although the year was made all the more memorable by the arrival of Black Box Recorder’s stunning second album The Facts of Life. Black Box Recorder’s debut England Made Me, released on Chrysalis in July 1998, had ruffled some feathers but it took Nude’s unique vision and intervention to recognize the beauty of The Facts Of Life, a record that spat out its title track as the band’s first hit single and spawned their first appearance on Top Of The Pops. After this, Nude released St Albans-based band Lowgold’s debut single The 108 (Single Of The Week in both NME and Melody Maker) and their Top 40 album Just Backward Of Square which sold over 40,000 copies.

Signed to Nude on the strength of a three song demo were Liverpool based sumptuous & wondrous pop band Gloss . Fronted by alluring Icelandic singer Heidrun Anna and together with guitarist Paul Cavanagh the pair met in Liverpool where Heidrun had studied at the Liverpool Institute Of The Performing Arts (LIPA). Via Paul came Martin Lynch and Paul Maguire (former drummer with Liverpool faves The Stairs) — whilst Jonas Theis, a classically trained pianist, completed the line-up . They released two singles in the UK — “Lonely In Paris” and “New York Boy” — but their album was only commercially released in Japan in 2002.

After a prolonged period of reflection, Nude returned in 2005 with the thrillingly zeitgeist Future’s Burning, a compilation album featuring songs from soon-to-be-massive bands like Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, The Libertines, Razorlight & The Coral. The label then signed Duels – an English indie band from Leeds formed in 2005 – and released their big sweeping heart of a debut album, The Bright Lights And What I Should Have Learned in July 2006. Described by The Guardian as “one of Britain’s most ambitious groups,” the album received an 8/10 review in the NME, whist also being rewarded with “Album of the Week” plaudits in The Sunday Times, The Guardian and on XFM.

In 2008 Nude released the debut album by German multi instrumentalist Konstantin Gropper. Under his alter ego, Get Well Soon, the album – entitled Rest Now, Weary Head! You Will Get Well Soon – received huge critical support with comparisons to Sigur Ros, Bright Eyes, Tom Waits, Beirut, and Nick Cave amongst others. Rolling Stone hailed the record as “an impressively superior debut – the arrangements are indeed breathtaking” and it was no doubt this acclaim that catapulted the record into the German, French, Austrian and Swiss album charts. Despite the success of Get Well Soon, however, the album proved to be the last Nude release for some time as the label took another sabbatical before returning in 2016 with a whole host of innovative new signings and a new distribution deal with Red/Essential.

Nude Relaunched

In May 2016, Nude officially announced their re-launch with the release of (ex-Arab Strapper) Malcolm Middleton’s sixth solo album, Summer Of ’13. Skippered by Glasgow-based dance producer Miaoux Miaoux and featuring guest appearances by Beta band/The Aliens founder Gordon Anderson aka Lone Pigeon), De Rosa;s Martin John Henry and First Aid Kit’s Scott Simpson, Summer of 13 kick-started Nude’s latest incarnation in style and heralded a new era of the label’s finely tuned independent status, an era augmented further by the appearance of highly acclaimed singer/songwriter & Mercury Music Prize nominee Lou Rhodes’ solo album theyesandeye. Galpern recognized that Rhodes – one half of hugely influential electronic genre-benders Lamb – had come up with something particularly special with theyesandeye and his instinct bore fruit when some exceptional album reviews began to litter the marketplace: “a welcome, if unworldly, alternative to pop’s prevailing discourse of acquisitive antagonism and automated emotions” screeched The Independent; “truly lovely” exclaimed the Guardian, before hailing a sound emerging “somewhere between Nick Drake. Carole King’s Tapestry and The Wicker Man soundtrack”; and best of all, the Times suggested it was “lovely” (again) heralding this “subtle, thoughtful album, ideal for long summer nights” and a record that was “very pretty with it.” It was enough to make you weak.

Nude’s resurgence had seen them recruit further exceptionally gifted artists – Charlotte Hatherley and Honeyblood – to its publishing arm, Nude Music. Hatherley, erstwhile lynchpin for edgy indie-pop three-piece darlings Ash,  will release her cinematic, heartbreaking melancholic new pop long player, True Love, later this year.

The record features a co-write with Michael Lovett (NZCA Lines), a guest vocal appearance from Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside and is described by Charlotte herself as being influenced by her love of science fiction realism. “It’s a break up record, she says, “and my character, Traveller, is on a different planet looking for True Love.”

Meanwhile. Honeyblood, a Glasgow-based garage-rock/lo-fi duo comprising Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale (voice, guitars) and Cat Myers (voice, drums), have released three albums to date – debut, Honeyblood and the critically acclaimed follow-up Babes Never Die – which reached No 16 in the official albums chart .This was followed up in 2019 with a new label home at Marathon Artists and the album ‘In Plain Sight’ described by NME as a searing record with spiky juggernaut riffs . Proving to be vital additions to the Nude Music stable . Next Nude records and Nude Music  publishing  signed  Howling Bells’ vocalist Juanita Stein. Three studio albums followed: the stunning America released in 2017 and recorded with producer Gus Seyffert (Beck, Ryan Adams) in Los Angeles and a single, the unashamedly Western-influenced Dark Horse (preceded/accompanied by a Texan road movie filmed when Juanita was performing at SXSW festival earlier that year) provides an exquisite glimpse of what fans could expect from America when it was released . Stein described America as “an ode to the dark heart of America. Of times gone and times to come. Dusty trails, a whimsical 50s suburbia and the haze of the 1960s. I’ve forever idealised American life – growing up in Australia we were fed the American dream through film and television. The dichotomy between what was real and a dream is forever intriguing to me. The music of Roy Orbison, Dusty Springfield, Lee and Nancy and Patsy Cline all informed my musical sensibilities. They opened up this wide screen universe for me.” Her comments provide an erudite insight into this evocative and beautiful album, a record that Nude is immensely proud to be associated with.The follow up Until The Lights Fade was released the following year. Recorded over a week in Austin, Texas with the producer Stuart Sikes ( Cat Power , White Stripes, Loretta Lynn) . Cinematic westerns ripple throughout the album, swaggering in its robust simplicity. It’s also dark in places, an almost noirish feel to the carefully crafted expansive landscapes and cosy nooks.

First single from the album, ‘Forgiver’, was co-written and produced byThe Killers  Brandon Flowers , following late night jam sessions whilst Stein supported  on their European tour. It’s a propulsive and powerful tune that comes at you with a gutful of punch.Get Back To The City is a sepia tinged piece of folk pop that sees Juanita exploring local landscapes and relationships through the eyes of a lost but brave woman. It’s got a hooky chorus and vibrant riffing that is full of energy. The most immediately accessible song off the album, it’s made a great single. Easy Street is another up tempo tune that shifts and changes in density, as the guitars and drums stop to allow the vocals to cut through. It was an Album Of The Year in 2019 MOJO Magazine. Juanita returned  with her 3rd Nude album Snapshot in Oct 23rd 2020. This time working closer to home in lockdown with the producer Ben Hillier (Blur, Doves, Nadine Shah), Written and recorded over a period of eight months following the sudden death of Stein’s father, Peter, in 2019. Juanita was exceptionally close to her dad – he was her earliest introduction to music and gifted her a childhood “exploding with sounds of 60s folk, rock’n’roll, delta blues, country and soul”. She describes feeling “a compelling inspiration I’d not felt before” during songwriting sessions for the album, which is entirely given over to Stein and her family’s changed world following Peter’s death. The title track, Snapshot, was the last song to be written and, she says, “is me clinging on to what I have left of him in my mind.”Along with Hillier, Stein recruited her brother (and Howling Bells bandmate), Joel, on guitar, jazz drummer Evan Jenkins, and Jimi Wheelwright (bass) to help realise the songs. The album is a progression from her two previous solo LPs, which had both been recorded during intensive sessions of just a few weeks, and both in the U.S. The benefits conferred by the extra time and space, plus being close to home during this time of grief, can be heard in its more expansive, exploratory, sometimes downright psychedelic sound. Despite the album’s tough subject matter, Stein’s voice is, as ever, a balm.

Voka Gentle an experimental three-piece from London, comprised of William J Stokes and twins Imogen and Ellie Mason signed To Nude in 2018 . Taking its root in folk and americana songwriting, the voka sound draws upon the psychedelic soundscapes of the late 60s as well as contemporary experimental, pop and collage music; marrying classic instrumentation with sampling, analogue synthesis and sound manipulation.They release their extraordinary special debut album Start Clanging Cymbals, including singles 1,000 Opera Singers Working In Starbucks, which was included in the official soundtrack of FIFA ’19, and Peculiar Form of Sleep as well as Sin is Crouching At Your Door, a psychedelic piece of cinematic experimental pop. Somewhere between Animal Collective and Super Organism -Voka Gentle have a unique sound.

Which brings us to 2024 and new Nude signings Kiiōtō, the musical project of Lou Rhodes, Mercury-nominated singer/songwriter and founder member of Lamb, and multi-platinum songwriter and keyboardist Rohan Heath. Together they have recorded an album that is both richly instinctive and inquisitive, infused with a transporting spirit of ongoing exploration and discovery. To accompany the announcement the band have filmed a video for first single Josephine Street (March 12) shot in New Orleans.

If Nude Records has come a long way in a long time its that great music will always find a home in the arms of nurturing labels like Nude who are as passionate about music as the people who create it.