Over the past few years writing for 50Thirdand3rd, I’ve been introduced to many indie artists and labels. Not only has this given me more than enough music to listen to and write about, but it has also developed some very important relationships for me in the indie community. If you’ve been following my output, you’ll notice I tend to cover many releases from certain labels. One label, in particular, is Soul Step Records. To be honest, I’ve lost count of how many Soul Step released I’ve reviewed but I do know they’re one of the most consistent labels in music. When I got word Soul Step was putting out a sampler album, There Is No Finish Line, I already knew it would be full of bangers from start to finish.
Soul Step Records began when Melvin Dillon decided he wanted to start a vinyl-only label in 2011. Instead of capitalizing on the vinyl boom for financial gain, Dillion wanted to indie the opportunity to release their music on the format where other labels may have been hesitant to take the gamble.
As you may have guessed, pressing an album on vinyl can be quite expensive.
And with only a few pressing plants in the US willing to work with indie artists and labels, some projects may never see a release on the format. Dillon’s passion for good music, lead him to create a business model where he pays all the upfront costs of pressing an album. After that, all profits of a release is then split evenly with the label and the artist. Something even major labels refused to do with the biggest entertainers in the industry. This alone puts Soul Step a cut above most labels.
At the heart of such a business model is the music itself. Dillon has a knack for discovering some of indie music’s most unique artists. From the jazz-pop musings of Matt Duncan, the earthy soul of Amythyst Kiah, all the way to the alternative hip-hop swagger of Audley, Soul Step Records is a plethora of talent. With no artist sounding alike, yet easily able to sit at the same table, Soul Step has crafted a diverse family of artists and There Is No Finish Line lives up to its title as the label’s first sampler album.
With such a diverse roster, I imagine Dillon had a hell of a time deciding what tracks from which artists would appear on the album.
Thankfully, the tracklisting touches upon some of the brightest spots in the label’s history. Ponce’s “Surrender To The Night” takes the listener down the 80s-esque route, Republican Hair reminds us rock n’ roll is still fun with “Be Careful Chloe”, while Scattered Trees tugs at our heartstrings on “Four Days Straight”. The aforementioned Amythyst Kiah, Audley, and Matt Duncan make much-welcomed appearances, as do Pet Envy, Sylmar, Modern Aquatic, and The Nobility. Rounding off the tracklist is Moves, with “Radio On Low” a cut from their recent Soul Step release.
Soul Step Records is one of the most interesting and artist-friendly labels in the indie community. One who caters to audiophiles and collectors, and of course, fans of good music. With so many quality releases pumped out each year be it an up and comer or artists who previously never had a chance to be on vinyl, Soul Step has it all the bases covered. There Is No Finish Line is a celebration of Melvin Dillon’s dream, an artist’s hope, and the listener’s desire for quality music. If you’ve never properly checked out a Soul Step release, there is no better introduction than this sampler!
There Is No Finish Line – Soul Step Records Sampler volume 1 is available in limited quantities here.