The Formative Years – Glitterhouse Records
It must have been in the early 1990 that through acquisition of a large fanzine collection, I came across old back issues of The Glitterhouse fanzine from the 1980. Content-wise, it intrigued me as it offered insight into genres I had not been exposed to, e.g. the outliers of punk and underground scenes like sixties garage, fuzz rock and psychedelia and similar genres.
I did some more research only to find that the fanzine had not only spurned a distribution, but also a record label, which had started a collaboration with Sub Pop Records as early as 1987. Needless to say, they were at the forefront and on the pulse of the emerging Seattle scene and it was through Glitterhouse Records that I was first exposed to Mudhoney, Tad, Supersuckers and Afghan Whigs.
Glitterhouse Records’ collaboration with Amphetamine Reptile Records opened doors in Europe for heavyweights of the calibre of bands like Helmet, Cows and God Bullies, before they ventured even further by signing bands like Monster Magnet, Sister Double Happiness and Bitch Magnet.
It must have been in 1992 that I got introduced through Glitterhouse Records to one of my favourite albums of all time, i.e. Rollins Band’s opus magnus The End of Silence. Introduced as the new effort of the “zuckende Muskel”, the melange of primal rage, despair, guilt, sorrow and guilt fanned the flames of the burning kerosene tank that was my teenage angst and frustration, with Blues Jam becoming a hymn for the remainder of the year.
Having had such experiences through Glitterhouse Records, it cemented my affiliation with them and while it was never the centre of my record buying endeavours, I have to this day kept an eye on how they evolved as there was always something new and exciting to be discovered and one could trust their curation.
Case in point: In the mid-nineties, instead of riding the grunge wave that had infiltrated mainstream, Glitterhouse took a deliberate detour and focussed on releasing a broader variety of musical styles, specifically with bands from Scandinavia and the UK: This new incarnation of Glitterhouse Records not only exposed me to bands like Midnight Choir, Pere Ubu and the fantastic Wovenhand and 16 Horsepower, but also helped to expand my horizons with a sensitivity for world music through their sub-branch Glitterbeat.
To this day, Glitterhouse has released well over seven hundred titled, which is further substantiated by their distribution and their own open-air festival.
If you are remotely into underground music and are not familiar, there is a lot of delectable and rewarding homework to be done.