"A friend of mine in college used to call me 'Furn,' because he said I was like a piece of furniture in his house," explains Jesse Hodges, one of Furniture Records' four principal owners. "I was always around and didn't really do much besides listen to music and play video games. Any type of music could fall under that name, and no one would be left scratching their heads."
If you've watched a set by one of Hodges' past or present bands, you might have felt that urge. From its first release in 2005, a vinyl single by the now-defunct Tuxedo Killers, Furniture Records has catered to Austin's hairy, sweaty underbelly. Hodges admits that, like most small labels, this one grew out of a need "to release our bands' stuff." Indeed, early "stuff" by the Awesome Cool Dudes and Daniel Francis Doyle came from within the label's inner circle, but the Furniture sound has recently expanded out of Texas.
"Furniture will never be easy to pigeonhole regarding genre because we love and hate it all," says Hodges, who now lives in Chicago. "We don't have any grand aspirations other than putting out records we feel need to exist."
One example was the recent Sheets of Easter Everywhere, a two-cassette covers collection (with four more to be released) of Oneida's trance-rock classic, "Sheets of Easter," including tracks by Jana Hunter, the Coke Dares, Excepter, and Oh, Beast!, among others. Now split between Austin and Chicago and run by Hodges, George Dishner, Cory Plump, and Nate Cross, who also make up most of the seven-member thrash behemoth When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, they make music for breaking furniture instead of imitating it.
Kingpins: Jesse Hodges, George Dishner, Cory Plump, and Nate Cross
Number of releases: 13
Notable releases: Tuxedo Killers, M. Night Shyamalan's Tuxedo Killers; Awesome Cool Dudes, Maxin and Relaxin; Daniel Francis Doyle, Who Are Your Customers?
New & upcoming: Awesome Cool Dudes; Dan Friel of Parts & Labor/Trevor de Brauw of Pelican split single; Daniel Francis Doyle/Ralph White split single
Average print run: 300-1,000