American Laundromat Records (ALR) was founded in April 2004 in Huntington Village, NY (Long Island) by Joe Spadaro with a small tax-refund check which was used to produce a 16-song compilation called Transistor. The compilation showcased original tracks by mostly east-coast bands including The Atomic Hep Cats, The Lovable Rogues, The Modifiers, AM, and The Bennies, who were personally invited by Frank Black to open several Pixies shows during the Pixies' first reunion tour. Transistor had success with college radio, earning critical praise.
In the fall of 2005, American Laundromat Records gained worldwide attention when it produced its second compilation High School Reunion - a tribute to those great 80's films! which included indie-rockers Matthew Sweet, Frank Black, Kristin Hersh, and The Dresden Dolls covering songs from some of the 80's most hilarious teen films. All Music Guide called the project "One of the finest tribute records ever amassed" and went on to say "let this serve as a blueprint for all future tribute sets." U.K. music writer Alan Pedder (Music OMH) wrote "American Laundromat Records dreamt up a concept so disgustingly cool that it can only be a triumph." Rolling Stone, VH1, Billboard, Spin, Pitchfork, NME, and others covered the project and helped earn American Laundromat indie-music fans from all over the globe. In 2005, the label also distributed Brooklyn-based all-girl indie-trio The Caulfield Sisters' debut EP Say It With Fire. The Caulfield Sisters have been called the 'Brooklyn Breeders' and were named one of “NYC’s 10 Bands to Watch” by Time Out New York magazine. Say It With Fire was a stunning release that enjoyed critical acclaim and many months as a favorite on the CMJ charts. The band were invited to perform on KEXP's Morning Show with John in NYC, and opened for Interpol.
In the summer of 2006 the label relocated to Mystic, CT - a picturesque New England coastal town. It was a relatively quiet year "release-wise" for the label as they set-up shop in CT, built a new website, introduced a new logo, became an official iTunes label partner, and secured worldwide distribution through Darla Records.
2007 was by far the labels most prolific year. American Laundromat began a 7" vinyl split-single series with limited edition "hand-numbered" pressings, beautiful color vinyl, original sleeve-art designs, and outstanding tracks from American Laundromat's network of indie bands. In addition, the label conceived and produced three very high-profile tribute compilations: Dig For Fire - a tribute to Pixies, Cinnamon Girl - Women Artists Cover Neil Young for Charity and Gigantic - a tribute to Kim Deal. The projects enjoy contributions by some indie-rock's best-loved artists including: They Might Be Giants; OK Go; Mogwai; Tanya Donelly; Jill Sobule; Joy Zipper; The Watson Twins; Britta Phillips; Kristin Hersh; and The Rosebuds.
In 2008 American Laundromat produced Just Like Heaven - a tribute to The Cure which officially released worldwide on January 27, 2009. The compilation featured indie-rockers Tanya Donelly; The Brunettes; Grand Duchy (Violet Clark & Black Francis); The Wedding Present; Dean & Britta; Cassettes Won't Listen; The Submarines; The Poems; Julie Peel; Devics; and Elk City amongst its contributors. The album went on to receive rave reviews and a flattering nod from Robert Smith himself.
In 2009 American Laundromat Records released Julie Peel's much-anticipated debut album Near The Sun. The 11-track CD enjoyed rave reviews; earned Julie an early invitation to showcase at SXSW 2010; several placements in film & television including NBC's pilot episode of Mercy and the CW's Life Unexpected; and opening-slot invites from artists such as Joe Purdy, Tanya Donelly, and Dar Williams. Also in 2009, ALR began production on an indie-lullabies charity compilation titled Sing Me To Sleep - Indie Lullabies. In September 2009, the label began offering a limited edition first-pressing pre-order for Sing Me To Sleep with special bonus tracks; a 7" blue vinyl split featuring bonus tracks not available anywhere, and other items available only to pre-order customers. The special bundle sold-out in record time. Also in 2009 American Laundromat Records released Josephine If You Only Knew as an exclusive iTunes single from Boston-based Dylan in the Movies. The single gained wide recognition including ‘featured track’ on KEXP which subsequently paved the way for an in-studio session for Dylan in the Movies.
In 2010 American Laundromat Records officially released Sing Me To Sleep - Indie Lullabies, a beautiful, award-winning collection of newly-recorded lullabies and popular songs whimsically re-imagined as lullabies by some of ALR's favorite indie-artists, including: Tanya Donelly; Dean & Britta; The Leisure Society; The Rest; Telekinesis; Jenny Owen Youngs; The Real Tuesday Weld; Trespassers William; and Neil Halstead. Sing Me To Sleep was the proud recipient of the 2010 NAPPA Gold Award for Best Children's Album presented by the National Association of Parenting Publications, and the prestigious 2010 Seal of Excellence Award presented by Creative Child Magazine. Credited as being "a refreshingly unique album for both children and adults," Sing Me To Sleep earned praise from both the indie-music community and popular parenting blogs worldwide. All proceeds from this wonderful album are donated to The Valerie Fund, a non-profit charitable organization that provides support for the comprehensive healthcare of children with cancer and blood disorders. Starbucks loved the CD and immediately added 8 tracks from the album to their playlist in over 6,000+ stores. Release parties in London (May 15, 2010), and NYC (June 13, 2010) featured performances by The Leisure Society and The Real Tuesday Weld (London), and Tanya Donelly, Jenny Owen Youngs, and Julie Peel (NYC). Both events were family-friendly shows and included face-painting, crafts, and free raffles for children. The New York Times, Time Out NY, Word and other well-respected publications covered the events. In 2010 another Dylan in the Movies digital single was released on American Laundromat Records. Girl With the Black Tights was another Dylan In The Movies gem full of epic hooks and beautiful harmonies. Indie-rock darling, Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses, Breeders, Belly) shared vocals and co-wrote the track.
In early 2011 American Laundromat Records released two brand new tracks from The Caulfield Sisters. Caterwauling and I See Your Face were the first new original tracks from the all-girl, Brooklyn-based trio since their critically-acclaimed debut CD-EP Say It With Fire was released back in 2005. The exclusive digital single Two Songs From Mohawk is available exclusively on iTunes. Both tracks were recorded and produced by The Caulfield Sisters at front-woman Cindy Wheeler’s house in the Catskills (New York). Both tracks enjoyed critical acclaim immediately. Andre Skinner from The Spill Magazine proclaimed "this special digital release commands a lot of respect, as The Caulfield Sisters clearly did their homework and delivered big with 2 really catchy and time stamped songs." On Valentine's Day 2011 ALR released Dala's beautiful cover version of The Cure's Lovesong on iTunes. Dala's gorgeous rendition originally appeared as an exclusive hidden-track on Just Like Heaven - a tribute to The Cure. The song enjoyed many weeks on the top 10 list. In December of 2011, American Laundromat Records released a Smiths tribute CD titled Please, Please, Please: a tribute to The Smiths. The CD features newly-recorded covers by The Wedding Present, Greg Laswell, Doug Martsch (Built To Spill), William Fitzsimmons, Trespassers William, Greg Laswell, The Rest, Telekinesis, Sara Lov, Joy Zipper, Katy Goodman (La Sera, Vivian Girls), Tanya Donelly and many other outstanding artists. The double-CD received critical acclaim on well-respected blogs such as Stereogum, Paste, Spin, and mainstream publications such as Entertainment Weekly. The Smiths official facebook page promoted the tribute to its 2 million+ fans, and iTunes featured the release in its "New & Noteworthy" section alongside Adele, Tony Bennett and other popular artists. As of January 13, 2012, it's become the labels best-selling album ever.
In 2012 American Laundromat Records released a tribute to one of their favorite flicks of all time - the 1984 cult classic "Repo Man" written & directed by Alex Cox and starring Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez. The original soundtrack celebrated the southern California punk movement of the late 70's/early 80's with bands Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, The Plugz, and Iggy Pop. ALR recruited an outstanding group of artists to rewire the classic punk tracks, including; Those Darlins, Matthew Sweet, Amanda Palmer, Mike Watt, The Tellers, Black Francis, Weekend, Polar Bear Club, Moses Coltrane, New York Rivals, and The Suicide Dolls. The 6-panel CD Eco-Wallet featured original illustrations by revered rock-poster designer Lonny Unitus (Melvins, Decemberists, Willie Nelson), included full production/player credits, and some great elements inspired from the original film. A tribute to Repo Man enjoyed critical acclaim from both the punk and indie rock communities, landed on dozens of well-regarded 'top albums of 2012' lists, and was featured in numerous articles and podcasts. Alex Cox himself said the project was "lovely" and was very grateful for the complimentary tees ALR sent to the director as a thank you for writing and directing one of their favorite films.
In 2013 American Laundromat Records added a movie section to their website and began taking orders for various indie favorites, including; Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket, Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise, and Alex Cox's Repo Man. Later that year the label was hand-picked by producer Travis Swords (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) to consult on the release of the 90's cult comedy Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me which starred Adrienne Shelly, Sean Young and Diane Ladd. It was the first time the film was ever released on DVD and VOD.
In 2014 American Laundromat Records released their most ambitious tribute to date. I Saved Latin! A Tribute to Wes Anderson was an outstanding double-CD tribute featuring Juliana Hatfield, Matt Pond, Telekinesis, Kristin Hersh and others covering songs from Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Darjeeling Limited, and more. Covers of songs by the Kinks, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Elliot Smith, Nick Drake, Nico, Cat Stevens, John Lennon, among others are highlighted. The 6 panel eco-wallet features exclusive Wes Anderson-inspired illustrations by critically acclaimed rock poster designer Lonny Unitus. The label offered fantastic pre-orders bundles loaded with bonus items such as lapel pins, decals, t-shirts, scout patches, buttons, etc inspired by Anderson's films. Praised by SPIN, NME, Rolling Stone, Paste, Nylon, Indie Wire, and Pitchfork -- it was yet another fantastic themed compilation from the label. Also in 2014, American Laundromat Records released Trouble In Paradise, a 2-song vinyl 7" from Austin indie band Tele Novella. It was the first original release for the label since 2009, and it's fastest selling vinyl single ever.