My career in music began in 2006 with The Franks, a three-piece punk band I founded in college with two of my best friends. Over the following years experienced a degree of local success, performing with Wavves, Best Coast and Tijuana Panthers, among others, and touring in support of Shout Out Louds.
After recording The Franks' first EP, with my bandmate Cameron Parkins I conceived forming our own record label, which we decided to call Hit City U.S.A. — an irreverent amalgamation of Motown's "Hitsville U.S.A." and Jan and Dean's "Surf City" that embodied our ethos and drove our aesthetic. It began largely as a way to project some sort of credibility onto our own album releases with a stamp on the back and an official email address, but over time with a D.I.Y. attitude of self-learning we built a recognized independent record label that has lived up to our earliest intent of providing a home for musicians and music fans alike.
Since those early days, we've built an inspired track record of discovering emerging acts, including Lord Huron, Shy Girls, Astronauts, etc., Gavin Turek, PAPA, Kisses, Superhumanoids, Avid Dancer, Princeton, Many Voices Speak, James Supercave, Golden Suits, Minden and more. With limited edition runs and a singular focus on artist development, we've brought a boutique sensibility to these projects and have found success through elevated curation and well-executed creative direction, often filling in a managerial role along with label services. I am proud to say we did so without any outside funding through an incredibly uncertain era in the music industry, focusing our attention on developing a cohesive but diverse aesthetic and a love of music that embodies our idealized Los Angeles.
Hit City U.S.A. developed to become more than just a record label, but an actual cultural hub with events and a wide array of products geared towards our customer base. Find more more about the content and creative strategy I developed there here and our products here.
Otherwise, here is a snapshot of some of our successes related specifically to recorded music:
- Our releases have been covered by essentially every influential music publication, from Pitchfork to Fader to Stereogum, Complex, Nylon, NME, American Songwriter, Consequence of Sound, Billboard, Spin, Idolator, Pigeons and Planes, Noisey and more. As well, we have received radio support from Sirius XMU, Beats 1, WNYC, KCRW, KROQ, ALT 98.7FM, KEXP and others.
- Sold out of albums by Lord Huron, Shy Girls, Astronauts, etc., James Supercave, Kisses, Minden and Superhumanoids.
Established relationship with Vinyl, Me Please to regularly stock our new releases.
- Spotify playlist placement including New Music Friday, top 50 Viral U.S. tracks, Fresh Finds, Chill Vibes, Alternative R&B, Weekly Buzz, Rockin' Vibes, Feelgood Indie, undercurrents, Silk Sheets, New Noise and others.
- Apple Music and iTunes editorial placements on Music, Rock, Indie, Singer-Songwriter and New Artists pages, among others, as well as various playlists.
- Several top-ranking Hype Machine Tracks, as well as rankings on most-blogged about artists lists.
- Millions of YouTube impressions via playlists by Majestic Casual, La Belle Musique and others.
- Commercial licensing in ads for Corona, Subaru, Toms, Tory Burch, Hugo Boss and more.
- TV and film syncs in Girls, Downsizing, Transparent, Riverdale, Shameless, Man Seeking Woman, Nashville, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, First Take (ESPN), Proximity (Taylor Steele Surf Film), Pranked (defunct MTV series, theme song) and more.
- Distribution deal with InGrooves, masters licensing deal with Hidden Track, publishing deal with Big Deal Music.
For more about Hit City U.S.A., please check out our release page here and listen to a selection of music from our catalog below.