The Return Of Elephant 6 Recording Company

Wow! We didn’t see this coming but it feels like in this summer Elephant 6 is back for good. Incredible news for all the fans of the influential imprint. New music will be published in the coming months as well as reissues and… yes, a documentary only available in VHS. What great timing to talk about this label and its legacy, right?

Founded in Denver, Colorado in 1991, The Elephant 6 Recording Company (commonly known simply as Elephant 6) was a collective and record label operating from the underground. The collective was started by childhood friends Robert Schneider, Bill Doss, Will Cullen Hart and Jeff Mangum, along with The Apples in Stereo members Jim McIntyre and Hilarie Sidney.

In a way, it’s almost ironic that the collective started their activity in 1991, “the year punk broke”. While we could argue that the Elephant 6 ethos was wholly related to most of the American underground surrounding them, the influences and operational principles were quite unique. All of the musicians involved in Elephant 6 had a common admiration: the music of the sixties. In a time where the influence of that decade was much less obvious than the influence of the seventies, this shared admiration set them apart from their peers and led to a recognizable sound.

Tidal Wave EP album cover

A couple of years after Elephant 6 was founded, their first release as a label was launched into the world. The Apples (better known now as The Apples In Stereo) released Tidal Wave EP. Will Cullen Hart, later a founding member of The Olivia Tremor Control, designed the Art Nouveau-inspired Elephant 6 logo for the label of the EP.

The way Elephant 6 operated always defied expectations and pushed boundaries. In a very bold move, the record label moved to Athens, Georgia following some of its founding members. During the following nine years, the label released some of the most important records from the American underground scene.

New Magnetic Wonder album cover

Sadly, in 2002 the label stopped operations due to recording difficulties and lack of organization. However, The Apples In Stereo used the Elephant 6 logo again in their 2007 album New Magnetic Wonder. Elephant 6 was alive again.

Beyond those artists who released music in the label, many well-known underground American artists have been associated with the label: Of Montreal, Nana Grizol, The Ladybug Transistor and A Hawk And A Hacksaw to name a few. The way Elephant 6 influenced alternative rock went beyond their own publishing capacities. Elephant 6 created aesthetics around the label which resonated with audiences worldwide, proving in the post-grunge and college rock era that there was room for other influences and sounds in the worldwide underground.

To celebrate the incredible legacy of this label, we present records from some of the most representative artists of Elephant 6 that you can add to your Collection for a nice price, and a few more that are a bit more lucrative in case you’re feeling extra today.

The Apples In Stereo

As we just mentioned in the intro, The Apples In Stereo were the first band to ever release music on Elephant 6. Their sound is influenced by psychedelic rock of the 1960s with elements of lo-fi, power pop, and new wave. Active since the beginning of the 90s, the band has gathered a big cult of followers worldwide thanks to their unique sound and their impermeability to trends.

What can you get for cheap?

The Apples In Stereo ‎– Tone Soul Evolution album cover

The Apples In Stereo ‎– Tone Soul Evolution

The remastered reissue of their 1997 album Tone Soul Evolution can be yours for as little as $13.

Feeling extra?

The Golden Flower single

The Apples In Stereo ‎– Tone Soul Evolution

Oh, the irony! A mint copy of the first edition of Tone Soul Evolution, which includes a bonus 7″ single featuring “Man You Gotta Get Up” and “The Golden Flower“, can be yours for $75.

The Olivia Tremor Control

If there was a model band of what the Elephant 6 sound was, it would be The Olivia Tremor Control. Some of the members of the band were also part of Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples In Stereo, and The Music Tapes. The worlds of their members colliding is the patchwork of sounds that made The Olivia Tremor Control one of the most revered bands of the label.

What can you get for cheap?

The Olivia Tremor Control band picture

There are plenty of incredible singles and 12” available in our Marketplace for less than $10.

Feeling extra?

Music From The Unrealized Film Script Dusk At Cubist Castle album cover

The Olivia Tremor Control Band ‎– Music From The Unrealized Film Script “Dusk At Cubist Castle”

This first press of their 1996 masterpiece Music From The Unrealized Film Script “Dusk At Cubist Castle” won’t be yours for less than €60 (~$67).

Neutral Milk Hotel

We know you were waiting for them. Yes, Neutral Milk Hotel is the legendary band fronted by Jeff Mangum who gave Elephant 6 worldwide recognition thanks to their 1998 masterpiece In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. The wildly acclaimed album by every publication out there helped to bring attention to other artists on the label and set the frame for many indie artists to come in the following two decades.

What can you get for cheap?

Both On Avery Island and In The Aeroplane Over The Sea have received the “reissue treatment”, so you can easily add both to your Collection for less than $15 a piece.

Feeling extra?

NMH Vinyl Box Set unboxing

Neutral Milk Hotel ‎– NMH Vinyl Box Set

This signed and unopened boxset including all the music ever released by the band is selling for €250 ($278). If it’s not available by the time you read this, I might have gathered the courage and funds to buy it myself.

Elf Power

Elf Power are still together after 25 years. As with most of their label peers, probably the secret has been doing whatever they wanted to do, all the time, without paying much attention to trends. The band has always had a good eye for catchy melodies, leading to a very solid and well-beloved music career.

What can you get for cheap?

Elf Power band picture

Plenty of stuff, it shouldn’t be very complicated to buy some cool releases from Elf Power in the Discogs Marketplace.

Feeling extra?

Elf Power - In A Cave album cover

Elf Power ‎– In A Cave

This copy of their 2008 album In A Cave is currently out of print and putting your hands on it won’t be cheap.

Beulah

While I always had this conception that San Francisco indie band Beulah were some of those brilliant bands who were the underdogs within Elephant 6, I can see that some of their songs are still reasonably popular in streaming services. Good for them! Beulah definitely deserve all the love. They were active between 1996 and 2004 and left behind a spotless career full of excellent music.

What can you get for cheap?

Beulah band picture

Most of their releases were on CD, and although some CDs can fetch outrageous amounts of money, you can get your hands on most of Beulah’s discography for dirty cheap prices.

Feeling extra?

Beulah - When Your Heartstrings Break album cover

Beulah ‎– When Your Heartstrings Break

You won’t be able to be the lucky owner of a copy of this edition of their phenomenal 1999 album When Your Heartstrings Break for less than $84,90.


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Javi Gómez Martínez
Javi is a Spanish immigrant currently living in Amsterdam and our social media and blog guy. When he's not working 9 to 5 (what a way to make a living), he spends his days obsessing about music, spending his Discogs salary on attending gigs and festivals, and going to the movies more than any doctor would recommend.

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