Meet Youth Riot Records, the independent label injecting punk with colour and vibrancy

Meet Youth Riot Records, the independent label injecting punk with colour and vibrancy

Mommy Long Legs
Words by Morgan Mangan

Meet the masters of fun punk.

Washington label Youth Riot Records has been “Puttin’ out fun punk tapes ‘n records since 2014.” Never heard of them? Here’s a few pointers on where to begin.

Mommy Long Legs encapsulate fun punk in sound, lyrics and aesthetic. Life Rips from 2015 grabs your attention on first listen, exactly what a band wants from a first release.

‘Horrorscope’ explores Mars in retrograde and how that can seriously mess up your day – something we can all relate to.

All tracks have an undertone of anti-consumerism, a theme featured heavily in their following release Assholes. Title track ‘Assholes’ is a fuck you to capitalist consumerist lifestyles; “You can take your money and put it in your asshole”. By Mommy Long Legs’ fourth release, 2017’s Rock Product, they mastered their sound and op-shop glitter aesthetic while maintaining their sass with ‘Bitch Island’ and ‘Dick Move’.

The band’s final release Try Your Best stands as the perfect ending, if a perfect ending is possible. The album’s empowering “destroy the patriarchy” messages are blatantly threaded throughout, sporting a “fuck you” attitude, yet having fun with it. 

But all good things must come to an end and the band broke up in 2018 in appropriate style, with a post stating, “We are no longer a band for reasons that are none of your business.”

Three piece Sleepover Club are fortunately still kicking, having recently released W(ph)oopsie! in August of this year. Self-described as “queercore fun” all three members split the writing and the result comes out way heavier than one might expect from the cutesie album cover.

Though if there is one song on the album that could fall under such title, it’s ‘Soft Dog’. With a total running time of 18 seconds, it is followed by a launch into ‘Hard Dog’, featuring the exact same lyrics though much punchier and in-line with the rest of the album. In a similar vein to Mommy Long Legs, a listener can sense the friendship behind the music.

All songs have catchy, funny and often relatable lyrics, like ‘Big Cheese Vol. 2’ which is about having no money for groceries or ‘Five Bux’ about a punk mum who could kick your ass.

Youth Riot Records has much more to offer, too, with over 30 releases spanning compilations, LPs and cassettes. Based in Tacoma, Washington, in 2018 the label released Tacompilation which provides a good taste of the different music coming from the area. Featuring 15 different artists, the mix opens with some easy listening indie rock before introducing the heavier, more punk-oriented sounds of the area.

New to Youth Riot Records is Secret Superpower and their upcoming release What Kind of Dream? out November 8.