Since 2018, North Carolina musicians like Bowerbirds, Daughter of Swords, The Dead Tongues, and Phil Cook have been releasing music backed by a mysterious label named Psychic Hotline—a name that appropriately inspires thoughts of fluid, visionary, effortless production. 

Yesterday, Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso, alongside longtime manager Martin Anderson, announced that they were making things official. In partnership with Secretly Distribution, the Psychic Hotline is now open, launching with a titillating single series that will feature new music and collaborations from Blake Mills, Flock of Dimes, The Tallest Man on Anjimile, among others. 

Earlier this month, The Glow had announced a “Psychic Hotline” block party at Cat’s Cradle on August 14, floating the idea that it would be in celebration of a piece of hot musical news. The lineup at the now sold-out block party includes Psychic Hotline alumni and collaborators, like Mountain Man, alongside Triangle acts like Young Bull, Dante High, and Bangzz. 

“We created Psychic Hotline to be the type of record company we had dreamed of,” Meath and Sanborn said in a press release. “An artist-led enterprise that strives to do right in radical ways by the creators who entrust us with their work; in the deals we make, the way we do business and the way we center the art and the artist.”

Though circumstances are increasingly tight in the music industry—especially as the Delta Variant aggressively threatens a new touring season—Meath and Sanborn have made clear that Psychic Hotline is an artist-centric label that will prioritize artist autonomy and short-term deals, and will not subscribe to “scarcity-based career approaches” or seek to own masters or intellectual property “under any circumstance.” 

“We strive to ever-expand our musical community; to welcome more voices and more perspective,” Meath and Sanborn continued. “We believe that the only common denominator in great music is honesty in expression.”

While an official artist roster has yet to be released, the label has announced the reissue of Sylvan Esso’s self-titled debut album in vinyl, as well as a deluxe Mountain Man release later this year. It also released two versions of “Neon Blue,” a collaboration between Meath and Blake Mills, that serves as the single series’ debut. Listen below. 

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