Get on the bus

Omnibus either is a large conveyance, like a bus that holds a lot of people, or it’s a legislative sausage casing into which lawmakers jam as much pork as the casing will hold. It’s also the name of a Sacramento independent record label run by Mark Kaiser.

We caught up with Kaiser recently via cell phone as he was stepping off a BART train somewhere in the Bay Area. Kaiser’s label has been quite active recently, with a split 12-inch featuring Jonny X and the Groadies, Corpse Fucks Corpse, Gift of Goats and Get Get Go making a lot of racket here and abroad; a split LP featuring Rocketship and Trace; 7-inch discs from the Minders and Sexy Prison; and full-length sets from the Dipers (How to Plan Successful Parties) and the Intelligence (Boredom and Terror).

According to Kaiser, a new full-length from Citizens Here and Abroad, titled Ghosts of Tables and Chairs, is at the printer now. An Electro Group EP titled Ummo, containing a video, is also nearly ready. Both of those will be out in a few months.

He also has a new 7-inch by the A-Frames, the highly regarded Northwest band that records with local product Chris Woodhouse, ready to go. Woodhouse is assembling his former band Karate Party’s singles all into one set, which may include some long-hidden genius solo tracks.

Kaiser also has a bunch of other things in the works: Odiorne, a Mercury Rev side project featuring Jimmy Chambers and other Rev members; and an EP from the Good Goodbyes, a side project featuring two members of the Shins (whose 2003 Sub Pop album Chutes Too Narrow has been called album of the year by a lot of critics and at least one reader) and one member of the Busy Signals. A Coachwhips 7-inch may be delayed because two of the band’s three members quit. Two Cave-Ins side projects—“or not side projects; actually new-band solo projects from the two guys,” as Kaiser put it—are forthcoming. One of those is Luke Top’s Unloading the Sun. The other spinoff band, Big Search, had a set promisingly titled Mysticism vs. Classicism penciled in. “But he backed out at the last minute,” Kaiser said. “Now he’s got another new band.”

Former Pavement drummer Gary Young’s long awaited The Grey Album, which includes remixed portions of The Things We Do for You, his last (2000) album, is almost ready. Young just cut Sonic Youth’s “100 Percent” backed by Electro Group, which may appear on an EP or on Young’s next album—which he’s slated to begin soon, with members of Grandaddy along with Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore backing him.

According to Kaiser, it’s a great time to be an indie label. “The way the industry has changed so much in the past five years,” he said, “the majors are really struggling. Independents are booming. It’s almost regressing back to what it was like in the ’70s or before, where there are a lot of smaller or middle-sized labels.”