If the Kranky label lived up to its name, it almost certainly wouldn’t have lasted this long: cranks tend to wear out their welcome pretty quickly. But the Chicago label is stronger than ever as it moves into its 15th year, boasting a catalogue of albums now into the triple digits. (To commemorate the milestone, the label is issuing a remastered edition of its first release, Labradford‘s excellent Prazision LP.) Long something of a sleeper label, Kranky is enjoying a burst of genuine buzz thanks to the recent success of incendiary psych-rockers Deerhunter, who have proven the toast of critics everywhere from the blogosphere to the New York Times. (As if that weren’t enough, tastemakers’ tastemaker Lindsay Lohan recently cited Out Hud‘s “It’s for You” as “her go-to DJ song” in an interview with Maxim magazine. What’s next, a Godspeed You Black Emperor! appearance on Gossip Girl?). GYBE!, of course, is almost certainly Kranky’s best-known act; moody “slow-core” bands like Low and Stars of the Lid also helped build the label a devoted following among post-rockers. But Kranky has never had a specific sound — although it’s also true that many of its releases (and to my ears, many of its best) tend to fall on the quieter end of the spectrum. I often think of the catalogue as comfort music for restless ears: a spongy bed of drones punctuated by eureka moments that could set the whole thing alight if they burned one degree hotter. There’s a particularly organic quality — not necessarily in the sense of “natural” sound sources, but in the sense that the label’s music almost always feels unusually alive” – Philip Sherburne