Top 10 best record labels in Minnesota

Categories: Lists, Local Music
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Records photo by Erik Hess

One of the main reasons that the Minnesota music scene continues to flourish -- in addition to the plethora of talented bands, of course -- is the abundance of forward-thinking, well-organized record labels that are spread throughout the state. These labels put out records by fledgling bands on the rise, and play a major role in keeping the local live music scene vibrant by organizing tours, and showcases that help bring the vital sounds of the Twin Cities and beyond to a much wider audience.

There is so much good, creative work being done by the tireless record labels in our area that picking the 10 best proved to be a truly difficult challenge. (We included some well-deserved honorable mentions as well). So, here's to all of the hardworking people behind the scenes at these record labels who keep our modern music scene moving forward.

See Also: Top 10 best Minnesota music videos of 2013 (so far)

Photo By Erik Hess

10. Korda Records

Any record label that was able to coax new albums out of both the Ocean Blue and Jim Ruiz deserves recognition. The small Minneapolis-based cooperative label was started in 2012 by a bunch of talented, creative friends (Allison LaBonne and Brian Tighe of the Starfolk, as well as the Ocean Blue's David Schelzel and Jim Ruiz) who wanted to take an active part in releasing their own music. While Korda Records output at this point is rather small, the sheer quality and subtle elegance of each of their releases suggests that this label has some great things in store.

Photo By Erik Hess

9. Chaperone Records

This emerging label out of Duluth started in 2012, and it became obvious straight away that Chaperone cares deeply about the music they release, putting out high-quality vinyl releases by their growing arsenal of artists, like Actual Wolf, Retribution Gospel Choir, Southwire, and Charlie Parr. As the Northern Minnesota music scene continues to expand and flourish, the good folks at Chaperone are certainly playing their part in helping share those wonderful sounds with the masses.

Photo By Erik Hess

8. Secret Stash Records

There has definitely been a soul-revival in the Twin Cities as of late, thanks in no small part to the funky folks behind Secret Stash Records. In addition to their landmark Twin Cities Funk & Soul compilation, which got everyone in the area shaking what they've got, the label has also brought some well-deserved attention to the Prophets of Peace, Mickey Murray, Wanda Davis, Sonny Knight, and many other underappreciated artists. And, after signing the incomparable Fancy Ray to their label earlier this year, Secret Stash just became the best-looking record label in show business.

Photo By Erik Hess

7. Forged Artifacts

This boutique Minneapolis label has a small but fantastic roster of artists, including Prissy Clerks, Nice Purse, and Observer Drift. Forged Artifacts does a splendid job providing limited-edition vinyl pressings of their albums, often on striking colors that only adds to the aesthetic appeal of the work itself. The label is set to release the second EP from Holographic Sands at the start of October, continuing a string of strong releases that has added a vibrant flourish to the Twin Cities music scene.

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