The cities’ best indie labels

The Twin Cities have got more record labels than Angelina Jolie’s got orphans!

Whether you regard yourself as the next big thing, or simply want to understand the diverse network that makes up the Twin CitiesâÄô independent music scene, a grasping of the labels is a step in the right direction. A&E has decided to create a makeshift road map to get you started. What follows is an encyclopedic listing of some of our favorite labels. You can thank us later, when youâÄôre famous. WHAT: Afternoon Records The year was 2003. While the nation dealt with the shock of the deaths of Charles Bronson , Elliot Smith and Johnny Cash as well as the unholy Super Bowl defeat of the Oakland Raiders by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ian Anderson, then 18, was pooling his money and love of the youthful underground scene to start Afternoon Records. Now, five years later, the ingenious Anderson has pushed his label to be one of the most successful in the Twin Cities. With a lineup that includes Mouthful of Bees, The Battle Royale, One for the Team, Haley Bonar and A Night in the Box , among others, Afternoon records is sure to rock well into the evening. WHAT: Rhymesayers Entertainment What would this list be without an honorable shout out to what is, perhaps, the most notorious of all Minnesota record labels: Rhymesayers Entertainment. Since its 1995 creation, Rhymesayers has garnered the continued respect of the national hip-hop scene. Boasting the likes of Brother Ali, Eyedea and Abilities, Blueprint, P.O.S., Jake One and I Self Devine, in addition to its co-founders Ant and Slug of Atmosphere , Rhymesayers continues to be, for lack of a better word, bananas. WHAT: Havoc Records Felix HavocâÄôs Havoc Records is, along with Profane Existence, the most authentically underground and true-blooded outlet that the Twin Cities hardcore and punk scene has. It could arguably be called one of the most authentic in the United States. Havoc, who sang in the band Destroy throughout the 1980s and early âÄô90s, has an unnatural amount of knowledge about U.S. and European hardcore records as well as the movement as a whole. Havoc Records is notorious for its commitment to vinyl as well as its status as one of the leading hardcore labels. Bands include MinneapolisâÄô Misery , Skitsystem, Spitting Teeth, Any Last Words and Wolfbrigade, among others. Punk isnâÄôt dead, itâÄôs just in hiding . WHAT: De Stijl Records Long heralded as a standby for eclectic records, De Stijl has become synonymous with the vinyl revival for the Twin Cities. Specializing in forgotten and off-the-beaten-path projects, founder Clint Simonson has gained the attention of cool-conscious and business savvy Sub Pop , which partnered with De Stijl last year. Current releases include Mark Tucker and Circuit Des Yeux . WHAT: Modern Radio The quintessential indie label Modern Radio began back in 1999 with one band: The Misfires . Now, almost a decade later, Tom Loftus âÄô label has grown into a community. Modern Radio hosts a family of local acts such as Vampire Hands and The Chambermaids , as well as others from across the United States. The labelâÄôs statement that âÄúProfits are secondary to the creative process,âÄù is a refreshing return to art-driven policy and may just prove that thereâÄôs a soul to this music business thing after all. WHAT: Eclectone Records Singer/songwriter Martin DevaneyâÄôs D.I.Y. attitude led him to birth a label for his second album in order to not have it be regarded as self-released . Now, some five years later, Eclectone is home to a powerful lineup of Twin Cities acts including Joanna James, Little Man, Charlie Parr and John Ewing in addition to Devaney himself . With a steadfast and cooperative mindset as well as an unrelenting dedication to rock and roll, Eclectone calls itself a âÄúrefuge from the vast machine that has become the modern, corporate-sponsored music business .âÄù Fists in the air, my friends, fists in the air. WHAT:Heart of a Champion With no shortage of grit and fervor, Heart of a Champion is, above all else, just plain good. With a ticket that includes the amazing Mike Gunther and His Restless Souls, as well as Die Electric, The Hawaii Show and Thunder in the Valley, Heart of a Champion is dressed to impress. Oh, did we mention The Hold SteadyâÄôs precursor, Lifter Puller, is now distributed on Heart of a Champion? Cause they are. Notable Mentions: 2024 Records : 2024 Records’ recent financial troubles come as a sad blow to fans of the once flourishing label. Regardless of an unsure future, it is clear that 2024 put out a golden, if brief, era of music including Romantica, The Plastic Constellations (now broken up) and the Hopefuls among others. Our hope is for a speedy recovery. Profane Existence: A long-standing Anarchopunk community based in the Twin Cities. Guilt Ridden Pop: Mark MallmanâÄôs and Baby GutsâÄô label as well as tons of others. House Of Mercy Recordings: Christian, but in that good Southern twang way with a touch of philosophical questioning.