Best Record Label - 2009
Financial Ruin Records
Not long ago, South Florida had a relatively thriving community of small, independent labels, mostly run by kids who released singles and their friends' CDs out of their bedrooms. Some of these eventually grew (see: Fiddler Records), but most just fizzled out. For years, the true upstart indie label was a labor of love, centered around a core of musicians who mostly know each other, and usually focused on cool packaging and artwork. With the advent of MySpace, streaming audio, iTunes, CD Baby, and zShare, these have mostly gone the way of the dodo. So new Miami upstart Financial Ruin Records is a refreshing blast of willful anachronism. Not only is label head Dan going back to the old punk label model, but also he's returning to that era's media — not just vinyl, but cassette tapes too. Of course, vinyl sounds better — it's warmer, etc. Tapes wear out, get tangled, and melt. Still, the stubbornness is endearing, and the releases show real work — limited-edition artwork and numbered packaging, for the most part. The music runs toward obscure punk and hardcore variants, catching some of the rawest underground sounds from Miami and beyond.