Best Record Label 2020 | Life and Death | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Photo courtesy of Life and Death

Life and Death Records wasn't born in Miami, but its founder, Manfredi Romano (aka DJ Tennis), has called Miami home for several years. The record label has undeniably been influenced by the city, as evidenced by projects going back to label imprint Parachute's release of Poorgrrrl's Pitiparti EP in 2016. Life and Death also puts on the annual Rakastella party marathon at Virginia Key Beach Park every December, and it recently launched an online portal at that includes exclusive music, artist interviews, podcasts, and more, highlighting talent abroad and right here in the 305.

Photo by Rafael Pichardo

North Miami's Found Sound Records has what everyone wants from a record store: no frills, no judging, and a solid collection to dig through. Rafael "Ralph" Pichardo, born and raised in Miami, was tired of hauling heavy stacks of vinyl to record fairs, finally deciding to open a permanent store when a good deal popped up on a storefront rental. Found Sound opened in December 2019, and although it had to close for a few months because of city shutdowns, Pichardo says people are still coming out and shopping for music. Every Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. at Found Sound, Pichardo (RAP79) streams a new episode of his radio show, Above the Clouds Radio.

Photo by Freddy Deboe

If you've ever made it out to Honey at Las Rosas, one of Mango Hill Records' legendary soul and funk parties, then you've had the pleasure of seeing one of the label's star outfits, Jason Joshua and the Beholders, take flight. Frontman Jason Joshua's high-energy, high-emotion showmanship conjures up the perennial romanticism of funk's heyday as he commits wholeheartedly to each note and each longing falsetto. This year, the act delivered its long-awaited debut, Alegría y Tristeza, a chronicle of love and passion in the Beholders' truest style. Recorded in Miami and mastered by Alex Abrash (Marvin Gaye, Fania All-Stars), the album is a feel-good ode to South Florida funk, meant to be blasted on the dance floor.

If someone had asked us in 1994 if Y100 would still be on the air in 2020, we couldn't have said for sure. A lot has changed over the past few decades, but trusty Y100 — "Miami's #1 Hit Music Station" — still stands at 100.7 on the FM dial. From Elvis Duran to Taylor Jukes to Drew to Frankie P, Y100 is still the soundtrack for trips to the mall, to a friend's house, or just running around town. While other outlets from the same era have come and gone, Y100 remains one of Miami's leading radio stations, finding success in its loyalty to the Top 40 format. You won't find any niche stuff here, just the meat and potatoes of the music landscape. On The Y100 Streaming Report, a recent addition to the lineup that airs weekday nights at 8 p.m., Frankie P spotlights the top songs streaming locally.

Photo by Monica McGivern

Since 1996, Lucy Lopez has been a staple of Power 96.5 FM. Plucked straight out of college to work for Miami's party station, the ever-popular Lopez hosts the Power 96 Morning Show from 6 to 10 a.m. every day. Many South Floridians wouldn't think of waking up or driving to work in the morning without her cheery, infectious voice in the background. Music is an afterthought when it comes to what makes Lopez and the Morning Show practically a part of Miami itself; it's the daily commentary on current events and community news, along with the entertaining jokes, bits and banter, that have kept listeners coming back for almost 25 years. Lucy Lopez is the Dwyane Wade of FM radio in these parts: Life in South Florida wouldn't be the same without her.

Photo courtesy of WPLG

Born and raised in Miami, FIU grad Nicole Perez joined Channel 10 in 2016 as a traffic reporter but now co-anchors the nightly news. In any other year, she would have been out in front, covering the biggest story of this generation. When it came to reporting on COVID-19, however, she found herself part of the story. Perez contracted the virus, along with her husband, Roy Ramos, also a Local 10 News reporter, back in July. Her recovery became a topic covered by Channel 10, helping to inform the public in a very real way just how serious the virus was. Her recent return to our living rooms reminded us just what we'd been missing while she was recovering. Smart, energetic and extremely well versed in what is happening in the South Florida community, Perez feels like a member of the family. We're glad she's back, doing what she does best: providing South Floridians with the best news coverage in the market.

Running down the latest stories surrounding the Miami Dolphins has never been the easiest task. Over the years, there have been a fair amount of non-football-related topics to dissect in addition to the regular team news. Adam Beasley, a longtime Dolphins columnist for the Miami Herald, has tracked each one with honesty, integrity, and, most important, a point of view that falls not far from the team's fan base; he knows all the angles that fans want and need in order to stay informed. From breaking injury news to new roster additions and subtractions to coaching changes and social injustice-inspired player protests, Beasley's coverage of the team is thorough. He's truly the eyes and ears of Dolphins fans, both on the field and as far off the field as the job takes him — making him the cream of the crop at the Herald.

In his welcoming baritone voice, Mitchell Kaplan explores the human condition and societal woes of the written word during his weekly podcast, The Literary Life With Mitchell Kaplan, which debuted in 2018 and is now more than 100 episodes in. Kaplan, co-founder of the Miami Book Fair and owner of Books & Books, releases a new episode every Friday comprising a good-natured discussion with writers, authors, and anyone with a story to tell. Past episodes, available online, include a talk with Nicholas Griffin about his book detailing Miami in 1980, a year defined by riots, refugees, and cocaine; a recorded event with former Black Panther Albert Woodfox, who spent 43 years in solitary confinement for a crime he says he didn't commit; and a discussion with author Megha Majumdar, who in her debut fictional novel, A Burning, teaches us to laugh and dream in a maddening world through the life of a Muslim girl in India.

When you think of Instagram, a 40-year-old basketball player probably isn't the first thing you think of. And it isn't likely that said player would be in contention for the best account on the social media platform. But this hasn't exactly been the most normal of years, either, and if you're looking for the most meaningful IG account, look no further than the one belonging to Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem. A glance at Haslem's timeline will reveal everything from support for the Black Lives Matter movement to charity work in the Miami community to an overall positivity that is desperately needed right now. There's no world where Udonis Haslem will "shut up and dribble," and his Instagram is a perfect example of why we're all better off with him fighting for what's right instead.

Photo by Mari Esquinca

While Jaquira Díaz's debut memoir is called Ordinary Girls — a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Notable Selection and on handfuls of most-anticipated and most-read book lists — Díaz is clearly not your run-of-the-mill author. Recipient of a Whiting Award in Nonfiction and a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal (to name just two of her many honors), Díaz is an extraordinary writer who has penned an ode not only to herself, but to all Latinx LGBTQ survivors of shame, blame, violence, and erasure. Sandra Cisneros writes that Díaz is "a woman who has claimed her own voice, a writer who writes for those who have no voice, for the black and brown girls 'who never saw themselves in books.'" Díaz makes them all visible against the backdrops of Miami and Puerto Rico, and we never want to stop seeing through her eyes.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®