The '80s and '90s were a fun time for punk rock in South Florida. And though there wasn't a major publishing house putting out every single local album recorded, we were fortunate enough to have a few individuals who took it upon themselves to scrounge up some dough, enter into dubious arrangements with bands and recording studios, and buy adverts in fanzines across the U.S. to help ensure that at least a handful of their product would sell.
So in the spirit of record hunting, crate crashing, and rediscovering music, here are Miami's five best punk record labels of all time.
See also: Miami's 20 Best Punk Bands of All Time
4 ½ Finger Records
Known as "Emil Four and a Half," because of an accident that left him with 0.5 fingers fewer than most folks, Emil Busse may have gotten his name up in lights when he played bass for the Crumbs, but he was also one of the most daring local producers of limited-press vinyl. Operating between 1991 and '93, Emil was able to sell his records for a dollar and change in the era of the $3 seven-inch. (Yes, they used to cost three bucks.) In those days, it was also easy to scam the mail by rubbing soap on the postage and reusing stamps. Of course, Emil and friends made ample use of this technique until they got busted and were reprimanded by the USPS. We only wonder what kind of punishment they'd be up for in today's post-9/11 world.
-Chickenhead's Everything Must Go!
-The Human Oddities's The Earth Will Shake!!
-Straight Youth's Together We can Do It! EP
Smooth Lips Records
This label was run by a young man named Mike Borras and his girlfriend Maria. They were responsible for the first wax releases by Caught Inside and Pin Kai. And their ambitious release of emo outfit :Nobuhjest:'s self-titled EP was 300 copies with individually handmade covers -- not a single one the same! They would eventually branch out and release singles by out-of-state bands like National Guard and Staynless. Between 1995 and 1997, Mike and Maria continued to put out some cool releases. But then Smooth Lips Records suddenly (and sadly) vanished.
-:Nobuhjest:'s self-titled EP
-National Guard's Star Spangled Losers
-Pin Kai's Greasy Kid Stuff
-Fourhundred Years and Sleepytime Trio's split seven-inch
Overseen by the dearly departed Mary Giordani and the soft-spoken but incredibly cool Chris Lelugas, Starcrunch Records spawned albums by bands that are now considered legends of the Miami punk and post-punk scene, from the Stun Guns to Kreamy 'Lectric Santa, Cavity, Los Canadians, and the Drug Czars. This was the label that best captured the spirit of the Churchill's Pub roster in the mid '90s. And man, that was an epoch that deserved to be recorded.
-Kreamy 'Lectric Santa's Da Bronx Sity Chiken Machine Vol. II
-The Stun Guns' I Can't Believe It's Not Murder
-Los Canadians' The Kids Are Alroot
-Cavity and Daisycutter's "Damaged III"/"Soulflour" split
Space Cadette Records
Many were willing to donate cash to a friend's punk project in the '90s, but the Galvez brothers went nuts and decided to help out everyone. "The mentality of Space Cadette is and has been one of empathy towards struggling, local musicians and artists," they tell Crossfade. "While trying to create an outlet for our own music, we realized the necessity of opening up the studio to the public, to provide an outlet for other individuals' work as well." And that they did -- recording, renting space on the cheap, creating artwork, and just being all-around awesome.
As one of the earliest artistic entities in the now-thriving Bird Road arts district, the Galvezes were able to utilize that area's desolate nights to help nurture music across the genres in Miami during the '90s.
-Milkshed and Grass Patch's A Field Guide to Crop Circle Activity
-Ed Matus' Struggle's Planes That Cast a Gloom
-Swivel Stick's Notes Towards a Mental Breakdown
-Floor and Ed Matus' Struggle's Entomological Discoveries with Sound and Vibration
Jeterboy Records and Cassettes
If it hadn't been for Jeterboy, there would have never been a Scattered Wahoo Action and/or Hialeah seven-inch in classic Miami punk band The Eat's repertoire. What about the Stan Still Dance Band, D.T. Martyrs, and even the Spanish Dogs? Of all Miami's labels, Jeterboy cemented South Florida's punk rock reputation. And it was about the now-forgotten art of creating records that we'd like to listen to over and over and over.
-The Eat's Scattered Wahoo Action
-The D.T. Martyrs's Narcotics in the Carport
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