The 10 Best Record Labels in Dallas

Categories: Best Of

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Mike Brooks
At the Dallas Observer Music Showcase: Slideshow.

Trying to find legitimate record labels in the Dallas/Fort Worth area turned into a quest that crossed the thin barrier of insanity on more than one occasion, as more and more record labels fell off our list. Fifty-four or so for the Dallas area alone were the number of record labels listed on the state of Texas' governor's music directory. Out of those listed only seven are still legitimate record labels. The rest of them have either shut their doors due to the onslaught of technology, or else they're vanity sites promoting one or two artists who are also the record labels' owners and producers. And let's not even discuss the plethora of MySpace sites littering the governor's list.

Basing our Best Of list on three simple criteria -- more than two artists, a legitimate website and a passion for promoting the arts -- we've found 10 record labels in the Dallas area who are representing their respective genres while lifting Texas artists into the musical limelight.


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Do For It Records
Website: doforitrecords.com
Notable Releases:
Pressurize/Posion The Well by The House Harkonnen/The Spectacle, The Dangits/Perdition 7 inch split, Intelligent Design by Shaolin Death Squad and Said A to B by Trebuchet.

Do For It Records is an independent record label that strives to be a creative force for its artists, who range from The Phuss (a three-piece garage rock band from Fort Worth), to Austin's Invincible Czars, whose music sounds like mini-symphonies with humor (think Monte Python meets Beethoven). Located in Denton, this independent record label promotes unique metal and rock music that doesn't quite fit 97.1 the Eagle's format.

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Azteca Music Group
Website: aztecamusicgroup.com
Notable Releases:
Vives en Mi by La Maquinaria Nortena, Que Ganabas by Mafia Nortena, Efectos Secundarios by Zeri and Voy A Conquistarte by Los Pescadores Del Rio Conchos

Azteca Music Group is striving to promote artists in the "Latin Regional Mexican" genre of the music industry, from the traditional sounds of Vives En Mi to the soothing tunes of Sin Restricciones. Located just off Gaston Avenue in Dallas, Azteca offers a voice to a culture whose as much part of Texas as Lone Star Beer and cowboy boots.

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Hand Drawn Records
Website: handdrawnrecords.com
Notable Releases:
Builds.With.Age by W.A. Fite, Psychosomatic Immortality by Secret Ghost Champion, Life Is Still Good by Brandon Callies Band and Townies by Exit 380

Hand Drawn Records is located in Dallas and Oklahoma City and takes an "artist first" approach. The independent record label believes that "the heart of a healthy musical community beats to the drum of hard work." Each album is a separate work of hand drawn art and just another example of the independent label's mission of helping artists


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25 comments
abrayanatlas
abrayanatlas

hello from MARRAKECH Morocco

Singer ,lyrics and a music composer i'looking for production;thanks to DALLAS OBSERVER certainly i'll find a collaboration

Kind regards 

Artist ABRAYAN ATLAS

Topcatrecords
Topcatrecords

Congratulations Richard Chalk on www.topcatrecords.com making The 10 Best Record Labels in Dallas!

jd242008
jd242008

No mention of I Love Math Records out of Denton?

GhostBlindLemon
GhostBlindLemon

Another correction... Here Holy Spain and Descender are bands, with Under The Undertow and Slow And Gold as their respective releases, not the other way around.

ultimatebdp
ultimatebdp

Oh hey, Dallas Observer, the band on that Do For It Records label is "The House Harkonnen"...not Harkonnen.  You know, the band that won the DALLAS OBSERVER MUSIC AWARD for best hard rock band last year??   Going to see those guys has gotten me back into the local music scene!  The Spectacle, The Phuss, Shaolin Death Squad, Mothership, Wo Fat, etc...all great bands!!

shawn
shawn

im surprised you could even find this many bullshit "record labels."
dallas is one of the worst big cities when it comes to music.

Scarlett Wright
Scarlett Wright

I don't think that this list was based on "sales" by any means.

handdrawnrecords
handdrawnrecords

Appreciate you D.O.!  And we just signed a new artist yesterday out of Denton...official announcement coming soon!

Pseudonymph
Pseudonymph

Can you expound on the details of these "...vanity sites promoting one or two artists who are also the record labels' owners and producers"? I'm wondering what qualifies them as "vanity." Seems like an artist using his or her own money (instead of an investor's) to create and market a product is a business decision, and may not have anything to do with psychology. Did you discover any material evidence that that the sites promoting self produced product are results of vanity? And if not, then why would it not be considered a noble pursuit to be an independent entrepreneur?

Gary N. Audirsch
Gary N. Audirsch

I've found that after stumbling in the 2nd year, 91.7 is filling that void 90.1 left behind. I'm often pleasantly surprised at what local artists they choose to feature.

nocosignsnecessary
nocosignsnecessary

This Article is so whack! Where is CMG Records at??? Obviously due diligence was not taken. smh

Keith Funk
Keith Funk

Back when 90.1 played music, Dallas musicians had a voice.

admohr
admohr

Fort Worth's Saint Marie Records has really established itself as an international presence in the dream & noise pop scenes in the past couple of years. Several great releases this year that have seen strong reviews on AllMusic, Impose & many more national review sites, and they continue to announce new signings.

Lance_
Lance_

Wow, in part about Kirkland Records you got the title of Sarah's last album wrong, then you misspelled her last name and then you changed how the Spree stylize their name.  Good on you.  You guys finally write about local music and then you get it wrong.

garlandgestapo
garlandgestapo

@Lance_ In DOs defense dallas music has always been pretty mediocre at best, except for hagfish

ultimatebdp
ultimatebdp

Mediocre?  EXCEPT Hagfish??  You must've been in Hagfish.  Bands that spit on each other for fun while playing are still mediocre, at best.

There's tons of great bands in the area nowadays!! 

Lance_
Lance_

@garlandgestapo They did a great job when Pete was running the music section.  Now it's just a bunch of reposts from other Village Voice papers and things that don't relate to local music in any way. It's just a shame that there are a lot of great bands in the area that aren't getting any ink because the blog is more concerned about page views.

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