Best Label Honcho

Todd Hyman

Todd Hyman doesn’t have the flash of the Eighteenth Street Lounge guys, nor did he invent a genre like Ian MacKaye did. But in recent years, Hyman has quietly built an indie empire from his Chevy Chase home. His three labels—Carpark, Paw Tracks, and Acute—can claim credit for putting Baltimore’s music scene on the map. Hyman helps horn-rimmed introverts dance (check out the wonderful nerd-beats of Dan Deacon), believes that global sounds can migrate into pop (Panda Bear), and knows that sticky drones can actually be interesting (Black Dice). But Hyman isn’t chasing microtrends: It’s hard to find a label anywhere that can boast releasing albums that are sure to hold up as well as the early Animal Collective stuff, like Panda Bear’s Person Pitch and Beach House’s self-titled 2006 debut and the new Devotion. Hyman says he plans to put out nearly a dozen releases this year, including a new Dan Deacon album in the fall. But Hyman has yet to sign a D.C. band. “I haven’t seen anything I’m into yet,” he says. “Hopefully that will change.”