Best Record Label
Sockets Records turned six this winter, which is no small feat in 2011. In the tradition of D.C.-based record labels, this small DIY operation exists more for the music than the profits. The label started out releasing CDRs before shifting to more professional CDs and vinyl a few years ago. But ethics and scale aside, Sockets deserves recognition for its proprietor Sean Peoples’ impeccable taste. In the past year, Sockets released fractured blues rock from Laughing Man, ambitious prog pop from Hume, and spacey, aggressive post-hardcore from Imperial China, all of whom have steadily cultivated local followings. The positive vibes at Sockets’ second annual showcase at the Black Cat in January proved how indispensable the label has become for the local indie-rock and experimental scenes, and with new releases on the way from Buildings, The Cornel West Theory, and True Womanhood, that’s not likely to change soon.