Chicago Independent Record Labels Ranked Among the Nation’s Best

Billboard Pro recently ranked the top 50 independent record labels in America, and four Chicago labels made the cut proving that indie music is alive and well in the windy city.

HoZac Records made the highest showing coming in at number nine. The Chicago imprint started in 2006 and is currently home to some of the city’s best garage rock including Outer Minds and Radar Eyes. But HoZac also released the debut record from up-and-coming glam rockers Smith Westerns, who have quickly becoming a festival favorite and hotly saught after buzz band, and a debut 7″ EP from indie-pop favorites the Dum Dum Girls.

Formed in 1990, indie and experimental rock label Drag City landed at number 34. Drag City made its name during the mid-1990’s alternative era when it released albums from popular groups such as Pavement and California indie-pop songstress Joanna Newsom.

Kranky, which specializes in ambient and post-rock, was ranked 35. The label is best known for releases from psychedelic rock outfits Deerhunter and Chicago’s own, and Lollapalooza 2011 band, Disappears.

Finally, Jagjaguwar, which is more mid-western than pure Chicago because while it has second city roots, it’s currently based out of Bloomington, IN, was number 38. But the imprint has made a name for itself with releases by legendary riff-rockers Dinosaur Jr. and folky singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.

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