Best Fierce Lil' Local Label

Absolutely Kosher Records

Absolutely Kosher Records reps weird, tiny, arty bands from around the country out of an office in the shadows of Emeryville's cultural leviathan, Pixar. The fiercely independent, perpetually scrappy label was founded in 1998 by Cory Brown in San Francisco, then moved to Berkeley in 2002, then to Emeryville in '06. Its twee weirdo roster includes favorites like Brooklyn's chamber-pop singer-songwriter Chris Garneau and Xiu Xiu, the spastic, riveting indie-rock act originally from San Jose, a spawn of singer-songwriter Jamie Stewart who started it in 2000. Check out 2010's Dear God, I Hate Myself. From The Wrens to Frog Eyes and Little Teeth (who play July 24 at Great American Music Hall with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), Absolutely Kosher is legit. Download its free 2010 sampler, I Used To Be Goth, from its web site.

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