Best Local Label

Ascetic Records

Hieu Nguyen and Matt Snell launched Ascetic in 2001 because, according to Nguyen, "there have been so many cool labels that have supported so many good bands, we just wanted to do the same." In a relatively short time, the label has put out ten releases from local and regional acts, all in the aggressive/expressive noise-rock genre. What elevates Ascetic from the basement of vanity imprints is the sheer professionalism of its founders' presentation and the business acumen they apply to what they do. Their Web site ( is clean and easy to navigate, their products well-packaged and in an effort to expand even further, they have acquired a national distribution deal and hired a PR guy. They seem to be going about everything in the right way and are one of the few independent labels in town pushing for wider recognition of local acts. With three more releases scheduled for this year, things only seem to be moving up for the Ascetic crew.