Smiling Handshake Records

In September 2008, Dayton, Ohio musician Mark Keller, seeking to release music by his various bands, as well as his solo albums, and inspired by many artists, in and around the Dayton area, formed an independent record label. Originally called Noise For Dummies, the label quickly established itself locally with 5 new releases, to rave reviews, almost immediately after its inception. In early 2009, many of the artists, including, Boondah, Scott Barker, & Happy Hour Heroes began recording albums at Babblefish Studios, in Franklin, Ohio. The label had begun to find its place, and the future was looking bright.

On June 5, 2009, with the Scott Barker record, “This is Me”, set for release the following week, Keller received a trademark infringement letter from Wiley Publishing, owners of the FOR DUMMIES name, effectively forcing the label to change its name or face the prospect of an expensive lawsuit. Keller made the decision to change the name, realizing that to continue, a court battle was the last thing the label, and its artists, needed.

Enter the Smiling Handshake Records era. The label managed to repress the Barker record, with it’s brand new name, and had its most successful release to date. Then again, another setback. Posted, the talented trio from Lima, Ohio, having just finished their debut, “Escape Plan”, informed Keller they would be breaking up, effective immediately. Once again, the label would soldier on, and on December 26, 2009, the label released the debut record from Boondah, “Felonious Bologna”, one of the most important releases in SHR’s history. Not only was Boondah the first band signed to Smiling Handshake back in 2008, but it closed out a very rough year on an excellent note, and would be the first release involving the mastering skills of legendary producer Kramer, who now has begun mastering all Smiling Handshake releases.

2010 brought the 3rd record from Storm Kills 4, “Its On You Know”, and the label has been diligently making an effort to repress and re-release its entire catalog, as well as making all the records available through iTunes, Amazon, and a host of other digital sites. And in mid December, Meg Cavanaugh, a highly talented singer songwriter from London, UK will release her debut, “The Musketeers Handbook”, one of Smiling Handshake Records most anticipated records yet. And the label will also be releasing an album from its newest signing, The Twitches. Also now released is the long awaited debut from Fantasy Farm, one of Kellers’ bands, as well as the aforementioned Posted record. And in 2011, we hope to have our best year ever, with new records from label vets, Boondah, Scott Barker, Happy Hour Heroes, The Superbeams, new roster members, Windsor Knotts, Kevin Milner, Forces of Nature, and Eric Wells, plus 2 new solo records from Keller himself.

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