A strong local music scene without a few quality labels is as pointless as nonalcoholic beer. Thankfully, Cleveland's Exit Stencil Recordings is helping to remedy this city's underwhelming label presence with a diverse roster of some of the area's most promising bands. With the bristling punk-funk of This Moment in Black History, the wayward snarl of the feedback-infatuated Roué, and the sweet 'n' snarky blues of the New Lou Reeds leading the way, Exit Stencil heads Ryan Weitzel and Brandon Stevens have an ear for distinctive acts. Their bands have garnered strong reviews in such esteemed music rags as Alternative Press
, and many have toured nationally. And with an art gallery and a recording studio housed in their Detroit Avenue headquarters, the label is building a home base where Cleveland artists and musicians can realize their ambitions - and this city's potential.