At Thrill Jockey, Wong, Urick and the other Baltimore bands joined dozens of other cutting-edge musicians — most notably, Talking Heads founder David Byrne.

"We advocate for people who like to push boundaries, who are willing to stand outside trends and carve their own path," Richards said. "Those are the ones that have staying power."

Two decades ago, Richards left the A&R department of Atlantic Records and founded Thrill Jockey with an initial investment of $35,000. She moved to Chicago, drawn by its affordable rent and room to be creative. Now, she sees those same qualities in Baltimore.

"It's not known as a place you go to 'make it,' " Richards said. "You're not looking around you to see what might get you successful. You're looking inward. … Really, it's the tip of the iceberg for Baltimore."

If you go

What: Thrill Jockey's 20th Anniversary Show

When: Thursday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live.

Tickets: $20-$23.

Information: or 410-244-1131

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