The Shins / Wincing The Night Away - SP705
To play music for a long time, you have to surprise the people that love you—while also surprising yourself. Recorded in singer/guitarist James Mercer’s basement studio, Phil Ek’s Seattle digs, and in Oregon City with veteran producer Joe Chiccarelli (Beck, U2), Wincing the Night Away is The Shins’ third full-length album. It’s also the sound of a band growing up and out. Mercer’s infectious, indelible melodic style is still at the core, and unfaltering. But anything can happen around it—and in this case, it does. While the vocals channel the spirit of Morrissey, “Sea Legs” pairs a loping hip-hop beat with lush melody and searing guitars. Elsewhere the band toys with tweaked-out, liquid piano steeped in kaleidoscopic strings (“Red Rabbit”); fractured synth samples (“Spilt Needles”); gauzy, arpeggiated keyboards cloaking thunderous anthems (“Sleeping Lessons”); and, taking cues from early Jesus and Mary Chain albums, sweeping, fuzz-toned epics (“Phantom Limb”). Finally, “Turn on Me,” “Girl Sailor” and “Australia” are the lilting, thrilling, rollicking, rock-solid pop songs we’ve all come to covet from The Shins. Consider yourself surprised.
*If you buy the LP of this album, be aware that you’ll be able to download the songs for free to use on your less analog devices.
Released: January 23, 2007
Band of Horses / Cease to Begin - SP745
Released in March of 2006, Band of Horses’ debut Everything All the Time propelled the band from early shows opening for friends Iron & Wine, to playing on The Late Show with David Letterman by July, and being nominated as one of ten finalists (along with Joanna Newsom, Beirut, Tom Waits, and, the eventual winner, Cat Power) for the Shortlist Music Prize for that same year. The record also received celebratory press in Spin, Entertainment Weekly, NY Times, Harp, Billboard, Pitchfork, Magnet, NME, Uncut, and a slew of others. For a lot of reasons, Cease to Begin is the perfect title for this new record. Though they worked with producer Phil Ek again, as they did on Everything All the Time, much has changed for Band of Horses between the fairly recent then and now. Band members have come and gone, including Mat Brooke, who left to pursue other interests and his own band. Core members Ben Bridwell, Rob Hampton and Creighton Barrett moved from Seattle to Mt. Pleasant, SC, to be closer to their families. And, close friends and family have come and gone—some far too early. Necessarily shot through with these experiences, the songs on Cease to Begin are strikingly beautiful, if less elliptical and more straightforward, dealing with the reconciliation of attachment and detachment, the strength that’s found through suffering, and the understanding that we are as significant as we are insignificant. It’s also a great rock record.
Release date: October 9, 2007
Released: October 9, 2007
The Shins / Oh, Inverted World - SP550
Here’s what we had to say about the Shins debut record circa 2001. Hailing from Albuquerque, NM, The Shins sprung from the ashes of Flake/Flakemusic in 1997 (though those previous incarnations date back nearly a decade) – same members, different instruments, different approach. Counterpoint guitars have given way to a single guitar pitted against calculated keyboard passages; swarming indie rock machinations led to pop-based melodic endeavors (who knew?).
Released: June 19, 2001
The Shins / Chutes Too Narrow - SP625
The Shin’s debut full-length, 2001’s Oh, Inverted World, was a stunner; resoundingly well-received and landing itself on numerous year-end best-of-lists. MOJO placed it at #14 of the year and commented, “This quartet from Albuquerque, New Mexico captured our hearts this summer with their pristine pop perfection.” And, Seattle’s The Straner went even further with, “…a referential, brilliant record which had better blow up, or the world has forgotten what pop music is all about.” As far as we’re concerned it did blow up – seems there’s still some hope for the world and its conception of pop music. Since that first record, singer/songwriter/guitarist James Mercer and drummer Jesse Sandoval moved from Albuquerque to Portland, OR and bassist Neal Langford was replaced with Dave Hernandez (ex-Scared Of Chaka), who played bass on the stand-out track from the first record, “New Slang.” Chutes Too Narrow, their heavily anticipated follow-up, was recorded in James’ basement home studio, with later mixing assistance from Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, David Cross, Les Savy Fav, etc.). And, with 10 songs, clocking in at just over 30 minutes, the new record is a brief yet entirely scintillating glimpse at chiming, reflective and perfectly skewed pop innovation.
Released: October 21, 2003
The Postal Service / Give Up - SP595
The Postal Service is a long-distance collaboration between Ben Gibbard (singer/guitarist from Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Tamborello (Jimmy recorded the Beachwood Sparks album Make the Cowboy Robots Cry and also records under the name Dntel). Ben and Jimmy sent music back and forth, between California and Washington, each adding new elements until the record was complete. The result is a sweetly charming, largely electronic album with a warmth not typically associated with the clicks-and-beeps set. As an added bonus, additional vocals on the record are provided by Jen Wood and Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis.
If you’re at all like us, then there’s no doubt that you read the indie rock gossip blogs (maybe a little too much, amirite?), and you likely found out that the great and tragically long-inactive Postal Service are in fact reactivating to play some things (things like Coachella) and that their debut (and singular) record, Give Up, is to be reissued by us here at Sub Pop Records and will feature 15 bonus tracks, two of which are brand new, on April 9th. In order to dispel any possible confusion, the page that you are currently on is for the previously issued, original Give Up, not the 3xLP/2xCD, deluxe version of this classic. Pre-ordering will begin for the deluxe reissue on February 12th on this very web site. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Released: 2003-02-19 (CD), 2004-11-09 (2xLP), 2003-02-19 (MP3s)
Flight of the Conchords / The Distant Future - SP746
Herewith, Sub Pop’s debut release from New Zealand’s 4th most popular folk-comedy duo (and, yes, okay, also current HBO phenoms), Flight of the Conchords. The Distant Future EP includes “Business Time,” “If You’re Into It,” and “Not Crying,” as well as live versions of “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room” and “Robots.” Plus, there’s live banter! We will be releasing a Flight of the Conchords full-length recording sometime in early 2008
Released: August 7, 2007
Iron and Wine / Our Endless Numbered Days - SP630
Miami’s Sam Beam makes music under the name Iron and Wine and September, 2002 saw the release of his debut album, The Creek Drank the Cradle. That record was/is hushed, literate, intimate, melodic: a quiet treasure which, with its unaffected candor and depth, found fans all over. (Entertainment Weekly: “Based in Miami, of all places, [Beam] invests these songs with hypnotic beauty and sparkling melody, making them as accessible as they are affecting.”) Our Endless Numbered Days is the second full-length album from Iron and Wine and it was recorded both at Sam’s Miami home and in Chicago’s Engine Studios with Brian Deck (Red Red Meat, Modest Mouse, Ugly Casanova, etc.) On it, Sam is aided and abetted by regular touring and recording conspirators: his sister Sarah Beam, Patrick McKinney, Jeff McGriff, EJ Holowicki, and Jonathon Bradley. Listening to Our Endless Numbered Days makes plain Sam’s deft touch with words and melody; one that allows him to turn out stories about love, loss, faith, or the lack of it that are at once personal and universal, set to music that is sweetly haunting and timeless.
p>. release date: March 23, 2004
The original pressing, which is out of print and unavailable, of this CD came with a bonus disc, which included the following tracks:
1. Cinder and Smoke (demo)
2. Swans and the Swimming
3. Free Until They Cut Me Down (demo)
Released: March 23, 2004
Iron and Wine / The Creek Drank the Cradle - SP600
Iron and Wine, the recorded Word of one Samuel Beam, Miami, Florida; is one of those one-guy-and-his -tapedeck affairs. The Creek Drank the Cradle is filled with hushed, restrained vocals, affecting lyrics from a naturalist’s perspective, exploring relationships and the hope born from them, all of which come across as though whispered to you personally, accompanied by guitar, banjo, slide guitar… Taken as a whole, The Creek Drank the Cradle_, Iron and Wine’swine debut CD, is an ode to an older South; a part of America that is defined by “traditional values,” pastoral imagery and arcane manners. Or maybe that’s just what we want to hear.
Released: 2002-09-24 (CD), 2003-05-20 (LP), 2002-09-24 (MP3s)