Upchuck / Upchuck: Gone But Not Forgiven - 4999998
“This long-awaited CD from the legendary Charles “Upchuck” Gerra finally sets right one of the lost chapters in Seattle’s pre-grunge music era. Essential for anyone who loves punk rock, glam rock, or just groundbreaking music of any genre."
-Charles R. Cross
author of ‘Heavier Than Heaven’ & ‘Room Full of Mirrors’
Released: October 2, 2008
Daniel Martin Moore / Stray Age - SP760
You’ve never heard of Daniel Martin Moore, from Cold Spring, Kentucky. That’s okay. Before we got his unsolicited demo in January 2007, neither had we. Luckily, he’d heard of us, and contacted us the way people in Cold Spring still do—he sent us a package, just to see what would happen. In all honesty, his odds were quite slim, but occasionally we’ll take down that “no solicitation” sign on our door. Eventually, we opened his package and gave his four songs a listen and decided to contact him—we happened upon Daniel while he was working at a friend’s bed and breakfast in Costa Rica. He’d been a bit of a drifter up until this point, studied photography in college, joined the Peace Corps in 2006, traveling to Cameroon for his service. What was supposed to be a two year commitment was cut short due to illness. So he came back to the states, lived in Minnesota for a while with his brother (who plays piano on several tracks), and began to focus on music.
The first thing you’ll notice about his debut, Stray Age is its simplicity. It’s a folk record, evoking certain feelings (as all good records should), but there’s a gentle approach to its sound and the way Moore’s voice phrases his words. Stray Age was recorded in Los Angeles in three different spurts, the first two sessions taking place in October and December of 2007, then the third in February of 2008. He even got some people you’ve heard of to help him out. Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, U2, The White Stripes) took on co-production, recording and mixing duties. Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Tori Amos) played upright bass. Jesca Hoop lent her voice to “The Old Measure” and “Restoration Sketches.” And Petra Haden (Bill Frisell, Beck) adds violin to “It’s You,” “The Hour Of Sleep,” and “The Old Measure.”
Those reference points are really just that, though. Moore is most captivating as a singer, one who doesn’t seem concerned with usual folkie fodder. If you ask him what his music’s about—a legitimate question—he just politely shrugs his shoulders in a way that says, “that’s up to you to figure out.” But, the insights in Stray Age are not secrets and would never hope to be. That’s a good thing, as Moore’s much more of an optimist, hopefully anticipating the things that are just around the corner. “That’ll Be The Plan” strums along to a soft drumbeat, a traveling narrative centered around delicate mandolin solos. The one cover on the album, “Who Knows Where The Times Goes,” has Moore slowly, softly singing Sandy Denny, coupling his gentle coaxing with a faint vibraphone.
Yet as simply as Daniel Martin Moore thinks of Stray Age, it’s rich with understated complexities that take you to places that people like Nick Drake and Mojave 3/Slowdive principal Neil Halstead have been cited as doing. There’s a soft swing in the vocals reminiscent of Chet Baker. But the one thing with Moore, that we like to think of as separating him from the pack, is he’s looking forward. He wants to go places, he wants you to come with him, and we’re finding him right in that moment.
Stray Age is a work that welcomes a listener to know it. This is Daniel Martin Moore. He comes from a place both geographically and personally removed from any sense of the independent music scene. Clearly, that’s okay.
Released: October 7, 2008
Blitzen Trapper / Furr - SP755
Furr is the fourth record by Portland sextet Blitzen Trapper and the follow-up to last year’s highly acclaimed Wild Mountain Nation. Written in the gaps of the group’s frenetic touring schedule and recorded mostly in a hoary old telegraph building close by the Willamette River, the new record refines and expands on the far-ranging yet distinctive songcraft that lies at the heart of Blitzen Trapper’s unique appeal.
Like its predecessor, Furr was made largely in the group’s studio at Sally Mack’s School of Dance, which is housed in the aforementioned telegraph building near downtown Portland. This is a small T-shaped room with high ceilings, a couch, a hot-plate, and a mixing console. During reprieves from tour, songwriter and producer Eric Earley lived furtively in the studio, crashing on the couch, but rising with the sun or staying up into the nether hours when the other bands in the building quit and went home. It was during these quiet times that the new songs took shape, with rhythm sections printed hot to four-track and then layered and embellished and deconstructed or sometimes just left the way they were.
One key to this new material was an ancient, warped piano that appeared in the hallway one day at Sally Mack’s School of Dance and which was subsequently muscled into the group’s studio. Though out of tune and missing teeth, this piano became the warhorse upon which Earley wrote and recorded much of Furr. The beast has gone away to the landfill now, but you can still hear the clacking and clattering of its rickety skeleton in songs like “Not Your Lover” and “Echo.”
Blitzen Trapper is a group of native Northwesterners, most of whom grew up in Salem, Oregon. They have lived and played together in Portland since 2000. Critics and fans have compared their music to just about everything; there have been calls to coin a new genre. After self-releasing Wild Mountain Nation in June of 2007, the group ventured beyond the West Coast for the first time to tour extensively in Europe and North America. Furr is their first Sub Pop release.
Released: September 23, 2008
The Gutter Twins / Adorata - SP794
Following their full-length, debut record, Saturnalia, The Gutter Twins have a new 8-song EP available called Adorata. The EP is available exclusively through the iTunes Music Store here and here at subpop.com. Adorata features two previously unreleased originals and also contains cover songs by José González, Primal Scream, Scott Walker, Vetiver, and Eleven
A portion of Adorata’s proceeds will go to the Natasha Shneider Memorial Fund. Natasha Shneider was a friend of the band and the late lead singer of Eleven.
Released: September 2, 2008
Chad VanGaalen / Soft Airplane - SP783
Chad VanGaalen’s musical roots date back to the first part of the decade, when he made a living busking on the streets of Calgary. He is also an accomplished animator and illustrator whose music is very much informed by his appreciation of visual arts. He has produced a voluminous wealth of material, by himself, at a rate that might best be described as alarming. And whatever his motivation for doing what he does, or creating what he creates, the result is that it is always both genuine and good. The proof is in the songs themselves. They have heart. They have pain. They have hope. They have humor. And most importantly, they have fun.
Recorded on a Tascam 4-track and other analog devices, using synthesizers, guitars and a collection of his own handmade instruments, Chad’s first two LPs, Infiniheart (2005) and Skelliconnection (2006), were wildly eclectic and ethereal, texturally imaginative, sometimes ambitious and sometimes restrained.
Recorded primarily on an old tape machine and a JVC ghetto blaster in Chad’s Calgary basement, Soft Airplane retains the handmade charm and singular character of his previous records, while incorporating new layers of sophistication and weight. Recalling Neil Young at his most fragile and plaintive, and Thurston Moore at his most resolved and vital, Chad’s emotive vocals anchor these songs while tackling the pervasive themes of death and dreams with an unexpected air of certainty and hope that is far from ominous—-instead it’s luminous. Through a complex interplay of guitar, drum beats, loops, samples, found sounds, unorthodox percussion, xylophones, distortion, synthesizers, accordions and more, Chad has made an album that sounds bigger than one man.
It sounds like a lifetime.
Released: September 9, 2008
This collection of music was written and sung by Joel Thibodeau. It is unlike anything you’ve ever heard. People will call it many things. Few will get it right. This is Death Vessel.
Death Vessel’s debut album Stay Close was released in 2005 to critical acclaim. Since that album’s release Death Vessel has toured with Iron & Wine, Low, Jose Gonzalez, and The Books, among others. Recorded with longtime producer/collaborator Pete Donnelly (The Figgs) at his New Jersey studio, and various locales across the northeast, Nothing Is Precious Enough for Us is Death Vessel’s Sub Pop debut. While in recent years Joel has toured primarily as a solo performer, and the songs are inarguably mesmerizing and relevant in that setting, on record they take on a new life, thanks to his and Donnelly’s inspired, and often unusual, arrangements, and the contributions of numerous friends and players. The album exudes a unique, wide-scope ambition. Its musical reach is fully extended—-deep into the past, grounded in the present and nodding to the future. Owing to the gritty avarice of Joel’s singular spirit, voice and musicality, the songs sound as progressive, experimental and modern as they do antique and old-world. The music is haunting and spiritual, mysterious and kind, ageless and contemporary, soulful and psychedelic. In short, it’s where the requiem meets rock ‘n’ roll.
“Now I am versed in silence/my throat hurts, not from yelling but from holding back,” Joel sings on “Block My Eye,” the album’s opening track. And that’s ok, because the music speaks for itself. And nothing ever sounded so loud, and so clear.
Released: August 19, 2008
Oxford Collapse / BITS - SP769
BITS is album number four for Brooklyn’s Oxford Collapse, but it’s a first for them in many ways. Some of those ways will be immediately apparent to those of you who’ve followed their raucous, boyish exploits since their 2006 Sub Pop debut Remember the Night Parties, or from their earlier efforts. Their charming lack of guile, combined with a capable and focused aim towards the better of the ‘80s college-rock cognoscenti and Trouser Press favorites, has made for music that has found its way into backyards and across rooftops all over the city. Recorded in chunks throughout 2007 with Eric Emm at the Brothers Studios, and Chad Matheny in spaces all over town, BITS corrects for time and experience, and shows a band artistically riding its own peaks. The tension is still present in their three-way interplay (listen to them firing off of each other, squealing out of control at the end of “Back of the Yards”) but the direction and presence in this set is open, flowing against anything they’ve done before. It’s the sound of fun turning into purpose, of a great band writing and playing their best songs, and knowing how great that feels. This is the new Oxford Collapse, as a band and as a record: straightforward; memorable; mature, but not necessarily grown-up; just better. It’s all heart and ingenuity, the joyous racket that connects C86 pop to the present, made by three guys who are realizing that they can be mayors.
Released: August 5, 2008
Formed in 2003 in São Paulo, Brazil by a group of art-damaged, pop culture omnivores with an abiding thirst for good times, CSS is, among a great many other things, the first South American band signed to the overrated Sub Pop label of Seattle, Wash. CSS’s debut full-length, Cansei de Ser Sexy (“I got tired of being sexy” in Brazilian Portuguese) was released in July of 2006, and the band was nearly immediately, and pretty fairly described by The Guardian (July 21, 2006) with, “…they sound like an unlikely, brilliantly wrong fusion of Tom Tom Club, dance culture and the Fall.”
In the time since Cansei de Ser Sexy came out, CSS has been very busy. They’ve toured around the world a number of times, with the likes of Gwen Stefani, Ladytron, Klaxons, Diplo, played festivals from Coachella, Pitchfork and Virgin, to Reading, Benicassim, Roskilde, and beyond. Vocalist Lovefoxx showed up at #3 on NME’s 2007 “Cool List” (which is a step in the right direction anyway…). And, their song “Music is My Hot, Hot Sex” was used in a worldwide iPod Touch ad in late 2007, driving the song, nearly a year-and-a-half after its release, to become the highest charting single by a Brazilian band in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Produced in Brazil by the band’s own Adriano Cintra and mixed in Los Angeles by Mark “Spike” Stent (whose credits include Madonna, Bjork, Massive Attack, U2, M.I.A., and Arcade Fire), Donkey is tough, street-ready, and recreates the frenetic energy of their live shows. And really, with CSS the live show is the thing. Equal parts dance party, urban circus, and out-and-out chaos, the band’s unaffected, unbridled joy in performance is for real and for you. Ride the Donkey!
Released: July 22, 2008
Wolf Parade / At Mount Zoomer - SP720
Recorded and engineered by drummer Arlen Thompson, At Mount Zoomer is Wolf Parade’s second album for Sub Pop. Their first, Apologies to the Queen Mary, came out in the fall of 2005 and was described by Uncut magazine as, “frequently appealing.”
Singer/guitarist Dan Boeckner: “After Apologies… we wrote about four or five new songs, but we decided to throw them out because they sounded too much like what we’d already done. We could have easily made another Apologies… but what would have been the point?” Instead, the band committed itself to a period of experimentation, recording long improvisational sessions in the Montreal church owned by The Arcade Fire. These tracks were then cut and pasted into discrete compositions. The result is a complex matrix of components and modules that, thanks to the collective efforts of each band member, never feels labored or fussy. From the nimble opening strains of “Soldier’s Grin” to the eleven-minute aggro dirge of “Kissing the Beehive,” they hand authority of the songs around among them with a refreshing absence of ownership. Where Apologies… could be read as a good-natured, sweaty volleyball match between Boeckner and singer/keyboardist Spencer Krug, the new album shows the band as a fully coordinated moving front. This collaboration isn’t just a work ethic—the band’s many offshoots, side projects, and domestic ventures have taken each of them far from their home base in Montreal for extended periods, compressing their time as a functioning unit. “It’s hard enough to get us all in the same room at the same time,” Krug said of the band’s approach, “so when we do get to write songs there isn’t really time for our egos to get in the way.”
The legion of bearded, sweater-vested critics will want to file this album under ‘Prog Rock’ because it doesn’t offer up sugary cast-offs for the short-attention-span set, but no one ever danced to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. It might instead be this generation’s Marquee Moon, or an indie rock Chinese Democracy released thirty years early and sixty million dollars under budget (and without cornrows, to boot). Better, though, to think of it as the sound of a band edging forward into a wispy darkness, one hand reaching out, the other firmly clutching the past.
If you order the new Wolf Parade on either CD or LP, you’ll receive a poster featuring the members of Wolf Parade as various woodland creatures inside of your package! While supplies last, of course.
Released: June 17, 2008
Fleet Foxes / Fleet Foxes - SP777
Fleet Foxes are five. There are five of them, and they are from Seattle. They are, for lack of an eminently more marketable descriptor, a group trafficking in baroque harmonic pop. And the joy they derive in doing so is palpable. We feel it too. They are, self-described, not much of a rock band. With the help of credit cards, minimum wages, tip money, friends and family, Fleet Foxes crafted their first demo, and subsequently the Sun Giant EP and this debut full-length album, with family friend Phil Ek manning the rudder. Drawing influence from the traditions of folk music, pop, choral music and gospel, sacred harp singing, West Coast music, traditional music from Ireland to Japan, film scores, and their NW peers, Fleet Foxes ranges in subject matter from the natural world and familial bonds to bygone loves and stone cold graves. Robin Pecknold is in Fleet Foxes: “All we strove for with this record was to make something that was an honest reflection of who we are, citizens of the western United States who love all kinds of music and above all else love singing…” And we believe them.
The glorious gate-fold vinyl LP version, by the way, comes with a digital download code, includes the Sun Giant EP on a second, enclosed, largely complimentary (and certainly complementary) piece of vinyl! This, it seems worth mentioning, is currently the only way to get Sun Giant on vinyl. Also worth mentioning: this version of the LP, the one with that comes packaged with the Sun Giant EP, is the same version of the LP that you will find wherever and whenever you might buy it — not just here through subpop.com.
Released: June 3, 2008
Fleet Foxes S/T LP or CD + FF Blue Shirt
Fleet Foxes self-titled album on LP or CD + Fleet Foxes Blue Shirt
Fleet Foxes S/T LP or CD + FF Green Shirt
Fleet Foxes self-titled album on LP or CD + Fleet Foxes Green Shirt
Mudhoney / Superfuzz Bigmuff: Deluxe Edition - SP773
In 2008, both Sub Pop and Mudhoney are celebrating our 20th anniversaries. We here at Sub Pop could think of no better way to do so than by putting out as many Mudhoney records as possible. So, this May, we’re releasing an excellent, new Mudhoney album called The Lucky Ones and also this deluxe, remastered edition of Superfuzz Bigmuff (which, unfortunately, we failed to convince the band to call Superduperfuzz Biggermuff). Here you will find: the original Superfuzz… EP in its correct running order, singles, demos, and two blistering live recordings from 1988, all remastered, or in some cases, mastered for the very first time. There are four (4) different versions of “Mudride” here.
Jay Hinman in the liner notes for the deluxed-up Superfuzz…
“My feeling—and I know I’m not alone in this one—is that for all the play and worldwide attention several Seattle-area bands got during the 1988-92 period, at the end of the day (and even at the time), there was Mudhoney—and then there was everybody else. To me, you, and most everyone who was paying close attention to underground rock music during those years, Mudhoney still sound like the undisputed kingpins of roaring, surging, fuzzed-out, punk rock music. These first recordings were so life-affirming upon their release, connecting everything great about the sixties (biker movies, fuzzboxes, old guitars, three-minute songs) with the frothing, punk rock of the early ‘80s, that a whole new “style” of music was born. They called it grunge, but to me it was amped-up, clear-the-room, ramalama rock that exploded like Nagasaki live, and it was about as joyous and as fun a noise as anyone’d heard in years."
Released: May 20, 2008
Superfuzz Bigmuff Deluxe CD + Superfuzz Bigmuff Black Shirt
Superfuzz Bigmuff Deluxe CD + Superfuzz Bigmuff Black Shirt
Superfuzz Bigmuff Deluxe CD + Superfuzz Bigmuff Grey Shirt
Superfuzz Bigmuff Deluxe CD + Superfuzz Bigmuff Grey Shirt
Mudhoney / The Lucky Ones - SP765
Worldwide lovers of the finer things are rejoicing at the news that Mudhoney, yep Mudhoney, is back in action in 2008 with The Lucky Ones, the band’s eighth full album in a mere 20 years of triumphant rocking. Deliberately and aggressively raw, The Lucky Ones sounds as lean and as full-on as any modern equivalent one cares to mention. Recorded in a scant 3.5 days (including overdubs) with Tucker Martine (who also recorded four songs on the previous album, Under a Billion Suns), Mudhoney went in armed with a batch of new material expecting to spend a fair amount of time getting it right. Bang—and bang again after some mixing—and a new album was birthed in record time, faster than anything else the band’s done to date. The grand majority of these numbers were intentionally written “from the rhythm up” instead of from the riff and the lyrics down. The effect is to thrust out the bottom-end rumble of drummer Dan Peters and bassist Guy Maddison, and to bring about a cohesive whole not entirely ruled by the almighty riff—although you certainly don’t have to look hard to find ‘em. Opening The Lucky Ones, the band defiantly looks twenty years of heaviness and critical hosannas in the eye and spits out the anthemic "I’m Now," an existential place where “the past makes no sense, the future looks tense.” Finding eager new converts locked firmly in the present who’ll agree should not prove difficult.
Released: May 20, 2008
No Age: the name alone suggests multiple meanings and possible interpretations—timeless, ageless, anonymous, free from restriction, something positive from something negative… a profound strength in its simplicity. Likewise, the Los Angeles duo consisting of drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall is many things at once even as it embraces its minimalism. No Age issued a slew of singles on a variety of indie labels in 2007, resulting in the tellingly cohesive compendium, Weirdo Rippers on Fat Cat Records later that year. That widely heralded release inspired such mainstream press as The New Yorker and the L.A. Times to feature the band’s ties to the underground scene surrounding the Los Angeles all-ages club The Smell.
Recorded by Pete Lyman at Infrasonic Sound in LA, Harvey Birrell at Southern Studios in London, and at home by No Age, Nouns, the band’s Sub Pop debut, is succinctly all-encompassing, from the faux-simplicity of the title to the beautiful distortion of its sound, to the packaging that includes a 68-page full-color book packed with photos and art pieces (CD only). The record opens with a symphony of noise (both Dean and Randy use samples alongside their main instruments) and sometimes creeps, sometimes smashes through a sonic headlock befitting Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth, Kiwi pop, My Bloody Valentine, and experimental noise. “No Age is a band,” says Dean. “Bands should be fun and exciting and they should push all the buttons at the same time. They should make you feel like you are going to explode and make you utterly confused and inspired at the same time.” And sometimes they do.
Released: May 6, 2008
Flight of the Conchords follow the release of their six-track
Grammy Award-nominated Grammy Award-winning (it’s true!) CDEP The Distant Future with their full-length record album debut, the conveniently titled Flight of the Conchords (which, not at all coincidentally, is also the name of their HBO television series). Produced by Mickey Petralia (Beck Midnight Vultures, Ladytron Light & Magic) in Los Angeles, New York and Wellington, the album features fully fleshed-out and professionally recorded versions of Flight of the Conchords concert and television favorites. And its release finally renders pointless all the inexpert fan-made audio transfers (the modern day equivalent of holding a microphone up to the television speaker and shouting at your mom to be quiet), which have bloated hard drives the world over. The songs are heard here in expanded but reverent arrangements. Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement’s trademark acoustic guitars lead the blitz, backed by a diverse array of instrumentation and production technique.
And, the album sounds legitimate and musically, it’s incredible, but, as Shakespeare said, “Does it funny?” Happily, yes. If amazing, delightful and hilarious is your idea of funny, then prepare for undisappointment! These 15 songs pay homage to Pet Shop Boys, censorship, Marvin Gaye, sexism, Shabba Ranks, and backhanded compliments. To be blunt, if you can’t find a rire ou sourire in the FSL study guide of opening track, “Foux du Fafa,” then, please notice, vous êtes malade.
Released: April 22, 2008
Foals are a five-piece dance-rock band currently living in and native to the town of Oxford, England. Completing the circuit between the minimalism of American composer Steve Reich, guitars that sound like insects and tennis player Andy Roddick, theirs is a uniquely winning formula. Driving percussion high in the mix, guitars played above the 12th fret, no chords, splashes of synth color all come together like the schematics for a piece of precision engineering. And there’s something strange about those guitars. “They’re meant to sound like insects,” offers singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis, “like a cloud of insects forming these strange harmonies.”
Last June, Foals traveled to Brooklyn, NY to record Antidotes, with TV on the Radio guitarist and producer (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars) David Sitek. Recording took five weeks. The horn section from afrobeat band Antibalas played on five tracks and Celebration’s Katrina Ford sang on another. Lauded variously as “Shitpipe midget guitar strap bullshit,” “Snotty art school dropouts hungry for the dollar,” and one of the new bands that will define 2008 (by NME), Antidotes is the debut album by Foals.
“Hummer” and “Mathletics” (tracks 12 and 13) are bonus tracks for Sub Pop’s US release and were previously available on UK 7" singles.
Released: April 8, 2008
Sera Cahoone / Only as the Day Is Long - SP759
Daughter of a Rocky Mountain dynamite salesman, songwriter Sera Cahoone got her musical start on the drums at twelve years old. At twenty-one she left Colorado in favor of Seattle, Washington’s gloomy skies and drummed for, among others, now-defunct indie favorites Carissa’s Wierd, L.A. musician Patrick Park, and on Band of Horses’ debut, Everything All the Time.
In 2006, Cahoone decided to step out from the cymbals and snare and focus on singing, songwriting, and guitar playing, skills she’d been honing for nearly 15 years on her own. The fruit of her newfound dedication was Sera Cahoone (2006), her self-released first album of thoughtful country songs that was lauded by indie-rock tastemaker KEXP-FM in Seattle along with NPR. And The Stranger called Sera’s debut “…a breathtaking collection of sad and dusky songs that reveal an artist of remarkable depth as well as a truly stunning voice.”
On Only as the Day Is Long, the airy gentleness of the arrangements is counterweighted by tension in the lyrics. “I know I’m safe for now, but I know the rest is on its way,” she sings on the title song. Time and again, characters mired in the present cast either skeptical or hopeful eyes on the future: “It’s got to get better than this” (“Runnin’ Your Way”), “I wish this night would pass on by” (“Shitty Hotel”), “Time’s been moving too fast” (“You’re Not Broken”). Only as the Day Is Long, Sera Cahoone’s quiet, country-noirish second album and Sub Pop debut is out March 18, 2008.
Released: March 18, 2008
The Gutter Twins / Saturnalia - SP761
Saturnalia is the anticipated first album from The Gutter Twins, the collaboration forged in late 2003 by Mark Lanegan and fellow maverick singer-songwriter Greg Dulli. Saturnalia finds the axis Dulli nicknamed “the Satanic Everly Brothers” going even deeper into the shadows than ever before. Mystical, unpredictable, ultimately masterful, the album both embodies and defies any expectations suggested by the principals’ individual notoriety. Pointedly not resting on the sonic laurels of their previous successes, Saturnalia instead proves rootsy but baroque, handmade yet modernist, teeming with siren melodies that don’t resolve. Produced by Dulli and Lanegan along with the band’s unofficial third member Mathias Schneeberger, Saturnalia’s eerie modal swirls trap the listener in each song’s atmosphere; simultaneously evoking everything from Indian sitars to Appalachian folk and Delta grit, the drones inadvertently create narcotic hooks. Spartan electronica indelibly collides with spooky space blues on “Who Will Lead Us?”; “Idle Hands” fuses Middle Eastern exoticism with shocking guitar riffs that shoot AC/DC boogie into another fucking galaxy. The cumulative effect proves internal yet epic: the netherworld symphonics of Mogwai, Sigur Ros and Bohren und der Club of Gore are touchstones, alongside the sprawling emotions of Pink Floyd, the melodically catchy paranoia of the Beach Boys, the primal confessionals of John Lennon. Still, what Dulli and Lanegan achieve here ultimately feels like the determinedly individual product of two auteurs coming together.
Attention! As we have mentioned from time to time here on the Sub Pop web thingy, most of the LPs that we put out come with an enclosed coupon enabling you to download all of the album’s songs as mp3s FOR FREE. The vinyl format for Saturnalia, for example, includes one of these very coupons.
Released: March 4, 2008
The Ruby Suns / Sea Lion - SP766
New Zealand’s The Ruby Suns formed in Auckland in 2004, under the somewhat longer and inarguably more rhyming name Ryan McPhun and The Ruby Suns. The band is now shortly, sweetly and simply called The Ruby Suns, and principal Ruby Sun Ryan McPhun is currently and ably abetted by Amee Robinson and Imogen Taylor. Although New Zealand is somewhat isolated in the southern most part of the Pacific Ocean, Ryan has remained true to his buccaneer instinct. He and his Dictaphone (portable tape recorder) have ventured into the wilds of Africa, the ancient monasteries of Thailand, and the haunting landscapes that surround his everyday. Recorded almost entirely in McPhun’s basement, Sea Lion’s melodic musings found inspiration in the natural world and his travels within it. “Tane Mahuta,” sung entirely in Māori, is an indigenous-sounding ode to the great Waipoua forest near Auckland and “Adventure Tour” tells a tale of a memorable drive through New Zealand’s South Island. An African influence also exerts a strong presence in the album (“Kenya Dig It?” being the most obvious). Not only was he struck by the people (“Ole Rinka” is about a man he met in the Maasai Mara National Reserve), but he was also enamored of the music, especially Kenyan traditional music and modern day hip-hop. The depth and breadth of the Ruby Suns’ songs has, no surprise, grown dramatically since their 2005 self-titled debut. The epic Sea Lion was intended to be a world music album, but reverb and psychedelic pop crept in to create a unique mixture of exotic sounds, accomplished with an impressive array of instruments—from steel-string ukulele to djembe drums to pots and pans, all set upon a cozy cushion of synths and cassette samples.
Released: March 4, 2008
Fleet Foxes / Sun Giant - SP781
The Sun Giant EP is our first release with the really very wonderful, baroque harmonic pop combo Fleet Foxes. Their names are Skye, Robin, Joshua, Casey, and Christian and they live here in Seattle, Wash. We will be releasing a longer-length (some might even say “full-length”) recording of theirs on June the 3rd, 2008. This forthcoming recording will, in all likelihood, bear the same name as the band, and by that we mean Fleet Foxes.
The following quote is here out of context (and perhaps misused or misconstrued as a result) and taken from the inside cover of Sun Giant. Whatever else it might be, it makes for about as good of a “statement of purpose” as anything we’ve read:
“I don’t really know what I’m trying to say with this. It’s not good to romanticize a time of great hardship, hardship I’ve never known and am not conditioned to understand. I’m also not interested in a ‘back to nature’ thing, as nature as it was is gone for the time being and it would take a very big leap of faith and common sense to ignore that. But, music to me is just as awe-bringing as the world maybe once was, and I just love it a lot.”
We love it a lot, too.
If you pre-order the new Fleet Foxes full-length recording on CD or LP by June 3rd, you’ll automagically receive $2 off! That makes the CD $10 and the LP $12!
The glorious gate-fold vinyl LP version of Fleet Foxes, by the way, comes with a digital download code, includes the Sun Giant EP on a second, enclosed, largely complimentary (and certainly complementary) piece of vinyl! This, it seems worth mentioning, is currently the only way to get Sun Giant on vinyl. Also worth mentioning: this version of the Fleet Foxes vinyl LP, the one with that comes packaged with the Sun Giant EP, is the same version of the LP that you will find wherever and whenever you might buy it — not just here through subpop.com, and not just if you pre-order it. So, now you know!
Released: February 28, 2008
Grand Archives / The Grand Archives - SP754
Seattle, WA is famous for many things. Sunlight is not one of them. Yet illumination and warmth suffuse the self-titled debut from Emerald City quintet Grand Archives. Dark times do not necessarily call for dark music. And, while singer/guitarist Mat Brooke’s previous ensembles – Band of Horses, Carissa’s Wierd — often shied away from light, he has changed direction with this band. To be clear, The Grand Archives is not escapist bullshit. But like the timeless classics of the Mamas & the Papas or the Turtles, it responds to the turbulent times of its genesis with hope, high spirits, and a sense of camaraderie. Brooke started Grand Archives with a trio of friends in September, 2006. Drummer Curtis Hall (the Jeunes), bassist Jeff Montano (the New Mexicans), and guitarist/keyboard player Ron Lewis (Ghost Stories) shared his desire to make great pop, rather than curse the darkness; guitarist Thomas Wright signed on soon after. At their first show, Grand Archives were bottom band on a mid-week bill. They played five songs. Next time they performed, it was supporting Modest Mouse at Seattle’s historic Paramount Theater. So much for baby steps. “We definitely dove in the deep end,” concedes Brooke. But their expectations are modest. Grand Archives want little more than to tour the world, occasionally crash in a motel with soft towels, and, most importantly, find receptive listeners for their music. A reasonable goal. And it will be met. Vitamin D supplements, tanning beds, and Caribbean vacations only provide temporary solutions; the radiance of The Grand Archives glows brightly year-round.
Grand Archives – Band of the Day on Spin.com
Grand Archives – ‘Rising’ on Pitchfork
Grand Archives – Pitchfork news piece
Grand Archives – Seattle Times feature
Grand Archives – Metroblogging live review/love letter
KEXP blog review of the Grand Archives record release show with S and Sera Cahoone!
Drowned in Sound review of The Grand Archives
Paper Thin Walls review of Torn Blue Foam Couch
Attention! As we have mentioned from time to time here on the Sub Pop web thingy, most of the LPs that we put out come with an enclosed coupon enabling you to download all of the album’s songs as mp3s FOR FREE. The vinyl format for The Grand Archives, for example, includes one of these very coupons.
Released: February 19, 2008
Mudhoney’s self-titled record.
*Sept. 22, 2009 LP reissue: available on vinyl for the first time in years, remastered from original tapes. Includes coupon for mp3 download of entire album. *
Released: 2003-11-01 (CD), 1991-11-01 (LP), 2003-11-01 (CS), 1989-11-01 (MP3s)
NOTES: Released 1/1/94.
Released: January 1, 1994
The Monkeywrench / Clean as a Broke Dick Dog - SP129
MEDIUMS: LP, CS, CD
1. Call My Body Home
3. Cold Cold World
5. From You
6. Doubled Over Again
7. Great Down Here
9. Look Back
10. Bottle Up & Go
11. The Story as I Was Told
12. Notes & Chords Mean Nothing To Me
13. Stop This World
14. I’m Blown
NOTES: Released 2/1/92. First 2000 LP\’s gold.
Released: 1992-02-01 (CD), 1992-02-01 (CS), 1992-02-01 (LP), 1974-08-15 (MP3s)
Mark Lanegan / The Winding Sheet - SP061
w/ extra tracks “I Love You Little Girl”
Released: 1991-05-01 (CD), 1990-05-01 (LP), 1990-05-01 (CS), 2009-08-26 (MP3s)
Codeine / Barely Real - SP207
3. Barely Real
4. Hard to Find
6. Promise of Love
Released: July 1, 1993
Velocity Girl / Copacetic - SP196
MEDIUMS: LP, CS, CD
NOTES: Released 3/1/93.
Released: March 1, 1993
Afghan Whigs / Congregation - SP130
Released 1/92. The untitled final track is “Miles Iz Dead.”
Released: January 1, 1992
Kelley Stoltz / Circular Sounds - SP748
Circular Sounds is the fourth LP from San Francisco’s home recording auteur Kelley Stoltz. Its 14 songs are a stereophonic advance on the lo-fidelity psych-fuzz of Antique Glow (Beautiful Happiness, 2004) and the mid-fi piano-rock of Below the Branches (Sub Pop, 2006): two modest masterpieces which, by a curious coincidence, both made #24 in MOJO magazine’s “Best Albums” list for their respective years. Kelley has also been praised by such esteemed publications as Uncut, Rolling Stone, Q, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out London, The Independent, and Ptolemaic Terrascope. In Australia he is a bona fide cult sensation, having scored a radio hit with “Underwater’s Where the Action Is” (off Antique Glow), while “Birdies Singing” (off Below the Branches) established him in Sweden after it was used to soundtrack a TV commercial for Volvo.
Circular Sounds is very much a pop record, in the classic ’60s mold. The horn-and-harmony-soaked romance suggesting Love covering “Good Day Sunshine” of “Everything Begins,” and the glorious, garage-psych dilation of “Your Reverie” are amongst the album’s 14 highlights. And these tracks boast Kelley’s fullest production to date: radio-ready yet retaining the organic warmth that gave his earlier work its character. He is no longer a marginal, ‘lo-fi’ artist: “I work in a second-hand record store and that’s made me more of a hi-fi advocate. It’s hard for me to listen to stuff that was recorded on a cassette player nowadays. By the last record I was mid-fi. I think I’m mid-hi now!”
Released: February 5, 2008
The Helio Sequence / Keep Your Eyes Ahead - SP709
After 3 albums and ten years of touring and recording, The Helio Sequence (Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel) have recorded their most dynamic, extraordinary work to date. Keep Your Eyes Ahead marries the Portland duo’s signature layered keyboards and impossibly big guitars with crisp songwriting and a newfound appreciation for minimalism. The finger picking on “Shed Your Love” is backed by exquisite strings and ambient noise, but Brandon’s serene, self-assured delivery remains front and center. While songs from the band’s early releases spanned up to 7 minutes, even the longest, lushest, catchiest track on Keep Your Eyes Ahead (fiery anthem “Hallelujah”) clocks in at 4 and a half minutes, evidence of just how refined their craft has become. Vocals were recorded spontaneously in bedroom closets and living rooms, which may explain the haunting urgency you hear in Brandon’s voice, especially on driving tracks like “Keep Your Eyes Ahead.” The band also took its time on the album. After the bulk of official recording was completed, a listen through all the demos and snippets on Brandon’s hard drive convinced Benjamin there were more gems in the rough (which is how both “Hallelujah” and “Keep Your Eyes Ahead,” as well as the mid-tempo “Back to This” were rediscovered and retooled).
Produced by the band, Keep Your Eyes Ahead confirms in The Helio Sequence an energy and a range that continues to defy narrow categorization. Unapologetic pop and folk meld seamlessly to create songs that are bigger, more epic and polished than anything they’ve ever done. Keep Your Eyes Ahead is the sound of a band and a decade-old partnership that’s been invigorated. And that’s exactly how the songs will make you feel: invigorated.
Attention! As we have mentioned from time to time here on the Sub Pop web thingy, most of the LPs that we put out come with an enclosed coupon enabling you to download all of the album’s songs as mp3s FOR FREE. The vinyl format for Keep Your Eyes Ahead, for example, includes one of these very coupons.
Released: January 29, 2008