News from 8/2006
Can you believe it’s time for me to write another one of these things? Can any of you even think at all anymore after having your brain completely smashed by our Michael Yonkers Band reissue? For all you slackers that haven’t checked out the record yet, wear a helmet …’cuz it’s gonna blow your mind…
So, this is my first summer in Seattle and I must say; it’s kinda nice. I’m a Chicago boy so I’m used to 100 degree heat and no air-conditioning. I used to have three fans in my room set up in a triangle around my bed to create a vortex of sorts that somewhat resembled air-conditioning. It hardly worked. I’d still wake up every five minutes soaked in sweat, with tons of cat hair stuck to the sweat. I must’ve looked like Sub Pop’s own “Talkin’” Gabe Carter! (for anyone who doesn’t know Talkin’ Gabe: my man’s one hairy dude.)
I was able to make it back to the Midwest for a quick vacation a few weeks ago. Good times all around. I was lucky enough to see my favorite ‘new’ band on earth, Comets On Fire, completely destroy not once, but TWO TIMES! If anyone out there thinks they know heavy, buy their latest record on Ba Da Bing! and the reissue of their first record on Alternative Tentacles…then we’ll talk about heavy.
Another highlight of my vacation was when my little sister and her “hair dresser” friends decided to take me straight-up CLUBBIN! Anyone who’s reading the news updates on the Sub Pop website probably isn’t too familiar with what exactly goes on at these places, so let me try and break it down for ya. It’s sorta like watching 200 Elimidates combined. The best thing to do is get a good spot on the sidelines of the dance floor (or ideally a balcony spot) then just sit back and watch dudes bust their dirty moves on every single girl ‘til they finally “land one.” It’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen! As far as I could tell, the dress code consists of: some scuba diver lookin’ shirt, baggy “fancy” jeans or baggy black pants, unnecessary sunglasses (like ones with yellow-tinted lenses), shiny black shoes and TONS of hair gel. Let me tell you, places like these keep Dep in business. Knowing nothing of what I was getting into, I didn’t even think to alter my self-imposed Gram Parsons dress code to attempt to “blend in” with the club dudes….which, come to think of it, would be pretty hilarious. So, needless to say, I was a sore thumb, but that didn’t stop me from freakin’ with all my sister’s friends to that one club jam that talks about “heaven” a lot. Clubbin’ rules.
Holy shit. Last week we heard the new Shins record. You people don’t even know what you’re getting into…mark my words: HIT FACTORY! (It drops October 21st.) In other Shins-related news, the good people at Philadelphia’s own Trocadero Theatre have been kind enough to give us a few tickets to the 10th anniversary party they’re hosting for Magnet magazine, featuring: The Shins, My Morning Jacket, GBV and a ‘special guest’ (I hope it’s Mountain). Keep your eyes on the website, we’re working on a contest to give these bad boys away. Warning: the contest may contain “humor.”
Alright, story time’s over…here’s your happenings for August. You are beyond pumped.
Constantines Shine a Light
Finally! Our Canadian brothers are ready to destroy America with their first full-length for good ‘ol Sub Pop!
Last month we gave you all a taste of this magic with the explosive “Nighttime/Anytime” ep and in August we’re here to smack you upside the head with all twelve ultra-jams that make up the Shine a Light LP.
Allow me to give you a little background information about the Constantines. The band was founded in Guelph, Ontario in 1999. Since then the ‘Cons have relocated to lovely Toronto. In 2001 they released their self-titled debut that Canada flipped out for. The record was nominated for a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy thing) for Best Alternative Album of the year and ranked very highly on just about every Canadian writers djs record store dude’s yearly top ten lists.
For further information about the new record, allow me to cut & paste from the band’s bio:
Shine a Light is the Constantines’ second full-length and first for Sub Pop (Three Gut continues as the band’s home north of the border). And the new record is ambitious, combining a steady diet of ‘90s DC rock (like a Joe Strummer-fronted Fugazi, it’s been suggested), with dub-inflected bass, blue-eyed soul and a fundamental punk, anytime/anywhere aesthetic (perhaps best described by drummer Doug MacGregor as, “Like an unwelcome mix of a Memphis Clash and breakneck dub”). The opening lines from the title track hint at the difficulty in nailing down the elusive “it” that is at play on this record, “Don’t talk to me about simple things/There’s no such thing/All a man can build is his vision/And I love my man for trying.”
Between these two albums, the band released an EP (The Modern Sinner Nervous Man) on Seattle’s Suicide Squeeze Records and added a keyboard player in Will Kidman. Also, they played shows: SxSW, NxNE, MichiganFest, Halifax Pop Explosion, New Music West, the Montreal Pop Explosion, to name a few. And really, that’s the way to experience the Constantines; as they teach audiences how to fully experience the present, that right now – this minute – is all that matters. There may be no alarm clock tomorrow morning because there may be no tomorrow. But, to be clear, there’s no didacticism here. The Constantines are going there with you, celebrating that, if we get it right, we’re none of us going gently into the night. They’re a band with growl and heft, hearts on their sleeves, playing music as if all of our lives hung in the balance. Because, after all, they do.
So, let’s make these Sub Pop newcomers feel welcome and catch yourself some Constantines FEVER!
Alright, that’s all for August releases. We’ve got a big ‘ol Fall planned out for ya, September will see a new Rosie Thomas full-length, Iron and Wine ep, and yes, the first single from the new Shins record! And October takes it home with a Kinski/Acid Mothers Temple split, our infamous Sub Pop Video Network 1 hitting DVD, the All Night Radio (Farmer Dave from Beachwood Sparks) 12”, and yes, The Shins’ new record.
Get into it-
An interview with label owner Jon Poneman.
The fine folks at donewaiting.com are offering a pair of tickets for the show. Click over to see how you can enter!
Fantagraphics Books Needs Your Help! These guys have made tons of great album art for SUB POP RECORDS…
Here’s a note from our buddies there, or just go buy something and put a sandwich on the dinner tables of the best comic artists in the world: www.fantagraphics.com
Buy Books! Keep Them Alive!
To Comics Lovers Throughout the World:
Fantagraphics Books has just celebrated its 27th year publishing many of the finest cartoonists from all over the world as well as our flagship publication, the magazine people love to hate, The Comics Journal. We are proud of our long-term commitment to comics as an art form and our dogged determination to push excellence down everybody’s throats. This is all very well and good but it doesn’t mean much in the face of brute economics — and it’s the wall of brute economics that we’ve just hit, hard.
Due to two major financial obstacles over the last two years, we’re hard against it.
Our former and now bankrupt book trade distributor went out of business owing us over $70,000 — which we will never see. (To add insult to injury, we learned that the owner is selling copies of our books that he should’ve returned on e-bay!) This unexpected shortfall necessitated taking out a couple loans which have now come due. In late 2001, our line was picked up by the W.W. NORTON COMPANY, who took over our bookstore distribution, and has done a magnificent job of providing us unprecedented access to the bookstore market. Inexperience with the book trade resulted in our erring on the side of overprinting our books too heavily throughout 2002, so that our anticipated profit is in fact sitting in our warehouse in the form of books. Loans must be paid in cash, not books. The only way to get out of this hole we’ve dug ourselves into is to sell those books. Which is where, we hope, you come in.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve worked to fix our in-house problems (which included, most painfully, laying off several fine and long-term employees). We have put in place a system of checks and balances by which we will watch our inventory growth scrupulously. But, we have a debt to pay down and wolves at the door. It’s so severe that this month we envisaged shutting down our active publishing, seeking outside investors, or similarly odious measures. (Fantagraphics continues to be owned 100% by Messrs. Gary Groth and Kim Thompson. We’d like it to remain that way.)
If you’ve respected what Fantagraphics stands for and what we’ve done for the medium, if you’ve enjoyed our books, and if you want to insure that this proud tradition continues into this new and ominous century, we’re asking you to help us now in our especial hour of need by buying some books. Put simply, we need to raise about $80,000 above our usual sales over the next month, and the only way to do that is to convert books into cash.
We’ve spent the last quarter century trying hard to produce the best comics the world has ever seen. You’ve rewarded us over the years with your loyal patronage, your moral support, your praise, your intelligent and honest feedback, all of which are more than we could ever have hoped for. We know we have tens of thousands of loyal readers: if even a fraction of you come forward and order two or three books that you’ve been meaning to buy, we’ll be over this hump. We’ve published some some of the best books ever over the last year —Gene Deitch’s (yes, that Gene Deitch!) THE CAT ON A HOT THIN GROOVE; B. KRIGSTEIN, Greg Sadowski’s definitive biography of the pioneering artist from the ’50s; the magnificent FRANK collection; and the third volume of the extraordinary KRAZY KAT series. Our publishing plans for 2003 include a huge coffee table book by Will Elder (WILL ELDER: MAD PLAYBOY OF ART); KRIGSTEIN COMICS, a 240 page follow-up collection of Krigstein’s best comics from the ’5
0s, and new collections and graphic novels by Gilbert Hernandez, Jason, Dave Cooper, Robert Crumb, A.B. Frost, Bill Griffith, Gary Panter…
We already sell books by mail, so, as clichéd as it sounds, we really do have operators standing by. You can view out catalogue online. You can order by calling our 800 number or on-line at our web site (all ordering information below.)
If this was a standard pitch, we’d offer you some extra incentive — a discount or free books or knicknacks or whatnot. But, it’s not. We’re asking those of you who believe we’ve contributed something worthwhile and meaningful to help us continue to do so, that’s all. We need the full retail value of our books. But we can offer something that won’t cost us any money: anyone (individually or collectively) who buys $500 worth of books from us will get a personal phone call from Gary Groth thanking you for saving Fantagraphics’ ass. Think how much fun this could be at a party!
Secure Internet Orders: http://www.fantagraphics.com
phone: 206-524-6165 or 800-657-1100
via FAX: 206-524-2104
via mail: Fantagraphics Books, 7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
Win a Postal Service 12-inch, by filling out our fancy little form…