News from 2009
Holy shit, look who’s back from the grave! That’s right, PWWH has come off hiatus, and out of hiding, to bring you an insider’s look into the secret life of Rosie T, our receptionist at Sub Pop HQ. I was super frustrated with Rosie for a long while, at least a year even, because she didn’t know the difference between me and Carly and she would always call us by the wrong name. She put a labeled picture of me up at her desk, though, and now she knows the difference, so we’re all cool. Let’s see…Rosie eats garden burgers for breakfast and pretends they’re hashbrowns, she has a super cool dog named Willie who bit the mailman, she bought a house recently, and she always adds extra condiments to her sandwiches at lunch. Let’s meet Rosie!
L: So, your dad owns a lot of stuff, including, at one point, Muzak. Did you have to listen to a lot of elevator music when you were growing up? Tell me about how the whole Muzak process works. Also, since Jonathan Poneman used to work there and your dad used to be his boss, can you please find out some good stories about him and his time there? Mark and Bruce, too! Tell him to spill the beans!
R: You’re right, he does. He owns two dogs, Toba and Pheobe. A parrot named Buzz. Lots of socks and sandals and belts. He also owns a lot of window squeegees for some reason… he really like those. [Don’t be shy…he also owns an ISLAND! AN ISLAND!! –Ed.] As for Muzak, I was really young, but I’ll tell you what I know. It’s funny how everything’s come full circle. My dad ran a company called Yesco Foreground Music, [I see what he’s doing there with the “foreground” thing—nice strategy, Mr. Torrance. –ed.] that’s where JP worked in the tape duplication department. Yesco pioneered licensing and programming of original artist pop music for commercial establishments. Before Yesco the only “Rock and Roll” available in a store or bar (well, legally, I guess) was from a Juke Box playing 45’s. I’m told most the tapes JP duplicated at Yesco went into bars, nightclubs and retails stores. As far as I know he didn’t touch any “elevator music” let alone listen to it. I guess when Muzak wanted to get more “rock” in their catalog they contracted that work with Yesco. And later Yesco (my dad and his partners) bought Muzak with some other investors. As for bean spillage… I asked Mark for some dirt on Bruce from when he worked at Muzak. He told me Bruce used to mail out Sub Pop 100 LPs and Green River promo from the warehouse on Muzak’s dime, which I think is pretty ironic and awesome. [Super ironic, considering Mark is a mail nazi now. –ed] I also heard JP wore the same pair of underwear every day. I guess he was superstitious in those days and didn’t want to lose his touch. He never once went to the bathroom in that office either, which I find kind of suspect…. [Hmmm, so he’s been like that for years, huh? Now I don’t have to take him going home to pee so personally. –ed] There definitely wasn’t any “elevator music” happening during my formative years. There was a period in the late 80’s when there was too much Phil Collins happening for my taste, but luckily that was temporary. My parents came of age in the 60’s, and both listened to what you would expect. I remember a lot of Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd and Joni Mitchell growing up. Stories of Dad setting up light shows for the Grateful Dead, Jimmy Hendrix shows at Seattle Center, and Altamont. [You mean “who’s fighting and what for” Altamont?! –ed.] Not what you would expect coming from Muzak Man.
L: You went to boarding school—what was that like? I’ve seen a lot of movies…is there really that much making out?
R: I didn’t go to boarding school. [Fuck. –ed.] My sister did, and she says, “Yes there really is that much making out.” [Yes! –ed.]
L: I heard you ran a marathon once without ever training. Why? How’d that work out for you?
R: Ya, that was really stupid of me. Let’s just say it was about 5 hours of pure hell. I guess I signed up for it because I was sort of in a rut and wanted to do something positive. I went through with the run having not trained because I had raised a bunch of money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society through Team in Training. I had to hold up my end of the bargain. My sister mailed me a Percocet from New York which I popped at about mile 17, maybe that’s why I was able to finish. [Give your sister my address, please. –ed.] Altruistically saving face for 26.2 miles. I don’t recommend it. I walked like a penguin for a full week and a half after that bright idea.
L: Let’s talk about music. What was your favorite band in high school? College? Now? What’s the first show you ever saw? What’s the last show you saw?
R: I was a skater chick for the first couple years of high school (the poser kind). I listened to a lot of Sublime and Beastie Boys. Then I started listening to older stuff—Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys (I love their stuff from when it seems like they were taking a little too much acid. Think “Feel Flows”). I was in Europe the first year of college and embraced the euro-dance top 40 somehow, and then wound up obsessing over String Cheese Incident. [Holy hell. Is that really even a band? Is there some sort of element of performance art involved or am I making that up? –ed.] Go figure. I’m bad at “favorites”, but lately I’ve been listening to Metric, The Dirty Projectors, and Miike Snow. I heard some of the new The Dutchess and The Duke record that’s being released in October, which I’m really looking forward to. [Nice plug—that’s almost as good as “foreground music”! –ed.] The first show I ever saw was Willie Nelson with my sister Allie and my Grandpa Kirby. I can’t remember if the last show I saw was Handsome Furs or Beach House @ Sasquatch.
L: You travel a lot. Where all have you been? Is there anywhere you’d like to go that you’ve not been yet?
R: I do love to travel. Living in Switzerland (see below) allowed me to go all over Europe—Italy, France, Luxemburg (quickly), Austria, Turkey, Spain. I just got back from Croatia, Montenegro and Greece. I’ve been really lucky. I love South America. Chile’s one of my favorite places. [Do you say chili or chee-lay? –ed.] I love traveling to places during times of local celebration; like watching the oldest horse race in the world (Il Palio) amidst crazed sweaty Italians in Sienna. I really enjoy being around salt of the earth [you mean poor, don’t you? –ed.] people in another country, watching them celebrate something completely foreign to me. Those are my favorite times abroad. There are so many places I hope to see some day—Paris, Prague, Salzburg, any of Norway, Russia, Thailand, I could go on forever.
L: What’s in store for 40 year old Rosie Torrance? What are your plans for the future?
R: Hmm… I’ll either be crazy aunt Rosie wearing neon spandex inappropriately yelling profanities during one of my sister’s kids’ soccer games while holding one of my many cats, or, I guess I’ve always wanted a couple little tater tots of my own. [It’s been recently proven that tater tots make lousy children. Mold, decomposition, you know, the usual. –ed.] Ideally I’d love to work for myself, make enough money to travel and feed my kids whatever they want, and eat dinner with my family on Sunday nights.
L: Were you ever in therapy? What’d you talk about?
R: Can you call a lobotomy therapy? [Yes, I think that’s exactly what they call it. –ed.]
L: What are your feelings about working here at Sub Pop? How do you find your co-workers? Tell me a crazy story about something that has happened during your time here.
R: Sub Pop’s a great company to work for, but I’d probably quit if Alissa took the beer out of the vending machine. No, really, everyone I work with is really quite amazing. The two people I work with the most closely are JP and Megan. I kid you not; they’re probably the two nicest people I’ve ever met. [You should get out more. –ed.] They also have seriously sick senses of humor. When Megan first asked me if I wanted to be her assistant she said, “Rosie, I just want you to know that there’s a lot of crude humor that goes around. We say “fuck” and “shit” and stuff like that around the office. I just want to make sure that’s okay with you.” The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Megan, I will “fuck” and “shit” right next to you!” I didn’t know what I was saying at the time, but it was clear that we were going to get along. There have been a few crazy things that have happened. The phone calls up front are pretty consistently wacky. Like when this really creepy dude called and told me he needed Courtney Love’s number because he’s Kurt reincarnate. [Hey, speaking of, buy this! –ed.] Stuff like that happens a lot. David Cross almost got me in some trouble during the SP20 festival. He stole my walkie-talkie and started saying the grossest shit on the “official channel” I was supposed to be using to communicate with Will Call and back stage. That was funny. [Funnier than his set at the comedy show, I hope. Zing. –ed.]
L: Have you lived other places besides Seattle? How were they? Where would you move if you could?
R: I lived in Lugano, Switzerland for a little while during college. What I remember of it was amazing. Certain things [Weed. –ed] are legal in Switzerland if sold as “potpourri” [Weed. –ed], and I had two lovely little potpourri [Weed. –ed] shops very close to my apartment. Luckily my roommate, Kirsten was super organized and she would just tell me what [Weed. –ed] train to get on after class on Fridays and we would go [Smoke weed. –ed] explore. Then I lived in San Francisco for a year before moving back to Seattle. I like living in Seattle [Weed. –ed].
Hello all and welcome to this month’s edition of Hardly News.
As always, there is a lot happening in the world of Hardly Art. As readers of fashionable music blogs will know, just yesterday we made available the first mp3 from the new Le Loup record (Family_, due September 22nd), a lovely little jam we like to call “Beach Town”. Please, listenBeachTown.mp3.
It’s good, right? We thought you might think so, and we have accordingly made the new record available for pre-order over at our website. In addition to releasing this wonderful new record, Le Loup will be crisscrossing this great nation of ours in October—check out tour dates right over here and find the one closest to your house/apartment.
In Hardly Art Bands Touring with Someone Massive News (pt 1), the Dutchess & the Duke will be heading out on a brief tour of Canada and the Midwest next week with none other than indie institution (ind-stitution?) Modest Mouse. Check out details on that mind-blowing tour right here. In addition to spreading their campfire punk to the masses, this tour will be an early chance for loyal Dutchess & the Duke fans to hear some material from their upcoming record Sunset / Sunrise, due October 6th on (of course) Hardly Art.
In Hardly Art Bands Touring with Someone Massive News (pt 2), Boston spazz-punks Pretty & Nice will be hitting the road in September with recently reunited emo-stalwarts the Get Up Kids. Check out that sweet sweet action over here.
If you (like us) are local to Seattle you very probably (like us) love both the Moondoggies and KEXP. Well Seattle friends, you are in luck! On Friday August 21st the Moondoggies will be playing a free show at the Seattle Center, the final installment of KEXP’s Concerts at the Mural Series. Also playing are Sub Pop’s Fruit Bats and Johnny & the Moon —good stuff all around.
And finally, Tony and I wore the exact same shirt today (see above).
That’s it for now! Tune in next month!
Welcome to our second installment of “For the Record”, our new subpop.com feature wherein one of us picks a record we are fond of, writes a few lines about why we like it and then we put it on sale for 48 hours. Last time was Richard on the Foals, this week we’ve got Alissa talking Love as Laughter.
So in my short life (and I’m speaking strictly of my stature here, I’m actually getting kind of old) I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being overly, uh, negative. And you know, I really hate it when jerks say stuff like that! Rude. I’m not negative, anonymous commentators on blogs are negative, I’m just opinionated. Or maybe it’s spirited? Yeah, I like spirited. (See? I’m liking stuff already in this paragraph.) But just to prove how enthusiastic I am capable of being, I am here to talk about something I really like, something I can be positively the opposite of negative over – Love as Laughter. Cuz good god, I really do like me some Love as Laughter. And For The Record, I specifically happen to love “Laughter’s Fifth”.
I mean, Sam Jayne? The guy just knows his way around a great rock song. And man, that voice of his is straight up one of my all time favorite voices in music. What’s the expression? I could listen to him sing the phone book? Something like that, and yeah, I would listen to that shit. But until that phone book recording is released, I can be content just re-listening to this record, no problem.
Now I know this might go a long way towards the above-mentioned issue of perceived negativity, but it is true that it’s sometimes easier to get into what I don’t like about any given thing than for me to explain what I really love about it (unless we are talking about Zach Galifianakis but that’s another discussion).
But for once, figuring out what I like about this record is pretty straight-forward: this music is just like my favorite kind of people in this world. And by that I mean these songs have the genuine, smart, quick-witted and easy going confidence that I always am drawn to, with just enough of the slightly melancholy, self-deprecating, unkempt style for me to completely relate to them. I mean, dang, I wanna buy this music a beer or something. And I guess if I’m gonna go and personify these songs like that then it’s not that hard to figure out why I’d wanna spend so much time with them, right? Makes sense to me.
But just in case my rare exhibition of unbridled enthusiasm isn’t enough to peak your curiosity, here’s a couple of right-to-the point record reviews that can back up my claims:
No Rip Chord
So there you have it. Negativity be damned, this record is great.
Listen for yourself – track 6 Dirty Lives
For the next 48 hours you can pick up Laughter’s Fifth for $6 on CD and LP and for $4 digital. What a deal!
Click here to buy!
Our old pal Zak Sally (musician [Low, Dirty Three, Kid Dakota, etc.], cartoonist Recidivist, Sammy the Mouse, the forthcoming Like A Dog hardcover collection due this fall from Fantagraphics], and publisher La Mano 21) somehow ended up making a record; wrote, sang and played every damn thing on it, recorded it with his old pal Ben Durrant (Andrew Bird, Dosh, Shearwater) at Crazy Beast Studios.
It’s called Fear of Song (as in: “Zak Sally’s Fear of Song,” get it?). 9 songs 37 minutes, and will be released on CD in a signed and limited edition, with all the packaging and such done BY HAND on the La Mano press. It will be very nice. We at Sub Pop also did a 7" from that record, featuring the single “Why We Hide”, and an exclusive track “When I Said I Missed You I Just Meant My Aim Was Off (The Quiet Life)”. It’s here. You should really buy a copy.
There is also probably going to be a video for that first thing by Phil Harder (Foo Fighters, and, uh…Prince). The release date for the single is July 21, release date for the CD is July 22.
Zak has set up an associated HUGE, AMAZING RECORD RELEASE SHOW/ LA MANO BENEFIT!
It’ll be hosted by the good folks at Eclipse Records (and therefore is ALL AGES and CHEAP) right on University Ave. in St. Paul. Starting at 5:30-ish, you will see performances by these local luminaries:
JIM AND THE FRENCH VANILLA (Jim from the blind shake’s solo venture)
PAUL METZGER (solo treated guitar unbelievable-ness)
SKOAL KODIAK (sorry everyone else, but the best damn band to come out of Minneapolis in a decade solid)
T.O.G.P.T.F.F.S.O.T.W.O.T.E.R.A.T.S.Y.O.A (Three Old Guys Play The First Five Songs Off The Wipers’ Over The Edge Record And The Song Youth Of America) featuring Zak Sally, Dale Flattum (Milk Cult, Steel Pole Bath Tub), and double duty from Freddy Votel (Cows, Skoal Kodiak, a million other bands)
and the SEAWHORES.
Besides that, there will be tables selling zines, posters, books and whatever by a bunch of your favorite local arteests. ALL AGES. CHEAP. How does SIX BUCKS sound? The aforementioned “benefit” aspect in this case means that the $6 you spend getting in will get you SIX BUCKS OFF OF ANY LA MANO BOOK OR POSTER (and aside from all that, the first hundred or so people in the door will almost certainly get some free thing from the La Mano archives, not sure what exactly yet, but…).
In addition, and further on the benefit/funding the making of his record front, Zak is also selling on eBay the original painting he created for the cover of Low’s 2005 album The Great Destroyer. Check out the auction here!
Following a more than 10 year hiatus, all four original members of pioneering Seattle rock band Sunny Day Real Estate will regroup for a 20-date US tour starting Sept. 17th, 2009. In addition, Sub Pop Records will re-issue both Diary and the band’s second full-length album, commonly known as LP2 (or The Pink Album for its entirely pink cover). Both re-mastered albums will include rare bonus tracks as well as newly written liner notes and will be released on both CD and LP Sept. 15, 2009, just prior to the start of the tour. Tour dates can be found here.
Originally formed in Seattle in 1992, Sunny Day Real Estate featured Nate Mendel (bass), William Goldsmith (drums), Dan Hoerner (guitar,vocals) and Jeremy Enigk (vocals, guitar). Diary, the band’s first full-length album, was released in 1994 on Sub Pop, going on to become the seventh-best selling record in the label’s history with more than 231,000 copies scanned in the US alone. Diary was recorded at Chicago’s Idful Studios with producer Brad Wood and released to critical acclaim. Following the completion of a US Tour to support the debut release, the group headed back into the studio with Wood to record the follow-up.
But during the recording sessions, internal tensions splintered Sunny Day Real Estate, resulting in a sudden break-up and the finished album being turned in to Sub Pop without a title or artwork. LP2 was released in November 1995, by which time both Goldsmith and Mendel had joined Foo Fighters and Enigk had begun a solo career. Without Mendel, Sunny Day Real Estate reunited in 1997 and released two more studio albums (the 1998 Sub Pop release How It Feels to Be Something On and in 2000 The Rising Tide on Time Bomb) before disbanding again in 2001. Sunny Day Real Estate’s influence has grown exponentially since the band’s initial split.
“I wasn’t around for the second version of the band that recorded the 3rd and 4th albums, so I’ve always had a feeling of unfinished business there,” Mendel explains. “We had all these out-sized ideas back then, ’Everyone’s going to learn a new instrument,’ and ’Let’s do a rock opera,’ but before we could get anywhere with them, the band broke up. We left behind all these weird and beautiful songs, though, and they’ve stuck with me all this time. I’m really happy that we get a chance to play them together again.”