April 17th is, for the third time ever, what we in the biz like to call Record Store Day. Everyone’s all like “oooh it’s like Christmas for record nerds!” and “record store day is my favorite new day of the year!” but the real truth is that Record Store Day just means we can sell you more records, AND, record stores will continue to exist! (Win/win) This year we are releasing limited edition records (the number in parentheses = the total run) by Beach House (2750), The Album Leaf (2000), Happy Birthday (1750), Dum Dum Girls/Male Bonding (2250), Soundgarden (5475), and CocoRosie (1250) as well as a CD (9200) of some of the live performances from our big 20th Anniversary blowout from 2008. You can read more about our RSD offerings and in-stores here and more about RSD in general here.
April 27th is the release date for the highly anticipated Avi Buffalo record called, somewhat mysteriously, Avi Buffalo. If you pre-order Avi Buffalo by April 27th, you will, for free, receive a totally limited CDR featuring four non-album tracks! So don’t delay, after April 27th, they are gone. Our mom-n-pop direct sales guy Dean Whitmore has a fantastic little musical outfit called Unnatural Helpers, and they too are releasing an album on the 27th. Cracked Love and Other Drugs is available from Hardly Art. Get it!
Hey, also, speaking of our anniversary, it was just our anniversary again! This year we turned 22. It’s cool…we’re thinking about getting our own place so we can smoke our dope in private, as well as what we’re going to do with the rest of our lives. And speaking of the rest of our lives, you are currently reading the very last edition of A Form of Paying Attention. You goddamned kids have no attention spans anymore so from May 1 on you will find news bits in place of this wordy, dumb column. It was a good run but it’s time to put ‘er down.
For the first time ever we have a three-way tie for the winners of March’s new releases. Our friends at Yours Truly do awesome video stuff like this, but they had a hard time picking a winner for me. I finally got them to say “the guy who said the Smiths,” but that’s actually two guys, so both Simon Horton and Mike Waalkes are winners of the new Ruby Suns, Golden Triangle, Happy Birthday, and Dum Dum Girls records. Also, I had to pick Bob Ham as a winner as well because I’ve been obsessing about Henry Rollins lately. (Henry, call me!) Congratulations, everyone. To win April’s new releases, including a complete pack of all of our RSD releases, please leave my column an obit in the comments section. See ya!
IN HONOR OF THISSPECIALDAY, SUBPOPRECORDSWILLRELEASE A MARVELOUSRANGE OF MUSICPRODUCTS, AVAILABLEONLY IN PARTICIPATINGRECORDSTORES
Record Store Day In-Store Performances by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, No Age, Male Bonding & Dum Dum Girls
Originally conceived in 2007 as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally, the first Record Store Day took place on April 19, 2008. Now celebrated the third Saturday every April, it’s the one day each year that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists and labels to celebrate the art of music. We at Sub Pop Records have put together a whole raft of releases (seven in all!) to help entice people into record stores to enjoy the many pleasures offered there. Each destined for future collector’s item status, the Sub Pop Record Store Day 2010 series of releases is sure to appeal to the minor OCD tendencies of every true music enthusiast. To find a participating store, go here.
FOR: RECORDSTOREDAY 2010 FROM: SUBPOP, WITHLOVE
Beach House “Zebra” 12” (sp877)
The “Zebra” 12” features 2 new tracks (“The Arrangement” and “Baby”) and 2 alternate takes on songs from the popular 2010 Teen Dream album (a UK radio edit of “Zebra” and the Cough Syrup remix of “10 Mile Stereo”). Available now: Beach House’s Teen Dream SP845, CD+DVD/2xLP+DVD.
1. Zebra (UK Radio Edit)
2. The Arrangement
2. 10 Mile Stereo (Cough Syrup Remix)
The Album Leaf “There Is a Wind” 12” (sp878)
The “There Is a Wind” 12” features 2 new tracks (“Landing in Snow” and “Resonations”) and 2 alternate takes on songs from the popular 2010 A Chorus of Storytellers album (an acoustic version of “There Is a Wind” and the Jamuel Saxon sunburnt remix of “Falling from the Sun”). Also available now: The Album Leaf’s A Chorus of Storytellers SP805, CD/2xLP.
1. There Is a Wind (acoustic)
2. Landing in Snow
2. Falling from the Sun (Jamuel Saxon sunburnt remix)
Dum Dum Girls / Male Bonding 7” (sp876)
Two brand-new and exclusive tracks for Record Store Day 2010, one each from LA’s Dum Dum Girls and London’s Male Bonding. Both bands have debut albums out this spring on Sub Pop. Also available now: Dum Dum Girls’ I Will Be SP840, CD/LP. Available May 11th: Male Bonding’s Nothing Hurts SP854, CD/LP
Side A: Dum Dum Girls “Pay for Me”
Side AA: Male Bonding “Before It’s Gone”
Happy Birthday 7” (sp874)
Two brand-new and exclusive tracks for Record Store Day 2010 from Kyle “King Tuff” Thomas’ Happy Birthday. Both of these tracks, like those of Happy Birthday’s self-titled March 2010 debut album, were recorded and mixed at Kyle’s home studio. Available March 16th: Happy Birthday’s Happy Birthday SP850 CD/LP.
Side A: “Shampoo”
Side B: “Alien”
Soundgarden “Hunted Down” 7” Reissue (sp12a)
This reissue of a Sub Pop classic was arranged specially for Record Store Day. “Hunted Down” was released in June 1987 as the band’s first single and was later available on Screaming Life. This single is pressed on translucent orange vinyl. The original, now a Soundgarden collector’s item, was pressed on blue vinyl.
Side A: “Hunted Down”
Side B: “Nothing to Say”
CocoRosie “Lemonade" 7” (sp884)
The A-side to this limited-edition single is an edit of one of the stand-out tracks from the new CocoRosie album Grey Oceans and the B-side is the band’s cover of the Beach Boys’ classic “Surfer Girl.” Grey Oceans, CocoRosie’s Sub Pop debut (and fourth full-length album overall) will be released on May 11, 2010. Watch a ““Smokey Taboo” trailer from Grey Oceans.
Side A: “Lemonade”
Side B: “Surfer Girl”
SP20: Casual Nostalgia Fest CD (sp879)
We at Sub Pop Records celebrated our 20th anniversary in 2008 with, among other things, a 2-day music festival July 12th and 13th at Marymoor Park, somewhat unimaginatively called SP20. We’ve collected here some of our favorite performances from the SP20 festival. Sub Pop will be donating all of the profits from the sale of this CD to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
1. Green River: “Leech”
2. Wolf Parade: “Fine Young Cannibals”
3. The Vaselines: “Dying for It”
4. Obits: “Run”
5. Les Thugs: “Dirty White Race”
6. Eric’s Trip: “Smother”
7. Beachwood Sparks: “You Take the Gold”
8. Blitzen Trapper: “Furr”
9. Flight of the Conchords: “Carol Brown”
10. Iron & Wine: “Woman King”
11. Constantines: “Why I Didn’t Like August ‘93”
12. Seaweed “Baggage”
13. Grand Archives: “Dig That Crazy Grave”
14. Low: “Silver Rider”
15. The Helio Sequence: “Lately”
16. Kinski: “The Wives of Artie Shaw”
17. Pissed Jeans: “Caught Licking Leather”
18. Mudhoney: “The Open Mind”
19. Comets on Fire: “Dogwood Rust”
For those of you wondering, we contacted all three losers today. If you have not been contacted, you’re a winner. (Which is to say that we have now talked to all three of the winners of the 2010 Sub Pop Loser Scholarship. They now know who they are, and we’ll have more info on them here next week!)
Thanks so much to everyone who applied! We thoroughly enjoyed looking through your essays. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but Washington and Oregon got a lotta talent.
In April of 2008, we at Sub Pop Records had the good fortune to release the US version of Antidotes, the debut album by Oxford, UK quintet Foals. Antidotes was a special album. In the idiot clamor of retro guitars, its keen sense of dare and future marked Foals out as a band intent on establishing their own context: hurtling along on incessant, acrobatic fret-play and cymbals hissing with the bliss of exertion. It won them attention, and the chance to evolve in a space of their own. Two years on from that impressive introduction, a choice has been made–-rather than contort Antidotes’ lithesome guitars into ever more elaborate patterns, Total Life Forever is the sound of a band settling into and surveying the decay of old protocols. With this new album, Foals strip their sound back and turn themselves inside out searching for that invisible human thing.
“I feel like I’m wearing less masks with my lyrics now,” offers 23-year-old frontman and guitarist Yannis Philippakis. “Before I felt secure behind cryptic images—I liked stuff that didn’t show me to myself, but on this record I tried to express things with more truth.”
The result is an album as persuasive emotionally as Antidotes was physically. Whereas that album constantly reinforced its own presence by filling the air with yelping and polyrhythm, tracks on Total Life Forever such as disarming opener “Blue Blood,” “2 Trees” and the astonishing “Black Gold” are happier to leave gaps for the listener to explore in mind’s ear and eye.
Written primarily in the basement of their Oxford HQ (“The House of Supreme Mathematics”) and recorded in Gothenburg with former Clor man Luke Smith, Total Life Forever finds Foals singing rather than shouting, emotional as well as functional. The band’s soul-search reveals new antidotes found in infinite, internal spaces rather than carved violently upon the air–-Total Life Forever feels more the work of artists than artisans. It’s a triumph that they’ve managed to remain a band of progress and propulsion while investigating that vast, dark space lurking inside themselves-–that gap between ribs where “nature, or god or whatever you wanna call it, will come in.”
Total Life Forever will be available in the US digitally on May 11th, 2010, and on CD and double-LP June 15, 2010.
Our very close, personal friends in the, let’s be honest, breathtaking band Low have collaborated with the choreographer Morgan Thorson on a dance/music performance called Heaven, which will be presented at On the Boards here in Seattle April 1-4. You can find out more and buy tickets here and the full details are covered below in the press release from the folks at On the Boards. This thing sounds incredibly cool and we’d all be silly to miss it.
Plus! Both Low and the dancers from Heaven will be live on KEXP on Tuesday, March 30th at 3:00 pm, doing a combination of Low’s music and original compositions from the performance.
Relatedly, and shortly after all of this happens, Alan from Low’s other band Retribution Gospel Choir will be playing here in Seattle, at the Crocodile as part of their first west coast tour since the January release of their Sub Pop debut album 2. That show happens on Wednesday, April 7th. The reliably incredible Kinski will be opening that show!
And! On that same April 7th, at noon, Retribution Gospel Choir will be performing live on KEXP!
To recap (in convenient chronological order):
Low and dancers from Heaven live on KEXP at 3pm!
Heaven at On the Boards!
Retribution Gospel Choir live on KEXP at 3pm!
Retribution Gospel Choir plays at the Crocodile with Kinski!
Here’s the full press release from On the Boards about Heaven:
Rising star choreographer Morgan Thorson teams with cult-favorite indie band Low in west coast premiere of Heaven
Morgan Thorson | Low
Thu – Sun | Apr 1 – 4 | 8pm | $24
(Seattle) – On the Boards (OtB) is pleased to present the west coast premiere of Heaven from choreographer Morgan Thorson and indie band Low (Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker). In this new work Thorson and her collaborators create a synthesis of music and dance in which the musicians participate in the movement and the dancers contribute to the soundscape of lush choral arrangements and minimalist instrumentation.
Exploring the emotional and physical manifestations of ecstasy, Heaven borrows from multiple faiths to find inspiration for the movement and soundtrack. Thorson’s style, which draws from Skinner Releasing Technique, is also highly influenced here by poses and movements drawn from religious rituals. Equal prominence is given to the soundtrack by Sparhawk and Parker by incorporating the musicians into both the stage and the movement. Additionally, the dancers become part of the soundtrack as they sing solos and group works inspired by shape note singing alongside the members of Low.
After seeing Heaven, artistic director Lane Czaplinski commented on the unique combination of music and dance:
“Live music in a dance performance is rare. Music fully integrated into the creative process as well as the live performance is even rarer. In this case Morgan and Alan [choreographer and composer] both have a curiosity about faith and were able to pursue this question together. Watching it felt like a kind of updated Grotowski-like song cycle.”
The west coast premiere of the production comes after a national tour that included stops at the Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis), PS122 (NYC), DiverseWorks Art Space (Houston) and Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts.
Morgan Thorson, originally from Connecticut and NYC, has created dance and performance in Minneapolis since 1994. Her work ranges from outdoor performance and site specific choreography to ensemble/solo improvisation and fully choreographed productions. In 2007 she toured Faker, a performance inspired by the movement and cult phenomena of Elvis, to venues such as PS 122, Institute for Contemporary Art (Boston) and the Walker Art Center’s Momentum Series at The Southern Theater. Minneapolis’ City Pages deemed her Best Choreographer in 2008.
Low is a Duluth-based band led by Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Rogers, with Steve Garrington. Their first album, I Could Live in Hope, was released in 1994 and inspired the creation of the genre “slowcore” style of music, so named because of the contrast of Low’s minimalist soundscapes against the era’s more predominant grunge sound. The band has released 12 albums since then, including a Christmas album (Low Christmas). Their tours have taken them around the world and placed them in shared bills with bands such as Radiohead and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. They have also started multiple side projects, including Retribution Gospel Choir, who will play in Seattle at the Crocodile shortly after the end of Heaven’s run.
Tickets for Morgan Thorson | Low
General Admission $24 | Under 25 & opening night RUSH discounts available
On the Boards Box Office
206.217.9888 | ontheboards.org | 100 West Roy Street, Seattle, WA 98119
Sub Pop Records in Seattle, WA is offering a grand total of $13,000 worth of college scholarship money to three eligible high school seniors. There are three scholarships—one for $6,000, one for $4,000 and one for $3,000. To apply for these scholarships you must be a resident of Washington or Oregon, and a graduating senior on your way to full-time enrollment at an accredited university or college. We are looking for an applicant who is involved and/or interested in music and/or the creative arts in some way.
To apply for these scholarships we would like you to submit an essay, no longer than one page, letting us know about one or more of the following topics:
What are you doing in the arts/music field in your community?
How and/or why did you become interested in artistic outlets?
How would this scholarship money help you to progress in your chosen field?
What are your influences and/or who inspires you?
Who are some of your favorite bands or artists?
Applicants are encouraged to send digital links and provide hard copies of their artwork along with their essay. However, please be aware that Sub Pop will not return any of this material, so please don’t send originals. Sub Pop will give equal opportunity to all applicants who fit the criteria outlined above. The deadline for applications is May 15th.