Sub Pop’s recent signing of Seattle’s ascendant hip-hop collaborative Shabazz Palaces highlights an exciting, new example of the city’s legendary and ever-evolving music community. After self-releasing 2 EPs, Of Light and Shabazz Palaces, in 2009, the group quickly gained local acclaim, especially (and most noticeably to us) here within the Sub Pop offices. The Stranger, on Shabazz Palaces:
Shabazz’s almost subliminal messages are universal: ‘Find out who you are and see it/Find out what you are and free it/Find out who you love and need it/Find out what you can and be it.’ It’s a timely sentiment for Seattle hip-hop, which, after years of self-negating/hating or looking too much to the Bay Area and Brooklyn for direction, is enjoying a creative surge and homegrown industry that is—no bullshit—changing the landscape of Seattle music.
With their debut full-length expected and anticipated in 2011, Shabazz Palaces will keep busy playing shows (see below), receiving awards (see below) and turning heads (see them live).
“I think we both have a lot of love, appreciation, respect and energy for music and for each other. Recognizing the fact that business is necessary for maximizing exposure to it, I think we mutually feel that doing business is less a ‘job’ and more an opportunity to exercise those feelings in dope ass ways. Shabazz, we bring a distinct hip-hop mentality from left to Sub Pop, which has established itself wide and deep in r&r from that same field. So, it’s going to be cool to see what gets born from rolling together. And, of course, Seattle is the immeasurable muse, the backdrop, backbone, the foundation to how we all get down. So SP feels a lot of pride around this partnering-up as well. The people, the office, the deal, it all feels super plush. So stay tuned, it’s ’bouts to be on.”—the palaceer, Shabazz Palaces
“It’s in the initials. We SPs need to stick together—and we do. Seattle is our home and that means a lot to both parties. And we’re not stopping at both parties, our professional collaboration will undoubtedly inspire many more parties, with some choice SP music as the soundtrack. To put it more prosaically—but no less sincerely—we at SP are honored, humbled and psyched to have been given the responsibility of further introducing the world to the music of SP.”—Jonathan Poneman, Sb Pop Records.
Shabazz Palaces are the first music recipients of The Stranger‘s Genius Awards. The Genius Awards are given to outstanding visionaries in Literature, Film, Art, Theater, and for the first time ever, Music in the Seattle area. Shabazz Palaces will performing and accept their award at the Genius Awards Party, on September 17th at Seattle’s Moore Theatre.
Shabazz Palaces will also be performing on October 15th at New York’s American Museum of Natural History as part of “One Step Beyond,” a monthly series featuring live music and dancing at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The series, presented by FADER, has featured performances from Kid Sister w/ Kanye West, Passion Pit, Moby, Animal Collective and more. Details available here.
We have had the decidedly good fortune of working with and getting to know (verrrry intimately…) Kelley Stoltz over the past several years and albums. And, in addition to being just remarkably, borderline infuriatingly, talented, we have found him to be a uniquely funny, endlessly charming guy who is conversant in all manner of interesting subjects, from home recording to kumquats.
So with this in mind, in August of 2010 we sent the guys from YoursTruly to meet up with Kelley in their shared hometown of San Francisco. They successfully got him to talk about his thoughts on music and the process of working on his upcoming record, To Dreamers (Sub Pop, 10/12/10). We found the end result to be a pretty spot-on look at what we love about both Kelley and his music. Which is to say, we like it.
As a result, in what may or may not wind up being a somewhat, semi-regular feature here on the Sub Pop web concern, this video is now the inaugural installment of PLEASED TO MEET ME, wherein we will introduce you to people we already know (who, typically, also happen to record for the Sub Pop label) and who, really, you should know too.
We hope you enjoy this free download of one the new songs from the forthcoming Twilight Singers album due out in early 2011 on Sub Pop Records. “Blackbird and the Fox” features a duet between Greg Dulli and Ani DiFranco.
On King of Jeans, the fantastic and also most recent Pissed Jeans album, there’s a great song called “False Jesii Pt. 2.” This song is all about not bothering to do the things that might, just maybe, make your life easier/better/more successful. It’s a truly great song. That Pissed Jeans made a video for this particular song two full years after its release is, believe you me, the kind of life-imitating-art-type situation that is not lost on any of us.
Shawn Brackbill who directed the video rounded up some girls for the shoot on Facebook and Craigslist, we believe, and after watching the video billions of times at Lacey’s desk, we decided that Lacey needed to talk to one of these ladies about what it’s like to be in a Pissed Jeans video. Lacey picked the blonde. Her name is Megan Muth and this is what she told Lacey about the video:
LS: First off, tell me a little about yourself.
MM: I like mustaches, Philly shows, PISSEDJEANS, and cats and cats and cats.
LS: Had you heard of Pissed Jeans before the video shoot?
MM: ’Course! Been listening to them for a few years. Love ’em.
LS: How was spending the day with them? Which one is your favorite and why? Who’s the worst?
MM: It was wonderful. Matt is fucking hilarious I’d say he’s my favorite. No one is the worst they’re all awesome!
LS: Who was more uncomfortable shooting a video, you or the band?
MM: Randy. Only Randy.
LS: Who was more bored?
LS: Are you a fan of Pissed Jeans? If so, what’s your favorite Pissed Jeans song? (It’s okay if it’s False Jesii—that’s my fave, too.)
MM: Pissed Jeans is in my top five favs. Boring Girls has always been my favorite.
LS: How’d you hear about the video shoot?
MM: I think it was I’m a fan of them on Facebook and they sent out a mass message about it. Yeah that sounds right.
LS: Have you been in any other videos?
LS: Tell me about the shoot. How long was it? Was it fun or boring? Did the girls all get along? Any good stories from the day of?
MM: I think we spent more time drinking beer and eating pizza/fucking around than shooting. Everything was awesome, all the girls were really cool. A girl and I made up a dance move of laying down on the stage to bend over in between takes and sip our beer. We needed midgets to hide behind the stage and hold our beer for us.
LS: Would you be in another music video? For which band?
MM: Well I would LOVE to be part of another Pissed Jeans video. But other than them Circa Survive. They’re my favorite.
LS: What current bands have the best videos? Where do you watch music videos?
MM: Circa actually just put out a pretty rad video for their new single. I usually just read about videos being released somewhere on the internet.
LS: Do you think people will recognize you after this video comes out?
MM: Probably not since I dyed my hair. Who cares I probably look like an idiot anyways.
LS: Do you think any of the dudes in Pissed Jeans are hot? You don’t have to name names if you don’t want…
MM: Secret crush on Matt. Get at me.
LS: The lyrics to this song are about not bothering to do the things that you maybe should or could do. What are some things that you can’t be bothered to do?
MM: Putting on pants, shower on the reg, hit the gym so it looks real nice. I wish I was punk enough to not work.
It is also worth mentioning right here and right now, that there is, forthcoming on Sub Pop Records, a new 7" single by Pissed Jeans coming out on Oct. 26, 2010. The songs on this single are “Sam Kinison Woman” b/w “The L Word.” And the cover bears a sentiment that we can all relate to/with, namely this one: “YOURLIFE IS WORTHPISSEDJEANS.” You can pre-order this single right here.