Niki and The Dove is a band from Stockholm, Sweden with two members, Malin Dahlstrom and Gustaf Karlof. Their songs are full of magic and light but with an unsettling darkness hidden beneath the surface. It’s pop music but a world away from the production line aesthetics of much modern chart music.
Since getting together in February 2010, Malin and Gustaf have been busy writing together, figuring out just how pop music works and then discovering new ways to break it. Their first single “DJ, Ease My Mind”/“Under the Bridges” released on leading UK independent label Moshi Moshi, was one of the most striking debuts of the year, catching the attention of everyone from Artrocker and NME to The Sunday Times, who declared the single could “be the two greatest alt-pop songs of 2010.” And if “DJ, Ease My Mind,” revealed a band with a precociously fully-formed sound, their self-released follow up “Mother Protect” shows that Niki and The Dove are truly poised for great things. A riotous collision of barely constrained electronic pop overlaid with Malin’s distinctive, glacial vocals, “Mother Protect” confirmed Niki and the Dove as a truly unique talent and ones to watch.
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 strongly encouraged to send digital links and/or provide hard copies of their artwork along with their essay (we have never had a winner who submitted only an 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.
Please send all submissions and attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org
All physical submissions should be sent to:
Sub Pop Records
2013 4th Ave, 3rd Floor
Seattle, WA 98121
Amount: $6,000 / $4,000 / $3,000 — checks will be made payable to the university or college of the winning applicants’ choice and applied to winning applicants tuition.
Sohrab Habibion is one of the singers and guitar players in the just ridiculously great band Obits (whose records are available on the Sub Pop label: surprise!). Obits just happen to have a new record, which was released yesterday, March 29th, 2011, entitled Moody, Standard and Poor . And, in addition to Sohrab being one of the smarter, more thoughtful people we’ve ever met (read this for some indication of what I’m talking about), the occasion of their new album’s release seems about as good an excuse as we need (note: we don’t really need any excuse, so that’s maybe setting the bar a little low…), to mark what we really hope will be the glorious or at least somewhat noticed return of our “For the Record” series. “For the Record”, for the record, is the thing we sometimes do on our website where we convince someone in a band on the label to write a bit about a record from the Sub Pop catalog, and we then attempt to use this as a method of maybe selling you guys some copies of the record in question at what we hope to be a very appealing discount-type price.
No doubt you get the picture already.
So, here’s Sohrab from Obits on The Grifters’ Ain’t My Lookout (fondly and not at all frequently referred to around here as Ain’t My Cookout)…
Band: The Grifters
Record: Ain’t My Lookout
When we told you the first time: February 13, 1996
The first time I heard the Grifters was in ‘92, I think, around the time their “Corolla Hoist” 7" came out. I don’t remember who played it for me, but it really resonated. The slight dissonance of the instrumental interplay with a vocal melody that finally came into focus after about a minute or so of darting around the snare drum and a loose-wristed, ascending guitar line. But it was the b-side to their Soda Pop 7", “She Blows Blasts Of Static”, that really hooked me. It seemed equally informed by classic rock riffs and weirdo, late-70’s art punk. Each time the song fell apart, it returned with even more fervor.
Not much later I got a chance to see the band play at the 15 Minutes Club, one of the less conventional venues in DC at the time. It was a lunchtime soul food kitchen for government employees by day with a bare bones PA for local and touring bands at night. Grifters took the stage pretty casually, fumbled lackadaisically into their set and then proceeded to decimate the two dozen or so people in the room. The songs I knew were only recognizable at points and, in general, it felt like all bets were off. Why wasn’t Stan, the drummer, playing on that part? Was that a phaser on Tripp’s bass guitar? The unspoken and uptight rules that my friends and I had all been following in our bands were left looking for parking spaces on 14th street. It was as if any instrument could start or stop or rudely interrupt the proceedings, but nothing felt gratuitous or indulgent.
Fast forward a few years. The band had released One Sock Missing and Crappin’ You Negative, both of which were terrific albums, filled with moody and memorable songs. “Junkie Blood” still gives me chills. And then “The Eureka” EP came out, which felt like a perfect summation of the band up to that point. They knew how to deconstruct familiar elements and put them back together in slightly askew and strangely beautiful ways. And Dave’s voice sounded like Rod Stewart or Mick Jagger if either had been fans of Wire or the Vibrators. As far as I was concerned, this was the best band in America.
In 1996 I knew a handful of folks who had cell phones and maybe an AOL account, but there were no RSS feeds to follow a band’s tour dates or blogs to blare a PR stream of upcoming releases. So when Ain’t My Lookout was released I only knew about it when I saw it at my local record store. And it was on Sub Pop, a label I respected for putting out Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick” 7" and Love Battery’s “Between The Eyes” EP (also Journey To The Center Of Cat Butt, but I’ll save that for another time). I was excited to get the record home and dig into it.
Ain’t My Lookout is a fuller recording than anything the band had done before, but just as woozy and gloriously lopsided as I could’ve hoped for. Long, languorous melodies stretched out over spikes of ugly distortion, bent notes unveiling clearly picked guitar chords and occasional blips that sounded like someone bumped into a Hammond organ. And lyrics. Real lyrics. Words that actually sounded interesting and made me want to follow the character sketches, drunken confessions and angry admonitions and try to understand the inside jokes.
Fourteen years later, quite magically, it all sounds just as fresh. A sloppy marriage of Big Star and The Lurkers, as officiated by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. In my collection they actually fall between Green On Red and the Groundhogs, which is perfect. It’s truly timeless rock’n’roll, so if you don’t have this record already, here’s your chance to get it on the cheap.
For the next 48 hours, you can go HERE to get Ain’t My Lookout at our FTR sale price of $6 CD/$4 Mp3.
Soharab’s own band, Obits, just recently released a fine record of their own, Moody, Standard and Poor and it is oh so conveniently located HERE for your consideration.
The new video for the Fleet Foxes song “Grown Ocean” is now up and available. It is also sort of jaw-droppingly great. The song “Grown Ocean” is on the upcoming Fleet Foxes album, Helplessness Blues, which comes out May 3rd. You can watch said video by clicking here.
If and when you pre-order this new Fleet Foxes record here on the Sub Pop Internet Concern, you will receive, for free and along with the record, an exclusive and really quite handsome poster. Click here to make with the ordering.
What follows is some further info on Helplessness Blues. You can also read the promotional biography for Helplessness Blues written by Robin Pecknold (he is in Fleet Foxes) right here.
Fleet Foxes are from Seattle and the members of the band are Robin Pecknold, Skye Skjelset, Josh Tillman, Casey Wescott, Christian Wargo, and Morgan Henderson. The first Fleet Foxes album (Fleet Foxes) was released on Sub Pop in 2008, and though the band’s intention was to record a new album in the 6-8 months following its release, the reception of the record was such that Fleet Foxes found themselves very busy, touring consistently through the end of 2009. Engineered and mixed by Phil Ek and co-produced by Phil and the band, the new Fleet Foxes record is called Helplessness Blues. Recording for Helplessness Blues began in April 2010 at Dreamland Recording in Woodstock, NY and continued off and on through November of that same year back in Seattle at numerous studios, including Bear Creek, Reciprocal Recording and Avast. Like very nearly every worthwhile thing, making this album was not easy; it was a difficult second album to make. Drawing inspiration from folk/rock from about 1965 to 1973, and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks in particular, Helplessness Blues sees Fleet Foxes heighten and extend themselves, adding instrumentation (clarinet, the music box, pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar, Tibetan singing bowls, vibraphone, etc., along with more traditional band instrumentation), with a focus on clear, direct lyrics, and an emphasis on group vocal harmonies. We have it on good authority that the album is called Helplessness Blues for at least a couple of reasons. One, it’s kind of a funny title. Secondly, one of the prevailing themes of the album is the struggle between who you are and who you want to be or who you want to end up, and how sometimes you are the only thing getting in the way of that.
Having heard Helplessness Blues, we mean to get out of its way.
Chad VanGaalen just posted a new EP entitled Your Tan Looks Supernatural on his Bandcamp page and it’s composed of outtakes from Chad’s upcoming Sub Pop album, Diaper Island, out May 19th.
Your Tan Looks Supernatural will be exclusively available on Bandcamp as a response to the crisis in Japan and 100% of all proceeds from the EP will be forwarded to the Red Cross Aid Effort.
Click HERE to check it out.
In an effort to extend our reach beyond our domination of the black t-shirt and white t-shirt markets, we’ve consulted our in-house color advisory panel in order to come up with a palette of new Sub Pop logo t-shirts. What we’ve come up with is nothing short of resplendent.
We also dusted off the old “Spanning the Globe for Profit” design that solidified our position in the market as the most honest (and smug) independent record label out there.