No Fly List: Notes from Sub Pop’s Airport Store (August 2015).
People Who (Will Soon) Work Here: Sub Pop Airport Store Edition
The airport store has taken on some new employees recently, and
following in the footsteps of Sub Pop’s “People Who Work Here” column,
I figured I’d check-in with the newest and most-likely-least-jaded hire (because he won’t start until later this month),
Benjamin O’Connor. I assumed Ben was Canadian when I first met him, because he
loves hockey and is overly polite, but he is in fact an American from
Vancouver, Washington, who has spent the last two years living in Kiel,
Germany, and teaching English through the Fullbright program. Let’s meet Ben!
(Pictured: New airport store employee Ben
O’Connor in a past interview.)
Please state your name for the record.
Are you excited to work at the Sub Pop airport store?
Yes, it’s exciting to get to be in maybe the most international place in a city, and to talk about music all day.
What do you think you can bring to the Sub Pop team?
Hopefully some puns.
You were in Germany for the last two years. Did you see any concerts over there?
Hospitality came to Kiel, where I lived. I got to see Alvvays in Hamburg. I saw Cloud Nothings and Youth Lagoon in Berlin. I also saw a German metal band called Kadaver.
Who are some of your favorite Sub Pop artists?
I’m a big fan of Father John Misty, Beach House, and Washed Out, but my favorite all-time is Wolf Parade.
Who are some of your favorite Germans?
Like German bands?
Just overall. Who are some Germans we should know about? You know, besides Angela Merkel.
Everyone should probably know Helene Fischer. Germans have this thing called Schlager music, which is like, really heavy beats with accordion, and Fischer is the Britney Spears of Schlager music. She has a variety show and is really popular.
What’s her biggest hit?
Probably this one song called “Atemlos,” or “Breathless.”
Is David Hasselhoff still the most beloved American in Germany?
No, I think if you asked most Germans, they would say they’ve gotten over the Hoff. They really like Maroon 5 now.
I took you to Capitol Hill Block Party last month, as part of your re-introduction to American culture. What were some of your favorite things about it?
I was happy to see Father John Misty, I missed him when he came through Berlin this year. I’d wanted to see DIIV and Lower Dens for a long time. I hadn’t seen Chastity Belt in over two years, so it was really neat to see them play for a hometown crowd. Summer Cannibals put on a great show.
You’re about to start work in a sleek retail shop. Tell me, what’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever purchased?
I bought an inflatable Stanley Cup.
How expensive was it?
If you didn’t get your dream job at the airport store, what other profession would you most want to pursue?
Professional baseball player.
What would be your walk-up song to home plate?
“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” by Father John Misty. That intro is so good.
What’s your favorite song to sing karaoke?
I feel pretty confident singing “Runaround Sue.” I also like songs by British singers where I can do accents.
What’s your favorite song ever?
“This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” by the Talking Heads.
Do you remember the first CD you ever bought?
Ricky Martin’s self-titled album.
What about the second CD?
The ‘Bailamos’ single by Enrique Iglesias.
We were all livin’ la vida loca back in 1999. Are there any shows in Seattle you’re looking forward to this year?
Mac DeMarco is coming in October.
You lived in Kiel, which is close to Hamburg, where the Beatles first started playing shows. Are there any Beatles tourist traps over there?
Yeah, it’s pretty weird. Hamburg has this section called the Reeperbahn, where prostitution is legal. And so in the middle of this raunchy area with strip clubs and cheap bars, there are some metallic cut-out statues that are supposed to be the Beatles. [I looked this up, and it’s a real place called the Bealtes-platz. -ed.]
That about wraps things up. How did this interview go? Where do you rank it amongst your other interviews?
I’ve been interviewed a couple of times, actually. I got on a sports radio station when I was like fourteen and did a dumb Sean Connery impersonation. Last year I was interviewed in the local newspaper in Kiel about being a Fullbright student. But I don’t know if I can rank them. It’s just an honor when someone is curious enough about you to ask you questions.
Whilst awaiting their upcoming album, you can now hear Low’s “What Part of Me” the group’s affecting new single and second track release from Ones and Sixes. The Quietus, had this to say of the track: “It’s just over three minutes of the band’s fuzzy, melodic charm, laying Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s harmonized vocals over a slightly spectral setting (see song premiere August 3rd).”
Ones and Sixes is currently available for pre-order here, and also on Bandcamp. The limited “Loser Edition” LP on yellow vinyl will be available from select independent record stores and megamart.subpop.com (while supplies last). For those who like to wear their music, two new T-shirt designs will also be available, either as individual items or as part of CD/LP bundles.
Low’s Ones and Sixes releases on CD / LP / DL worldwide Friday, September 11th.
Their previously announced North American + European tour in support of Ones and Sixes, begins September 18th in Madison, WI and ends November 21st in Seattle, WA. They’ll play their largest headlining date in London’s iconic Roundhouse on October 10th. And now, there are a few additional shows preceding and following the band’s fall trek: Perfect Sound Forever Fest in Bergen, Norway (September 3rd); UK appearances at both the End of the Road and Electric Picnic Festivals (September 4th-6th / select dates); and their newly rescheduled Philadelphia date at Johnny Brenda’s (February 1st). For up to date information on tickets please visit http://chairkickers.com/shows.
Tour Dates Sep. 03 - Bergen, NO - Perfect Sounds Forever Fest @ Landmark Sep. 04 - Wiltshire, UK - End of the Road Festival Sep. 05- Stradbally, IE - Electric Picnic Sep. 18 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon* Sep. 19 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall* Sep. 21 - Toronto, ON - The Mod Club* Sep. 22 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz PDB* Sep. 23 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall* Sep. 24 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg* Sep. 25 - Hamden, Connecticut – The Ballroom at The Outer Space* Sep. 26 - Washington, DC - Black Cat* Oct. 07 - Manchester, UK - Cathedral ^ Oct. 08 - Glasgow, UK - Art School = Oct. 10 - London, UK - Roundhouse ^ Oct. 12 - Koln, DE - Gebaude 9 = Oct. 13 - Hamburg, DE – Knust = Oct. 14 - Copenhagen, DK – Vega = Oct. 15 - Stockholm, SE – Kagelbanan = Oct. 17 - Berlin, DE – Lido = Oct. 19 - Munich, DE – Ampere = Oct. 20 - Bologna, IT - Teatro Antoniano = Oct. 22 - Zaragoza, ES - Las Armas = Oct. 23 - Barcelona, ES – Bikini = Oct. 24 - Valencia, ES - Deleste Festival Oct. 26 - Madrid, ES - Teatro Lara = Oct. 27 - Santander, ES – Escenario = Oct. 29 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso ^ Oct. 30 – Tourcoing, FR – Le Grand Mix = Oct. 31 - Brussels, BE – AB + Nov. 02 – Paris, FR – Le Divan du Monde = Nov. 11 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue* Nov. 12 – Omaha, NE – Reverb Lounge* Nov. 13 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge* Nov. 14 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex* Nov. 16 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour* Nov. 18 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall* Nov. 20 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir* Nov. 21 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile* Feb. 01 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
* w/ Andy Shauf ^ w/ Two Gallants + w/ Chelsea Wolfe = w/ Mike Noga
Selective Listening: Notes from the desk of the General Manager, August 2015.
Now that’s what we call a BM*!
Because I have a very TOP LEVEL and (let’s just say…) incisive
understanding of the contents of my email inbox, I was recently made aware of
an interesting and modest experiment in music distribution put together by a
musical trio from Minneapolis called The Hand, whose members have all done or
still do time in other bands and whose mean age is 46 (approximately 750 in
band years, and near-certain assurance of their lifelong anonymity). You can
read all about it yourself here. And,
this thing is interesting for a bunch of reasons, not least of which is the
following description, which, to me, seems like a pretty good raison d’être for any band or any record label still standing, and one which
we’d unabashedly steal or co-opt were we not, at some root, dna-type level,
constitutionally unable to full-stop commit to anything so definite and old
guard as a mission statement.
It goes like this:
“we promise to never put up anything we don’t think is worth $4,
and to try not to be boring and/or behave like “professional
musicians” with a “career” (because we’re not and we don’t). you
promise to not....i dunno, be an asshole about the whole thing.”
Not at all coincidentally (because it was only his email to me on
the subject which managed to disrupt my usual laser-ish focus on important
business-related matters here in the professional music business), I am
familiar with one of the folks responsible for this thing: it’s our old friend
Zak Sally! Zak is probably best known to you for playing bass in Low for 10 or
12 years. He is further known to me as one of those people who provide plain
evidence of my own laziness in way that is frustratingly difficult to ignore
(and I have tried…). In addition to his time spent in Low, and doing stuff with
The Hand, he’s also a cartoonist, a comics art professor, runs his own small
publishing company, and
put together an upcoming 2-day festival of independent culture called Autoptic. All
this in addition to being a parent, spouse, and exceptionally solid dude. I’m
sure there’s more, but I already feel badly enough about myself.
Relatedly! Low, the other very excellent MN-based band mentioned
above (whose records it is our good fortune to release unto the world bearing
the Sub Pop imprimatur of occasional quality), have a top-notch, BJ Burton-produced
new album called Ones and Sixes, coming out in September. We have
released a song or songs (who knows?) from this record as clear proof of that
aforementioned top-notch-ed-ness. Please listen, love, buy, stream, or
otherwise consume, won’t you?
But I digress mid-digression…
What I’m going to go ahead and charitably refer to as my point
here is that a good business model, like the one that The Hand put together, is
increasingly difficult to find. Why, even seasoned music professionals, like
those who I’m told work here at Sub Pop Records, occasionally falter. And
here’s where a couple of illustrative examples might fit nicely:
- As it happens and in spite of what we recall as countless
magazine articles on the great, cresting popularity of the cupcake trend of the
recent past, people are largely unwilling to pay $15.98 for a cupcake with a
download code for a full album of mp3s, and this is especially true, to a
degree that borders on discriminatory, if your company does not just outright
excel at baking or food safety standards compliance.
- Same with sliders!
- Though nearly every single software developer who has ever
cold-called and then set up a meeting with us [or… my boss, which I then had to
attend when she bailed for more interesting or relevant uses of her time,] has
practically, though not exactly, in so many words, GUARANTEED us that just
having an app, regardless of what that app might do, is a disruptive,
game-changing, fucking RAINMAKER, we have come to learn that there are
shockingly few people interested in GrungeSquish-ing a selfie at $1.29 a pop.
- Suffice it to say that we were profoundly surprised to learn,
only after pouring great, pornographic sums of money into the much-ballyhooed
new SAP streaming service for MIDI-fied music, that today’s savvy music consumers
expect or even demand more than one album from the catalog of such a streaming
service. Further suffice it to say that SAP still seems marginally more
interesting than Pono.
As a company which has overtly (for a carefree, golden time before
the Business Affairs Dept. noticed…) declared ourselves “Going Out of Business
Since 1988,” it’s probable we’re not anyone’s first source of insight on how to
navigate the complicated mess of the music business ca. right about now. That’s
probably for the best and anyway, who cares?
As long as there are outfits like The Hand coming up with great,
innovative BMs (and we occasionally wake up long enough to steal their ideas),
it’s alright. We can have our cupcake and listen to it, too.
“BM,” of course, I mean to evoke “Business Model.”
Release day is finally here for Beach House’s new album, Depression Cherry. Today we celebrate in the fashion of our time: by selling and/or giving away to you, a bunch of awesome shit. Won’t you pick up some (or all) of what we’re layin’ down?
- Super limited white vinyl editions of the Depression Cherry LP are waiting to be discovered in randomly selected retail stores across the U.S. We’ve asked that these magical unicorns be given away for free, by raffle, contest or other creative means. So please contact/visit your local purveyor of fine records to partake in this event.
- All velvet, all the time. Special edition velvet posters will also be given away at select retail stores! Check with your local retailer for availability to SEE these beauties.At some point in the not-really-all-that-distant future, these fuzzy, red posters will be available for sale in our very own Mega Mart.
Sirius XMU hourly plays. Every hour, Sirius XMU will play a Beach House track, all weekend long, starting at 2 pm EDT/11 am PDT.
- - - - -
Depression Cherry is now available on CD / LP/ DL from Sub Pop (North America), Bella Union (Europe) and Mistletone (Australia / New Zealand)
The Beach House worldwide tour in support of Depression Cherry resumes Saturday, August 29th in Baltimore, MD with a performance at the sold-out Windjammer Festival at Pier Six Pavilion and end their 2015 dates with a sold-out 3-night stand December 17-19 in San Francisco at The Fillmore.
LP and CD versions of Depression Cherry are packaged in a sumptuous red velvet sleeve. All customers who purchase the LP version of Depression Cherry from megamart.subpop.com will receive the special, limited, clear vinyl Loser Edition (while supplies last). Additionally, there is a new T-shirt design, available individually or as part of a bundle with purchase of the new record. Depression Cherry is also available from iTunes and Amazon.
Aug. 29 - Baltimore, MD - Windjammer @ Pier Six Pavilion # [Sold Out]
Low’s Mimi Parker was interviewed by singer/musician Sharon Van Etten, and you can hear their conversation on NPR’s “All Songs Considered” today [listen here].
In other exciting news, you can now listen to Low’s Ones and Sixes via NPR Music’s “First Listen” (North America), The Guardian (Europe), Les Inrocks (France) and 3voor12/VPRO (Netherlands) in advance of the album release this coming September 11th.
Also in the spirit of (not so) subtle horn-tooting, we should mention that the Ones and Sixes track “What Part of Me” was featured on NPR’s “Heavy Rotation.” WXPN’s Bruce Warren selected the track and says: “’What Part of Me’ is a haunting, simple, pleading new song from the Minnesota band’s forthcoming album Ones and Sixes. Since the early ’90s, the trio has been making quietly gorgeous songs with slow tempos and minimal arrangements. Low’s aesthetic has come to be known as ‘slowcore,’ and while it’s never strayed far from that sound, its members have kept the narrow musical genre in which they work fresh and inspiring. Low continues to evolve on ‘What Part Of Me’: The band picks up the tempo just a bit as Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker harmonize over an evocative melody, asking a simple question that digs into the heart of what commitment means between two people.” (see “Heavy Rotation” August 26th)
Low’s Ones and Sixes releases on CD / LP / DL worldwide Friday, September 11th and, as you might suspect (or demand), it’s also available for pre-order from the Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. The limited “Loser Edition” of the LP on yellow vinyl will be available from select independent record stores and via megamart.subpop.com (while supplies last).
Sep. 04 - Wiltshire, UK - End of the Road Festival
Sep. 05- Stradbally, IE - Electric Picnic
Sep. 18 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon*
Sep. 19 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall*
Sep. 21 - Toronto, ON - The Mod Club*
Sep. 22 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz PDB*
Sep. 23 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall*
Sep. 24 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg*
Sep. 25 - Hamden, Connecticut – The Ballroom at The Outer
Sep. 26 - Washington, DC - Black Cat*
Oct. 07 - Manchester, UK - Cathedral ^
Oct. 08 - Glasgow, UK - Art School =
Oct. 10 - London, UK - Roundhouse ^
Oct. 12 - Koln, DE - Gebaude 9 =
Oct. 13 - Hamburg, DE – Knust =
Oct. 14 - Copenhagen, DK – Vega =
Oct. 15 - Stockholm, SE – Kagelbanan =
Oct. 17 - Berlin, DE – Lido =
Oct. 19 - Munich, DE – Ampere =
Oct. 20 - Bologna, IT - Teatro Antoniano =
Oct. 22 - Zaragoza, ES - Las Armas =
Oct. 23 - Barcelona, ES – Bikini =
Oct. 24 - Valencia, ES - Deleste Festival
Oct. 26 - Madrid, ES - Teatro Lara =
Oct. 27 - Santander, ES – Escenario =
Oct. 29 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso ^
Oct. 30 – Tourcoing, FR – Le Grand Mix =
Oct. 31 - Brussels, BE – AB +
Nov. 02 – Paris, FR – Le Divan du Monde =
Nov. 11 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue*
Nov. 12 – Omaha, NE – Reverb Lounge*
Nov. 13 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge*
Nov. 14 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex*
Nov. 16 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour*
Nov. 18 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall*
This fall, Strange Wilds embark on a North American tour in support of their debut album, Subjective Concepts, now available worldwide from Sub Pop. The trek starts September 25th in Seattle, WA at Black Lodge and ends November 19th in Portland, OR at Bunk Bar.
Preceding the tour, Strange Wilds also have a few Pacific Northwest dates for you noise loving fans: August 9th at Seattle’s Chop Suey (8pm), another August 9th show at Old School Pizzeria in Olympia (midnight), and August 10th in Tacoma at New Frontier Lounge. Please find a complete list of tour dates below.
As you might suspect, Strange Wilds’ Subjective Concepts is available on CD / LP / DL at the Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp. All customers who order the LP version of Subjective Concepts from megamart.subpop.com and Bandcamp will receive the limited “Loser Edition” on white vinyl while supplies last. That’s right: everyone’s a Loser here. T-shirt also available, individually and also bundled with the new record.
Tour Dates Aug. 09 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey ^ (EARLY) Aug. 09 - Olympia, WA - Old School Pizzeria # (LATE) Aug. 10 - Tacoma, WA - New Frontier Lounge Sep. 25 - Seattle, WA - Black Lodge Sep. 27 - Portland, OR - They Know Sep. 30 - Olympia, WA - TBA Oct. 01 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Oct. 02 - Los Angeles, CA - The Smell Oct. 03 - Tempe, AZ - Time Out Lounge Oct. 05 - Denver, CO - Rhinoceropolis Oct. 09 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle Oct. 11 - Detroit, MI - Marble Bar Oct. 12 - Cleveland, OH - Now That’s Class Oct.16 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool (Strange Victory Touring CMJ Party) Oct. 19 - Toronto, ON - Smiling Buddha Oct. 20 - Rochester, NY - Bug Jar Nov. 01 - Jacksonville, FL - Rain Dogs Nov. 04 - Austin, TX - Beerland Nov. 09 - Fullerton, CA - Continental Room Nov. 10 - El Centro, CA - Strangers Nov. 11 - Los Angeles, CA - All Star Lanes Nov. 13 - Oakland, CA - 1-2-3-4 Go Records Nov. 18 - Boise, ID - Neurolux Nov. 19 - Portland, OR - Bunk Bar