Little-known fact: In this very building, I am only one of TWO high-powered record label bigwigs with the title General Manager. And my vain interest in keeping this little-known fact little-known is, it turns out, only outweighed by my interest in convincing someone else to take Selective Listening out for a spin this month. And so, the following notes from the desk of the very competent and congenial Sarah Moody, the OTHER General Manager, up/down/over at Hardly Art Records!
Generally Managing Managers Generally
view outside is clouded and grey as I type this missive from the penthouse of
4th and Lenora, high atop the salty streets of downtown Seattle. From the
stunning windowed heights of our office (a collaboration with Renzo Piano, if
you must know), we can truly see it all. To the North: the lauded Space Needle; to
the South: Mount Rainier, off in the distance; to the East, the mighty Cascade
mountain range; and to the West, the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Closer to
home, however, I can peer over the lip of our rooftop garden into the other
proverbial garden of downtown: the parking lot behind our office, filled with a
variety of activity that seems to mine only the darkest depths of the human
condition. On any given day, you might be fortunate enough to spot its activity
in full bloom (if you
will), which could include but not be limited to: people shooting up,
smoking crack, peddling wares, screaming about this or that, and, most
recently, actively shitting next to cars. Also below our modern belfry are the
offices of Sub Pop Records. (They might have you believe we have been relegated
to the second floor of this same building—don’t be fooled by their
then, I suppose I should set aside my robe and smoking
pipe and tell you who is typing here. Much like my esteemed colleague
and your usual Selective Listening author, Chris Jacobs, I too manage a vast
swath of employees who work and toil in the name of music. All two of them. But
I am pleased to report that they are two of the most highly coveted
demographic: the elusive Millenial
Male. What do they have to say about this fact? Let’s take a visit to their
corner offices and find out.
Publicist: We live and breathe content. It is all about CONTENT. <types furiously>
Sales and Digital Media: I’m just glad I’m not working at Sub Pop. <dons
General Manager: You are both beautiful snowflakes and I am so proud of you.
<returns feet to ottoman>
month is it, anyway? November? Great. Here’s what we have coming up in
to say it has been a good year for the Hardly Art empire, which just wrapped
last month with the most recent release from Protomartyr, The Agent
They will take leave from Detroit and escape the US paparazzi by spending their
November on tour overseas.
wondrous troupe of Shannon
and the Clams, meanwhile, just wrapped a US tour with Shopping and
will be headed overseas later this month in support of their latest, Gone
by the Dawn. (You sense a theme here?)
feminists (“Who isn’t a feminist these days?!” “I know!”) Chastity
Belt are on the road again in support of their acclaimed sophomore
effort, Time to Go Home, including a number of shows opening for
Death Cab for Cutie. Seattle party?
I’d say so.
Luz are doing nothing in November but resting on their laurels (I hope) as they
just wrapped a 12-week tour between the US and Europe in support of Weirdo
Shrine. That is, in two words, pretty baller.
you are looking to extend your celebration of Halloween, might we suggest Holographic
Violence by local brooders Grave Babies? Or if you need a soundtrack
to your worldly toke, perhaps try I Want to Grow Up by Colleen
Green? “Another hit record?!” you ask. We know, we know. We have it all for
you, here at our lavish HQ.
if that wasn’t enough, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a chart-topping single
from each of the above releases (and a few more) into an inaugural sampler. Not
only a sampler, a real life CD
SAMPLER. They’ll be available at finer record stores across the pond, as
well as with all orders placed with the fine web store of hardlyart.com, from now until they run
out. We encourage you to hunker down with it as you prepare to bundle up
other labels may claim to strive for World Domination, we here at Hardly Art
merely aim for Sub Pop Domination. After the year that was 2015, I daresay we
are close. While we wait out the final verdict, below you will find a brief
soundtrack to our days of endless champagne and caviar. I think I can… manage
What’s this news from Low, you ask? Well, the band have resumed their headlining US tour in support of Ones and Sixes, the group’s acclaimed new album. The trek continues tonight, Wednesday, November 11th at Minneapolis’ First Avenue, and goes through to Saturday, November 21st at Seattle’s Crocodile. Then in 2016, the group have scheduled a series of dates that begin January 15th in Anchorage, AK at Taproot and end February 13th in St. Louis at the Pageant. There are also two international festival dates to mention at this time: March 12th in Mexico City, MX at Festival NRML and June 11th in Kværndrup, DK at Heartland Festival. (see details below)
ICYMI: Low recently premiered an official video for “Lies,” from Ones and Sixes, which was directed by Manuel Aragon (watch it here). The band also made its second appearance on Later with Jools Holland, performing Ones and Sixes highlights “What Part of Me” and “The Innocents.”
And there’s more (particularly good) news of the charting kind: Ones and Sixes earned Low the group’s first-ever U.K. Top 40 album, coming in at #35 on the official albums chart. The album also entered at #68 here in the U.S. on SoundScan’s Top Current Albums charts.
At Radio, Ones and Sixes peaked at #7 on the CMJ Top 200 chart. In news of the on-air variety, the band have confirmed studio sessions at KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” (November 16th), and have visited to WXPN’s “World Cafe” (“What Part of Me” & “No Comprende”), KCMP (view here), and more.
Ones and Sixes is also one of the best-reviewed albums of Low’s career with international acclaim from the likes of NPR Music, Paste, Rolling Stone, SPIN, Boston Globe, Pitchfork, Under the Radar, The Guardian, The Observer, DIY, Q, MOJO, Uncut, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Chicago Tribune, CLASH, The Sunday Times, Dusted, NOW, and more. And the band are the current cover stars of MAGNET’s September issue, interviewed by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon (view cover / read an excerpt of the story here).
Low’s Ones and Sixes is available for purchase from the Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. Now completely sold-out through megamart.subpop.com, the limited “Loser Edition” of the double-LP on yellow vinyl and packaged in a variant slipcase cover is only available from select independent stores and from the band themselves at upcoming tour dates (while supplies last). Has it been a while since you visited the Mega Mart? Well, there are also two new T-shirt designs available both as individual items and as part of CD/LP bundles.
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*
Seattle punk trio So Pitted are our newest signees! And we at Sub Pop are proud to release neo - their label debut - throughout the known universe on February 19th, 2016.
The album, featuring highlights “rot in hell”, “holding the void”, and “feed me”, was co-produced & mixed by So Pitted & Dylan Wall and recorded at The Old Fire House, Media Lab, Spruce Haus, the band’s practice space and Tastefully Loud in Seattle. neo was also engineered by Wall at Tastefully Loud and mastered by Eric Boulanger at The Bakery in Los Angeles.
COOL THING ALERT: There will also be a time-limited edition T-shirt, hand-bleached by So Pitted, that will be available only during pre-order. Shirts can be ordered alone or with LP and CD bundles (might we stress again: during pre-order only).
Impose Magazine premiered the visual for “rot in hell” (directed by Zoë Sauer) and had this to say about it:
“Ragged, nonlinear, a little dangerous, “rot in hell” was one of the first tracks So Pitted wrote together, and the video is funny and surreal, featuring a friend of the band playing various band members. It feels like being at home at a basement show, ready to hit your head on a low ceiling bringing your amp down the stairs, buzzing with a little bit of nausea and excitement. It burns with the urgency of the music you need to make or you’ll crumple, music you’d be making whether other people heard it or not” (see Nov. 12th news story).
[Photo Credit: Sarah Cass]
So Pitted will tour extensively in 2015-16 to support neo, beginning with a short US west coast trek November 14th in Oakland at LoBot Gallery and ending November 19th in San Francisco at the Hemlock Tavern. (see tour details below) The band will then resume touring in early January, with a series of support and headlining dates, which span January 8th in Brooklyn at Palisades through January 12th in Philadelphia at First Unitarian Church. Highlights along the way include November 18th in Los Angeles at the Echo opening for No Age and a few dates with label mates METZ and Startime International recording artists Bully (January 9; 11-12).
More about So Pitted: So Pitted is every bit as much an experiment in social partnerships as it is a noise outfit. They bonded over a shared love of alternative music (Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta), and only after eons of hanging out did it occur to them to play music together. Rodriguez is a self-taught quick study who learned music theory on Wikipedia; Downey is a new wave fanatic who sticks pipe cleaners in his brain to speak to extraterrestrials; Koewler is a longtime ballet dancer whose love of aesthetes and bands like Cocteau Twins is a strong influence on her bandmates. Together, the trio just fits, a perfect balance for one another’s quirks, strengths, and shortcomings.
Roles and positions have never been important to So Pitted; Rodriguez and Downey often switch instruments and both sing, while Koewler plays her guitar through a bass amp. “It’s everyone’s band,” says Rodriguez, “and we have the same role of support and voice for each other.”
Identity, freedom, location…yeah, yeah, yeah, but what the hell do they sound like? “One of my friends says we’re ‘louder than Nirvana,’” says Downey. “And we are subjected to grunge by default but it’s not that bad. Mudhoney is cool but Tad is rad. I see us as another spinoff of new wave music. I love Devo. I don’t think any of us are into one style, we all have our conventions, we’re all really snobby artists but at the same time we’re normal people who listen to Backstreet Boys because it’s what we heard growing up. We just want to be genuine and admit what we like and don’t like. The band is the people, and we’re always changing so much.” In other words, their zeal makes it almost impossible to pin them down.
Enter neo, So Pitted’s debut album some years in the making. These eleven tracks are lean and snarling rebukes, torch songs not in the traditional, unrequited-love sense, but songs that will torch your fucking house down. Screams and howls overtake chants and muttering, equal parts dejection, rejection, and convection, the hot, muggy air circling continuously. It’s fuzzy, angular, throbbing, and pounding, and still, ingrained in the songs by their makers, breathes that catchy quality present in so much of the music they love. Songs like “holding the void,” “rot in hell,” and “woe” crash over and over, turning under themselves like waves, but as the measures tick off, the dog-eared melodies and familiar themes begin to reveal (read more about the band here).
What people have said about So Pitted, so far: What’s special and unique about So Pitted is that they not only clench to the demonic punk downpour and logger-heavy rock of the Northwest, but also to the nihilistic musical cannibalism of San Francisco weirdos Chrome and late-’90s San Diego artcore groups like the VSS and the Gravity Records camp. There’s a caustic demo quality to their sound that’s alien and distorted, liquidated to move units at the Gross Out. It’s not only thorny, horny, and repulsive, but angular, tangled and mangled. - The Stranger
“[A] Seattle trio who are basically unmatched in terms of sheer gonzo ingenuity. Live, the band combines anarchic heaps of guitar and childish melodies with plodding, sludgy rhythms. They understand just how powerful their live show is, too” - Portland Mercury
Tour Dates Nov. 14 - Oakland, CA - LoBot Gallery Nov. 17 - Fullerton, CA - Continental Room Nov. 18 - Los Angeles, CA - Echo * Nov. 19 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern Nov. 27 - Seattle, WA - Cairo Gallery Jan. 08 - Brooklyn, NY - Palisades Jan. 09 - Boston - The Sinclair ** Jan. 11 - Washington, D.C. - Rock & Roll Hotel ** Jan. 12 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church ** * w/ No Age ** w/ METZ + Bully
Sub Pop is pleased to announce the signing of Arbor Labor Union, the Athens/Atlanta, Georgia band, who will release its label debut worldwide in the spring of 2016.
The group (who formerly performed under the moniker Pinecones) released their debut record, Sings For You Now (listen here), in May, 2015 on LP format via Athens, GA label Arrowhawk Records. The band, comprised of Brain Atoms (Guitars), Ryan Evers (Bass), Ben Salie (Drums) and Bo Orr (Vox/Guitar) create angular and unapologetic rock and roll.
You can hear various singles from their LP Sings For You Now right over here.
Arbor Labor Union have scheduled a show supporting In The Red recording artists Wand tomorrow night, November 17th in Athens, GA at the 40 Watt. Additional live dates will be announced very soon.
More on Arbor Labor Union: Once upon a time rock n roll music was insane. Several times before you have heard and perhaps proclaimed that “music is the truth.” This band called Arbor Labor Union honors this notion. I’ve been in an audience and seen them sneak their music close to the truth. The atom has reviewed their songs and said “this band speaks to the core” and “on this we are not divided”.
Guitar player Brain Atoms always wears green and taps his foot to the stage in hopes it turns into a porch. Bass player Ryan Evers pumps the tonal artery and stirs the cosmic dirt with his welcome grin. Singer and Guitar player Bo Orr sings the wisdom of unknowing and kicks through blind dimensions. Drummer Ben Salie invokes the shaman beat and whips layers of lava lamp cymbal vibrations. All of these men have agreed and that is beautiful. If you pay attention, you might notice all of their songs are about their songs, and that is beautiful. They believe in handshakes, repetition, and friendship. They are lifelong friends, and they play that sound.
What people are saying about Arbor Labor Union (fka Pinecones):
“Listening to the interplay between physical, spiritual, and musical existence hammered out across these 11 tracks is one of the most challenging, intriguing tasks I’ve undertaken this year. Few albums demand your attention and interaction the way Sings For You Now does.” - Stereogum
“It’s not so much a sounds, there’s no twang or drawl, but an attitude. Their dooming riffs and impassioned rambles carry smolder like the heat of the southern sun.” - Consequence of Sound
“I’m not sure how to describe the group’s raspy, repetitious rock and roll other than to say it is no goddamn joke. It’s also tremendously exciting. The songs on Play Cosmic Hits cull from bands like Lungfish, Wire and The Ex but feel exhilaratingly fresh” [Pinecones Play Cosmic Hits] – Flagpole Magazine
No Fly List: Notes From Sub Pop’s Airport Store (November 2015)
Unthanksgiving at the Airport
Welcome to another dispatch from the Sub Pop store. The months of October and early November bring a relative downtime at the airport, in-between the busier summer vacation and holiday travel seasons. One might assume that we would use this opportunity to re-group, develop plans for improving the store, and/or stockpile winter-wear goods. Instead, I’ve used the lull to stew about all the regrets and perceived slights I’ve experienced this year. In honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to type out some things that I am particularly ‘unthankful’ for, because sometimes it’s necessary and cathartic to express your gripes, in order to see how petty/inconsequential/ridiculous they might be. I also strong-armed a few of my co-workers to join me in giving ‘unthanks’ this year. Enjoy!
Here at the store, I am unthankful for the following things:
-Not recognizing the following people until immediately after they left the store:
The members of Poison Idea
-Customers who ask, “Will this t-shirt fit my son/daughter/wife/husband/niece/nephew/dog?”
-The sounds that emanate from occupied stalls in the men’s bathroom(s).
-The man wearing shorts who insisted on showing me his recent jellyfish stings on his legs.
-The question, “Now that Sub Pop has a store in the airport, does that mean they have officially sold out?”
-Waking up early to make a lunch and then forgetting it at home.
-The father who talked on his cellphone for 10 minutes about the consistency/texture/color of his new baby’s bowel movements.
In my personal life, I’m unthankful that my favorite baseball player, Juan Uribe, is no longer employed by my favorite baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. And also that this much-needed scientific device has not been released yet.
- No parks to speak of in Parkland (I know right?)
- Traffic (how original)”
“Here we are again, at the eleventh hour, and of course, I show up at your “E” door-step in my sweatpants and curlers, yielding yet another untimely and, probably unusable, contribution to this months monthly news such and such. I am very sorry of course, but I can grant you no guarantee that this will not be the last incident of this sort, most likely all submissions will arrive in your “in” basket around 6pm of the afternoon following day any deadline given.
So you have asked for us to submit a list of some of the things things for which we were not so thankful for this year, leaning in the direction of funny. I am afraid my friend that I cannot grant you the wish that you desire. For, after an exceedingly large quantity of pondering, and a few glasses of Tang drink, I can’t, for the life of me, conjure up even one thing that I am unthankful for. I seem to busting at my pant legs with a sort of humble Gratitude for all, and all of my existence and the universe, and all of the whatnot of this sometimes crazy world we all have to live in. So apologize, I can’t fulfill this months request, at least not with this stupid brain.
I can however list a few of the wonderful things from this year that I, so very graciously, give thanks for. For example, I am overwhelmingly grateful for my family. This time of year you can’t avoid thinking about family. I always remember all of those good times we had while we were growing up, all of the holidays we spent together, and the summers too. How lucky am I to have been born into such a loving and caring group of individuals? I do kind of wish Randy was dead though.
I can no longer submit to useless negative emotions that can overwhelm you and withhold the marvelous wonders and joys that life has to give, such as, cats! What furry, kind and, beautiful beasts, so cute and small but bigger than rats and not as loyal as a dogs. Our cat, Tab, turned 5 this year and although I am deathly allergic to her fur and dander, and I really wish she would use the scratching post instead of the couch. I am really grateful the vet has the means to fight off her cancerous lesions thereby sustaining her life for a mere $500 dollars a session, ensuring that my wife and I will have a furry friend who tracks it’s cat bathroom sand throughout our once odor free home, for many years to come.
The point Is, who am I to complain when there is so much suffering out there and I have so much in my life like, tinnitus, my illiterate mail man who doesn’t really “get” what numbers mean, and what about traffic?
Life is a gift and I have no complaints, only gratitude.
If this is too long just put “White Sauce,” why does everybody put it on everything? What’s the deal with that?
SMooCH was founded by Pete and Brandy Nordstrom, and contributes to an essential program that fulfills Children’s founding promise to provide care to every infant, child and teen in Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho who needs their help — regardless of insurance coverage or financial circumstances.
If you can’t attend, please consider donating to the cause so families are able to care for their sick child and not worry about whether they’ll have to choose between their child’s health and their financial health.