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NEWS : FRI, APR 15, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop’s ‘Love Letter for Fire’ Is Out Today! (and so is their lovely new video)

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop’s Love Letter for Fire is out today, worldwide from Sub Pop/Black Cricket Recording Co. 

Their beautiful new video for “Every Songbird Says” was directed by Nacho Rodriguez and Sara Lopez (www.mistercoo.com). Stereogum says of the animated visual, “The clip…segues from rapidly shifting illustrations of Beam and Hoop into a range of colorful, earthy animations, all culminating in a joyous fireside celebration (see video premiere April 14th).”

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop’s previously announced 2016 North American and European headlining tour (with full band) spans May 17th-September 11th. Preceding the tour, the duo has scheduled a few instore performances: A solo appearance by Jesca Hoop on April 16th in Brooklyn at Rough Trade Records, and as a duo on May 2nd in Long Beach, CA at Fingerprints. (complete tour dates below.)

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop have also scheduled radio performances including New York’s WFUV (airdate TBA), KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” (May 2nd) and KCSN (May 3rd) in Los Angeles, “The Current” in Minneapolis (June 9th), and “Acoustic Cafe” (airdate TBA).

Love Letter for Fire is available on CD / LP / DL / CASS via  Sub Pop Mega MartiTunesAmazonGoogle PlayBandcamp and at an independent retailer near you. The limited Loser edition on Smoke-colored vinyl is available from the duo on tour and at independent retailers near you (while supplies last, and we’re almost out of Losers!).


The thirteen-track album was produced, recorded and mixed by Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse, Decemberists, Neko Case) at Flora Recording & Playback in Portland, and mastered by Richard Dodd in Nashville. Love Letter for Fire features Beam and Hoop on vocals and guitar along with Robert Burger (keys), Eyvind Kang (violin, viola), Glenn Kotche (drums, percussion), Sebastian Steinberg (bass) and Edward Rankin-Parker (cello).  


What people are saying about Love Letter for Fire:
Love Letter for Fire was, at least in part, inspired by the pair’s desire to make songs that function as conversations rather than soliloquies, and their work backs that up…With the help of producer Tucker Martine and a smart, subtle band, the two achieve a fine balance — of songwriting sensibilities, of time in the spotlight — in the service of songs that feel at once fresh and timeless [“First Listen’] - NPR Music

“The musical magnetism between first-time collaborators Jesca Hoop, California songwriter and adopted Manchester resident, and cult folk artist Sam Beam of Iron and Wine, allows for space and nuance, more two friends lamenting late into the night than tussling theatrics.” [4/5 stars] - The Guardian

“The result is Beam’s best release since In The Reins, with a far more dynamic batch of songs, and a wider introduction to Hoop’s compelling and naturally chameleonic songwriting style.” [B+] - The AV Club

“This pairing of Iron And Wine’s Sam Beam with Jesca Hoop is indie music’s most intriguingly fruitful alliance since Isobel Campbell got in touch with Mark Lanegan…There’s a curious congruence to the duo’s harmonies that brings their songs to unique life.” [4/5 stars] -The Independent

Love Letter for Fire shows what can happen when two near-strangers explore each other’s deepest emotions and private pains in song: They may still ultimately remain strangers, but they’ve created something profound in the process.” - American Songwriter

Love Letter for Fire is a triumph of rustic minimalism and unforced, chamber-pop poise, with charm by the skipload” [8/10] - Uncut

“Beam and Santa Rosa folk singer Jesca Hoop pass the love-stricken vocal baton with real charm, typically trading individual lines before converging for stirring harmonies” - Q Magazine

“Duets naturally arrive at a conversational, kinetic charm that solo songs can’t. With Love Letter for Fire, Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam and singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop aim to channel the rapport of Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton or George Jones/Tammy Wynette classics—where two singular voices merge in a dialogue that deepens the atmosphere. Each musician boasts a skill the other doesn’t—with Hoop’s vivacious, multi-hued sweetness brightening Beam’s smoky rumble and croon. Blending their voices in harmony, call-and-response and unison, they sing of love, spirituality and world-weary perseverance, often all at once…Love Letter for Fire is built on this elegant give-and-take—it’s the rare A-list collaboration more compelling than the sum of its parts.” - Relix

“Their musical tastes overlap, as their former collaboration on Hoop’s “Hunting My Dress” song from her last album showed, so there was no reason to doubt that a full-length album between them would be nothing short of excellent. However, not only do Beam and Hoop meet those high expectations, they shatter them on Love Letter for Fire by crafting some of their best songs to date.” [9/10 stars] - PopMatters

“Two vocalists creating openhearted love songs could prove to be a risk for unlistenable, saccharine material….Beam and Hoop convey their emotions sweetly, offering their own imperfect glimpses of an old theme told in new ways.” - Consequence of Sound



Tour Dates
May 17 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark*
May 18 - Toronto, ON - The Danforth Music Hall*
May 20 - New York, NY - The Town Hall*
May 21 - Washington, DC - The Lincoln Theatre*
May 22 - Boston, MA - The Wilbur Theatre*
May 24 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer*
May 26 - Atlanta, GA - The Buckhead Theatre*
May 27 - New Orleans, LA - The Civic Theatre*
May 28 - Dallas, TX - The Kessler Theater*
May 30 - Tucson, AZ - The Rialto Theatre*
May 31 - Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda Theatre*
Jun. 02 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall*
Jun. 03 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater*
Jun. 04 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theatre*
Jun. 05 - Boise, ID - The Egyptian Theatre*
Jun. 07 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater*
Jun. 08 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown*
Jun. 09 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater*
Jun. 10 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall Ballroom*
Jun. 11 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall*
Aug. 28 - Edinburgh, UK - Edinburgh International Festival
Aug. 29 - Bangor, UK - Marine Court
Aug. 30 - Dublin, Ireland - Olympia Theatre
Aug 31 - Manchester, UK - Royal Northern College of Music
Sep. 01 - London, UK - Union Chapel
Sep. 02-04 - Salisbury, Larmer Tree Gardens, UK - End of the Road Festival
Sep. 07 - Berlin, DE - Passionskirche
Sep. 08 - Cologne, DE - Kulturkirche
Sep. 09 - Brussels, BE - Botanique-Orangerie
Sep. 10 - Groningen, NL - Take Root Festival
Sep. 11 - Amsterdam, NL - De Duif
* w/ Marlon Williams

Ticket links reside in this place.


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : FRI, APR 15, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Quasi’s Up Records Label Discography Is Back In Print On Vinyl (Finally)

Backinprint quasi 960x550 2

Up Records, in partnership with Sub Pop, has repressed Quasi’s classic label discography – R&B Transmogrification (1997), Featuring “Birds” (1998), and Field Studies (1999) – on vinyl.

This repress also marks the first time that R&B Transmogrification is available as a stand-alone vinyl release (it was previously available as a bonus LP, packaged with the release of Featuring “Birds”).  All three titles will be available in the U.S. on May 27th through Up Records (via Sub Pop), and are now available for preorder at Sub Pop Mega Mart and independent retailers near you. 

LP preorders for each release will be available on black vinyl, in addition to three limited-edition colors: R&B Transmogrification on light green; Featuring “Birds” on light blue; and Field Studies on white (while supplies last, so don’t sleep!).  

Revisit each of these fantastic records (or listen for the first time maybe?) right now via YouTube:  R&B Transmogrification - Featuring “Birds” - Field Studies




R&B TRANSMOGRIFICATION (MARCH 25TH, 1997)
Quasi’s (pronounced KWAH-zee) primary instrumentalist Sam Coomes played in the Donner Party before starting Motorgoat in 1992 with drummer Janet Weiss. After the dissolution of Motorgoat in 1993, Sam and Janet continued as Quasi, which grew from a side project that took in songs that didn’t fit under Motorgoat’s roof into a larger part of Sam and Janet’s lives, eventually resulting in Quasi’s 1995 debut, Early Recordings. Despite Sam joining Heatmiser and Janet taking over the drums for Sleater-Kinney, Sam and Janet continued to develop Quasi, eventually crafting enough songs for a new album.

On R&B Transmogrification Quasi comes further out of the Northwest woodwork with an album that rolls some of the most intense pop numbers up with the saddest lyrics you’ve ever heard. Recorded in a cold, Portland, OR basement during the winter of 1996, R&B Transmogrification serves as an almost exact representation of the duo’s amazing live sound.

With a heavy emphasis on
fuzz piano and “kinetic” drumming, guitars chime in spare and harmonious throughout the songs, showing the soulful grace hidden behind a thin veil of cacophony. This all lays the foundation for lyrical explorations of the apparently inexhaustible themes of death and the failure of love. But never have the two morose subjects sounded so beautiful and harmless.

“Quasi fashion an exuberant noise in unique settings…The playing is intuitive, sonic, and playful; arrangements are incredibly distinct and imaginative.” - Your Flesh

R&B Transmogrification is a fully realized nugget of indie rock, not just an indulgent side project.” - Seattle Times

“Sam Coomes’ and Janet Weiss spill woeful tales over backdrops of guitar fuzz and unpredictable arrangements.” [5/5] - Alternative Press




FEATURING “BIRDS” (APRIL 20TH, 1998)
On this, Quasi’s third album (their second for Up Records), Quasi’s transformation is possibly complete. They have succeeded in writing a perfect pop album while maintaining the tension and dramatic joy of their past releases. Sam Coomes (formerly of Heatmiser, Donner Party) and Janet Weiss (also of Sleater-Kinney) are the only two individuals alive who can make it ok to be happy about singing along to the ideas of suicide and lost love. They can do it because you dearly want them to, and because no one else has ever dared to try. These themes have become necessary inclusions for the band, and on Featuring “Birds” they are even accompanied by notions of love renewed. Quasi turns a new leaf?

Recorded at Portland’s Jackpot Studio by Mr. Larry Crane (editor ofTape Op magazine) in November of 1997, Featuring “Birds” is an expansion of Quasi’s technical and musical boundaries. For the first time, they have recorded in a professional studio, and for the first
time they have used more than eight tracks (16, this time around). The songs date from late ’96, when Quasi was just recording their last album, up to the moment they entered the studio for this album. The sole guest musician on the album is Charlie Campbell of Pond, who wrote and played guitar on “Tomorrow You’ll Hide.”

“Coomes’s electric harpsichord has a sham-dignified sound twisted and distorted to its fraying point and Weiss’s slashing beats and sour-sweet harmonies tense it up even more.  These are the songs of smart people trying to find some way out of corrosive despair-indie rock’s Rumours.” [Top 20 Albums Of The Year, 1998] - SPIN

“The third release from this Portland, Oregon, ex-husband-and-wife duo hides gut-wrenching heartache and despair inside sugary vocal harmonies and catchy-succinct songwriting.” - Rolling Stone




FIELD STUDIES (SEPTEMBER 7TH, 1999)
Quasi stretch out yet further on Field Studies, their fourth album, and easily justify their recent status as one of the foremost purveyors of underground pop. Every element that made their previous album, Featuring “Birds”, so widely acclaimed – concise songwriting, arching melodies, and dead- on harmonies atop occasionally clamorous and always- propulsive rhythms – is further developed on Field Studies. The tonal palette has expanded to include strings, church organ, theremin, and various electronic instruments, in addition to the keyboards, guitars, and drums that have always been their mainstays.

Somehow, Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss manage once again to play nearly all the instruments on the record themselves. They accomplish this task despite spending the better part of 1999 on the road performing either as Quasi, with Sleater-Kinney (Janet’s other
band), or as part of Elliott Smith’s touring band. Quasi returns the favor to Elliott in kind on Field Studies, enlisting his prowess onbass guitar on several songs.

Field Studies was mostly recorded at Jackpot! Studio in Portland, OR with Larry Crane (of Tape Op magazine); a couple of songs were recorded in Seattle with Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Fleet Foxes), one was recorded in Portland’s Old Church, and another was recorded at Janet’s home, where Quasi recorded their entire first album.

“Like their heroes the Kinks, Coomes and Weiss have found an expert way of channeling dark, questioning sentiments into pop music…” - The AV Club

On their fourth album, drummer Janet 
Weiss and multi-instrumentalist Sam Coomes broaden what had been a rather insistent focus on the Roxichord keyboard pounding to include guitar and piano interludes. The result is the band’s most varied effort yet:  A collection of pop songs whose lovely vocal melodies and lush sonic textures-makes us home that Coomes is just kidding when he sings, “This may be the year I will disappear.” - Rolling Stone


Oh, and perhaps you’d like to see Quasi on Tour:

May 14 - Portland, OR - St. John’s Bizarre
Jun. 24 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
Jun. 25 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade
Jun. 26 - Jersey City, NJ - Monty Hall
Jun. 27 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel

Find ticket links right over here.


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : TUE, APR 12, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Meet The 2016 Sub Pop Loser Scholarship Winners

Disruptor

[Image from ‘Disruptor,’ Lucas Reif’s Zine]

After reading through hundreds of wonderfully thoughtful and inspirational applications, we here at Sub Pop Records have chosen three extraordinarily qualified students for our Sub Pop Loser scholarship.

Our $7000 winner this year is Lucas Reif of Redmond, Washington. Lucas won us over big-time with his explosive poster art for various local all-ages punk shows. His visual art skills were on display through photography, zine creation, web design, screen printing, and a variety of other formats. In the local community, Lucas volunteered at Ground Zero, worked with the EMP Youth Advisory Board, plays in a band called Kids Menu, and supports bands like GAG in our local all-ages spaces. We feel strongly that Lucas has a bright future ahead of him, and although he may think there is a tangible disconnect between him and the cool kids, he is probably one of the coolest and most talented kids to ever apply for our Loser Scholarship. 

Rosabelle Heine will be taking home $5000 this year as a Sub Pop Loser Scholarship winner. From Ashland, Oregon, Rosabelle is one of the most talented and multi-faceted artists we’ve seen in our nine years of looking at Loser Scholarship applications. Her photography, especially the set design, lighting, and thoroughly thought-out concepts really stunned us; her photos are beautifully executed. She is a multi-instrumentalist playing violin, mandolin, busking on the drums, and occasionally making killer beats to rap over. Her community contributions include organizing public youth symphony performances, mural painting, film festival volunteering, building archways in local parks, and fundraising for art lessons for low income students. We love her creative spirit and think that whichever school is lucky enough to have her will be much better off with Rosabelle. Here is Rosabelle’s blog: http://sublimeclementine.com/

Chan Ha Kim will be getting $3000 as a Sub Pop Loser Scholarship winner. Animation and drawing seem to come easy to Chan and they have been her passion since a young age. After immigrating to the Everett area from South Korea, Chan really blossomed as a visual artist and started to win many awards for her very compelling drawings and animations. Not content to just be a stunning visual artist, Chan has helped other Koreans seeking artistic support to find resources in the United States while also hosting volunteer art workshops for children at her home. Wow, her altruistic support of the arts really touched our hearts. But altruism isn’t her only strength, she works on animations and drawings for at least two hours every day and is very dedicated to her craft, volunteering and interning to gain more knowledge at various local organizations. We know there are big things in the future for Chan and her beautiful animations. Here is Chan’s Tumblr: http://verrou.tumblr.com/

This year may have been the strongest field of applicants for the Loser Scholarship so far! For those losers who didn’t win this year, thanks for playing, we loved your applications too, and know many of you will go on to inspire us in the future.





Posted by Andrew Sullivan

NEWS : TUE, APR 12, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Kristin Kontrol Debuts New Track “Show Me” (via i-D) + Announces First Set of Tour Dates

Kristin Kontrol - aka Dee Dee, leader of internationally acclaimed rock outfit Dum Dum Girls - released a new song today. “Show Me,” with all its synth-sax flourishes and minimal groove, premiered on i-D here.

The track, produced by Kurt Feldman with Danny Meyer on saxophone, is off her debut album, X-Communicate, coming out on May 27 via Sub Pop Records. The album pre-order is underway HERE. Fans who pre-order X-Communicate digitally will instantly receive the title track ”X-Communicate,” as well. Additionally, the limited, blue-vinyl Loser Edition is available to pre-order customers at megamart.subpop.com, and at select independent record stores (while supplies last).

“Show Me” follows the release of the album’s title track ”X-Communicate,” of which Cosmopolitan said “her voice…remains as smoldering as it’s always been,” and Pitchfork noted “the springy cushion of bass arpeggios, synth pads, and ringing guitars smartly borrows from Hi-NRG acts like Evelyn Thomas and Bananarama as well as sleek, wavy brooders like New Order and Pet Shop Boys. But the results are far too opulent to scan as merely retro. If “X-Communicate” were a look on “Project Runway,” it’d find Nina Garcia gushing about how expensive it sounds.”


Kristin also announced her first set of tour dates here, including stops in Brooklyn and Boston – more dates will be announced soon.



Kristin tells her stories using a sonic palette splashed with bold pop melodies, her vocals showcasing a range hitherto unexplored by Kristin. The album was produced by Kurt Feldman (of Ice Choir and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) and Andrew Miller (who played guitar in the Dum Dum Girls’ last incarnation). Longtime Dum Dum Girls producer Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, The Go-Go’s) provided “sonic consultation,” giving Kristin feedback on the new songs and inspiring her to continually push further. Kristin spoke more about the upcoming album in her recent Sirius XMU interview with Jenny Eliscu HERE.

Dum Dum Girls was Kristin’s guise for the best part of a decade. After posting her bedroom recordings online, she caught the ears of Sub Pop. From there she assembled her group of badass, black-clad cadets and toured the world. Over the course of three albums, four EPs and a bold brace of singles, Dum Dum Girls morphed from the girl group-gone-bad moves of debut album I Will Be (2010), to the comparatively plush noir-pop of 2014’s Too True. At the top of 2015, Kristin decided to shed her Dum Dum Girls skin, ditching Dee Dee for her real name, Kristin, and adding Kontrol (a bit of an inside joke between old friends). Inspired by some words of wisdom from Karen O, it may be a leap into the unknown, but little risk means little reward.


Tour dates

June 15 - Kingston, NY - BSP Kingston

June 16 - Portsmouth, NH - 3S Artspace

June 17 - Boston, MA - Middle East (upstairs)

June 18 - Pawtucket, RI - The Met

June 22 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby’s All Right  




Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : FRI, APR 8, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Sub Pop Showcase + Pop-up Shops Coming to Seattle in April

Urbanoutfitters sp popup shop 4 8 16
Urban Outfitters is celebrating 25 years in Seattle with a month-long celebration, and they invited us to join the party!

Throughout the month of April you’ll find Sub Pop pop-up shops in all three Seattle Urban Outfitters store locations: Capitol Hill, Downtown and University Way. We think they look pretty great!

The birthday revelry culminates on Saturday, April 30th, when artists from the Sub Pop family — Portland’s Kyle Craft, Olympia’s Strange Wilds, and Hardly Art’s S — perform at the anniversary bash in UO’s Capitol Hill store at 401 Broadway E, from 6-8 PM.  Come for the music; stay for the birthday treats (and opportunities to buy stuff).





Oh hey, we also made a playlist to mark the occasion. Have a listen here:


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : THU, APR 7, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Listen to Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop’s ‘Love Letter for Fire’ in full via NPR Music’s “First Listen”

Sambeamandjescahoop 2016 promo 01 photo joshwool 900 72

You can now hear Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop’s Love Letter for Fire, their forthcoming duets record, in it’s entirety via NPR Music’s “First Listen”.

NPR Music says of the album, “Love Letter for Fire was, at least in part, inspired by the pair’s desire to make songs that function as conversations rather than soliloquies, and their work backs that up…With the help of producer Tucker Martine and a smart, subtle band, the two achieve a fine balance — of songwriting sensibilities, of time in the spotlight — in the service of songs that feel at once fresh and timeless (see “First Listen” April 7th-15th).”
 
Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop’s 2016 headlining tour schedule in support of Love Letter for Fire has been extended through September. This includes a North American trek with support from Marlon Williams (May 17th-June 11th) and a European run (August 28th-September 11th). Sam and Jesca will also appear at End of the Road Festival weekender September 2nd-4th. (complete tour dates below.)

Sam and 
Jesca recently released a short film on the making of Love Letter for Fire. The two discuss the process of how their collaborative album came to fruition and how two people not in love wrote an entire album of love songs. The clip also features exclusive performances of the two in a stripped down and intimate setting [watch it here].



Love Letter for Fire will be available on CD / LP / DL / CASS worldwide April 15th through Sub Pop/Black Crickett Recording Co., and is now available for preorder at Sub Pop Mega MartiTunesAmazonGoogle Play, and Bandcamp. LP preorders through megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited Loser edition on Smoke-colored vinyl (while supplies last - we’re almost out as of 4/7/16). 


Tour Dates
May 17 - Ann Arbor, MI - The Ark*
May 18 - Toronto, ON - The Danforth Music Hall*
May 20 - New York, NY - The Town Hall*
May 21 - Washington, DC - The Lincoln Theatre*
May 22 - Boston, MA - The Wilbur Theatre*
May 24 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer*
May 26 - Atlanta, GA - The Buckhead Theatre*
May 27 - New Orleans, LA - The Civic Theatre*
May 28 - Dallas, TX - The Kessler Theater*
May 30 - Tucson, AZ - The Rialto Theatre*
May 31 - Los Angeles, CA - The Fonda Theatre*
Jun. 02 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall*
Jun. 03 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater*
Jun. 04 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theatre*
Jun. 05 - Boise, ID - The Egyptian Theatre*
Jun. 07 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater*
Jun. 08 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown*
Jun. 09 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater*
Jun. 10 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall Ballroom*
Jun. 11 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall*
Aug. 28 - Edinburgh, UK - Edinburgh International Festival
Aug. 29 - Bangor, UK - Marine Court
Aug. 30 - Dublin, Ireland - Olympia Theatre
Aug 31 - Manchester, UK - Royal Northern College of Music
Sep. 01 - London, UK - Union Chapel
Sep. 02-04 - Salisbury, Larmer Tree Gardens, UK - End of the Road Festival
Sep. 07 - Berlin, DE - Passionskirche
Sep. 08 - Cologne, DE - Kulturkirche
Sep. 09 - Brussels, BE - Botanique-Orangerie
Sep. 10 - Groningen, NL - Take Root Festival
Sep. 11 - Amsterdam, NL - De Duif
* w/ Marlon Williams

For ticket links, click over here.


Posted by Rachel White