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NEWS : FRI, MAR 4, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Listen to Kyle Craft’s “Pentecost” from Dolls of Highland (via NPR Music)

Kyle Craft’s “Pentecost” is the latest offering from Dolls of Highland, his forthcoming Sub Pop debut.

NPR Music’s “All Songs Considered” had this to say of the track, “Pentecost” sees Kyle Craft…return to his hometown in Louisiana, haunted by the ghost of a friend who took his own life. Paired with his knack for great melodies, it demonstrates Craft’s emotional power as a songwriter (see premiere via “New Mix” March 1st).”

NPR Music also discussed Craft’s ‘Lady of the Ark” for its “Songs We Love” feature this week. They said of the track, “Like many artists from the South, Craft has a conflicted relationship with the region’s cultural duality, a topic he tackles on “Lady Of The Ark.” Shrouded in guitars and organ, he caustically wails, “Swing low, low sweet heathen / Swing for the wretch and the rock and roll kid,” a line he says he wrote in response to the “shame, shame thing that ‘church folk’ tend to do so often,” and which doesn’t sit well with Craft. “Roam this earth repeat it / All this sin until this wicked world makes sense in time,” he defiantly growls near the song’s end. Craft’s roaming days may be done for now, but “Lady Of The Ark” shows his music as wild-eyed and restless (“Songs We Love” feature March 2nd).”


Kyle Craft will release Dolls of Highland, his label debut, on CD / LP / DL / CASS worldwide April 29th through Sub Pop, and preorder is now available from Sub Pop Mega MartiTunesAmazonGoogle Play, and Bandcamp. LP preorders from megamart.subpop.com will receive the Loser edition on pink vinyl with black swirl.

Dolls of Highland was written, recorded and produced by Craft, mixed by Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel of The Helio Sequence at the Old Jantzen Building in Portland, and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.


About Kyle Craft:

Kyle Craft grew up in a tiny Louisiana town on the banks of the Mississippi, where he spent most of his time catching alligators and rattlesnakes instead of playing football or picking up the guitar. He’s not the born product of a musical family, and bands never came through town–it was only a chance trip to K-Mart that gave him his first album, a David Bowie hits compilation that helped inspire him eventually to channel his innate feral energy into songwriting and rock and roll.

That self-made talent drives every note of Dolls of Highland, Craft’s exhilarating, fearless solo debut. “This album is the dark corner of a bar,” he says. “It’s that feeling at the end of the night when you’re confronted with ‘now what?’”

Craft knows the feeling well–Dolls began to take shape when everything he took for granted was suddenly over, including an eight-year relationship. “All of a sudden I was left with just me for the first time in my adult life,” he says. He decided to get himself and the music he’d been working on far away from the ghosts of his home in Shreveport, Louisiana, to make a new life for himself in Portland, Oregon, living under a friend’s pool table while he demoed new songs and started to tackle his own question about what came next.

Dolls of Highland crashes open with “Eye of a Hurricane,” a whirlwind of ragtime piano and Craft’s dynamic, enthralling vocals. He calls it a “jealous song,” stirred up by the memories of an ill-fated crush and a drama of “weird little connections, a spider web of what the fuck?”

The swinging, resonant “Lady of the Ark” is also tied up in that web, “a very incestuous song,” says Craft. “It’s about these messed up relationships, maybe involving me, maybe revolving around me.” Most of the characters and atmospheres on the album come from in and around Shreveport, where Craft briefly returned while recording the album for an intensely productive reckoning with his past. He stayed in a friend’s laundry room in the Highland neighborhood, where he recorded the whole album in two months on a home studio rig. “I dedicated the album to Shreveport and called it Dolls of Highland for all the girls and ghosts in town who influenced it so strongly.”

Craft eventually returned to Portland where Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel of The Helio Sequence helped refine and mix the album to move it from its DIY beginnings to a more fully realized work. Craft played most of the instruments on the album, but the recorded songs transmit the power of his live performance. “It’s just letting go,” says Craft. “I think it’s just all about feeling it in your chest.”

And then there’s Craft’s unforgettable voice–”I’m fully aware that I have a very abrasive, very loud voice, but Bob Dylan is the one that taught me to embrace that,” says Craft. “I stray away from him from time to time, but always come back. I don’t want to come off as antique, but I also don’t want to be afraid of paying homage to the stuff I’ve always loved.” With those influences as inspiration, Craft’s talent and singular creativity move the conversation into new and unpredictable places.

And no question, this album is very much about moving forward. “After everything fell apart, it didn’t take very long for me to learn who I was and what I should be doing,” says Craft, who is walking out on the other side with Dolls of Highland.


What ‘The People’ have said about Kyle Craft:

“Craft admits his voice sounds a good deal like Bob Dylan’s, and that his muse has come to him many, many times. Still, “Lady of the Ark” hints that Craft’s music is so full of its own weird singularity that he’s on to something far beyond idol worship.” -  Billboard

“With inviting, yet imperfect vocals and a jangly guitar melody, “Lady of the Ark” is a sweeping goodbye to a long-term relationship. It’s somehow warm, melodic, and rough at the same time.” [The Weeks Best Tracks”] - FLOOD

“It’s thrilling. It’s the sort of music that can only come from a somewhat unique musical outlook, a track that instantly sounds like nobody other than Kyle Craft. The huge sound of pounding drums, the almost mariachi handclaps, the frankly bizarre fairground-organ interlude, the lyrics than hint at a complex incestuous web of lives and lies, and all that before you even get to the voice…he has said that listening to Bob Dylan inspired him to embrace his voice and make the most of it. Kyle has suggested he shares a tone with Bob, but to our ears it’s more like the love child of Withered Hand and Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, and that’s a very good, if slightly divisive, place to be.” - For The Rabbits

“Hard to believe given the innate sense of pop heritage that blossoms from every ounce of his fruitful, endearingly scorched lead vocal but it wasn’t until Craft stumbled upon a David Bowie that he began to take an interest in music. Lucky for us that he did – debut track ‘Lady Of The Ark’ is a stormy, rugged gem, led by one of the most distinctly impressive new voices in the game. A mighty fine introduction.” - Gold Flake Paint


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : THU, MAR 3, 2016 at 9:00 AM

“Back By Zero Demand” : Sub Pop’s 2016 SXSW Showcase and Evening of Entertainment

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On Friday, March 18th the highly-trained music industry professionals from Sub Pop Records will host “Back by Zero Demand,” our 2016 SXSW showcase. The event, held at The Blackheart in Austin, will feature performances from Mass Gothic, Cullen Omori, So Pitted, Arbor Labor Union, Porter Ray, and Strange Wilds. The showcase is 21 and over, and doors are at 7:30pm.

BACK BY ZERO DEMAND:
Sub Pop’s SXSW 2016 Showcase
At The Blackheart/Austin

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1756142247943004/

1:00 AM Mass Gothic
12:00 AM Cullen Omori
11:00 PM So Pitted
10:00 PM Arbor Labor Union
9:00 PM Porter Ray
8:00 PM Strange Wilds

Address: 86 Rainey St, Austin, TX 78701
Doors 7:30pm / 21+


 



Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : THU, MAR 3, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Listen To “X-Communicate,” The Title Track From Kristin Kontrol’s Debut Album (out May 27)

Kristin Welchez - aka Dee Dee, leader of internationally acclaimed rock outfit Dum Dum Girls, will release X-Communicate, the debut album from her new solo project, Kristin Kontrol, on CD / LP / DL / CASS worldwide May 27 via Sub Pop. Tapped as the first single, “X-Communicate” melds new wave with synth pop in a slice of glistening cosmic disco. You can share/listen to the track right over HERE.

 

The album pre-order is underway HERE. Fans who pre-order X-Communicate digitally will instantly receive “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).

 

With Kristin Kontrol, Dee Dee sheds her skin, ditching the alter ego she’d assumed in Dum Dum Girls – for her given name, Kristin. Once again, she is smashing boundaries, only this time it’s the ones she had drawn to define herself artistically.

 

“For me as leader of Dum Dum Girls it felt very stoic and serious, and I am serious, but anyone who really knows me knows the other side; I’m silly – I smile a lot,” explains Kristin. “As the years went on, it was so weird that I kept so much of me out of my art.”


[Photo by Jimmy Fontaine]

As Kristin Kontrol, she tells her stories using a sonic palette splashed with bold pop melodies, her vocals showcasing a range hitherto unexplored on record. 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. After writing 62 songs for the project, she whittled them down to the 10 that will be featured on this debut.

 

“The first music I really identified as my own was very poppy, classic 80s, from Debbie Gibson and Tiffany to Janet Jackson and Madonna,” says Kristin, who grew up in Northern California and now resides in New York City. “I didn’t want to make another rock’n’roll record.”

 

With its synth-sax flourishes and minimal groove, album opener “Show Me” sounds like the soundtrack to a previously unseen John Hughes movie montage. ”(Don’t) Wannabe” loops Enya-esque vocals and features her first reverse guitar solo while “White Street” is Kristin’s most narrative song yet, telling the tale of a specific night - last New Year’s Eve - in New York City. 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.

 

In a review of Too True, The New York Times observed, “each successive album has largely offered refinements and variations.” “Too True preserves what makes Dum Dum Girls great, while pushing the band to brilliant new heights,” said Alternative Press and MOJO praised its “mythic ambition. “Dum Dum Girls supported Too True with a North American tour, a performance on “Late Show with David Letterman,” and a series of videos, including ”“Lost Boys & Girls Club,” which was produced with support from H&M Life, and “Are You Okay,” which was produced and directed by novelist/screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis.

 

Kristin Kontrol will announce live dates soon, but in the meantime, fans can find her DJ’ing at SXSW later his month. Her recent video capturing a street art tribute to David Bowie, that was painted on the railings on a New York City street, caught fire and now has more than 13 million views. It can be seen HERE.


X-Communicate – Track Listing

  1. Show Me

  2. White Street

  3. (Don’t) Wannabe

  4. X-Communicate

  5. Skin Shed

  6. Drive the Night

  7. What is Love

  8. Face 2 Face

  9. Going Thru the Motions

  10. Smoke Rings


Pertinent links:

Share/Listen/Embed Song, X-Communicate, HERE

Pre-order X-Communicate HERE

View David Bowie street art video HERE

Visit official website HERE

Sirius XMU interview HERE


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : WED, MAR 2, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Heron Oblivion’s Self-titled LP Is Out This Friday + North American Tour Dates Extended

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Heron Oblivion’s U.S. tour schedule in support of their self-titled debuthas been extended, and now spans March 3rd in Oakland, CA at Starline Social Club though June 18th in Portland, OR at Mississippi Studios. Newly added dates include stops in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, DC, Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago in late May and early June. Additionally, Heron Oblivion’s festival schedule includes: March 11th in Marfa, TX for Marfa Myths; June 10th -11th in Sonoma, CA at Huichica Music Festival; and the Levitation Festival’s two North American dates, held on April 30th in Austin and June 17th in Vancouver. (complete tour dates below.)

You can now hear Heron Oblivion in full via NPR Music’s “First Listen”.

NPR Music says of the album: “Heron Oblivion shows an uncanny ability to merge and move between authentic forms of psychedelic expression, be they slow burners like “Beneath Fields” and the 10-minute “Rama,” or in woollier offerings like “Oriar” and the whammy-bar-heavy “Faro,” in which Baird enters a vocal trance from which many might never return. Across the whole endeavor, Saufley and Harmonson display a shared language of dynamic shifts and withering, feedback-laden bursts of guitar that create a deeply unsettling effect. Miller hangs back, providing a near-perfect foil to Baird’s minimalist, atmospheric percussion.

“Still, it’s Baird’s voice that sets Heron Oblivion apart: Clear and breathy, it evokes the spirits of Sandy Denny, Trees’ Celia Humphris, Judy Dyble, and the vocal performers from the Wicker Man soundtrack, among others. It cuts through even the grimiest displays of noise the band can muster, punctuating the band’s doom-laden sentiments with bell-tolling finality and grave seriousness. Even if it’s not what the group had envisioned as its calling card, that stern mood helps Heron Oblivion stand out. With any luck, this music will mark a sea change in how we approach psychedelic music in general: as a sound that’s both rooted in history and geared toward the future (see “First Listen” February 24th).”


Heron Oblivion will be released on CD / LP / DL / CASS worldwide Friday, March 4th through Sub Pop. The album, which features the highlights “Oriar”, “Beneath Fields”, “Your Hollows” and “Sudden Lament”, was produced and mixed by the band in San Francisco at The Mansion.

Heron Oblivion is now available for preorder from the Sub Pop Mega MartiTunesAmazonGoogle Play and Bandcamp. LP preorders from megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited “Loser” edition on clear vinyl with a white swirl (while supplies last). Additionally, a slate gray T-shirt will be available with CD and LP bundles and as a stand alone item.  


More on Heron Oblivion from WFMU’s Brian Turner:
Pastoral pummel. Listening to Heron Oblivion’s album feels like sitting in a lovely meadow in the shadow of a dam that’s gonna heave-ho’ any minute. Members of this new San Francisco combo have put in time in both raging and relatively tranquil psychedelic sound units—this is the premise and the synergy behind this very unique and special new album (read more at Sub Pop).


Tour Dates:
Mar. 03 - Oakland, CA - Starline Social Club*
Mar. 04 - San Francisco, CA - Amoeba Records (instore)
Mar. 05 - Los Angeles, CA - Resident^
Mar. 06 - San Diego, CA - ‘Til Two
Mar. 11 - Marfa, TX - Marfa Myths
Mar. 20 - Santa Cruz, CA - Don Quixote’s International Music Hall**
Apr. 30 - Austin, TX - Levitation Festival
Jun. 17 - Vancouver, BC - Levitation Vancouver (Cobalt)
May 27 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle
May 28 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool
May 31 - Washington, DC - DC9
Jun. 01 - Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop
Jun. 02 - Detroit, MI - UFO Factory
Jun. 03 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen
Jun. 10-11 - Sonoma, CA - Huichica Music Festival
Jun. 16 - Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern
Jun. 17 - Vancouver, BC - Levitation Vancouver - Cobalt
Jun. 18 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
* with CCR Headcleaner, Bill Orcutt
^ with Morgan Delt, Itasca
** with Fred & Toody (of Dead Moon)

Tour ticket links reside in this place.


What people are saying about Heron Oblivion:
“…A raging new psych band.” - Uncut

“These San Franciscans are that rarest of beasts: a supergroup that delivers more than the sum of its parts. Their debut album triumphs, thanks to how well those constituent parts complement each other…Heron Oblivion’s blend of tender melodies and lysergic moods works so well you wonder why these kindred spirits waited so long to collaborate; let’s hope it’s no one-off.” [4/5] - MOJO

“Anyone hoping to hear the mash-up of extroverted guitar blowouts and folk-derived lyricism promised by their collective CV will get what they came for, but Heron Oblivion’s root equation is multivariate multiplication, not addition. The way they factor in bits of Crazy Horse, Fairport Convention, and The Stooges and High Rise gets complicated in a hurry, so that even when you recognize the elements they own the final sum.”  - The Wire

“…Like Pentangle and Black Mountain gorging on magic mushrooms at a woodland commune” - Q

“Whereas Baird’s serene vocals are reminiscent of folk greats like Sandy Denny, the unhinged guitars are pure psych firework displays, exploding frequently, shimmering and screaming, waningmomentarily into the background, and then blasting off again with frazzled gusto.” - The Quietus

“Expressive guitar lines laced with feedback sprawl out again and again without trailing away too far. Meg Baird’s serene voice harkens back to ’60s folk singers, subdued in a way that lends special gravity without being bombastic. Frankly, the group sounds exactly like what psychedelic rock should sound like.” [“Oriar”] -Stereogum

“Not much of HO’s music lives online at the moment, but what’s there suggests a group— Ethan Miller, Noel V. Harmonson, Meg Baird, and Charles Saufley—who like to jam for long durations in the fuzzy, fiery guitar-laden zone where Neil Young’s Zuma meets Joe Walsh-era James Gang. (One track is called “Funeral Funk 49,” and while it’s not as funky as James Gang’s 1970 hit, it takes you deeper into trance land.) Heron Oblivion also
claim influences from the Japanese power-psych label PSF and UK electric folk rock, and Baird’s vocals counterbalance the swarming sound with a dulcet breeziness.” - The Stranger

“San Francisco band Heron Oblivion (who just signed with Sub Pop) opened the night. Fronted by singer/drummer Meg Baird of the Espers (and a Philly ex-pat who’s sung backing vocals for Vile), the band set the tone for the night with some moody psych-folk/noise rock that was made all the more impressive when paired with Baird’s powerful, haunting voice.” - Three Match Breeze


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : MON, FEB 29, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Flight of the Conchords Announce “Flight of the Conchords sing Flight of the Conchords Tour”

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Grammy Award-winning folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords (aka Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie) will return to the U.S. this summer. The “Flight of the Conchords sing Flight of the Conchords Tour,” is their first since co-headlining 2014’s “Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Tour.” Jemaine and Bret have new material in the works, which they’ll showcase exclusively at these shows. The amphitheatre and concert hall tour will make stops in Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Seattle, Atlanta, and more.

The “Flight of the Conchords sing Flight of the Conchords Tour” begins June 11th in Cleveland, OH at State Theatre and ends July 27th in Los Angeles, CA at The Greek Theatre.  Highlights for the tour include July 5th in Morrison, CO at Red Rocks Amphitheatre; Newport Folk Festival July 22; and New York’s Central Park Summerstage July 24th. Tickets are on sale beginning Friday, March 4th at 10am. (complete listing below.)

Bret had this to say of the upcoming tour: “I’m thrilled to get back on the road with over half the original band.”

The Conchords have also partnered with the charity organization Global Citizen for this tour. Amy Freeland, Senior Manager of Global Citizen Tickets, had this to say 
of the union, “We are so excited that Flight of the Conchords has joined the Global Citizen Tickets program for 2016! Offering two tickets to each show on the upcoming “Flight of the Conchords sing Flight of the Conchords Tour” will engage and motivate Global Citizens across the U.S. to take action to end extreme poverty by 2030.”


Tour Dates
Jun. 11 - Cleveland, OH - State Theatre
Jun. 12 - Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center for Performing Arts
Jun. 13 - Washington, DC - Wolf Trap Filene Center
Jun. 14 - Columbus, OH - Palace Theatre
Jun. 16 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre
Jun. 17 - Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum
Jun. 18 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre
Jun. 19 - Chicago, IL - Pritzker Pavilion
Jun. 22 - Redmond, WA - Marymoor Park 
Jun. 23 - Vancouver, BC - Orpheum
Jun. 24 - Portland, OR - Keller Auditorium
Jun. 27 - San Francisco, CA - The Masonic
Jul. 01 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl
Jul. 02 - San Diego, CA - Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre at SDSU
Jul. 03 - Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre
Jul. 05 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Jul. 07 - Kansas City, MO - Starlight Theatre
Jul. 09 - Austin, TX - Bass Hall
Jul. 11 - New Orleans, LA - Saenger Theatre
Jul. 12 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Jul. 14 - Nashville, TN - Ascend Amphitheater
Jul. 16 - Boca Raton, FL - Mizner Park Amphitheatre
Jul. 17 - St. Augustine, FL - St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Jul. 18 - Cary, NC - Koka Booth Amphitheatre
Jul. 22 - Newport, RI - Newport Folk Festival 2016 (Fort Adams State Park)
Jul. 23 - Boston, MA - Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Jul. 24 - New York, NY - Central Park Summerstage
Jul. 27 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre

You’ll find ticket links right over here.


About Flight of the Conchords:
Bret and Jemaine first met in 1996 at Victoria University Wellington. Jemaine vividly remembers the first time he met Bret; “he was wearing a hat”. Bret doesn’t remember meeting Jemaine, but says it was unforgettable.

They were both acting in a University Drama Club production called Body Play. Bret and Jemaine were put in a group of five men to create a short theatrical piece about male body issues. The most memorable part of the show was the costumes. They wore nothing but skin coloured bike shorts giving the audience the illusion that they were naked. From that short vignette the group of five developed another pseudo nude show called So, You’re A Man. They performed to sell-out audiences in Wellington and
Auckland,and were then invited to perform at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

They flew to Australia for a one month season at a Melbourne comedy club called The Last Laugh. The group couldn’t believe they were being paid to perform and Bret blew his entire first pay cheque on a pair of leather pants. 
Unfortunately the Australians didn’t appreciate the show like they had in New Zealand, and the season was cancelled after one week.

In 
1998 Bret and Jemaine decided to start a band. With a combined knowledge of three chords on the guitar they set about jamming out. The first song was Foux Du FaFa, (two chords) and they called themselves Moustache. The four piece band had Bret on casio-tone, Jemaine on guitar, and their friends Toby Laing and Tim Jaray on trumpet and double bass. They performed their one song at the Wellington Fringe Festival late night club and members of the audience were said to have been “mildly impressed” by the act.

After the encouraging 
feedback the pair continued to write songs in their living room, subjecting their six flatmates to relentless three chord jams. After several weeks they knew four chords and Jemaine got them a gig to perform at the Thursday night Comedy Club. On the afternoon of the gig they realized they needed a band name. The initial list of names included Roxygen Supply, Albatrocity, and Tanfastic. But the final name was chanced upon in a series of events that went something like this: Jemaine went to the bathroom and noticed the flat toilet was called the Concorde, he returned from the bathroom to suggest the name Conchord, and Bret said “What about Flight of the Conchords”, and Jemaine said “okay”, and Bret said “okay “, and Jemaine said “okay then” and Bret said “We should go to the gig, we’re late”.

That night was their first performance as Flight of the Conchords. Bret and Jemaine were so nervous they couldn’t speak between songs. Despite their performance 
anxiety the crowd of eleven people enjoyed their gig and were heard clapping and talking amongst themselves (read more at Sub Pop).


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : FRI, FEB 26, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Sub Pop and Alaska Airlines: Together At Last!

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From the altogether official press release, courtesy of our new friends at Alaska Airlines

- - - - -

Twitter exchange sparks new in-flight partnership with Sub Pop Records

BY KEEGAN PROSSER for Alaska Airlines

Looking for something fresh and exciting to do during your next flight? Then Alaska has some good news for you. Beginning this month, the airline is partnering with Seattle’s Sub Pop Records to bring some of the label’s best music onboard – for free. 

Launched with Beach House’s latest album Thank Your Lucky Stars on February 1, the new program offers fliers the chance to listen to one complimentary featured Sub Pop title per month on Alaska Beyond Entertainment, Alaska’s direct-to-your-device inflight entertainment service, and two albums per quarter on the rentable tablets. 


“We didn’t have inflight entertainment on most of our flights until about a year and a half ago,” says David Scotland, manager of inflight entertainment and connectivity for the airline, adding that one of Alaska’s priorities is to ensure that customers aren’t receiving “plain vanilla anything” aboard its flights. “We have our own unique way of designing every experience of travel – from locally sourced food to space-enhancing seats and now music,” he continues, noting that the record label takes a similar approach in curating its artists. “And Sub Pop is a way for us to do that in the music and entertainment space.”


The partnership itself came about when a former Sub Pop employee was on an Alaska flight and tweeted to ask why the two companies weren’t working together. Soon after, the Twitter conversation turned into a real plan of action.

“There’s definitely a big appeal for doing something specifically with Alaska,” notes Chris Jacobs, General Manager of Sub Pop Records. “Because Sub Pop is so overtly and proudly associated with the region, and so is Alaska, it makes sense.” According to Jacobs, albums selected for the streaming and tablet platforms are based on timeliness and appeal to a variety of listeners, with March’s featured album set to be Shearwater’s latest release Jet Plane and Oxbow. “The music we put out can range pretty widely, from relatively accessible to relatively not,” Jacobs says of the label. “So we are trying to focus on bands at the more accessible end.”


In that spirit, Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiberg sees the inflight entertainment platform as a great way to gain new fans. “My hope is that the record feels accessible and friendly on first listen but has enough depth and detail that you’ll want to play it again,” he explains of the project, which pairs dreamy indie rock with punchy ‘80s synths. “We spent many weeks laboring over the texture and colors of the sounds.” He also sees it as a great alternative for his music to be consumed. “I’m just glad for the chance to reach people who might never hear our music otherwise.”


And fellow Sub Pop artist Cullen Omori, whose solo debut New Misery will be featured on Alaska flights in April, shares the sentiment. “There’s no better audience,” says the former Smith Westerns vocalist, whose collection of genre-bending pop rock cuts hits stores March 18. “You have a captive audience that’s stuck on a plane for X amount of hours. And so, there’s no better time to pitch them some music to listen to.”


As Scotland points out, teaming up with local brands such as Sub Pop, the Seattle International Film Festival, fashion designer Luly Yang and Tom Douglas restaurants enables Alaska to deepen the relationship it’s built with core customers and provide them with a piece of home. “One of the things that our customers from the Seattle area tell us very often is that they feel like they’re already home when they get on the plane, and there’s a comfort there.” But it also leaves a lasting impression with customers who may be flying in the region for the first time. “There is something cool and unique about the PNW,” he continues. “We do march to the beat of our own drum. We’re not like the rest of the country. And being an airline, we get to introduce a lot of people to some of the best parts of the Pacific Northwest.”

- - - - -

Guest Writer Keegan Prosser is a full-time pop culture junkie and part-time freelance music journalist who is based in Seattle and has contributed to Seattle Weekly and RollingStone.com. When she’s not writing about Justin Bieber for radio prep service ReelWorld.com, Keegan flies Alaska to cities with good food, great people and exceptional live music.

[Originally published February 26th on alaskaair.com]


Posted by Rachel White