As described by director, Shayne Ehman (who has directed 3 out of 3 of the videos from Strange Peace), the video examines: “…the crumbling remnants of civilization…a broken justice system…a consumer wasteland… Was it all part of the plan?” Watch the video for “Mr. Plague” here to find out.
METZ have added new dates to their previously announced and comprehensive 2018 international tour schedule. New Canadian and European headlining and festival dates include: Quebec City at Festival D’été on July 11th; Leipzig, Germany at UT Connewitz on July 18th; Berlin, Germany at Cassiopeia on July 19th; August 16th in Wiesbaden, Germany at Schlactof; Reading Festival on August 25th; Leeds Festival on August 26th; Cardiff, Wales at The Globe on August 27th; and Asten-Heusden, Netherlands for the Misty Fields Festival on August 31st. Sub Pop labelmates Moaning will open a number of these EU shows.
Apr. 17 - Lisbon, Portugal – MusicBox * Apr. 18 - Porto, Portugal – Hard Club * Apr. 19 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso Noord Apr. 20 - Rotterdam, Netherlands – Motel Mozaique Apr. 21 - Esch-sur-Alzette, LU - Out of the Crowd Festival Apr. 23 - Milan, IT - Magnolia * Apr. 24 - Bologna, IT - Freakout, Bologna * Apr. 25 - Munich, DE - Strom * Apr. 26 - Cologne, DE - Gebaude 9 * Apr. 27 - Belfort, FR - Impetus Festival Apr. 28 - London, UK - Test Pressing Festival* Apr. 30 - Glasgow, UK - Stereo * May 01 - Dublin, IE - Whelan’s May 02 - Manchester, UK - Soup Kitchen * May 03 - Ramsgate, UK - Ramsgate Music Hall * [Sold Out] May 04 - Brussels, BE - Les Nuits Botanique [Sold Out] May 05 - Leffinge, BE - De Zwerver * May 23 - Taipei, Taiwan - The Wall May 25 - Beijing, China - TBC May 26 - Shanghai, China - TBC May 29 - Hong Kong, China - TTN Livehouse May 31 - Manila, Philippines - Mow’s Bar Jun. 01 - Singapore - Decline Jun. 02 - Bangkok, Thailand - Norma Jun. 04 - Tokyo, Japan - Fever Jun. 05 - Tokyo, Japan - Fever Jun. 06 - Nagoya, Japan - Tight Rope Jun. 07 - Osaka, Japan - Conpass Jun. 13 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall Jun. 14 - New York, NY - Rocks Off Cruise w/ Holy Fuck Jul. 11 - Quebec City, QC - Festival D’ete Jul. 12 - Ottawa, ON - Babylon Jul 18 - Leipzig, DE - UT Connewitz, Jul. 19 - Berlin, DE - Cassiopeia Jul. 21 - Tromso, Norway - Bukta Festival Aug. 16 - Wiesbaden, DE - Schlactof Aug. 25 - Reading, UK - Reading Festival Aug. 26 - Leeds, UK - Leeds Festival Aug. 27 - Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms Aug. 29 - Cardiff, UK - The Globe Aug. 31 - Asten-Heusden, NL - Misty Fields Festival Sep. 14 - Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre (Westward Festival) Oct. 26-28 - Gainesville, Florida - The Fest * w/ Moaning
Strange Peace is available now on CD / LP / DL / CS worldwide (except in Canada) from Sub Pop here. In Canada, Strange Peace is available from Royal Mountain Records over here.
U.S. East Coast Living Room Tour Is Underway Now Through April 24th.
On May 25th, 2018, Sub Pop will release Return of the Frog Queen, the newly remastered debut solo album from Jeremy Enigk. Return of the Frog Queen has been out of print since its original 1996 pressing. This reissue includes the original album, remastered in 2018, plus digital bonus tracks from Enigk’s 1996 live session on Seattle radio station The End.
Jeremy Enigk performed with legendary indie rock band Sunny Day Real Estate from 1993 to 2000. In 1996, following Sunny Day Real Estate’s first breakup (which lasted from 1995 to 1997), Enigk released Return of the Frog Queen.
Return of the Frog Queen represents a major shift from the sound of Sunny Day Real Estate. The album features a 21-piece orchestra backing Enigk as he performs striking, dramatic, chamber-pop compositions that demonstrate the full breadth of Enigk’s talents as a singer, musician, and songwriter. The album was produced by Greg Williamson, who also produced Sunny Day Real Estate’s 1998 comeback album, How it Feels to Be Something On.
Return of the Frog Queen is now available for preorder from Sub Pop. The vinyl edition of the album will be available on a limited run of purple vinyl (while supplies last).
Return of the Frog Queen Tracklisting
1. Abegail Anne 2. Return of the Frog Queen 3. Lewis Hollow 4. Lizard 5. Carnival 6. Call Me Steam 7. Explain 8. Shade and the Black Hat 9. Fallen Heart 10. Abegail Anne* 11. Return of the Frog Queen* 12. Lizard* 13. Carnival* 14. Explain* *The End Sessions CD and digital-only bonus tracks
Tour Dates + Ticket Links
Jeremy Enigk 2018 tour schedule is underway, with a U.S. east coast Living Room tour through April 24th. Additional live dates will be announced soon. Please visit Jeremy Enigk’s website here for more info.
[Photo Courtesy of the Artist]
About Jeremy Enigk’s Return of the Frog Queen
Three good reasons why it’s hard to remember a time when an album like Jeremy Enigk’s Return of the Frog Queen sounded shocking:
1) At the time of its release in 1996, there was no other album like it.
2) In the 22 years between then and now, its marriage of seemingly opposing sensibilities—English folk and American punk; orchestral chamber pop and progressive rock; surreal, pastoral, fanciful lyrics that burn to express personal, emotional, and spiritual quandary—has become the blueprint for so much great music that a young listener can be forgiven for thinking that things were always just like that.
This isn’t to claim some kind of Velvet Underground/Big Star status for the album, but it is to say that you can draw a straight line between Frog Queen and elements of Elliott Smith, Belle & Sebastian, Rufus Wainwright, Destroyer, the Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Beirut, Grizzly Bear, Joanna Newsom, Bon Iver, and many, many other artists who have come to define the past two decades of indie music.
3) It’s getting harder to remember anything anymore.
But Return of the Frog Queen is worth remembering. Or discovering. And most definitely celebrating. Though you rarely see it turn up on lists of 50 Best Things of Whatever Year We Wish We Still Lived in Because the Present Is Such a Consummate Drag, the album was an indisputable innovation in the world of ‘90s indie rock, rewriting a litany of unwritten rules about sound, subject matter, and solo identity for lead singers of successful bands.
As you probably know, Enigk was the singer/guitarist of Sunny Day Real Estate, the Seattle quartet widely credited as the Big Bang of the post-hardcore, indie rock variant of emo that would spend the next decade morphing into a massively commercial enterprise.
You can’t blame Sunny Day Real Estate for that, though. They were just a young, powerhouse band who happened to be several years ahead of their time.
SDRE’s debut album, Diary, and its first single, “Seven,” was a seismic event, not least in the lives of the band members. It was released in May of 1994, one month and two days after Kurt Cobain’s suicide was discovered. Diarybecame Sub Pop’s biggest-selling album since Bleach—a distinction that lasted until the next decade.
The story of the band’s splintering during the making of their follow-up album (LP2)—and triumphant reunion a few years later—has been well-told elsewhere. But for our purposes, it’s worth bearing in mind that the break-up drama formed the background from which Return of the Frog Queen emerged.
In the space of about two years, Jeremy Enigk had joined a band with some friends, toured the world, sold way more records than anyone had anticipated, been heralded with hyperbolic—not to say unwarranted—praise, become a significant voice to a lot of young listeners, experienced a religious epiphany that he spoke of publicly, and watched the band buckle and fall apart, much to the dismay of a public that was only just starting to figure out how to broadcast its anxious speculations and judgments on the internet.
By the time the band broke up, he had been loved, respected, celebrated, criticized, vilified, and reproached. He was 21 years old.
One might expect a person might respond to all this sturm und drang by making noisy, chaotic, electric guitar-driven music of the kind his now-defunct band made its name with. One might expect someone whose character and even sanity had been widely debated in public might want to write a definitive statement about his identity, his ideology, his id.
But Jeremy Enigk didn’t do either of those things. He made Return of the Frog Queen instead.
ENTER THE FROG QUEEN
The songs that formed the basis of Enigk’s first solo album were about as far from the sound of Sunny Day Real Estate as you could imagine—unless all you’d heard of them was “Pheurton Skeurto,” the little piano songlet that sounds (delightfully) out of place on Diary.
Spare acoustic guitar figures and solemn, almost plainsong melodies are the foundational elements, which Enigk and his two key collaborators, producer Greg Williamson and arranger/conductor Mark Nichols, build up into astonishingly dynamic worlds of sound. But for all the swoops and bends, the unconventional entrances and exits, the arrangements remain organic, and perfectly united behind the singular human voice at the center of it all.
From the very first strum on “Abegail Anne,” the music is stately, mysterious, vaguely mystical, and not even remotely interested in the ironic detachment still popular in those days.
If anything, the arrangements, and the stupefyingly strong vocals, are flagrantly theatrical. Enigk sang hard over loud instruments in SDRE, but nothing prepared you for the versatility of his voice on Frog Queen. From a raspy whisper to conversational chest voice to clearly differentiated levels of high end—choked scream, melodic scream, head voice, falsetto, whatever you want. (And just a wisp of an unconscious British accent.)
But even at the peak of crescendo, as on the staggering climax of “Shade and the Black Hat,” on which Enigk wails “WON’T YOU STAY TONIGHT?” at the top of his range while the orchestra whips up a maelstrom—this music feels unfailingly intimate, while somehow remaining intensely private.
This is the central enigma (enigkma?) of the album: How can a song be both intimate and private? How can music that feels like fearless personal revelation grow more opaque the more closely you examine at it? Consider the author, and what his life was like at the time these songs were written and recorded. It’s easy to imagine a 21-year-old rock star manqué feeling overwhelmed, overexposed, overanalyzed, hungry for a kind of solace in which sound precedes meaning.
And yet, meaning is all over the record if you’re looking.
In among the pleasing, suggestively abstract imagery—“dallow water,” and “this dubious day,” and “window morning dream paradise”—Enigk plants lines that don’t require much interpretation at all if you’ve ever been anywhere near a break-up of a band or any other relationship, ever worried about what strangers might be saying about you, ever felt unseen, ever re-ran edited versions of old arguments in your mind, ever believed in something so fiercely that you were willing to lose friendships over it.
“Wait for, wait for me…”
“I’ve heard rumors…”
“No one knows my name…”
“What I’ve seen tears me inside…”
“Then the writing on the wall said he is only the way You said it was bad timing at least we had timing at all.”
These lines are crucial, but they’re also non-sequiturs, there for you to discover if you’re looking, but the songs still work beautifully if you never do.
But beyond the literal, there’s a spirit of fabulism in the lyrics—hardly a surprise on a record named after amphibian royalty. Who is this “Abegail Anne”? Where is this sleepy, enchanted “Lewis Hollow”? What does “hi, hey” mean? And how does he proceed so artfully from idle, drowsy contemplation of a lizard in a castle, observing the tremors of its “dreary heart,” to the roaring, soaring cascade of frustration bursting forth at song’s end? Who is being addressed, and by whom?
Trying to tease out the puzzle of these artfully esoteric lyrics has proven to be one of the album’s most durable pleasures (or possibly frustrations, if you prefer things spelled out). As time passes, the words might seem meaningless or profound depending on who you are, not who Enigk was.
It makes for an odd spin on the idea of self-revelation. The album unquestionably opens a window onto an unorthodox artist, pursuing an unorthodox process, to arrive at a most unorthodox production. But as with any great artwork, the real subject is the person looking at it.
ONWARD AND INWARD
Even after two decades, it’s difficult to find a name for the atmosphere conjured by the album. There are traces of Incredible String Band pastoralia, but also a strain of Pink Floydish unease. Bowie between Man Who Sold the Worldand Hunky Dory. It’s not dark exactly, but only because your eyes have adjusted to candlelight. It feels mystical, even metaphysical.
Emphasis on “physical.”
Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover nailed it in two sentences from his review:
“He pounds a piano and howls like his wife just left him for his best friend, as the violins, violas, and cellos scrape at their strings as if to break them, and the flutes, piccolos, trumpets, trombones, French horns, and clarinets blow like they were hired by a wolf to blast a few recalcitrant pigs’ houses down. The waves of classical countermelodies are extraordinary, adding on to each other to create an 1812 Overture anvil clarion call, a roar so dense, so overpowering, it’s like gasoline exploding, even more so as they back Enigk’s fevered wail as if he were long past desperation.”
Return of the Frog Queen was the very last thing anyone would have expected to come out of the singer of Sunny Day Real Estate, or really, the Pacific Northwest at that time—which was not long past a different kind of desperation.
Without knowing or intending it, Enigk and his collaborators made a record that pointed the way out of Seattle’s mid-‘90s post-boom-years malaise, which had no shortage of talent and desire, but lingering ambivalence about ambition, and no clear sense of cultural direction.
And then all of a sudden, here came an utterly singular demonstration that when all else fails, the most reliable direction is usually inward.
It’s unlikely that a generation of hopeful teenage garage bands formed as a response to eager suburban teens getting an earful of Return of the Frog Queen. Maybe it’s just a coincidence then, that in the years following the record’s release (and the breathtaking live shows Enigk played with a stripped-down version of the 21-piece orchestra that plays on the record), indie music from the Pacific NW outwards, got more expansive, more idiosyncratic, a little riskier, and a lot weirder.
Melbourne’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are thrilled to announce that their highly-anticipated debut album, Hope Downs, will be released on June 15 via Sub Pop. To coincide with this news, they’ve shared the above featured video (and single), “Talking Straight.”
Fittingly recorded in a house in the middle of the Northern NSW bush, “Talking Straight” hits hard with its driving rhythm and melodic, interweaving guitars, while reflecting on the loneliness of being a small person in the big universe. In singer/songwriter/guitarist Joe White’s own words:
“The concept came about when I heard someone talking about the possibility of us, humans, being alone in the universe, and how sad that would be. The idea in this song is that we might be lonely, but we could be lonely together.”
“Talking Straight” marks the second release of new music from the band for 2018. Previous single “Mainland” saw the band receive accolades from the likes of Pitchfork, Stereogum, and Paste, to name a few. The two songs collectively show how, after a pair of buzz-building EPs, Hope Downs is truly that album that was promised. The album title, taken from the name of a vast open cut mine in the middle of Australia, refers to the feeling of standing at the edge of the void of the big unknown, and finding something to hold on to. It’s a record that focuses on finding the bright spots at a time when cynicism all too often feels like the natural state. Rolling Blackouts C.F. are here to remind us to keep our feet on the ground—and Hope Downs is as delicious a taste of terra firma as you’re going to get from a rock band right now.
Having recently wrapped Australia’s Laneway Festival, where the band were a highlight act, Rolling Blackouts C.F. will gear up for a huge few months as they head over to North America and Europe to play a run of headline shows and festivals including Coachella, Shaky Knees, The Great Escape and Primavera Sound. (see dates below.)
Hope Downs is now available for pre-order here and will come in the following formats:
- Standard LP on black vinyl - The limited Loser edition LP on light ice blue vinyl (while supplies last!) - CD - Cassette - Digital
Fri. Apr. 13 - Sun. Apr. 15 - Indio, CA @ Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
Tue. Apr. 17 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo Fri. Apr. 20 - Sun. Apr. 22 - Indio, CA @ Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival Tue. Apr. 24 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge Wed. Apr. 25 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile Fri. Apr. 27 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court Sat. Apr. 28 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge Mon. Apr. 30 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry Wed. May 2 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern - SOLD OUT Thu. May 3 - Nashville, TN @ The Basement Fri. May 4 - Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival Sat. May 5 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 Sun. May 6 - Washington, DC @ DC9 Tue. May 8 - Toronto, ON @ The Garrison Thu. May 10 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s Fri. May 11 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott Sat. May 12 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade (2 Shows, Early Show SOLD OUT)
Thu, May 17th, Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape Festival Fri. May 18 - Nottingham, UK @ Rescue Rooms Sun. May 20 - Glasgow, UK @ CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts Mon. May 21 - Manchester, UK @ Gorilla - SOLD OUT Tue. May 22 - London, UK @ Electric Ballroom Thu. May 24 - Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere Sat. May 26 - Amsterdam, NL @ London Calling at Paradiso
Sun. May 27th, Groningen, NL @ Vera Mon. May 28 - Hamburg, DE @ Molotow Tue. May 29 - Berlin, DE @ Lido Thu. May. 31 - Brussels, BE @ AB Club
Sun. June 3 - Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound
Tue. June 5 - St. Albans, UK @ The Horn
Wed. June 6 - Birmingham, UK @ The Hare & Hounds
Thu. June 7 - Guildford, UK @ Boileroom
Fri. June 8 - Porto, PT @ Primavera Porto
Sat. Aug. 11 - Rees-Haldern, DE @ Haldern Pop Festival
Thu. Aug. 16 - Trondheim, NO @ Pstereo Festival
Fri. Aug. 17 - Bigginghuizen, NL @ Lowlands Festival
Sat. Aug. 18 - Kiewit, BE @ Pukklepop Festival
Sun. Aug. 19 - Brecon Beacons, UK @ Green Man Festival
After reading through hundreds upon hundreds of well thought-out and highly inspirational applications, we here at the Terribly Official Sub Pop Records Scholarship Committee have chosen three extraordinarily qualified student winners for our 2018 Sub Pop Loser Scholarship.
Our $7,000 winner this year is Ruby McShane of Lincoln High School in Portland Oregon. Ruby blew us away with her sensational photography, drawings, mixed media card designs, and incredibly caring attitude. Her volunteer work helping refugees feel more acclimated in her community was a true inspiration. In her application essay Ruby showed us an incredible love for music and visual arts as well as an outgoing compassion that set her apart from all of the other applicants. Working to stop the bullying of non-conformists is a cause we here at Sub Pop can definitely get behind and Ruby is all about it. Reed College will be lucky to have Ruby in attendance next year as she brings her great talent, activism and creativity to their campus.
Yasmin Ettobi of Central Kitsap High in Silverdale, Washington walks away with $5,000 this year for her submission to the Sub Pop Loser Scholarship. As a young writer Yasmin found that writing for the school paper wasn’t quite enough, and turned her efforts to covering music. Yasmin soon began writing album reviews, live show reports and editorial articles for a grip of online publications, all at the age of 17. Passion shines through her writing about music and it is clear to us that Yasmin is going to grow into an incredible journalist, as her music writing skills are already top flight. As a KEXP volunteer, a member of the MoPop youth advisory board, and a photographer at live shows, Yasmin has already heavily contributed to her local music community and we’re confident she’ll be making many more contributions to the scene as the years go by.
Mia Barnes of Franklin High School in Portland will be receiving $3,000 as a 2018 Sub Pop Loser Scholarship winner. Mia is the most talented illustrator we have seen apply for the Loser Scholarship in many years. Her drawings and paintings are out of this world: alien-like, monstrous, gross, and beautiful. We’d be fools not to mention Mia’s incredible application, which came in the form of a four-page, hand-illustrated comic letting us know exactly why she deserves to be a Loser winner. Mia’s talent for illustration, layout and design is going to grow into something even more special in the years to come. Our scholarship committee could not get enough of Mia’s comic and as soon as we saw her application, we knew she was definitely a Sub Pop Loser.
This year we had a record number of applicants for the Loser Scholarship, which made this the hardest selection process we’ve ever had. For those losers who didn’t win this year: thank you for applying, we loved your submissions too! You made this decision really tough on us and you’re an incredibly inspiring bunch of people. We’re certain that you will go on to blow us all away with your future accomplishments.
On Forth Wanderers’ “Ages Ago,” vocalist Ava Trilling paints the image of a constantly-shifting enigmatic lover. “I wasn’t sure who they were, they changed constantly (hence the metaphor describing the “grey coat” and cutting their hair just to “stay afloat”),” she says. “I wasn’t going to wait any longer to find out.” The “Ages Ago” visual was animated by guitarist Ben Guterl. Listen here, then listen on repeat in the hallowed halls of Spotify or Apple Music.
Earlier this week, NPR Music’s “All Songs Considered” included Forth Wanderers track, “Taste,” in their weekly mix, and offered this: “Forth Wanderers thrives in distance. Singer Ava Trilling writes the lyrics in New York, guitarist Ben Guterl builds the backbone of music in Ohio. “Taste,” in particular, came from diametrically opposed places in their young love lives. Guterl worked through the song’s production to impress his now-girlfriend. Trilling writes, however, that she “was in a difficult place with my relationship at the time.” Still, the distance — emotional and physical — doesn’t undercut the dizzying intimacy of the song [hear here].”
Forth Wanderers’ previously announced Northeastern U.S. tour runs May 3rd-5th, 2018. Additional live dates to be announced soon.
May 03 - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel May 04 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church May 05 - Brooklyn, NY - Market Hotel
Forth Wanderers, featuring the standouts “Nevermine”, “Not for Me”, and “Ages Ago”, was produced and recorded by Cameron Konner in Philadelphia over 5 days in the summer of 2017. The album will be available on CD/LP/CS/DL through Sub Pop right here. LP pre-orders through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition on opaque orange vinyl.
[Photo Credit: Julia Leiby]
Following the band’s acclaimed 2015 EP Slop, Forth Wanderers amplifies the heartfelt sentiments of the band’s earlier works into massive anthems. Ben Guterl and Duke Greene’s guitars have never sounded so sharp, Noah Schifrin and Zach Lorelli’s terse rhythm section is restless, and vocalist-lyricist Ava Trilling seems more self-assured than ever. “We have embraced our roles in the collaboration process,” says Guterl. “Everyone’s gotten better at their instruments and we trust each other more because we know how the machine works.” This spirit soars through Forth Wanderers, resulting in exuberant, profound songs driven by tightly bound melodies and a loving attention to detail (read more here).