As 2016 finally
limps to a close, we’re happy to provide you the pleasant distraction of this the November edition of thee No Fly List! This month’s dispatch is stuffed with plenty of
product placement and peppered with the sort of almost-humor you might expect from a tippling uncle
at Thanksgiving. In what follows we’re going to explore what is perhaps Sub Pop’s most well-known, provocative, overused, and frequently misunderstood expression: “LOSER.”
If you have been keeping up with No Fly List posts from Sub Pop’s airport store since the beginning, you’ve probably wondered what our fourth most asked question is! (See top three FAQ’s)
Wonder no more! It’s “What is loser, and why loser?” (Which, yes, is kind of actually two questions, but they’re related and we’re calling the shots here, so deal with it.) Let’s dig in…
According to LOSER; the recently expanded book by Clark Humphrey that chronicles the diverse Seattle
sound and punk scene, it’s, “a statement
of defiance against the yuppies’ obsession with ‘winners.’” The term “LOSER” or “losers of the music industry” was a
reaction to corporate industry driven trends and views.
First developed/stumbled upon in the summer of 1988, “LOSER” made its way onto a Sub Pop t-shirt that very year. Consistent with the label’s aesthetic embrace of apathy (and characteristic
of the time), images were sporadically
misprinted, contained gaps, and sometimes were even screened in reverse. You can scope photos of the original “LOSER” shirt in such books asEverybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge by
Mark Yarm, and Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe by Bruce Pavitt.
In grunge speak, courtesy of Sub Pop’s current CEO Megan Jasper back when she was still the label’s receptionist, a
loser is a “cob nobbler.” And, the greeting “Dear Loser” was used
endearingly in the infamous Sub Pop rejection letters of the early
nineties. The term was later used to market a
Sorachi Ace-forward American pale ale developed in Seattle by local brewery
Elysian. It’s also a term used in the card game contract
So that’s why Loser Editions! And, why don’t you
have Bloom, Fear Fun, or King Tuff on colored wax? It might be because you didn’t pop in to the Sub Pop store at SeaTac. The Sub Pop airport
shop is often the last place you might be able find one of these limited
slick discs before they hit the wicked online aftermarket. When the pre-sale is sold out and the stash at your favorite shop has dwindled to nothing, your Loser Edition might just be one
plane ticket away.
More “LOSER” related fact and fiction…
One of the earliest
singles I’ve scored since becoming a Sub Pop employee is TAD’s long-out-of-print 7” single for “Loser” b/w
“Cooking With Gas” (SP55). While this release was limited to
3,000 copies on a green transparent vinyl 7”, both tracks are now available on the deluxe
edition reissue of 1990’s Salt Lick. The 45 has a killer back cover by celebrated local cartoonist
Peter Bagge, which exists now on a fine black t-shirt.
Are we forever going on about “LOSER” this and “LOSER” that because of the Beck
song? Fuck no! Beck was/is not on Sub Pop. He did, however, put out the 1994 release One Foot in the Grave on Olympia-based label K Records (the latter day reissue of which is occasionally stocked on vinyl in the
‘non-Sub Pop’ section of the airport store with the rest of the PNW titles and related
Life as a “LOSER” is not for everyone. Tourists regularly walk by the store and stare. Some stop and think out-loud how unsuitable something like this would be for
their youngster. Others imagine their
choice of relative sporting a big, bold “LOSER” (as punishment or gift, who can say?). For those daring and/or proudly unambitious enough to let their “LOSER” flag fly, however… As the holiday season approaches, this charming stocking awaits, (available online only!), as does a great heap
of othershit that saysLOSER on it.
Now if you don’t have any other questions; beat
Memories Are Now is an album of stunningly original songs–raw yet brimming with energy, forged from rich life experience and emotional depth. Beautifully delivered by an artist that has steadfastly honed her unique craft of musical storytelling. This album sees Jesca Hoop at her most realized and very best in her vocation. She wastes no time in making clear the confidence, confrontation, and craftsmanship of her bold and exquisite new album.
The provocative and emotive intrigue is on display in a poignant video for “The Lost Sky,” directed by Elia Petridis. Stereogum premiered the hauntingly anxious visual (see November 17th story).”
[Album Cover Design by Dusty Summers, Illustration by Melanie Knott, animation by Jorge Canedo Estrada]
Memories Are Now will be released on CD / LP / DL and is available for preorder now right here, and LP preorders through megamart.subpop.com will receive thelimited Loser Edition on exquisite robin’s egg blue-colored vinyl (while supplies last).
The album was recorded at NRG Studios, produced by Blake Mills (Alabama Shakes, Fiona Apple), engineered by Eric Caudieux, mixed by Greg Koller and mastered by Ian Sefchick at Capitol Mastering.
Jesca Hoop will be touring in support of Memories Are Now, on both sides of the Atlantic in the new year. Check here for all live touring dates www.jescahoop.com/tour and follow Jesca absolutely everywhere on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Philadelphia’s Pissed Jeans have been making gnarly noise for 13 years, and on their fifth album Why Love Now, the male-fronted quartet is taking aim at the mundane discomforts of modern life—from fetish webcams to office-supply deliveries. The album will see its worldwide release on February 24th, 2017, and we’re pretty fucking psyched about it.
Pissed Jeans’ gutter-scraped amalgamation of sludge, punk, noise, and bracing wit make the band—Matt Korvette (vocals), Brad Fry (guitar), Randy Huth (bass) and Sean McGuinness (drums)—a release valve for a world where absurdity seems in a constant battle trying to outdo itself. Why Love Now picks at the bursting seams that are barely holding 21st-century life together. Take the grinding rave-up and lead single “The Bar Is Low” [link] which, according to Korvette, is “about how every guy seems to be revealing themselves as a shithead.”
As they did on their last album, 2013’s Honeys, Pissed Jeans offer a couple of “fuck that shit type songs” about the working world, with the blistering “Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst” turning unwieldy job titles into sneering punk choruses and “Have You Ever Been Furniture” waving a flag for those whose job descriptions might as well be summed up by “professionally underappreciated.”
And the startling “I’m A Man,” which comes at the album’s midpoint, finds author Lindsay Hunter (Ugly Girls) taking center stage, delivering a self-penned monologue of W.B. Mason-inspired erotica—office small talk about pens and coffee given just enough of a twist to expose its filthy underside, with Hunter adopting a grimacing menace that makes its depiction of curdled masculinity even more harrowing.
No Wave legend Lydia Lunch shacked up in Philadelphia to produce Why Love Now alongside local metal legend Arthur Rizk (Eternal Champion, Goat Semen). “I knew she wasn’t a traditional producer,” Korvette says of Lunch. “We wanted to mix it up a little bit. I like how she’s so cool and really intimidating. I didn’t know how it was going to work out. She ended up being so fucking awesome and crazy. She was super into it, constantly threatening to bend us over the bathtub. I’m not really sure what that entails, but I know she probably wasn’t joking.”
The combination of Lunch’s spiritual guidance and Rizk’s technical prowess supercharged Pissed Jeans, and the bracing Why Love Now documents them at their grimy, grinning best. While its references may be very early-21st-century, its willingness to state its case cement it as an album in line with punk’s tradition of turning norms on their heads and shaking them loose.
Read more on Pissed Jeans from Maura Johnston here.
Why Love Now will be released on CD / LP / DL, and is available for preorder now here. LP preorders through megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited Loser Edition on lavender vinyl (while supplies last).
The long-unavailable, classic discography of beloved and iconic Seattle band, TAD – God’s Balls (1989), Salt Lick (1990), 8-Way Santa (1991), and assorted singles from the band’s 1988-1992 run – finally received the deluxe reissue treatment. Producer & engineer Jack Endino (who produced God’s Balls, TAD’s first full-length) has remastered all of the recordings from the original tapes. God’s Balls, Salt Lick and 8-Way Santa are available today from Sub Pop.
Might we also suggest you treat yourself to TAD’s deluxe unboxing video (as seen on Facebook & Instagram), and spend some quality time with Tad Doyle as he sits for an enlightening interview with Sub Pop Podcast, which you can listen to here.
The deluxe editions of God’s Balls, Salt Lick, and 8-Way Santa feature new images from celebrated photographer Charles Peterson, bonus tracks, and expansive liner notes from the band and Jack Endino. The bonus material associated with each release will be included on the CD and digital formats. And each of the gatefold vinyl LPs will include that album’s bonus material as part of its free, associated download. All of the bonus material, from all three of these monumental heavy rock/punk albums will be collected on an additional bonus LP available for free with purchase of all three (3) albums on vinyl from the Sub Pop Mega Mart and also from select independent retailers.
BUT WAIT! There’s more…
For those in the Seattle area, TAD’s original line up – Tad Doyle, Kurt Danielsen, Steve Wied, and Gary Thornstensen – have scheduled a Q&A session at Easy Street Records on November 9th at 7pm. The event is hosted by Sub Pop’s Jonathan Poneman.
For the rest of the world, we’ll be streaming the above referenced Q&A via Facebook Live.