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NEWS : THU, FEB 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Sub Pop’s 2016 Loser Scholarship Details!

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Hey there!

Sub Pop Records in Seattle, WA is offering a grand total of $15,000 worth of college scholarship money to three eligible high school seniors. There are three scholarships—one for $7,000, one for $5,000 and one for $3,000. As longtime and proud losers ourselves, we’re exceedingly happy to be able, in some small way, to help further the education of art-enthused misfits from the NW.

Applicants must be a resident of Washington or Oregon, and a graduating senior on your way to full-time enrollment at an accredited university or college. We are looking for applicants who are involved and/or interested in music and/or the creative arts in some way. However, you do not need to be pursuing an education in the arts.

To apply you must submit an essay, one page or less, using any combination of the following questions as a guide (or write something completely your own, be inspired and creative!). Please list the school you are graduating from and the school you plan to attend in the fall at the top of your essay along with your contact information.

- What are you doing in the arts/music field in your community?

- What does being a Sub Pop ‘Loser’ mean to you?

- What are your influences and/or who inspired you to become involved in the arts?

- Describe your biggest failure and explain how it has brought you closer to your goal(s). 

- Discuss a special attribute or accomplishment that sets you apart.

- How has your family or community background affected the way you see the world?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to send digital links and/or provide hard copies of their artwork along with their essay (we have never had a winner who submitted only an essay). However, please be aware that Sub Pop will not return any of this material, so please don’t send originals. Sub Pop will give equal opportunity to all applicants who fit the criteria outlined above. The deadline for applications is Sunday, March 20th.

Please send all submissions and attachments to scholarship@subpop.com by March 20th, 2016. We will announce the scholarship winners on April 12th.


Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : TUE, FEB 16, 2016 at 10:10 AM

No Fly List: Notes from Sub Pop’s Airport Store (February 2016)

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Light in the Attic, I Choose You! 
The Staff of the Sub Pop Airport Store Pick Their Favorite Light in the Attic Releases

Beginning this month, the Sub Pop Airport Store has unveiled its newest addition: a staff picks section! On a semi-regular basis, we, the illustrious and expert curatorial airport store staff, will be highlighting and showcasing different albums that we really, really, really, like. For our inaugural staff picks, we decided to all choose albums from Light in the Attic, a Seattle record label that specializes in re-issuing criminally under-appreciated music. In honor of this being our first round of staff picks, I asked my fellow co-workers, “Why did you pick the album that you picked?” Here’s what they said…
(Be sure to check out the Spotify playlist down below, which contains our favorite tracks from these albums.)

Betty Davis: Betty Davis

Audrey says: “Betty Davis is a psychedelic funk queen who pushed boundaries and broke stereotypes in the name of self expression. With the encouragement of T-Rex singer Marc Bolan, she switched from writing songs for others to songwriting for herself. This self titled album released in 1973 is the first of three albums that are so freaky and badass, religious groups protested her shows and radio stations banned some of her songs. She was really a musician ahead of her time.”

Lizzy Mercier Descloux: Press Color
Rachel says: “I first found Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s Press Color in a rare record store super score! Someone had sold a bunch of their no wave/Ze Records titles like Contortions, Mars, and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. Press Color was one of my favorites because it’s so fun and danceable. Thanks to Light In The Attic Records for reissuing this great record!”

The Free Design: Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love
Josh says: “Funk-filled, family friendly, kite flying, wholesome harmonies, only god itself could have reissued as heavenly a record. But since god is not real, it must be the goodly folks at Light in the Attic and to them I give thanks and praise.”

Monks: The Early Years 1964-1965
Jacob says: The Monks’ 1966 one-off album Black Monk Time is an out of time, anti-Vietnam war, proto-art-rock oddity, made by some forward thinking discharged American GI’s stationed in Germany (playing and honing their skills at some of the same wild nightclubs the Beatles had made a name for themselves in a few years prior), that while probably not being directly influential, at the very least predicted, and works as a critical jump-off point for a lineage of still to come conceptual agitating greats like Devo and the Residents. I would consider the album an artistic equal to Zappa’s Freak Out!, also from 1966, and a distant relative to more recently recognized, and ahead of their time, Los Saicos, from Peru. 

This brings me to my Light In The Attic showcase selection: Monks’ The Early Years.

At first, a listener familiar with Black Monk Time may be slightly disappointed with these demos lack of finished lyrics, or all out vocal assaults found on the album proper. But that is actually part of the strength and distinction that makes the demos these GI’s made so very interesting; the sheer chunky rhythmic monotony and minimalist organ-preset style jungle-tom drumming, and what I see as the secret ingredient to their sound: the snare drum doubled up by nearly-indiscernible, textural muted banjo strikes. All of this is to the forefront on these demos. The Stooges had their single repetitive piano note through a song, and the Monks had their transparent banjo, damn it! To put this all in context, the Monks pre-date the full swing of Jazz Rock Fusion, and Progressive rock drumming; it would be another 6-7 years until Krautrock bands learned to unlearn and play-on-purpose the simplified, minimal, ‘Motorik’ beat. I sincerely wonder if whoever it was who approached CAN’s Jaki Leibezeit and profoundly stated “you must play monotonous” had been lucky enough to have seen the Monks do it first.”

Honey Ltd: The Complete LHI Recordings
Kane says: “Good harmonies.”



Public Image Ltd: First Issue

Olivia says: “PiL broke the punk paradigm with this first album. Punk was now carte blanche, not just a sped up tempo with a fashion shtick. I can’t listen to this without thinking about how Seattle was channeling punk on its own terms years later. I think we were really inspired by this post-punk freedom! Punk rock should ALWAYS be about freedom. That includes being free to call out any particular icon, steal their booze and comfy chair, and throw salami on their bus if necessary…”

Marcos Valle: Marcos Valle
Javier says: “I just really like the flavors presented here. Thumpy, warm melodic bass lines, very chill vocals, mostly in Portuguese, tasteful touches of piano chords and the drumming is just straight up groovy. I have no idea what these songs are about but there are some really delightful flute bits and psychedelic touches sprinkled throughout. Just a solid little nugget of good Bossa Nova made in 1970. Sign me up!”

Various Artists: I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America, 1950-1990
Ben says: “Trading in the ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll’ for crystals, eastern philosophies and incense (and well, ok, maybe not trading away all of the drugs…) New Age wasn’t about fame and fortune. Instead, it explored the boundaries of music: From Gregorian chants to gongs, and from chimes and bells to synths. I Am The Center covers 40 years of New Age, focusing mostly on home-made recordings and unheralded-in-their-own-time artists. (While also leaving out soft heavy hitters like Yawni and Enya (a.k.a, the soundtrack to my childhood road-trips)). Let these CDs help you open your third eye, align your chakras, or even relax while paying your taxes (if possible).”

Various Artists: Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985
I say: “Vancouver-based record archaeologist Kevin “Sipreano” Howes spent 15 years searching for music from the Indigenous peoples of Canada and the northern United States, and Native North America is the culmination of his efforts. Taking cues from the genres of “folk, rock, and country” that ruled over popular music in the latter half of the 20th century, you will hear Arctic garage rock from the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, melancholy Yup’ik folk from Alaska, and hushed country blues from the Wagmatcook First Nation reserve in Nova Scotia, among many other sounds and locales. Listening to this staggering compilation reminds me of the work that Bruce Pavitt did with the original Sub Pop fanzines, scouring for artists outside of the major cultural hubs of North America, and discovering vibrant, enriching, and totally unique regional music.”

Various Artists: Summer Records Anthology (1974-1988)
Chase says: “Summer Sound Studios was a Toronto-based record label started by Jerry Brown that produced some of the first notable Canadian reggae artists. This compilations covers releases from ‘74-‘88 and includes alternate masters and some previously unheard takes, all of which are really great! Stand out tracks include, “Right, Right Time,” “Warrior,” and “Dreadlock Lady”. A must buy if you’re trying to warm up this winter.”

Alan Vega, Alex Chilton, Ben Vaughn: Cubist Blues
Brent says: “Coming from a vinyl completest of all things Big Star and Suicide, it took a LITA reissue to finally bring “Cubist Blues” to my ear holes. Not to mention It was only pressed once in Spain twenty years ago and would set you back at least a hundred bucks. I discovered Alex’s Chilton’s output from the 1980’s and began to avoid it for the most part. I admire the company he kept and his taste for self-destruction: if you haven’t seen the footage of his performance with the Panther Burns live on the Marge Thrasher show, do so now: https://youtu.be/2U-k32L0KCc
 


I can’t help but think of one of Gene Vincent’s last albums, I’m Back and I’m Proud, when listening to “Cubist Blues”, which was produced by Kim Fowley, who also collaborated with Ben Vaughn. I want to think of this as a ‘art rock’ record, but that might just be the fact that Vega is a sculptor and Chilton’s parents owned a gallery. This is my pick of this month mostly because I usually only want to listen to Suicide, and so I figured I’d see what happened.”



Posted by Jackson Hathorn

NEWS : FRI, FEB 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Listen to So Pitted’s ‘neo’ A Week Before Release! (Exclusively via DIY Magazine)

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You can now listen to So Pitted’s neo, the group’s Sub Pop debut, in full via DIY Magazine.
 
DIY says of the neo: “So Pitted fashion their own brand of crunching, gnarled madness out of the sludge and darkness of their minds (see album premiere February 12th).”
 
The band’s previously announced tour schedule for 2016 spans February 19th in Seattle at Everyday Music and currently ends March 27th in Spokane, WA at The Bartlett. New 
highlights include: March 23rd -27th in Boise at Treefort Fest; And March 26th-27th supporting Diarrhea Planet. Please find a current list of dates below.
 
Sub Pop will release neo on CD / LP / DL worldwide on February 19th, 2016, and it’s currently available for preorder from Sub Pop Mega MartiTunes, AmazonBandcamp and Google Play. LP preorders of neo through megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited
“Loser”edition on white vinyl. There will also be a time-limited edition T-shirt, hand-bleached by So Pitted, that will be available only during pre-order; also available with LP and CD bundles (during pre-order only).



More about So Pitted’s neo:
These eleven tracks are lean and snarling rebukes, torch songs not in the traditional, unrequited-love sense, but songs that
willtorchyour 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 at Sub Pop).
 


What “The People” have said about So Pitted:
“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’llcrumple, music you’d be making whether other people heard it or not.” [“rot in hell”] - Impose
 
“Catharsis and candor are embedded in these explosive tracks. So Pitted tap into the void that the likes of Black Flag and Nirvana looked into and saw themselves in.” - Consequence of Sound 
 
“Maddeningly loud, loosely formed, disgusting like a romantic weekend trip down the local sewers.” - DIY
 
“Snotty, snarling and belligerent.” - Uncut
 
“It’s grimy and tormented all right, but intent on subverting the many adolescent cliches and connotations that come with grunge.” [“rot in hell”] -The Guardian
 
“…A raucous, inspiring noise, the buzzsaw melody is matched to wailing feedback - imagine Bikini Kill set against early Mary Chain and you’d probably be in the same ballpark.” [‘rot in hell”] - Clash Music
 
“…making a name for themselves with a sneery, warped, post-apocalyptic punk sound and wild stage show.” - Brooklyn Vegan
 
“It’s early in the year to make this sort of claim, but we can say with confidence that in ten months’ time you’ll be looking back on neoas one of 2016’s best debuts, by some distance.” - The Skinny
 
“So Pitted’s set called to mind Metz, Minutemen, Big Black, Pere Ubu, and Nirvana at their wildest” - FLOOD
 
“So Pitted are poised to start a riot that’s very much their own.” -Record Collector
 
“[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
 
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
 


Tour Dates
Feb. 19 - Seattle, WA - Everyday Music
Feb. 20 - Vancouver, BC - Alf House
Feb. 25 - San Francisco, CA - Noise Pop / Brick & Mortar Music Hall*
Feb. 26 - Oakland, CA - (tba)
Mar. 04 - Paris, FR - La Mecanique Ondulatoire
Mar. 05 - Amsterdam, NL - Butcher’s Tears
Mar. 07 - London, UK - Shacklewell Arms
Mar. 08 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Games Room
Mar. 09 - Brighton, UK - Green Door Store
Mar. 10 - Lille, UK - La Peniche
Mar. 11 -
Brussells, BE - Homeplugged
Mar. 12 - Berlin, DE - West Germany
Mar. 15 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 16 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 17 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 18 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 19 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 20 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Mar. 23 - 27 - Boise, ID - Treefort Music Fest
Mar. 26 - Missoula, MT - The Palace
Mar. 27 - Spokane, WA - The Bartlett
* w/ The Thermals
** w/ Diarrhea Planet

Go here for ticket links.



Posted by Rachel White

NEWS : FRI, FEB 12, 2016 at 3:30 AM

Sub Pop Art Director Sasha Barr Nominated for Grammy, Accepts Clear Imposition (and Hearty Congratulations) from Employer

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Nothing Compares 2 U, Grammy.


Sure, we have loved and lost before. Who among us hasn’t? And when it comes to that rare, fine sort of love reserved for major music industry awards like the Grammys, we have loved really, really hard. With the exception of that one time in 2008, when The Flight of the Conchords somewhat miraculously won for Best Comedy Album, we have also, regularly, lost. In fact, we have lost TWICE over the years just to “Weird Al” Yankovic alone. One would imagine that we would, at some point, learn from these experiences.


[To be clear here, when I use “we” throughout the preceding and following, I am, it’s worth admitting, attempting to associate Sub Pop Records with the accomplishments of people, groups or artists who have worked with or for us, thereby taking some largely undeserved credit for their accomplishments…]


But, hope (and our desire for just this sort of prominent music industry recognition) blooms springs eternal! Which is why, this year, with the nomination of our own Sasha Barr (one of Sub Pop’s Art Directors, and a member of our profoundly talented and surprisingly sensitive Art Department) in the category of “Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package,” we are ready to love again. We are, it turns out, SO ready to love again that we have asked Sasha, and he has reluctantly agreed, to document his experience this weekend and through Monday’s awards presentation in photos. In turn, we will be foisting the favorites of these on you through our various and powerful social media channels (likely: Instagram and Twitter, both @subpop). You can, and we very much hope you will, follow along with our Mr. Barr on his journey as a Grammy nominee from the comfort (or other conditions) of your own home or mobile device! It should be fun and will, undoubtedly, be at least a little strange.



Nominated for his art direction of the Deluxe Edition of Father John Misty’s 2015 album I Love You, Honeybear, we are exceedingly proud of Sasha, and Father John Misty, and the amazing illustration work by Stacey Rozich featured throughout the album’s art. So much so that win or lose (as unimaginable as that latter thing may be), we have every intention of very thoroughly celebrating Sasha on his return. If he does not bring home the Grammy he deserves, we will present him with our own, less official and recognizable, though no less merited and certainly way more homemade, award. It will probably be called a Grumpy or something.


So, good luck, Sasha! We’ll all be watching, very closely!


We do, in fact, want what we haven’t got (more than that one time).


Posted by Chris Jacobs

NEWS : WED, FEB 10, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop To Release ‘Love Letter For Fire’! Hear The Single “Every Songbird Says”

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[Photo credit: Josh Wool]

We’re thrilled to announce that Sub Pop will release Love Letter For Fire, a collaborative effort from Sam Beam (of Iron and Wine) and Jesca Hoop, worldwide this coming April 15th. The thirteen-track album features the singles “Every Songbird Says” (listen now via YouTube or Soundcloud) and “Valley Clouds,” and was written throughout 2014. 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). 

Love Letter For Fire 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. The album also features a cover photo by Sam Beam.   



Love Letter For Fire will be available on CD / LP / DL / CASS, and is available for preorder now. LP preorders through megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited Loser edition on Smoke-colored vinyl (while supplies last, so don’t sleep!). 


More on Love Letter For Fire:

Love Letter for Fire is the name of the collaborative record from songwriters Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and Jesca Hoop.  A collection of songs steeped in the tradition of the male/female duet where love – in its many forms - takes center stage.  
 
Contemplating a duets album for some time, Beam was never able to find the right voice - until Hoop’s music found its way to his stereo. Diving into her catalog on iTunes one afternoon, specifically the album Kismet, was the spark Sam needed to reach out to Jesca 
and propose the idea of writing together.  
 
The timing could not have been better for Beam: “I was looking to work with another songwriter because I had never shared the songwriting responsibility with anyone. I really enjoyed her music and it’s different than mine which is what excited me about the project.”
 
Hoop at the time was finishing her fourth record and had never co-written either.  However she notes, “I had the advantage of knowing Sam’s music because it had cleaned my house many times, so I was familiar with his sensibilities and knew the combination could work.” Her memory though of “Sam’s pitch” for making the record occurred once they connected in person and Beam “threw [the idea] under his breath, like ‘If we ever write songs together.’ I think he said ‘Let’s make an EP’ and I said ‘Let’s make an album.’”  
 
The inspiration behind Love Letter For Fire was Sam’s love of classic duets, most of which are ones he grew up hearing on the radio. “Some of my favorite songs are 
duets, because the narrative is expanded. It’s not just a monologue.  It’s a conversation, and so it gets complicated. I had melodies over the years that I’d been compiling that I thought, this sounds like a classic Kenny and Dolly, ‘Islands in the Stream’ kind of thing, or George and Tammy”.  While the record itself is not Countrypolitan in nature, the two have carved out something that feels wholly original and should have no trouble appealing to fans of their previous work.
 
Over the course of thirteen songs Love Letter for Fire brims with a joyful energy, contrasting Beam and Hoop’s songwriting styles yet never feeling forced, nor pandering. Veering from disparate pop (“Every Songbird Says” / “Chalk It Up To Chi”) to introspective folk (“One Way to Pray” / “Soft Place to Land”) to a few things in between (“Welcome to Feeling” / “Midas Tongue”), the record never rests solely on just the two voices but rather showcases the new chapter of songwriting each found in the collaboration. Beam notes: “(
Jesca) brought a lot of energy and a lot of heart in places where I would be cerebral, she would bring heart.  In places where I would be steady, she would add an exclamation point.”  
 
Recorded in Portland, Oregon with the steady hand of Tucker Martine, the album features a collection of handpicked musicians. The band includes Rob Burger, a frequent Iron & Wine contributor, Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Fiona Apple), Teddy Rankin-Parker (Primus), Eyvind Kang (Decemberists/Tzadik and Ipecac labels) and Glenn Kotche (Wilco). This particular set of musicians had never 
worked together, but quickly found themselves on equal footing.  For Beam it was a bit of a dream team: “It was a really funband, and a lot less guitar than I usually have on my [Iron & Wine] records.  Tucker and the band were able to help bring out what’s inside of you that you might not know is there.”
 
The album’s title comes from the song, “We Two Are A Moon“ and the irony of the title and record of love songs by two folks not in love is not lost on its creators. The idea of love in song and life is a constant and universal denominator that everyone relates to. Hoop describes love and the songs succinctly: “Each song has its own heat, its own trajectory.” The album title represents a kind of “ephemeral love that passes through” and then it’s gone.  
Beam on the other hand insists the title plays on itself in that “is it a love letter for fire? Or is it a love letter ready to be wasted?” and leaves it up to the listener to come to their own conclusions (read more at Sub Pop).


Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop have scheduled a North American tour in support Love Letter For Fire, which begins Tuesday, May 17th in Ann Arbor, MI at The Ark and ends Saturday, June 11th in Chicago, IL at Thalia Hall. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, February 19th. 

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*
* w/ Marlon Williams

Ticket links are right over here.


Posted by Rachel White