Here at Sub Pop Records in Seattle, WA sometimes we like to look at magazines about music. One of those magazines about music is SPIN. And, we’re pretty sure that we know the guy on the cover of the May 2011 issue of SPIN. Consider the evidence…
— For starters, there is, on the cover of the May 2011 issue of SPIN, a big picture of a guy who looks STRIKINGLY like Robin Pecknold from the band Fleet Foxes (whose kind of amazing 2nd record, Helplessness Blues, we are putting out on May 3rd). The resemblance is uncanny.
— And then! There’s the following clue made of words, also on the cover of this May 2011 issue of SPIN: “Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes and the making of the year’s most beautiful album.”
It’s got to be him, right? Just this side of reading the cover story within the actual magazine, we’re fairly confident it is.
When you are a world-famous record label like we are, you get used to seeing the artists you work with on the cover of magazines like SPIN all the time. So, it’s not as though this is a big deal to us or anything. At all. But, you guys might be impressed.
We at Sub Pop Records will be very thoroughly celebrating Record Store Day this year, with a number of releases and events across the country very nearly beyond our meager ability to count. We’ll have limited-edition Record Store Day exclusive releases from Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes and Lower Dens, a free 19-track Sub Pop sampler, and in-store performances by Obits, Low and The Head and the Heart. Plus, the self-titled debut from The Head and the Heart comes out on CD and LP on April 16th as part of Record Store Day. To find a participating store, go here.
Our 2011 label sampler, comes housed in an embossed, die-cut package, and includes 18 art prints with information about each of the artists and a folded poster. Sub Pop would like to give it to you.
1. Daniel Martin Moore “Dark Road” from the album In the Cool of the Day (SP860), available January 2011
2. Aurelio “Tio Sam” from the album Laru Beya (NXA002), available on Next Ambiance January 2011
3. The Twilight Singers “On the Corner” from the album Dynamite Steps (SP844), available February 2011
4. Mogwai “Slight Domestic” from the “Mexican Grand Prix” 7" single on Rock Action Records, available February 2011
5. Papercuts “Do What You Will” from the album Fading Parade (SP885), available February 2011
6. Dum Dum Girls “Wrong Feels Right” from the He Gets Me High EP (SP917), available March 2011
7. J Mascis “Not Enough” from the album Several Shades of Why (SP859), available March 2011
8. Obits “You Gotta Lose” from the album Moody, Standard and Poor (SP857) available March 2011
9. Low “Try to Sleep” from the album C’mon (SP905), available April 2011
10. The Head and the Heart “No One to Let You Down,” previously unreleased. The album The Head and the Heart (SP915) is available for Record Store Day, April 16, 2011
11. Blitzen Trapper “Maybe Baby” from the “Maybe Baby” 7" single (SP929), available for Record Store Day, April 16, 2011
12. Lower Dens “Deer Knives” from the “Deer Knives” 7" single (SP927), available for Record Store Day, April 16, 2011
13. Fleet Foxes “Helplessness Blues” from the album Helplessness Blues (SP888), available May 2011
14. Chad VanGaalen “Peace on the Rise” from the album Diaper Island (SP871), available May 2011
15. Shabazz Palaces “lost foundling.” This Shabazz Palaces track is not from the album Black Up (SP900), available May 2011
16. Memoryhouse “Sleep Patterns” from The Years EP (SP925), available at some as-yet-undetermined point in 2011
17. Mister Heavenly “Mister Heavenly” from the as-yet-untitled Mister Heavenly debut album (SP926), available August 2011
18. Niki and the Dove “The Fox” From “The Fox” 12" single (SP930), available June 2011
19. Blouse “Shadow” From the “Shadow” 7" single (SP939), available May 2011
Bands Performing in Actual Record Stores The Head and the Heart
Sonic Boom (Ballard), Seattle, WA 3pm (acoustic)
Easy Street (Queen Anne), Seattle, WA 7pm (full band)
Electric Fetus, Minneapolis, MN 4pm
Generation Records, New York, NY time TBC.
Beautiful World Syndicate , Philadelphia 2pm
The new video for the Fleet Foxes song “Grown Ocean” is now up and available. It is also sort of jaw-droppingly great. The song “Grown Ocean” is on the upcoming Fleet Foxes album, Helplessness Blues, which comes out May 3rd. You can watch said video by clicking here.
If and when you pre-order this new Fleet Foxes record here on the Sub Pop Internet Concern, you will receive, for free and along with the record, an exclusive and really quite handsome poster. Click here to make with the ordering.
What follows is some further info on Helplessness Blues. You can also read the promotional biography for Helplessness Blues written by Robin Pecknold (he is in Fleet Foxes) right here.
Fleet Foxes are from Seattle and the members of the band are Robin Pecknold, Skye Skjelset, Josh Tillman, Casey Wescott, Christian Wargo, and Morgan Henderson. The first Fleet Foxes album (Fleet Foxes) was released on Sub Pop in 2008, and though the band’s intention was to record a new album in the 6-8 months following its release, the reception of the record was such that Fleet Foxes found themselves very busy, touring consistently through the end of 2009. Engineered and mixed by Phil Ek and co-produced by Phil and the band, the new Fleet Foxes record is called Helplessness Blues. Recording for Helplessness Blues began in April 2010 at Dreamland Recording in Woodstock, NY and continued off and on through November of that same year back in Seattle at numerous studios, including Bear Creek, Reciprocal Recording and Avast. Like very nearly every worthwhile thing, making this album was not easy; it was a difficult second album to make. Drawing inspiration from folk/rock from about 1965 to 1973, and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks in particular, Helplessness Blues sees Fleet Foxes heighten and extend themselves, adding instrumentation (clarinet, the music box, pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar, Tibetan singing bowls, vibraphone, etc., along with more traditional band instrumentation), with a focus on clear, direct lyrics, and an emphasis on group vocal harmonies. We have it on good authority that the album is called Helplessness Blues for at least a couple of reasons. One, it’s kind of a funny title. Secondly, one of the prevailing themes of the album is the struggle between who you are and who you want to be or who you want to end up, and how sometimes you are the only thing getting in the way of that.
Having heard Helplessness Blues, we mean to get out of its way.
Fleet Foxes Announce the Release of Second Album, Helplessness Blues, Out May 3rd, 2011
& Tour Dates in North America, London and Europe
On May 3rd Fleet Foxes will release Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop/Bella Union), the much-anticipated follow up to their 2008 self-titled debut. The release of the twelve-track album will coincide with the band’s first North American tour dates since August 2009 followed by a string of UK and European dates. The tour will begin in Vancouver on April 30th and end in London England. More tour information, including North American ticket pre-sale, provided below. Fleet Foxes have made the title-track of the album available for download now.
Helplessness Blues was recorded over the course of a year at Avast Recording, Bear Creek Studios, Dreamland Studios, and Reciprocal Recording. The album was recorded and mixed by Phil Ek and co-produced by Fleet Foxes and Ek. The piece that appears on the album cover was illustrated by Seattle artist Toby Liebowitz and painted by Chris Alderson. Fleet Foxes is Robin Pecknold, Skyler Skjelset, Christian Wargo, Casey Wescott, Josh Tillman and Morgan Henderson.
Beginning Tuesday, February 1st at 9:00 AM Pacific time, tickets can be purchased online at fleetfoxes.com. Ticket prices will vary. Fleet Foxes pre-sale tickets are available while supplies last.
04/30/11 Sat – Vancouver BC @ The Vogue Theatre
05/01/11 Sun – Portland OR @ Crystal Ballroom
05/03/11 Tue – Seattle WA @ Moore Theatre
05/05/11 Thu – Oakland CA @ Fox Theater
05/06/11 Fri – San Diego CA @ Spreckels Theatre
05/07/11 Sat – Hollywood CA @ Hollywood Palladium
05/08/11 Sun – Tucson AZ @ Rialto Theatre
05/10/11 Tue – Austin TX @ Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater
05/11/11 Wed – Dallas TX @ Palladium Ballroom
05/13/11 Fri – Nashville TN @ Ryman Auditorium
05/14/11 Sat – Atlanta GA @ The Tabernacle
05/15/11 Sun – Washington DC @ DAR Constitution Hall
05/17/11 Tue – Boston MA @ Orpheum Theatre
05/18/11 Wed – New York NY @ The United Palace Theatre
05/21/11 Sat – Upper Darby PA @ Tower Theatre
UK and European Tour
05/25/11 Wed – Berlin, Germany @ Astra
05/26/11 Thu – Munich, Germany @ Dachau Summer of Music
05/28/11 Sat – Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Sound
05/30/11 Mon – Paris, France @ Bataclan
05/31/11 Tue – London, England @ Hammersmith Apollo
Today we had a super special visit from Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz who are in town promoting their new film Jack Goes Boating. Fleet Foxes have two songs in the film – “White Winter Hymnal” and “Oliver James” – so we thought it might be worth a shot to see if we could get them to swing by the office to pose for photos and get some free records. (Spoiler alert!: It totally worked!) This is the directorial debut for Hoffman, and the film comes out September 23rd. We can’t wait to see it! See the film trailer (featuring “White Winter Hymnal”) here and/or download the track and watch the video for free here. Break a leg, dudes! It was lovely to meet you!
Sohrab from Obits has been chatting, on the wall of the Obits’ Facebook page, with this 16 year-old kid about Sub Pop being 49% owned by Warner, what “indie” means, etc. And, though that summary sounds incredibly tired, it’s a pretty good conversation. Here it goes:
Obits, what do you think about the fact that Sub Pop is 49% owned by Warner?
Wow. Is this part of a Seger-Saget-Sub Pop conspiracy?
It’s a complicated question. Short answer is we signed on the dotted line. Longer answer involves breaking down the myths of independent labels and how bands actually get treated in many of those relationships.
It’s a slippery slope in both directions but, in our specific case, we are very happy to work with Sub Pop. They are honest people who truly care about music and are wonderfully realistic about their expectations in an industry that is rarely so….
I suppose I might feel differently if it were Monsanto or Pfizer, but the Warner affiliation is what it is and doesn’t seem to effect us.
How do you feel about it? Does it color your opinion of the label or our band? Do you think it makes a difference? I’m asking sincerely, by the way.
I mean, it slightly taints the idea of Sub Pop being a true “Indie” label like they used to be, but in the long run, as long as they are still coming out with such amazing music, like you guys / No Age / Fleet Foxes, I’m not about to condemn them. So I guess it would say that it doesn’t really matter too much. Also, it would be my dream to be on Sub Pop. What do you guys think of the term “Indie” in general/how it’s used these days?
B, this is Sohrab, just so you know I’m only speaking for myself in terms of whatever it is I’m about to write.
Having grown up in the Dischord / Touch and Go / SST era, the word “indie” wasn’t part of my vocabulary. There were records that I bought from Smash! or Yesterday & Today or one of the many other mom-and-pop shops in the DC area at that time, there were other things I mail-ordered and eagerly awaited from Systematic in San Francisco, there were cassettes I got by writing to bands I read about in MRR, and then there was whatever else was outside of that world, which I had no interest in and, therefore, might as well not have existed. “Indie” wasn’t something I came across until the ‘90s, when some bands used the term to try to distinguish themselves from other bands that weren’t that, I guess. It seems a little silly to me now. It’s such a broad and vague way to define anything. It probably would’ve been more effective to just say, “We don’t sound like Blind Melon.”
The language for describing sensory experience is relative and bound by context. To a fan of Merzbow, Obits probably sounds like Three Dog Night. To a fan of Three Dog Night, Obits probably sounds like the guy in Merzbow tampered with his “Mama Told Me Not to Come” single.
That said, I guess people hang onto the word “indie” because it’s become shorthand for saying that something is not part of mainstream culture or that it’s quirky or some other absurd notion folks have about the need to compartmentalize music into little digestible demographic terms. So, to me, the word is now just part of the lexicon of lifestyle marketing.
If you want to get into the economics of what “indie” means or what people think it means, I think it merits a whole new thread. It’s definitely worth exploring, but would require a more experienced and sophisticated voice than mine.
I will say that the interest in only supporting things that are “indie” probably comes from a good place, but reminds me of when people are so concerned with eating organic that they overlook what it means when they buy fresh food that’s out of season.
Thats pretty fascinating. My friends and I always discuss what it means/how the word has changed. Being 16, I come from a completely different era where “indie” means everything from Neutral Milk Hotel to things not even remotely related to music, like drinking PBR outside of an Urban Outfitters while taking artsy photographs. The thing that saddens me is when kids say the listen to “Indie Rock,” but wouldn’t be able to tell you the first thing about Mike Watt, or Greg Ginn, or any sort of independent label.
Have you read “Our Band Could Be Your Life?”
The fact that you are 16 and interested in our band is heartening for more reasons than I have time to go into.
But don’t get too bummed about those kids. Everybody has a chance to hear the Minutemen for the first time once. And, with the right personality and the right timing, it just might change their life.
That is incredibly exciting to me. And far more powerful in terms of making a permanent dent in popular culture than any snarky ad exec trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator of whatever fits between two quotation marks.
Or, for that matter, the legions of embittered naysayers skulking around anonymously in the comment sections of music blogs.
They’ve got nothing on you and your pals snapping buzzed Polaroids in the parking lot, barking out the chorus to “Nervous Breakdown.” Seriously.
Okay, gotta run, but let us know when we get to a town near you because you are officially on our permanent guest list.
Until soon …