We have been popping bubbly all day long over at Sub Pop HQ, as Grammy Nominations were announced late last night for this year’s awards and two of our artists, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba and Flight of the Conchords were nominated. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba’sI Speak Fula was nominated in the category of “Best Traditional World Music Album” and Flight of the ConchordsI Told You I Was Freaky for “Best Comedy Album.” Big ups also to Low whose song “Silver Rider” was covered by Robert Plant on his latest release, Band Of Joy, which was nominated for “Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance.” Needless to say, we are STOKED!
We would also like to send our congrats to Sub Pop alums Band of Horses and Broken Bells (which is fronted by James Mercer of The Shins) for nominations in the category of Best Alternative Music Album.
On September 14th, Robert Plant is releasing a new album of covers called Band of Joy on which he performs two (2) songs by the band Low. Those two songs are “Monkey” and “Silver Rider” from Low’s album The Great Destroyer
This is the same Low whose last two albums, the 2007 release Drums and Guns and 2005’s The Great Destroyer we at Sub Pop released. And, this is the same Robert Plant who was in Led Zeppelin.
No big deal.
Rolling Stone magazine had the following to say about Band of Joy…
“…The two most striking songs are the most left-field, both penned by the brooding, husband-wife indie-rock band Low. “Silver Rider” is a glittering dirge, another showcase for [Patty] Griffin, who’s such a good songwriter that it’s easy to forget what a great singer she is. Plant sings “Monkey” almost as a whisper. “It’s a suicide/Shut up and drive,” he snarls, in what sounds like the opening scene of a David Lynch film. It’s as menacingly restrained as anything he’s ever uttered."
You can hear a stream of Band of Joy in its entirety over at NPR’s First Listen feature on the album. (The photo of Robert Plant that accompanies this post was taken from that NPR First Listen page, and is credited to Gregg Delman, by the way.)
AND! Because, like Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, we are great fans of the band Low, we are giving away free mp3 downloads of their original versions of both Silver Rider and Monkey so that you can see/hear/feel for yourself just how really, amazingly good these songs and this band are. You can also stream both of these songs through the Soundcloud player below…
Low has some upcoming tour dates in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and EU, and some as-yet-to-be-confirmed dates on the west coast of the US in December. You should really go see them.
Low tour dates
Oct 18 King’s Arms, Auckland, New Zealand
Oct 19 San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, New Zealand
Oct 21 Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne, Australia
Oct 22 Factory Theatre (Sydney), Marrickville, Australia
Oct 23 Bakery, The (Perth), Perth, Australia
Nov 15 Junction, The, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Nov 16 Brudenell Social, Leeds, United Kingdom
Nov 17 St John the Baptist Church, Coventry, United Kingdom
Nov 19 Crossing Border Festival (The Hague), Den Haag, Netherlands
Nov 21 Crossing Border Festival (Antwerp), Antwerp, Belgium
Nov 23 Debaser Malmo, Malmo, Sweden
Nov 27 Cedar Cultural Centre, Minneapolis, MN
Our very close personal friends in Retribution Gospel Choir (whose stellar, early 2010 release 2 you should really already own…) recorded an interview and performance for NPR’s World Cafe a while back. And, it’s going to air this Wednesday, Aug. 11th! Here are the details on how you can and should listen…
National Public Radio’s World Cafe with host David Dye can be heard on over 200 stations nationwide. Fans can find their local station at this link by selecting a state from the pull-down menu…
…or, worldwide, fans can connect to the WXPN Philadelphia stream Monday through Friday, 2pm to 4pm EST, here.
IN HONOR OF THISSPECIALDAY, SUBPOPRECORDSWILLRELEASE A MARVELOUSRANGE OF MUSICPRODUCTS, AVAILABLEONLY IN PARTICIPATINGRECORDSTORES
Record Store Day In-Store Performances by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, No Age, Male Bonding & Dum Dum Girls
Originally conceived in 2007 as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally, the first Record Store Day took place on April 19, 2008. Now celebrated the third Saturday every April, it’s the one day each year that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists and labels to celebrate the art of music. We at Sub Pop Records have put together a whole raft of releases (seven in all!) to help entice people into record stores to enjoy the many pleasures offered there. Each destined for future collector’s item status, the Sub Pop Record Store Day 2010 series of releases is sure to appeal to the minor OCD tendencies of every true music enthusiast. To find a participating store, go here.
FOR: RECORDSTOREDAY 2010 FROM: SUBPOP, WITHLOVE
Beach House “Zebra” 12” (sp877)
The “Zebra” 12” features 2 new tracks (“The Arrangement” and “Baby”) and 2 alternate takes on songs from the popular 2010 Teen Dream album (a UK radio edit of “Zebra” and the Cough Syrup remix of “10 Mile Stereo”). Available now: Beach House’s Teen Dream SP845, CD+DVD/2xLP+DVD.
1. Zebra (UK Radio Edit)
2. The Arrangement
2. 10 Mile Stereo (Cough Syrup Remix)
The Album Leaf “There Is a Wind” 12” (sp878)
The “There Is a Wind” 12” features 2 new tracks (“Landing in Snow” and “Resonations”) and 2 alternate takes on songs from the popular 2010 A Chorus of Storytellers album (an acoustic version of “There Is a Wind” and the Jamuel Saxon sunburnt remix of “Falling from the Sun”). Also available now: The Album Leaf’s A Chorus of Storytellers SP805, CD/2xLP.
1. There Is a Wind (acoustic)
2. Landing in Snow
2. Falling from the Sun (Jamuel Saxon sunburnt remix)
Dum Dum Girls / Male Bonding 7” (sp876)
Two brand-new and exclusive tracks for Record Store Day 2010, one each from LA’s Dum Dum Girls and London’s Male Bonding. Both bands have debut albums out this spring on Sub Pop. Also available now: Dum Dum Girls’ I Will Be SP840, CD/LP. Available May 11th: Male Bonding’s Nothing Hurts SP854, CD/LP
Side A: Dum Dum Girls “Pay for Me”
Side AA: Male Bonding “Before It’s Gone”
Happy Birthday 7” (sp874)
Two brand-new and exclusive tracks for Record Store Day 2010 from Kyle “King Tuff” Thomas’ Happy Birthday. Both of these tracks, like those of Happy Birthday’s self-titled March 2010 debut album, were recorded and mixed at Kyle’s home studio. Available March 16th: Happy Birthday’s Happy Birthday SP850 CD/LP.
Side A: “Shampoo”
Side B: “Alien”
Soundgarden “Hunted Down” 7” Reissue (sp12a)
This reissue of a Sub Pop classic was arranged specially for Record Store Day. “Hunted Down” was released in June 1987 as the band’s first single and was later available on Screaming Life. This single is pressed on translucent orange vinyl. The original, now a Soundgarden collector’s item, was pressed on blue vinyl.
Side A: “Hunted Down”
Side B: “Nothing to Say”
CocoRosie “Lemonade" 7” (sp884)
The A-side to this limited-edition single is an edit of one of the stand-out tracks from the new CocoRosie album Grey Oceans and the B-side is the band’s cover of the Beach Boys’ classic “Surfer Girl.” Grey Oceans, CocoRosie’s Sub Pop debut (and fourth full-length album overall) will be released on May 11, 2010. Watch a ““Smokey Taboo” trailer from Grey Oceans.
Side A: “Lemonade”
Side B: “Surfer Girl”
SP20: Casual Nostalgia Fest CD (sp879)
We at Sub Pop Records celebrated our 20th anniversary in 2008 with, among other things, a 2-day music festival July 12th and 13th at Marymoor Park, somewhat unimaginatively called SP20. We’ve collected here some of our favorite performances from the SP20 festival. Sub Pop will be donating all of the profits from the sale of this CD to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
1. Green River: “Leech”
2. Wolf Parade: “Fine Young Cannibals”
3. The Vaselines: “Dying for It”
4. Obits: “Run”
5. Les Thugs: “Dirty White Race”
6. Eric’s Trip: “Smother”
7. Beachwood Sparks: “You Take the Gold”
8. Blitzen Trapper: “Furr”
9. Flight of the Conchords: “Carol Brown”
10. Iron & Wine: “Woman King”
11. Constantines: “Why I Didn’t Like August ‘93”
12. Seaweed “Baggage”
13. Grand Archives: “Dig That Crazy Grave”
14. Low: “Silver Rider”
15. The Helio Sequence: “Lately”
16. Kinski: “The Wives of Artie Shaw”
17. Pissed Jeans: “Caught Licking Leather”
18. Mudhoney: “The Open Mind”
19. Comets on Fire: “Dogwood Rust”
Our very close, personal friends in the, let’s be honest, breathtaking band Low have collaborated with the choreographer Morgan Thorson on a dance/music performance called Heaven, which will be presented at On the Boards here in Seattle April 1-4. You can find out more and buy tickets here and the full details are covered below in the press release from the folks at On the Boards. This thing sounds incredibly cool and we’d all be silly to miss it.
Plus! Both Low and the dancers from Heaven will be live on KEXP on Tuesday, March 30th at 3:00 pm, doing a combination of Low’s music and original compositions from the performance.
Relatedly, and shortly after all of this happens, Alan from Low’s other band Retribution Gospel Choir will be playing here in Seattle, at the Crocodile as part of their first west coast tour since the January release of their Sub Pop debut album 2. That show happens on Wednesday, April 7th. The reliably incredible Kinski will be opening that show!
And! On that same April 7th, at noon, Retribution Gospel Choir will be performing live on KEXP!
To recap (in convenient chronological order):
Low and dancers from Heaven live on KEXP at 3pm!
Heaven at On the Boards!
Retribution Gospel Choir live on KEXP at 3pm!
Retribution Gospel Choir plays at the Crocodile with Kinski!
Here’s the full press release from On the Boards about Heaven:
Rising star choreographer Morgan Thorson teams with cult-favorite indie band Low in west coast premiere of Heaven
Morgan Thorson | Low
Thu – Sun | Apr 1 – 4 | 8pm | $24
(Seattle) – On the Boards (OtB) is pleased to present the west coast premiere of Heaven from choreographer Morgan Thorson and indie band Low (Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker). In this new work Thorson and her collaborators create a synthesis of music and dance in which the musicians participate in the movement and the dancers contribute to the soundscape of lush choral arrangements and minimalist instrumentation.
Exploring the emotional and physical manifestations of ecstasy, Heaven borrows from multiple faiths to find inspiration for the movement and soundtrack. Thorson’s style, which draws from Skinner Releasing Technique, is also highly influenced here by poses and movements drawn from religious rituals. Equal prominence is given to the soundtrack by Sparhawk and Parker by incorporating the musicians into both the stage and the movement. Additionally, the dancers become part of the soundtrack as they sing solos and group works inspired by shape note singing alongside the members of Low.
After seeing Heaven, artistic director Lane Czaplinski commented on the unique combination of music and dance:
“Live music in a dance performance is rare. Music fully integrated into the creative process as well as the live performance is even rarer. In this case Morgan and Alan [choreographer and composer] both have a curiosity about faith and were able to pursue this question together. Watching it felt like a kind of updated Grotowski-like song cycle.”
The west coast premiere of the production comes after a national tour that included stops at the Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis), PS122 (NYC), DiverseWorks Art Space (Houston) and Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts.
Morgan Thorson, originally from Connecticut and NYC, has created dance and performance in Minneapolis since 1994. Her work ranges from outdoor performance and site specific choreography to ensemble/solo improvisation and fully choreographed productions. In 2007 she toured Faker, a performance inspired by the movement and cult phenomena of Elvis, to venues such as PS 122, Institute for Contemporary Art (Boston) and the Walker Art Center’s Momentum Series at The Southern Theater. Minneapolis’ City Pages deemed her Best Choreographer in 2008.
Low is a Duluth-based band led by Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Rogers, with Steve Garrington. Their first album, I Could Live in Hope, was released in 1994 and inspired the creation of the genre “slowcore” style of music, so named because of the contrast of Low’s minimalist soundscapes against the era’s more predominant grunge sound. The band has released 12 albums since then, including a Christmas album (Low Christmas). Their tours have taken them around the world and placed them in shared bills with bands such as Radiohead and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. They have also started multiple side projects, including Retribution Gospel Choir, who will play in Seattle at the Crocodile shortly after the end of Heaven’s run.
Tickets for Morgan Thorson | Low
General Admission $24 | Under 25 & opening night RUSH discounts available
On the Boards Box Office
206.217.9888 | ontheboards.org | 100 West Roy Street, Seattle, WA 98119
Happy 2010, friends! The new decade is starting off right with three new records on Sub Pop that are sure to be contenders for the next ‘best of the decade’ list. (Check back in 2019 to see why they call me Nostraswainus.) On January 26th we are releasing full-lengths by Beach House, AFCGT, and Retribution Gospel Choir. Beach House’s Teen Dream (LP/CD/MP3) comes packaged with a DVD featuring a video for every song on the record, each by a different director. Also, if you pre-order from subpop.com you’ll also be getting a copy of a scrapbook that Beach House’s Victoria Legrand is putting together using scanned excerpts from the lyric book she used while writing Teen Dream! Whoa, get it here. AFCGT is the magical combination of Seattle’s very own A Frames and Climax Golden Twins, and their record is available on LP/MP3 only, and it comes with a bonus 7”. The packaging on this album is really pretty incredible, AND labor-intensive to assemble (I’m talking about the vinyl here; the mp3 packaging is… you know). You will get $2 off of this one if you pre-order with us here at subpop.com. And, lastly but not leastly, Retribution Gospel Choir (Alan from Low rock outfit) will be releasing their 2nd full-length on Sub Pop, fittingly enough entitled 2 (CD/LP/MP3), and that one will also be $2 off through release date. Get that one here. All LPs come with download codes, btw, so don’t be afraid.
Hey! Also, as a new thing, the big bosses gave me the go-ahead to give shit away all the time now, so each month I’ll pick one random commenter to win a package of each month’s new releases, courtesy of Sub Pop and Hardly Art. This month I’d like you to tell me, in the comments section, what you were listening to on New Year’s Eve 2009 for a chance to win the new Beach House, AFCGT, and Retribution Gospel Choir albums. Get to it!
And don’t forget to check out the TOURPAGE to see which of our fine artists is coming to a city near you in 2010! See you in Ferbruruary.