After starting the year as an early-rising store opener, I’ve begun working closing shifts this month. One feature of closing that I’d forgotten about is the fugue state of the airport late at night. In the morning, people are hopped up on caffeine (or rushing towards its nearest source), moving at a brusque pace, hurtling towards their destinations, and reckoning with the reality of a 6AM flight.
At night, people walk slower. Flights have been delayed, and some folks have a long night ahead of them. Most people are trying to stay awake just long enough to board their plane. When you ask these wanderers “Hi, how are you?” the most common response you’ll hear is “I’m just killing time.” Eyeballs gaze over every single item for sale, as if in an effort to consume the most time as possible. But after one lap around the store, most of them exit to explore the next corner of the airport, with the deliberate restlessness of a tumbleweed.
For the rare travelers that decide to hang out in the store, more often than not, they park themselves at our listening station bench. From here, they can sample different Sub Pop albums for sale, and also flip-through/write in our guestbooks. And after reading through our guestbooks for the first time in months, I found some entries that were too good to not share with the whole Sub Pop Interweb audience, who aren’t lucky enough to make it to the airport frequently.
So please enjoy these assorted pages from our 2-year-old guestbooks, and make sure to write your own entry next time you visit us!
(Before Sleater-Kinney reunited and played for the first time in Spokane, WA, we had our fair share of far-flung fans stop by the airport store en route to the show. I think these S-K fans from Great Britain made the longest trip.)
(“Making layovers somewhat passible since 1988” and a heartfelt message from Garrett.)
(Not to be out-done, thanks, Nora!)
(Naturally, rock star portraits abound in the guestbooks.)
(Once we got real celebrities to sign our guestbook. I don’t know why someone crossed out your name in this entry, but thanks, TacocaT!)
(Sometimes state rivalries play out amongst the pages, with the eloquence of a bathroom stall. Here are Alaska and Texas duking it out.)
(Followed by Portland getting roasted.)
(Bottom left corner: “Y’all are super hipster. Nice!”)
(This is my favorite one. All of us at Sub Pop are very honored to be your favorite band from Portland.)
(Pictured: Two Sub Pop Corporate Associates With Party Hats and Balloons)
Sub Pop Airport Store 2nd Birthday Party Recap
May 1st. A day that is already full of holidays. Maybe you have spent prior firsts of May celebrating spring, erecting a maypole, and dancing in neo-pagan fertility rituals. Or perhaps you’ve been an ardent observer of International Workers’ Day, taking part in street marches and demonstrations (but maybe/hopefully you can agree with me that we should cut out of some these less imaginative pursuits.)
But now you can add another celebration to May 1st: The birthday of the Sub Pop Airport store! We are happy to share a birthday with fellow May Day babies like Jules Breton, Terry Southern, Judy Collins, Wes Anderson, and Jay Reatard, but I believe Sub Pop chose May 1st as our inauguration date because ‘mayday’ is an international signal for distress. And if a record label opening a store in an airport isn’t a cry for help, I don’t know what is!*
In typical Sub Pop fashion, May 1st flew right by us on a Sunday last week (“Where the hell did May come from? It was April just yesterday”- me). It then took us a week to figure out how to properly commemorate our 2nd birthday. Eventually, plans were made, and we decided to bring a little festive spirit to the airport on this most recent Monday afternoon, May 9th 2016.
Thank you to all the loyal customers who
happened to be flying through Sea-Tac Airport bought plane tickets just to make it to our birthday party. Thank you to the members of the retail staff that took turns DJing their favorite Sub Pop singles. Without further ado, here is photographic evidence that we celebrated our 2nd birthday and delivered on all those promises we made earlier.
(Photo appropriated from our friends @ Sea-Tac Airport)
(Free cupcakes! These disappeared pretty quickly.)
(Brnt Zza playin’ the hits.)
(Behind the decks with DJ Hookups)
(The store is currently holding auditions to join (this cut-out of) Nirvana. Do you think you have what it takes?)
(Here’s artist/illustrator Stacey Rozich, whose artwork can be found on the latest Father John Misty album, getting her photo taken at the store.)
(Our newest addition to the polaroid wall. Thanks, Stacey!)
(A visual sneak-peek of the Sub Pop Podcast, recording for Season 2 at the airport.)
(A free CD sampler, still available while supplies last. With your help, and patronage at our airport store, we can Make Sub Pop Great Again.)
*just some of that good ol’ patented Sub Pop Sarcasm for you! I love my job and kiss the ground that my overlords walk on.
Celebrating Record Store Day 2016 at Sub Pop’s Airport Store
For the last few months, I have been one of the few Sub Pop corporate associates lucky enough to open the airport store at 6 A.M. For someone who has considered himself a night owl for his entire life, I’m amazed to see how many fully-alert and seemingly-functional human beings are roaming the airport at this hour. They are already munching on breakfast sandwiches, searching for electrical outlets to charge their phones, and staring at the black early morning sky through a 60-by-350-foot glass wall when I get to work.
They are also ready to exercise their purchasing power, which brings us to 6 A.M., this Saturday, April 16th, in the year of our lord Grunge, where I will have the special sleep-deprived pleasure of opening our airport shop for Record Store Day (RSD). While other record stores tout their once-a-year early/extended hours, I can’t find any store that will beat our standard 6 A.M. opening time, making us still the earliest-opening record store in the galaxy. (The closest I found on the west coast was the Everyday Music location in Beaverton, OR, which promises to open at 7 A.M. this year for Record Store Day.)
So, if you were worried about traveling through the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Record Store Day, and missing out on all the exclusive buying opportunities, fear not! At press time, we are still unpacking boxes and awaiting shipments, but we will definitely have some choice RSD titles for you to take home and/or on vacation with you this Saturday. I think all of these will fit nicely in your carry on bag.
As always, we’ll have copies of the 2016 Sub Pop RSD titles. If you didn’t know, Sub Pop will release two different split singles this year: There’s one by Low and S. Carey (a.k.a. Sean Carey, drummer for Bon Iver and solo recording artist on Jagjaguwar) where they take on unfinished versions of each other’s songs, resulting in some jammy musical alchemy. And our other split single has METZ and Mission of Burma(!!!) covering each other’s songs. You can read more about these right over here.
But that’s not all! This year we also decided to stock some other non-Sub Pop RSD exclusives in the store. Here are a few that I recommend checking out:
- METZ and Swami John Reis “Let it Rust” / “Caught Up”: With METZ, the singles just keep on comin’. After passing through San Diego whist on tour, they hooked up with John Reis (of Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, and Rocket From the Crypt fame) and collaborated on two new songs for this gloriously noisy 7”.
- Green River 1984 Demos: These are the earliest recordings by the world’s first ever Grunge band. Jack Endino recently got a hold of the reel and was able to mix it; he says the band sounds “like a scrappy glam punk version of Mudhoney.”
- The Shaggs “Sweet Maria”/ “The Missouri Waltz”: From our good friends at Light in the Attic (can we ever get enough of them?) this 7” contains the previously unreleased song “Sweet Maria,” along with their (what bounds to be) idiosyncratic cover of the state song of Missouri.
- Ravi Shankar In Hollywood, 1971: This is a never before released recording of a private concert Ravi Shankar had in his very own home, for a small group of guests. Word has it that George Harrison was in attendance, and that this unique performance helped to inspire the largest-ever benefit shows at the Concert for Bangladesh, later that year.
- The Thermals “Hey You” / “White Rabbit”: Former Sub Pop band The Thermals just released a new LP this year, We Disappear, over on Saddle Creek Records. This 7” contains a song from that album, along with a sure-to-be-righteous cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.”
- Various Artists Doused in Mud, Soaked in Bleach: A song-for-song tribute to Nirvana’s Bleach, featuring contributions from Beach Slang, Circa Survive, The Fall of Troy, and more.
- Man Man Six Demon Bag: This year marks the 10th anniversary of Man Man’s second album, Six Demon Bag. The band, whose frontman Ryan Kattner is also in Sub Pop’s own Mister Heavenly, originally released this record as a double 10”, and it is now available as a 12” LP for the first time ever.
- Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks: The title says it all. Eerie yet beautiful music, from the greatest T.V. show to ever take place in Washington state, that will dance creepily into the red room of your consciousness.
- And many more titles to choose from!
I’d also be remiss not to mention that today, the day before Record Store Day, Sub Pop has just released the excellent Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop collaboration, Love Letter for Fire, and the airport store still has some smoke-colored vinyl Loser Editions.
On the subject of Loser Editions, make your RSD more artful with these limited color LPs still available at the airport store:
Doldrums - The Air Conditioned Nightmare (clear vinyl)
Heron Oblivion - Heron Oblivion (white swirl vinyl - only one left in the store!)
Mass Gothic - Mass Gothic (orange vinyl)
Mike & the Melvins - Three Men and a Baby (custom dust sleeve and white vinyl - sold out everywhere else!)
So Pitted - Neo (white vinyl)
And we can’t forget colored vinyl options from Hardly Art. We still have Gazebos Die Alone (clear with yellow), Grave Babies Holographic Violence (blue and purple), Shannon and the Clams Gone by the Dawn (green and white) and Tacocat’s brand new release, Lost Time (black and blue), available on LP.
Now, if you’ve made it this far, you might be thinking, “Hey, I’m not flying through Sea Tac airport tomorrow, and it’s totally impractical for me to buy a plane ticket on such short notice.” Don’t worry. If you visit the Sub Pop Airport Store anytime this spring, every day can be your own personal Record Store Day (while supplies last, a.k.a, until we sell-out of this stuff).
[Image from ‘Disruptor,’ Lucas Reif’s Zine]
After reading through hundreds of wonderfully thoughtful and inspirational applications, we here at Sub Pop Records have chosen three extraordinarily qualified students for our Sub Pop Loser scholarship.
Our $7000 winner this year is Lucas Reif of Redmond, Washington. Lucas won us over big-time with his explosive poster art for various local all-ages punk shows. His visual art skills were on display through photography, zine creation, web design, screen printing, and a variety of other formats. In the local community, Lucas volunteered at Ground Zero, worked with the EMP Youth Advisory Board, plays in a band called Kids Menu, and supports bands like GAG in our local all-ages spaces. We feel strongly that Lucas has a bright future ahead of him, and although he may think there is a tangible disconnect between him and the cool kids, he is probably one of the coolest and most talented kids to ever apply for our Loser Scholarship.
Rosabelle Heine will be taking home $5000 this year as a Sub Pop Loser Scholarship winner. From Ashland, Oregon, Rosabelle is one of the most talented and multi-faceted artists we’ve seen in our nine years of looking at Loser Scholarship applications. Her photography, especially the set design, lighting, and thoroughly thought-out concepts really stunned us; her photos are beautifully executed. She is a multi-instrumentalist playing violin, mandolin, busking on the drums, and occasionally making killer beats to rap over. Her community contributions include organizing public youth symphony performances, mural painting, film festival volunteering, building archways in local parks, and fundraising for art lessons for low income students. We love her creative spirit and think that whichever school is lucky enough to have her will be much better off with Rosabelle. Here is Rosabelle’s blog: http://sublimeclementine.com/
Chan Ha Kim will be getting $3000 as a Sub Pop Loser Scholarship winner. Animation and drawing seem to come easy to Chan and they have been her passion since a young age. After immigrating to the Everett area from South Korea, Chan really blossomed as a visual artist and started to win many awards for her very compelling drawings and animations. Not content to just be a stunning visual artist, Chan has helped other Koreans seeking artistic support to find resources in the United States while also hosting volunteer art workshops for children at her home. Wow, her altruistic support of the arts really touched our hearts. But altruism isn’t her only strength, she works on animations and drawings for at least two hours every day and is very dedicated to her craft, volunteering and interning to gain more knowledge at various local organizations. We know there are big things in the future for Chan and her beautiful animations. Here is Chan’s Tumblr: http://verrou.tumblr.com/
This year may have been the strongest field of applicants for the Loser Scholarship so far! For those losers who didn’t win this year, thanks for playing, we loved your applications too, and know many of you will go on to inspire us in the future.
Urban Outfitters is celebrating 25 years in Seattle with a month-long celebration, and they invited us to join the party!
Throughout the month of April you’ll find Sub Pop pop-up shops in all three Seattle Urban Outfitters store locations: Capitol Hill
and University Way
. We think they look pretty great!
The birthday revelry culminates on Saturday, April 30th, when
artists from the Sub Pop family — Portland’s Kyle Craft
, Olympia’s Strange Wilds
, and Hardly Art
— perform at the anniversary bash in UO’s Capitol Hill store at 401 Broadway E, from 6-8 PM
. Come for the music; stay for the birthday treats (and opportunities to buy stuff).
Oh hey, we also made a playlist to mark the occasion. Have a listen here: