As the days get warmer, and the airport gets busier, I can’t help but think about all of the Sub Pop bands tearing it up on tour and crushing the summer music festival circuit. While many great festivals have already occurred this year, such as Coachella, Sasquatch, and Bonnaroo, there are still plenty more to discover, some in your own backyard, others in far-off locales. You might be saying to yourself, “Sure, I want to get my fest-vibes on this summer, but how do I distinguish between all of these authentically-curated music festivals?” Well, I have taken it upon myself to synthesize some of the information located at https://www.subpop.com/tours and compile a list of 10 music festivals worth attending this summer. For each festival, I’ve included information on current and former Sub Pop recording artists on the bill, other notable musicians to see, and a unique Festi Fun Fact™. Starting with two festivals right here in Seattle, followed by eight others around the world, let’s dig in!
July 22 - 24
Sub Pop Bands to See: Washed Out, Porter Ray
Other Artists I’d Check Out: Clams Casino, DoNormaal, Dude York, Nail Polish, Mommy Long Legs
Festi Fun Fact™: This three day music festival takes place in Seattle’s funky and hip Capitol Hill neighborhood. (If you want to talk like a local when you visit, be sure to call it ‘Cap Hill.’) MTV’s The Real World is currently filming its newest season in Cap Hill, and locals are excited at the prospect of even more people filling up their bars and restaurants every weekend, hoping to see the cast members in-action.
September 2 - 4
Sub Pop Bands to See: So Pitted, Father John Misty
Other Artists I’d Check Out: Tame Impala, Run the Jewels, Kamasi Washington, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, Chastity Belt
Festi Fun Fact™: This annual Labor Day weekend festival has been running in Seattle Center every year since 1971. The word ‘Bumbershoot’ is a dated and humorous term for an umbrella, and the festival gets its name from the large wooden effigy of a bumbershoot that is constructed every year, and then burned to the ground, in a ritualistic sacrifice to the rain gods.
July 23 and 24
Sub Pop Bands to See: Father John Misty (solo set), the Head and the Heart
Other Artists I’d Check Out: M83, Twin Peaks, Mac DeMarco
Festi Fun Fact™: With this year’s special solo performance by Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman), Mo Pop continues its legacy of hosting talented male performers, as previous festivals have seen the likes of Brandon Flowers, Andrew Bird, and J Roddy Walston grace the West Riverfront Park stage.
July 29 - 31
Sub Pop Bands to See: Wolf Parade, Foals
Other Artists I’d Check Out: Grimes, Kurt Vile, Vince Staples, Radiohead
Festi Fun Fact™: While many famous musicians have called Montreal, Canada, home, members of the indie-rock band Of Montreal are not, in fact, from there. They are proud Americans from the city of Montreal, Wisconsin.
August 5 - 7
San Francisco, CA
Sub Pop Bands to See: Heron Oblivion, Beach House, Rogue Wave, Foals
Other Artists I’d Check Out: Chance the Rapper, Lana Del Rey, Third Eye Blind, Radiohead again.
Festi Fun Fact™: With their top-billing at this year’s Outside Lands festival, local San Fran band Third Eye Blind will be celebrating their 20th anniversary of opening for Oasis at the Frisco Civic Auditorium, by playing an identical song-for-song setlist.
August 5 - 7
Happy Valley, OR
Sub Pop Bands to See: Beach House, Wolf Parade, Fruit Bats
Other Artists I’d Check Out: Julia Holter, Thee Oh Sees, BADBADNOTGOOD, La Luz, Protomartyr
Festi Fun Fact™: La Luz and Protomartyr have both released albums on Hardly Art, everyone’s favorite scrappy upstart record label in Seattle, who will soon celebrate 10 years of being a scrappy upstart record label in Seattle.
August 12 and 13
Eau Claire, WI
Sub Pop Bands to See: Shabazz Palaces, Beach House, Melvins
Other Artists I’d Check Out: Bon Iver, Erykah Badu, James Blake, Jenny Lewis, William Tyler
Festi Fun Fact™: If you go to the Eaux Claires festival by yourself, one way to make a lot of friends would be to walk around the grounds saying, to no one and everyone in particular, “For an éclairs festival, I thought there’d be more pastries haha.” Repeat as necessary until people start recognizing you as the really funny éclair guy.
August 27 and 28
Los Angeles, CA
Sub Pop Bands to See: Beach House, Father John Misty, Wolf Parade
Other Artists I’d Check Out: Kendrick Lamar, Sheer Mag, AIR, Anohni, Charles Bradley
Festi Fun Fact™: Despite repeated excavations at the historic Los Angeles Sports Arena and Exposition Park, in Los Angeles, California, F.Y.F Fest organizers have failed to recover the original tableaus that contain the translation, and meaning, of the initials “F.Y.F.” This year, it was decided that festival goers would vote for a new original backronym, and “Family friendlY Fun” was recently declared the top vote getter.
September 1 - 4
Sub Pop Bands to See: Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop, GOAT, the Shins, Kelley Stoltz
Other Artists I’d Check Out: Animal Collective, Cat Power, Broken Social Scene, Savages
Festi Fun Fact™: If you are from the U.S. and plan on going to the festival, be mindful that many attendees from the surrounding area might be sensitive about the recent ‘Brexit.’ It would be unwise to ask the nearest person with an unfamiliar accent about their thoughts on the U.K. leaving the European Union, but if you still want to be informed, be sure to stop by the End of the Road official ‘Brexit Information Tent presented by Tesco’ where volunteers are eager to fill you in on this unprecedented development in global politics.
Sept 23 - 25
Long Beach, CA
Sub Pop Bands to See: METZ, Iron and Wine, Melvins
Other Artists I’d Check Out: The Specials, Sylvan Esso, Living Colour, De La Soul, Warpaint
Festi Fun Fact™: Synesthesia is defined as “a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color.” Studies have shown that 86% of people who claim to regularly experience synesthesia are liars.
This Saturday and Sunday (7/16-17) Team Sub Pop starts biking from Seattle to Portland in support of the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, and we need YOUR help!
Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in January of 2013, our Co-Founder and fearless leader Jonathan Poneman has done everything he can to show others that there is life beyond Parkinson’s. In a 2013 Seattle Times article, he states, “I accept that I have this disease, but that doesn’t give me the right to be passive.” He actually explains it as sort of a blessing. Parkinson’s has allowed him to “recalibrate” important values. “As ironic as it sounds, I am truly grateful to the disease,” and he explains further that, “My love of life and its precious elements became more vivid at the thought of seeing them fade away.” You can read more from Jonathan Poneman here, as he describes a very personal side to his Parkinson’s story.
In support of the many individuals and families affected by PD every year, Sub Pop Records employees will be raising money for the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation (NWPF) by undertaking the fabled 204-mile Seattle to Portland (STP) Bicycle Classic. We hope you’ll take a moment to donate, and to spread the word about our fundraising efforts.
Donate to our team and we will enter you in a drawing for a hand-picked selection of Sub Pop greatest hits and rarities. From Nirvana’s Bleach to Band of Horses Everything All The Time to rare colored vinyl editions, Sub Pop fans are in for a treat. And, this week only, we will be throwing in mega-rare test pressings of Let’s Be Still by The Head and the Heart!
Your donation will benefit the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, which does great work on behalf of people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Please take a moment to visit our Sub Pop Team page and make a donation. Under ‘Honour Roll Options’ please select ‘Other (Custom)’ and enter “Sub Pop Giveaway (7/15/16)” in the note field. Winners will be notified shortly after 7/18.
Thanks for being a part of our team!
Coming to you direct-ish from his Topanga Canyon studio, Morgan Delt just shared “The System of 1000 Lies,” another kaleidoscopic track from Phase Zero, his forthcoming Sub Pop debut.
In case you haven’t heard, Morgan Delt’s live show is a psychedelic smorgasbord for the ears and eyes; his international tour schedule for 2016 in support of Phase Zero resumes August 4th in Luxembourg-Bonnevoie at Rotondesbeen, and dates have now been extended through September 24th, with a show at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. Delt and his band will tour both Europe (August 4th-20th) and North America (September 14th-24th) during this time. (Current schedule below.)
Phase Zero is available to preorder now (please do), and LP pre-orders through Sub Pop Mega Mart/independent retailers near you will receive the limited Loser Edition on red vinyl (while supplies last).
Tour DatesAug. 04 - Luxembourg-Bonnevoie, LX -Rotondes
Aug. 05 - Liege, BE - Micro Festival
Aug. 06 - Yverdon-les-Bains, CH - Club Paradis
Aug. 08 - Berlin, DE - Berghain
Aug. 09 - Copenhagen, DK - KB18
Aug. 10 - Oslo, NO - Oya Festival
Aug. 11 - Göteborg, SE - Way Out West Festival
Aug. 12 - Hamburg, DE - ÜBEL&GEFÄHRLICH
Aug. 13 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
Aug. 14 - Saint-Malo, FR - La Route du Rock Festival
Aug. 15 - London, UK - Moth Club
Aug. 16 - Manchester, UK - Soup Kitchen
Aug. 17 - Leeds, UK - A Nation of Shopkeepers
Aug. 18 - Brighton, UK - Prince Albert
Aug. 19 - Paris, FR - Le Point Ephemere
Aug. 20 - Stein Am Rhein, CH - Klingen Openair Festival
Sep. 14 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
Sep. 15 - Detroit, MI - UFO Factory
Sep. 16 - Toronto, ON - The Silver Dollar
Sep. 17 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz
Sep. 20 - Washington, DC - DC9
Sep. 21 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle
Sep. 23 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East
Sep. 24 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby’s All Right
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.