Sub Pop Records may have started small, but the label has always made a big impression. Sub Pop, which began as a fanzine and evolved into a record label in the late 1980s, is considered the epicenter of the Grunge Movement. At the end of 1989, Seattle’s music scene started to explode. Megan Jasper, vice president at Sub Pop, says being in the middle of everything felt absolutely surreal; they didn’t have perspective. “We just knew that people had given this thing a name and that it was affecting people’s lives in some interesting ways, in some great ways, and in some sad ways.”
If you missed Fleet Foxes’ two sold-out shows at Seattle’s Moore Theater last week, tonight could be your golden opportunity! NPR Music will live webcast the band’s performance from Stubb’s Barbecue in Austin Texas. The concert will be available in both audio and video formats. Fleet Foxes recently embarked on a North American and European tour in support of the band’s lush new album titled Helplessness Blues. It’s the group’s sophomore effort and was released May 3 on local label Sub Pop. Remember to tune in at 6:30 PM Pacific time via the above link to listen to Fleet Foxes perform live in Austin.
Sub Pop is now accepting applications for its 2011 Scholarship Program, which confers a grand total of $13,000 in college funding via three separate awards— one for $6,000, one for $4,000 and one for $3,000. The iconic Seattle record label is seeking three local (Washington or Oregon state residents) high school seniors who are actively involved in the creative arts—particularly music—and who are also on the road to full-time enrollment at an accredited university/college. Eligible applicants should submit a one-page essay that candidly divulges on their participation in the local arts and music community; how they became interested in artistic outlets; how the award would help them progress in their chosen field of study, and/or some of their favorite musical artists. Scholarship hopefuls are strongly encouraged to include digital links or hard copies of their artwork along with these essays—but since Sub Pop will not return any application materials, it’s best not to submit your masterpieces in their original glory. The application deadline for Sub Pop’s 2011 Scholarship awards is May 15. Follow the link above for more information.
Yesterday the Fleet Foxes doubled-down on Helplessness Blues action with a new video release for a new song off their upcoming album (which drops May 3 via Sub Pop–like you didn’t already know). The video, for the track “Grown Ocean,” features lush Pacific NW scenery as well as some bearded behind-the-scenes banter with the Seattle folk rockers. Have a look and listen below.
Outdoor apparel company Patagonia is adding a new digital music download on their website to raise money for environmental organizations endorsed by bands. Seattle musicians Pearl Jam and Brandi Carlile and Sub Pop’s Blitzen Trapper are among the artists participating in the initiative, which launches today. The Patagonia Music Collective will offer exclusive tracks for $.99 each, with net proceeds going directly to the environmental organizations of the artists’ preference. Pearl Jam is backing the Conservation International Marine Programs and Brandi Carlile is raising money for Honor the Earth organization. The Patagonia Music Collective is a long term project launching with two volumes of 11 tracks each that can be purchased online or at Patagonia stores. One new benefit track and three emerging tracks will be released weekly. The project’s goal is to foster an artistic and political exchange between musicians, fans, environmental advocates and Patagonia customers. Click the link above to browse the artists and organizations involved and download their songs for a better environment.
In case you haven’t heard the circulating rumors, or if you have been waiting for confirmation from a reliable source, Seattle indie-folksters The Head and the Heart have a self titled album coming to record stores on April 16. If you can’t wait that long for the album to drop, never fear, it is available for digital download right now! A few of the tracks are totally free for your listening pleasure including the previously unreleased song “No One to Let You Down.” For a little icing on the record release cake you can see them live this Friday at Neumos with Curtains for You and Lemolo. Click the link above for more about the band and access their music. Click here to see the Ballard Sonic Boom’s number one selling record of 2010.
With the arrival of 2011, now is the time to reflect back upon 2010’s busy and exciting music scene. The Crosscut article above discusses highlights from all arenas of Seattle’s music community; bands, record labels, festivals, the Music Commission and Nightlife Initiative and theaters are all covered. Looking back at City Arts’ inaugural music festival, Shabazz Palaces’ contract with Sub Pop, the Hard Rock Café’s arrival in Seattle, we remember that 2010 was a fantastic year in local music. Other publications offer their insights of the year’s musical successes and failures: see an “Incomplete History of Seattle Music in 2010” here, listen to music experts Josh Powell, Dana Bos and Larry Mizell Jr. discuss 2010’s tunes here and download Seattle Times’ Andrew Matson’s Seattle pop music mixtape, A Very Good Year, 2010 here. Here’s to hoping 2011 is just a fantastic!
New York Times
A few weeks ago, we covered the Seattle Weekly article about Sub Pop’s changing focus from music with merch to merch with music strategies. Now The New York Times is also taking note. The same article is cited, quoting Sub Pop’s Megan Jasper: “We used to give many of these tchotchke items away for free in an effort to entice people to pay for the music… But we’re considering flipping our strategy so that people pay for the toy and receive the music for free. Just a thought.” The article also discusses New York record companies such as Ghostly International and Stones Throw Records who are also using unique material objects to sell music rather than the other way around. Follow the link above to read the full article.
Sub Pop released five Shabazz Palaces songs on their soundcloud, announcing the hiphop group’s partnership with the venerable label. The record label is most known for its work with Seattle grunge bands, and Shabazz Palaces marks one of few departures from rock groups. Writes The Palaceer of Shabazz Palaces, “Seattle is the immeasurable muse, the backdrop, backbone, the foundation to how we all get down. So SP feels a lot of pride around this partnering-up as well. The people, the office, the deal, it all feels super plush.” The collaboration is particularly exciting; the last Seattle band signed to the label was Fleet Foxes, who have gone on to garner considerable national acclaim. Andrew Matson of Seattle Times writes, “It’s always special when Sub Pop looks to Seattle for artists to work with. There’s a feeling the label only works with the best we’ve got, that for a local act, getting signed to Sub Pop is like being knighted, the label saying, “You are officially doing the coolest music around.” To read the full story, follow the link. Be sure to watch the amazing video for “Belhaven Meridian” below.
Sub Pop Records is offering a grand total of $13,000 worth of college scholarship money to three eligible high school seniors. To apply for these scholarships, students 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. They are looking for an applicant who is involved and/or interested in music and/or the creative arts in some way. The deadline for applications is May 15. For more information follow the above link.