parody by nacrowe
the story of SUB POP RECORDS is so fantastical, it is something akin to fairy tale. in a notoriously SELF-CANNIBALIZING industry with a irredeemably RAPACIOUS and INSATIABLE appetite for SELF-SERVING, DEVIOUS business practices and CYNICAL self-justifications for mercilessly economically raping their CLIENTS and FANS alike, it is a wonder the PACIFIC NORTHWEST INDEPENDENT record label is still standing and functioning today. and not only surviving, but in fact thriving in a MODERN POST-STREAMING DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT where culture is moving and innovating at an increasingly fast clip. since the 1980s SUB POP has basically been a beacon for INVENTIVE established and emerging MUSICIANS alike, providing a platform and opportunity for wide exposure to ARTISTS across HIP HOP, INDIE ROCK, COMEDY, ELECTRONICA, SPOKEN WORD, PUNK ROCK, INDIE POP and TRIP HOP genres alike.
SUB POP began interestingly enough not as a LABEL, but as a FANZINE and RADIO SHOW at EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE by student and music fanatic BRUCE PAVITT. it later morphed into a NEWSPAPER COLUMN and then a LABEL as a means of putting out a compilation album of unknown local SEATTLE acts in the late 80s. this small but close scene, uniquely propelled by its ISOLATION, cultivated an EMERGING ALTERNATIVE ROCK scene that infused elements of PUNK ROCK, METAL and CLASSIC ROCK influences to create something entirely FRESH yet FAMILIAR. by SERENDIPITY and hard work, SUB POP tapped into that vein and promoted the likes of SOUNDGARDEN, GREEN RIVER, MUDHONEY, NIRVANA and so on to the present day. what i appreciate about the LABEL is that they have never attempted to put out the same thing over and over again like so many other SUCCESSFUL AMERICAN INDEPENDENT LABELS (cough, cough, EPITAPH, FAT WRECK CHORDS, etc). i see SUB POP as more akin and in-league with the LIKE-MINDED BRITISH RECORD LABELS (4AD, ROUGH TRADE, XL, MUTE, WARP and DOMINO), as well as a few AMERICAN ones as well (MATADOR, MERGE and JAGJAGUWAR), that nurture and curate INGENIOUS new ARTISTS.
whenever i feel jaded about music, SUB POP continues to be an entry point into the AVANT-GARDE of music right now. not thirty years ago at the height of a much BELOVED but IRRELEVANT and BYGONE GRUNGE movement, but right at present at this cultural moment. i just dont understand how they remained intact. its almost as if the COMMUNITY is consciously along for the ride, which is reassuring about HUMANITY in general.
and thats exciting. SUB POP is a gift to music lovers.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that includes an ECLECTIC playlist of SUB POP bands new and old, notable and upcoming. enjoy!