SP901-SP1000

SP1000

VARIOUS ARTISTS

SUB POP 10002013

The accurately named Sub Pop 1000 compilation celebrates the thousandth Sub Pop release with a "crucial, maximal listening experience for its own sake," as described by co-founder Jonathan Poneman. What this translates to is ten tracks of music, some local some not. The great cellist Lori Goldston is stuck alongside always essential Detroit punk outfit Protomartyr. Peaking Lights makes an appearance, as does Ed Schrader's Music Beat. There seems no more appropriate way to acknowledge a momentous occasion for the label than a grab bag of solid, intense tracks that display the label's roots and proposed future. Here's to a thousand more, Sub Pop. Made in an edition of 5,000 records. - MH

Date Played: July 13 on The Morning Show with DJ Evie


SP0999

HUSKY

FOREVER SO2012

When Husky emerged on the scene, Sub Pop promoted the Australian act as an act “you probably haven’t heard before.” It’s a narrative that defined the band early when they won the Australian Triple J contest for their country’s “next great-unsigned band.” They didn’t hold that title for long before Sub Pop snagged them up. But you can understand why they didn’t want this music to be kept under wraps. Released in arguably the peak of the late 2000s/early 2010s folk renaissance, the band’s debut Forever So swirls together an array of acoustic instruments with intricate harmonies. It’s a break-up album with sounds that feel like they could break apart at any moment. The twiddling fingerpicked guitars and piano notes mix effortlessly with lead vocalist Husky Gawenda’s despondent melodies. The album was recorded in cottage behind Gawenda’s home, mooching electricity off of his main home. It feels like a record made in a dilapidated house, mirroring the crumbling nature of a relationship. - DH

Date Played: July 13 by DJ Sean


SP0998

BLITZEN TRAPPER

"HEY JOE" 7" Single, 2012

For this Record Store Day release, the Portland folk-rockers pay tribute to Jimi Hendrix on its A-side, shaping his bleary-eyed electric tune into their own image. Here, "Hey Joe" sounds like a more traditional murder ballad than the original, while "Skirt's on Fire" is a lowkey, bluesy ballad complete with twinkly pianos and lyrics about past-due rent and a protagonist ready to split for the territories. — MD

Date Played: July 12 by DJ Sean


SP0997

OBITS

"LET ME DREAM IF I WANT TO" 7" Single, 2012

Although they're not the most instantaneously celebrated of groups who fit the mantle, Obits are certainly a subtly quintessential Sub Pop band. Their style is perfect for what the label is best-known for: loud rock music that feels like a kick to the stomach. This seven-inch single from the band encapsulates their aesthetic pretty nicely for those who need a quick synopsis for what the band's about. A-side "Let Me Dream if I Want To" borrows liberally from wild garage groups from yore (the Sonics immediately come to mind), while b-side "The City is Dead" is woozy and belligerent, kind of like what Fugazi would sound like if they were obsessed with the Seeds — MD

Date Played: July 12 by DJ Shannon


SP0996

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0995

SHABAZZ PALACES

LIVE AT KEXP2012

Shabazz Palaces have a string of excellent KEXP in-studios, dating back to around the release of their debut album, Black Up. KEXP partnered with Sub Pop on this limited edition 12" record of Shabazz Palaces's remarkable 2011 in-studio, released as part of 2012's Record Store Day. "Bop Hard" and "An Echo From The Hosts That Profess Infinitum" grace the A-side, and the reverse features the still unreleased "A Mess, The Booth Soaks In Palacian Musk..." and "Free Press and Curl." Limited to 2,000 copies, the record remains a much coveted collectors item, especially considering the flamboyant purple vinyl. - MH

Date Played: July 12 on The Afternoon Show with Stevie Zoom


SP0994

JAILL

TRAPS2012

Jaill's third album Traps is their second for Sub Pop following 2010's That's How We Burn. Traps largely covers similar ground to their previous work, mixing power pop with elements of psychedelia to create oddball pop music. Singer Vinnie Kircher spends time complaining about social anxiety and girl problems, not unlike fellow Wisconsin band Violent Femmes, with whom the band has been frequently compared. Perhaps there is something in the air of Milwaukee, or instead every generation of awkward males must relive the mistakes of previous generations. - MH

Date Played: July 12 on The Afternoon Show with Stevie Zoom


SP0993

RETRIBUTION GOSPEL CHOIR

THE REVOLUTION EP, 2012

Alan Sparhawk's Retribution Gospel Choir returned with this EP, titled The Revolution, released two years after the 2 LP. The four song EP finds the band further amplifying (no pun intended) their expansive rock sound. The production from Matt Beckley is slick and polished, a far cry from the dower music of Sparhawk's beloved band Low. On tracks like "The Stone (Revolution)," Sparhawk lives out his arena rock daydreams to exciting effect. - MH

Date Played: July 12 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0992

THE HEAD AND THE HEART

iTUNES SESSION

The Head and the Heart continued to seize the undeniable buzz around their self-titled debut with this extensive live iTunes session. The band rips through six of the 10 songs from the LP and also features the non-album cuts “When I Fall Asleep and “Chasing a Ghost.” It’s maybe the most extensive live document of the band’s earliest days currently available. - DH

Date Played: July 12 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0991

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0990

POOR MOON

ILLUSION, 2012

Featuring the talents of songwriter Christian Wargo and multi-instrumentalist Casey Wescott — both most famously of Crystal Skulls and later Fleet Foxes — Poor Moon's five-song EP ferries heavy elements of both aforementioned groups. For fans of the rustic folk and folk-rock of the latter, there are songs like "Widow," "Anyplace," and Ilusion's title track. If you have a hankering for the jaunty, plugged-in guitar-pop of Crystal Skulls (on hiatus at the time of this release), "People in Her Mind" and "Once Before" should scratch that itch just fine. — MD

Date Played: July 11 by DJ Hans


SP0989

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0988

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0987

FULL TOILET

FULL TOILET 7''/LP, 2012

Full Toilet is the project of Sub Pop fixture Kurt Bloch, performing under the character of the teenaged Don Sheets (aka "Piss" Don Sheets). The debut Full Toilet release is a crude blast of punk, 13 tracks crammed onto a 7" single. One could describe the release as unrepentant and juvenile, quite by design. Originally planned to be a full-length record, Sheets was informed by Sub Pop that too many customers would ask for their money back if it came out on CD. Soon after, Sheets & co. were forcibly removed from the Sub Pop offices, efffectively ending a burgeoning creative relationship. Luckily, the incident inspired several tracks on their 2016 follow-up, aptly titled I Disagree. - MH

Date Played: July 11 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0986

NIKI AND THE DOVE

THE DRUMMER EP, 2012

Before Niki & The Dove would make their official debut with Instinct, the Swedish electronic-pop act gave a taste of what was to come with their dazzling The Drummer EP. This release marked them as the poppiest band in the Sub Pop catalog this side of CSS. You only need to hear the title track to understand why the band was so buzzed about in their native Europe. Malin Dahlström’s vocals soar over producer Gustaf Karlöf’s club-worthy beats, feeling like the climactic moment on the sweatiest of dance parties. The duo demonstrates notable range with some downtempo bangers like “Last Night” and “Mother Protect.” - DH

Date Played: July 11 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0985

POOR MOON

POOR MOON

Poor Moon, alongside Father John Misty, is another Fleet Foxes-adjacent project made up of Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott (both members of the Foxes) and brothers Ian and Peter Murray. Wargo and Wescott also both played in Pedro the Lion and Crystal Skulls, which gives them a daunting track record for successful collaborations. The self-titled album by Poor Moon contains lots of unusual instrumentation used to memorable effect, including marimba, harpsichord, and fretless zither. However, far from seeming a crutch, these elements offer different sonic textures to the group's compositions. This remains just one of two releases from Poor Moon. -MH

Date Played: July 11 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0984

VETIVER

"CAN'T YOU TELL" (REMIXES) 12" Single, 2012

This 12" single compiles four versions of Vetiver's song "Can't You Tell," originally from The Errant Charm. The first two are remixes, followed by an instrumental version, and the original album track. Andy Cabic of Vetiver explains the intention of the 12" on Sub Pop's website, saying "Can't You Tell," "has a lot of ambience and mood, it's a very summery track whose length is devised to end quickly enough that you’d want to press play again. These remixes present an opportunity to expand on the mood of the song and to extend the length and reveal a little more detail in the tracks and the spirit of the summer, just before it’s over." - MH

Date Played: July 11 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0983

DUM DUM GIRLS

"COMING DOWN" Digital Single, 2012

The digital single off Dum Dum Girls's Only In Dreams, "Coming Down," just appeared on the Sub Pop Count-Up as a 7" single (#SP0979). "Coming Down" re,aom among the most famous Dum Dum Girls tracks, a distinction which is well earned, in no small part due to Dee Dee's excellent vocal performance. If one researches the song, comparisons to Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" are quite frequent. Despite the similarities, "Coming Down" is a counterpoint to the melancholy of "Fade Into You," Dee Dee sounding ecstatic even as she becries the end of a relationship. - MH

Date Played: July 11 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0982

SPOEK MATHAMBO

PUT SOME RED ON IT  Digital EP, 2012

Though it appears later in the count-up, Spoek Mathambo’s Put Some Red On It is actually the South African artist’s Sub Pop debut. In the spirit of mixtapes, the album was released for free digitally. The six-track collection really is just two songs: “Put Some Red On It” and “Dog To Bone.” The title track gets two remixes – one from North Carolina producer Machinedrum and another from Sub Pop and Seattle’s own Shabazz Palaces. Both are apt choices to take on Mathambo’s eccentric, glitchy aesthetic. “Dog To Bone” features drumming from the always mind bogglingly great Zach Hill of Hella and Death Grips fame. While lacking in a lengthy trackless, Put Some Red On It serves as a great introduction to Mathambo’s frenzied and eclectic sonic tastes. - DH

Date Played: July 10 on Larry's Lounge with Larry Rose


SP0981

J MASCIS

"CIRCLE" 7" Single, 2012

J. Mascis is no stranger to covers, routinely covering everything from The Germs to Mazzy Star. With this 7-inch, he takes on Eddie Bicknell’s “Circle” – a staple of his solo shows. Mascis strips the song down to its bare bones, lightly strumming his guitar and doubling up his hushed vocals with the occasional string samples coming in and out of the mix. The Dinosaur Jr. frontman somehow takes a dreary, pleading ballad and makes it even more dreary. The single also features the b-side “I’ve Been Thinking,” which was previously only available on Japanese versions of his solo album Several Shades of Why. - DH

Date Played: July 10 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0980

FEEDTIME

THE ABERRANT YEARS2012

Over ten years of music by Australian band feedtime is collected on this four CD / four LP boxset, covering the years 1978-1989. This includes four studio records from feedtime, along with a host of rarities, singles, and previously unreleased material. Although separated by location, the group sound remarkably in tune with the early Sub Pop mentality. Their music marked by dense layers of sludge and bass that obliquely references blues rock, even while it crushes its structures. 1989's Suction, the last record to feature the band's original line-up, is more melodic than its predecessors, although it could not be confused for anything resembling a compromise. feedtime were of particular influence to Mudhoney. Frontman Mark Arm compiled a sampler of his favorite tracks from the boxset, which is a useful starting point for a deliberately difficult catalog. - MH

Date Played: July 10 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0979

DUM DUM GIRLS

"COMING DOWN" 7" Single, 2012

This 7-inch single features a truncated edit of Dum Dum Girls’ “Coming Down” from their stark and gorgeous sophomore LP, Only In Dreams. The single was available exclusively with pre-orders and first pressings of the LP and came in both black and white wax. The single is also the only place you can snag the b-side “Crystal Baby,” a murky power ballad that feels like it would’ve fit nicely within the intoxicating darkness of Only In Dreams. - DH

Date Played: July 10 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0978

FRUIT BATS

"TANGIE AND RAY" iTunes Single, 2012

After scoring the films Our Idiot Brother and Ceremony, Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson began to further explore the idea of writing stories within his songs. We get maybe the clearest example of this with “Tangie and Ray” from Tripper, which details the titular duo embarking away from the city life to live out in the wilderness with “the last few mountain men.” It seems to be a successful pursuit as well. They both grow out their hair and gain some truly impressive skills – Tangie learns how to ride a ram and Ray develops the ability to talk to trees. Underscored with Johnson’s ragged songwriting, you get a clear visage of what living off the grid can really look like. BRB, I’m gonna go out into the woods now and get fluent in cedar-speak. - DH

Date Played: July 10 by Reeves


SP0977

MISTER HEAVENLY

"BRONX SNIPER" Digital Single, 2012

The first song on Mister Heavenly’s Out Of Love encapsulates the danger at the core of the band. he song details the truly frightening scenario of a shooter in the streets – an all too real nightmare that’s only become more real as time has passed since the song’s release. Guitar riffs bleed on top of each other, stuttering against the clank of the drums and shouting vocals. Never has a “la la la” sounded so sinister than in the hands of the group of indie rock titans. - DH

Date Played:  July 10 by Reeves


SP0976

KING TUFF

KING TUFF, 2012

This self-titled LP may have been the first Sub Pop release for King Tuff, but it was the second for the man behind the moniker; Kyle Thomas served as guitarist for Vermont band Happy Birthday whose debut is #SP0850. "I signed a contract to stay alive. They just wanted me to be alive,” is how he explained it in a 2011 interview with the L.A. Record. "It was as Happy Birthday or King Tuff — to make albums as either. There’s no communication with them, really. Every once in a while I show up and hang out and sleep on their couch in the office.”

Recorded over a frantic two-week period in Detroit with producer Bobby Harlow (of The Go and Conspiracy of Owls), the self-titled sophomore release is said to be a continuation of his 2007 LP Was Dead. He notes that when working with Harlow, “he was looking for things he hasn’t heard before — lyrics and emotions and overall songwriting. Me and him are really focused on songwriting. We’re both songwriters. He also can write lots of different kinds of songs, which is why I’m really psyched to work with him.” — JH

Date Played:  July 10 by Reeves


SP0975

SPOEK MATHAMBO

FATHER CREEPER, 2012

South African artist Spoke Mathambo (aka Nthato Mokgata) is hard to pin down, simply because he encompasses so much. He raps, he sings, he makes his own beats, and he does it all with an array of different styles. On his sophomore album, Father Creeper, he emerges with a slew of heavy, booming beats. It’s an album bursting with low bass tones, jagged rhymes, and surrealist imagery. Mokgata’s voice is the thread that ties it all together, a shapeshifting enigma that can weave its way into any beat and elevate the music. It’s a paranoid fever dream mixed with whiplash, yet it’s the sort of manic energy that you can’t help but e compelled to dive into again and again. - DH

Date Played:  July 9 by DJ Riz


SP0974

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0973

WASHED OUT

"AMOR FATI" Digital Single, 2011

Latin for “Love of Fate,” “Amor Fati” is an apt title for this standout digital single from Washed Out’s debut LP Within and Without. In an interview with Self-Titled Magazine, Washed Out’s Ernest Greene says the song came “very quickly and painlessly.” Maybe it was inspiration from love or maybe the song was just fated to be – either way, the lush blend of synthesizers and Greene’s cooing vocals resulted in one of the band’s most iconic songs. The lyrics reflect this feeling as well, as Greene sings on the chorus: “Inside you've got the light to guide/Your fate decides the roads you're going to find.“ - DH

Date Played:  July 9 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0972

DNTEL

"ANYWHERE ANYONE (REMIXES)" 12" Single, 2011

Not only did Sub Pop release a deluxe edition of DNTEL's Life If Full Of Possibilities for its 10th anniversary in 2011 (see SP955), they also tapped some buzzworthy producers to give their own spin on one of the album’s standout tracks “Anywhere Anyone.” The 12-inch single features reinterpretations from Berlin’s Silent Servant & Regis (of the Berlin-based Sandwell District collective) and Pearson Sound. Both sets of tap into the melancholic mood and atmosphere of DNTEL’s original work, mining his spacious beats and flipping them into their own sonic explorations - DH

Date Played:  July 9 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0971

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0970

FATHER JOHN MISTY

FEAR FUN, 2012

It would be inaccurate to call Father John Misty an attempt for Josh Tillman to "go solo." Long before he was drumming in Fleet Foxes, he was recording mournful, solitary albums under the J. Tillman moniker. But even still, Father John Misty pronounced itself immediately as something different. This wasn’t the bearded sad sap his previous projects would lead you to believe. He was much to fun and funny for any of that. Tillman’s first project under the Father John Misty moniker, Fear Fun, is a flash of giddy, psych-folk tunes that lend Tillman much more opportunity for pelvic thrusts than drumming on “White Winter Hymnal” would ever allow him. He sings about doing ayahuasca with shamans, writing novels (he even includes a version of a novel called Mostly Hypothetical Mountains with the albums lyric sheet), and making love at funerals. And he does it all with a soft and sweet croon straight out of your parents’ record collection. It was enough to make people do a double-take and say, “Is this guy serious?” Not only was he serious, he may have been exuding the truest visage of himself yet. Fear Fun is Tillman’s reintroduction to the world. As we’ll see later in the count-up, he was really just scratching the surface. - DH

Date Played:  July 9 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0969

WASHED OUT

EYES BE CLOSED EP, 2012

This four-song EP takes the opening track from his then-most-recent LP Within and Without (see #SP0945), and offers it up to Grimes, Star Slinger, and Lovelock for remixes. The Canadian artist adds what sounds like her own vocals to the mix, not even adding the electro-beat until halfway through the track. The mysterious Lovelock gives it a downtempo R&B electro-pop groove, like something you’d hear in the soundtrack to an ‘80s film. And UK producer Star Slinger (aka Darren Williams) takes some of the chill out of “chillwave” with this summery mix. — JH

Date Played:  July 9 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0968

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0967

WASHED OUT

"BELONG" B/W "PHONE CALL" 7" Single, 2011

This limited edition 7” single featured two tracks from their 2009 EP, High Times, and was offered only as a pre-order bonus with the 2011 Washed Out album, Within and Without. Limited to 500 copies. — JH

Date Played:  July 9 by DJ Miss Ashley


SP0966

MOGWAI

EARTH DIVISION, 2012

The four tracks on this EP from Scottish post-punk band Mogwai were recorded during the same sessions as 2011’s full-length Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (see #SP0895), yet lack the ferocity of the LP, emphasizing the more atmospheric, brooding side of their sound.

And it made the perfect bummed out soundtrack for what happened to thousands of copies of this CD: the distribution centre for PIAS Entertainment Group was destroyed by fire during the 2011 London riots, burning up most of their inventory as well as merchandise from over 100 British independent labels which PIAS distributes. Wikipedia reports, “the total stock loss was reported to be between 3.5 million and 25 million units." — JH

Date Played:  July 9 by DJ Miss Ashley


SP0965

BEACH HOUSE

BLOOM, 2012

For a band who takes their name from a place of rest and relaxation, Baltimore’s Beach House continued to demonstrate a relentless work ethic, releasing Bloom just two years after Teen Dream (#SP0845). The band wrote it while on the road, "between countless sound checks and myriad experiences during two years of tour,” as they reported for Pitchfork. (Meanwhile, I can’t even read on the bus without getting a headache.) The band then spent seven weeks at Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, TX, recording again with producer Chris Coady. Coady notes that despite the change in location, Sonic Ranch had "almost exactly the same dimensions” as where they tracked Teen Dream. In an interview with Sonic Scoop, he continued: "But in the end, the room sounded very different – And we were all different too. Since I’d seen them last, I’d recorded 15 or 20 more albums. They’d toured the entire world, and their lives had been changed by this album they’d made.” — JH

Date Played:  July 8 by Evie


SP0964

HANDSOME FURS

"REPATRIATED" Digital Single, 2011

In an interview with Coke Machine Glow, Handsome Furs frontman Dan Boeckner declares this track as his "attempt at writing an early Chicago house track with guitars. It’s got that 909 kick sound with the super bright claps on it.”

The entirety of the album it comes from — Sound Kapitol (#SP0881) — sounds straight from a European nightclub, with driving synths and ‘80s industrial drum tracks. In a bittersweet turn, the LP was shortlisted for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize, but the band had already broken up just months before. — JH

Date Played:  July 8 by Evie


SP0963

HANDSOME FURS

"WHAT ABOUT US?" Digital Single, 2011

Not only is “What About Us” one of the standout tracks from the Handsome Furs' third full-length Sound Kapital, but its NSFW video provides the LP's cover artwork. Actor/director Scott Coffey had worked with Dan Boeckner before on the clip for Wolf Parade’s “Yulia” and another Handsome Furs track titled “I’m Confused.” For this one, Coffey set the couple of Boeckner and then-bandmate/wife Alexei Perry in rainy, dreary Portland. The Northwest luridness give the clip a David Lynch’ian vibe, which might not be surprising since Coffey acted in Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, and an episode of Twin Peaks. (Think “The Roadhouse.”)

In an interview with Stereogum, he says: "There is an amazing haunting and yearning quality to all the Handsome Furs songs, but they’re hopeful and full of heart at the same time. Dan Boeckner’s voice, to me, is full of mourn and yearning for freedom. So I was thinking about the entire record a lot when I was making the video. This song seemed to really sum up the themes of the record. Now what do we do in a ruined world? We can fuck and dance, but what do we do when we’re all danced and fucked out? Hold onto each other! Maybe that’s how we can start to save ourselves. I’m not a hippie, I swear. But I think the record is dripping in empathy and questioning freedom and feeling … and I hope I captured some of that in the video. I wanted it to feel narrative but work with the logic of a dream.” — JH

Date Played:  July 8 by Stevie Zoom


SP0962

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0961

HANDSOME FURS

ITUNES LIVE FROM MONTREAL, 2011

Montreal duo Handsome Furs played a hometown show for iTunes, playing a five-song set with tracks going back to their 2009 debut Face Control, and spotlighting their at-the-time recent release, Sound Kapital. Sadly, this EP — as well as the two upcoming digital singles #SP0963 and #SP0964 — were the final releases for the band, a project of then-married now-divorced couple Dan Boeckner (of Wolf Parade) and Alexei Perry. — JH

Date Played:  July 8 by Stevie Zoom


SP0960

THEESATISFACTION

awE naturalE, 2011

"It's hard to imagine back in the grunge heyday — or the early-2000s indie resurgence — of Sub Pop that the label would be responsible for helping release some incredible, forward-thinking hip-hop music. After a string of Bandcamp releases, the college friends-turned-sweethearts brought their quietly avant-garde blend of hip-hop and soul to the world stage with their debut album, a tour de force of black pride, anti-fascism, the heartbreak that is always lingering inside, the fire that burn inside to prove oneself, and the surprise of finding out you're someone's side-chick. An artist's greatest tool is their perspective, and awE naturalE conveys a perspective not commonly found in the releases of many record labels, let alone the generally guitar-centric Sub Pop.

Speaking to Dummy Mag, Catherine Harris-White said about their approach, "We like to just play with different concepts of who were are as humans and then who we are as black people and how it varies. Who we are as black women and how different it is to what is pumped into the world ever day, it just varies so much. Everyone is different and, I can’t speak from everyone’s standpoint, but for myself as a black woman, I think it’s important to show how many varieties there are. From our shapes, to our heights, to our facial expressions, our complexions and everything like that. It’s very important to just explore that." — MD

Date Played:  July 7 by Troy Nelson


SP0959

MEMORYHOUSE

THE YEARS EP, 2011

Male/female duo who create beautiful, atmospheric synth-sounds with detached slightly-androgynous vocals? Beach House? Nope, Memoryhouse.

The Toronto dream-pop pairing self-released this digital-only, home-recorded EP years back in 2010, but following a flurry of music blog excitement (remember those days?), Sub Pop snatched them up, sending them to a studio to re-record, remix, and re-master the release. In an interview with the Dallas Observer, founder/former classical composer Evan Abeele said: "It's incredible to be associated with a label with such a diverse history. It means a lot to us… They came to us. It was too good to be true. For months, I would not let myself believe it. When we finally inked the contract, it became real to me.” — JH

Date Played:  July 7 by Troy Nelson


SP0958

VETIVER

"CAN'T YOU TELL" Digital Single, 2011

A digital single from the band’s then-recently released full-length The Errant Charm, “Can’t You Tell” finds the freak-folk folks pushing towards the future with more electronic sounds, yet staying faithful to their retro influences, with sun-soaked sounds. In their press release, founder/frontman Andy Cabic notes that this album (and this song) were "made for walking," as he spent hours "wandering the streets around San Francisco’s Richmond District, listening to rough mixes, tinkering with lyrics and arrangements.” Pop on your headphones and take it for a stroll. — JH

Date Played:  July 7 by DJ Morgan


SP0957

SHEARWATER

ANIMAL JOY, 2011

Animal Joy was the seventh album overall for Austin, TX-based band Shearwater, but their first for Sub Pop Records. In an interview with The Wesleyan Argus (the student-paper for Wesleyan University), frontman Jonathan Meiburg reflected on the jump to a new label for them: "Well, when I was talking to them about working with them, I told them the truth, which is that I wanted to make a record more visceral, and maybe more straightforwardly appealing, than the last couple of records we made — even though I like those records a lot. I feel like we reached the end of a certain kind of approach, and I wanted to try something different. I think that interested them. But they didn’t tell me what to do or anything."

He also cited a surprising influence for the album: "We started listening to the Gorillaz record a whole bunch on [their previous] tour, and I started getting really into that second Gorillaz record, Demon Days. It might seem a little weird for us, but we just loved it. As I was listening, I thought, “You know, the rhythm section on this record — it’s so awesome and thoughtfully done that I’d like to make something that reflects it.” — JH

Date Played:  July 7 by DJ Morgan


SP0956

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0955

DNTEL

LIFE IS FULL OF POSSIBILITIES (DELUXE), 2011

Life Is Full of Possibilities was the spark that ignited the Postal Service inferno. Originally released in 2001 via the Plug Research label, the LP was the debut for young Jimmy Tamborello, recording under the name Dntel. Yes, it was the first time Tamborello collaborated with Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, on the album’s almost-closing track "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan.” But there are many more special guests within: Mia Doi Todd, Chris Gunst of Beachwood Sparks, Brian McMahan of Slint and The For Carnation, and Rachel Haden of that dog. Following the success of Give Up (#SP0595), Sub Pop returned to where it all began, re-releasing this as a deluxe edition with a re-mastered version of the original album on one CD, and on the other CD, a collection of remixes, outtakes, and b-sides. — JH

Date Played:  July 7 on The Afternoon Show with Stevie Zoom


SP0954

SHABAZZ PALACES

"an echo from the hosts that profess infinitum" Digital Single, 2011

Shabazz Palaces is a project shrouded in mystery. In the band’s infancy, frontman Ishmael Butler even used the alias "Palaceer Lazaro.” (Of course, he’s no stranger to musical aliases as he also went by “Butterfly” in his old project, Digable Planets.) While they don’t reveal much, Butler did talk to NPR Music about the eerie sample used in this track: "The whole vocal kind of morphing sound in that song is based on a little Indian boy singing in Delhi. And as the song goes on, that voice takes on different shapes, but it's all that same boy's voice being morphed in different ways.” — JH

Date Played:  July 7 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0953

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0952

AVI BUFFALO

"HOW COME" 7" Single, 2011

Released a year after Avi Buffalo’s self-titled debut, this 7-inch finds the young Avi Zahner-Isenberg getting back to his lo-fi roots. A-side “How Come?” is a hazy, lazy summer dirge, with Zahner-Isenberg stuck in a thought loop on mistakes he’s made and the bad feelings consuming his being. The twirling guitar notes still resonate with the wizardry he displayed on his debut, albeit embattled with a newfound sense of gloom and doom. Meanwhile, b-side “Good I’m Wishing” is more upbeat, but only really in comparison to its counterpart, letting Zahner-Isenberg flourish with jaunty rhythms in despairing tones. - DH

Date Played:  July 7 on The Morning Show with Troy Nelson


SP0951

CHAD VANGAALEN

"SARA" Digital Single, 2011

With his single “Sara,” Calgary-based singer/songwriter Chad VanGaalen scores major husband points. The gentle, lilting track appears on the Diaper Island full-length (#SP0871), a release recorded in his then-newly-built home studio, christened “Yoko Eno." In an interview with the Canadian National Post, he describes the first time they met: "I knew Sara was the one when I saw her for the first time at an art gallery. She is a super babe and she was the only one at the gallery with a real smile. I could tell she wasn’t there for the art, which was awesome because all I wanted to do was play Frisbee. Unfortunately it was -25C and Sara wasn’t there for the Frisbee either. I asked her to come and play. She said she wasn’t dressed appropriately. But, she took my number. Now the Frisbee hangs on our kitchen wall over a high chair.” — JH

Date Played:  July 6 by Atticus


SP0950

DUM DUM GIRLS

ONLY IN DREAMS, 2011

“This record, it was pretty much impossible not to write about very recent, very real things,” Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls said in a press release for the band’s sophomore album Only In Dreams. Where she notes that I Will Be gave in to teenage fantasy, its follow-up is reckoning with reality. But a Dum Dum Girls existential crisis is still going to be much more melodic than most of us trying to cope with the world around us. The monochromatic pink and black cover epitomizes the music within – bright, glowing music with swaths of darkness careening around every corner. It’s also the first Dum Dum Girls album to be recorded with a full band – making DDG “real” in numerous senses. And you can feel that energy in the room throughout the record, from the desperate insomniac sprint of “Bedroom Eyes” through the chugs of “Wasted Away” and shivering closer “Hold Your Hand.” - DH

Date Played:  July 5 by DJ Shannon


SP0949

BLITZEN TRAPPER

AMERICAN GOLDWING, 2011

The sixth album overall and third album for Sub Pop from the Portland-based band. Singer/songwriter Eric Earley describes it in a press release: "It’s us letting our loves, our early influences hang out for all to see. Entering into the sounds we grew up with, the hard guitar rock and country picking of our younger years mixes with glimmers of our usual space-aging technology and pawn shop Casio aplomb. Heavy guitar riffs and blasting drum fills live side-by-side with plucking banjos and wailing harmonicas, and muddy slide guitars that make you want to shotgun a beer in the shower while listening to the Stones or Joe Walsh. It’s also our first foray into direct, outside influence in the creation of a record. It’s me letting go in a certain way. I let Tchad Blake come in to mix this album, and my good friend Gregg Williams co-produced all these tracks.

When I sing, in the title track, “I know / I know / I’ll be staying if the wind don’t blow,” I’m seeking to invoke the unseen, the spirit that beckons you to saddle up that old 1980 Honda Goldwing, or your uncle’s beat up Ford Bronco, or that Jeep you somehow, and only barely, keep running and leave this lonely town behind, ‘cause that wind’s always blowing. I’m calling you to ride, to take those curves at speed and head for someplace better where love is true, whether that be into the depths of the galaxy or just to the next truck stop where the neon shines, and where the “company of strangers / and the close and the present dangers” are all that really matters.” — JH

Date Played:  July 5 on The Afternoon Show with Stevie Zoom


SP0948

NIKI & THE DOVE

"THE FOX" 12" Single, 2011

“The Fox” 12” features the non-LP track “Gentle Roar,” and the “Drum Machine Live Version” of “Somebody.” As for the title track, the Swedish electro-pop duo cite a children’s book as the inspiration. In an interview with The 405, vocalist Malin Dahlström explained: "The story behind the Fox is really important to us. Gustaf [Karlöf; production] heard about this Swedish children's book author, Pia Lindebaum — who, when having trouble sleeping, visualised a fox on a hill to whom she could go for comfort. She would whisper her problems in the fox´s ear and then the fox would dig a hole in the ground and put the problems in the hole. This would help her fall asleep. Now our story is about someone who visits the fox the night before a long and struggling journey through the woods to the high mountain. In the outer story the person is about to climb a rough mountain, to finally see the view, the other perspective, the overlook. But it’s about the journey of becoming an adult, with your own ideas, own wishes and the start of a life on your own.” — JH

Date Played:  July 5 on The Afternoon Show with Stevie Zoom


SP0947

FLEET FOXES

"GROWN OCEAN" Digital Single, 2011

It’s not unusual to hear that a song was inspired by a dream, but it is a new one to hear those dreams were inspired by nicotine patches. In a 2011 interview with NME, Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold reported just that: "Yeah. If you use a nicotine patch it can give you really insane dreams, really vivid and real. It kinda got to the point where I’d put a nicotine patch on before going to bed to see what would happen. You’d have these really crazy experiences in your dreams. It was fun.” — JH

Date Played:  July 5 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0946

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0945

WASHED OUT

WITHIN AND WITHOUT, 2011

The alias of Ernest Greene, Washed Out practically defined the “chillwave” genre with their 2009 breakout hit “Feel It All Around,” and their debut album Within and Without extends and expands this sound to glorious heights. Chillwave at its core is a marrying of electronic, synth-heavy production with nostalgic themes. And really, that description basically encapsulates Within and Without, albeit on a superficial level. Greene’s use of copious reverb, meandering vocal lines, and hard hitting drums evoke the power of memory – both nostalgic for the tones of the 80s while still maintaining modern ennui. In hindsight (it’s only been 7 years, so not much of a hindsight), Within and Without might just be one of the most influential records in recent memory – creating a sound and “vibe” that’s still being reverberated and reinterpreted in acts like Yuno, Kaytranada, and Giraffage. - DH

Date Played:  July 5 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0944

SEBADOH

BAKESALE: DELUXE EDITION, 2011

When you’ve got a classic on your hands, why wouldn’t you want to double-dip? 17 years after its initial release, Sub Pop resists Sebadoh’s seminal Bakesale with a fully stocked deluxe edition. The re-release included a remastered version of both the album, a collection of b-sides and rarities. The band’s Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein personally oversaw the release, so you Sebadohn’t have to worry about any issues with the quality. - DH

Date Played:  July 5 on The Morning Show with DJ Morgan


SP0943

LOW

C'MON ACOUSTIC, 2011

As you might’ve guessed from the name, C’mon Acoustic features acoustic versions of select tracks from Low’s C’mon LP (Imagine that!). While the record was released digitally, physical CD copies were only available from select indie record stores and at the band’s march table on tour. With the delicate arrangements already crafted for the original record, the acoustic versions exemplify the gracefulness in the band’s songwriting even more with stripped down takes on “Try To Sleep,” “Witches,” “Done,” “$20,” and “Nightingale.” - DH

Date Played:  July 5 on The Morning Show with DJ Morgan


SP0942

J MASCIS

"IS IT DONE" Digital Single, 2011

We’ve heard J. Mascis write some seriously righteous guitar riffs in the past, which is part of what makes his debut solo album Several Shades of Why so compelling. What does one of the best guitar players in the world sound like unplugged? With the single “Is It Done,” we get maybe the clearest vision of Mascis alone with an acoustic guitar. It’s also Mascis at his most simplistic, favoring chunky guitar chords for most of the song before transitioning to mesmerizing picking halfway through the track. His voice sounds worn and tired, letting the words crawl out of his throat. But just when you think he’ll go through the whole song without one of his trademark solos, a distorted scorcher comes in later in the song. It doesn’t feel out of place though, interjecting itself to keep Mascis on his toes as he continues his listless and beautiful balladry. - DH

Date Played:  July 5 by Sean


SP0941

LOW

"TRY TO SLEEP" Digital Single, 2011

The first song Low’s ninth album C’mon sets the tone for the band’s shiniest record to date. Recorded with veteran pop producer Matt Beckley, “Try To Sleep” finds a middle ground between lullaby and power ballad. This is thanks in part due to the copious glockenspiel and sing-a-long choruses. The music video for the song got some sitcom star power, with Full House heartthrob John Stamos and model Melissa Haro playing a couple pretending to drive while watching old films on a projector screen before meeting a surprisingly fiery end. - DH

Date Played:  July 4 by Hans


SP0940

STILL CORNERS

CREATURES OF AN HOUR, 2011

London’s Still Corners debut album, Creature of an Hour, feels like a distillation of everything the band had offered up at this point. Through scattered singles and EPs, the duo slowly forged an aesthetic that blends the haze of dream-pop with the furious pop inklings of new wave. Each track fades effortlessly into the next, never losing the dark clouds looming overhead with wondrous synth lines and Tessa Murray’s hushed vocals. A 2011 review in NME says the album “finds intimacy in minimalism, and lets the space in the music build to an atmosphere almost as crushing as the audible moments.” - DH

Date Played:  July 4 by Hans


SP0939

BLOUSE

"SHADOW" 7" Single, 2011

Based out of Portland, Blouse released this sole 7" on Sub Pop, titled Shadow. The rest of the band's recorded output, all of which is excellent, was put out by Captured Tracks. The "Shadow" single is indicative of the band's hazed-out dream pop sound, albeit not their most original material. "Shadow" strikes midway between Dum Dum Girls and Cocteau Twins, anchored by Charlie Hilton's lovely, slightly melancholy voice. B-side "Nights and Days" acts as a solid flipside to "Shadow." -MH

Date Played:  July 4 by Abbie


SP0938

OBITS

"YOU GOTTA LOSE" B/W "SHIFT OPERATOR" Digital Single, 2011

Rick Froberg quickly became the patron saint of garage rock throughout the 90s and early 00s. It’s a title he more than earned with his work in groups like Drive Like Jehu, Rocket From The Crypt, and Hot Snakes. You can stack Obits on that impressive resume. These two digital singles, taken off of Obits’ sophomore LP Moody, Standard and Poor, highlight why he’s earned that distinction. “You Gotta Lose” bursts in with a chugging riff and relentlessly surging drums, the ideal canvas for Froberg’s vicious howl. It keeps steady momentum, the instruments hitting a little harder with each of his screams. Meanwhile, “Shift Operator” shows the band settling into a devilish dirge with guitarist Sohrab Habibion taking over lead vocals in the cacophony of bass drones, with Froberg punctuating Habibion’s lines with shouts at the end of each line. - DH

Date Played:  July 4 by Abbie


SP0937

FLEET FOXES

"HELPLESSNESS BLUES" Digital Single, 2011

After three years away, Fleet Foxes emerged with their first bit of new music with the “Helplessness Blues” digital single. The song, which would later serve as the title track for their sophomore album, set the stage for the maximalist folk that the Seattle group would soon be embarking in. Already known for their tight and invigorating harmonies, “Helplessness Blues” erupts in booming choruses of their voices melding together in a thrilling shout. Fun fact: while it’s common knowledge that Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) served a stint at Fleet Foxes drummer, this is actually the first released recording in which we hear Tillman with the band. He did not appear on the band’s self-titled debut and subsequently left the band after the Helplessness Blues tour. - DH

Date Played:  July 3 on The Afternoon Show with DJ Evie


SP0936

VETIVER

THE ERRANT CHARM, 2011

San Francisco folk heroes (heroes who play folk, mind you, not actual myths) Vetiver return with their fifth album and their final LP for Sub Pop with The Errant Charm. Before they bowed out from the label, the band a bit more territory that they wanted to explore. The songs on Errant Charm are some of their most sprawling and languid works yet. In slowing down the pace and reframing the chug of acoustic guitars for blissful, ringing notes pulling from post-rock for texture, the band crafted a record that moves smoothly and commits to an eerie and tender aesthetic. - DH

Date Played:  July 3 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0935

FRUIT BATS

TRIPPER, 2011

Coming off of the momentous energy of having a full band on The Ruminant Band, Fruit Bats songwriter Eric D. Johnson returned to the studio with the intention of going back to making a solitary record. The decision to go it (mostly) alone came in part after Johnson provided scores for the films Ceremony and Our Idiot Brother, very much still in the mindset of working alone. Teaming up with producer Theo Monahan (Defender Banhart, Vetiver), the two began to craft a sparse and engrossing collection of pop-rock and alt. country tunes, looking more inward than ever. - DH

Date Played:  July 3 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0934

MALE BONDING

ENDLESS NOW, 2011

It had been a year since UK trio Male Bonding released their debut LP Nothing Hurts (#SP0854). For their sophomore release, the London guys headed to Dreamland Recording Studio, a converted 19th century church in Woodstock, NY. With producer John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Thurston Moore, Dinosaur Jr.) behind the board, the band expanded on their pop-punk sound, combining Agnello’s expertise with huge nauseous waves of feedback with the succinctness of their punk forefathers like The Buzzcocks. Shoegaze-y chanteuse Frankie Rose makes some guest vocals. Sadly, while the album was titled Endless Now, it ended up being their last album for Sub Pop. Endless… not. — JH

Date Played:  July 3 on The Morning Show with Troy Nelson


SP0933

J MASCIS

"NOT ENOUGH" Digital Single, 2011

For SP0933, we’ve got the digital single for J Mascis’ “Not Enough,” a track off his most recent full-length (at the time) Several Shades of Why (see #SP0859). Which leaves us to ponder, not enough what, exactly? Not enough... amps? While it’s true he prefers to perform in front of skyscrapers of sound (see him perform with Dinosaur Jr for KEXP here), this was his acoustic album, a strangely, delicate work of beauty for the guitar wizard who usually hides behind clouds of feedback. Not enough... special guests? I don’t think so: the album features appearances from Kurt Vile, Sophie Trudeau (A Silver Mount Zion), Kurt Fedora, Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Matt Valentine (The Golden Road), and Suzanne Thorpe (Wounded Knees). Yeah, that’s plenty. Not enough… songs. Yup, this digital single just offers the one. Better go get that full-length. — JH

Date Played:  July 3 on The Morning Show with Troy Nelson


SP0932

VARIOUS ARTISTS

TERMINAL SALES VOLUME 4: PLEASE TO ENJOY, 2011

Since 2005, Sub Pop has been releasing some promotional label comps under the “Terminal Sales” title. (And to think, this was before they even had a retail store at Sea-Tac airport!) For 2011, they combined it with Record Store Day, packaging up 18 of their at-the-moment fave songs off their roster in a beautiful embossed, die cut case, which also contained 18 art prints for each track and a folded poster. — JH

Date Played:  July 3 by Reeves


SP0931

MISTER HEAVENLY

"MISTER HEAVENLY / PINEAPPLE GIRL" Digital Single, 2011

Mister Heavenly has enough cred on their own with a line-up featuring Nick Thorburn of Islands/The Unicorns, Ryan Kattner (aka Honus Honus) of Man Man, and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and The Shins, but even their combined celebrity almost got overshadowed by their temporary bassist, Arrested Development’s Banana Stand Man, actor Michael Cera. (Cera and Thorburn go way back, as the actor appeared in the Islands’ clip for "No You Don’t.”) In a 2011 interview with Spinner, Honus revealed, "Michael is a buddy, never toured before, good bass player, but he's not playing on the album. When the band formed a year ago, we thought it would be fun to have him on the road but it's been kind of a distraction. I hate the girls screaming 'Michael.’” So, while Side A of this digital single is maybe not about the man who portrayed Scott Pilgrim, Side B is said to be an ode to Sarah York, a 10-year-old girl from Michigan who became pen pals with Manuel Noriega, the ruler of Panama, during the late ‘80s. — JH

Date Played:  July 3 by Reeves


SP0930

NIKI & THE DOVE

INSTINCT, 2011

There’s maybe no band that underlined the “pop” in “Sub Pop” more than Swedish duo Niki & The Dove. Given vocalist Malin Dahlström’s background working in a dance troupe, it makes sense that the duo’s debut Instinct so, well, dance-heavy. Bandmate Gustaf Karlöf creates a dense mixture of synthesizers and guitars for Dahlström to bolster the music with her bright, shimmering vocals. It’s pure sugary, pop ecstasy – a rarity in the label’s catalog. - DH

Date Played:  July 2 on The Afternoon Show with Troy Nelson


SP0929

BLITZEN TRAPPER

"MAYBE BABY" B/W "SOUL SINGER" 7" Single, 2011

There’s something about Blitzen Trapper’s music that feels like it could’ve been teleported to our timeline from the 1970s. On this Record Store Day single, you can feel that even more. Limited to 1,500 copies, the 7-inch features to highly coveted BT songs, “Maybe Baby” and “Soul Singer.” In the latter, lead vocalist Eric Earley repeats “Hey mama take the wheel I can't drive / Cause I'm a soul singer 1975 / Hey mama back in time /To my super rock block 1979.” So, maybe the band really is from that bygone era? Probably not, but it’s a pointed nod to the band’s aesthetic roots – even if it’d be a stretch to call Earley a soul singer. “Maybe Baby” will also be featured on the deluxe edition of Furr, out Sept. 14. - DH

Date Played:  July 2 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0928

STILL CORNERS

"CUCKOO" B/W "ENDLESS SUMMER” 7" Single, 2011

That Still Corners’ Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes met at a London train stop feels almost too on the nose. The duo (later expanded into a quintet) crafts music that fits within the notion “night bus” – dreamy, atmospheric, “vibey,” sounds that carry the momentum and trance-like state of listening to music on the bus in the late hours, staring out the window. Before they’d pull into the (metaphorical) station with their first LP, Creatures of an Hour, the group gave a sample of what was to come with this 7-inch featuring two albums tracks, “Cuckoo” and “Endless Summer.” Both songs highlight the group’s penchant for droning organs, hypnotizing rhythms, and Murray’s whispery, entrancing vocals. - DH

Date Played:  July 2 on The Morning Show with DJ Morgan


SP0927

LOWER DENS

"DEER KNIVES" B/W "TANGIERS" 7" Single, 2011

In the throes of the "freak-folk" boom of the 2000s, Jana Hunter had a very fruitful career as a solo artist, putting out a pair of astounding LPs on Devendra Banhart and Vetiver frontman Andy Cabic's Gnomonsong label. Growing tired of their standard operation of writing and performance, Hunter formed Lower Dens. Delivered in the months after the release of cult favorite Twin-Hand Movement, "Deer Knives" takes the album's default style — classic pop songwriting (plucked from the Roy Orbison book of songwriting technique) married to sharp, clanging guitars — and fashions it into an indelibly catchy (and clamorous) tune with a thrilling outro that sounds like a steel door grinding against an industrial-sized knife sharpener. B-side "Tangiers" follows the same template (along with a buoyant bassline) and adds a bit of late summer afternoon sway. — MD

Date Played:  July 2 by DJ Ashley


SP0926

MISTER HEAVENLY

OUT OF LOVE, 2011

“Super group” is a term that gets thrown around a lot when members of other bands come together for a side project, but Mister Heavenly truly does feel super. Featuring members of Man Man, Islands, Modest Mouse, and The Shins, the group takes the most electrifying aspects of their other projects and hones it into a blast of astounding energy on the project’s 2011 debut Out of Love. The album’s tracklist feels like a manic spring to out do the last song, with blaring guitars, slamming piano keys, and shrieking vocals. - DH

Date Played:  July 1 by DJ Evie


SP0925

MEMORYHOUSE

THE SLIDESHOW EFFECT, 2011

Canadian duo Memoryhouse has an affinity for cinematic – naming themselves after composer Max Richter’s 2011 and naming their debut album, The Slideshow Effect after a documentary filmmaking technique. That same feeling is embodied heavily in their music, which takes notes from dream pop, shoegaze, and the most emotive aspects of indie rock. Each song sweeps and glides into the next, a forward movement not unlike the actual “slideshow effect.” - DH

Date Played:  July 1 by DJ Evie


SP0924

THE TWILIGHT SINGERS

"LAST NIGHT IN TOWN" Digital Single, 2011

The Twilight Singers strip things back on “Last Night In Town”… sort of. The song opens with contemplative piano notes and vocalist Greg Dulli pining “Whenever you're here, you're alive/The devil says you can do what you like.” Slowly the song starts to build up with droning synth-bass lines and pattering drums before building up into a climactic cacophony of swirling instrumentation. - DH

Date Played:  July 1 by Stevie Zoom


SP0923

THE TWILIGHT SINGERS

"ON THE CORNER" Digital Single, 2011

Greg Dulli and The Twilight Singers find themselves embracing a hypnotic, bleak atmosphere with the single “On The Corner” from 2011’s Dynamite Steps. Dulli’s vocals rise and fall against a barrage of monotonous piano notes and a surging guitars, keeping a steady and feverish vibe that hardly ever dips or relents. It’s an energizing mixture of malice and regret, bubbling up into a standout track from the album. - DH

Date Played:  July 1 by Stevie Zoom


SP0922

THE HEAD & THE HEART

"DOWN IN THE VALLEY" B/W "GHOSTS" 7" Single, 2011

Seattle’s The Head and The Heart show their range with this 7-inch single on white vinyl. A-side “Down In The Valley” finds the band at their most contemplative and #earnest with the lightly finger-picked guitar intro that sees lead vocalist Jonathan Russell fantasizing about “riding’ around on railcars and workin’ long days” (side note… working long days doesn’t really sound like much fun, maybe he's re-thought this fantasy?). It’s a tender staple of the THatH catalog, backed by “Cats & Dogs” – a bouncy song that sounds slightly more like the “rough and rowdy ways” he describes in “Down In The Valley.” - DH

Date Played:  June 30 by Troy Nelson


SP0921

THE HEAD & THE HEART

THE HEAD & THE HEART, 2011

Having deja vu? Don’t worry, you’re not in the Matrix. This version of The Head and the Heart’s self-titled debut actually most closely represents the initial record the band sold around Seattle before they signed to Sub Pop and were self-releasing their music. It’s virtually the same, aside from the fact that it’s missing the song “Rivers and Roads” – which is surprising, since the song has since become a mainstay for the band. The more you know! - DH

Date Played:  June 30 by Troy Nelson


SP0920

FLEET FOXES

"HELPLESSNESS BLUES" B/W "GROWN OCEAN" 12" Single, 2011

This 12-inch single, released for Record Store Day 2011, features two standout tracks from Fleet Foxes world conquering sophomore album Helplessness Blues. The pressings were limited to 3,000 copies total, featuring a gorgeous cover image of snowy mountains that aptly fits the two songs contained inside: “Helplessness Blues” and “Grown Ocean.” It harkens back to the troubadour spirit residing within Fleet Foxes music since their self-titled debut – a spirit of wandering and adventure, both carrying a since of isolation as well as awe for the world around them. - DH

Date Played:  June 30 by DJ Morgan


SP0919

PAPERCUTS

"DO WHAT YOU WILL" 7" Single, 2011

Papercuts, the band moniker for Bay Area songwriter Jason Robert Quever, preluded his Sub Pop debut Fading Parade with this dreamy single featuring album track “Do What You Will” and previously unreleased b-side “Thoughts On Hell.” Both tracks give an apt summation of what he does best: airy vocals, lush rock arrangements, and lyrics that veer between whimsy and self-loathing. - DH

Date Played:  June 30 by DJ Morgan


SP0918

MOGWAI

"RANO PANO / HASENHEIDE" 7" Single, 2011

Mogwai debuted on Sub Pop with 2010's Rano Pano/ Hasenheide single, which showcases the lead single off Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, and a choice b-side. Built on an overdriven riff that acts as musical anchor, "Rano Pano" is an immersive listening experience, catchy in its dissonance and layers of texture. The track is also tightly structured and self-contained, yet expansive. This seems a rare feat for a group that falls under the vacuous "post-rock" genre grouping. B-side "Hasenheide" is another excellent track, although not included on the eventual full-length. - MH

Date Played:  June 30 by Abbie


SP0917

DUM DUM GIRLS

HE GETS ME HIGH, 2011

The final Dum Dum Girls EP proceeding the release of 2011's Only In Dreams is titled He Gets Me High, another fitting record name for a group entrenched in the mythos of 1950s and 60's counterculture. The title track from the EP is a clear highlight, bold and direct in its use of musical tropes, and complete with an excellent melody and hook. The music video for "He Gets Me High" places psych camera filters over footage of the band in a saturated, sunsoaked field. It perfectly mirrors the spirit of the band's music, and hints at further evolutions to come. The closing track is a cover of The Smiths' "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" that feels both natural and nostalgic, a balance which Dum Dum Girls has persistently played with throughout a decade long career. - MH

Date Played:  June 29 on Friday Night with Michele Myers


SP0916

WOLF PARADE

"SEMI PRECIOUS STONE" B/W "AGENTS OF LOVE" Digital Single, 2011

Before Wolf Parade headed on tour at the end of 2010 they dropped a pair of singles, "Semi-Precious Stone" b/w "Angel of Love." A fansite claims they’re leftover tracks from the Expo 86 recordings, and I don’t doubt it based on how the two singles sound. “Semi-Precious Stone” is led by Spencer Krug, and is the rougher of the two, but somehow also manages to include a very delicate piano melody alongside thrashing drums and distorted guitars. The B side, “Angel of Love,” is an ever-expanding track with vocals from Dan Boeckner that fluctuates between moments of hard rock and pop perfection, that even includes a very silly almost-minute-long keyboard solo. - AK

Date Played:  June 29 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0915

THE HEAD & THE HEART

THE HEAD & THE HEART, 2011

The Head and the Heart’s songwriters, Jonathan Russell and Josiah Johnson, met at an open mic night at Ballard’s Conor Bryne Pub. After adding four more members for the instrumentation, the group managed to sell over 10,000 copies of their debut record on their own dime. This feat landed them a deal with Sub Pop, and led to the re-release of their self-titled album. The Head and the Heart add gospel harmonies and nostalgic lyricism to create their own blend of indie folk, most notably heard on their hit track, “Lost in My Mind.” The group makes a convincing case for the re-rise of Americana, leading Pitchfork to go as far to suggest that they’re the PNW strain of acts like Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers. - AK

Date Played:  June 29 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0914

(NO RELEASE)

 


SP0913

DNTEL

AFTER PARTIES 2 12" Single, 2012

After Parties 2 is the companion EP to DNTEL’s previous release, the aptly-titled After Parties 1. And while it’s easy to notice that the two are connected based on the title, it’s clear that they’re different bodies of work. DNTEL again provides production with no vocals, but proves he is a master of sonic storytelling. This EP spans five tracks, and it’s just as dynamic as the first. Tracks like “Hitsline” border on anxiety-inducing, while ”Aimless” expands into sparkly nothingness. The EP culminates in “Leeds,” a punchy techno track with some added strings. - AK

Date Played:  June 29 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0912

DNTEL

AFTER PARTIES 1 12" Single, 2012

DNTEL is the moniker of Jimmy Tamborello, longtime Los Angeles resident and one half of The Postal Service, alongside Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. However, on After Parties 1, he presents three tracks with exactly zero features that spans a night out in LA. The title track sets the scene for a wild night, building a mysterious atmosphere through bouncing techno backbone. “Lindsey” encapsulates the height of the night, and “Soft Alarm” is the perfect ambient lullaby for the moment that you finally hit the sheets. - AK

Date Played:  June 29 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0911

MOGWAI

HARDCORE WILL NEVER DIE, BUT YOU WILL: DELUXE EDITION, 2012

Mogwai is one of the most argued about rock bands: are they just background music, or are they so minimalist it’s more powerful than words? Their seventh LP, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, continues to ignite the debate. Hardcore includes some intense guitar blasts, some long-winded comedowns, and even some vocal tracks, but Mogwai doesn't ever shred like they have on prior records. The deluxe edition also includes a bonus track titled “Music for a Forgotten Future (The Singing Mountain),” that traverses multiple styles and tempos over 23 minutes. - AK

Date Played:  June 29 on The Morning Show with Troy Nelson


SP0910

HELIO SEQUENCE

NEGOTIATIONS, 2012

As their fifth and most aura-undulating full-length to date in 2012, Beaverton, Oregon’s Helio Sequence were rising and rising as one of Sub Pop’s most salient pop rock outfits on their roster. Not long before recording Negotiations singer/guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer/keyboardist Ben Weikel’s practice studio flooded and they were left stranded to rebuild their space, and ultimately their new sound. It was within that time of reconstruction that their resilience and determination to push through to make one of their catalogue-defining bodies of work, Negotiations, which paid off with lyrical juxtaposition shimmering amongst sonic serenity. - ZF

Date Played:  June 29 on The Morning Show with Troy Nelson


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PISSED JEANS

"SAM KINISON WOMAN" 7" Single, 2010

The down-and-out hardcore punkers in Pissed Jeans are Allentown, PA’s answer to suburban wastelands and vitriolic vehemence. You can attribute these subversive stalwarts’ distorted disgust on that fact that the opener and title of this 7” is “Sam Kinison Woman.” In between their 2009 hit King of Jeans and their 2013 Honeys, the four-piece outfit chose a aggro-screaming comedian very wisely to associate with their current fervor. - ZF

Date Played:  June 29 by Atticus


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FOALS

ITUNES FESTIVAL: LONDON, 2010

You might not know what to expect from a 2010 iTunes Festival in London, but Foals definitely keeps you on your toes and deconstructs college rock with punchy bass grooves, guitar riffs that will kick you onto the dancefloor, and lead singer Yannis Phillipakis stage diving every which way. This iTunes Festival: London 2010 is one of several of the Oxford, London’s live EPs and is epistemologically the reason why they’ve won the 2013 Q Award for Best Live Music and been nominated for NME’s Award for Best Live Act. - ZF

Date Played:  June 28 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


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BEACH HOUSE

ITUNES SESSION, 2010

Despite Katy Perry releasing an album with essentially the same album title in the same year as Beach House’s 2010 Teen Dream, it was a banner year for Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. The dreamy texture, pop-savvy hooks, and majestic nature of this magnum opus gave Beach House the traction and attention for this iTunes Session featuring Teen Dream songs like “Zebra,” “Walk In The Park,” “Silver Soul,” and “Norway.” - ZF

Date Played:  June 28 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


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LOW

CHRISTMAS 12" Single, 2010

Once upon a 2010 time, Duluth Minnesota’s indie icons Low released Christmas, labeled by A.V. Club as a “religious holiday that even heathens can love. ”There’s a grainy droniness and lo-fi charm in songs like “Silent Night” and “Little Drummer Boy” that allows you to disassociate the hallowed origin of the song and appreciate the recontextualization of harrowed hymns. Regarded by Rolling Stone as the eighteenth most essential Christmas album, the minimalist craftsmanship of this album mirrors one of Low’s most lauded and loaded albums C’mon, which would be released the next year. - ZF

Date Played:  June 28 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


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LOW

C'MON, 2010

Slowcore legends Low have showed no signs of slowing down over the years, keeping up a remarkable pace and consistent discography. Case in point – 2011’s C’mon. The ninth album in the band’s catalog finds the group embrace a new kind of brightness in their music. Part of that could maybe be attested to producer Matt Beckley who’s most known for working with pop stars like Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Justin Beiber, and uhhh Paris Hilton (yeah, really). It’s an odd pairing, making for an outlier in both parties’ work. However, the “opposites attract” maxim proves to be the case here. There’s a middle ground between Low’s restrained, emotive performance and Beckley’s penchant for pop radio domination. Low may be known for making music that feels, well, low, but C’mon displays their immense range to embrace lightness when they choose to. - DH

Date Played:  June 28 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


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NO AGE

"GLITTER"  12" Single, 2010

For the "Glitter" single, No Age released the same A-side for their seven- and twelve-inch singles but different B-sides. On the flip of their twelve-inch are "In Rebound" and "Version II," the former a raucous ripper which stands among the band's greatest B-sides and the latter a woozy, near-psychedelic tune which could be categorized as subdued if not for the firecrackers rattling off halfway through the track. — MD

Date Played:  June 28 on The Morning Show with Troy Nelson


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THE VASELINES

"WHITECHAPEL"  7" Single, 2010

If you were one of the first 200 people to pre-order The Vaselines’ comeback album Sex With An X you were also treated with this limited edition white label single featuring demo versions of “Whitechapel” and a non-album track called “Picked A Cherry.” Each label was also hand stamped with the track listing, the band’s name, and a pretty badass combination of stars and a skull. - DH

Date Played:  June 28 on The Morning Show with Troy Nelson


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WOLF PARADE

"CLOUD SHADOW ON THE MOUNTAIN"/"YULIA" iTunes Single, 2010

It’s easy to hear why Wolf Parade would want “Cloud Shadow on the Mountain” to open EXPO 86. The mountainous drums wallop you in the head just before Spencer Krug’s vampiric vocals come in describing visions of being a dreamcatcher and lamenting that he’ll “never be born as a scorpion.” Getting to hear this track alongside the Dan Boeckner fronted “Yulia” on this iTunes digital single, you get an idea of the spectrum the band is working with. “Yulia” dazzles with its romantic sway between piercing, icicle-like notes. - DH

Date Played:  June 28 by Sean


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THE VASELINES

"SEX WITH AN X"  7" Single, 2010

“Feels so good it must be bad for me,” The Vaselines sing on the title track to their long awaited sophomore LP Sex With An X. “Lets do it, lets do it again.” It’s that sort of charming, sadistic playfulness that first captured Vaselines fans (most notably, Kurt Cobain) with the band on their 1989 debut Dum-Dum. This 7-inch released to promote the album gives you a great glimpse at both sides of the group: the playful pop of “Sex With An X” and the raucous b-sider “Roaster.” - DH

Date Played:  June 27 by DJ Hans


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