SP301-SP400

SP0396

VARIOUS ARTISTS

SWEET MOTHER: FREE ACTIVATION SERIES NO. 1, 1997

Sub Pop may be one of the most famous labels in Seattle, but it's far from the only one. And much like Sub Pop, many had a mission to give a home to artists they felt needed to be heard. Sweet Mother Recordings is a great example of that. According to an archived article from Seattle Weekly, the label started after Seattle DJ Nasir Rasheed was doing some thinking at Re-Bar. He'd been attending a weekly showcase called Mocambo that featured acid-jazz and hip-hop, each week finding himself with tapes from an array of artists. He knew they had to be heard, so he maxed out his credit card, brought along promoters Alex Calderwood (who also founded the Ace Hotel) and Jared Harler, and thus the label was born. Sub Pop was impressed by their first release, a 12-inch single by Sharkskin, and offered to distribute a compilation of Sweet Mother artists. This would eventually manifest in Free Activation Series No. 1, which features tracks from groups and acts like Nasir's own 3X Infinity, Strange Voices, Pigeonhead, a remix of Earth by DJ Spooky and more. The label would carry on for a few more years before going defunct in 2001. - DH

Date Played: April 26 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0395

THE NIGHTCAPS

I DON'T LIKE YOU / LOVE YOU MORE 7" Single, 1997

Seattle wasn't exempt from the lounge music phenomenom of the mid-to-late 90s. In fact, The Nightcaps were a huge part of helping it find an audience. The band started up in 1994 and is still active today, playing the occasional show around town. In one of the band's first singles, you can hear a bit of the punk attitude and snark that they were famous for infusing in their music. "I Don't Like" has the playfulness of classic standards like Julie Andrews' "Favorite Things" but isn't afraid to throw shade with lines like "I like a sweet summer breeze that blows in the trees, but I don't like you." Ouch. The Nightcaps opted to cover the Buzzcocks' classic "Love You More" on the b-side, turning the romantic punk ballad into the perfect soundtrack for sipping a martini at a smoky bar. - DH

Date Played: April 26 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0394

5IVE STYLE

SHE'S HUMANOID / BURNING AIRLINES GIVE YOU SO MUCH MORE 7" Single, 1997

This single is one of the biggest outliers in 5ive Style's admittedly sparse catalog. The Chicago funk group broke their streak of writing nearly exclusively instrumental tracks, first with "She's Humanoid." The vocals on the track don't feel out of place either with the soulful croon blending in with the smooth flow of the guitar licks. The b-side includes a rare cover for the band, taking on Brian Eno's classic "Burning Airlines Give You So Much More." 5ive Style's rendition turns the 70s hit into a backyard jam session, with the looseness of plugging in your instruments after a few beers with your friends (if you and your friends were also, you know, professional musicians). - DH

Date Played: April 26 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0393

CHEAP TRICK

BABY TALK / BRONTOSAURUS 7" Single, 1997

There have been many moments throughout the “Count-Up” that have left us scratching our heads: Slayer? The Beach Boys? And now, Cheap Trick? It helps to know that label founder Jonathan Poneman is a huge fan who even played in a Cheap Trick cover band once upon a time. In a 1996 interview with Billboard, he contests, “Cheap Trick is a seminal American rock band. A lot of the best work of Nirvana is derived from that timeless Cheap Trick sound.” As if to prove it, the band are paired with In Utero producer Steve Albini. Side B is a cover of a 1970 single by UK band The Move. It wasn’t the first time Cheap Trick payed tribute to them: they borrowed the guitar solo from “Brontosaurus” for their own cover of a different song by The Move, “California Man.” — JH

Date Played: April 26 by Sean


SP0392

LOW

VENUS / BOYFRIENDS & GIRLFRIENDS 7" Single, 1997

Hardcore Low fans gasped in horror when their precious band left Kranky for Sub Pop in 2005, but they forgot, the band already worked with them in 1997 with this single. In an interview with Slug Magazine in 2005, frontman Alan Sparhawk explained, “Ever since Trust [their 2002 LP], we’ve kind of been thinking that maybe we need a more appropriate situation for the records we were doing. We’ve been getting busier and things have been growing. No matter how much you think it’s just about writing songs and doing your art, you still gotta figure out what the best way to do it is.” He added, “It’s like making toast. If you’re going to make toast, why not use a knife and a toaster instead of an iron and your finger, or whatever. If you have the chance to use a knife, let’s do it if it makes things easier, because really, what it’s about is making toast.” — JH

Date Played: April 26 by Sean


SP0391

VARIOUS ARTISTS

PAYDIRT: A FIELD GUIDE TO MINERALS, GEMS, AND ROCK, 1997

Sub Pop continued to become an international presence as the years went on. The Paydirt compilation is a great example of that. The CD was distributed in Japan to sample some of the artists that were currently on the label's roster, including Jale, Eric Matthews, Fastbacks, Sebadoh, 5ive Style, and more. - DH

Date Played: April 25 by DJ Hans


SP0390

CANDY 500

THIS IS IT! 7" Single, 1997

Don't get it twisted – Portland was still punk in 1997. Case in point: Candy 500. The short-lived quartet was fronted by Ursula Wehr, a friend of Courtney Love's who were sort-of in a band together called Sugar Babylon (although in the biography Courtney Love: The Real Story, Wehr says band practice mostly meant they'd all "get together and drink a lot of wine."). Sugar Babylon didn't last much beyond a concept, but Wehr was able to find an outlet with Candy 500 where she'd sing lead vocals and lead the quartet of women through righteous punk anthems. The group put out one EP and several singles, including the furious sounds of their This Is It! single on Sub Pop, before breaking up. - DH

Date Played: April 25 by DJ Hans


SP0389

SCUD MOUNTAIN BOYS

THE EARLY YEAR, 1997

While it may seem odd for a band that'd only been around for six years to release a collection called The Early Year, there's a good reason for it. Before Scud Mountain Boys released Massachussets on Sub Pop, they'd recorded and released two albums on Chunk Records. With their newfound audience, the band re-released their first two records, Dance The Night Away and Pine Box, in this two CD set. Both records were recorded in band member Bruce Tull's kitchen using a single microphone. - DH

Date Played: April 25 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0388

SUPERSUCKERS / STEVE EARLE

STEVE EARLE AND THE SUPERSUCKERS, 1997

If Supersuckers were looking for a way to make a certified pivot to country, doing a record with Steve Earle is sure a good way to do it. The recovering punks teamed up with Nashville legend Earle for a five song EP, including three collaborations. The remaining two tracks feature the artists playing their songs on their own, sans collaborator. Earle's country pedigree and Supersuckers' riotous disposition are formidable force, playing off of each other like two cowboys staring each other down before a bar fight ensues. - DH

Date Played: April 25 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0387

RED RED MEAT

THERE'S A STAR ABOVE THE MANGER TONIGHT, 1997

Chicago's Red Red Meat finish off their fantastic run of alt. country records with their final LP, There's A Star Above The Manger Tonight. The record is a far cry from the lush arrangements on their previous record, Bunny Gets Paid, and instead opts to embrace a lo-fi aesthetic with the recordings. It's a creative choice that pays off for the band, giving the record a vibe akin to playing a dusty old 78 record found in the garage. After the record came out and the band decided to call it quits, Califone was born – which has featured all members of Red Red Meat at some point. The band reunited for a performance at Sub Pop's 20th anniversary. Red Red Meat got together again in 2017 for a two-night stint with Califone at Chicago's Empty Bottle. - DH

Date Played: April 25 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0386

DANIELLE HOWLE

HIGH SCHOOL DANCE / AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR 7" Single, 1997

Yes, opening spots for Ani DiFranco and touring with Lilith Fair. Folksy singer/songwriter Danielle Howle and gritty rockers The Grifters seem like a weird bill, but the two toured together in the mid ‘90s, resulting in this Sub Pop single for Danielle. Not only did they make the introductions, David Shouse and Scott Taylor of The Grifters also play on the tracks, as does Doug Easley, founder of the appropriately named Easley Recording studios. As she explains on the single sleeve: “I met The Grifters opening up on one of their many tours. They introduced me to Easely Studios in their hometown of Memphis where we all put our heads together and took them apart to make this single. Grifter Dave and his amazing friends finally made me realize studios can be fun and our friends. They are not just antiseptic rooms full of empty air, where music people freak in rattling fear of recreating songs they do live while mechanical things observe the sounds and poke it in and out of wires to make singles.” Maybe she was inspired by Easley, because she currently resides in Awendaw, South Carolina, at the appropriately named Awendaw Green, a converted old barn that now serves as a music venue/recording studio complex. — JH

Date Played: April 25 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0385

DAMON & NAOMI

MORE SAD HITS, 1997

Don't let the chronology fool you – this is still a count-up. Despite Damon & Naomi's sophomore album already appearing in the catalog, Sub Pop re-released the duo's 1992 debut More Sad Hits in 1997. Hearing More Sad Hits first can be helpful in understanding the evolution of the group. Formed after the abrupt end of Galaxie 500 when vocalist Dean Wareham quit the band just before an impending Japanese tour. The band's drummer Damon Krukowski and bassist Naomi Yang had already been releasing singles as their own act separate from Galaxie 500, but the break-up spurred them to finally commit to writing a full LP together. For Galaxie 500 fans, More Sad Hits offers up an easier transition to the new group's work, embracing much of the same hazy, sadness that made audiences swoon over records like On Fire. A 2008 Pitchfork review by Mia Clarke of another reissue of the album goes even deeper, saying, "More Sad Hits was originally intended as Damon and Naomi's swan song to music, and an album that they previously admitted they didn't think would ever get made... More Sad Hits takes Damon and Naomi back to the beginning and reignites the building blocks of a duo that continues to thrive." - DH

Date Played: April 25 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0384

TENDERLOIN / SUPERSUCKERS

LEAVE THIS TOWN / MOTHER MARY 7" Single, 1997

Supersuckers and English rockers UFO may have been generations apart, but they certainly were kindred spirits. The brash, braggadocio of both acts' music comes to an intersection with Supersuckers' cover of UFO's "Mother Mary" on this split single. Same goes for Kansas' Tenderloin as they take on "Leave This Town" by the iconic Irish group Thin Lizzy. Expect guitar solos, gruff vocals, and a whole lot of attitude on this release. - DH

Date Played: April 25 by DJ Abbie


SP0383

REGURGITATOR

I SUCKED A LOT OF COCK / NOTHING TO SAY 7" Single, 1997

Australian rock act Regurgitator are a big deal down under. They have platinum records, numerous ARIA Music Awards (equivalent to the Grammys here in the states), and heaps of praise and fans. With all this prestige, they come to Sub Pop with... "I Sucked A Lot Of Cock To Get Where I Am." Well then. Despite the tongue-in-cheek title (which also serves as the chorus), the song does a great job of encapsulating the freewheeling spirit of the band, hardly ever taking themselves too seriously while also penning infectious pop-rock tunes. - DH

Date Played: April 25 by DJ Abbie


SP0382

GRIFTERS

WICKEDTHING / ORGAN GRINDER 7" Single, 1997

The Grifters start to embrace their experimental side with the Wickedthing/Organ Grinder single. It offers up a glimpse of what was soon to come on their next LP, Full Blown Possesion. Instead of indulging in the twangy mayhem of their previous recordings, the Memphis act explores the vast powers of phasers and flanger – shapeshifting their sound into darker and even more adventrous territory. - DH

Date Played: April 25 by DJ Abbie


SP0381

PERNICE BROTHERS

JIMMY COMA / MONKEY SUIT 7" Single, 1997

While Supersuckers were going country, Joe Pernice of the Scub Mountain Boys was going in the opposite direction. The once lead vocalist of the burgeoning Sub Pop country-folk act turns over a new leaf and delves into indie rock alongside his brother Bob to form the Pernice Brothers. The new group's first release came with the Jimmy Coma / Monkey Suit 7-inch single, giving a glimpse of the clean and vibrant indie pop the band would build upon over the next two decades (and counting! The band is still active today). - DH

Date Played: April 24 on Larry's Lounge with Larry Rose


SP0380

SUPERSUCKERS

MUST'VE BEEN HIGH, 1997

Supersuckers stop flirting with the genre and finally commit to their country inklings with their fourth LP, Must've Been High. No really, these aren't just country elements added to their turbulent punk but fully immersed in the steel guitar, woeful ballads, and the peaceful chime of mandolins. The band even managed to bring in The Breeders' Kelley Deal to sing a duet on the surprisingly sweet and romantic "Hungover Again." - DH

Date Played: April 24 on Larry's Lounge with Larry Rose


SP0379

CHAMP!

CRASHING JET / PASSING CAR 7" Single, 1997

The first Sub Pop release of 1997 comes from a mysterious group called Champ! (that exclamation point is indeed a part of their name). There's little evidence of the garage rock band's existence other than two singles, one of which being this 7-inch on Sub Pop. Deduction and studying of the liner notes shows that they were a Memphis act with members also in Sub Pop's own The Grifters and features drummer Stu Sikes who also played with acts like The Spinanes and Eric's Trips' Julie Doiran. - DH

Date Played: April 24 on Larry's Lounge with Larry Rose


SP0378

VARIOUS ARTISTS

HYPE!, 1996

After grunge hysteria began to settle out, there were stories in Seattle that still needed to be told. Filmmaker Doug Pray took it on himself to capture the spirit of the scene with his landmark documentary, Hype!. The movie looked at the players in the scene, the fans who lived it, and gave a thorough look the elusive "hype" that took the Seattle sound worldwide. And if you're going to tell the story of grunge, you need an appropriate soundtrack. Appropriately, Sub Pop was on hand to curate a mix of songs from the film and important to creating such a massive movement. The label issued a sprawling 23-song version on CD (see SP371) and cassetes as well as this four-disc 7-inch box set featuring songs from Nirvana, Fastbacks, U-Men, Soundgarden and numerous other key players.

Date Played: April 24 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0377

MOBY

THAT'S WHEN I REACH FOR MY REVOLVER / WHIP IT 7" Single, 1996

If we learned anything from International Clash Day, it's that electronic producer Moby has some serious punk cred. He demonstrates that again here with his cover of legendary post-punk act Mission of Burma's "That's When I Reach For My Revolver." The track also appeared on Moby's fourth album, Animal Rights, and stares fairly true to the furious energy of the original song, keeping the mangled guitars and adding in intricate drum machine loops. The single was also issued by Mute and Elektra, but the Sub Pop 7-inch is one of the few versions boasting Moby's "death metal" rendition of Devo's "Whip It." Punk and metal cred on one single? Moby can truly do it all. - DH

Date Played: April 24 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0376

RED RED MEAT

THERE'S A STAR ABOVE THE MANGER TONIGHT / WELCOME CHRISTMAS 7" Single, 1996

Sub Pop's heart must have grown three sizes after hearing this single from their resident country act Red Red Meat. The band was set to release their fourth album, There's a Star Above The Manger Tonight in February of 1997. Despite the name, it was not intended to be a Christmas record (although the title track does name check baby Jesus and shepherds). It's the b-side that really gets the group in the holiday spirit with a cover of "Welcome Christmas" from the animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Hopefully the song brought some merriment to Sub Pop HQ and many gifts of wack slacks, plats, and cob nobblers! - DH

Date Played: April 24 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0375

FRIENDS OF DEAN MARTINEZ

RETROGRADE, 1996

Arizona's Friends of Dean Martinez return with another set of sweeping instrumentals practically curated for long drives with nowhere to go and a lot on your mind. The band sounds even more steeped in western soundtracks and lounge music, forming a vibe not unlike the sizzling feeling of wasting away under the hot Arizona sun. A review for The A.V. Club says of the album, "As vocal-less rock continues its little comeback, Retrograde should stand out as noteworthy for being at once quiet, sentimental, and utterly impossible to regard as mere background music." - DH

Date Played: April 24 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0374

DAMIEN JURADO

WATERS AVE. S., 1996

While he put out a couple singles on Sub Pop prior, this is where Damien Jurado's solo career really starts to take shape. Waters Ave. S established Damien Jurado as one of Seattle's premier songwriters, forgoing the clamor and squall of the city's past few years and ushering in a wave of candid, stripped back songwriting. While there were acts like the Spinanes and Red Red Meat that cemented Sub Pop's "softer side," Jurado offers up a necessary transition from the label's halcyon days and into their next era – though there's visceral, full band pieces on the record like the rowdy "The Joke Is Over" and "Space Age Mom." Jurado's whispery voice carries some of dark tones of Mark Lanegan's solo work a la Whiskey For The Holy Ghost on his debut LP. The album itself takes its name from the street Jurado was living on at the time of the album's recording. In an interview with French outlet Soul Kitchen on the album's 20th anniversary, Jurado describes working on the record, saying, "It was my first time in a studio, and on top of that, I also really wanted to make a great impression with not only [producer] Steve Fisk, but also, Sub Pop. My hope was that if the label liked this album, maybe they would ask me to another." As we'll see in the count-up, Sub Pop and Jurado were just starting their relationship. - DH

Date Played: April 24 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0373

PIGEONHED

THE FULL SENTENCE, 1996

Their sophomore studio album sees vocalist Shawn Smith and producer Steve Fisk teaming up for another soulful set of electronics. This LP introduced the world to track "Battle Flag”which got a second life in 1998 when remixed by UK project Lo Fidelity Allstars, landing them at #6 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. As on their self-titled 1993 release, Soundgarden's Kim Thayil lends his guitar prowess to the project, and Regan Hagar (Malfunkshun, Brad) co-writes "31st of July.” — JH

Date Played: April 24 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0372

ZUMPANO

GOIN" THROUGH CHANGES, 1996

The second and final album from the Vancouver-based power pop group finds frontman Carl Newman exploring his softer singer/songwriter side, a sound that would eventually reemerge with his solo work in the mid-2000s. In a 2008 interview with Pitchfork, Sub Pop founder Jonathan Poneman cites the release as the one that still breaks his heart: "When I hear New Pornographers, the Shins, so many records that came after it… I don't think that it got the mix and the production that it may have deserved, but compositionally and performance-wise, it was stellar. I've been a thorn in Carl Newman's side over the years, because there's a third Zumpano record that is near completion, but he says he just doesn't want anything to do with it. I just think that they were such a great band. I loved all those people, I loved their songs, I loved their performances.”—JH

Date Played: April 24 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0371

VARIOUS ARTISTS

HYPE!, 1996

In 1996, the film Hype! opened in theaters nationwide, a documentary that explores the “grunge” craze. This soundtrack was released in conjunction on CD and as a limited box set on colored 7" vinyl. What elevates this collection above a Now That's What I Call Grunge toss-off is the abundance of live and demo tracks from artists like Mudhoney, Green River, Pearl Jam, and more. Poignantly, at the time, a portion of the proceeds went to S.O.S. (Secular Organizations for Sobriety, also known as Save Our Selves) a non-profit for addiction recovery. —JH

Date Played: April 24 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0370

SEBADOH

HARMACY, 1996

By the time Sebadoh’s sixth studio album Harmacy hit the stores, Lou Barlow had a Top 40 hit on his hands with his side project The Folk Implosion, whose single “Natural One” appeared on the soundtrack to the film Kids. As a result, Harmacy became Sebadoh's first charting album in the U.S. Sadly, the release is not a fave of Barlow’s. He told Stereogum in 2012, "[Harmacy] was a real heartbreaker. It was meant to be the triumphant follow-up to Bakesale, but in reality Sub Pop put an enormous amount of money into that record and they put us in a studio and immediately the guy we were working with was like, 'You've got to fire your drummer.' And I was just like, 'Oh fuck.' He was telling us that the songs would never really explode unless we got a different drummer, which put us in the position of making this really difficult decision which, of course, we didn’t make. The drummer stayed. And sure enough, the record just really didn’t take off the way it should have and then Sub Pop pretty much completely shit itself not too long afterwards. . . They were trying to behave like a major label around that time, hiring tons of major label people and spending shit tons of money on records like Harmacy and whatever Supersuckers were doing at the time. They just hemorrhaged money and then we kind of ended up being responsible for it. And now when I listen to that record I just hear the voice of our fucking producer saying 'These songs will never take off.' There are some songs on that record that I love and I really did do my best, but I listen to it and I think, 'Yep, those songs really never took off they way they could have.'" —JH

Date Played: April 24 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0369

AZALIA SNAIL

STAYING INSIDE / THE SUPPOSING SONG 7" Single, 1996

In 2000, Azalia Snail (yes, it’s her real name) won the L.A. Weekly award for "Best New-Genre/Uncategorizable Artist.” While it’s an accurate description of her unique avant-garde psych-pop, Snail is hardly new, having released 15 solo albums since 1990. This single in particular features guest appearances from Ladybug Transistor band members Gary Olson and Ed Powers. — JH

Date Played: April 23 by DJ Reeves


SP0368

SLAYER / T.S.O.L.

ABOLISH GOVERNMENT 7" Single, 1996

Thrash metal bands Slayer and T.S.O.L. earn themselves some indie cred with this one-off Sub Pop 7” single. Side A features Slayer covering two T.S.O.L. songs, while Side B features the original 1982 tracks. The thing is, both songs on Side A also appear on Slayer’s 1996 covers album Undisputed Attitude, a tribute to their punk forefathers like Minor Threat, D.R.I., the Stooges, and others. — JH

Date Played: April 23 on The Afternoon Show with Troy Nelson


SP0367

SEBADOH

PRINCESS 7" Single, 1996

Dubbed "Sebadoh's Special Elitist Mail-Order Only Single” by the label, the “Princess”single was sent along with a promotional postcard sticker for their forthcoming full-length Harmacy. And then the guys re-recorded the track for album anyway, under the title "Prince-S.” The B-side has three covers of The Residents: "Act of Being Polite”, “Moisture”, and "Suburban Bathers.” — JH

Date Played: April 23 on The Afternoon Show with Troy Nelson


SP0366

SIX FINGER SATELLITE

PARANORMALIZED, 1996

Guitars steadily continued to phase out from Six Finger Satellite's repoirtoire and synthesizers continued to take prominence, especially with Paranormalized. The band was also keeping up momentum, releasing another album just a year after 1995's Severe Exposure. John McLean (who would later make a name for himself as an electonic producer under the moniker Juan McLean) becomes the real star of the show, showing off his synth-prowess with some classic tools of the trade: a Moog Rogue, Sequential Circuits Prophet 600, and a Roland Gr-70. - DH

Date Played: April 23 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0365

ELEVATOR TO HELL

PARTS 1-3 EP, 1996

Elevator To Hell's first self-titled LP on Sub Pop (aka SP288) was actually two records in one, featuring parts one and two of a would be trilogy from former Eric's Trip band leader Rick White. Instead of just putting out part three as it's own piece, Elevator To Hell and Sub Pop opted to collect everything together release them all as Parts 1-3. The third volume of material gets even weirder and delves more into the avant garde than the previous installments in the series, jumping from atonal guitar solos and megaphone vocals on one track to acoustic ballads on the next. As with any project you'll find from White, it's a wondrous ride with twists and turns you can never anticipate from song to song. - DH

Date Played: April 23 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0364

DAMIEN JURADO

TRAMPOLINE EP, 1996

Damien Jurado's second official release, the Trampoline EP, is one of the most playful and jubilant of his over two-decade long catalog. It's a far cry from the plainitive, stark folk records he'd soon become known for. Here he opts for bright hooks, pop-rock instrumentation, and nostalgic children's artowrk. Pedro The Lion's David Bazan plays drums on the tracks, one of many collaborations that they'd have together over the years. - DH

Date Played: April 23 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0363

BEACH BOYS

I JUST WASN'T MADE FOR THESE TIMES 7" Single, 1996

In 1996, Sub Pop released a 7-inch single from up-and-coming surf-pop act... The Beach Boys? The single was licensed to the Seattle label by Capitol Records as part of a promotion for a Pet Sounds reissue box set and featured new stereo mixes of "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times," "Here Today," and an a capella version of "Wouldn't It Be Nice." Though the release performed well, it wasn't met with enthusiasm from everyone. In a 1996 Seattle Times article, local writer Charles Cross is quoted calling it "a complete bastardization of what Sub Pop is about." The Times' itself says of the changes within the label, "This is more or less your dad's Buick." Sub Pop just wasn't made for those times. - DH

Date Played: April 22 by DJ Evie


SP0362

SIX FINGER SATELLITE

LIVE AT THE A.C.I. 7" Single, 1996

Six Finger Satellite take a page from Johnny Cash's book with this single recorded live at a prison... or wait, did they? Though they titled it Live at the A.C.I. and included a cease and desist note from a Rhode Island Correctiona Facility on the back cover asking the band not to share their performance, none of that really happened and the letter was a fake. The band even posed in front of the prison on the cover for added faux-authenticity. - DH

Date Played: April 22 by DJ Evie


SP0361

EARTH

PENTASTAR:IN THE STYLE OF DEMONS, 1996

If you knew earth from their drone-heavy works like Earth 2, chances are you wouldn't automatically associate their sound with muscle cars and revving engines. While the founders of ambient-drone do keep elements of their earlier work in their fifth album, Pentastar: In The Style of Demons, you can feel the band beginning to stretch out into new musical and visual territory. Case in point is the lime green Chrysler on the cover. Songs go back and forth to spacious compositions to heavy, sludgy rockers that would pair nicely with burning rubber on hot pavement. This would be the band's last record before going on hiatus as guitarist Dylan Carlson struggled with a heroin addiction and grappled with the death of his friend Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. - DH

Date Played: April 22 by DJ Evie


SP0360

PLEXI

CHEER UP, 1996

L.A.'s Plexi delivers on their first and only full-length with the ironically titled Cheer Up, just a couple years before their eventual break-up. While their previous singles and EPs alluded to the band's goth and shoegaze influences, you can hear them fully realized on on their LP. Their angst is amplified by complex and exciting arrangements, implementing elements of their noise rock influences to create a swirling cacophony of distortion. After the album, the band traveled to Amsterdam to record a follow-up but instead ended up breaking up. Lead vocalist Michael Angelos began collaborating with Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro shortly after as Honeymoon Stitch though the only recording they'd release was a cover of Joy Division's "Day of the Lords" for a tribute compilation. - DH

Date Played: April 22 by Stevie Zoom


SP0359

JASON FALKNER

MIRACLE MEDICINE 2X7", 1996

Even if you don't know Jason Falkner, chances are you've heard of some the people and projects he's worked with. He was a one-time member of jangle-pop outfit Jellyfish, played with Jon Brion in The Grays, had an album produced by Radiohead's right-hand man Nigel Godrich, and has worked with acts like Air, Beck, and Aimee Mann. In the middle of all of that, he found time in 1996 to kick off his solo career with the Miracle Medicine double 7-inch on Sub Pop. His affinity for pop songwriting glows on these tracks and shows right away why he's such a sought after talent to this day. - DH

Date Played: April 22 by Stevie Zoom


SP0358

DECHE DANS FACE

MERRY DICKMASS 7" Single, 1996

Placing ornaments onto a tinsel covered tree, chestnuts roasting on the open fire, and French noise rockers freaking out over your stereo system – it must be Christmas! Okay, so Deche Dans Face's Merry Dickmass EP might not be the record you reach for with your family around the holidays, but it was a testament to Sub Pop's commitment to their subterannean roots. The frenzied sounds of this EP can be a lot to take in, with drums rattling, voices belting, and guitars moving whichever way they want on impulse. - DH

Date Played: April 21 on Sonic Reducer


SP0357

FASTBACKS

NEW MANSIONS IN SOUND, 1996

Fastbacks pulled out all the stops for their last album on Sub Pop. Their sixth LP, New Mansions In Sound, has the band sounding bigger and brighter than ever. The oos and aahs of opener "Fortune's Misery" channels the anthemic qualities of Cheap Trick without making it sound like a cheap trick. Their melodies are sharper and their harmonies are more decadent. They even managed to bring some friends along as well. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder sings backing vocals on the band's cover of The Who's "Girl's Eyes," which closes out the record. At the end of the track, you can hear Vedder laughing and offering engineer Pete Gerrald to delete his last take. - DH

Date Played: April 21 on Audioasis with DJ Sharlese


SP0356

LILYS

WELFARE MURDER PLOT / BABY'S A DEALER 7" Single, 1996

You never know what you’re gonna get with a Lilys record, and this rare one-off Sub Pop single is no exception. Will it be the dreamy shoegaze sound off their 1992 Slumberland Records debut? Or the mod ‘60s pop of The 3 Way? Seeing as how this single came out in 1996, you definitely weren’t getting the blippy electronica of Zero Population Growth or the psych-pop of Precollection… I digress. This release, also known under the title Which Studies the Past (a consequence of the album artwork), is from their British Invasion era, and by “their,” I mean, Kurt Heasley, frontman, mastermind, and only constant member of the Lilys. This may be out-of-print, but if you’re a fan, you should seek this out, as the songs have yet to appear on any other release. — JH

Date Played: April 21 by Troy Nelson


SP0355

CHIXDIGGIT

CHIXDIGGIT, 1996

Chixdiggit! had a fan base before they even had any songs, with Canadian teenagers K.J. Jansen, Mark O’Flaherty, and Mike Eggermont selling t-shirts at their high school for the fictitious group. With the money they made, they bought a drum kit, and despite the fact that none of the members had musical experience or instruments, the real Chixdiggit! began. Sadly, the band’s time with Sub Pop was short-lived; as the label reports themselves, the band left because they felt they didn’t fit in with the label’s ideals. As Mike declared, "the people that actually had to sell our records and deal with us on a day to day basis were not quite so fond of us.” — JH

Date Played: April 21 by Troy Nelson


SP0353

AFGHAN WHIGS

BLACK LOVE, 1996

It’s been said that the songs on the Afghan Whigs fifth full-length, Black Love, were inspired by a failed film project from frontman Greg Dulli. However, upon its 20th anniversary re-issue, he clears up the backstory with Stereogum: "I was working on a screenplay. I bought the rights to a book and was working to get that done, but it was a completely different story then Black Love. It’s kind of strange how the legend has taken up with that, but it was not an unproduced screenplay, no… I will say this: My friend Nick [Klein], who had written a screenplay for a movie called The Million Dollar Hotel… it was unproduced at the time, and Wim Wenders eventually filmed it, but I had read the screenplay, and the opening scene of the movie is a guy on a roof, contemplating the end. A lady who I had known took her own life around that time, so from those two experiences I began what became 'Crime Scene Part One,' and that was, I believe, the first song that I began working on. So that set the tone for the rest of the record." — JH

Date Played: April 21 by DJ Morgan


SP0354

SPARKMARKER

2:20 / SAWED OFF BUT SILENT 7" Single, 1996

Formed in 1990, Vancouver hardcore band Sparkmarker made no bones about their influences, citing groups like The Jesus Lizard and Helmet. Vocalist Ryan Scott and guitarist/vocalist Kim Kinakin hosted a cable FM radio show called Blueprint, named after the Fugazi song. The spark went out by 1997, but not before they released this single, packaged in a white envelope with an embossed design, and with a flyer inside detailing the risks of contracting HIV/AIDS. The band reunited for one night only in 2012, with proceeds from merch sales benefitting the Vancouver chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, in honor of their late guitarist Jordan Studdard who passed away in 2005. - JH

Date Played: April 21 by DJ Morgan


SP0352

REID PALEY

TIME FOR YOU / THE BEST OF ALL 7" Single, 1996

Hailing from Brooklyn, Reid Paley first made waves with his post-rock meets blues act, The Five. The band started up in Pittsburgh in the 1980s before making their way to Boston where they started to build a devoted following. It was there that Paley sparked a kinship with his neighbor, Frank Black of the Pixies. Black has always been quick to sing praises of Paley, saying that The Five "kicked all the other band’s asses" in Boston. After The Five dissolved, Paley began performing solo and self-released tapes of his solo music at his shows. These tapes made their way to Sub Pop, who would put out his first "official" release with the Time For You / The Best Of All 7-inch. Paley sounds like a gen-x Tom Waits on the track, welping over his rigid guitar chords while diving deep in to darker recesses of his musical soul-searching. Both tracks would eventually make it on his debut album Lucky's Tune, produced by Black. In a review of Paley's second album, Revival, Black doesn't mince words with his praise: "What? You want some kind of description of the artist and his music? Just fucking listen to the guy and enjoy his prowess." - DH

Date Played: April 20 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0351

PURPLE KNIGHT

CROCODILE IN THE SWAMP + 3 SONGS 7" Single, 1996

It took Purple Knight a couple false starts before they got running, but when they did they were electric. The band started in 1974 with inspiration from guitarist Mark Gaudet's childhood obsession with Deep Purple, even getting their name inspired from the classic rock act's song "Black Night." They'd break up in the winter of 1975 only to reform with a new lineup that April. Then they'd break-up and reform again within 1976. Finally, they'd reunite one more time in 1986. Ten years after that, everything would come full circle they'd re-record the songs from their original 1974 sessions for a Sub Pop single in 1997. Recorded by Eric's Trips' Rick White at his Stereo Mountain studio, the band sounds just as raucous and delightfully unhinged as many of their 90s contemporaries – almost like a proto-Modest Mouse. It's hard to keep track of the band after that and it's anyone's guess if they're still active, though their last release was in 2003. But with Purple Knight, you never know if they'll return out of the blue again. - DH

Date Played: April 20 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0350

JALE

SO WOUND, 1996

So Wound should've been a defining moment for Jale. And it was, but not necessarily in the best way. First, there was some internal changes in the band as drummer Alyson MacLeod bowed out to join Hardship Post and was replaced by The Sadies' Mike Belitsky (given that the name Jale was an acronym of all the members' names, maybe they should've rechristened themselves Jmle). Despite the lineup change, the band came out with one of their strongest and most accessible releases in their short catalog. The shining moment wouldn't last long as the band headed out on tour and broke-up partway through. While the band would never reform, its members would go on to spawn several different groups with varying mixes of their lineup, including bands like The Vees and Chappaquiddick Skyline. - DH

Date Played: April 20 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0349

JUNO

VENUS ON 9TH / FLIES FOR TAVIS 7" Single, 1996

In the early 00s, Juno would become one of the most prominent emo acts coming out of Seattle with albums like This Is The Way It Goes And Goes And Goes and A Future Lived In Past Tense. But before all that could happen, Sub Pop managed to nab the band for their first official release with this 7-inch single. You can hear many of the elements that would captivate fans from '96 to '03. Sharp lyricism, intricate guitar playing masked in distortion, and overall provactive songwriting that's hard not to get emotionally invested in. The band would eventually break up in 2003, but reunited for two performances in 2006 at KEXP's Yule Benefit (hey, that's us!). - DH

Date Played: April 20 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0348

SLEEP CAPSULE

IN HALF + 3 SONGS 7" Single, 1996

Seattle act Sleep Capsule were a far cry from grunge, but they did love to indulge themselves in fuzz and noise. The group put out two records on Spanish Fly Recordings as well as this single on Sub Pop. On the back cover of the single, they included a bizarre excerpt from an unknown source detailing an exchange between Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his wife Natalia Sedova. - DH

Date Played: April 20 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0347

GODHEADSILO

SKYWARD IN TRIUMPH, 1996

Olympia's godheadSilo returned with one of their most remarkable releases, Skyward in Triumph. Triumph is the right word here, too. Bassist Mike Kunka and drummer Dan Haugh sound nothing short of combustible on each track. Light a match in the studio and I'm sure the air would explode. It's hard to believe two people are making all that noise, yet Kunika had a keen sense to maintain a melodic core to his vocals, even if they're totally fuzzed out. Songs like "Chuckanut Overdrive" and "Guardians Of The Threshold" push the sonic limitations of your speakers or headphones, bursting with chunky riffs and a murderous sprint of drum fills. K Records and Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson pops in out of nowhere on the title track, half-singing and half-rapping alongside Kunka. Much like the upside down eagle soaring in space on the cover, it's hard to believe this record is real. Yet it exists, which – also much like an eagle in space – is very rad. - DH

Date Played: April 20 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0346

JALE

ALL READY / HEY HEY 7" Single, 1996

Before Jale would release their second full-length LP, So Wound, they released a UK only single featuring what would become two of the album's standouts. The punchy, pop perfection of "Hey Hey" beams with the vibrant pastiche of the mid-90s. Likewise, "All Ready" has the windows-down, cruising through town vibe of a true summer classic. Despite the bright promise of the songs, it'd also mark the beginning of the end of the band – which we'll dig deeper into when we get to So Wound. - DH

Date Played: April 20 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0345

SPINANES

STRAND, 1996

With their debut Manos, The Spinanes showed the ferocity a guitar/drum duo can unleash. With Strand, they expanded the instrumentation, layering in keyboards and bringing in guest vocalists, like fellow Portland-er Elliott Smith, who guests on opening track “Madding” and closing track "For No One Else,” a joyful late-night party-style song that also has John Moen (of Dharma Bums and The Decemberists) contributing to the playful “ba ba ba” backing vocals. (Note: Spinanes frontwoman Rebecca Gates returns the favor, singing backup on "St. Ides Heaven” off Smith’s self-titled 1995 LP.) — JH

Date Played: April 20 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0344

GODHEADSILO

BOOBY TRAP 7" Single, 1996

Olympia noise rock experimentalists godheadSilo are hard to put into words. But if I could pick one to start with, I'd go with "loud." But that doesn't even give you the full spectrum the band was working with. The duo used volume as tonal element to their music, letting their instruments and vocals clip in the mix in order to capture the explosive energy contained in their songs. It's no wonder their first release on Sub Pop, the Booby Trap 7-inch, features a song called "Turn Up The Vocals." The single gives just a glimpse of the tenacity and brilliance that band would exude on their first album, Skyward in Triumph, which we'll hear in just a couple catalog numbers. - DH

Date Played: April 19 by Sean


SP0343

POISON IDEA

PIG'S LAST STAND, 1996

Even as Sub Pop began exploring different genres in their roster, they could never (and probably will never) forget their punk rock roots. Before punk band Poison Idea could bow out and break-up, they'd play one last show at the now defunct La Luna in their hometown of Portland. The setlist was a mix of songs from their five albums and countless singles, along with a few covers. Fittingly, they ended their set with a cover of another Portland icon with their rendition of "Up Front" by the Wipers. The band would eventually reunite off-and-on over the next two decades before officially calling it quits again in January of 2017. - DH

Date Played: April 19 by Sean


SP0342

SCUD MOUNTAIN BOYS

MASSACHUSETTS, 1996

Clearly Sub Pop was going through country phase in the mid-90s with acts like Red Red Meat, Starkweathers, and the outlaw tendencies emerging with Supersuckers. But Scud Mountain Boys might be the most country of all the bands in the bunch. They didn't start that way, though. The band was originally a full-on rock act, going by the Scuds, but would routinely play acoustic country songs together around the kitchen table. Eventually they actually enjoyed playing that style of music better and transformed into the band you hear on Massachusetts, their third album and their first for Sub Pop. The album caught the ear of the New York Times, saying in their review, "This wonderful album flaunts the kind of sources most alternative guys would be embarassed to admit: the Eagles, Glen Campbell, and The Carpenters." - DH

Date Played: April 19 by DJ Shannon


SP0341

VELOCITY GIRL

NOTHING / ANATOMY OF A GUTLESS WONDER 7" Single, 1996

A stand-out track from the band’s final LP, Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts (see SP340), this single was a limited-edition release, with a mere 500 copies pressed on red vinyl. After the band dissolved later that year, members Sarah Shannon, Kelly Riles, and Jim Spellman formed the short-lived project, Starry Eyes, while Archie Moore focused on his side project The Heartworms, and was later a member of The Saturday People. Later, Sarah Shannon released two solo albums before forming the kindie-pop band The Not-Its. Meanwhile, Spellman played guitar for D.C. power pop band Julie Ocean, and became a multimedia journalist for CNN, allowing himself to be tased on camera for a piece about non-lethal weapons. (He’s currently a CGTN-America Correspondent and recently started the band Foxhall Stacks.) — JH

Date Played: April 19 by DJ Shannon


SP0340

VELOCITY GIRL

GILDED STARS AND ZEALOUS HEARTS, 1996

The third and final album for D.C.’s Velocity Girl found them miles away from the lo-fi noise-pop of their 1992 debut Copacetic (see SP0196). They made a surprise choice in producer Clif Norrell for this: on one hand, he was then known for his work on alt-friendly releases like Catherine Wheel's Happy Days and R.E.M.'s Automatic For the People; on the other hand, he was later nominated for two Grammys for his work with Bruce Springsteen, and a TEC Award nomination for his work with Sting. While both Copacetic and ¡Simpatico! had been recorded pretty quickly, the production for Gilded Stars… extended over seven weeks, and many felt the album may have suffered from the attention, resulting in the slickest, most commercial sound the band had ever released. It’s also been suggested that the band’s attention had begun to waver: frontwoman Sarah Shannon had relocated here to Seattle and was about to get married, and guitarist/vocalist Archie Moore had begun a side project, The Heartworms. By the end of the Gilded Stars... U.S. tour, they decided to call it a day, concluding with a final show at Baltimore's 8x10 Club in September 1996. — JH

Date Played: April 19 by DJ Shannon


SP0339

GRIFTERS

LAST MAN ALIVE / PARTING SHOT 7" Single, 1996

If you need even more proof that The Grifters were ascending into pop-rock greatness, give a listen to this promotional single for their album Ain't My Lookout. With both "Last Man Alive" and "Parting Shot," The Grifters sound less like a band from "their era" and more timeless. Vocalist Scott Taylor sounds like a bona fide crooner on "Last Man Alive," albeit with a hint of twang in his voice. "Parting Shot" leans even more into their Southern influences, covering territory that would surely get a nod of approval from the likes of Jeff Tweedy – even managing to squeeze in some interpolations of the classic "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" children's player. - DH

Date Played: April 19 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0338

MODEST MOUSE

BROKE / EVERY TIME I BREATHE OUT YOU BREATHE IN 7" Single, 1996

Most of Issaquah act Modest Mouse's indie years are defined by their work with Up Records and K in Olympia, but somehow the band managed to squeeze in a couple singles through Sub Pop along the way. While both of these songs would later appear on the compilation Build Something Out Of Nothing, they'd first appear on this 7-inch single. The tracks were recorded at Olympia's Moon Studio just before they began work on what was intended to be their debut, Sad Sappy Sucker, which ended up being shelved until 2001. Both "Broke" and "Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In (Positive/Negative)" see the band start to define their trademark sound. Seasick guitarlines wobble and contort while lead vocalist Isaak Brock complements the tones his own warbled and freewheeling voice. A month after the single dropped, the band released their actual first album, This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About, setting them on a path that would lead them to becoming one of the most celebrated indie rock acts of their era, as well as defining a new wave of Pacific Northwest music. - DH

Date Played: April 19 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0337

GRIFTERS

AIN'T MY LOOKOUT, 1996

Memphis indie rock outfit The Grifters flex their ability to write honest-to-God hooks with their fourth album (and first full-length on Sub Pop), Ain't My Lookout. A review in the March 1996 issue of SPIN by Terri Sutton describes the album as "steeped in Bowie glam, rural blues, and alternative's chop-chop sensibility, these tracks don't skim Big Star so much as clarify the legacy of that earlier Memphis band." Invoking Bowie and Big Star in the same sentence is saying a lot, but Sutton's assessment is spot on. You can feel the ambition and pop-sensibilities of both of those artists being channelled through The Grifters. They skirt the line between dysfunction and clear, country-tinged songwriting. (Fun fact: artwork by award-winning local cartoonist and 2010 The Stranger Genius of Literature, Jim Woodring.) - DH

Date Played: April 19 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0336

CHIXDIGGIT

SHADOWY BANGERS FROM A SHADOWY DUPLEX / SONG FOR R 7" Single, 1996

It's hard to think of a better encapsulation of what Chixdiggit's all about than their first single for Sub Pop. With two songs that would later appear on their self-titled debut LP, they pronounce their pop punk styling right away with overdriven guitars bolstering up insanely catchy melodies. The band show's their sense of humor as well on the physical record itself, dubbing the a-side as the "indie side" and the b-side as the "sellout side." - DH

Date Played: April 19 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0335

DAMIEN JURADO

MOTORBIKE EP, 1996

Damien Jurado may be a familiar name to many Seattlities entrenched in the local music scene, but even local legends have to get their start somewhere. Before he'd go on to right multi-record epics about dreams and cult-like groups, Jurado put out his first release ever with the Motorbike EP. The 7-inch single was just the beginning of his relationship with Sub Pop that would carry on over the next seven years. - DH

Date Played: April 19 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0334

FRIENDS OF DEAN MARTINEZ

CORDOVA / MONTE CARLO 7" Single, 1996

Post-rock and Americana aren't always genres thrown around in the same sentence, but that's the mixture Tucson, Arizona's Friends of Dean Martinez were working with. You can really feel it on their second single for Sub Pop, leaning even harder into the lounge and country aesthetics. B-side "Monte Carlo," a cover of a Santo & Johnny tune which would later appear on their album Retrograde, exudes the sizzling, desert vibes of their home state. - DH

Date Played: April 18 by DJ Sean


SP0333

ERIC'S TRIP

PURPLE BLUE, 1996

Eric's Trip round-out their run in the Sub Pop catalog with their third and final proper LP, Purple Blue. It's the only record in the band's catalog where all the members are playing together, live in the studio instead of recording their parts separately (or with de facto band leader Rick White recording the majority of the instruments). Despite the band sounding more together and solid than ever, internal conflicts within the band were leading them into an inevitable break-up. The band sought to honor their commitments to the label by releasing the album and touring behind it. But during the tour, White announced that he was going home and thus was the sudden end of the initial run of Eric's Trip. The band would reunite again in 2001 and then again in 2006 for another couple years of touring. Despite the band splitting up, the members would continue to be active. Bassist Julie Doiron would go on to have a celebrated solo career, with several albums produced by White (all four members would appear on her 2007 LP Woke Myself Up). White would continue with his solo project Elevator, as would Chris Thompson with Moon Socket. Drummer Mark Gaudet would join the metal act Funeral Fog in 2003. - DH

Date Played: April 18 by DJ Sean


SP0332

THORNETTA DAVIS

SHOUT OUT TO THE DUSTHUFFER, 1996

Thornetta Davis' journey with Sub Pop comes full circle with Shout Out to The Dusthuffer. While she first appeared as a backing vocalist for Big Chief, the tables are turned wtih the band instead backing her. Despite the catalog numbers, this is actually Davis' first solo release on Sub Pop and includes covers of James Brown and new renditions of tracks from Big Chief's Mack Avenue Skullgame with Davis taking over the lead vocals. - DH

Date Played: April 18 by DJ Hans


SP0331

STARKWEATHERS

DO YOU LIKE TO BE LIED TO? / TOWN OF SHAME 7" Single, 1996

Missouri country act The Starkweathers were never ones to mince words. Merging the middle-finger attitude of punk with the venomous tones of outlaw country, the group was known to call out everything from religion to patriotism – just look at the snake tamer on the cover of their "Do You Like To Be Lied To?" single and make the connections there. The band would later create another controversial anthem with their rowdy romp "Burn The Flag, which encouraged freeing yourself from allegiance to any nation or creed other than your own. - DH

Date Played: April 18 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0330

TEEN ANGELS

DADDY, 1996

In one of the final gasps of grunge on the Sub Pop catalog, Teen Angels came through with their first and only full-length release – 1996's Daddy. And what a way to go out. Vocalist Kelly Canary always sounded ferocious on the mic, going back to her days in Dickless, but the vengence in her voice is almost palpable on this LP. Another Sub Pop album makes it on the album with Supersuckers' Eddie Spaghetti singing back-up on "Spread It Around" (a cover of a song by The Bags) and he's also credited for writing the album's closer, "Jack Shit." The Teen Angels members mostly exited the music industry after the album's release, though Canary has received vocal credits on multiple releases from Olympia drone evangelists Earth in the following years since. - DH

Date Played: April 18 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0329

PLEXI

PART OF ME / CAUGHT UP 7" Single, 1995

It's hard to know what's real and what's a joke with Plexi. The Los Angeles rock outfit loved self-mythologizing and leading their fans astray with stories about the band members meeting at Taoist retreats or in motorcycle gangs. No matter how they got together, one thing was clear – they made killer music that fused the alternative ennui of the times with elements of goth and shoegaze music. Sub Pop's Curtis W. Pitts (whom you might remember from SP0230, the Curtis W. Pitts: Sub Pop Employee of the Month comp) found the band's first EPs on I.F.A. Records and were soon brought onto the roster. Their first release for the label came with this one-sided 7-inch single, featuring the rapid punk anthem "Part Of Me" and the hazier, darker "Caught Up." - DH

Date Played: April 18 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0328

SPIRITUALIZED

ANY WAY THAT YOU WANT ME / STEP INTO THE BREEZE 7" Single, 1995

After the end of legendary British rock outfit Spacemen 3, Jason Pierce – aka J. Spaceman – invited his former bandmates to join him in a new project (that is, everyone but the band's co-leader Peter Kember. Kember and Pierce's conflicting personalities were part of what broke up Spacemen 3 in the first place). This new band became Spiritualized, whom later would be inducted into the psych-rock canon in their own right. For the project's first ever release (originally released in 1990 on Dedicated Records, re-released in 1995 by Sub Pop), they opted for a double a-side single with, lead with a cover of The Troggs' "Anyway That You Want." Pierce flips the classic pop song into a hazy, whimsical opus. His spacious vocals over the chiming acoustic guitars and subtle guitar effects and strings hint at the massive scope that the project would operate in on future releases like Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. You can feel this on Pierce's original composition as well, "Step Into The Breeze." Surging guitar lines pierce the dreamlike atmosphere of the track with Pierce's sounding like a voice calling out through a Ouiji board. While the other members would come and go, Pierce has continued the project to this day and remains the band's sole consistent member. - DH

Date Played: April 18 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0327

SIX FINGER SATELLITE

MASSIVE COCAINE SEIZURE / HUMAN OPERATOR 7" Single, 1995

Never has a title fit a song better than with Six Finger Satellite's "Massive Cocaine Seizure." The band embraced the noise rock that helped get them signed to Sub Pop for a frenzied collage of guitars and screaming vocals. B-side "Human Operator" feels even more detached from humanity, with speeding keyboard effects swirling around the chugging guitars and filtered vocals. - DH

Date Played: April 18 by Abbie


SP0326

DIMMER

CRYSTALATOR / DAWN'S COMING IN 7" Single, 1995

After the break-up of New Zealand rock outfit Straitjacket Fits, the band's lead vocalist Shayne Carter was looking for a new path in the music industry. After spending some time back in his home of Dunedin, he started to become enamored with experimental works by the likes of Brian Eno and became infatuated with this new mode to pursue his craft with a sense of mystery. He'd take on the moniker Dimmer, performing with a changing lineup of musicians, and released the project's first single via Sub Pop. A-side "Crystalator" is a barrage of frantic guitars pushing and pulling against each other. If ever there was a time to pull out the old music journalist cliche of "angular guitars," this might be it. He tones things down on "Dawn's Coming In" – a low humming, slow burner with Carter's voice barely raising above a mumble while maintaining a stressful intensity that never explodes. - DH

Date Played: April 17 on Larry's Lounge with Larry Rose


SP0325

BRUCE GILBERT

BI-YO-YO / BYO (SACHET) 7" Single, 1995

Sub Pop already had its fair share of punk cred at this point in their existence, but it never hurts to get a co-sign from a member of the legendary Wire. Guitarist Bruce Gilbert had just taken a leave from the band and had been experimenting with electronic music and techno, particularly being commissioned to compose works for film and dance performances. But with works like Instant Shed Vol. 1 (and later his solo album Ab Ovo), Gilbert began to experimenting on his own without an external muse to direct him. On its surface, each side of the 7-inch sounds like experimental drone music – housed in a foil cover, no less – but there's more to listening to this single than just putting it on your record player. In an interview with the fan site Wireviews, Gilbert explains how the record was meant to be heard:

"It's a bit of a very slight and minuscule conceptual piece. The original idea was to have two one-sided 7"s which should strictly be played at the same time. But now the 'A' and 'B' sides should be played at the same time. There are instructions on the disc which say that one side should be recorded and played at the some time as the other side. Very complicated! But for most people this is an available option. The idea was that it would be like noodles in a sachet—one side would be the noodles, and the other side would be the sachet that you added. They do work together — I've tested it!" - DH

Date Played: April 17 on Larry's Lounge with Larry Rose


SP0324

THORNETTA DAVIS

SUNDAY MORNING MUSIC, 1995

Sunday Morning Music isn't the first time Thornetta Davis has appeared on a Sub Pop release. She'd previously sang backing vocals on several songs from Big Chief's Mack Avenue Skullgame, a faux soundtrack for a faux blaxploitation film set in Detroit. With Sunday Morning Music, not only did she make her full-length debut but also became the first black woman signed to Sub Pop. The album highlights the Detroit blues and soul that Davis had steeped herself in throughout her early career. It was a departure for Sub Pop as well, releasing a soul and blues record without prominent rock fusion elements. Fun fact: Kid Rock (yes, that Kid Rock) programmed the song "Sunset" on this record. The two would go on to collaborate on Kid's solo records for the next five years. - DH

Date Played: April 17 on Larry's Lounge with Larry Rose


SP0323

JEREMY ENIGK

RETURN OF THE FROG QUEEN, 1995

With Sunny Day Real Estate broken-up (for now), lead singer Jeremy Enigk was left with room to stretch himself artistically with his debut solo album – Return of the Frog Queen. Recorded with a 21-piece orchestra and favoring acoustic guitars over the vicious squall of electric guitars that permeated SDRE's music, it was a marked depature for the Seattle songwriter that paid off. Given Enigk's penchant in the past for making up words and singing gibberish, the album puts his lyricism at the forefront and more articulate and poetic than ever. While SDRE reunions and albums would come and go, Frog Queen marked the beginning of an on-going, distinguished solo career for Enigk continuing through last year's Ghosts. Starting in 2016 on the records 20th anniversary, Enigk has performed Frog Queen in its entirety – including on the Sub Pop stage at the 2017 Upstream Music Fest. - DH

Date Played: April 17 on The Afternoon Show with Brian Foss


SP0322

DAMON & NAOMI

THE WONDROUS WORLD OF DAMON & NAOMI, 1995

After Galaxie 500 broke up in 1991, bandmates Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang opted to carry on collaborating with the project simply called Damon & Naomi. The band released their trippy, psych-heavy debut More Sad Hits in 1992 before jumping to producer Mark Kramer's Shimmy Disc label before hopping to Sub Pop for the follow-up, The Wondrous World of Damon & Naomi. Kramer stayed on to produce the record, but conflicts would arise between himself and the band. Kramer's initial mix favored the psych stylings of their debut, while the band envisioned a stripped down, acoustic sound for the LP. Initially, Kramer refused to make changes before finally agreeing to the band's vision. He claimed the original masters of his version of the record were lost, but they were eventually resurfaced in 2013 when they were released as a "bootleg version" of the album by Damon & Naomi on Record Store Day. - DH

Date Played: April 17 on The Afternoon Show with Brian Foss


SP0321

HANDSOME

SWIMMING / CAN'T CONNECT 7" Single, 1995

The first release from post-hardcore super group Handsome comes with their Swimming/Can't Connect 7-inch single. The band was comprised of members from acts like Jets to Brazil, Cro-Mags, Helmet, and Cro-Mags; putting out only one self-titled album in their short existence. They'd break-up in 1998 after touring with Local H, Silverchair, and Less Than Jake. - DH

Date Played: April 17 on The Afternoon Show with Brian Foss


SP0320

LES THUGS

STRIKE, 1995

France's Les Thugs teamed up with engineer Steve Albini for one of their most daring releases in their catalog, Strike. Albini's raw production style is an apt match for the band, heightening the raucous nature of the band and letting the songs revel in their own punk brutality. In a 2017 review of a repressing of the album, Razorcake says, "While the downstroke-driven songs take me back to a certain ‘90s sound, I don’t feel like this album is stuck in a time or place in the way that revisiting other ‘90s bands feels. The title track could fit on a Fugazi record and, for me, that’s always a good thing."

Date Played: April 17 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0319

ERIC MATTHEWS

FANFARE CD5/7" Single, 1995

Eric Matthews' cleaned-up look and pristine arrangements began wowing over fans across the globe with his debut album, It's Heavy In Here, particularly the opening track "Fanfare." Lots of this can be attributed to the music video for the track, which received heavy airplay on MTV. On the album's 20th anniversary, Matthews discusses the making of the video: "Sub Pop gave me a huge budget and set me up with the director. We had a couple of meetings in Hollywood and came up with this strange treatment, something about a delusional king singing a song in the desert. We set up in the Mojave, can’t recall the town name. It was hot, windy, dusty, and frankly horrible. I wasn’t cut out for show business. There were suggestions at the time, some offers about getting me into the movies. I wanted none of it." - DH

Date Played: April 17 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0318

RED RED MEAT

BUNNY GETS PAID, 1995

Sub Pop's premiere blues-country act Red Red Meat came through with a highmark in their career with their third album, Bunny Gets Paid. In a 2009 review of the reissue, Pitchfork executive editor Mark Richardsong says, "With Bunny, all of a sudden Red Red Meat seemed artier, more hidden and inscrutable." He's not wrong. The record finds the band stretching beyond the confines over their genre and reaching out toward psychedelic tones and embraces the "alternative" ethos that defined the era. Hidden between the twang and lush arrangments are vulnerable songs akin to the movement being spearheaded by like their contemporaries Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown. In a 2009 interview with Exclaim!, lead vocalist Tim Rutili discusses how it was the first record where the band didn't rehearse the songs together prior, writing half the songs in the studio. He adds, "I think Bunny is the record where we stopped being a conventional rock band, and started being ourselves, so it's pretty important for me. It was the beginning of our experimentation with what we can do in the studio and what we can do as a band." - DH

Date Played: April 17 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0317

SPINANES

MADDING / 10 METRE PLATFORM 7" Single, 1995

As The Spinanes geared up to release their second album, Strand, they gave a hint of the new direction they were venturing in with the single "Madding." The opening track to the LP (a truncated single version appears on the 7-inch single) finds the band at their most atmospheric, letting the distant sound of the drums and sweeping, wind-like sound effects permeate throughout the mix. - DH

Date Played: April 17 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0316

SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE

LP2, 1995

Despite all the acclaim and success of Diary, Sunny Day Real Estate was in rough shape as a band as they worked on their follow-up record. Tensions were mounting within the band. While reports tried to attribute this to lead singer Jeremy Enigk's recent conversion to Christianity, the band has always downplayed this facet. In reality, the four bandmates were simply not getting along and fighting throughout the record of their sophomore album – sometimes referred to as their self-titled LP, other times as LP2 or The Pink Album. Things were so heated, in fact, that they broke up during the recording. It was the first of many break-ups in their career. Enigk claims to have not even finished writing lyrics for the album and singing gibberish instead (he'd made up his own words on Diary as well) and explains that the album's all-pink cover was a result of the band just wanting to get it over with. Despite the behind the scenes drama – or perhaps, "in spite of" – the album is one of the band's most thrilling additions in their catalog. Enigk's lyricism may be obtuse beyond recognition, but it matches the sprawling energy of the record's instrumentation. There are hints of the prog-rock influences on later LPs (spoiler alert: they get back together) and guitarist Dan Hoerner shares vocal duties on a number of songs. The album also lead into another historical music moment outside of SDRE. At the band's final gig, former Nirvana drummer was in attendance and after the performance recruited bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith to join a new project he was starting called Foo Fighters. - DH

Date Played: April 17 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0315

SUPERSUCKERS

MARIE CD5/7" Single, 1995

Supersuckers are at their most thoughtful with "Marie," a single from their Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers LP. Pulling the song out from the album on this UK only single helps to better focus on the subject manner of the song in which Eddie Spaghetti waxes on the death of a young man who dies after a life of substance abuse. But beyond that, the band tackles the concept of musicians "leading astray" their listeners. In the song, Spaghetti outlines criticism people give him saying that he killed the kid, but he turns it back around and sings, "You can blame it on Mick, you can blame it on Keith, you can blame it on Sid." - DH

Date Played: April 17 


SP0314

SUPERSUCKERS

BORN WITH A TAIL 7" Single, 1995

The UK version of the Supersuckers "Born With A Tail" single features two different versions of the track (an edit and the original LP version) as well as two other songs from the band's latest album at the time, The Sacrilicious Sounds of The Supersuckers. "Hittin' The Gravel" forgoes some of the outlaw country the band had started dabblign with in this era, focusing instead on precise pop-rock songwriting. "Run Like A Motherfucker," on the other hand, sees that band at their dirtiest – ready to cause a ruckus and barrelling out the bar door with well whiskey still on their breath. - DH

Date Played: April 16 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0313

COMBUSTIBLE EDISON

SCHIZOPHONIC, 1995

Rhode Island's premiere lounge act Combustible Edison returned with their sophomore LP, Schizophonic. The album saw changes brewing within the lineup as well as keyboardist Peter Dixon was replaced by Robert "Brother Cleve" Toomey, a former DJ for MIT's college radio station WMBR. The album maintains much of the decadence of their debut album, albeit embellished a bit more with psychedelic moments to play up the manic energy of the title. - DH

Date Played: April 16 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0312

ERIC MATTHEWS

IT'S HEAVY IN HERE, 1995

Singer/songwriter Eric Matthews started off his career in the band Cardinal, a project with Australian singer-songwriter Richard Davies. When he ventured off on his own, Sub Pop jumped on this debut solo full-length, a sparkling ’60’s-style set of orchestral pop. In an interview with Pop Dose, Matthews declares, "This album was a 'FUCK YOU' to this movement of young men with bands who were ignoring those lessons of the '70s and '80s. I am from the orchestra and I am a real musician and I made damn sure that this album, and every thing I have ever done, not sound as if from some mediocre gen-x slacker. I am not that. I have good hair and nice shirts and a family name that deserves more than some follower of whatever the trend of the day happens to be." It’s Heavy In Here celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015 with a deluxe reissue on Lo-Fidelity Records. — JH

Date Played: April 16 on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole


SP0311

BARE MINIMUM

NIGHT WE STREAK DIVINE FAILURE / WINTER STRAIGHT BRAND 7" Single, 1995

Formed in the Bay Area, then relocated to Seattle, Bare Minimum worked with famed producer Barrett Jones for this 7” single, which led to an opening spot on the Foo Fighters’ 1995 tour (Jones was producing for them at the time, too). In an interview with Skyscraper Magazine, frontman Brian Speckman remembers, "We were playing these crazy-ass sets of the worst rock sets you could think of, just like really long totally dreary songs that don't go over very well.” Bassist Anthony Champa added, “We went on that tour just to sort of see a wider range of people and have them see us… It was fun to pretend we were rock starts, but no one felt we were.” After the band called it quits in the late ‘90s, drummer Joe Plummer went on to play with The Black Heart Procession, Modest Mouse, The Shins, just to name a few. — JH

Date Played: April 16 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0310

COBRA VERDE

ONE STEP AWAY FROM MYSELF / EVERYTHING TO YOU 7" Single, 1995

Before their Sub Pop debut, Cobra Verde had already released a full length and an EP on Cleveland-based indie label Scat Records. Which is not surprising since frontman John Petkovic is the founder of Scat Records. He started the band as a one-off studio project, and it ended up having a 20-year-career, and they even had an appearance on the TV show The OC (the guys played the part of a Foreigner cover band playing Seth Cohen’s birthday party). Fun fact: the artwork for this single is by artist/cartoonist Gary Panter. — JH

Date Played: April 16 on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters


SP0309

5IVE STYLE

5IVE STYLE, 1995

Following a couple of singles for Sub Pop (see SP0282 and SP0271), Chicago funk band 5ive Style released their debut full-length for the label, ten tracks of groove-makin’ ass-shakin’ funk-fusion. The list of talent in this band is undeniable: guitarist Billy Dollan (of The Fire Theft), Leroy Bach (of Wilco), John Herndon (of Tortoise), and Jeremy Jacobsen (aka The Lonesome Organist) — with a caliber of musicians like that, you know it’s gonna be a good time. - JH

Date Played: April 16 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0308

SCUD MOUNTAIN BOYS

KNIEVEL / 1/2 WAY 7" Single, 1995

Scud Mountain Boys introduced all of our ears to the beautiful voice and wry, melodic songwriting of one Joe Pernice. In the early days, the band members would sit around the kitchen table writing songs, so when they made the choice to play live, they would bring the table to the venue and set it up on stage. Fun fact: Pernice is married to Canadian musician Laura Stein, the “L” in the band Jale (See SP0235). - JH

Date Played: April 16 on The Morning Show with John Richards


SP0307

TENDERLOIN

SUPERNATURAL BOLOGNA / HEARD IT ON THE X 7" Single, 1995

Short-lived band Tenderloin has its roots in the mid-‘80s blues scene happening in Kansas City, with noted harmonica player Ernie Locke at the forefront. His previous band Sin City Disciples combined that traditional blues sound with the high-octane punk of the moment, and this next project followed suit, adding siblings Gray and Brock Ginther on guitar and bass and drummer Guy Stephens. The B-Side on this debut single is a cover version of ZZ Top’s “Heard it On the X.” - JH

Date Played: April 16 by DJ Miss Ashley


SP0306

FRIENDS OF DEAN MARTINEZ

THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE, 1995

On their debut full-length, the space-age surf cowboys Friends Of Dean Martinez continued to evolve their odd blend of Arizona-roots with the “lounge” scene that was in vogue in the mid ‘90s. Guitarist Bill Elm told No Depression magazine, "When we went in to do our first record, we didn't have any original songs. I was trying to do a record of covers, and Joey (Burns of Calexico) really wanted to balance it out with some originals. So he and John (Convertino of Giant Sand) started laying tracks down, and kind of a broader sound developed in the studio.” The result is a set of cinematic instrumentals that sound like something Martin Denny would compose after a vacation in the Southwest. - JH

Date Played: April 15 by Evie


SP0305

TEEN ANGELS

TEEN DREAM / JULIE'S JAZZ ODYSSEY 7" Single, 1995

15 years before Beach House would bring their own "Teen Dream" to Sub Pop, Teen Angels beat them to the punch. Featuring members of Dickless, the Teen Dream/Julie's Jazz Odyssey single is a reminder of the label's grunge roots as Sub Pop began branching out into an array of other genres. Much like Dickless, Teen Angels were brutal on all musical fronts. Vocals that feel like they're being ripped apart, guitars so loud you'll go deaf, and a tenacious attitude that's undeniable. - DH

Date Played: April 15 by Evie


SP0304

TRULY

FAST STORIES....FROM KID COMA, 1995

While Truly jumped to a major label for their debut album, Fast Stories... From Kid Coma, Sub Pop was given the rights to the vinyl release of the LP. The stacked roster of Mark Pickerel, Soundgarden founding bassist Hiro Yamamoto, and Robert Roth sound more connected and fiery than ever. In the book Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, Yamamoto says, "Some of the songs and lyrics [on Fast Stories... still put a chill down my spine when I hear them. Certain parts of songs just have this feel, and to me, that's the reason why I always played music – to make that kind of sound." - DH

Date Played: April 15 by DJ Stevie Zoom


SP0303

SUPERSUCKERS

THE SACRILICIOUS SOUNDS OF THE SUPERSUCKERS, 1995

"I am bastard, hear my roar," Eddie Spaghetti wails on the opening track to The Sacrilicious Sounds of The Supersuckers. The term "Sacrilicious" is both a nod to an episode of The Simpsons and a combination of "sacrilege" and "delicious." Those facts alone speak to the ethos of Supersuckers. Prior to recording the record, original guitarist Rontrose Heathman left the band and was replaced by Rick Sims of Didjits. Sims himself would depart the band after the Sacrilicious tour and Heathman would come back for another 13 years with the band. In a 1995 review of the album in CMJ, writer Tim Stegall calls the band, "the last practitioners of Marshall-stacks-and-a-sneer punk rock on the increasingly grungeless Sub Pop roster." - DH

Date Played: April 15 by DJ Stevie Zoom


SP0302

PIPER CUB

CHANCE / NUMBER ONE SOUND  7" single, 1995

Pipe Cub may have only one release to their name, but the packaging totally makes up for it. The 7-inch came with a model paper plane designed to look like, well, a Piper Cub. The back cover goes in-depth on "the rules of the sky" and gives users advice for the best way to fly their glider. The entire packaging is designed to look like a 1950s toy, complete with the pastiche of the era. Oh, and the music's pretty great too – as you'd expect for a band that includes members of Velocity Girl, Edsel, and Tsunami. - DH

Date Played: April 15 by DJ Stevie Zoom


SP0301

SOUL JUNK

1946 7" single, 1995

The mid-90s saw Sub Pop diversifying their sound quite a bit, but Soul Junk may be one of the most surprising entries from this era. San Diego's Soul-Junk, which is still active to this day, brought together the shakey tones of lo-fi with the wisdom of...the Bible? Much of the band's early work featured principal member singing verses directly from the holy book. Each release in the band's discography is titled chronologically after a year, starting with 1945. As of now, the band is currently on 1961.- DH

Date Played: April 15 by DJ Stevie Zoom


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