Tuesday, July 09, 2013

A jubilee worth celebrating

Happy 25th birthday, Sub Pop. Well, sort of - here's the Guardian's Michael Hann to explain.

The article makes for a fascinating read, charting the Seattle label's meteoric rise through being synonymous with grunge (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden et al), subsequent fall from grace into disarray and then unexpected phoenix-from-the-flames recovery thanks largely to the Shins and Garden State. I hadn't appreciated quite how close it'd come to going to the wall as a result of misguided and poorly performing signings, ill-judged management decisions and internal infighting.

That said, I would take issue with Hann's failure to mention the critical Sub Pop 200 compilation or the likes of Melvins and Tad, and the glossing over of any differences between bands in the grunge heyday (even though they were all unashamed rock bands, admittedly). What's more, the suggestion that the label is now identified with a completely different sound to grunge, "dreamy American indie music", ignores the fascinating variety of their current roster - everyone from noiseniks No Age (new album An Object out next month - marvellous!), Pissed Jeans, Metz and Mudhoney (still) to slowcore legends Low, blogger-beloved chillwave act Washed Out and heavyweight hip-hop experimentalists Shabazz Palaces.

Of course, though, that just proves the label's continued existence is something to be cherished and celebrated.

(Thanks to Neil for the link.)

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