Spin the Black Circle

Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.
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Posts Tagged ‘Sub Pop’

Jangly, poppy & pretty darn good: Jaill @ Showbox at the Market 08.18.10

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Sub Pop Records has long been a local powerhouse in the music scene. Its tastemaking powers are often in fine form every time the label signs a new band or releases a new album, which is why I try to pay attention to just about everything  that goes on at Sub Pop HQ.  That and the fact Sub Pop has a long history of  introducing me to some of my favorite bands.

Sub Pop’s solid track record of adding excellent music to my record collection is why I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see Milwaukee-based Jaill, one of Sub Pop’s newest signings, open for The Hold Steady Wednesday night at Showbox at the Market. The band recently released its sophomore record “That’s How We Burn,” which is its first for Sub Pop, and it is easily one of my favorite Sub Pop releases of 2010. (more…)


Remember SP20? Now you can relive it with Sub Pop’s Record Store Day offerings

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Record Store Day, the annual event where indie record shops offer tons of exclusive goodies to music fans in celebration of independent record stores, will be here on April 17.

Last year Seattle’s own Sub Pop Records celebrated Record Store Day with the release of some limited-edition vinyl offerings from Bllitzen Trapper, Flight of the Conchords and more. This year Sub Pop stepped up its game a bit with some pretty cool releases including a benefit CD of live performances from 2008′s two-day SP 20 celebration (that’s the cover of the album over there on the left) and a limited-edition 7″ reissue of Soundgarden’s first Sub Pop single “Hunted Down” with “Nothing to Say” as the B-side. If you weren’t at SP 20 check out the review of Day 1 here and the review of Day 2 here.

Here are the details of the Soundgarden and SP 20 releases as well as  the rest of Sub Pop’s Record Store Day offerings straight from the peeps at Sub Pop

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PHOTOS: Mudhoney, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth & Unnatural Helpers @ Neumos 11.13.09

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Mudhoney, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth and Unnatural Helpers brought back the ’90s at Neumos Friday for the book release party for Michael Lavine’s Grunge. I just filed my review with the folks over at Crosscut and it is awaiting editing. I will post it here when it is online. Until then enjoy the below photos by local photographer Alex Crick. 


Taking a listen to Sub Pop’s Record Store Day offerings from Blitzen Trapper, Flight of the Conchords, Obits and Vetiver

Friday, April 17th, 2009

The second annual Record Store Day is Saturday and if you’re a music collector you will want to drop by your favorite vinyl-slinging indie music shop. I won’t bore you with the details of what RSD is, instead I will point you in this direction so you can read all about it. But you will want to know lots of great limited releases by artists big (Bob Dylan, Modest Mouse) and small (Camera Obscura, Gomez) are going to be made available for RSD. You can check out a list of some of what’s being sold for RSD here.

Seattle’s own bastion of indie coolness, Sub Pop Records, will be adding to the lot of limited-edition releases with four 7″ records by Blitzen Trapper, Obits, Vetiver and Flght of the Conchords. Each is limited to only 1,500 pressings (except for the Conchords, which has a run of 3,000) and each contains two unreleased songs.

Ear Candy has given a listen to what each of these awesome 7″ slabs of vinyl has to offer and highly recommends picking up each one because not only are they limited in number and will likely become collectors items, they’re all really, really good. Here’s a look at what you’ll be listening to if you grab these limited-edition gems.

Flight of the Conchords “Pencils In The Wind” 7″

“Pencils in the Wind”
The kiwi comedians sing about tape and how it binds things together, just like love. Brit and Jermaine get their Beatles on near the end of the song, which is about “the tape of love.”

“Albi the Racist Dragon”
This isn’t a song, rather it’s a skit with funny noises. It’s a bedtime story about mean-hearted dragon that grumbles, quite racistly, and his conversation with an Albanian boy he burned quite badly. Things work out in the end because both are different and Albi cries a single jellybean tear.

Blitzen Trapper “War Is Placebo” 7″

“War is Placebo”
This isn’t the jangly, backwoods Northwest-meets-the Ozarks side of Blitzen Trapper you may be familiar with. No, this is the softer, more direct and acoustic “Furr” side of the Trapper.

“Booksmart Baby”
A simple-yet-effective trio of guitar, banjo and harmonica beautifully creates the backbone of this song. My only complaint is the song’s length. It clocks in at less than two minutes. But then again, it is a 7″ record so you aren’t going for quantity here, it’s all about the quality.

Obits “I Can’t Lose” 7″

“I Can’t Lose”
Obits are currently my favorite Sub Pop act so I’m super stoked for this release. “I Can’t Lose” is great blend of garage rock and pop, which perfectly captures the essence of this standout Sub Pop band.

“Military Madness”
Obits slow things down a little for this track but it still maintains a rock edge that leads to a great, but sadly too brief, guitar crescendo. However, this track combined with its A-side counterpart make for a great gateway drug to a great band.

Vetiver “Wishing Well” 7″

“Wishing Well”
This catchy pop tune could have easily made it on Vetiver’s recently released album “Tight Knit” but somehow it didn’t make the cut. Thankfully we have Record Store Day so a gem like this can see the light of day.

“Pay No Mind”
If you squint your ears just right you might, just might catch the hint of Bob Dylan Vetiver attempts to release here. It’s slower song, yet melodic enough to hold its own against “Wishing Well.”


A busy, busy weekend schedule

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

I’ve got a busy, busy weekend schedule planned filled to the brim with tons of music. Here is what I’ll be doing and where I’ll be doing it this weekend:

Friday
Stevie Wonder
White River Amphitheatre

When you have a chance to see a legend perform live you do it. So when I was given the chance to see Stevie Wonder I just said “yes please.” I expect to be dancing in my seat for the entire performance.

Saturday
SP 20
Marymoor Park
Gutter Twins and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth (feat. Tad Doyle of TAD)
Showbox at the Market

I’ll be spending the day in the sun (hopefully) soaking up rays while rocking out to Mudhoney, Flight of the Conchords, Seaweed, Pissed Jeans, Helio Sequence and a slew of other great Sub Pop bands in celebration of my favorite record label’s 20th birthday. Then after a long day in the sun I will be spending some time indoors having my ears blown off by Brothers of the Sonic Cloth and then being darkly soothed by the sounds of the Gutter Twins.

Sunday
SP 20
Marymoor Park

More birthday festivities in the park. This time Green River, Wolf Eyes, The Ruby Suns, Beachwood Sparks and others will be on hand. It’s going to be a great capper to a music-filled weekend.

So that’s where you can find me this weekend. If you’ll be at any of those show be sure to say hello if you spot me. I enjoy meeting readers. You can expect to read all about my musical exploits from the weekend here at Spin the Black Circle on Wednesday of next week.

If you keep your browsers peeled here throughout the summer you’ll also get to read about more of my musical adventures, including trips to the Cap. Hill Block Party, Radiohead, Bumbershoot, Warped Tour and quite a few more shows that are on my horizon.


My most recent trip to the record store

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

I was in Seattle yesterday and whenever I make a trip west of the mountains I always try to drop in to an indie record store. You wouldn’t believe how frustrating it is being a music journalist living in a city where there aren’t any decent record stores within 100 miles or so. All I can say is thank goodness for iTune and Amazon. But for every Amazon or iTunes purchase I try to balance out the negative effect it may have on local record shops by picking up music from a Sonic Boom, Easy Street, Everyday Music or other brick and mortar indie shop.

Anyway, I dropped into Sonic Boom in Ballard Monday and snagged myself some tunes. Here’s what I picked up:

Green River “Dry As A Bone/Rehab Doll”
I am a pretty big Pearl Jam fan and I enjoy Mudhoney, but surprisingly I had never heard Green River prior to picking up this album. I bought in celebration of Sub Pop’s 20th birthday, but I would have likely bought this one some time down the road regardless. After giving this album about a half a dozen spins all I can say is that if my future child ever asks me “Daddy, what was grunge?” I will play this album cranked to 11. I won’t go as far to say that this is the best Sub Pop release ever or anything like that, but I will say I think “Dry As A Bone/Rehab Doll” embodies all that is grunge a whole lot better than any other Seattle band has released.

Mudhoney “The Lucky Ones”
Yep, another grunge band. Perhaps the last grunge band standing really, considering Pearl Jam fell out of the grunge genre after releasing “Vitalogy.” This is the fourth Mudhoney record in my collection (March to Fuzz, Touch Me I’m Sick and Every Boy Deserves Fudge are the other three). I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, but from what I’ve heard this record is typical Mudhoney with loud guitars and kickin grooves.

Stevie Wonder “Inner Visions”
I’m going to see Stevie Friday night and I don’t own this album so I jumped at the chance to add this classic to my collection. Even though I know all the songs and I have heard the album dozens of times during my childhood, it just seemed like a record I needed to have in my collection.

Common Market “Black Patch War”
A seven-song EP that is a concept record by one of my favorite Seattle hip hop groups. The duo of MC Ra Scion ad DJ Sabzi won me over at Sasquatch! 2006 during the hailstorm when thier set was canceled. Instead of not performing, Sabzi pulled his car up to the exit of the Gorge and bumped a CD of beats while Ra Scion rapped over them without a microphone IN THE HAIL. It was awesome. This EP is ambitious and is a good gap filler before the duo’s second full-length “Tobacco Road” is released in September.

Grynch “My Second Wind”
I caught this young rapper’s set at ReverbFEST last year and thought there was lots of potential in his rhyme-slinging abilities. I met him a few weeks back during Dyme Def’s mixtape release show and got to talk with him for a bit. He’s a very bright fellow and I think that when (this is not an “if” situation) Seattle hip hop blows up, or at least makes it to the proverbial next level, Grynch will be one of the MCs on top of the game. This record, his second, puts his potential on display and has plenty of great guest appearances by local hip hop fixtures, making it a great example of just how cool it is to be experiencing local hip hop right now.

So that was my trip to the record store. I try to make one at least every other trip to Seattle that I take. I feel like I bought some great albums and I’ll fill you in on my future purchases when they are made.

Now that you know how satisfied I am with my record-shopping experience, I want to know about your last visit to the record store. What was the last good album you bought?


The Shins leaving Sub Pop?

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Various media outlets (including Billboard and Pitchfork) are reporting that 2007′s “Wincing The Night Away” by The Shins was the Portland band’s last for Seattle powerhouse indie lable Sub Pop.

According to Billboard Shins frontman James Mercer is planning on starting his own label and hopes to use it to release the group’s next record. However, this doesn’t mean The Shins are planning on completely ending their relationship with Sub Pop. The band could partner with a label for marketing and distribution purposes.

Although they were never officially billed as part of the upcoming Sub Pop 20 Festival at Marymoor Park, the band has been a major part of Sub Pop’s recent resurgence the last few years and advertisements for the two-day fest made by the Marymoor Park folks have included The Shins as part of the show.

It would be disappointing if The Shins did not play the birthday show because they are a big part of the label’s history, but there are still some “to be announced” bands on the bill and it should be a great show regardless considering Mudhoney, Seaweed, Iron and Wine, The Helio Sequence, Flight of the Conchords, the reunited Green River (the main reason I bought my tickets to the fest well in advance) and several others will be there.


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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.