Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Flannel Shirts

A small little enterprise started 20 years ago this month has remained small after all these years and will be able to legally drink next year. Happy Anniversary to SubPop records. You know this logo (I hope), or maybe it looks kinda familiar. While it's no CBGB OMFUG, this logo has been seen on a many hipster t-shirts at concerts and clubs. These guys were at the inception and ground breaking of the "Seattle Sound". If we had never had SubPop, who would we maybe have missed? (and I know many of these bands were good enough that someone would have taken them, but let me have my moment) Oh, there was this one band that really blew your mind when you were in 6th grade and on through middle school and into high school where you swore that their frontman changed the world.......Nirvana. Maybe our lives wouldn't have been any different without them or another band that made us love the "Spoonman", Soundgarden. No SubPop, No Grunge, no Mudhoney. Maybe we wouldn't have been so bummed in the early 90's......who knows? After quietly transitioning into the new millennium, SubPop has begun to thrive once more in the 00's (pronounced "oughts" to the un-initiated). Indie rock really began to break into the mainstream in the fall of 2001 and has not looked back since. Boy, am I glad. Riding in on the subway this morning, Lit (and I enjoy ol' Lit) came onto my ipod's shuffle, and I thought, "Man, we were in college ('98-'02) during some of THE worst music..." (read - backstreet, n'sync, britney, korn, Xtina, etc - essentially any teen pop and nu-metal garbage...that I embraced at the time and now look back with fondness and yet disdain....) Back on point, Greg.... SubPop has brought us the likes of the Shins, Hot Hot Heat, Iron and Wine, and the Postal Service, long before Zach Braff told us they would "change our lives" (BTW- he = unhip, creepy dirtbag). Regardless, cheers to SubPop and to good music! Besides the aforementioned artists, go get some of SubPop's finest: Blitzen Trapper (one of their big signings from last year), some Band of Horses, some No Age, some Go! Team, some Kelley Stoltz or some Flight of the Conchords and tickle your funny bone. You will enjoy!

If the big 4 record labels had the street sense these Indies had, maybe the industry wouldn't be kaput. In the NW, it's SubPop and Barsuk. In the SE, it's Merge. In the NE, it's Matador. In the UK, it's Rough Trade and Domino. There are hundreds of them! Go buy some music people! I am the only person I know who buys CDs. I'm starting to buy more vinyl, b/c they come with CDs of the album or free downloads (making CDs from records - what a pain...). MP3s may replace all that we know, but it'll never have the heart that those little pieces of plastic did! There is nothing more sacred than having a physical piece of music!

(this Saturday is National Record Store Day. so, go out and support it. If you're in Nashville, there is an all day extravaganza @ Grimey's with live music, the Yazoo Brew Bus, food and more...)