Monday, August 25, 2008


Much ado has been made about the 20th anniversary of indie label Sub Pop this summer. The label has been effective at branding itself, and in it's early incarnation it held a place of high esteem and guaranteed coolness with music fans of a certain stripe (or perhaps I should say "of a certain plaid").

I have to confess that I wasn't overly drawn to the label's output during it's early grunge soaked Mudhoney/Screaming Trees/Tad days of the late 80's & early 90's. During that era my label of choice was 4AD, and I found, at least for a few years, that I was almost guaranteed to like anything that they released (long live ethereal dream pop!)

I find now that Sub Pop is more eclectic than it used to be and generally I am drawn to more recent acts like Iron & Wine, The Shins and Flight of The Conchords. In many ways having a favourite label that one is loyal to might soon become a bit of an anachronism, in a similar vein to talking about a local radio station that is relevant, or working a regular 9 to 5 job.

Anyways, in the August/08 edition of Mojo there is a Sub Pop compilation that provides a relatively decent snapshot of the last 20 years. It appears to be chronological and I made an honest effort to sit through the earlier material, though found myself skipping through eagerly to the mid way point. Here is the track listing for inquiring minds;

01. GREEN RIVER - This Town
02. MUDHONEY - Sweet Young Thing…
03. TAD - Wood Goblins
04. L7 - Shove
05. SCREAMING TREES - Change Has Come
06. AFGHAN WHIGS - Retarded
07. RED RED MEAT - Braindead
08. ERIC MATTHEWS - Fanfare
09. IRON & WINE - Southern Anthem
10. THE SHINS - New Slang
11. THE POSTAL SERVICE - Such Great Heights
12. KELLEY STOLTZ - The Sun Comes Through
14. PISSED JEANS - Caught Licking Leather
15. NO AGE - Eraser

(Here's a link to download the tracks, courtesy Zona Musical - password matt-o-rach) - enjoy!

Is there a label in your mind (either past or present) that has consistently released amazing and mind blowing output?


mellowlee said...

I do love Sub Pop! I'm all for the 90s grunge era. So many memories. I can't think of any labels off-hand but maybe if I pick a few favorite artists, and do some research I will find out. :O) Thanks for the link!

Allison said...

I can't think of a label that has continuly blown my mind, but Paper Bag Records is one of my favourites.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm a big fan of a local label, Flemish Eye, who boast Chad VanGaalen, the Cape May, and recently Women. Arts and Craft have been pretty consistent as well, I think.

Ta for the link!

Dean Wormer said...

Flight of The Conchords are fabulous. Some of the best humor/ rock around.

Comrade Kevin said...

Merge, usually.

Emily said...

Sub Pop! is my very favorite label, and i hope to work there as marketing/communications manager when i graduate from college. other labels that i like include fat cat records (in the UK), arts and crafts, paper bag (both previously mentioned) and flameshovel. there are a bunch of others, but those are probably the top. thanks so much for the links...i really appreciate it! also, check out, which has some of the greatest indie music around. honestly, you can find the greatest independant stuff there. :)