Tag Archives: Sub Pop

Blitzen Trapper: American Goldwing

Blitzen Trapper
American Goldwing

September 13, 2011
Sub Pop

Blitzen Trapper’s Eric Earley performs the amazing feat of making alt-country seem fresh on the band’s gripping sixth album.”Spin

“What follows is a lovingly balanced set of rural rockers (“Street Fighting Sun”) and dirt road ballads (“Girl in a Coat”) that sound about as far from the murky introspection of 2010’s Destroyer of the Void as one would expect from a band that continuously tries to reinvent themselves within their own psych-folk/alt-country/indie rock universe, and almost always succeeds.”All Music Guide

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American Goldwing is Sub Pop’s third full-length release with Portland’s Blitzen Trapper and the band’s sixth full-length overall. Over the course of their career they’ve earned rave reviews (from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, SPIN, and a whole lot more), played on television, appeared at festivals all around the world, done a staggering amount of touring, and sold a whole bunch of records. All of which is distinctly less interesting that what Blitzen Trapper singer/songwriter/guitarist Eric Earley has to say about the band’s new record, American Goldwing

It’s us letting our loves, our early influences hang out for all to see. Entering into the sounds we grew up with, the hard guitar rock and country picking of our younger years mixes with glimmers of our usual space-aging technology and pawn shop Casio aplomb. Heavy guitar riffs and blasting drum fills live side-by-side with plucking banjos and wailing harmonicas, and muddy slide guitars that make you want to shotgun a beer in the shower while listening to the Stones or Joe Walsh. It’s also our first foray into direct, outside influence in the creation of a record. It’s me letting go in a certain way. I let Tchad Blake come in to mix this album, and my good friend Gregg Williams co-produced all these tracks.

Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes
Helplessness Blues

Sub Pop
May 3, 2011

“Fleet Foxes are one of those bands that arrived so fully formed that it was hard to imagine where they’d take their sound next…”Pitchfork

“This album is destined to redraw the parameters, thanks to its sheer scale and detail, its recurring themes and imagery, and its creators’ refusal to settle for less than they could achieve.” – Mojo

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Hey, my name’s Robin and I’m a singer in and songwriter for Fleet Foxes, here to write the promotional biography meant to accompany and explain Helplessness Blues. I’m just going to write down some thoughts I have about the album and give you some context. Let’s do this.

So, for a bit of background: we’re from Seattle, and the members of the band are me, Skye Skjelset, Josh Tillman, Casey Wescott, Christian Wargo, and now our buddy Morgan Henderson, who helped out on the album and will join the band on tour. The band began as just me and Skye in Junior High, playing songs in his bedroom, until we moved to Seattle, settled on a name, and began meeting other musicians and playing with different people until we met all the guys currently on board. Casey joined in 2005, Christian in 2007, and Josh joined shortly before our first album was released, but after we’d recorded it. So, that’s some background information. Good luck working that into something intriguing….

Low: C’Mon

Low
C’Mon

Sub Pop
April 12, 2011

“… among their most emotionally direct and immediately satisfying.” – BBC Music

“… an album devoted to the search for answers amidst the darkness, and it’s a powerful, deeply moving work from a truly singular band.” – Allmusic

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C’mon is the shortest title of any Low album, which seems fitting, as it also ranks among the most succinct and straightforward entries in their variegated discography. Singer-guitarist Alan Sparhawk has even perfected the “elevator pitch” for C’mon: “Recorded in an old church in Duluth, MN and mixed in an apartment in Hollywood, CA.” But that brief synopsis hides universes.

J Mascis: Several Shades of Why

J Mascis
Several Shades of Why

Sub Pop
March 15, 2011

“Now we’re meeting a new side of the veteran guitar god – a gentle, delicate and altogether more acoustic Mascis.” BBC Music

“Several Shades of Why gives us that softer, gentler J Mascis. But it’s not kids’ stuff — these are lullabies for adults, offered up with a compassion that doesn’t come easy.” – Pitchfork

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In the quarter century since he founded Dinosaur (Jr.), J Mascis has created some of the era’s signature songs, albums and styles. The laconically-based roar of his guitar, drums and vocals have driven a long string of bands—Deep Wound, Dinosaur Jr., Gobblehoof, Velvet Monkeys, the Fog, Witch, Sweet Apple—and he has guested on innumerable sessions. But Several Shades of Why, recorded at Amherst, Massachusetts’ Bisquiteen Studios, is J’s first solo studio record, and it is an album of incredible beauty, performed with a delicacy not always associated with his work.

Nearly all acoustic, Several Shades of Why was created with the help of a few friends. Notable amongst them are Kurt Vile, Sophie Trudeau (A Silver Mount Zion), Kurt Fedora (long-time collusionist), Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Matt Valentine (The Golden Road), and Suzanne Thorpe (Wounded Knees). Together in small mutable groupings, they conjure up classic sounds ranging from English-tinged folk to drifty, West Coast-style singer/songwriterism. But every track, every note even, bears that distinct Mascis watermark, both in the shape of the tunes and the glorious rasp of the vocals. Ten brilliant tunes that quietly grow and expand until they fill your brain with the purest pleasure.


The Head and the Heart: The Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart
The Head and the Heart

Sub Pop
April 19, 2011

“The Head And The Heart: Artists To Watch 2011” – Billboard

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So many decisions in life and in the music we love can come down to a critical tug between the logic in our heads and the hot red blood beating through our hearts. Seattle’s The Head and the Heart live authentically in that crux, finding joy and beauty wedged there. Their music pulses effervescently—both explosively danceable and intuitively intelligent. With Americana roots and strong vocal harmonics that swell like a river, this band finds its anchor in solid songwriting that has even the jaded humming along by the second listen.

Leaving a variety of day jobs and academic pursuits, The Head and the Heart came together in the summer of 2009, during frequent visits to the open mic night at Conor Byrne in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. California-transplant Josiah Johnson and Virginia-native Jonathan Russell formed the core songwriting partnership, quickly adding keyboardist Kenny Hensley to the mix. Kenny, then 21, had packed up his piano and moved up to Seattle from California to pursue musical score-writing. The luminous Charity Rose Thielen, violin and vocals, had just returned from a year of studying and playing music in Paris. Drummer Tyler Williams cold left a successful band in Virginia after Jon sent him the demo of “Down in the Valley,” relocating across states to be a part of this. Finally, Chris Zasche, was bartending at Conor Byrne and mentioned one day that he’d be happy to play bass for the nascent band. It all felt right: The Head and the Heart was born.

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