Tag Archives: Sub Pop

No Age: Everything in Between

No Age
Everything in Between

Sub Pop
September 28, 2010

“Less ferocious, more deliberate but in many ways more compelling, Everything in Between finds No Age matching a new, nuanced approach to their expansive noise.” – Pitchfork

“Avoiding the experimentation of their earlier work, No Age’s second album-proper delivers winningly subterranean pop, bruised and vulnerable tuneage haunting their feedback racket reveries.”Mojo

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Recorded in Los Angeles from the end of 2009 and into 2010, Everything in Between is the new album from No Age, the duo of Dean Spunt and Randy Randall. They emerged from former band Wives in 2005, to become No Age, worldwide glowing talismans for the DIY art-punk scene in LA, now famously known as having its epicenter at The Smell, a clubhouse where art-life/music-life welded and inspired a creative movement and attitude which has fertilized a purple patch of likeminded punkers and artists around the globe. Since the release of Weirdo Rippers, their 2007 debut album (on FatCat Records), through Nouns, the band’s 2008 follow-up on Sub Pop, and beyond, No Age has earned enthusiastic notice from an incredibly wide array of sources; from Pitchfork to The New Yorker (“Let It Rip,” Nov. 19, 2007), and found themselves unlikely Grammy nominees (for Best Recording Packaging in 2008). No Age have risen from sweaty basement shows and art galleries to having their songs blast off the walls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), to performing at unconventional spaces both close to home and abroad.

And Everything in Between is a bold step in their creative evolution. It is a culmination of reflecting upon life’s ruptures and triumphs; the process of moving through these moments banged and bruised, yet better off for the wear and tear. They’ve pushed themselves in challenging and different directions, deconstructing their weird-out pop songs while still maintaining their original aesthetic and intent. Everything in Between sees No Age expand on the emotional force at the core of their catchy song-writing through tone, structure, noise, and samples. And, it’s their best record


Blitzen Trapper: Destroyer of the Void

Blitzen Trapper
Destroyer of the Void

Sub Pop
June 8, 2010

“The 12 artfully crafted songs here suggest Blitzen Trapper should now be judged in the elevated company of Wilco, Brendan Benson and The Raconteurs.” Uncut

“We get their most pastoral outing to date, piano ballads one minutes, laid-back Neil Young the next.” Q Magazine

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Blitzen Trapper is based in Portland, OR. There are six of them in the band and they’ve been together since 2000. Over the course of their four full-length albums to date, including their revelatory 2008 Sub Pop release Furr, front man Eric Earley’s considerable poetic talents and his band’s hard-earned chops have gained them a growing international audience. The band’s continuing exploration of American music that spans from the ‘60s folk movement to the country sounds of the ’70s, to the pop balladry and prog rock of the ’80s has earned it notice ranging from Rolling Stone magazine to late-night network television to Yo Gabba Gabba, among a great many others. In January 2009 and again in January 2010, Earley and a few of his bandmates entered the attic studio of lauded Portland musician and studio engineer Mike Coykendall (Bright Eyes, M Ward, She & Him) to work on what would become Destroyer of the Void. And the resulting new album takes Blitzen Trapper further than ever before, building on the band’s seamless marriage of the familiar and the fantastic to, literally, create an otherworldly experience.

Wolf Parade: Expo 86

Wolf Parade
Expo 86

Sub Pop
June 29, 2010

“Expo 86 is both smart and dense enough to warrant your attention.” – The Guardian

“Expo 86 … feels like the realization of a Wolf Parade sound.” Pitchfork

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What is it?! What ISN’T it?

It’s two (2) things!

It’s the name of Wolf Parade’s third LP, out June 29, 2010.

And it’s the catchy name of the World’s Fair held in Vancouver, summer of 1986, where five young boys first became friends, just outside the Cars of the Future exhibit, and made a SECRET PACT (whoa!) to meet up in the early 2000s (wha?)—somewhere cool, like Africa or even the moon by then—-to form a rock band! ROCK BAND! With guitars and guitar solos and synthesizers! They would call it Wolf Parade! What a bodacious name!

Recorded and mixed at Hotel2Tango, with Howard Bilerman, in late February and early March of 2010, EXPO 86 is the name of the new and third album by Montreal’s Wolf Parade. EXPO 86 follows the band’s 2008 album At Mount Zoomer, which itself followed their 2005 debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary.

Avi Buffalo: Avi Buffalo

Avi Buffalo
Avi Buffalo

Sub Pop
April 27, 2010

“Sub Pop reckon they’ve unearthed a gem in the form of 18-year-old Avi Buffalo frontman Avigor Zahner-Isenberg; the superior West Coast jangle of his debut album suggest they might well be right.” – Uncut

“Avi Buffalo have every reason to be sure of themselves; this sneakily complex, unsappily sentimental, thoughtfully naïve debut is a very early success.” – Pitchfork

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Avi Buffalo was once just the kid named Avi (short for Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg). He’s now singing and playing guitar, but was then a vaguely aspirational skateboarder living in Long Beach, who figured between hip trauma and a never-quite-conquered fear of dropping into a half-pipe that he might need to come up with something else to do with the rest of his life. (Maybe journalist? If there were gonna be any left?) His parents never got around to getting him the Game Boy he wanted, so he turned to a handily local guitar. Years of 12-hour days attacking that (plus lessons-to-mentoring with seriously iconoclastic local blues guys) revealed a pretty preternatural talent for making a very special kind of bent but lovely pop song. “You know why it’s good? Because it sounds OLD, but it’s NEW!” said Blues Mentor, sparing the world more labored analysis. And that is the connect-the-dots story of how Avi Buffalo became a band—-boy meets guitar. It’s a good old story.

Then boy meets rest of his band at Millikan High in Long Beach—-Sheridan Riley on drums, Rebecca Coleman on keys and piano and Arin Fazio (the old man at almost 21, whose dad was a session musician during L.A.‘s glossier days) on bass. By the time you read this bio, they will pretty much all be out of high school. And that means we can push past the age thing into the music thing—-yes, they’re young, and yes, says Avi, they can effectively metabolize even the most ill-advised tourslops, and yes, many an article is gonna haul out a word like “wunderkind.” But what can you do? They’re gonna graduate into a beautiful little album, and not everybody gets to do that. But even this young, it’s been a long time coming.

Avi (the guy) also loves (like his inspiration Nels Cline) noise. What he calls “really tasteless brutal speaker gargling,” is why the Long Beach Police Department no longer permits him to rehearse in his own garage. But he spent the mid-2000s singing quiet yet resolutely sophisticated songs into whatever free programs he could put on his PC. And they were about as lovely and scruffy as the songs analog guys like Pollard and Barlow and Fox would sing into tape decks during their own long late nights.

A solo show at a much-loved vegan restaurant magnetized Avi Buffalo into a full band; full-band Avi Buffalo magnetized L.A’s Eastside musicians (plus they hit all the major press in the city before they had ANY kind of record out at all); and engineer Aaron Embry (Elliott Smith and Emmylou Harris sideman, among others) invited Avi Buffalo to help him test out the new studio he’d built in his house. This was the big leap—-except for some after-class time at a local recording school, Avi Buffalo had never existed anywhere but a laptop or a really good house party. One of the first songs recorded just for fun was “What’s In It For?”; it was also one of the first songs Avi put up on MySpace (“Because that’s all it takes,” says Avi, still a tiny bit shocked). And once Sub Pop came inquiring, What’s In It For? became the first single from the album (which hadn’t even been thought of as a possible album until all this). This all happened within a few months—-it even screwed up their grades at Millikan. (Don’t worry, no catastrophes.) And then, says Avi, everything got kind of freaky!

That’s where they are now: about to follow their first ten songs into the outside world, and about to celebrate a 21st birthday, and about to figure out whose foibles metastasize in what way after ten hours in a little van, and about to settle into something that they could do for the rest of their lives.

Dum Dum Girls: I Will Be

Dum Dum Girls
I Will Be

Sub Pop
arch 30, 2010

“Dum Dum Girls have come into their own with a rare debut effort on which everything comes together in a way where reach and grasp go hand-in-hand. In short, I Will Be suggests that the Dum Dum Girls’ future is now. Popmatters

“Each song sounds like a distinct ray of light and although it’s packed into something both concise and brief, it’s the strength of each song that makes the whole album stand out.” – Delusions of Adequacy

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I Will Be is the debut full-length by the Dum Dum Girls. Produced by Dee Dee and Richard Gottehrer (Strangeloves, Voidoids, Blondie, The Go-Gos and, more recently, The Raveonettes), I Will Be is neither lo-fi nor too polished. Just under thirty minutes with eleven songs, it’s a short tribute to love, fun and the classic pop form of the ’60s girl groups and early punk rockers.

Led by Dee Dee, Dum Dum Girls churn out pop music that adheres to her self-proclaimed M.O.: “blissed-out buzz saw.” Dee Dee formed DDG in late 2008 as a solo project—the name a nod to both The Vaselines’ album, Dum-Dum, and the Iggy Pop song “Dum Dum Boys”— and released a home-recorded CDR on her label Zoo Music followed by a 7″ on HoZac and a 12″ EP on Captured Tracks.

When Dee Dee needed a band to take her songs out of the bedroom, she looked to her friends: Jules (guitar and vocals), Bambi (bass), and Frankie Rose (drums and vocals). When the other three met for the first time a week before CMJ 2009, it was an instant girl gang.

Dee Dee wrote and recorded the songs that became I Will Be over the first eight months of 2009, and she asked a few others to contribute. Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner plays on “Yours Alone.” Crocodiles’ Brandon Welchez sings and plays guitar on the duet “Blank Girl.” And Los Angeles musician Andrew Miller contributes guitars to a number of tracks.

When it came time to choose someone to gently finesse I Will Be, the name Richard Gottehrer came up on Dee Dee’s wish list. Responsible for writing such seminal songs as “My Boyfriend’s Back,” and “I Want Candy,” he also produced his own short-lived band The Strangeloves, as well as The Voidoids, Blondie, The Go-Gos, and more recently, The Raveonettes. Marvels Dee Dee, “I gave him all the rough tracks and he produced them, as I had a lot of digital effects acting as sort of placeholders. I’m not exactly sure what he did, but it’s a world of difference. The songs sound warm, and they kind of sparkle.”

I Will Be runs just under thirty minutes with eleven songs; a short tribute to love, loss, fear, fun, and the classic pop form of the ‘60s girl groups and early punk rockers. Explaining the album’s dark-and-sunny feel, Dee Dee says, “There’s an overdramatic tone, much like a teenager’s world, but applied to the experience of getting older.” No track better exemplifies that sentiment than the somnolent “Rest of Our Lives,” a lullaby about marriage that captures, she says, “that feeling when you’re 16 and you think you’re going to be with your boyfriend forever. And that you’d just die if you weren’t. Except it’s about my husband.”

On the other end of the spectrum, “Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout” (the curious spelling being slang for marijuana) spends roughly two-and-a-half minutes musing on the virtues of psychedelics. And “Lines Her Eyes” touches on petty girl-on-girl competition, while “Jail La La” updates the Bobby Fuller Four’s “I Fought the Law” with a reverb-laden sing-along.

What’s with the bipolar songs? “I tend to be an introvert. So there’s a lot of time for weird thoughts to develop in my head before I put them down on paper,” says Dee Dee. “And it’s really bizarre living in Southern California. It’s that total stereotype of being super-laidback, this ‘everything’s perfect’ vibe. But you’re miserable in the sun because you’re stuck. Like, it’s so perfect that it’s overwhelming and depressing. That’s sorta inspiring.”

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