Runnin’ A Blender In A Lightning Storm

Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman are two names you have probably never heard before if you’re just a regular consumer of music. But for us music-obsessed nerds, their story is the one we all dream of. Bruce and Jonathan, music geeks galore, connected in the early 1980s through the local music scene in Seattle and ended up starting Sub Pop Records, in an effort to simply better expose the great music they thought Seattle was producing. By 1988, they had an office. By 1991, they had $2.5 million in the bank, thanks to a little trio who called themselves Nirvana. Sub Pop is now celebrating their 20th anniversary and if you want a good, interesting read today, then I suggest you head on over to Pitchfork, where both Sub Pop founders are subject of an excellent interview about the innerworkings of a small record label. A lot of this stuff is exactly what we went through at Tar Hut (besides the, uh, large sums of money they ended up with), so it really resonates for me. But even if you’re not at all into the business of music or independent record labels, it’s just a pretty captivating read to see what they went through and how they reacted to their success and how they adjusted to the post-Nirvana world.

Sub Pop is still a terrific label – by no means a one-hit wonder. Band of Horses, Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, Mudhoney, The Shins and the GREAT Kelley Stoltz are all on the label and still producing inventive, relevant music. Good for them!

Love Each Minute, Live Each Hour

Kelley Stoltz

You’ll hear a lot from me this year about Kelley Stoltz. Stoltz is a San Francisco musician (weaned in Michigan) who has quietly been releasing stellar records over the past few years and just yesterday released “Circular Sounds,” on Sub Pop, a label that is really starting to hit it on all cylinders with some of their recent signings.

At first listen, Stoltz’s newest is a return to the “Antique Glow” sound, although this one is a little more polished. Stoltz loves to fool around with noise, but never so much that it becomes the albatross that we call “experimental.” Yet, I can’t help but picture the guy sitting in his living room with the metal top to a trash can in one hand, half a broomstick in the other – and a big smile on his face as he figures out how to incorporate it into a song.

While he manages to tinker lots, the beauty of it is that he keeps it extremely tuneful, poppy and it’s just a pleasure to listen to. The songs on the new album are threatening to be his best. Here’s “Birmingham Eccentric,” a song which may just stick around in your head for a while after you hear it. Enjoy.