Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sub Pop and Rough Trade

: Bless
Heather Browne of
for her
brief history of the Sub Pop singles club
(and loads of mp3 history - click and read!)

Sub Pop were already massively influential before they thought of the singles club and it kicked off in November 1988, but it was still a pretty impressive act that captured a certain zeitgeist. Their first single was Love Buzz by Nirvana, their second Touch Me I'm Sick by Mudhoney. It could only have been cooler if they'd added Dinosaur jr's Freak Scene!

As Heather says: "I remember once on a college-scouting trip to Seattle how I sought out the Sub Pop record store on 2nd Avenue and felt like I was standing in my own personal Mecca."

And then they restart the club in 1988 with singles by the likes of Modest Mouse and the White Stripes.

I guess I got a similar feeling to Heather when I walked into the original Rough Trade shop at 130 Talbot Road, off the Portobello Road market in London, around 1980 - four years after it first opened, a year before the NME's C81 brought the world Scritti Politti 's The Sweetest Girl (thanks to Let's Kiss and Make Up) and promoted Postcard records at just the time most of its bands were imploding. Now of course the Rough Trade record label has had a resurgence and is a major player on the new music scene (and the shops are still great), but way back in 1980 it was just about in its original heyday, cluttered as it was then with post-punk, new wave vinyl and stacks of cheaply printed fanzines from anyone who'd send them in.

That kind of experience is pretty much now only available on-line - and whilst more democratic and open (thank you blogger), it lacks the kind of tangible presence that touching and feeling and smelling the essence of a zeitgeist really deserves. We cannot only live through our eyes.

Anyway. as a celebration of that alternative 1980s world which kept our sanity in those cold dark days of Thatcherism and Reaganism, here's

And thanks 4 the memories...

1 comment:

michael said...

Some kind person sent me a Sub Pop T-shirt back in the 90's as it had the word HAZEL on the front. I assume this was the name of a band but never heard them or seen them mentioned anywhere? Thanks for the Freak Scene!