Sub Pop’s history is a complicated, powerful and untethered beast. For better or worse, the record label made Seattle synonymous with grunge (both the music and the flannel-chic fashions) and changed the music industry in fits and starts.
Founded by Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman in 1986, the label has survived thanks to a combination of excellent taste (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Sleater-Kinney, Fleet Foxes, Beach House, the Postal Service, the Shins, Flight of the Conchords, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Thee Satisfaction, to name a few), happy accidents and bitter breakups. They also believed Canada was cool before almost anybody else.
25 years of Sub Pop: the Canada edition
In the '90s, Sub Pop introduced the world to a huge number of Canadian indie bands, important (Constantines, Hot Hot Heat), pivotal (Eric’s Trip, Handsome Furs) and somewhat forgettable (Elevator to Hell). Twenty-five years later, the mostly indie label (it’s partially owned by Warner Bros. Records) continues to beat the odds, surviving — if not thriving — while majors everywhere scramble to cut costs, keep a lucrative roster and churn out the hits.
CBC Music celebrates Sub Pop’s quarter-century (and they will, too, with their Silver Jubilee, an epic, free, outdoor gig in Seattle July 13) by digging into the label’s archives, choosing the best, weirdest and most awesome press photos and album art.
Follow Andrea Warner on Twitter: @_AndreaWarner.