Friday, March 20, 2009

The Two Sides of Sub Pop

By Evan Rytlewski
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Twenty years after being ground zero for the Seattle grunge explosion, Sub Pop Records has settled smoothly into its somewhat unlikely new niche: folk. The label now flaunts a quiet roster of Iron and Wine, Lonely Dear, Vetiver, Daniel Martin Moore and Fleet Foxes, but apparently it hasn’t forgotten its roots. Why else would it sign No Age, a two-man, guitar-drum rock duo that channels the louder side of George H.W. Bush-era underground rock?

No Age roared through a bold but crude 20-minute set last night to kick off Sub Pop’s SXSW showcase, their guitarist nodding to a certain seminal Sub Pop act not only with noise but also his flannel shirtnot some slim-cut, H&M faux-flannel, but a thick-as-hell, blocky, lumberjack-ass flannel.

On the flip side of the Sub Pop coin was The Baptist Generals who, as if to create as much contrast as possible, followed up with an acoustic, un-miked set. The crowd sat on the floor, while Chris Flemmons strummed his stories, singing them in his penetrating, Jeff Magnum-like voice.

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