Skip to Content

It's Underground

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana


I was lucky enough to spend this last weekend in Seattle with some friends from college. There were a few things we had planned, but overall it was supposed to be a pretty laid back weekend. I ended up leaving SF Thursday night and spending a long weekend there. I thought this weekend would end up being just a time to go out, drink some beers, and hang with some friends. Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely all that, but it also ended up being a bit of a coming up for me musically.

Maybe my music taste is a bit wide right now - there’s just so much good music out there! I really have my dad to thank for that, always showing me the most kickass rock music ever. When I was a kid, he would play it a bit safe and play the rock classics: Talking Heads, The Who, The Ramones, etc. All fantastic acts, and also things no one would really do a double take over. He also had a bunch of other albums that I never really understood till I was older: Husker Du, Devo, Sonic Youth, Bikini Kill. I’m not trying to claim this is all hipster music, but it’s definitely not the same level. I always felt like I was missing the common threads here. Maybe some of them became more clear as I developed my own music taste in college and as my life has gone on, but it wasn’t a clear picture.

It all finally clicked for me when I visited the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle this weekend. They have an absolutely stunning exhibit about Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, and the whole PNW music scene. It was like all these puzzles in my life suddenly snapped together with just one last piece, and I could finally see the whole woven pattern. This was my music! This was where it all started and where it all came from. That place, dear reader, is Sub Pop.

Sub Pop is one of my favorite labels ever, but I never really put bothered checking out their extensive history. Obviously I knew the famous ones - Nirvana, Postal Service, but what about all the other badass music they’ve been putting out for the last 30 years? Wait, I actually love every single one of these bands. I know most of them, and now I know why! Sure, not every single album is the one for me, but the large majority of the time, I’m down. Sometimes my favorite albums are on larger labels, but you always notice it’s Sub Pop who gave them the first chance.

It gets even better from there actually. Sub Pop was celebrating their 30th anniversairy as a label the weekend of my trip! They threw a huge free concert for everyone at Alki Beach Park all day. Some of my favorites acts were: Bully, CLPPNG, Beach House, Father John Misty and of course, Sub Pop OGs Mudhoney. Great friends, great music, great beer, great day. Sub Pop forever, music forever.