If Sub Pop was to become a World-dominating label rather than just a Seattle-boutique one, it needed to look for bands outside the Northwest. Sure, signing Soundgarden, Mudhoney, and Nirvana was cool and all, but if the label really wanted to be put on the global rock and roll map, they needed to add a Mad Daddies or a Lonely Moans to their line-up. Or something like that. Really, their first 100 records are pretty much a who’s-who of late-eighties/early-nineties underground rock. Everybody and their mommies know and love Rapeman, Fugazi, and the Dwarves, but here are some other less-talked about, non-Seattle bands.
Stooges and 60’s garage punk-inspired band The Fluid was the first non-local band on Sub Pop and recently announced that they will be reforming for some shows, including a spot at the big Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Party this July. Formed in Denver, Colorado, after the demise of hardcore legends, Frantix, the Fluid signed to Sub Pop in time for their second LP, Clear Black Paper. The Glue EP is certainly has the best sounding of all their early records, as well as being our personal favorite, but this week we are giving you the rarer, 1989 “Tin Top Toy” and “Tomorrow” (SP57) single. Remembered as a top-dog live band, the Fluid eventually signed to Hollywood Records, released their major label debut, Purplemetalflakemusic, and then called it a day. Members also went on to Seattle bands The Press Corp and Alta May.
Les Thugs were the first non-US band to record on Sub Pop, and if I remember my 2-years of French lessons correctlly, their name roughly translates to “The Thugs.” The 1500-pressed “Chess and Crime” b/w “Sunday Time” single (SP29) was their first Sub Pop record, and the band went to have around a ten-year relationship with the label. This single was released in between records by the Flaming Lips and former Chrome member Helios Creed, and it was a bit more melodic and punk rock than a lot of the other Sub Pop bands. Actually, everything the band did was pretty cool, and hopefully people will think of them more than just "that French Sub Pop band." They also announced on their website that they will be playing the Anniversary party as well as some shows in France.
I know pretty much zilch about the Lonely Moans outside that they might have been from Boston and were one of the few bands who had records on Sub Pop and Amphetamine Reptile. For years, I also judged the record by their covers and assumed that they were a 60’s garage rock revival act like the Chesterfield Kings or Cynics. Wrong-o, daddy-o. Instead, they were pretty much as grunge as you could get: sludgy riffs, plenty of feedback, and an irreverent snotty attitude. The 2000-pressed “Shoot the Cool” b/w “Texas Love Goat” (SP46) might be one of the least remembered early Sub Pop releases, and it certainly doesn’t command collectorscum prices, but it’s a pretty good, underrated grunge gem.
In an attempt to increase public awareness, we are also posting the uber-rare 1988 “Rockinerd” b/w “Welcome Home” single on Amphetamine Reptile (Scale 14). We are hoping that Lamestain exposure will encourage Sub Pop to invite the Lonely Moans to reunite at the Anniversary party. For the record, though, AmRep pressed 600 of these babies in between hot-ass singles by the Halo of Flies and the Killdozer and HoF-side project, Pogo the Clown.
"Tin Top Toy"
"Chess and Crime"
"Shoot the Cool"
"Texas Love Goat"
EDITED to add the tracks in a handy, dandy .zip file.
-- MC Tom