Twenty years of jams

July 14, 2008 at 9:55 pm | Posted in Music, Art, Etcetera | Leave a comment

In honour of the 20th birthday of the illustrious and iconic Sub Pop records, Pitchfork provide a handy run-down of some the scene-shaking music this independent label has released in its time. You can read the whole thing here, but since I’m the selfish type, I’m going to quote my favourite:

The Shins: Oh, Inverted World [2001]
Detractors knock indie rock for its insularity: In fact, it really is record collection music made by and for white people. But on their out-of-nowhere 2001 debut, the Shins actually made that approach sound worthwhile, filtering snappy 1960s pop through scruffy 80s college rock and self-aware 90s alternative, as if it weren’t unthinkable to have a personal connection with both the before-your-time Beach Boys and your own adolescent heroes the Minutemen. The Shins’ deep-catalog musical references and James Mercer’s lyrical obliqueness about “the untied shoelaces of your life” possessed an honesty that sounded hard won and hardly practiced. Recorded back when they were still considered an Albuquerque band– long before all the change-your-life pronouncements– Oh, Inverted World holds up seven years later because it locates a natural balance between modesty and grandiosity: Mercer presumes no audience beyond himself and perhaps the errant eavesdropper or the cornered friend, but his exquisite pop melodies and the band’s artfully exuberant arrangements ensured he would play to so many more. In fact, Inverted inverted the indie world, not just landing the Shins at #2 on the Billboard album charts by their third album, but also ensuring their label’s continued relevance throughout the following decade.

And here’s the totally predictable video accompaniment:

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