The Seminal Independent Record Label That Gave Us Grunge
The iconic record label that gave us grunge is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Take a look back at the history of this seminal label and the artists it launched to stardom.
The History of Sub Pop
Sub Pop is a record label founded in 1986 by Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman in Seattle, Washington. Originally a label specializing in independent and underground music, they helped launch the careers of some of the most influential grunge bands of the 1990s, including Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney.
Pavitt and Poneman met while working at a local record store in Seattle. They bonded over their shared love of independent music and decided to start their own label. Their first release was a compilation album called Sub Pop 100, which featured tracks by artists such as Sonic Youth, Husker Du, and Beat Happening.
The label’s big break came in 1988 when they released Nirvana’s debut album Bleach. The album was an instant success, helping to popularize the grunge sound and establish Nirvana as one of the biggest bands in the world.
In the years that followed, Sub Pop continued to release records by some of the biggest names in grunge, including Soundgarden, Mudhoney, and Pearl Jam. They also expanded their roster to include other genres such as indie rock and hip hop.
Today, Sub Pop is considered one of the most important independent record labels of all time. They continue to release records by both established and up-and-coming artists, making them one of the most vital voices in music today.
The Artists that Defined Grunge
Grunge is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged in the early 1990s. It was characterized by teaming distortion-heavy guitars with rock music that incorporated influences from punk rock and heavy metal. Grunge songs were often bleak, dark, and angst-ridden, dealing with topics such as social alienation, apathy, and despair.
The grunge movement began in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, specifically in the Seattle area. The artists that defined grunge music were part of the Seattle scene and signed to independent record label Sub Pop. These artists included Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. Grunge music was marked by its DIY aesthetic; indie rocker Kurt Cobain of Nirvana once said that “grunge is punk rock with a guitar solo.”
The term “grunge” was first used to describe Seattle bands in the 1980s. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that grunge became a national phenomenon, thanks in part to Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind. Grunge music Initial popularity was short-lived; by 1994, many of the leading grunge bands had disbanded or faded from the mainstream spotlight. However, some grunge artists such as Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains continued to find success throughout the 1990s and beyond.
The Legacy of Sub Pop
Sub Pop is a legendaryindependent record label based in Seattle, Washington that was founded in 1986 by Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman. The label is credited with launching the careers of some of the most influential grunge and alt-rock bands of the 1990s, including Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney. Sub Pop was also home to other seminal 90s acts such as Afghan Whigs, Built to Spill, and Sleater-Kinney.
In recent years, the label has continued to release cutting-edge music from a new generation of artists, including Fleet Foxes, Beach House, Wolf Parade, and The Shins. Sub Pop remains one of the most respected names in independent music, and its influence can still be felt today.