Tag Archives: sub pop

Walkin’ down an empty road, no one left behind

I’m having to listen to a lot of ‘classic rock’ lately. This is temping; you go into someone else’s space and cannot make it your own. You endure the chairs set to someone else’s height, the jokes that go over your head, the subtle -but not cruel- shunning of the temp, who will be gone soon, the influence those who have jobs there exert over a workspace that is never really yours. So I listen to a lot of classic rock, because that’s what everyone else listens to. My shoulders hurt and I am being put into a time warp, where I am listening to music that lost all meaning for me twenty years ago.

Roughly the time Sub Pop was born. And a sonic revolution hit popular music.

Of course, I don’t know that the Melvins, Tad, Mudhoney, Soundgarden or Nirvana would say they were part of a revolution. Just look at the label of this beer; a perfect shot of Mudhoney rocking like hell, but in the same moment mocking the excessive bullshit and rampant vapidity of the time caught by Charles Peterson. Any member of those bands would probably point out that they were just doing what they loved, that the Afghan Whigs, Seaweed, the Posies and the Reverend Horton Heat were just as important to the scene. Lesser known labels and bands I couldn’t dig out of my skull if I tried would be praised for their contributions.  They just did what they loved.

I wasn’t a brewer then. I wasn’t even a drinker then. But I remember: people drank PBR, Oly and Schlitz (Zeke even did a song about it) because they were broke, at the show hoping for the best and getting to witness the comet in the sky, whether they understood it or not. How the hell can this beer match up to those times? Does anyone really want to drink a beer that reminds them of the terrible stuff they drank twenty years ago, smoke in their noses, ears ringing from feedback?

Maybe…if they’re drinking to forget. Of the bands around then, most of them have broken up. Some of the reasons are obvious, some not so-I still have no idea why Soundgarden called it quits. But I don’t drink to remember either. As I’ve noted before; we eat and drink in the now-just like we see music live: they play and when the lights come up, you go home, show’s over.

Sub Pop records still exists, of course. Band of Horses, Wolf Parade, Iron & Wine all bring great songs to us via SP even if the sound they brought to the attention of the world is ‘dead’. But like a great beer, it could only last for a little while. The now becomes a then, with a new band taking the stage, a fresh drink gotten between sets.

Loser is an exceptionally tasty pale, that reminds me a little of Ninkasi’s Spring Reign. A little more restrained on the back end bitterness than Ninkasi’s beer, but similar with it’s hoppy nose and an acute bitter in the middle that vanishes like the note of an amp ends when the power is cut and the show is over. It’s a tribute and a damn fine one at that. 

I hoist this beer in tribute to…well, everyone who made and loved the music. This beer may not be a revolution, but it does right by the people who helped bring a some great art to a kid who needed it, twenty years go. Cheers.

And much thanks to Fuz, for getting me a couple bottles to sample.  It’s good to have friends.