We have a lot to be thankful for this year. Family. Friends. Rag & Bone models. Most importantly, though: pumpkin pie. Continue reading for a euphoria-inducing dessert recipe, perfect sweaters to wear to Thanksgiving—and a vision of just how happy the holidays can be.
HEY, LOOK OVER HERE. Down…further down. (Or up, if you’re reading this tomorrow.) See that button that says “Follow our Blogs on your iPhone & iPad”? Click on it—and follow these simple instructions:
Step 1: Upgrade. Download the new and improved Nordstrom Apps for iPhone and iPad. (You may have to update your device—if you live in a ’90s sitcom.)
Step 2: Impress Girls. Just don’t expect them to hand your phone back over any time soon.
Step 3: Enjoy. Now you can shop our entire site—and read our blogs, including Men’s Shop Daily—with the flick of a fingertip, in a format fully optimized for your mobile device. To Read our Blogs: Locate the ‘N Style’ tab in the bottom-left corner.
DOWNLOAD OUR APPS FOR IPHONE & IPAD NOW
And for more of Zack Morris’ cell phone—if you’re into that kind of thing—
watch a comprehensive retrospective here.
[Saved By The Bell images via ZackMorrisCellPhone.com; © Peter Engel Productions, NBC Productions, Rysher Entertainment. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]
Last week, we offered an overview of Sub Pop’s greatest hits, both legendary and recent. Today, in our continuing tribute to 25 years of Sub Pop, we dig deep into the rocky underground that gives the Northwest label its name (Sub Pop = Subterranean Pop). We can think of no better tour guide than Robin Stein, a killer photographer here in Seattle, a good friend of Men’s Shop Daily, and a lifelong follower of Pacific Northwest music.
[Above: Earth photographed by Art S. Aubrey.
Below: U-Men by Rachel E. Tillman.]
While Sub Pop is widely known for its massively successful releases from bands like Nirvana, The Shins and Fleet Foxes, the legacy and scope of the label cannot be simply summarized by those artists alone. Sub Pop has long been a true promoter and purveyor of the decentralized underground world of Subterranean Pop. Here are some highlights from their back catalog that you may have never heard—but should. They’re selected to represent the legacy of music in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the grand scope of Sub Pop’s output. In no particular order:
1. The U-Men – ‘Dig It a Hole.’ Performing throughout most of the 1980s, The U-Men predated anything that anyone would or could call Grunge. Their song ‘Gila’ is featured on the first Sub Pop compilation, Sub Pop 100. The U-Men draw on the sludge and aggression of LA hardcore bands, the jarring start-stop rhythms from post-punk bands like Wire, and the wacked-out insanity of twang-weirdos The Cramps. ‘Dig It a Hole’ is on the aggressive side of the U-Men, and was never released by Sub Pop until many years later on the soundtrack to the film Hype. Nevertheless, this particular track foreshadows much of the aesthetics embraced by many Seattle bands in the years to come.
2. Green River – ‘Ain’t Nothing To Do.’ Green River might be the best example of the musical tension that went on to form the style that came to be known as Grunge. They’re a fast, heavy, punk band but with an overlay of glam-metal guitar solos. While this tension was ultimately the band’s demise (Mark Arm and Steve Turner went on to form Mudhoney, while Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament formed Pearl Jam), it just might be that Green River is the perfect blend of punk’s aggressive carelessness and metal’s heavy virtuosity. ‘Ain’t Nothing To Do’ is a classic teen-boredom anthem. Listen for the lyric that calls out being bored by the University of Washington’s old college radio station, which is now KEXP: “… I’m so sick of FM, even KCMU…”
3. Girl Trouble – ‘Wreckin’ Ball.’ Go back into the history of music in the Pacific Northwest, and you’ll find it deeply rooted in classic garage bands—The Sonics, The Wailers, The Kingsmen, Lollipop Shoppe—mostly coming out of Tacoma, Washington. Twenty years later, Girl Trouble continued this tradition of Tacoma’s classic Northwest garage rock. ‘Wreckin’ Ball’ comes from their first Sub Pop release, Hit It or Quit It from 1988. Also worth checking out is their song ‘Neko Loves Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ about their good friend, former Girl Trouble go-go dancer and Tacoma native, Neko Case.
4. Steven Jesse Bernstein – ‘Come Out Tonight.’ Bernstein was essentially the poet laureate of Seattle’s music community throughout the 1980s. While suffering from mental illness and drug addiction, Bernstein gained legendary status as an intense and outrageous performer and poet. His writing reflected the gritty character of Seattle before the tech boom of the ’90s. Bernstein often took up residence in the hotels and boarding houses of Georgetown, the location of this year’s Sub Pop Silver Jubilee. This recording, featured on Sub Pop’s 1988 compilation Sub Pop 200, is a filthy pop-culture diatribe with the repeated, haunting refrain of “Cheri, Cheri, baby, won’t you come out tonight?” and the wonderful, barked line: “I am secretly an important man.”
5. Dead Moon – ‘Johnny’s Got a Gun.’ The members of Dead Moon have been playing in bands throughout every era of Pacific Northwest music, starting with Fred Cole’s 1960s psych-garage band Lollipop Shoppe, to their most recent incarnation Pierced Arrows. What’s most notable about the band is that Fred and Toody Cole, both grandparents in their 60s, are still one of the best touring rock bands out there, possessing a rabid and dedicated fan base all over the US and Europe. Most of the Dead Moon catalog is recorded, pressed, and released on their own label, Tombstone Records (they run their own record cutting lathe). Sub Pop released a posthumous Dead Moon discography, Echoes from the Past, covering highlights from the band’s nearly two-decade run. ‘Johnny’s Got a Gun,’ sung by Toody, is a revolutionary warning song. Also check out the hard-to-find Cat Power cover of the song above, a 7″ definitely worth digging for.
6. Hazel – ‘Day-Glo.’ Hazel was a band from Portland, Oregon, featuring the paired vocals of Pete Krebs and Jodi Bleyle (Team Dresch, Free to Fight), along with bassist Brady Payne and full-time, free-form dancer Fred Nemo (I was once told that Fred could recite vast James Joyce passages on request). Hazel played throughout the Northwest all through the late ’90s. I probably saw this band perform more than any other while growing up. Side note: My first AOL screen name (dayglo269) is a reference to this song—perhaps embarrassing, but telling.
7. Eric’s Trip – ‘Girlfriend.’ This track is from the first album I ever bought on vinyl. Eric’s Trip (named after the Sonic Youth song) was a fuzzy four-piece from Moncton, New Brunswick. Their simple, distorted pop songs encapsulated a low-key blissfulness. This band always made me idealize the magic of Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Julie Doiron and Rick White of Eric’s Trip each went on to release music individually in later years; both of their solo albums are well worth a listen.
8. Beat Happening – ‘Red Head Walking.’ While Sub Pop is known for being a Seattle record label, all of this really started in Olympia, Washington, around the Evergreen State College’s free-form radio station KAOS. Bruce Pavitt started writing his Subterranean Pop ‘zines and releasing tapes with Calvin Johnson as a contributor. Johnson’s pivotal lo-fi group Beat Happening released several records on Sub Pop over the ensuing years. His iconic vocal style and the simple instrumentation from collaborators Heather Lewis and Bret Lunsford embraced the DIY methods and ideals of punk, and transposed it into something far less aggressive, yet still transgressive. Beat Happening laid the groundwork for so much music to come; their influence is unmeasurable. Johnson continues to run Olympia’s K Records, and maintains a complete online digital version of all of the original Sub/Pop fanzines.
9. The Monkeywrench – ‘Great Down Here.’ If there ever was a ‘supergroup’ for Seattle, it was definitely The Monkeywrench. Featuring Mark Arm and Steve Turner (Green River, Mudhoney), Tom Price (U-Men, Gas Huffer), Tim Kerr (Poison 13, Tim/Kerr Records) and Martin Bland (Bloodloss), The Monkeywrench is a straight-up garage-punk band. Awesome. If you’re on the tour of ‘grunge supergroups,’ by all means start with The Monkeywrench—and you might as well forget about Temple of the Dog.
10. Earth – ‘Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine.’ While Earth maintains a legendary status amongst fans of Drone and Doom Metal, the average Sub Pop fan is likely unfamiliar with the long legacy and influence of Dylan Carlson’s musical career. I’d recommend approaching this 27-minute track more as a meditative and minimalist dirge. Earth is truly a product of the environment here in the Pacific Northwest—reflecting the wet and uniform grey skies of winter, with a slowly roiling undercurrent of volcanic activity. We are living on the Ring of Fire after all…
Back in a more rugged Seattle in 1993, Sub Pop Records had a Mega Mart. It was located on 2nd Avenue in the Belltown neighborhood, which is a place where you see a lot of folks staying up all night or sleeping outside, and you get propositioned for a cigarette even if you are clearly not smoking.
The Mega Mart was a physical retail space that sold the kinds of things labels now sell on their websites. It was sarcastically named. It was a shoebox. On a similar tip, the same year, Southern California punk label SST opened their very small “Superstore.” Looking back, these names were kind of middle fingers to the Virgin Megastore. Like Mudhoney sings: “I like it small!”
The original Mega Mart ran until 2000. By the end of its life, it had migrated to the touristy but still classic and awesome Pike Place Market, where they throw the fish. It was never a fantastic moneymaker.
Steady vibes emanate from the new, 2013 version of the Mega Mart in Seattle’s brick/concrete Georgetown neighborhood, the last remaining place where artists can live cheaply. The new Mega Mart is a pop-up shop, only open in the weeks before and during the 25-year Sub Pop Silver Jubilee, Saturday, July 13. Shopkeep Tim Hayes is there. He’s chilling, playing drone rock by the band Earth, one of the acts on Sub Pop whose music has aged particularly well. He can talk to you about records if you want, or not. You are free to browse.
The new Mega Mart feels like it should be permanent. Maybe a satellite wing of the conjoined Fantagraphics Books and Georgetown Records, across the street. Hey, while we’re wishing, maybe we could all be communists! Then money wouldn’t matter!
In this sentimental mood, we pass the mic to Kerri Harrop, pioneering employee of the Mega Mart, currently in charge of making money at Seattle’s crucial radio station KEXP. She always has a story to tell:
“It was before cell-phone cameras, and I don’t have any personal photos from that time at all. I have maybe a few Polaroids, buried. I know Sub Pop doesn’t have any good pictures of the Mega Mart itself. But we did have a Polaroid camera there, and when people would come and visit, we’d take their picture. I took so many of them. They’re all framed together in the Sub Pop offices now. It’s cool to see Krist Novoselic…with hair! Everyone looks super young. Obviously. It was 20 years ago.
“Ones that are memorable to me: John Doe from X—which if you told me when I was a 16-year-old girl that I’d be working at a record store and John Doe would walk in, I’d’ve been like ‘no f—ing way’ because I loved X, so much. And he totally ripped his shirt off! I wasn’t expecting that. Ripped it open, I should say. He was bare-chested in his photo.
“The Soundgarden one stands out because they were doing promo for Superunknown at the time, and at the Sub Pop office, that record was getting non-stop play. They were huge and about to get huger. They came in with an MTV crew, and it was just an exciting time.
“Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick came by, and I was like holy sh–. Jonathan [Poneman] was a huge Cheap Trick fan. So I hit him up, and let him know. And I’m chatting with Bun E., and he’s talking about all these records on the wall, saying he was playing a show that night at Under the Rail. Three significant things happened because of this. He put me on the list for the show, plus one, which totally ruled. Second thing is I played him Soundgarden, which he had never heard before, and he loved it. And third, Sub Pop got to do a 7” with Cheap Trick.
“I worked there from opening day in ’93 for a year and a half, and then moved across the street and worked at Sub Pop for around four more years. The beauty of Sub Pop was and is that they promote from within. It was like going to indie rock college. I worked in the sales department, then band merchandise, R&D, international product development…”
“The beauty of the store was it was
across the street from [correction] next door to the Moore Hotel, which was in a lot of ways a flop house. Crazy sh– would happen all the time. And the Mega Mart became the water cooler. Jonathan [Poneman] would always come over, and talk about whatever story happened that day. It was tiny. Hence the name Mega Mart. We tried to do in-store concerts, and we did the Spinanes, and the store was so packed that someone fainted. I was like, ‘wow, this rules!’
“I always remember Bruce [Pavitt] saying his concept for the Mega Mart was for it to be a Christian Science Reading Room. We got so many tourists. The label was huge, Nirvana was huge. So, you couldn’t get access to the label, but you could get into the store. There were so many Japanese tourists. Always something charming about these young, cool Japanese kids who would travel all this distance to show up, and ask a million questions, because they loved Seattle bands.
“The tourists that came after Kurt died, that was kind of gruesome. Even more so for people who were connected to the fabric of Nirvana.
“Opening day of the store we were giving away copies of Nirvana’s Bleach. It was bonkers. It was such a different time in Seattle. You used to be able to walk down 2nd Avenue and be able to see the water on every block. Now there are high rises blocking the view of the ocean. You know you’re old when you start missing parking lots.”
[Below, watch Sub Pop's Lacey Swain eat a sandwich—and discuss the finer points
of the new Mega Mart and its retrospective art installation, along with
Sub Pop art directors Jeff Kleinsmith and Sasha Barr]:
The current incarnation of the Sub Pop Mega Mart is open
for a limited time at 6003 12th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98108.
Not in Seattle? Shop Sub Pop merch the old-fashioned way: online.
[Text and interview by Andrew Matson. Andrew writes about music and culture for publications including The Seattle Times, NPR, and The Stranger. Follow Andrew on Twitter here. Photos by Robin Stein—see more of Robin's work here. Vintage Mega Mart ad courtesy of Sub Pop's official Tumblr page. Video courtesy of Sub Pop's Youtube page.]
Between month-long radio takeovers and the inescapable audio inside your office’s elevators, Christmas music can become one of the least-merry aspects of the holidays. As a personal gift from us to you, we combed the internet (and picked our office-mates’ brains) for under-the-radar Xmas gems to put you in the holiday spirit this weekend. Pour some eggnog, hit play—and take a well-deserved break from The Chipmunks and Zooey Deschanel.
Bon Jovi. While there’s lots to be said for this Bon Jovi White House performance from Xmas ’98 (sharp tuxes, quasi-lecherous Whoopi Goldberg intro, Special Olympics fundraiser), it’s just not possible to one-up the video above, co-starring Herb Ritts muse and Pepsi pusher Cindy Crawford.
Run DMC. Remember when rap was almost wholesome? Here, the guys save Christmas and praise Mom’s homecooking, all with signature attention to detail (note the Cadillac logo on Santa’s sleigh). Extra style shout-outs for DMC’s dapper DB coat and Run’s Portland Trailblazers jacket.
Wham! As unlikely as it seems—for a Christmas song, a Wham! song, and especially a Wham! Christmas song—a small, completely unscientific poll in our office found very little to be annoyed about by this song. It’s kind of catchy, but not cloyingly so. Oddly soothing. Do you agree, or have we had too much fruitcake?
Boyz II Men. Remember that time on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when Will ruined Christmas by not getting the world’s favorite ’90s R&B group to sing a capella at baby Nicky’s christening? Us neither, because it never happened. Miracles are real! Especially on sitcoms.
Band Aid. OK, this one might qualify as over-played this time of year. And has some truly mood-dampening lyrics if you listen closely (everyone, please do something charitable this yuletide). And ranks high on the A.V. Club’s list of most-hated holiday tunes. BUT: It’s worth watching just for the all-star ’80s lineup’s throwback hair stylings. Subtitled en español for a feliz Navidad.
David Bowie x Bing Crosby. The Thin White Duke has done more than a couple surprising collaborations over the years, but…come on. Worlds collide, minds blown. Are we the last to know about this? Click to about 1:48 if you prefer to skip the stilted banter—not that you should, it’s TV Christmas-special solid gold.
Dogs. To the uninitiated, this kitschy Christmas classic probably comes off as just another entry in the vast canon of cute cat videos, baby sloths, bunnies riding goats, and hamsters on pianos that now saturate the internet. But get this: The original recording was created by a Danish ornithologist in the 1950s, and was one of the first examples of modern-day pitch manipulation and audio splicing. We chose to show the “cover version” above because it looks like dogs are actually performing it live (they’re probably all computer-animated robots, who knows)—but to hear the original ’50s version, click here.
It was the stuff of legend: the first time the USA was permitted to send professional basketball players into battle—and what that year’s Olympiad lacked in fairness, it more than made up for in jaw-dropping spectacle. Twenty years later, the video quality doesn’t hold up well, but the acrobatic passing and deafening dunks certainly do:
A new 20th-anniversary documentary, The Dream Team, replete with exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage, airs tonight at 9pm ET on NBA TV. For even more back-story, check out GQ’s funny and fascinating oral history of the greatest team ever assembled.
And Mark Your Calendar: 2012 Men’s Olympic basketball—starring Carmelo, Kobe, Griffin and Iguodala, to name a few—commences July 29.
[Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom or products shown. Photo courtesy of NBA.com]