On a blistering Friday evening, Sub Pop doled out free “Loser” ales at the opening celebration of their new Mega Mart storefront. Nestled across the way from Fantagraphics, all of Georgetown’s finest (including many of its canine inhabitants) came to poke around the pop-up storefront in honor of Sub Pop’s impending 25th anniversary (which they’ll commemorate with their Silver Jubilee celebration July 13).
The shop is sort of like candy land for Seattle music nerds. Upon entering, the entire left wall is full of Sub Pop history and memorabilia. Vintage pictures of Kurt Cobain peak out from behind test pressings and original hand written letters. “Here is the photo and some ideas for artwork for Earth Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions,” reads an original letter on notebook paper from Seattle drone rockers Earth. “Thanks, will talk to you soon, hope yr not too injured. -Dylan Carson.”
After 25 years of churning out landmark records, there are plenty of “ooh” and “aah” inducing documents to stare at. The haphazard way Sub Pop presents its historical collection at the Mart actually works to its advantage. Organized much like a teenager’s scrapbook, the clustered mass of documents and photos feels true to the record label’s riotous rock ‘n’ roll past.
Beyond the wall, there is plenty of Sub Pop swag to be had. Vinyl, CDs, and a wall full of Sub Pop clothing are up for grabs. The selection isn’t quite as in depth as purists might hope—you aren’t going to find any rare singles here, mostly just recent Sub Pop releases and records from their heaviest hitters. One of the most thumbed over items was The Postal Service’s Deluxe 10th Anniversary re-release, which sports beautiful packaging with its triple gatefold.
The Mega Mart also features a Sub Pop lounge, stocked with every release you could imagine and a custom turntable ready to go. Even if you aren’t looking to purchase anything, the Mega Mart lounge is enough of an incentive to visit. The chill vibes are off the charts—it’s as if you stepped into the coolest college dorm in the world. Those who are overwhelmed by the Sub Pop (and its imprint, Hardly Art) history wall can sit on the lounge couches and reflect on how the zen musings of The Shins have affected your larger world outlook (actual overheard conversation).
KEXP DJ Sharlese Metcalf spun Sub Pop hits on the turntable to keep the party going, occasionally stopping to reassure herself that she kept on-theme. “Oh crap, wait, is this record off Hardly Art?” she asked herself more than once. Fellow DJ and Young Evils front man Troy Nelson also provided some tunes, but mostly just posed with various dogs for pictures.
The Sub Pop Mega Mart is located at 6003 12th Ave S, and will remain open until July 21st.