As you've become accustomed to, this third episode of season two is brought to you from the "murder closet" by hosts and producers and CEOs/CTOs/CFOs of the Sub Pop Podcast: Alissa Atkins and Arwen Nicks.
This episode is, loosely, the “Portland” episode. More specifically it’s the “sitting on the ground with men in Portland” episode. More specifically still, it’s the “Arwen sitting on the ground with two men (separately) in Portland, Oregon, so obviously this isn’t a comprehensive ‘this-is-Portland’ episode” episode.
Let’s do a little brush up on Portland for those who need a refresher.
Portland, Oregon, as mentioned in the show, is approximately 180 miles south of Sub Pop’s home base of Seattle, Washington. That means Portland used to be three hours away by motor car. Now it takes between five and 15 hours. As an alternative to driving, you can take the train. That will take you three to seven hours. Anyway, Portland is the closest next-biggest city to Seattle that is still in the United States.
Sub Pop has a long, and, among the employees at least, somewhat foggily-remembered history of working with artists from the Portland region. In an email thread (alluded to in the show) gathering names of artists that we’ve worked with, from an initial guess (by one of the hosts who shall remain nameless) of these bands…
… ten people on the staff(*) compiled this, more comprehensive list of Portland-based bands, past and present, that Sub Pop and/or Hardly Art has worked with (in alphabetical order):
- Blitzen Trapper
- Crackerbash (not much to see there…)
- Dead Moon
- Eric Matthews
- Fruit Bats
- The Helio Sequence
- Kyle Craft
- Poison Idea
- The Shins (“…sorta?” -Alissa)
- The Spinanes
- Steve “traitor” Turner of Mudhoney (via Mark Arm… of Mudhoney)
- The Thermals
- Ugly Casanova
(*: Staff people who helped compile the list: Alissa, Cassidy, Chris (E.), Dean, Frank, Jason, Jonathan Poneman, Mark Arm, Nick (T.), Tony)
Nineteen bands. By my calculations, with access to the most up-to-the-minute, most accurate data available, that is about 4.3% (“four point three percent”) of the artists that have ever released something on the label. Def signif.
Enough of that.
Guest one on season two, episode three of the Sub Pop Podcast is Portland’s Hutch Harris. You might know Hutch Harris from his band The Thermals and the three LPs they released on Sub Pop. The Thermals have continued to release music after those Sub Pop records: first on Kill Rock Stars and more recently on Saddle Creek.
Here is a probably-very-old promo photo of The Thermals, taken by photographer unknown (sorry!).
(It looks like they are in Portland. One thing I forgot to mention about Portland: it has a river. And lots of bridges crossing that river.)
As mentioned in the show, Hutch contributes a lot of writing to The Talkhouse, which, as far as I can determine, is a place where artists talk (write) about art that is generally not their own. And then maybe the artist whose art it is gets in on the conversation, too. And they have a podcast.
Anyway, Hutch’s segment on our podcast episode starts out with Hutch and Arwen discussing this essay that Hutch wrote and which lives at The Talkhouse. It’s an essay that anyone in their mid-to-later middle 30s to even later middle age can relate to.
Hutch Harris also has a second career as a stand up comedian. (I just love the montage of his stand up introductions in the show.) If you use Youtube to google for “Hutch Harris stand up” you will find a treasure trove of videos (careful! Some is N.S.F.W.!).
Apparently there’s a “Jonah Ray” fake travel show on something called “Seeso,” and Hutch was in an episode that was partially filmed at the Sub Pop offices. (This is all covered in the podcast itself…) If your interest is piqued by that illuminating description, you could check it out. The show is called “Hidden America.” I had to google every single thing in this paragraph to try to get an idea of what it is.
Stay up-to-date with all things Hutch Harris and The Thermals at The Thermals’s website.
Here’s a LVLUP record you can buy. Here are a couple of snapback Sub Pop logo hats you can buy from the Mega Mart, unfortunately not forest green, so you can’t look just like Nick Duncan. Not right now at least. Keep checking back.
This is also Kyle.
Kyle used to be in a band called GASHCAT (I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be ALL CAPS, but I’m making an executive decision). GASHCAT is either ungoogleable, or there is no information about them in the existing world. Either way… we’ll never know. Someone at NPR liked them, though. That is a fact.
Here’s what Kyle Craft, the band, sounds like.
Kyle Craft catching an alligator:
Since, at the end of the episode, the a-ha video for “Take On Me” is mentioned, I must embed it here. (I did not know that a-ha, (a) spell their name in all lowercase, and (b) are Norwegian!!) Some people might not know about this video, after all, and it’s important.
Of course, Family Guy parodied it.
If only we could figure out how to make a poster of Kyle Craft that does that to (for?) you… (Oh, but the Mega Mart does have some posters you can buy. They are all 2-D, however.)
Next week on the show we present you with Tad (of TAD) and Beach House. That’s right, Tad and Beach House (separately).
Here is some extra John Atkins art for you.
Remember, all the music in this episode is from bands who are from Portland!
Until next time, take care.
Songs from this Episode
- Mudhoney - Good Enough
- The Helio Sequence - Battle Lines
- Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love
- The Thermals - Everything Thermals
- The Thermals - Here’s Your Future
- The Thermals - How We Know
- Blitzen Trapper - Heaven and Earth
- Blitzen Trapper - God and Suicide
- The Shins - Australia
- The Shins - Sleeping Lessons
- Kyle Craft - Berlin
- Kyle Craft - Trinidad Beach (Before I Ride)
- Kyle Craft - Dolls of Highland
- Kyle Craft - Balmorhea
- Kyle Craft - Lady of the Ark
- Kyle Craft - Black Mary
- Fruit Bats - Primitive Man
- The Helio Sequence - Never Going Back
- Sleater-Kinney - Fangless