SUB POP U.S.A.: The Subterranean Pop Music Anthology, 1980–1988, by Bruce Pavitt

SUB POP U.S.A.: The Subterranean Pop Music Anthology, 1980–1988, by Bruce Pavitt

Original price was: $34.95.Current price is: $24.95.

“A sometimes furious, always passionate relic of a rich period in American underground culture.”—NME

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Ships today in full fiercely independent glory!

“For over thirty years, Bruce Pavitt has been at the vanguard of popular culture, artistic trends, and ideas within the communities of the innovative alternative. The insight into this period of rock history could only have been delivered by Bruce, given the unique nature of his experience, vision, and voice.”—Kim Thayil, Soundgarden

Sub Pop is the best index there is of American local independent scenes…imaginative and the writing is snappy and descriptive”—New Musical Express/NME, 1981

“Buy it for your unattainable coffee-shop crush”—Esquire

“We need diverse, regionalized, localized approaches to all forms of art, music, and politics…the most intense music, the most original ideas are coming out of scenes you don’t even know exist. Tomorrow’s pop is being realized today on small decentralized record labels that are interested in taking risks, not making money.”—Sub Pop #1, 1980

The complete Subterranean Pop fanzines and Seattle Rocket newspaper columns by Bruce Pavitt; an unbelievably deep chronicle of regional American indie pop, punk, hardcore, art/noise, metal, spoken word, hip hop, and rock’n roll during the 1980s by the founder of Sub Pop Records.

Flip through the SUB POP USA band index, including over 1,000 American independent pop, metal, punk, hardcore, art/noise, hip hop, soul, country, and rock ‘n roll bands:

• ISBN 978-1-935950-11-0
• Deluxe 400pp softcover
• Complete reprints of Sub Pop zine issues #1 through #9, plus Bruce Pavitt’s Sub Pop column from Seattle’s The Rocket, 1983–1988.
• Forewords by Calvin Johnson, Ann Powers, Larry Reid, Gerard Cosloy, Charles R. Cross
• Over 1,000 recording artists hunted down and hyped in their original indie habitats, including Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, the Wipers, Dinosaur Jr., Run-D.M.C., Slayer, Beastie Boys, Mudhoney…plus an entire nation of inspired amateurs.

In 1979, Bruce Pavitt moved from Chicago to Olympia, Washington, and began programming a show called Subterranean Pop on local community radio station KAOS-FM. In 1980, he launched Subterranean Pop magazine, dedicated to the unsung punk, new wave, and experimental regional bands of the Pacific Northwest and Midwest. Calvin Johnson of K Records joined the zine’s staff later that year, beginning with the second issue. The Sub Pop zine puzzled punk and new wave fans from major cities; readers were surprised that there were enough bands in the forgotten cities and states to devote a column, let alone an entire fanzine. Even more puzzling was the exclusion of artists like the Clash, Gang of Four, Blondie, or PIL, solely because of their major label associations. Driven by the power of independent thinking, early issues featured impassioned rallying cries for local action that make more sense than ever today, alongside early published artwork by Linda Barry, Charles Burns, and Jad Fair.

In 1983, Pavitt moved to Seattle and commenced his widely-read Sub Pop USA column in the Rocket newspaper, each month exposing new underground and independent artists. From Beat Happening and Pell Mell to early records by the Beastie Boys, Metallica, and Run-D.M.C., Sub Pop was a 1980s independent music bible, written with a diverse appreciation for happening scenes across the USA. In 1986, Pavitt put his ideas into practice, launching Sub Pop Records with the historic Sub Pop 100 compilation and Soundgarden’s first release, Screaming Life. While the Sub Pop Records legacy is today legendary, the groundwork and creative wellspring that put Seattle on the musical map is assembled here for the first time.

Bruce Pavitt currently lives on Orcas Island in Washington State. He remains engaged in music by speaking at conferences and festivals, consulting with artists and music labels, and working as a DJ. A true music fan, Bruce continues to study music history in every genre. He is also the author of Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989.

Weight 3 lbs


  1. María Cartagena

    Great! Was about time!
    Proudly owner of Touch and Go, Metalion, and We Got Power 🙂
    Greetings from Ecuador

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