Radiohead, Cornershop May Help Revive Sub Pop Singles Club

Label brings back idea of regularly distributing limited-edition vinyl cuts from artists to members.

In honor of the label's 10th anniversary, Seattle's Sub Pop Records is reviving its popular Singles Club, which in the past has offered rare vinyl cuts by such acts as Nirvana, L7, Mudhoney and the Afghan Whigs.

This time, the resurrected singles club may feature such popular acts as Radiohead, Cornershop and the Jesus & Mary Chain.

"It's something that people who work here loved about Sub Pop in the past and it's one of the things most readily identifiable with the label," said Jason Reynolds, the head of A&R for the label and the coordinator of the project.

The original Sub Pop Singles Club began in November 1988 with a 1,000-copy pressing of Nirvana's "Love Buzz/Big Cheese" single and was followed by nearly five years of one-off singles from Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, L7, Afghan Whigs, Mudhoney, Unrest, Rapeman, Rocket From the Crypt, Fugazi, Flaming Lips, Jon Spencer, Ween, Soundgarden, Urge Overkill and dozens of others. The club closed down in December 1993 with a final single from Sebadoh's Lou Barlow, "I'm Not Mocking You."

"It was losing focus and there was less interest in vinyl then," explained Reynolds.

As before, the new limited-edition singles will come on colored vinyl and will remain a secret until they arrive on subscribers' doorsteps. Some of the bands that might be involved this time include Radiohead, Cornershop, Electric Airlines (the new band from former Urge Overkill bassist Eddie "King" Roesser), Luna, Modest Mouse, Sukpatch and the Jesus & Mary Chain, according to Reynolds.

The first mailing will be in April of this year, when club members will receive the first two singles in the new series. Those will be followed, bi-monthly, by four new (and "maybe" some old stuff from the vault, said Reynolds) and exclusive tracks from artists. Sub Pop plans to press 3,000 copies of the singles for now, which will set back fans $70 for a full year's subscription.

"Everyone who we've approached, some baby bands without a deal, some major-label artists, have been into it," Reynolds said, adding that it especially gives young artists the chance to release cover songs and originals that don't fit on their albums. "Everyone we've approached so far has thought it was cool and remembered it from the first time."

Among those who remembered the club well, Reynolds said, is Isaac Brock, leader of Modest Mouse. Brock used to receive all the singles and "was always thrilled by never knowing what was coming out," he added. [Fri., Jan. 16, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]