Hazel Takes The Label Less Traveled

Group says doing it themselves is the way to go.

Many are the bands that have signed to Sub Pop Records and left

for major label contracts. They serve as virtual signposts for the rise of '90s

alt-rock: Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, to name a few. Far less common is the

band with a Sub Pop deal that leaves the indie giant in hopes of finding

greener pastures at a smaller label.

Jody Bleyle, drummer for ex-Sub

Poppers Hazel, and owner and operator of Candy-Ass Records, has done just that.

Last year Bleyle and her Hazel-mates decided to jump the Sub Pop's ship

and release their next work on her own Candy-Ass label. The fruit of their

labor, a pop infected five-song EP titled Airiana, hits the streets

on July 1.

"There's a lot of people we got along with great" at Sub

Pop, Bleyle says. "We just didn't have an overall good working relationship. We

didn't feel like we really fit."

Although pushing Airiana through

Candy-Ass will naturally involve more work for the band, she says it also

affords Hazel more autonomy.

Bleyle, who also sings and plays guitar in

Team Dresch, cites touring as one arena where Hazel is happy to put in the

extra effort. "We wanted to go to Europe for a long time, and [Sub Pop]

wouldn't lend us the money for plane tickets. They didn't want to give us any

support; they didn't want us to go to Europe. Now, we put out this record on

Candy-Ass and we're just going. We just did it ourselves. There was a lot of

stuff like that, where Sub Pop would say no. And Team Dresch [who record

jointly for Candy-Ass and Donna Dresch's Chainsaw label] would be going to

Europe and doing what we wanted. [Sub Pop] would always be like, 'How can you

do that?' I'd be like, 'You just do it. You don't have to ask for

permission.'"

Sub Pop CEO Jonathan Poneman says he didn't care if Hazel

(whom he calls "a truly great band") went to Europe, he just didn't want his

label to foot the bill. "A number of Sub Pop bands had gone over to Europe

around that same time," he says, "and ran up staggering losses that we

covered."

Bleyle acknowledges that...