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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Topic: Barsuk Records

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June 17, 2014 at 5:31 AM

Say Hi grows up with ‘Endless Wonder’ | New Recordings

Say Hi, ‘Endless Wonder’ (Barsuk) Eric Elbogen, who performs as Seattle-based indie rock band Say Hi, spent much of his 2011 release “Um, Uh Oh” making pretty, contemplative songs that seemed designed mostly to not offend. “Endless Wonder” keeps its predecessor’s slick production while adding a funky swagger that’s noticeable right from the get-go on “Hurt in…

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Barsuk Records, Endless Wonder, New Recordings

November 11, 2013 at 12:35 AM

Barsuk showcases songwriters, including Ben Gibbard | Concert review

Ben Gibbard
Ben Gibbard

Ben Gibbard at the Tractor Tavern. Photo by Owen R. Smith.

Barsuk Records likely wouldn’t have made it to its 15th anniversary, celebrated last week with five shows in four days, if not for Benjamin Gibbard and his seminal band Death Cab For Cutie.

So it makes sense that early on at Sunday night’s show at the Tractor featuring Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter people were starting to ask: “Do you think Ben Gibbard is going to play?” He had been seen around the club and Barsuk had promised “special guests” for the penultimate show in their birthday bash.

Gibbard didn’t disappoint and came on just before 9 p.m., looking sharp and svelte in a black shirt and dark jeans. He started his short solo acoustic set off with a joke — “Hi, I’m Gordon Reynolds,” which got a big laugh — and “Oh, Woe,” off his 2012 solo album “Former Lives.” Gibbard has been busy this week (Death Cab was the “special guest” at Thursday’s Showbox at the Market anniversary show) but he seemed happy for another chance to thank Seattle’s upstart label. 

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Comments | Topics: Barsuk Records, Ben Gibbard, jesse sykes

November 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Phantogram and Cymbals Eat Guitars keep Barsuk fest rolling | Concert review

Cymbals Eat Guitars

Cymbals Eat Guitars, pictured, played Saturday as part of Barsuk Records’ 15th anniversary weekend. Photo by Josh Goleman.

Saturday at Neumos, Seattle’s mousy masses huddled for a third and penultimate night celebrating 15 years for Barsuk Records, the little local label that could.

Where the first two shows in the weekend-long series honored Barsuk’s veteran acts, Saturday was about up-and-comers, showcasing six groups who each drew their own fans and left with new ones.

Thursday’s stellar Showbox appearance from homegrown superstars Death Cab for Cutie, while reaffirming the label’s importance, emphasized its need for a new flagship band — and in the buzzed-about Phantogram, it may have one.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Barsuk Records, indie-rock, Neumos

November 8, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Death Cab For Cutie turns back the clock for Barsuk’s 15th | Concert review

Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab For Cutie in its early years. Photo by Peter Ellenby.

For indie-rockers in their late 20s and early 30s, it may feel a bit soon for 2000s nostalgia. Yet Thursday’s sold-out Showbox show — the first of a weekend-long, multi-venue festival celebrating Barsuk Records’ 15th anniversary — offered a couple surprises. One — much of this music still holds up. Two — local heroes Death Cab For Cutie played an unannounced acoustic set.

Barsuk didn’t only get in on the ground floor for Seattle’s post-grunge sea change — it was the ground floor. Initially a vehicle to release Death Cab’s early records, the label is now an influential source for sensitive, songwriter-oriented sounds from the Northwest and beyond.

And in the case of at least one group, redeemers.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Barsuk Records, Death Cab for Cutie, indie-rock

November 7, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Barsuk Records celebrates 15 years | Festival preview

Seattle’s Barsuk Records, which specializes in peppy, smart pop music with a focus on songwriting (Postal Service, Ben Gibbard, The Long Winters), is in the middle of celebrating its 15th anniversary all over town this weekend, with a slew of concerts that, unfortunately, are mostly sold out. You never know when a ticket might turn up,…

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Comments | More in Festivals, Rock/Pop | Topics: Barsuk Records, David Bazan, Festival Preview

November 1, 2013 at 10:49 AM

15 years of creativity and contrarianism |Barsuk Records

Barsuk co-founders Josh Rosenfeldm, left, and Christopher Possanza. (Alan Berner)

Barsuk co-founders Josh Rosenfeld, left, and Christopher Possanza. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

“We’re not a household name, absolutely not,” says Barsuk Records co-founder Josh Rosenfeld, sitting in the woody, light-suffused conference room of the label’s Interbay offices. “We’re not a household name in the neighborhood I live in.”

That smart aleck tag is typical of Rosenfeld’s capricious self-deprecation, a signal of modesty but also pride in having kept afloat for 15 years a Seattle indie rock label named after a dog — a milestone the label celebrates this week with five nights of concerts.

Indeed, though Barsuk has delivered nearly 150 releases since 1998, among them Death Cab For Cutie’s 750,000-selling “Transatlanticism,” Barsuk has always operated in the shadow of its grungier big brother, Sub Pop.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Barsuk Records, Christopher Possanza, Concert Preview