Tag Archives: The Coathangers

Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” with Artists on Bandcamp

nick_drake_pink_moon_600-2

Nick Drake was the kind of musician other artists dream of being—and, in some ways, fear becoming. Largely unknown during his 26 years on this planet, Drake’s dark-yet-delicate music returned to public consciousness more than twenty-five years after his 1974 suicide, when the title track of his final record, Pink Moon (1972), was included in a dreamy 2000 Volkswagen commercial hawking the Cabrio convertible. Seventeen years later—and 45 after Pink Moon’s release—a diverse cross-section of musicians are still citing Drake as an influence.

In many ways, though his path was different than both of theirs, Drake was a kindred spirit to artists like Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith (who also owes quite a bit of his spare, haunting sound to Drake). He was deeply in love with music, hungered for success, but, in many ways, shrank from the trappings of music stardom. As a result, he died “thinking he was a failure,” as his sister Gabrielle said in a 2015 interview with Esquire.

Continue reading

Celebrating 20 Years of Suicide Squeeze’s Uncompromising Indie Rock

suicide-600

To loosely paraphrase one of the more well-known passages of the Bible, it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for an introvert to start a successful record label. That’s what David Dickenson was up against when he founded Suicide Squeeze in Seattle two decades ago. “If I could go back 20 years and give myself a piece of advice, it would be to learn to have a regular conversation without feeling stressed out of my mind all the time,” he laughs. “For example: I loved Elliott Smith well before I started the label, and I wanted to ask him to do a single. But I was so into his music that I couldn’t bring myself to ask him. I was way too nervous. Eventually, my wife was like, ‘Do you just want me to ask him?’ And she did, and he said ‘Yes,’ and that’s how the ‘Division Day’ 7″ came about.”

That single came early in the label’s lifespan—their fifth release after successful 7″s from Modest Mouse and 764-Hero—but it helped chart a course for the label’s early days. It was an artist Dickenson was passionate about who, like Modest Mouse and 764-Hero, was geographically local and whose music felt distinct and personal. Over the course of the last two decades the label has moved past its Pacific Northwest focus, but the artists on its roster are still defined by their distinct musical sensibilities. They may operate in loosely familiar genres—post-punk, post-rock, surf, and pop—but all of them approach their music slantwise, loading them with unlikely left turns. And while Dickenson is celebrating the anniversary with a spate of reissues, and even a Suicide Squeeze-branded IPA from Fort George Brewery, in the end, his focus has never been on building a brand. “To me, it’s not about Suicide Squeeze,” he says, “It’s about the bands. You want people to respect what you’re doing as a label, but to me, I’d be just as satisfied to know that people are digging the bands.”

With that in mind, we asked Dickenson to talk through some of the releases that have defined the label’s history to date.

Continue reading