New at THE AVID LISTENER: Sub Pop, Selma and Civil Rights, and a digest to help you sort it out

We at THE AVID LISTENER have been busy in the past few weeks. Check out what’s new!

Our newest essay, “Sub Pop” by Theo Cateforis, introduces readers to Sub Pop, the independent (indie) record label that produced Nirvana and other Seattle-based bands in the early 1990s. Cateforis gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Sub Pop’s history, and also tells us what was special about this particular label. Here’s a teaser: “Indie labels like Sub Pop were vital to the development and growth of alternative rock. Much as 1950s independent labels like Chicago’s Chess and Cincinnati’s King Records provided a showcase for regional rhythm and blues artists, the indie labels of the 1980s such as Minneapolis’s Twin Tone and Washington, D.C.’s Dischord records supported the scores of local punk, post-punk and offbeat musicians who were initially of little interest to the major labels. At a time when the twin meccas of Los Angeles and New York ruled the recording industry, cities like Seattle remained on the periphery. Nobody went to the Pacific Northwest to be ‘discovered’…”

Read the full essay here.

Last week we ran an essay by yours truly about the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, one of the crucial days in the Selma to Montgomery march, a key touchstone in the Civil Rights Movement. March 7 marked the 50th year anniversary of Bloody Sunday; several commemoration events were held in Selma and Montgomery to mark the occasion. If you don’t know much about Civil Rights history, my essay can get you started. I included a brief documentary of the Montgomery-to-Selma march that isn’t well known and links aplenty. I wrote in particular about the music chosen for these events, and the politics of which musical voices are included. Why, for example, was Vanilla Ice engaged to perform at the all-star concert? Read the full essay here.

Finally, to help readers navigate the growing number of feature essays, we offer the latest version of our digest, which includes all essays to date categorized by topics. Planning ahead? The digest also lists essays to come for the month of April. Download the digest here.

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