When Seattle is mentioned in the music world the same infamous images of the grunge era usually come to mind: flannels, unkempt hair, and the hay day of Sub Pop Records. As with the times the music has changed, evolved from the primordial noise laid by purveyors of metal and punk in the 1980’s and 90’s. Sub Pop is still around and has achieved more mainstream success by adopting acts such as the Shins and Fleet Foxes, but moved away from the formula that brought them initial success. The tides have shifted and Seattle can now no longer be defined by one overarching genre – the musical landscape is as lush as the cover of green surrounding the Emerald City. New labels seem to phase into existence overnight to fill each small musical niche the city has created. Weirdo limited-run label People In A Position To Know create handmade lathe-cut records of interesting outsider-indie artists such as R. Stevie Moore and Angelo Spencer. Cutting edge Sub Pop subsidiary Hardly Art caters to the vast punk underworld; artists they pick up range from sounding spooky to carefree.
One very small, very new label has quickly begun to make waves in its very short lifespan, however. Neon Sigh doesn't have a large back catalogue yet but it is loaded with great shoegaze gems. The genre convalesced in the late 80’s to early 90’s and was centered around landmark British label Creation Records. Shoegaze began its decline in the mid 90’s when critical approval of the genre soured and Britpop bands like Oasis filled the cracks. Now with My Bloody Valentine’s long-awaited follow up to Loveless finally released in February 2013, a renewed interest in the ethereal groundbreaking genre has emerged and Neon Sigh’s noisy, reverb-drenched roster should be at the cusp of this new-found interest. New York City group Dead Leaf Echo’s hyper-literate swells float in a semi-conscious dream state on the most recent Neon Sigh release Thought and Language. Seattle’s Vibragun fuse the raw garage energy of the Stooges with the swirling introversion of Lush. On their website Neon Sigh also mentions upcoming releases of American shoegaze pioneer Astrobrite.
In addition to releasing albums by innovative groups, Neon Sigh has also been building a rapport in town by hosting shows from legendary bands. On April 15th at the Comet Tavern in Seattle Neon Sigh are hosting an event with Creation Records greats The Telescopes and LSD And The Search For God. Other shows they've hosted have included A Place to Bury Strangers – a group that has been proclaimed the loudest band in North America – and the fuzzy internationally known Texas act Ringo Deathstarr.
Neon Sigh is definitely a label to watch for the near future, cutting into a niche that has been previously buried in the Seattle landscape, blasting it to the attention it deserves.