A couple of years ago I followed the big remodel of the main terminal at Sea-Tac airport. I was intrigued by all the interesting restaurants and shops that were going in to match what was happening at other major airports. But what really caught my eye was the addition of a SubPop store.
For those not in the know, SubPop was the record label of the Seattle grunge era. Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and many other bands recorded at some point for them. Today, SubPop is co-owned by Warner Brothers, but they still record a stable of artists including Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Flight of the Conchords and The Fleet Foxes..
When I read in February of 2014 the store at the airport was going to open I kind of scratched my head. Who could actually shop there? Only travelers with a boarding pass and ID, because you have to pass through airport security to actually patronize the place.
I made sure to stop in at SubPop on my way to Kansas City on Monday the 6th. It was quite the store. Lots of SubPop gear-hats and shirts, tote bags and memorablilia, stickers and music. That’s right music. CD’s and racks of vinyl line the back wall. You will not find Abbey Road, or Exile on Main Street, or Led Zeppelin II here. They are, for the most part, SubPop albums. However I was also excited to see records from bands with ties to Seattle. Re-releases of Superunknown by Soundgarden, Pearl Jam’s first three albums, and even this year’s Sonic Highways soundtrack by the Foo Fighters were all available.
I drooled a lot and had my hand in my wallet, but then remembered I was going to jump on a jet plane to Kansas City in an hour and didn’t think it was such a good idea to schlep vinyl records around the city for a week. And that is weird. Because it really only makes sense to buy music if you’re flying back in to Seattle.
So using that logic, when I flew home from the big KC last night I immediately wandered in to the shop and picked up Dig Me Out by Sleater Kinney, and Vs. and Vitalogy by Pearl Jam. Prices are quite reasonable. The Sleater Kinney record cost $16 in the shop, and is $14 plus shipping on the SubPop website. Vs. costs more on Amazon than the $20 I paid at the airport, while Vitalogy was a bit less in Bezos-land. The real problem is that I usually only travel once or twice a year, so getting to the SubPop store is a bit of a challenge.
If you do happen to find yourself at Sea-Tac with some time to kill, it is highly recommended. The SubPop store is located in the C Concourse of the main terminal. The staff, though few, are friendly and helpful.
For more views of the airport SubPop, take a look at Erik Tomren’s story.