Sub Pop became famous as the breeding ground for the early-90s alt-rock revolution, home to the biggest bands of the grunge-era bands. Music changed fast, though, and Sub Pop struggled near the end of the decade to find their footing again, with WEA (Warner Elektra Atlantic) taking a substantial minority stake and making some cross-label promotional deals that didn’t seem like a bad idea, but didn’t really help Sub Pop’s long-term creative prospects. All that changed around the turn of the millennium, with a new generation of talent forging original and somehow familiar sounds. There have been many quality releases by the label since 2000, but these are some of the very best. I’ve combined multiple releases in some cases, and left off others when they didn’t quite hit the heights.
10. Band of Horses – Everything All The Time (2006) / Cease To Begin (2007)
A slightly more grounded My Morning Jacket or more spacey Built To Spill—either way, nothing to change the world, but really nice vibe-y, hook-filled, atmospheric rock songs with restrained country influences. Now doesn’t that sound good?