KIRO Radio's Josh Kerns talks local music
Seattle Sounds
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Sub Pop Records unveiled its new store at Sea-Tac Airport Thursday. (Scott Perlewitz/Sub Pop)

Travelers finding a little Nirvana at Sub Pop Records new Sea-Tac Airport store

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Travelers heading in and out of Sea-Tac Airport can now find a little Nirvana, along with some Mudhoney, Head and the Heart and more thanks to the opening of Sub Pop Records' first-ever retail store at the airport.

While Sub Pop is Seattle's best-known independent label - helping propel grunge and the Seattle sound onto the worldwide stage - it's new store actually fits well with the airport's increased musical offerings.

The Sea-Tac Experience the City of Music initiative has featured local bands playing on the sound system throughout the airport and live music around the concourses for the last few years.

The Sub Pop store is the culmination of several years of talks between label executives and airport officials.

"Some travelers' only exposure to Seattle will take place in the airport, and we're excited to have the opportunity to share Northwest music, our city and memories of bands we love and revere with the world," said Sub Pop President Jonathan Poneman. "Our authentic Pacific Northwest memorabilia and swag has multi-generational appeal. An older generation will remember listening to Sub Pop artists in the 80's and 90's, and kids will love the music's raw energy and vitality."

The new store is an ode to Sub Pop's past along with it's continued evolution, said Jeff Kleinsmith, Sub Pop Creative Director.

"At its core it's a music store, but we branched out to make it an extension of music," he said. "Our desire was to keep it local, keep it Northwest-centric, so we hired illustrators from the Northwest, previous art directors contributed art work."

You can listen to Sub Pop artists in a listening lounge that evokes a neighborhood record store, or shop for everything from CDs and vinyl to clothing, artwork, books, water bottles and more.

Kleinsmith, who has been with Sub Pop for over 20 years, says he and his team worked hard to make the store appealing to both longtime fans and travelers who have never heard of the label or many of its artists.

"I have a real reverence for the past but I also understand we need to get out of that and move forward. It's not hanging on to the past but it's acknowledging it and keeping it as part of the whole," he said. "I don't know how successful we'll be, but we did a lot of thinking about that experience versus a brick and mortar mom and pop in Ballard or Georgetown or something."

There's just one bummer about the new store - only ticketed passengers can access it, since it's in the concourse.

"It's very exciting, but I can't invite friends to it," Kleinsmith said.

The store will be open 365 days a year, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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