Sub Pop Splits With Grand Archives, Seattle's Most-Buzzed-About Band of 2007

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Renee McMahon
Archives, at show number one--March 21, 2007, Neumos--before they were Grand Archives.
When Band of Horses co-founder Mat Brooke announced Archives, his post-BOH project in 2007, he sent the Interwebs and Seattle-music watchers into a tizzy. The band's four-song demo immediately picked up airplay on KEXP, positive notes in the local press, and a spot on tour with Modest Mouse. Eager to catch Band of Horses Vol. II, more people showed up to the band's first show--an opening gig at Neumos--than stayed for Sera Cahoone and Tiny Vipers. Two weeks later they had a deal with Sub Pop, the label that launched Band of Horses.

But today, staring down album number three, the soft-spoken indie rockers are free agents. With the band's contract with the label up, a Sub Pop spokesperson says that "while we remain great fans of the band and those dudes, we're not releasing the next Grand Archives record." She also noted that the split was amicable.

Grand Archives released two records with Sub Pop: 2008's self-titled debut and 2009's Keep in Mind Frankenstein, which sold 9,000 and 3,000 copies, respectively, according to SoundScan. Both were highly produced compared to the early demos, featuring an amalgam of instruments like harp and trumpet. Neither record launched the band to national prominence the way many in town had expected Brooke's post-BOH project would. As it happens, the Sub Pop signees from that time who did blow up--yet whose signing was a comparatively mellow affair--was Robin Pecknold's band of harmonizers, Fleet Foxes.

Grand Archives have been at work on their third record, reportedly titled Villains, and released a free EP of demos in October, which includes "Are We Coming to Get You?", possibly the best track the band's ever recorded, and the most reminiscent of the band's earliest recordings. Drummer Curtis Hall said in an e-mail that he's not sure when the album will be released, and that the band does not yet have a label on board.

"We're writing songs and recording steadily, though," Hall says, "so there's a good chance it could be available as early as this summer."

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