7 Year Bitch. Photo by Lance Mercer

7 Year Bitch. Photo by Lance Mercer

After moving offices every few years, Scott Blum finally got the courage

After moving offices every few years, Scott Blum finally got the courage to dive into the box of digital audio tapes (DATs) he’d been carting around for two decades. The box was overflowing with several hundred live recordings that had been streamed over the Internet in the mid-’90s from Moe’s Mo’Roc’N Cafe on Capitol Hill, the precursor to Neumos, and one of the era’s live music hotspots.Before there was Spotify or YouTube or even MySpace, Blum’s iMusic was at the epicenter of streaming media, offering rabid music fans the ability to hear live shows over the Internet for free. An iMusic profile in Seattle Weekly from the time called the company “The MTV of the Internet,” and Moe’s founder Jerry Everard says both bands and fans were excited about the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of a new technology. “It was a unique thing,” he says, “and I think that was something people wanted to be a part of, this Internet revolution that was happening.”Fast forward 20 years—Moe’s is long gone and iMusic is owned by Apple. “I was expecting it to be more of a nostalgia trip,” Blum says of his eventual descent into the DAT archive. “But [Moe’s] booked a lot of artists that ended up being important and truly standing the test of time.”After listening to a few dozen shows, one in particular caught Blum’s ear: a 1996 gig from Seattle’s all-girl grunge act 7 Year Bitch. Blum called his old friend Everard, now a partner in Neumos, and based on the strength of what he’d heard on those tapes, the two decided to start a record label dedicated to releasing some of those rarely-heard recordings.”Listening to a live show,” says Blum, “it usually falls into one of three different categories. The first category is, ‘Wow, this sounds just like the album.’ Another is, ‘Wow, this isn’t quite as good as the album.’ And the third is, ‘The album sucks compared to this experience.'” Blum says the 7 Year Bitch recording fell into the latter category, which made them the perfect candidate to be the first release from MOE Recordings, especially because they were from Seattle.”Their albums were good but their live shows were amazing,” he says. “I thought it was going to be worthy to start with an artist that was actually bringing something to the marketplace that wasn’t nostalgia and was really valuable for music fans in general.”7 Year Bitch’s Live at Moe will be released on January 15, and the pair hopes to follow it up with as many as half a dozen other records this year. Blum says the biggest challenge of the project thus far has also been the biggest joy. “A lot of these people are different than they were in the ’90s and most of it has to do with the fact that they aged. The [bands] that aren’t active anymore broke up for a reason. Having them go through that experience and reliving the ’90s again, reliving breaking up as a band, reliving why they loved each other and came together in the first place, balanced with the fact that they’ve grown up, is more of an emotional and spiritual journey than it is a business deal.”

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