Before the Pacific Northwest’s music scene was taken to insane heights by the likes of NirvanaSub Pop, and Grunge hype, Olympia’s K Records was drawing up the blueprint that would help shape the culture to come. Founded by Calvin Johnson in 1982, the label became a benchmark for DIY aesthetics. Many of the albums released by K have a blatantly lo-fi sound, having been recorded in non-traditional studios with little to no budget.

Beat Happening “Indian Summer”

In spite of the label’s initial lack of resources, it slowly reached cult status on the merit of it’s releases. The low-budget confinements helped to shape a unique sound that permeated many K releases and helped to redefine what an acceptable recording was for independent artists.

Jeffrey Lewis Band tells the story of K Records

In the 1990s, K started putting out more records from outside of the northwest. Some of the notable bands that released music on K during this time were The Make-Up, Thee Headcoats, Built to Spill, Fifth Column and Beck.

K is still rolling on and still living up to it’s motto: “Exploding the teenage underground into passionate revolt against the corporate ogre since 1982”. The documentary, The Shield Around The Kis worth checking out if you want the full story.

Check out some more of K’s videos (1999 to present in chronological order):

The Crabs “Tumbling Away”

Heavenly “She Says”

The Microphones “Atmosphere”

Jeremy Jay “Airwalker”

LAKE “Within/Without”

– Submitted by Justin Main, Music Design