Often referred to as Sub Pop’s “sister label,” Hardly Art is an offshoot of Sub Pop designed to spotlight emerging talent. While the label’s initial focus was local when it started up in 2007, over the past decade it has expanded beyond the Cascade region to welcome artists from all over the United States and abroad to a roster that has grown increasingly varied and eclectic, encompassing the sounds of garage rock, post-punk, surf rock, power pop, electronic, and other debatably useful genre descriptors.
With the goal of cultivating a stable of vital and relatively undiscovered bands, Hardly Art journeyed underground while a booming Sub Pop stayed above the surface (though both operate out of a shared office space in downtown Seattle). Since its inception and immediate worldwide reception as a paradigm-shifting, tastemaking powerhouse (wink), Hardly Art has expanded its staff and broadened its purview along the way to include dubiously profitable ventures like reissues, EPs, one-off seven inches, and cassettes. Hardly Art prides itself on having one of the most diverse catalogs of any label its size.
From its inaugural release (Arthur & Yu’s In Camera) to its most recent, Hardly Art has sought to support new bands in need of a wider audience. Today, Hardly Art continues to embrace the very best of local music – including breakout acts like La Luz, Tacocat, and Chastity Belt – while continuing its mission of fostering new and notable talent wherever it can be found.