Rockumentaries: Hype!

We’re in the midst of ’90s nostalgia, with bands reuniting all over the place, and Kurt Cobain being mentioned right and left. There’s not a better time to be reminded of the Seattle Sound effect than now.

Hype! documents the emergence of the hip place that Seattle is now considered to be. Beginning by explaining how sleepy Seattle was, and and how the constant rain inspired much of the music. Not only is it depressing when it rains, but it forces people to stay inside, and music was one of the chosen activities to refrain from boredom. Another root cause of Seattle Sound was the frustrations that music fans had that none of their favorite bands toured there, so they had to create their own live music scene.

This is the main cause of the grassroots feel of what became Grunge. Interviewees spoke of the lack of live music venues, and how bands would have to find some place to rent out, and they would take tickets and then go backstage and play.

Sub Pop Records is also discussed a lot, as the name goes hand in hand with Grunge. It was a critical component to making the scene famous, as they commissioned the British journalist to come and write this article that, in essence, started the craze. This one article lifted Seattle to new heights, claiming it as the next big thing, and causing people to flock there not unlike The Haight in the ’60’s.

Then it goes into how any band from Seattle could get a record contract, and how labels were throwing big money at anyone, and that this changed everything. ‘Seattle Sound’ became a section at the record store, and flannels were seen on runways, etc., etc.

And, of course, no Seattle documentary is complete without a piece on Nirvana.

Hype! does a good job of explaining the Seattle music scene phenomenon from an inside out perspective. Both nostalgic and informative, I came out with a whole list of new Grunge-era bands to check out.

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