Compiling the best of Damon & Naomi's records over the course of four albums on the venerable Sub Pop label, The Sub Pop Years commemorates a grand chapter in the career of a band who never planned an existence in the first place. After More Sad Hits (just reissued last year on 20/20/20), the duo was ready to call it a day and concentrate on their book company. However, they were convinced to continue onward by Sub Pop poobah Jonathan Poneman, who saw great potential in their continued collaboration. It was not the first time (nor last) his hunch proved right. For the next ten years, Damon & Naomi developed from a simple recording project to a fully fleshed-out band, with a knack for articulating sounds and accumulating collaborators that continues today.
Every early Damon & Naomi release was an event by virtue of its very existence, and Wondrous World of Damon & Naomi was no exception. It was not the final signature to an abridged letter, like More Sad Hits was, but rather marked new forays down future pathways. An eagerness to experiment with folk music formats from around the world, combined with the developing abilities of two true artists, plays out on this compilation, displaying the duo's growing sound. Each album is indeed a leap, the most notable being With Ghost, where a friendship with the Japanese psych band Ghost led to one of the great cross-cultural collaborations in the history of independent music. For a couple of musicians who prided themselves on a minimal delivery, their goals went up against the opportunity of having a large ensemble at their disposal. This, along with their growing comfort as band leaders, becomes clear upon a full listen to Sub Pop Years. What emerges is something real and human, with both foibles and innovations, resulting in a unique honesty both awe-striking and endearing to witness.
Damon & Naomi continue recording and performing today, ever more focused on pushing themselves toward new challenges within humble settings. The specially priced Sub Pop Years captures an important part of that journey with a conciseness and breadth that will enrich both a longtime fan and the first-time listener. As the CD is being released simultaneously with a DVD compiling live performances and videos, as well as a special reissue of all three Galaxie 500 albums (the first reissues ever of the vinyl), The Sub Pop Years is part of a larger look back before the band finishes up their new record, slated for release in 2010.