K Records

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K Records
K Records logo.gif
Founded 1982
Founder Calvin Johnson
Candice Pedersen
Genre Twee Pop
Indie Rock
Punk Rock
Country of origin United States
Location Olympia, Washington
Official website http://krecs.com

K Records is an independent record label in Olympia, Washington, co-founded, owned, and operated by Calvin Johnson, formerly of the bands Cool Rays, Beat Happening, The Go Team, The Halo Benders and presently in the bands Dub Narcotic Sound System and The Hive Dwellers. Inspired by Sun, SST, Rough Trade, Flying Nun Records, CJ Records, Bomp!, Dischord, and many others, Johnson started the label originally with the simple intention of making his friends' music available to the world,[1] but over time its reputation grew.

The K motto is "exploding the teenage underground into passionate revolt against the corporate ogre since 1982." The label has been so influential in anti-corporate independent music and underground DIY punk culture, particularly in the Olympia music scene, that it was the subject of a documentary directed by Heather Rose Dominic entitled The Shield Around the K, with a tagline of "Do It Yourself".[2] Mariella Luz, a long standing employee is currently the general manager.

The "K" originally stood for "knowledge" (as in knowledge of regional underground music scenes and of music in general) [3]

Artists who have worked with K Records[edit]

The following artists have released albums through K Records.


  • Los Campesinos! cite a 'K Records t-shirt' in the song "Knee Deep At ATP", while early single "The International Tweexcore Underground" directly alludes to the label's International Pop Underground.
  • Nothing Painted Blue released a song "K for Karnival" which is partially a tribute to K Records; it repeats "Who put the shield around the K?" several times, referring to the interstate-style shield around the letter K in the K Records logo.
  • Kurt Cobain had the K Records logo tattooed on his forearm, saying it was to "try and remind me to stay a child."[4][5] The song "Lounge Act" on Nevermind references the logo.
  • In 2005, Springfield, Illinois indie band Resident Genius recorded a tribute song called "Calvin J", which contains the line "International Pop Underground/unknowingly broke fresh new ground"
  • The Hole song "Olympia" (credited as "Rock Star" on Live Through This) is a reference to the influence of Calvin Johnson and K Records on the Olympia music scene.
  • The Norwich Pop Underground Convention (2003-2007) was based on the attitudes and ethics of K's International Pop Underground Convention.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Delusions of Adequacy
  2. ^ The Shield Around the K (2000) (V)
  3. ^ Arnold, Gina. "Route 666: On the Road to Nirvana". St. Martins Press; 1993.
  4. ^ Sandford, Christopher (2004). Kurt Cobain. New York: Carroll & Graf. p. 63. ISBN 9780786713691. 
  5. ^ True, Everett (2009). Nirvana: The Biography. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780786733903. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Baumgarten, Mark; Stella Marrs (foreword) (2012). Love rock revolution : K Records and the rise of independent music. Seattle: Sasquatch Books. ISBN 1570618224. 

External links[edit]