Released by Rykodisc for Every Kind Of Light
The Posies are simply one of the most creative, resourceful, and influential bands to emerge from the American DIY underground in the last two decades. When the Posies’ core singer/songwriter partnership of Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer sundered in 1998, fans around the world mourned their breakup.
But now is the time for all Posies people to dry their tears and shed their black garments: This spring Rykodisc will release Every Kind of Light-the first full-strength new album by the Posies since their 1998 swan song Success.
Between then and now, “the Posies had everything that a band that runs the course of its career usually ends up having: a live album, a greatest hits, a box set,” explains Jon Auer. “Somewhere along the line of getting those things together with each other, we became an acoustic duo again-which is how we started playing, nearly 20 years ago. So in essence, we returned to our roots-to use a much-abused phrase-and things just grew exponentially from there.”
With this recording, both Jon and Ken have set aside their prolific solo careers (cf. Ken’s roadwork with R.E.M., Jon’s appearance on the William Shatner/Ben Folds album Has Been, their joint work with the revived Big Star, etc.) to rededicate themselves to the group they co-founded in 1987. Every Kind of Light is the work of a new quartet-with bassist Matt Harris and drummer Darius Minwalla-that is the closest thing to an equal creative partnership in the Posies’ long history. All twelve songs are credited to the four musicians, and the entire album was written-and all basic tracks cut-in three straight weeks of intensive effort at The Soundhouse in Seattle, WA.
“This record was created in a way totally different from any we’ve made before—which was a conscious decision on everyone’s part,” explains Jon Auer. “We wrote it in the studio as we went along, and were forced by circumstance to sink or swim.”
Ken Stringfellow notes: “The first song, ‘Conversations,’ was composed, arranged and recorded on February 1, 2004-and we managed to write a piece of music from scratch, every day for the next twelve days.”
In contrast to the painstaking production of previous Posies platters such as Dear 23 (1990) and Frosting On The Beater (1993), Every Kind Of Light is characterized by the immediacy and excitement of great live rock and roll. “We recorded the majority of this music as four people playing off each other in a room together,” says Jon, “and we tried to keep as much as possible of what we initially put down as a group.”
“Pretty much what you hear on this record is the first or second time we played the music all the way through,” Ken adds, “and it really shows. It’s alive.”
Every Kind Of Light was created with the full participation of the Posies’ new rhythm section. Bassist Matt Harris was recruited from Bay Area band Oranger, and previously played with San Diego pop-punkers Overwhelming Colorfast (1994-99).
Drummer Darius Minwalla has toured and/or recorded with Preston School of Industry, Super De luxe, Harvey Danger, and Jim Carroll. He joined the Posies in early 2001, when Ken and Jon resurrected the band for occasional live performances. “They gave me about 40 songs to learn in not very much time. It was do or die-a lot like the recording of Every Kind of Light, actually.”
As a long-time member of the REM touring band, Ken Stringfellow is “always amazed by how many people come up to me, at clubs and bars all over the world, to say how much they love those old Posies records. So we plan to tour as much as possible-my goal is to capitalize on all that we have built with our fans.
“Plus, we want to build relationships in countries we really didn’t get to visit much before, and deliver a live show that many people who have not seen the band on stage should see. It’s a very different interpretation of our recorded work, with a nice hint of violence and raw power that…well…you’ll just have to see it!”
“It sounds like a cliche, but we’ve reached the point in our career where it’s more inter esting to challenge ourselves, to be different, than to fall back into a comfortable groove or pander to any possible expectations based on our past,” says Jon Auer. “It truly amazes me that we have been around the proverbial block and still can come up with ways to surprise each other.
“The history between us is something that can’t be erased. It just so happened that, beyond the Posies’ history, we found we have a future together.”