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New Works Sprout From Disbanded Posies – 2000

 

By Sarah Rodman, The Boston Herald, 18 August 2000

As a rule, when bands break up, they stop making records.

The Posies disbanded in 1998, after releasing five mildly successful indie and major label albums filled with elegant and irresistibly catchy pop music.

Since then the two primary members of the Seattle group, singer- songwriters Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer have released seven discs worth of music, which is, Stringfellow astutely notes, “more than we put out when we were together.”

“It all kind of just happened,” says Stringfellow, who comes with Auer to the Middle East Upstairs for two acoustic shows Tuesday. The deluge began with last year’s electric live album, “Alive Before the Iceberg,” and the acoustic “In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Plugging In.”

Additionally, Stringfellow says their former label Universal called “out of the blue and said, `Hey, we want to do a best of,’ so that came out in March.” “Dream All Day” includes the band’s almost popular singles, such as the title track and “Golden Blunders,” later covered by Ringo Starr.

“I know that in our contract it said they had the right to assemble a best of,” says Stringfellow, “but I didn’t think they would actually do it since we didn’t have any charting singles. It’s very flattering.”

Commercial viability notwithstanding, later this month the group will release an elaborately packaged four-disc box set, “At Least at Last” that will include demos, b-sides, live tracks and even Muzak versions of several of their songs, which Stringfellow calls “a total compliment.”

Stringfellow and Auer have also released solo albums and served as honorary Big Star members, touring with Alex Chilton on and off during the past few years. Stringfellow however, has perhaps become best known as an adjunct member of R.E.M. He was recently in the studio with the group working on its 12th album.

Due in the spring, Stringfellow says when he was working with the group, “all the songs were really epic, it’s really big.” He also says the band is harking somewhat back to the style of its 1992 album “Automatic for the People,” as well as using “totally weird sounds and weird and unusual textures like they always do.”

After the R.E.M. work, Stringfellow doesn’t rule out future work with Auer as the Posies. He’s just going to see what happens.

“The thing about being together or split up is we’re neither, we’re just on tour,” he says. “There’s no official delineation. I don’t have any plans, it’s totally possible, it could also never happen. Serendipity is my life.”