Posies Spring From Seattle’s Fertile Soil Pop Music – 1991

By Jean Rosenbluth, The Los Angeles Times, 18 January 1991

The Posies would like it known that they do not sound like the Hollies-at least not any more than they do a dozen other pretty-pop bands. “It’s in every article about us that we’re like them,” says Jon Auer, one of the Seattle outfit’s two singer-guitarist-songwriters.

“I can see it a little, because we sing, we harmonize, we write-for lack of a better term-pop songs in the lost-art style of verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge. But you can name a lot of bands that we sound like at different points.”

“You listen to so many different things and get inspiration from them,” adds Ken Stringfellow, the Posies’ other main songwriter, “that it almost becomes like a collage.”

Anyone who has ever heard the Posies perform live (they open for the Replacements tonight at the Hollywood Palladium and Sunday at UC San Diego) would be more likely to compare them to Husker Du than to the Hollies. The grunge-guitar wash of sound that emanates from the four players on stage bears little resemblance to the finely textured tunes found on the group’s new DGC Records album, “Dear 23.”

“We had to make a record like that, because we’ve always really loved records that had good production, where it wasn’t an afterthought,” Auer says.

The Posies handpicked John Leckie to produce “Dear 23” based on his work with XTC, House of Freaks and the Stone Roses. The next album, Stringfellow says, “will be like a blind fury, in counterpoint to the almost microscopically oriented way we were with this one.”

The precious production values of “Dear 23” also stand in sharp contrast to those of the group’s first album, “Failure.” Stringfellow and Auer recorded it themselves at Auer’s father’s eight-track home studio, releasing it on cassette with covers they hand-cut with X-Acto knives. Total cost: $50.

Picked up in late 1988 by the Seattle-based independent label PopLlama, “Failure” quickly propelled the Posies-by then a foursome with the addition of Mike Musburger on drums and Rick Roberts on bass-to the forefront of the burgeoning Seattle scene and brought major labels calling.

The Posies insist that the much-hyped Seattle scene had little to do with their development or initial success. “It’s not like we feel we’re part of this big movement that’s breaking new ground or anything,” Stringfellow says. “The scene stuff was all attached after the fact. We would have done-and would be doing-the same thing if we were from Cleveland.”