By Jack Daniel Betz
Veteran rock act the Posies are back on the scene with their first album in five years “Blood/Candy” and will be gracing Houston with their presence at Ground Hall on Nov. 27th. The band has gone through many phases since their inception, starting with grunge and becoming and more eclectic as they went on, mixing power-pop, hard rock, and psychedelia to create a satisfying signature sound. The Posies are one of the few rock bands starting in the late 80s grunge scene that truly stand the test of time. They are by no means stuck in the past.
I got the rare opportunity to do a phoner with Posies masterminds, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow about their latest work and the band’s history. According to both Jon and Ken, their latest album “Blood/Candy” is not just another album but a progression. Auer said that songs are less angst-ridden than early work and is more eclectic. “This album wasn’t a by the numbers type deal so we could just run off to tour again,” said Auer.
Having listened to the album itself, I have to agree with Jon. While the rest of the Posies discography is great too, “Blood/Candy” definitely allowed the band to condense lots of different musical ideas into one album. From the quiet acoustic “Holiday Hours” including electronic accompaniment to the relatively heavy “Plastic Paperback”, the album showcases the Posies’ many rock stylings while still feeling cohesive. This is the kind of album that will grab a young listener who isn’t familiar with the band’s older work and bring them in.
Jon said that the album would expose listeners to all the band has to offer, “it’s like when you go to the grocery store and get a variety pack of chips, you don’t get just one flavor, you get many.” The title, Jon said, is “a study of lightness and dark, it’s a dichotomy.”
Just like the band itself, “Blood/Candy” cannot be put into a box of grunge or power-pop or whatever past descriptors the band has been known by. They’ve managed to mature gracefully: they’re not some burned-out old grunge band but they’re also not part of the rabble of syndicated adult-contemporary garbage either. “The music isn’t corny we’re not corny. I’m not a sentimental guy. One interviewer said to me, ‘remember high school and how great it was?’ and I was like ‘what the fuck are you talking about?’” said Stringfellow.
Both Stringfellow and Auer are solo artists as well. Jon is planning to release some solo work next year and Ken already has some albums out of his own. One of Stringfellow’s albums even inspired some musicians in Oslo a few years ago which resulted in him collaborating with them to create the band The Disciplines who released an album in 2009.
I also learned during the interview that both Auer and Stringfellow were members of the excellent American power-pop act Big Star, with founding member Alex Chilton and original drummer Jody Stephens when the band reformed in 93. Stringfellow said, “I always wondered if I’d get to meet Alex Chilton when I was younger, little did I know I’d spend seventeen years making music with him.”
Pick up tickets for ten dollars apiece here on Wednesday only.