As the Posies prepare for the May 20th releaseof their first new album in six years, Solid States, they have embarked upon a guerilla U.S. tour of “Unlikely Places” (the title of their first single). They will be in NYC (at a location known only to ticket holders) on Thursday, May 12th. The show is sold out, but you can grab the record on the 20th. Read about the album below.
Location revealed only to ticket holders
“So many things have changed, either by choice or by circumstance, in the six years between this album and the one before it,” the Posies’ Ken Stringfellow notes while discussing Solid States, the band’s first album of new material since 2010’s acclaimed Blood/Candy.
The album, due out May 20, 2016 on MyMusicEmpire, will be preceded by the Posies’ Solid States Secret Shows tour of the U.S., launching in scenic Van Nuys, Calif. on April 28 and wrapping in Oakland on May 29 (dates below).
“I think it’s our most adventurous record to date,” adds fellow singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Jon Auer, Stringfellow’s longstanding musical partner. “There was the conscious idea to strive for something different from the Posies of past, to use different colors and flavors. That was the plan, but then life had its way with our concepts and schedules, and threw many profound, out-of-the-park curveballs in our direction. By this point, we’d already painted ourselves into a musical corner, which ultimately left us no other option but to figure our way out, bit by bit, wave form by wave form.”
Indeed, Solid States marks a timely creative milestone for the Posies, reinventing their sound while reaffirming the vibrant creative chemistry that’s kept them a vital creative force for nearly three decades. The head-turning 12-song set finds Auer and Stringfellow largely trading the band’s established guitar-based sound for an expanded sonic palette, drawing upon an imaginative array of electronic textures and unconventional rhythmic twists. Such startling new tunes as “We R Power,” “Unlikely Places,” “Scattered,” “Titanic,” “Squirrel vs. Snake” and “Radiance” consistently defy expectations, while maintaining the Posies’ trademark melodic sensibility and vocal harmonies. The new songs, and the retooled sound, reflect the recent changes in the musicians' lives, including the deaths of two longtime band members, drummer Darius Minwalla and bassist Joe Skyward, in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
“We put so much of ourselves into making Solid States, in spite of — and probably because of — all the upheaval we had to deal with,” Auer states. “I personally will never, ever forget this year and the previous year, losing people so close to us. It's a definite ‘before’ and ‘after’ time in life right now to me.”
“We definitely chose to make an album where the guitar was less in front and more of just another tone generator in a field of diverse sounds,” Stringfellow explains, adding, “The title Solid States refers ironically to the shattering of our stylistic habits and personal lives in the years between the this album and the one before it. We decided that the songs would be written with electronic rhythms in place, and we'd add real drums to give it variety, but only after everything else was done.”
In recording Solid States, Auer and Stringfellow also tapped the talents of drummer Frankie Siragusa, who’s also currently touring with the band, along with ex-Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock and singer Gizelle Smith, as well as Auer’s wife Tiz Aramini and Stringfellow's daughter Aden.
“For me it’s very simple,” Stringfellow asserts. “We've had a little success, but not too little so as to become discouraged, and not too much as to become too tied to a given moment’s nostalgia. We seek out challenges and unfamiliar territories. It means there’s development, and a reason to be. I have friends who have a great time playing their hits in casinos and on cruises. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it’s not who we are.”
“When it comes to the Posies,” Auer concludes, “I feel we jump on it and really go for it when it feels like it really needs to happen. We’re still doing it because we’re both still curious to see what happens next.”