It’s officially been 30 years since Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow, high school mates from Bellingham WA, USA, recorded and released “Failure”, a home recorded, self-released cassette that had the improbable fate of landing the band two commercial radio hits and a record deal w the David Geffen Company, where they became labelmates of Sonic Youth, Nirvana & Teenage Fanclub. Now with a legacy of eight critically lauded albums (their latest, Solid States was released in 2016), a loyal population of fans around the globe, and a body of work with such classic alternative/indie anthems as “Dream All Day”, “Solar Sister”, “Coming Right Along” and many more, the band is still active and looking forward to its fourth decade in music.
The band’s ’90s catalogue is set to be re-released in 2018 by Omnivore Records, and there are plans to start working on a new album soon after. The band has survived the deaths of two longtime members in the last 3 years: bassist Joe Skyward and drummer Darius Minwalla; despite that, they managed to stage a brilliant comeback in 2016 with drummer Frankie Siragusa and do several sold out tours doing pop up shows — self-produced concerts in improvised venues and unlikely spaces; indie rock raves, if you will.
For their 30th Anniversary, Omnivore Records will re-release the band’s crucial 1990s catalog — Dear 23, Frosting on the Beater, and Amazing Disgrace, as double CDs replete with an astounding number of previously unreleased bonus cuts, and also as double 45 RPM high fidelity LPs. The band is currently running a Pledge Music campaign (www.pledgemusic.com/projects/the-posies) for pre-ordering the three albums.
Radiohead mentioned to Ken one night out in the pub (in Hollywood, tho) that “Frosting on the Beater” was the most played album in the van during the band’s first American tour; Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody & Beach Slang’s James Alex, two name but two, have each put that album in their personal top ten. “Frosting” encapsulates all the elements that make the band timeless — the two-voices-as-one interplay of Auer and Stringfellow; thoughtful and literate lyrics; broiling guitars married to shimmering melodies.
If the band was out of step with its more brutal Seattle compatriots 25 years ago, it has served them well — the times, at last, have caught up to their vision. To take this celebration around the globe, the Posies, who have had a few lineup changes over the years (always based around the founding duo of Auer & Stringfellow) will be on tour as the 1992-1994 lineup that made Frosting on the Beater — Jon & Ken will be complemented by drummer Mike Musburger and bassist Dave Fox. It’s been almost a quarter century since this quartet has been on the road, and recent warm up shows have been as explosive as those played by the twenty-somethings of yore. Catch the band on tour this spring in North America, and this fall in Europe — their time is now, again.
Rock trio Porcupine organically forges its singular brand of Rock’n’Roll reminiscent of the late-90s alternative without compromise. Un-yielded by what’s trendy, Casey Virock (guitars/vocals) with Greg Norton (bass) and Ian Prince (drums) derive some of their inspiration from 70’s classic rock and 60’s British psychedelica, resulting in a Swervedriver meets Queens of The Stone Age type sound.
Porcupine was founded in early 2006 by Casey Virock. Hoping to spring board off recent success from his former band Space Bike, including opening slots for Frank Black, The Descendants, The Melvins, The Jesus Lizard and Everclear, Porcupine began touring and playing the Midwest. Ian Prince has been supplying the backbone for top-notch indie bands like Story of the Sea, Houston and Kid Dakota for well over a decade. Possessing the perfect combination of play-for-the-song sensibility and an “all or nothing” attitude, Prince is an undeniable powerhouse on the drums.
Over the last 10 years Porcupine has continued to build momentum. They have released two full length LP’s, 2 EPs, multiple singles, a record charting at #115 in the CMJ top 200, opening slots with the Meat Puppets, Mission of Burma, Shiner, The Life and Times, and songs featured on T.V. shows, such as, The Real World, Best Ink, and The Challenge. The band is currently working on a follow up to their 2015 EP, Carrier Wave, which was recorded by the legendary Steve Albini.
Whether you’re talking about her as a songwriter, guitarist or vocalist, one thing is indisputable: Hamilton’s Terra Lightfoot is a ferocious talent. Her songs tap into the raw emotion of hearts supercharged by love, lust, loneli- ness and temptation. Her playing melds expert finger-picking and distorted, hook-heavy melodies. And her elemental voice commands attention and awe, whether on slow-burning soul ballads or hard-charging rock numbers.
On stages in France, the UK and across Canada, Lightfoot has performed alongside heavyweights like Emmylou Harris, Ron Sexsmith, Gordon Lightfoot, Sloan, Arkells, Basia Bulat, Albert Lee, James Burton, Whitehorse, The Sadies, Steve Strongman, Monster Truck and Daniel Lanois. She also stays busy as part of the country band Dinner Belles. In writing and performing Every Time My Mind Runs Wild, Lightfoot set out to push her limits as a performer and challenge herself creatively. Where her debut was given to slower, softer songs and a subdued vibe, Lightfoot’s new album crackles with immediacy and demands attention. From the moment you put it on, the album announces Lightfoot’s arrival as a confident and natural lead performer.
DJ JAKE RUDH (TRANSMISSION)
Former Radio K, REV 105, NPR alum and present host on 89.3 the Current, Jake’s been voted “best DJ” in the Twin Cities by the readers & critics of City Pages magazine ten years running (2003-2012) and one of Star Tribune’s “Artists of the Year” (2012). His long-running “Transmission” dance night has been a weekly staple on the Minneapolis scene bringing a mixture of mod, glam & punk to post-punk, new wave, synth & indie rock for over a decade.