The Posies’ 1988 debut is about to work its magic all over again. Little did Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow know that when they dropped off their cassette to Scott McCaughey (R.E.M., The Minus 5, Baseball Project), the clerk at their favorite record store (who happened to do A&R for the indie label PopLlama), that a power-pop dynasty would begin.
Originally released by the band on homemade, hand-dubbed cassettes, then issued on LP (with one track removed for the then-current time constraints), and later on CD, Failure made the indie-rock scene take notice. On August 19, 2014, Omnivore Recordings will reissue this landmark album, complete with eight bonus tracks, including one available for the first time.
The Posies will shortly announce live dates surrounding the reissue.
Housed in a digipak, the Failure expanded reissue contains the original 12 songs, plus bonus material from the highly sought-after out-of-print 2000 box set At Least At Last, as well tracks from the Spanish only 15th anniversary edition — plus, one track recently located in The Posies’ extensive archives. The booklet contains press clippings and essays from 1988, as well as updated messages from McCaughey and the band.
This 2014 edition sees the original 12-track playlist restored and available on vinyl for the first time since its original issue (and cut by Kevin Gray). The LP (initial pressing on colored vinyl) also includes a download card for the entire CD program.
While Auer and Stringfellow have continued on — as members of the reunited Big Star, as The Posies and as solo artists — the journey began at Failure. Step back in time and hear the future.
According to McCaughey in the liner notes, “Failure still amazes me today — its freshness undiminished by anything recorded before or since. At the time, we thought, “These two kids made this on their own in a parental basement?” But it’s more than that. Sure, there are the songs, the musicianship, the making-the-most-of-an-8-track-and-a couple-of-microphones — all those aspects figure in, and the sheer talent on display is undeniable. But it’s more the feeling I get of two people creating a complete, coherent work, for the first time, with such exuberance and wonder, and really just doing it for themselves. Most bands only get to make one record like that; then come managers, contracts, lawyers, accountants, tour budgets, mountains of cocaine, brown cheeses and Bordeaux, pressure, expectations. That The Posies handled subsequent success with a minimum of fisticuffs and still harmonize like famous brothers all these years later is a beautiful thing. This is where it started, and it’s still where it’s at!”
Adds Stringfellow, “Twenty-seven years after we started the initial sessions for Failure, I’m still astonished at what this humble recording accomplished and set in motion. For all its quirks, much care went into its creation. And what I think sparks people’s affection for this album is maybe one thing above the others: you can hear two very young people unselfconsciously discover their sound, making a real record for the first time in their lives. What we didn’t know then didn’t matter — in fact, you could say that everything we have done since has been somewhat contaminated by ever-wider knowledge, worldliness, and comparative analysis of the accomplishments of others.”
Blind Eyes Open
The Longest Line
Like Me Too
I May Hate You Sometimes
Believe in Something Other (Than Yourself)
At Least for Now
What Little Remains
Believe in Something Other (Than Yourself) (Live)
I May Hate You Sometimes (Demo)
Paint Me (Demo)
Like Me Too (Demo
Alison Hubbard (Instrumental)
After Many a Summer Dies the Swan (Instrumental)
Blind Eyes Open (Instrumental Demo)
At Least for Now (Instrumental Demo)