Amidst the Seattle grunge-rock surge of the late 1980s and early ’90s, the Posies struck their own idiosyncratic path. In 1988, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, two indie-pop prodigies from Bellingham, Washington, released their homemade album debut, Failure—on cassette. Still in their teens, Auer and Stringfellow reframed their influences—the Beatles, Beach Boys, XTC, R.E.M., Talking Heads, the Smiths, the Replacements, Hüsker Dü—into a precocious collection of deftly crafted, infectiously alive songs.
The Posies’ debut provided bright, much-acclaimed contrast to the dark and wrenching music that made Seattle famous. In 1990, major label Geffen Records released the band’s second album, Dear 23. The bigger-budgeted follow-up fully realized the promise of Failure. And by then Auer and Stringfellow had discovered Big Star, a major new influence. The long-disbanded cult favorite from Memphis, Big Star had featured Alex Chilton. A star in the 1960s with the Box
Tops, Chilton moved to New Orleans in 1992. From 1993 until Chilton’s death in 2010, Auer and Stringfellow joined original Big Star members Chilton and Jody Stephens on stage for reunion shows.
Geffen released two more Posies albums, 1993’s Frosting on the Beater, the band’s biggest commercial success, and 1996’s Amazing Disgrace. In 2018, the Posies are marking their 30th anniversary with a