|I Never Said I'd Make It Easy|
Ken Stringfellow — I Never Said I'd Make It Easy
¬• "I Never Said I'd Make it Easy: A Ken Stringfellow Collection", to give it it's full title, is a selection of highlights, rarities & covers from Ken Stringfellow's diverse solo catalog. Ken's unique take on songs by Robyn Hitchcock ("Airscape"), Bridget St. John ("Ask Me No Questions"), The Association ("Never My Love") and legendary American rockers The Replacements ("Kids Don't Follow") sit alongside choice tracks from his solo cannon as well as The Posies off–shoot "Private Sides". As an introduction to Stringfellow it's a perfect reflection of his musical dexterity. For fans, it's a chance to hear some formerly obscure tracks with album favorites in a new context.
Born: 30 October 1968 in Los Angeles, CA
Location: Bellingham, Washington ~ Los Angeles, CA
Album release: 30th June 2014
Record Label: Lojinx
01. Any Sign At All 2:38
02. Down Like Me 3:29
03. Find Yourself Alone 3:55
04. Sparrow 3:32
05. Reveal Love 5:05
06. Here's To The Future 3:41
07. Airscape 5:29
08. Don't Break The Silence 4:41
09. Ask Me No Questions 4:39
10. Kids Don't Follow 3:18
11. You Drew 3:06
12. Any Love (Cassandra et Lune) 4:34
13. Known Diamond 5:30
14. Cyclone Graves 3:58
15. Death Of A City 4:20
16. Never My Love 3:41
℗ 2014 Lojinx
•≥ An artist worthy of respect and a listen from any true fan of classic pop...., uniformly flawless — Pitchfork
•≥ Stringfellow is one of the most underrated songwriters of our generation — Billboard
•≥ Stringfellow's clear, composed croon forgives all sins — Rolling Stone
•≥ Lush pop perfection — Mojo
•≥ "Ken Stringfellow is beloved among pop obsessives for his work with the Posies, and he’s been a sideman to the stars, sitting in with R.E.M., Big Star, the Minus 5, the Green Pajamas, the Fastbacks, and many other great acts.
•≥ However, for unknown reasons, his solo career hasn’t attracted the same degree of attention, and for folks who are curious about his work on his own but can’t decide quite where to start, Lojinx Records have come to their aid with I Never Said I’d Make It Easy, a sampler that pulls together 16 songs from Stringfellow’s solo catalog. Of the 16 songs on I Never Said I’d Make It Easy, 12 originally appeared on 1997′s This Sounds Like Goodbye, 2001′s Touched, and 2004′s Soft Commands, while two cuts came from an EP with fellow Posie Jon Auer, one was drawn from the B–side of a rare single, and one track, a low–key cover of the Replacements’ “Kids Don’t Fellow,” is previously unreleased. Melodically speaking, Stringfellow’s solo work isn’t especially far removed from his music with the Posies, but the tunes on I Never Said I’d Make It Easy are recognizably more downbeat than his best-known stuff with the band, and the tone of this music is significantly more dour, with the ache of broken hearts and the bitterness of failed relationships a dominant recurring theme. I Never Said I’d Make It Easy is dominated by bummed-out pop, but it’s great bummed–out pop, with subtly beautiful melodies and intelligent lyrics, while Stringfellow’s production smarts are estimable, blending organic acoustic sounds with a dash of electric guitar grit and a healthy splash of electronic polish, resulting in a powerful and engaging product. “Don’t Break the Silence” and “Any Love (Cassandra et Lune)” are pocket-sized masterpieces, and the closing cover of “Never My Love” manages to sound nearly as lovely as the Association’s original while taking on a smokier, more mature affect. If I Never Said I’d Make It Easy isn’t everything you might need from Ken Stringfellow, it certainly confirms he doesn’t need his many talented partners to make great smart pop music."
•≥ Cette compil n'est pas un "best of" mais rassemble des reprises, des raretés et des versions alternatives de titres faisant partie de la discographie solo de l'ex–Posies. Un très bon album.
•≥ Paradiso In The Moonlight is a limited edition of 300 double vinyl heavyweight LPs capturing the Ken Stringfellow experience live at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, in 2012. It includes a 1080p video download of the entire concert plus mp3 and 24/48 uncompressed audio files. It will not be released on CD.
•≥ Heavyweight double vinyl LP
DISC 1 SIDE A
1 Intro/4am Birds
4 Drop Your Pride
DISC 1 SIDE B
2 Even the Forgers Were Left Fingering the Fakes
3 Jesus Was an Only Child
4 You're the Gold
5 Odorless Colorless Tasteless
DISC 2 SIDE A
1 110 or 220V
2 Any Love (Cassandra et Lune)
3 You're A Sign
4 History Buffs
DISC 2 SIDE B
1 Savior's Hands
2 Find Yourself Alone
3 Known Diamond
4 Doesn't It Remind You of Something?
•≥ "Anytime you assemble a dozen or so great musicians and let 'em rip, the results are bound to have an epic tinge. It's a spectacle just to see that much talent spread across one stage. But this night at Amsterdam's iconic Paradiso venue had another aspect to it — it nearly didn't happen at all. I was coming from a stateside recording session, and between Hurricane Sandy and mechanical delays, my flight barely made it and I barely made those flights. At each airport on the way I was forced into in a full–bore run with all my stuff to get to my gate. Arrive I did, and thank effin G, as the rescheduling of musicians, venue and me was a math problem best left at the outer edges of cloud computing. In my mind, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I almost missed making this happen, and you can see a mix of desperation to capitalize on this unlikely gathering and the sense of triumph where one lone man has overcome the cruelty and caprice of the indifferent gods..., this is not a simulacrum of epic–ness..., it is itself Epic.
•≥ And it rocks. Nearly the complete cast of "Danzig in the Moonlight" is here — the rhythm section of Joost Kroon & JB Meijers; keyboard/accordionist Pim Kops, of Dutch legends De Dijk; the West Side Trio string section, themselves a subset of the venerable Metropole Orchestra; Roland Brunt and Peter van Soest, horn section for De Dijk; Eva Auad, a great artist in her own right on backing vocals; my heavenly honey–haired daughter Aden steps in for some vocals as well, and by great luck, legend of comedic stage and screen Margaret Cho reprises her role as my duet partner, as she does in the LP and video versions of "Doesn't It Remind You of Something". The album was mixed by theLAB who are the team behind Danzig."
•≥ We'll not see these 'lights of Europe' lit again in our lifetime..., but it was perfectly documented this night.
•≥ Ken Stringfellow is co–founder of one of the most critically acclaimed power pop bands of the '90s, the Posies, which he formed in 1989 with Jon Auer. Based in Bellingham, Washington, the two created a demo tape in Auer's parents' basement and sent it to PopLlama Records in Seattle. The tape was well–received, and the duo ultimately released it as the Posies' first album, Failure. They signed with Geffen's DGC label and released three albums that were revered by music critics while going unnoticed by the general public. Upset that the Posies weren't selling as well as DGC's other Seattle–based bands, the label dropped them after the release of the band's third album. The Posies went on to release a final LP, Success, on PopLlama Records, before breaking up in 1998. Both Auer and Stringfellow joined Alex Chilton's Big Star in the early '90s and have pursued solo projects as well.
•≥ Stringfellow moved on to several different projects after the dissolution of the Posies. He formed the now–defunct band Saltine, a promising power pop act that disbanded after releasing only one EP. Stringfellow also played with such bands as Twin Princess (with Seattle artist Bootsy Holler), the Orange Humble Band, Lagwagon, Scott McCaughey's the Minus 5, Chariot, the Disciplines, and R.E.M., with whom he occasionally toured. (Stringfellow also joined the band in the studio to contribute to 2001's Reveal.) Stringfellow has also collaborated in the studio with fellow singer/songwriters Brendan Benson, Michael Cerveris, and Mark Lassiter.
•≥ In addition to continuing his partnership with Jon Auer, Stringfellow has enjoyed a fine career as a solo singer/songwriter. He launched his solo catalog with This Sounds Like Goodbye in 1997, followed by Touched four years later. He released Soft Commands in 2004, having recorded the songs in various studios around the world, while The Sellout Cover Sessions, Vol. 1 allowed him to stretch his legs with a batch of eclectic cover material in 2008. In 2010, Stringfellow and Auer reunited the Posies for a seventh studio album, Blood/Candy, followed in 2012 by a fourth Stringfellow solo outing, Danzig in the Moonlight. A collection of covers, rarities, and outtakes from Stringfellow's solo career, I Never Said I'd Make It Easy, was released in early 2014.
•≥ Ken Stringfellow — musician, songwriter, producer, arranger — has been part of the indie landscape since the debut of his acclaimed band The Posies in 1988. Hailing from the musical hotbed of Seattle at the time when that music scene exploded into national prominence, The Posies went on to sign with Geffen Records and released brilliant, successful albums such as 1993’s legendary "Frosting on the Beater". The band is still active today, having released their seventh album, "Blood/Candy" in 2010...an album heaped with critical praise in the UK press...The Word magazine devoted two pages to a review which called it "a finely calibrated...., dazzling tapestry...just stupidly good".
•≥ In addition to his groundbreaking work with the Posies, Ken was part of rock legends Big Star, one of the most acclaimed and legendary groups of all time, from 1993 until the death of Alex Chilton in 2010. Ken played bass, sang and helped create the band’s 2005 album "In Space", their first since 1978’s timeless "Third/Sister Lovers". He’s still frequently called upon to perform, speak about, and celebrate the music of one of the cornerstones of indie rock.
•≥ Ken also spent ten years on the road and in studio with R.E.M., appearing on two albums (2001’s "Reveal" and 2004’s "Around the Sun"), and propelling the band on keyboards, bass, guitar and accordion during headlining slots at Glastonbury, Rock In Rio, Rock Am Ring, etc as well as on TV shows such as Top of the Pops, Saturday Night Live, Later With Jools Holland and countless others.
•≥ The list of collaborations goes on: guitarist in punk legends Lagwagon; producer/engineer on albums for Damien Jurado, the Long Winters, China’s Hanggai, and dozens more; onstage and on–album appearances with Snow Patrol (keyboards on their landmark "Eyes Open" album), Neil Young, Patti Smith, Mudhoney, Death Cab For Cutie...to list all his work over the years would add up to hundreds of albums and thousands of live appearances.
•≥ Then there’s his solo work. A scant three albums over the last two decades (1997’s "This Sounds Like Goodbye", 2001’s "Touched", and 2004’s "Soft Commands"), all garnering high praise in Pitchfork, Mojo, NME and other incontrovertible indie rock media. The albums mix Ken’s deeply expressed, emotional singing with delicate support: acoustic, electric, electronic, chamber — Stringfellow is adept at many styles. His shows are legendary, pushing minimalism to its core definition, often performing without using the house PA, Ken’s voice soars, cries, leaps from barely audible to room–filling anguish, joy, sorrow and humor. Ken’s live show has been raved about in packed audiences from Lithuania to Lima, from Taipei to Tasmania, from Johannesburg to Trinidad.
•≥ Ken is set release his fourth album, "Danzig in the Moonlight" October 1st on Lojinx in Europe. The album was recorded at the legendary ICP Studios in Brussels, and mixed by up and coming production team TheLAB in Los Angeles. Ken also received contributions from musicians in Mumbai, Italy, Seattle and more; Charity Rose Thielen from buzz band The Head & The Heart joins him on "Doesn't It Remind You of Something" which is what Lee Hazelwood might have co–written with Leonard Cohen. •≥ The album has moments of fearsome electro–tinged menace, balanced with some of the most intensely intimate fragility you're likely to encounter on record this year. •≥ Like Stringfellow's lifestyle it's multi–national, genre–defying, challenging and deeply musical.
|I Never Said I'd Make It Easy|