As I’ve recounted many times, by the time I got myself employed in commercial radio the airwaves were swamped with the vestiges of the early-nineties grunge explosion. Tragedy meant Nirvana was no longer around, and many of the other bands that helped launch “The Seattle Sound” were similarly winding down, leaving playlists to be filled by their woebegone descendants. The long smear of gloppy, buzzy guitars that filled my consultant-designed on air shifts made me long for those few instances when aural artifact of my college radio days somehow slipped in, like a superhero momentarily coming to the rescue. It didn’t even matter if it wasn’t one of my favorite bands or a selection from my preferred album. Just being reminded that there was once a time when variety was a priority in designing a playlist was enough for me.
The Posies wasn’t necessarily one of my priority bands when I was at the college radio station. And when I did play them, I defaulted without question to their lush, beautifully Beatlesque debut, Dear 23. There was no way anything off that was going to be available to me in the commercial radio station’s booth. Their 1993 sophomore effort, however, yielded a modest hit in lead single “Dream All Day.” That made it fair game. So every once in a while, I was directed to pull Frosting on the Beater off the shelf. Before playing it, I probably should have offered some amount of assurance to the anxious listeners that the bludgeoning comfort of another Bush track from Sixteen Stone would be arriving momentarily.
What I really wanted to do, what every instinct I had as a programmer was virtually demanding that I do, was to dig deeper into that album. I wanted to play something else, demonstrating to the listeners — the few of them that might be open to any such demonstration, anyway — that there’s was more to record than the one “hit” they knew. It almost didn’t matter which song. It’s not as if there was a track I considered a hidden gem, something I longed to share with the world. I just wanted the equivalent of dropping the needle on every track until I found the song that felt just right for the moment. I couldn’t do that then, but, in my regular Friday digital manner, I can do it now.
Listen or download –> The Posies, “Earlier Than Expected”
(Disclaimer: It appears to me that much of the Posies catalog is out of print. Dear 23 seems to be available as a vinyl reissue and there is a “greatest hits” collection out there. If you can purchase one of those from your favorite local, independently-owned record store, you should definitely do so. Give it as a gift. Or don’t. But spend some money in one of those shops this holiday season. I don’t believe “Earlier Than Expected,” the track on which I dropped my metaphorical needle today, is available on any of the releases that can be purchased as a physical item. Therefore, I share it here with the belief that doing so causes no undue fiscal harm to the artist or the proprietor of the store referenced earlier in this parenthetical act of hopeful ass-covering. Regardless, I will gladly remove the track from the interweb if asked to do so by any entity or individual with due authority to make such a request.)