The Young Fresh Fellows have been around since the early 80’s, making records with Conrad Uno in his Egg Studios before most kids today even existed. As local lore states, they were formed in a garage, or a basement, or both. Influenced by the Sonics, but with a sense of humor, the band originally started out as a trio led by Scott McCaughey, but later becoming a four piece and somewhere along the way recruiting Fastback Kurt Bloch. Some of the humor in their songs may be a little dated as far as pop culture goes, who remembers Amy Grant? If you want to see what you missed before you were alive, just want to relive old times, or want a quick history lesson in Seattle rock, you should make your way over to the Tractor in Ballard today (19 June) to catch a rare glimpse of a Seattle institution that was an institution before Sub Pop, grunge, pastoral folk and no beer on the stage were institutions in this town. The Fellows were writing funny topical songs before They Might Be Giants were out of high school. They kind of immortalized the Pacific Northwest for me with their first album The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest and it’s tourist promotion-like narration. The songs were always short concise power pop nuggets that put a smile on your face or better, made you bust out laughing.
The Fellows have been inactive for quite a while, with Scott McCaughey spending his time playing bass for Robyn Hitchcock and his other band the Minus 5, and Kurt Bloch busy with his new band Thee Sgt. Major III. It seems like the guys have set aside some time to record a new album, their first since 2001’s Because We Hate You. They’ve christened it I think This Is, and they’ve got Yep Roc to release it and Robyn Hitchcock to produce it. Since lead Fellow Scott McCaughey plays bass in Robyn’s band the Venus 3, so it’ really no surprise he got his friend to produce the record. Fellow Venus 3 guitarist Pete Buck also makes an appearance on the new album. The record comes out on 7 July, and in celebration, the not so Young Fresh Fellows are playing two, and only two shows. The first one is tomorrow night at the Tractor in Ballard and the second is Saturday night at Dante’s down in Portland. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hichcock and/or Buck make an appearance at the Tractor tomorrow night. It should be a trip!
You can stream (and buy) the new record in its entirety over at Yep Roc. And in case that’s not enough here are a bunch of classic Young Fresh Fellows songs to get your butt over to the Tractor tomorrow night.
mp3: YFF – How Much About Last Night Do You Remember? (from Topsy Turvey)
mp3: YFF – Searchin’ USA (from Topsy Turvey)
mp3: YFF – Amy Grant (from The Men Who Loved Music)
mp3: YFF – Beer Money (from The Men Who Loved Music)
mp3: YFF – Rock ‘n’ Roll Pest Control (from The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest)
mp3: YFF – Young Fresh Fellows Theme (from The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest)
mp3: YFF – Taco Wagon (from This One’s For the Ladies)