As a piece of musical vaporware it never rivaled Smile or Chinese Democracy, but during the long wait for its release, Jon Auer’s first solo album acquired a mythic status among power-pop fans. Auer began working on the brand-new Songs From the Year of Our Demise (Pattern 25) in 1999, just after the breakup of his band the Posies, though in the past seven years he’s kept busy with other projects, including the recording of a Posies reunion album, last year’s Every Kind of Light, and a slot in the re-formed Big Star. He also released a trio of solo EPs–the covers set 6 1/2, a split album with his old bandmate Ken Stringfellow called Private Sides, and the import-only six-song disc The Perfect Size–while he toiled on what he considers his solo debut. Auer performed and recorded Songs From the Year of Our Demise entirely by himself, and it’s well worth the wait: his intricately melodic tunes are more mature than the Posies’ shimmering, crystalline anthems, and he indulges a mordant wit and matte black worldview that’s a few shades darker than his old band’s wistful melancholy. Auer divorced and remarried while making the album, and those changes seem to be reflected in the lyrics to the opener, “Six Feet Under” (“It’s OK, yeah it’s all right / We can dig our graves tonight”); throughout the album he sounds like he’s taken to heart Elvis Costello’s line about being exclusively motivated by revenge and guilt. The hooks and melodies aren’t quite as immediate as any of the Posies’ peak moments, but they sound more meaningful and potentially enduring. Auer is touring solo; local orch-pop maven Andrew Morgan opens. Wed 5/17, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tom Hanser.