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Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Songs of the week"

The word “posse” peaked in cultural usage probably around 1993, when Mario Van Peebles’s all-black western Posse was in theaters and the original Arsenio Hall Show was one year away from cancellation. That year is also a good frame of reference for the charmingly low-key indie-pop band Posse, whose “Shut Up” derives from early-’90s cool-guy bachelor-pad classics like Yo La Tengo’s Painful and Luna’s Penthouse. “Shut Up” is the second-longest cut on Posse’s new album, Soft Opening, and a solid no. 1 for the album’s “coolest song with the coolest-sounding guitars.” - Grantland

"Rising: Posse"

Don't let their slacker guitar jams fool you: Seattle's Posse just might be the hardest working indie rockers in the Pacific Northwest. They talk about life's little solutions, ridiculous romance, and loving Prince and Yo La Tengo. - Pitchfork Media

"Radar: 31 New Bands to Discover"

Posse are catching people's attention with their debut album "Soft Opening", which is available on import now. Lead singer Sacha provides vocals on the band's Velvet Underground-esque songs and also runs Posse's Bad Head* label from her living room. A trip to the UK is being mooted, with the frontwoman telling NME she's keen to visit tourist hotspot Godlaming in Surrey, where she once holidayed as a child.

*should read Beating A Dead Horse - NME (Print issue: March 22, 2014)

"Listen: Posse "Interesting Thing No. 2" Soft Opening arrives March 4 via BADH"

Seattle-based trio Posse is prepping its sophomore album, Soft Opening, for arrival on March 4 via Beating A Dead Horse Records (BADH). Interesting Thing No. 2 is that album’s opening track. The scruffy pop melody is propped up by call-and-response vocals from guitarists Paul Wittmann-Todd and Sacha Maxim, and scratchy percussion from drummer Jon Salzman. I’m guessing the first interesting thing is the effortless finger-plucking here, and the second interesting thing is some secret as to why these guys aren’t huge yet. Listen in below. - CMJ

"Essential New Tracks"

Posse - Shut Up
In 'Shut Up', from Seattle trio Posse's second album, 'Soft Opening', singer Paul Wittman-Todd wearily looks forward to no longer having to deal with other people's shit and getting a moment's peace to himself, finally. He tells the story like Lou Reed after a long day, but 'Shut Up' really sings when his mind is left to wander, illustrated by one of the most affective guitar solos in recent memory; forlorn and questing, like Yo La Tengo taking on Television. - NME (Print issue: March 15, 2014)

"Best New Track: "Shut Up""

When Posse remark that their sound is inspired by “Delay pedals and 27 years of disappointment,” it’s meant to be a little funny, but also, not: a glimmer of humor shining out from a mountain of shit. That little shine can be enough, even if it’s surrounded by a day-to-day life of putting up with the most banal people performing the most banal actions. On “Shut Up,” from the Seattle trio’s Soft Opening, singer Paul Wittman-Todd sings about a relationship straight from an Adrian Tomine comic, marked mostly by mundanity and the suffering of endless indignities. For now, he’s stuck fantasizing about the perfect moment when he can tell the other person to stop talking.
Underneath his matter-of-fact singing, a lone guitar blooms and ripples outward in mournful sublimation of the heart’s true desire. It’s easy to be glib on paper, especially when the hurt is real, and harder yet to convince people you contain worlds without using words. Posse can do the heavy lifting, though: Shut up, and you’ll hear it. - Pitchfork Media

"Debut: Posse, "Interesting Thing No. 2" and Band Interview"

Posse's album Soft Opening already has the Northwest and everywhere else talking. Between emails, texts, and cables sent between music lovers, writers, editors, and music makers alike; there is something undeniably incredible about what the trio of Sacha Maxim, Paul Wittmann-Todd, & Jon Salzman have. With Soft Opening slated for release March 4 from Beating a Dead Horse Records (BADH), it already stands as another piece of the modern American indie canon that checks the releases from the rosters of labels like, Help Yourself and End of Time Records as contemporaries. On the premiere of "Interesting Thing No. 2", get ready for groves of gorgeous guitars and vocals on another stellar gem from Seattle's latest mode of proliferation.

"Interesting Thing No. 2" opens up Soft Opening, and sets the tone with a strumming gallery set of guitars put to exchanges of thoughts and casual conversation. The interest between the soft sea of electric chords and the lyrical dialogues between Maxim and Wittmann-Todd capture the mind with experiences and expressions that 25 years plus of living and learning can show. And like the way those gently touched strings spring in the back and forth warmth, so do the call and response deliveries between Sacha and Paul. "I can see it by the desperate look you have—in your eyes. You turned 25 so many things you haven't tried, you said you thought I was boring", Sacha begins, with Paul's response of, "maybe true". The two keep the singing understated, but with a twinkle in the eye glimmer that they're on to something different and new. The honest and half-awake song presents the new possibilities of new-found and just realized discoveries. Different but similar existences are acknowledged through out Sacha Maxim's warm hearted appeal in the lines of, "but maybe baby it's a different thing with you," "we leave at different times and get up in the same place" and the joys and pains shared between two people who are, "trying to be different, baby." Let "Interesting Thing No. 2" begin your entrance into Soft Opening, a labor of love Posse described to us as the result of, "delay pedals, and 27 years of disappointment."

The other night after band practice, Posse joined us for an intimate, roundtable discussion session.

From your 2012 self-titled, an EP of Smog covers, to Soft Opening; describe for us Posse's creative road of discoveries and determination.

We don't think we have much of a story. The first record was more of a, 'get in the studio and get it done' kind of thing. This one is more of a 'spend a year arguing' kind of thing.

"Interesting Thing No. 2", this song is some guitar picking bit of instant genius. What was the trick of that whole making effortless sounding moving of a kind of levity that really is masterful, because you all make it look easy! Also not unlike what you all do on the sleepy headed but feisty, "Afraid".

We had our own recording setup for this record, so we had time to wait for a decent take. That's probably why this record is a bit more laid back than the last one.

Tell us about the expressive dichotomies of placing two gorgeous, and semi-opposing songs with "Talk" and "Shut Up" next to each other.

We got a cheap laugh out of the differences in the names of the songs. We prefer to alternate between Sacha and Paul's vocals when possible, hence the track order.

You all have described Soft Opening as "songs are blankets designed with soft colors and graceful edges, made to lay over pits of anger and disappointment." How do you all create this kind of mercurial sound?

Delay pedals, and 27 years of disappointment.

Can you all describe what has been happening in Seattle lately? It seems like you all are enjoying a power surging renaissance with the likes of Dude York, Chastity Belt, Wimps, etc, all doing cool things.

We love those bands. There's always a rad scene in Seattle, though people aren't always paying attention. Other cool bands we like are Wishbeard, Neighbors, and Arbitron.

Things end with notes on the more romantic side of things with "2U", "Cassandra B.", and "Zone". Any reason do go out on a semi-sentimental note? I love that line in "Zone" that goes, "but it's....okay, because your tits were on a TV show today."

Jon and Sacha are definitely romantic types, though Paul wrote all those songs, so, who knows?

Spring and summer plans for Posse?

Just writing and playing shows. Sacha might get gay-married (fingers crossed).

Posse's album Soft Opening will be available March 4 from Beating a Dead Horse Records. - Impose Magazine

"Pitchfork Review - Soft Opening"

Posse does not have some kind of marvelous origin story, there is no blood oath or volatile, undeniable chemistry. The songwriting duo of Paul Wittmann-Todd and Sacha Maxim met during a show at a Seattle lesbian bar and decided to collaborate because the former "didn't have a lot of other options." On their sophomore album Soft Opening, Wittmann-Todd and Maxim exhibit that same kind of non-committal camaraderie, as their vocals do not harmonize or intertwine or do battle; most of the time, they exchange one-sided conversations, acknowledging each other and going about their business. Every instrument is given enough space to do whatever it wants as long as it cleans up after itself. It's the musical equivalent of roommates who randomly linked up on Craigslist and totally worked things out. Whatever qualities this might suggest in Posse as people lend a lived-in bumminess to Soft Opening, imbuing its no-frills, rumpled indie rock with a discernible point of view and more importantly, a personality.
That’s important, because this is really no-frills indie rock. The most notable studio tricks Posse employ are a fuzz pedal, a tambourine, and the occasional echo on Maxim’s vocals. Either Wittmann-Todd is playing an extremely avant-garde solo during a portion of “Jon” or they simply didn’t feel like overdubbing a flubbed take. On the up-tempo numbers, Posse recall a rainy day Real Estate, a less bookish Galaxie 500, or Yo La Tengo driven by a equivocal, platonic friendship. On slower-than-slowcore “Talk", they’re all but mesmerized by their own torpor, situated somewhere in between Pavement’s “Stop Breathing” and Built to Spill’s “Cleo” in terms of uncomfortably numb guitar heroism. Similar to those bands, Posse make music that is lo-fi without sounding cheap, purposeful minimalism that can sound strangely expansive: Maxim and Wittmann-Todd’s vocals are barely projected without being off-key, and the guitar leads have an effortless melodicism whenever they take over. Even if most of these songs could be strummed out from a beanbag chair, Posse always add a chord that fancies things up just enough.
Posse describe their sound as “delay pedals and 27 years of disappointment”, which may not be factually correct; you hear a lot more of the latter than the former, and the second line of opener “Interesting Thing No. 2” is “You turned 25, so many things you haven’t tried.” It’s theoretically sound all the same, since Soft Opening’s self-deprecation is a big part of its appeal. For all of its invocations of 80s and 90s A-listers, Soft Opening is an of-the-moment record in the way it aligns with the sort of sitcoms that dominate the viewing habits of people Posse’s age: the actors involved are presented as friends, yet they don’t really seem to like each other all that much.
In the case of Soft Opening, nearly every song is a subtly hilarious metacommentary on some sort of communication breakdown. Maxim sings, “I know you’re gonna talk through this and not care,” and you can easily visualize the shoulder shrug, the eye-rolling, the internal defeat she anticipates with this interaction. With every repetition, it cuts deeper and deeper as an insult: you are someone who simply can’t handle sitting in silence with their own feelings. A song later on “Shut Up”, a drunk and bored Wittmann-Todd fantasizes about a time when he’s going to work up the nerve to tell someone to shut their yap, even if it’s himself: “I’m gonna watch you go outside now/ And make a stupid face/ And shut up."
And yet, none of this venting comes off as mean-spirited. In fact, most of Soft Opening unwinds with the casual bonhomie of three post-work beers over darts; the deleterious effects are minimal compared to the necessary release and bonding. And hell, if Posse seem to have a strange enjoyment for each other’s company in spite of it all, well, it’s because the outside world doesn’t have that much more to offer. “Cassandra B.” relates a date between overeducated, underfunded Seattlites as they down too much vodka, go to an “intelligent rap” show (“A bald white guy/ With a mumu onstage”) and lie about reading Willa Cather books that were bought at college and promptly shelved. As with every dryly hysterical line on Soft Opening, there’s never any “pitchiness”; it’s never trying to be any more droll and absurd than life itself.
Despite the litany of disappointments, misunderstandings, and aimlessness befalling the narrators in these songs, Soft Opening is a record of oddly stoic presence. For one thing, the austere sonics and plainspoken lyrics ensure that nothing gets glossed overso it's a tough record to tune out. But also, Posse sound exactly like the band they want to be—you don’t sense any musical ambition unmet, any word misplaced. It’s a modest record done confidently, enough to end with a six-minute guitar workout based around the lyric that perfectly encapsulates Soft Opening’s comforting sadness, its satisfied misanthropy: “Don’t touch me/ I’m in my zone.” - Pitchfork Media


Posse Posse (2012)

Some Dongs Posse (2012)

Soft Opening (2014)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Posse is Paul Wittmann-Todd, Sacha Maxim, and Jon Salzman. Posse formed in late 2010 shortly after Paul & Sacha met at a local show (introduced by then-bassist Nic Heliotis). Jon, a former bandmate of Sacha's, was soon added on drums.

In the spring of 2011 Nic left to become a lawyer and Posse moved forward as a 3-piece. At the end of that year, the band went to record with Captain Tripps Ballsington in Olympia, WA, and left the studio with 9 songs. On January 25th, 2012 Posse self released 8 of those songs on their debut self-titled album.

Five months following their debut album, Posse released Some Dongs on June 14th. As the first installment of an ongoing EP cover series, Posse individually recorded and performed songs by the prolific songwriter Bill Callahan (Smog).

On March 4th, 2014 the band released their second full length entitled "Soft Opening", on Beating A Dead Horse Records (BADH Records). The band performed, recorded, and produced the album in their dingy basement over the span of a year.

Band Members