Spanish for 100
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Spanish for 100

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Sep
16
Spanish for 100 @ The Comet

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

Aug
25
Spanish for 100 @ The Skylark

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

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This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


One of those bands whose style is tough to peg because in many ways, it lacks any specific characteristic. It's definitely indie, but rocks only in the laid-back sense. Singer Corey Passons' high, nasal voice is along the same lines as Ben Gibbard, but isn't as cute.

This is glimmering acoustic-born pop without a hint of punk or angst, which makes you think alt-country, but that's not right, either. How 'bout straight-up 4/4 backbeat indie sung buy a sweet-voiced guy who collapses wholeheartedly on the hooks?

The fact that its built in Seattle and was produced and engineered by Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse) gives it a lift.

The fact that the songs are amazingly catchy pushes it over the top."
- Tim McMahan (3/31/04)


One of the most miraculous things about music is its ability to ingratiate itself into one season or another. Summertime, for instance, is Led Zeppelin season, while gangsta rap screams "depth of winter." But Spanish for 100 makes winter the new summer, combining classic rock elements that echo Crosby, Stills & Nash and a decidedly modern indierock influence. They come out of this blender collecting acclaims for originality and heartfelt songwriting, carefully showcased on their recent debut album, Newborn Driving - MARJORIE SKINNER (1/29/2004)


Spanish for 100 is a full sounding indie-style group with a vocalist that sings as though his heart is buried in the deep south. The result sounds like a collaboration between Clodhopper and Modest Mouse. Hopefully, neither of those comparisons leave you wanting to do anything other than listen to these guys , because they're really good.
If you make it out to discover one new band this month, make Spanish for 100 your musicians of choice - J. Rush


I always hate to rip off what someone else has said about a band, but if it's something the band themselves have put in front of me, I think it's OK to repeat something as perfectly fitting as this: "Newborn Driving pays homage to the art of strong pop melodies, English amps, and Thinline Telecasters." I could not have put it any better.

This a straight-forward rock band that takes full advantage of having two guitars. The record is comprised of mostly mid-tempo songs that hinge on the strong voice and sense of melody of lead singer Corey Passons. Solid and creative songwriting, wonderfully implemented vocal talent, enough texture to get immersed in, but enough direction to keep you from getting entirely disoriented.

With the right kind of exposure, these guys could go very, very far. Head over to the website and have a listen. Thank me later
- Kent Walter (3/1/2004)


Maybe it’s lead singer Corey Passons’ voice. Maybe it’s their similar Northwest roots. Or that they use the same engineer. Maybe it’s just because of the press release that mentions their influences. Any of these could be reasons for why Spanish for 100’s debut CD, Newborn Driving, will instantly recall Modest Mouse. Fortunately, in a subtlety explained in a recent 30 review, Spanish for 100 does not imitate the indie rock heroes from their own state of Washington, but instead emulates them and develops their sound off of it.

The song that will be easiest to compare to Modest Mouse is the opener, “Put it to Ya,” a tune that features a relaxing vocal line (with an apparent twist on the old “Daylight come and you want to go home” chant for the chorus). The band showcases their ability to put together a satisfying finish to the song, as a repeated line of “Say it ain’t so and say it ain’t so” slowly builds in tension and harmony before releasing into a gritty guitar solo and a final repeat of the chorus.

The album keeps it up from here. A few songs touch on romance in a melancholy and effective manner. “Sweet, Sweet Things When You’re Gone,” again goes the lazier route to start before reaching a cathartic bridge that really adds to an already pleasing track. “Come Rain or Shine” has a sweet chorus and features the good guitar work that goes on throughout the disc. “’Neath Your Tattoo” is tremendously touching as an ode to a friend who has made efforts to hide a scar from his/her past.

Amidst all these slower, more relaxed songs is an upbeat, if strange, gem in “Mood in the Clouds.” A quick drum line leads into Passons wailing out these dreamy images of “Oils in puddles / halos in light / purple soothes into gold / It’s a rain-stained world.” After a quieter verse, we get an interlude at about the 1:20 mark that highlights some great edgy guitar work. The opening verse kicks back in and then before you know what hits you, the song wraps up. It ends up sneaking in as the best track of the CD.

That’s not to say there aren’t other good tracks still up Spanish F100’s sleeve. “Worn Round Your Eyes” doesn’t stand out much for the first two-and-a-half minutes or so, but then Passons makes almost an aside to the audience as the background slows down behind him. The intensity then returns, along with the chorus, after Passons declares, “I don’t think that I’m burning / No, I don’t think I’m on fire / and no, I don’t think that I’m burning / Hear no, see no, feel no heat at all.” All that’s left is the closer, “Five Hours In,” a quixotic yarn where Passons accepts his fate willingly, stating “Never been sad / ’bout what I must do.” Grainy guitars take us home for the last minute, leaving us with only the slightest sense of closure.

Newborn Driving is a nice listen if you’re in a calm or wistful mood. It drones a little bit during the second half, but there are no really bad tracks and some really nice tunes. “Mood in the Clouds” is enough to buy the whole album on its own, but there are other highlights. A very solid debut and add-in to the indie rock world.
- Dan Shvartsman (3/25/2004)


Spanish for 100. Can anyone say new favorite band? It’s safe to say that this album took me by surprise. I got it in the mail and didn’t know what to expect when I cracked it open. A lot of times I go straight to the music when I get something new-no reading up on the band, no checking them out on a website, not even giving them a listen before committing to the selection. Doing things this way can be a bit jarring because if it’s bad, you’re totally let down and then the reading and research that comes after only compounds your contempt for the disappointment (more importantly, the band). It’s like when you spill something on your favorite shirt and then doing the research to find out which household cleaner or frontier tactic will get the stain out. Okay...lost my train of thought...I was writing about something...a band...music...oh, Spanish for 100, that’s right.

I started to like this album from the beginning, something I usually try to resist because if the rest turns out to be terrible then I get a feeling that I’ve been bamboozled or suckered in. I tried to fight immediate enjoyment, but the opening song caught me. ‘Put It To Ya’ was the perfect choice to kick things off. The song lays out everything that you’ll have to look forward to for the rest of the record. This band’s sound combines the snappiness of older Modest Mouse, the sonic tones of The Shins, and the cream of all things Pixies while little bursts of classic rock pop up intermittently. Lead vocalist, Corey Passons’ singing has been to likened to Neil Young’s strained crooning, this is pretty dead-on. There’s a sense of nostalgia with the sound of his voice when the band joins in. The loopy singing, the gloomy-then effervescent instrumentation and the overall shoe gazing, lofty feel make the whole listening experience a complete joy.

The ten songs that this band laid out on this album have a wavy, crushed velvet feel about them; the production is clean, but leaves enough distortion to blur the sheen. I could see me still listening to this in five years, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say about most of the rubbish that finds its way into my stereo. The lilting sway of ‘Worn Round Eyes’ shows the band’s lengthy and strong reach as songwriters while the euphony of ‘’Neath Your Tattoo’ displays their abilities to set things honest and personable. The natty snips of ‘Mood In The Clouds’ deigns a The Who feel to it while keeping a Nada Surf sensibility in check.

Spanish for 100 is going to get where they want to go if they continue ushering in music like this. I’d keep an eye out for this quartet, they’re going to push their way in and you’ll be able to say you knew them before they blew up."
- Phil (6/1/04)


Chicagoist enjoys Built To Spill. We also enjoy Uncle Tupelo. How could we not? We live in the Midwest. So it’s safe to say that when a band comes along and is described to us as being similar to Doug Martsch and Jay Ferrar on a road trip we would be equal parts excited and hesitant.
We first saw Spanish For 100 at Schuba’s a few years ago when they opened for some crazy band from Norway whose lead singer kept flashing/pounding her breasts and knocking over tables. That was awesome. What was even more awesome was how unexpectedly fresh Spanish For 100 sounded, and it wasn’t just because they were so obviously on the wrong bill.
Lead singer Corey Passons has one of those voices that seems to perpetually be on the verge of veering seriously off-key. Instead of dipping into tinnitus-inducing paroxysms of misjudged octaves, his instrument instead serves to focus attention on his phrasing. And many of his melodic choices are unexpected and fresh, which helps to make the group’s music so compelling and enjoyable.
Passons is helped in no small measure by guitarist Aaron Starkey’s style that veers between frenetic punctuation and dreamscape lullabies. His textures are what truly vault the songs into a category that really does. It is also what ultimately makes a comparison as simple as “Built To Spill meets Uncle Tupelo” seem so inaccurate since, while the group’s sound does contain trace echoes of those influences, the pieces they’ve crafted defy such generic descriptions. Martsch and Farrar would be ecstatic if they could write material as fresh as the stuff on Spanish For 100’s (woefully as-yet-unreleased) sophomore effort.
Back in the ‘80s we would call a band like this “college rock” because it just didn’t fit into any easily definable category. In subsequent years musical genres have become so segmented that it would seem any and every group could be simply codified. (We are sure that somewhere out there, there‘s a screamo-glitch orch-pop group playing some dirty basement.) Tonight Spanish For 100 is in town playing Subterranean and we bet that they will, even in our fractured times, continue to defy easy description.
- Chicagoist (Chicago, IL; 5/3/06)


Seattle’s Spanish for 100 isn’t a grunge band don’t worry. The similarity that they have to the region is a wet drizzling sound much like the weather there. It’s soaked deep to the bone with rich harmonies and discordant rhythms. The band chose renowned veteran producer Phil Ek (Built to Spill, The Shins, Modest Mouse) once again to work with them on this EP. He captures the effortless guitar twang and swagger mixing it well with snuggled melodies and vocal blusters. Spanish for 100 could easily be the next best light indie pop-rock gem to emerge from the underground. - Smother.net


I have to admit that I was completely surprised when I first listened to Metric, the new release from the Seattle-based Spanish for 100. I had become increasingly exhausted with the current Seattle scene— a superfluous number of bands with minimal talent trying desperately to relive the glory days of the Seattle music scene of the early nineties. Listening to mediocre, surprisingly similar groups imbue their music with angst-ridden lyrics that ring hollow and seem contrived was really turning me off the whole metropolitan area. The last time I visited Seattle I couldn't wait to leave, I found the whole place utterly depressing, and not even the "cool" depressing that had elevated it to the epicentre of grunge many years ago.

Spanish for 100 is a welcome change, the proverbial breath of fresh air. I have to admit I was blown away, disappointed only by the limited number of songs on the album. I wanted more, immediately. It's not that Spanish for 100 betrays its Seattle roots by opting for super happy upbeat music. Not by a long shot. For me, this album is perfect for a rainy, lazy Sunday afternoon, sitting on the couch, reading the paper and drinking tea. It's not party music. It's just completely enjoyable and fresh sounding. They somehow manage to stay safely within the confines of conventional indie-rock without sounding stale or exactly like a million other bands out there. Each song is unique but conforms remarkably well to the overall feel and sound of the album.

I can't say enough about the quality of the production, which makes sense because it is the product of indie darling Phil Ek, who has worked with such enviable groups as Modest Mouse and The Shins. Spanish for 100 is comprised of Ross McGilvray, Chris Crumpler, Aaron Starkey and Corey Passons and this is their sophomore effort. I've noticed that emerging bands tend to pair either excellent song writing skills with a mediocre sound or fantastic musicianship with rather shallow lyrics. Spanish For 100, however, is the complete package. Their song writing is deep and heartfelt and their music varies from loud stadium rock to soft indie-rock with terrific melodies.

"Go Away, Come Home," the opening song on the album, is extremely catchy, with a great melody and a slow, lazy sound. It's definitely one of my favourites. "Jungle with Lions" slows down the pace even more than the opener and has great instrumental interludes, time when the band can really show off their musical talent. I love Passon's vocals on this track. It's clear and slightly nasal, but in a good way. The production on this song is amazing, the sound is fantastic. It's way more polished than what you find from most emerging artists.

"Fell a Bird" speeds things up, but still offers a fantastic melody and hook. The electric guitars really come out to play on this one. It's louder and more akin to stadium rock than their other tracks that tend to have a more folkish quality about them.

This is truly a fantastic album, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised if you pick it up. I hope that Spanish for 100 amasses enough of a following to record a full length album because really, six songs hardly seem adequate. - Left Hip Magazine


Discography

Jezebel - produced by Martin Feveyear - Released Spring 2010

Say What You Want To Say To Me - produced by phil ek and johnny sangster - Released March 2007 - NAIL distribution - great reviews. national college radio play.

METRIC - procuded by Phil Ek - EP - released nationally on NAIL distribution in 2005 - - NAIL distribution - great reviews. national college radio play.

Newborn Driving - produced by Phil Ek - full length - released in 2002 - national college radio play

all albums can be downloaded from our website.

Photos

Bio

we are not trite, we side step indie conventions without ignorning the truth found within the unconventional. we are 3 hometown boys from spokane and an outsider from chicago. folks in the midwest love us. we love them. when we tour, (3 us tours to date...) we tour in a 26ft bio-diesel bus. we like to nap. we avoided the 80's.

phil ek is our producer(built to spill, the shins, modest mouse) and he makes us sound almost as good as we do live.