Richmond, VA’s POSITIVE NO are sharing “Bonded Pair,” the third single from the band’s debut album Glossa. Due out on September 18th on Negative Fun / Little Black Cloud Records, the band premiered the song with Stereogum, calling it, “the sound of false starts, gears scraping, and eventual, obvious harmony. The sweetness comes toward the song’s faintly whispered, nearly twee middle, before breaking back out into a storm of catharsis.”
Speaking about the track, Positive No’s Tracy Wilson (vocals/guitar) shared: “Seven years ago I brought home two cats from a rescue shelter. They were a bonded pair and much like when two humans deeply connect, a permanent separation can have devastating results. Eugene & Frances (named for The Vaselines) are a wonderful daily reminder of friendship so when my best friend moved to a city far away and went through a tough time, I felt incredibly helpless. I wrote “Bonded Pair” in an effort to bridge the miles between us and offer her a permanent reminder that she is loved and missed by me.”
Positive No recently premiered their “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” influenced video “Pedal Through”. Speaking about the record and lead single, NPR said, “Positive No’s debut album, Glossa, undeniably comes from the ’90s, with an ear for counter-intuitive melodies that pop in unexpected places. “Pedal Through,” in particular, has all the beefy weirdness of Polvo — but is, in the end, a winsome pop song that gets stuck in your head for days.”
As it turns out, Positive No isn’t really a band, it is a remedy.
Positive No started in the wood paneled confines of a living room in Richmond, Virginia. Songwriter and guitarist Kenny Close began home recording a series of songs over a Christmas vacation. These were shared with Tracy Wilson who in August of that year was hit by a car while crossing the street and was on a long path to recovery. While gaining the strength to be able to walk again and coping with a newly acquired brain injury, she began adding vocals to these songs. This creative process became an important distraction and therapy for Wilson. The intention was never to start a band but once the demo process began in the winter of 2011, the songwriting chemistry snowballed into a series of new songs the two wrote together. Drummer and friend Willis Thompson brought this duo to a trio and then after a series of bass players, this four piece band has been recently rounded out by Sadie Powers. After several years in the band Thompson recently left Positive No and James O’Neill has taken over his drum throne.
Their debut 5 song EP entitled Via Florum was recorded at Magpie Cage with J Robbins (Jawbox / Burning Airlines / Office of Future Plans) and was released on Wilson’s record label Little Black Cloud Records in 2013. The line up for this recording included Kenneth Close, Tracy Wilson, Willis Thompson, and James Menefee. A 7″ single was recorded for the Negative Fun Records singles club in 2014 (with bass player Andre Phillips) and in 2015 the band returned back to Magpie Cage to record their first full length record Glossa with the original Via Florum line up.
So where exactly did the members of Positive No come from? The band’s family tree is well rooted. Kenny has played guitar in a series of noisy indie rock bands from Virginia since the mid ’90s. Tracy was the singer in the ’90s post hardcore band Dahlia Seed (Theologian/Troubleman) but has also recorded under the solo moniker Ringfinger over the past 5 years (Magic Bullet Records/Little Black Cloud). Sadie Powers is a long time member of Richmond’s synth-pop group Dead Fame. James O’Neill is currently playing in two other bands, Snowy Owls (shoegaze) and Plain Scrap (think Hot Snakes). Positive No may have a confounding combination of styles in their songwriting background, but together they create melodic, unpredictable pop balanced with tension and energy. For those unfamiliar with the band’s musical pedigree it would be tempting to suggest they pay heavy tribute to a time when Velocity Girl’s singer was rumored to have eloped with the drummer of Sunny Day Real Estate (yes, that was real gossip from back in the day), but in fairness, half of this band has been making music since the mid ’90s and have influenced some of the musicians they have been compared to.
With Close and Wilson remaining the core songwriting team, the past year of creatingGlossa had its own set of challenges. This time it was Kenny with a seemingly endless string of health hurdles. A sprained foot appeared from thin air in August of 2014 and it spiraled into months of intense leg pain that led to difficulties in walking or standing (goodbye playing live performances). The pain mysteriously spread to much of his body, an X-Ray revealed a shifted pelvis and spine, and then Kenny collapsed in November in what looked like a seizure but was diagnosed as a Vasovagal response. During these 9 months of setbacks and slow healing, Glossa was written and recorded. Music once again provided a much needed emotional outlet and necessary diversion between doctor visits and PT.
Spring has arrived and at the end of this long dark tunnel comes 12 new songs and a truly refreshed band. Positive No is back and will be touring in the fall to support their new record.Pre-orders are now available via Negative Fun on CD, cassette, and limited edition lyric/art book. Lyrics are the fuel behind these moody pyrotechnics and for this reason the band has created a 7” x 7” 26 page full color book. Band member and graphic designer Kenneth Close has produced a total of 12 unique art pieces partnered with the lyrics. In turn every song on Glossa has been treated like a short story worthy of its own book cover. For those who appreciate Factory Records or 4AD for the album art as well as the music, this small book (that also comes with a digital download to the record) will speak volumes. The meticulous attention to detail in the music, the words, and the packaging is staggering.
09/02 – Roanoke, VA @ Jefferson Center w/ Eternal Summers
09/12 – Raleigh, NC @ Legends – Hopscotch Day Party
09/18 – Richmond, VA @ Gallery 5 w/ Rebecca Gates (of the Spinanes), Nelly Kate
09/19 – Washington, DC @ The Bathtub Republic w/ Puff Pieces, BRNDA, Teen Liver
10/01 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle w/ Maritime
10/02 – Trenton, NJ @ TBD
10/03 – New York, NY @ HiFi
10/05 – Arlington, VA @ Galaxy Hut w/ Alarms & Controls
10/06 – Baltimore, MD @ The Crown
10/24 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern w/ Beach Slang
10/25 – Raleigh, NC @Neptunes w/ Beach Slang