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Albums Of The Week: The Young Fresh Fellows | The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest 40th Anniversary Edition

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Formed (conceptually) by Scott McCaughey and Chuck Carroll in Seattle in 1981, The Young Fresh Fellows, with the addition of Chuck’s mad-drumming cousin Tad Hutchison, began work on their debut effort in 1983.

Friend Conrad Uno volunteered to produce and record the trio in his basement/garage Egg Studios (no money exchanged hands), and Uno’s fledgling label PopLlama Products insisted on pushing the record out into the world, beyond a small circle of friends. Starting with the magical success of this album, PopLlama would become a fixture in the still-floundering Seattle music scene and the home of bands including Fastbacks, The Posies, Dharma Bums and The President Of The United States Of America (whose Uno-produced debut would go on to be certified triple platinum.)

Inspired by a 1960s single from Pacific Northwest Bell to promote tourism, the cover plays homage to that release, with sound bites as “narrator” from that original record (and now, either thankfully or regretfully, omitted from this cut-to-the-rock ’n’ roll-chase remix). The Young Fresh Fellows suddenly found themselves darlings of college radio, with an enthusiastic following, and admired by their peers.

A bouncy, punky, jangly, and weirdly self-referential collection of songs, The Fabulous Sounds Of The Pacific Northwest became a favorite of anyone who came upon it, including early proponents like Paul Westerberg, Ira Robbins, NRBQ and Peter Buck.

Now, for its 40th Anniversary, YFF co-founder and songwriter/vocalist McCaughey (R.E.M., The Minus 5, The Baseball Project) has remixed the album to (re)introduce it to the world. The idea was to put 40 years of music-making experience into the mix (push up the bass fader), without losing the naiveté and wonder that fueled its initial reception. The (now) double-CD and digital programs include a bonus disc — Merry Croutons Mr. Gulp Gulp, an ultra-rare party-in-the-studio 1984 cassette release of about 200 copies.

Back on the road in 2024, The Young Fresh Fellows, with longtime line-p of Scott, Jim Sangster, Kurt Bloch and newcomer John Perrin of NRBQ, will be crossing the country — from their hometown of Seattle through to Wilco’s Solid Sound festival in Massachusetts. The Fabulous Sounds Of The Pacific Northwest will be ringing out on the stages and turntables of America!”