What People Say

Dallas Observer (5/3/07)

Say What You Want to Say to Me (Fish the Cat Records) is the sophomore effort from
Spanish for 100. Hailing from Seattle, this spry quartet plays something analogous
to Fugazi tackling the Merle Haggard songbook. Fractured, intense and somehow melodic,
this is country-tinged rock of an unusual breed, like Wilco if Tweedy wasn’t always
intent on making an artistic statement. Check out “Sangria” and “Quick as a Shutter”
for some adrenaline-charged, hick-infused post-punk, complete with an authentic
drawl. – Darryl Smyers


Spanish for 100 has a weird name and plays country tinged rock and roll. Not cowboy
hat, whiskey, wife beating country, but more of a tight levis and button up shirt-wearing,
Wilco worshipping, Pabst-because-it’s-ironically-redneck country. These guys seem
a little too upbeat to be from the dour climes of Seattle, but I could definitely
see them rocking their Americana in Kansas.

Seattle Post Intelligencer

Two bands with EPs that bode well for their futures: dreamy popsters Panda & Angel
play the Crocodile Cafe on Wednesday to kick off the club’s 15th anniversary celebration
(more on that next week) (9 p.m.; free). Spanish for 100 releases “Metric” nationally
this month and plays the High Dive on Saturday to celebrate.

Indieville.com (5/24/06)

Sweet, melodic songwriting and delicious harmonies mark Spanish For 100’s latest
EP, Metric. Rocking right from the bat with the infectious, neo-Superchunk-esque
“Go Away, Come Home,” this record sets its tone quickly and makes for excellent
listening. Slower “Jungle With Lions” is a bit longer than it needs to be (though
it’s good, catchy rock nonetheless), but guitar-soaked “Fell A Bird” and the two
massive parts to “Golden Days” make up for any drag. A live version of “See Now”
is thrown in as a bonus, driving the Awesome Badge’s pin even further into Spanish
For 100’s ribbon-ridden lapel. 85% Fun Fact: “Ciento” is Spanish for 100. Matt Shimmer

Isthmus (5/12/06)

… Not that Cats Not Dogs require perfect conditions to demonstrate what they’re
all about. Last Friday at the Tornado Club’s Corral Room, they waited for hours
as Seattle’s Spanish for 100 galloped through their complex, earnest originals,
and well-rehearsed post-punkers the Danger presented an artful performance steeped
in the glory days of Joy Division, the Cure and the Buzzcocks…”

Aiding & Abetting

Spanish for 100 claims all the right Americana influences. But these boys don’t
play Americana. There is something of a roots flavor here, but we’re talking about
contemplative indie rock. Put it all together, and you’ve got a fine combination.
Reminds me a bit of Eleventh Dream Day, a band whose myriad sounds confounded any
attempt to become popular. Spanish for 100 has a bit of luck, as the last 15 years
have proven EDD prophetic. Only five songs here, but each is well worth hearing
over and over again. This is the sort of date that must lead to another.

Chicagoist (Chicago, IL; 5/3/06)

Spanish For 100 Scores 100 A+++ 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.

Lawrence Journal-World (Lawrence,
KS; 4/28/06)

Spanish for 100 (“Best Bet” listing) Seattle’s Spanish for 100 has this indie guitar-rock
thing down. Shades of Built to Spill permeate the band’s latest EP “Metric,” which
– no surprise – was produced by Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse). The band
has hit the road for multiple self-promoted and self-booked national tours, spreading
its gospel of sonic guitar revelry and upbeat songwriting.

The Omaha Weekly Reader (Omaha, NE; 4/27/06)

8 Days Picks – 27 Apr 2006 Illinois native Aaron Starkey played in Chicago-based
indie bands for years before deciding that “the scene” wasn’t for him. So he packed
his bags and headed west to Seattle. There he met Corey Passons and Ross McGilvary
and they formed Spanish for 100 in 2002. All in all, they’ve had a great track record
for such a young band: Their music has been compared to Neil Young and Built to
Spill and they’ve recorded two albums with producer Phil Elk, who has worked with
Built to Spill, Modest Mouse and the Shins. — Kevin Coffey

Daily Nebraskan (Lincoln, NE; 4/25/06)

Despite comparisons, band retains own distinct style By: NANCY PETITTO Spanish for
100 is constantly being compared to big name bands like Built to Spill and Modest
Mouse. But the members don’t really mind that. `We’re often described as a combination
of Built to Spill and Wilco,” said guitarist Aaron Starkey. “It’s because of the
strong singer/songwriter sensibility.” Those comparisons, however, aren’t that
far off. The group’s first full-length record, “Newborn Driving” was released
in December 2003 and mixed by the notorious Phil Ek, who has worked with bands like
Built to Spill, Modest Mouse and the Shins. Spanish for 100 will start off its new
tour this month, stopping tonight at Knickerbockers, 901 O St. The group will be
touring for the recent EP release “Metric.” A new full-length album is planned
for this fall that wasn’t quite ready for this tour. The new album hasn’t been mastered
yet, but when it’s done the group will be more than happy with the sound. “It’s
a lot more live sounding, open and spontaneous,” said vocalist Corey Passons. “It
felt very relaxed with a lot of excitement.” Phil Ek also worked with the group
by mixing the new album, giving it the distinctive sound the group was looking for.
The tour started last weekend for Spanish for 100, which is something the group
does not mind doing. “There’s nothing better than everyday you’re driving somewhere
else and playing music,” Starkey said. “It’s a total blast for us.” Regardless
of the venue, Starkey enjoys being able to play music as long as the people get
into the music. “Some places are just bars that have a stage and sometimes that’s
less inspiring,” he said. “Then there are places that are there for the music
and everybody that’s there totally loves it.” Starkey and Passons both remember
Knickerbockers as being the place where everybody loved the music. Not only did
they play a great show, but also afterward they were invited to party with the opening
band. “It was some good Midwestern fun,” said Starkey.

Salt Lake City
Weekly (Salt Lake City, UT 4/20/06)

MUSIC PICKS Sunday 4/23 SPANISH FOR 100 Aaron Starkey bears more than a passing
resemblance to Black Francis on “Mood in the Clouds,” a frantic skat of a track
off Spanish for 100’s debut album Newborn Driving. Three years later, the Illinois
native ditches off-the-cuff non sequiturs and random noise for the easy pace of
porch-swing Americana. Produced by Phil Ek (Modest Mouse, Built to Spill), 2005’s
Metric reflects the Seattle quartet’s fondness for heartfelt harmonies and jingle-jangle
guitar. Hear that twang? That’s the sound of falling in and out of love, on a train
from your hometown.

The Badger
Herald (Madison, WI – 4/18/06)

Spanish for 100 enters studio again Six songs may not seem like much, but for the
band Spanish for 100, who have been on the road since their first album, Newborn
Driver, debuted back in 2003, the half-dozen is just enough. The taxation of constantly
being on the road seems to have only supplemented the intensity with which the band
re-entered the recording studio. The band is in good hands with producer Phil Ek,
who has produced and engineered a number of well-known bands, including Built to
Spill, Modest Mouse and The Shins. Before the production of Metric, their latest
release, the band was having a hard time finding a drummer that could stick with
veterans Cory Passons (voice/guitar), Aaron Starkey (guitars) and Ross McGilvray
(bass). Then Chris Crumpler came along, and Spanish for 100 is now complete. For
this group of young musicians, song craft is of the utmost importance. It is clear
they want to keep integrity in their music — an integrity that is often lost as
bands grow and gain more fame. What these four guys have provided is uncharacteristic
of what is being listened to today. The group’s music emanates a sense of tranquility
and peace of mind in its layered and diverse musical compilations. They give listeners
a little bit of everything; from indie to country to rock and pop, they offer a
sound that a person can listen to for hours. Be prepared for a mainly mellow sound
throughout the album, although the tempo for “Fell A Bird” is picked up, offering
a nice change from previous songs. The guitar techniques used are also out of the
ordinary and change from song to song. At one point, a guitar is being played in
such a way that makes a listener want to check to see if his phone is vibrating.
It is, impressively, layered beneath other sounds, yet it stands out because of
its difference. The unconventionality of Spanish for 100’s sound adds to the band’s
distinctive and increasingly popular sound. Since its formation in 2002, the Seattle-based
group has been incredibly self-sufficient. Back in 2004, the band self-promoted
and self-booked a national tour and contrary to many do-it-yourself type tours,
the locations they graced weren’t sleazy dives in mediocre towns, but notable venues
in hot music spots like Chicago and New York City. The band’s two national tours
and their national radio campaigns have prompted them to hit the road once again.
They kicked off their tour last fall and traveled around the West, close to their
home state of Washington. This month, Spanish for 100 will begin to make their way
east toward the Midwest making an appearance here in Madison at the Corral Room
on May 5. Spanish for 100 is a mellow outfit that shows potential. Their do-it-yourself
mentality is admirable, as is the band’s tendency to musically push the envelope.
Metric, as an album, serves as a welcome re-entering of the recording studio and
supplements Spanish for 100’s rising star. – Meghan Dunlap

UpBeetMusic.com (4/15/06)

The word-of-mouth element most likely to perk up the ears of any indie fan with
Spanish for 100’s second release, the Metric EP, is that it was produced by the
illustrious Phil Ek. Ek’s work (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse) has been key in the
movement to augment controlled grit atmospherics and, more importantly, incorporate
elements of country into indie music without people fleeing with their hands over
their ears. That being said, emo-doing-country band Spanish for 100 might have nearly
as integrated a variety of elements as Ek’s most successful clients, but the elements
themselves lack much sense of adventurousness. Overlong and repetitive jams (“Jungle
With Lions”, “See Now”) feel particularly uninspired next to their tighter melodies
(“Go Away, Come Home”, “Fell a Bird”), especially for the latter’s utilization of
Corey Passons’ feathery, high vocal range. The EP has moments of great clarity,
beauty and urgency, but on the whole (and especially being an EP) it doesn’t satiate
the promise of channeled talent implicit in Ek’s reputation. – by Collin Anderson
Recommended If You Like: Fall Out Boy and My Morning Jacket 3 out of 5 stars


Chicago quartet Spanish For 100, unfortunately, has nothing to do with “Jeopardy.”
But the band’s latest six-track album “Metric,” released last year, sounds more
like Neil Young’s emo-drenched little brother than an Alex Trebek song sample. Lead
singer Corey Passons, whose young voice is reminiscient of Ben Kweller’s, walks
the line between whiny and wistful in the slow-building songs, which appear to be
in no hurry to reach their drum-led climaxes. But while “Jungle With Lions” takes
its time unspooling into the sky and a shimmering guitar solo takes the descant
on “Golden Days,” first track “Go Away, Come Home” offers platitudes like “It doesn’t
matter what I want/ over and over again… watch it twist and turn and die.” So
young, so world-weary. Now that Spanish For 100 has a permanent drummer and is out
touring tirelessly, maybe audiences will know what’s bothering them — hopefully
in the form of a question. – Ellen Wernecke Reviewer’s Rating: 5.5

Indieworkshop.com (6/1/04)

"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. "
"Spanish for 100 will probably be compared to Built to Spill and
Modest Mouse by many who hear them. It’s not just Phil Ek’s characteristically tight
and clean production, either; the guitar is immediately the most noticeable and
interesting thing on the band’s debut, Newborn Driving. Like Ek’s other projects,
Spanish for 100 plays a driving, guitar-centric brand of indie rock, and Corey Passons’
and Aaron Starkey’s inventive solos and melodic lines are worthy of comparison to
some of Doug Martsch’s best ideas. No, there is nothing wrong with comparing Spanish
for 100 with the quirky indie-rockers who came before them, but SF100 doesn’t quite
belong in the same league. Not that there’s anything wrong. >>>