AS LONG AS Generation X continues to age, vinyl sales continue to grow, and nostalgia continues to be a bankable commodity, you can bet that beloved-but-underappreciated bands from years past will line up to cash in on reissued records and a suddenly renewed love for life on the road.
Point of clarification: Revered San Francisco indie-pop band the Aislers Set's reawakening doesn't quite fit the aforementioned bill. The band will reissue its three albums over the next month and will reunite for four shows on the West Coast—including Tuesday night in Portland—but the resurgence is driven more by a couple of indie record labels and the band, rather than a horde of fans desperate to buy Aislers Set onesies for their newborns, according to frontwoman Amy Linton.
"It seems like everyone's doing it. There's a reunion under every rock. You uncover a rock and there's a reunion," she says. "Maybe I don't totally get it either, to be honest. And I don't know if interest in our band is blooming."
Indeed, all the Aislers activity this fall can be traced back to both Mike Schulman of Slumberland Records, which originally put out 1998's Terrible Things Happen and 2000's The Last Match, and David Dickenson of Suicide Squeeze Records, which released the band's final album, How I Learned to Write Backwards, in 2003. Linton is friends with both ("We talk about everything," she says, "not just the Aislers Set"), and when the idea of reissuing the catalog came up, it naturally led to an abbreviated tour.
"They wanted to reissue the vinyl, just because it's been [gone] for so long. So we just decided it would be a fun thing to do. That's really all it is. We're just playing these four shows and that's it," Linton says. "We're not, like, getting back together."
The Aislers Set formed in 1998 in San Francisco and spent the next half-decade winning hearts and minds with their vibrant mix of bouncy bedroom pop-rock, gentle shoegaze, and post-punk pep, all pushed through a self-produced wall of sound that gave the music a sophisticated, vintage tint. By the time How I Learned to Write Backwards was released, the Aislers had become a beloved standard-bearer of super-catchy indie-pop, opening for the likes of Belle and Sebastian, Sleater-Kinney, and Yo La Tengo, and leaving a recorded legacy that still sounds vital in 2014.
"How generous and cool is it that people still care and that the records are still relevant 15 years later? That's something that I would never have expected to happen," says Linton. "It's incredible to me that people are still getting things from those records."
The Aislers Set disbanded in 2004; members now live in five different cities and three different countries, including two in Europe. Besides celebrating the catalog, the upcoming shows will give those folks a chance to visit friends and family in the United States.
"I don't think we'll make any money in the end, but everyone's going to have a little vacation, and that's cool," Linton says.
Now it's just a matter of getting to the first downbeat. One of the reasons the Aislers Set broke up, Linton says, is because she dislikes performing. So while she's excited to see old friends, she'll be a bundle of nerves until the band is a couple songs into their first set.
"I'm kind of not looking forward to it right at this moment, but... this has happened in the past, too, where I'm just like, 'I can't do this. I don't want to do this.' And then when the time comes it's one of the funnest things I've ever done," she says. "It'll be fine. I know it'll be fine. It always has been in the past."