Entries tagged with: Robert Pollard
"I've got better moves than Mick Jagger, or at least I used to," - Robert Pollard
jump shot @ Riot Fest Chicago (more by Kirstie Shanley)
Robert Pollard is a rock star. Instead of having his autobiography written by TMZ or wielding some messianic delusion over his fans however, the frontman for the indelibly influential Guided By Voices has simply continued to make the music he wants in the way he wants as much as he wants. With this month's Cool Planet, Pollard has released twenty-two full-lengths with Guided By Voices since 1987. Add in the multiple EPs, collaborations, solo records, and other projects, and it's immediately apparent that creative inspiration is not in short supply for the singer. Adding to the prolific nature of that creativity is Pollard's unadorned perspective on the fame and respect he's garnered over the years from fans, critics, and fellow musicians alike. There's nothing overly simplistic about it being "just about the music" for Pollard, and that's precisely what continues to compel the singer who, upon approaching sixty, is as creatively vibrant and productive as he ever was with no end in sight. Guided By Voices will be touring throughout May and June, with a sold out Bowery Ballroom show on 5/23 and more dates to be announced soon too.
UPDATE: Three more NY-Area shows in July and August.
Going back to the Forever Since Breakfast EP and fast forwarding to now with the myriad of releases, both solo and with Guided By Voices, that have come since then, what's your perspective on that journey so far, and how have you seen yourself evolve both personally and musically in that time?
Robert: Hopefully I continue to improve as a songwriter, a person and a musician or artist. If there's no improvement, and I guess that's a subjective thing, I don't see any reason to continue. Obviously, by the sheer output of releases, I'm still having a good time. That's also very important.
Just as well known as your music itself has been the sheer amount you've produced over the last three decades. What was the initial creative catalyst for you in the beginning, and do you see yourself still engaging that source of inspiration even now with every new song you write?
I'm always pushing myself to come up with new techniques for creating art and writing songs. In the last couple of years I've actually developed a formula for writing songs, that's a little too involved for me to elaborate on right now. The initial catalyst for me to write songs, I think, was to be an active participant instead of just a passive listener. To hear more of what I really like by writing them myself.
They're on a roll. The press release reads:
English Little League--the fourth album from the reunited "classic" line-up of Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos, Mitch Mitchell and Kevin Fennell--hums like angry birds along the full spectrum of rock's highways and byways (especially the byways), from rock to roll and back again. Pollard's rebus system of songwriting (sounds made visible, abstract concepts symbolized) strung like fairy lights from the opening song "Xeno Pariah" to the galvanic closer "With Glass In Foot," kettles along at full steam throughout, punctuated by the airier constructs of Tobin Sprout ("The Sudden Death of Epstein's Ways," with it's sweet/creepy emphatic refrain of "Jesus," is a particular standout). Deeper and less immediately accessible than last year's Class Clown Spots a UFO (for instance), but no less richly striated with layers of musical goo, this album is as much the work of a guild of master craftsmen as of a singular visionary genius. ELL (fookin' 'ell!) travels from hieroglyphic to hieratic smoother than a pharaoh's cartouche, and if the quadratic equation that runs through the middle of the record from "Crybaby Four Star Hotel" to "Birds" doesn't solve every problem in your life then you've got actual problems.Indeed. English Little League will be out via Fire Records on the 29th of April, 2013. Tracklist below...
The Guided By Voices project, as any fan knows, both requires and rewards effortful listening, and lazybones who dismiss the volume of Pollard's output as (basically) impossible misunderstand the care with which he assembles his dreamscapes. Whiny types will thus be dismayed to learn that Pollard has recently installed a studio in his house (first fruits can be found on "A Burning Glass," among others here), the better to transform his oneiric musings to immediate art, but converts to the clubhouse will be overcome--some will in fact faint--at the news. The plan at present is to release three Guided By Voices albums per year until the end of time, but in the world according to Robert Pollard, "plans" does not mean what it means to you and me. "Plans" to him are moving ideas caught momentarily in stasis, and subject as often to revision as to fruition. Which is to say only that you never know what the future will bring, only what the past has brought, and the past has now brought you the fourth Guided By Voices album in little more than a year. You should probably buy someone a drink to celebrate. You should definitely celebrate. Life is short. Guided By Voices is long.
by Bill Pearis
When Merge released a comprehensive retrospective CD set of Boston indie rock cult legends Big Dipper in 2008, the band reformed for a few shows. That sparked the old creative juices and four years late the band have released Crashes on the Platinum Planet, their first new album in 22 years. If you're a fan of the band's tongue-in-cheek janglepop, Big Dipper doesn't seem to be any worse for wear in 2012. You can stream the whole album below via Rdio and check out the video for album standout "Robert Pollard" below. And speaking of, the Guided by Voices frontman did the artwork to the album, which is above.
Big Dipper are playing a few shows early next year with Fountains of Wayne singer Chris Collingswood, and those dates include an NYC stop at Mercury Lounge on February 9. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (12/7) at noon.
All Big Dipper tour dates are listed below, along with the album stream and "Robert Pollard" video.
by Klaus Kinski
Robert Pollard 'Jack Sells the Cow'
Geriatric multi-media hit-making machine Robert Pollard is set to release his 18th or 19th or whatever solo studio album Jack Sells the Cow on Tuesday September 18, 2012 (Vinyl in stores Oct 2). I'm basically the last person you want to be taking musical advice from because I am a wicked spazz and am hardly the worlds most well-balanced music fan, but I have to say that this 12 song, 32+ minute album is straight-up classic Pollard. This sucker is jammed with more hooks than Bill Dance's tackle box. As a matter of fact, it is probably my favorite Pollard solo effort in quite some time. It's got EVERYTHING you want in a Pollard effort; super catchy up-tempo jams with perfectly constructed chord progressions, lower-key ballady anthems, and melodies and hooks that will stick in your brain for weeks. Holding the whole thing together is absolutely superb studio work. Sometimes his stuff can sound too obviously and intentionally low-fi while other times it can come across as too flippin' clean. This sucker walks somewhere in between and pays off. But what do I know?
From now until the release date, visit RobertPollard.net daily as the site will be streaming a new song each day. (You can stream one below too.) Wait'll you hear the track Fighting the Smoke (sample here). Holy mother f'er that song kicks so much ass.
In paragraph one of this fantastic, probably award-winning article, I called Pollard a "multi-media hit-making machine." Here's where the "multi-media" thing comes into play. In addition to being a master of the medium of "hit making," Bob is also a phenomenal artist with an expert concentration in making collages. You can get a feel for this skills on several GBV and Pollard related releases, but for a more absorbing look you should get your ass familiar with his project EAT Magazine. Rockathon Records has just made available EAT volumes 8 and 9. Eat 8 is 64 pages with over 150 images by Robert Pollard. Originally published in 2011, it's available on Rockathon for the first time. Fake band 45s, fake magazine covers, fake LPs and a whole host of new collages await you. Eat 9 is Robert Pollard's brand new magazine with over 60 pages of collages, many of which will be on display at the upcoming Pollard/Sprout Brooklyn art show The Big Hat and Toy Show.
"Wait, did Klaus just say "on display at the upcoming Pollard/Sprout Brooklyn art show The Big Hat and Toy Show!?" - you. Yes I did! The Big Hat & Toy Show: The Artwork of Robert Pollard & Tobin Sprout will take place on Friday October 5, 2012 6-11pm and Saturday October 6, 2012 2-11pm at The Library is On Fire Headquarters in NYC's toughest neighborhood, Bushwick. Details below.
Perhaps you DON'T want to listen to the new Pollard record. OR look at his artwork. MAYBE you want to see the man in the flesh, kickin up them legs and a-twirlin' the mic and a-drinkin' the booze? Well, if you are south and west of NYC, you might just get your chance. Guided By Voices has announced a l'il tour taking place this fall that features 13 dates that launches in Ohio and concludes in Missouri and avoids the Big Apple entirely. Full dates are listed below....
In case there was any doubt as to whether Guided By Voices were still a band:
After a fifteen year hiatus, the "classic line up" of Guided By Voices finished off its year-long reunion tour by recording an album of 21 new songs, making a deliberate effort to return to what bandleader Robert Pollard calls the "semi-collegial" approach of iconic GBV albums like Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. Let's Go Eat The Factory is some kind of return to form: sprawling, variegated, and yet still recognizably and coherently Guided By Voices in both its literal and mythic senses. To celebrate the release of Let's Go Eat The Factory, Guided By Voices will be making a rare appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman on January 3, 2012.'Let's Go Eat The Factory' is available by mail order from Rockathon on January 1, 2012, and will be in stores nationwide on January 17. The record will be available digitally from iTunes at midnight tonight (12/20). Listen to the album now at NPR.
photos by Alex Broadwell
9:00 P.M., 9/9/2011 --Earlier this summer, it was announced that Guided By Voices's headlining stint at Hopscotch would mark the band's "final-ever" live performance. Strangely, the mood here at City Plaza is generally indifferent. I suspect that this might be because: a) people aren't convinced that this is really the end, being as this isn't GBV's first trip to the retirement home; b) people are beginning to accept that frontman Robert Pollard has reached Danny Glover-like levels of being "too old for this shit"; or c) going into the festival, the band didn't really play up the fact that this was going to be their final show. Whatever the case, the lo-fi legends don't appear to be bothered by the surprising lack of fanfare they're receiving. Assuming this really is the end, GBV might not have gone out with a bang, but they didn't exactly exit with a wimpier either." [Slant Magazine]Some pictures from that North Carolina show are in this post. More of them below...
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices
The 2011 Pitchfork Festival continues through Sunday at Union Park in Chicago. Some of it is streaming online. A set of pictures from Friday continues below...
by Klaus Kinski
The thing I like most about Robert Pollard is that even though I barely have the time, attention span, or finances to keep up with his ever-expanding, post-GBV projects, I know I am guaranteed a whale of a time at his live shows. Die-hard familiarity of his music is simply not essential to the enjoyment of one of his shows (though, comfortable shoes and beer kinda helps). The man is a personal deity of air-tight live entertainment. The Boston Spaceships gig at the Highline Ballroom on 10/1 was no deviation from a flawless track record of incredible Pollard experiences. They hit the stage pretty much right at 9:30pm and completely dominated. High kicks, mic swinging, hilarious yet often times unintelligable stage banter, a RIDICULOUSLY awesome rhythm section, and a crowd more than eager to drink, push, shove, pogo, and sweat all over each other made for a fun time. I had to leave the show earlier than I wanted to in order to check out another (really awful) show across town and this kills me as the Spaceships ended up doing two encores packed with classic GBV tracks. Besides some familiar die hard fans and friends, also spotted in the crowd were GBV alumni including guitarist Doug Gillard and drummer Kevin March (who you may have also seen here). A few more pics from the show below...
by Klaus Kinski
The last time Robert Pollard played a gig in NYC it was at the Bowery Ballroom on 11/13/2006. Partly because of a lack of funds and mostly because of sheer stupidity on my part, I missed that gig. Since then, Bob has been busy as hell releasing records, starting his own label (GBV Inc.), having a gallery show of his famous collages, getting ready to publish a book and, most recently, preparing to unleash his new band Boston Spaceships onto the scene with a record and a tour. Tickets for a 10/1/2008 Highline Ballroom gig go onsale Friday at noon.
The core members of Boston Spaceships include Pollard, Chris Slusarenko (Takeovers, Guided By Voices, Svelt, Sprinkler) and current Decemberists drummer John Moen (also Jicks, Elliott Smith, Dharma Bums..... more on him in a second). The band will joined by Jason Narducy (Bob Mould) and Tommy Keene for the tour. Their debut record Brown Submarine comes out on 9/9/2008 on GBV Inc.
Though you'll notice some subtle prog flourishes and acoustic strums, Brown Submarine is a pop punk album, made by and for kids who've worn out the grooves on their Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, Wire and dBs records. While Pollard has stretched out post-GBV , experimenting on each of his diverse and unique solo records, Boston Spaceships rock hard, have fun and drink Miller Lite.Drummer John Moen also fronts a band called Perhapst. Perhapst has a self-titled record out now which Moen plays most of the instruments on. Plus, on a couple of tracks he is joined by Stephen Malkmus - not singing though, just bass and guitar. For shows:
The [Perhapst] live band will consist of Chris Funk (guitar, bango, keyboards), John Moen (vocals/guitar), Eric Lovre (bass), and Jonathan Drews (drums). Drews is from Sunset Valley, Lovre from the Dharma Bums, and Funk from The Decemberists.Perhapst don't have any upcoming dates. Neither do the Decemberists, but Boston Spaceships have a bunch. All of them, and the Brown Submarine tracklisting, below.....
DOWNLOAD: Big Dipper - Shes Fetching (MP3)
$493??? Well, it is for charity, so that's good. For a more affordable donation, the David Kilgour autographed poster is still available for less than $50. David Kilgour plays Cake Shop tonight, tomorrow and the next day. Keep checking Merge's auctions through Christmas - they'll also be selling posters autographed by Robert Pollard, M. Ward, Oakley Hall, Spoon, The Rosebuds, Superchunk, Portastatic, and Destroyer. Or just screw charity, and check out Merge's holiday sale.
Robert Pollard is having an art show at Studio Dante in Manhattan in December. Listen to Spoon on NPR. Big Dipper is releasing an anthology. Polvo are reuniting for ATP. Every single Merge tour date, below...