June 22, 2008

Keeping Up With Robert Pollard (June 2008 edition)

Robert Pollard Is Off To Business (GBV, Inc. CD/LP)

Robert Pollard Is Off to Business is a straight-up pop LP that should make all fans of the prolific, beer-soaked genius rejoice. Producer/multi-instrumentalist Todd Tobias concocts a gorgeously convincing classic-rock soundbed upon which Pollard delivers an especially committed vocal performance, making this immediately enjoyable right from the shrinkwrap. Anthemic singalongs, creamy ballads, punky jumpers, poppy prog rock – this album has it all while Pollard’s oblique songwriting commands repeated listenings. However, at barely 35 minutes, Off To Business would have been further improved with the inclusion of the equally excellent B-sides found on the “Weatherman and Skingoddess” EP. Regardless, I would highly recommend this one, even to the merely curious. LP is limited to 500 copies.


The year-long Happy Jack Rock Records singles series finally came to a close last month with “Miles Under the Skin”/”Frostman (long version)”. “Frostman” first appeared as a mere fragment on 2001’s Isolation Drills (TVT), but is presented here in complete form. An achingly nostalgic ballad as only Pollard can write, this is a poignant end to this ambitious project.


So, what’s next in Bobland? Well, this oddity was just announced this week:

Carbon Whales: South EP/7” (Happy Jack Rock Records). This is a Bob SPONSORED release. The Carbon Whales are an obscure band from the late 70s that actor Paddy Considine turned Bob on to. The 4 songs on this EP are apparently the only things they ever recorded. It was never released. Bob really loved it so we tracked the band down and asked if we could release it. The singer sounds EXACTLY like Bob. Check out the song writing team of Bob Evans and Joustin Clark.

Hmmm. I’m suspicious. Bob Evans? This sounds to me like another pseudonymous release a la Nightwalker. On a hunch, I pre-ordered the 7”. Available exclusively from Rockathon.

More concretely, Bob has formed a new band with Chris Slusarenko and John Moen called Boston Spaceships. They will release a CD/LP, Brown Submarine (GBV, Inc.), on September 9th and then hit the road for a tour. Far out! This will be Bob’s first live performances (except for a handful of one-offs) since 2006. Boston Spaceships will play Nashville on October 18th and I hope to be there. Preview an mp3 of “Go for the Exit” here.


No comments: