Posts Tagged ‘Robert Pollard’

May be an image of text that says 'GUIDED BY VOICES ina John Î. Morrison Musical Production EARTH MAN BLUES'

Guided by Voices will release “Earth Man Blues”, their 33rd album, on April 30 via Rockathon Records. Robert Pollard took songs he’d written over the last few years that ended up not getting recorded for other records, and reworked and refashioned them to fit a loose concept album about a musical stage production. While the idea of an album of leftovers from a group stampeding towards their 40th album might not sound immediately appealing, Guided by Voices are not your average group and Pollard’s throwaways are another band’s lead single.

“Is it really a musical?! The 33rd Guided By Voices album “Earth Man Blues” is a magical cinematic rock album, full of dramatic and surreal twists and turns. Lyrics and liner notes trace the growth of young Harold Admore Harold through a coming of age and a reckoning with darkness. Vivid scenes appear: snapshots of youth, fantastical nightmares, unknown worlds. The music hasn’t softened a bit. One will hear the impossibly perfect melodies and word play that you expect from Robert Pollard, with the band playing at peak-heavy. Doug Gillard’s brilliant guitar playing explodes out of the speakers. The rhythm section of Kevin March and Mark Shue, always strong and reliable, has grown into a breathing composite organism. Along with Bobby Bare Jr. on rhythm guitar, they drive the songs and make one’s head shake. Producer Travis Harrison ties the talents of the band together, once again recorded remotely and individually, pandemic-style.

This group bring to life the sounds in Pollard’s technicolour imagination.”

From the new album “Earth Man Blues”

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With frontman Robert Pollard leading the way, Guided by Voices added three more albums to their massive catalogue last year, including December’s “Styles We Paid For”. Pollard is looking to carry that non-stop momentum into 2021 with the announcement of a new side-project, Cub Scout Bowling Pins are a new secret identity of super-heroes, turning up the craziness knob by 10%. First song “Heaven Beats Iowa” is an insanely catchy power-pop tune, distinctly different from GBV with a Farfisa organ chug, by jingo!”

Having released three albums with Guided by Voices in 2020 (the most recent less than a month ago), Robert Pollard doesn’t appear to be slowing down for 2021. Rolling Stone notes he’s got a new project, Cub Scout Bowling Pins, who will release their six-song debut EP, Heaven Beats Iowa, on January 22nd via Guided by Voices Inc.

The forthcoming collection consists of six songs, including a title track that serves as the lead single. While details on  Cub Scout Bowling Pins, like their music, are fuzzy, it’s clearly Bob singing on Heaven Beats Iowa’s janunty, organ-fueled title track that has a distinct ’60s pop vibe.

Releases January 22nd 
Limited to 1000 7inch EP’s and 1000 CD’s worldwide

“Do The Nixon” is the first single off Circus Devils upcoming final album ‘Laughs Last’. You can purchase it along with the band’s best of compilation entitled ‘Laughs Best: The Kids Eat It Up’ both of which were released on February 24th 2017

Robert Pollard’s freak-rock trio Circus Devils says it’s farewell with a pair of simultaneous releases for 2017. First is their 14th and final album Laughs Last, along with a best-of, double LP collection titled Laughs Best: The Kids Eat It Up (with DVD included). 

On Laugh Last, Pollard and the Tobias brothers take a breathless romp through multiple styles, starting off with the brash hotdogger, ‘Get Out Of My Way When I’m In Town.’  Along the way we’re treated to the R.E.M. inflected ‘I Do the Nixon,’ the organ-fuzz stomper ‘Teenage Rooster,’ and the defiantly conventional ‘Crucified by The British Press.’   Full of high humor and low drama, Laughs Last is the bold exclamation point at the end of Circus Devils’ 16-year run.

Laughs Best (The Kids Eat it Up) –is a collection of 30 speedy deliveries from rock and roll’s Twilight Zone that will leave you exhausted, satisfied, and ready for another spin.  Circus Devils’ entire mind-bending catalogue is represented here, including three songs from the brand new album Laughs Last.  While there is an emphasis on friendlier numbers, there is still plenty of the trio’s prog rock psychedelia on display.

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Robert Pollard has recently announced that Guided By Voices were reforming with a largely new line-up, only drummer Kevin March having been in a previous incarnation. That announcement was accompanied by news that the new Guided By Voices album would be a totally solo affair by Pollard. He then springs a new solo album upon us that is the first for over a decade to not be recorded with Todd Tobias on instrument and production duties. In his place, handling all instruments and the recording desk, is Nick Mitchell, his Ricked Wicky side-man  and newly announced guitarist in the live GBV line-up.

As typically muddled as this may be it is good news. Mitchell has proved to be a great foil for Pollard on the Ricked Wicky albums and is clearly a first-rate guitarist. It is also true that a degree of saminess had crept in to the albums that Pollard and Tobias were producing – these were good records but you knew largely what they would sound like.

What Mitchell immediately brings to the party is a harder rock edge, and this is immediately brought out on the opening track ‘My Daughter Yes She Knows’ which is riff heavy and unafraid of classic rock cliché. He brings more to the album than guitars though and the arrangements on this album are as adventurous as anything Pollard has produced with strings, horns and keyboards having a noticeable presence on a number of tracks.

Pollard has always been at his best when working with a like-minded instrumentalist and much like Tobin Sprout, Doug Gillard and Chris Slusarenko it looks like Mitchell is bringing the best out of Pollard’s song-writing as well as offering up his guitar skills. The songs on the album are all of a surprisingly high standard for someone who releases so many and there is a good mixture of styles on show across the 12 tracks. There is a slight bias towards the more rocking guitar songs but there is time for some sweet ballads and hook filled pop tunes as well.

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The real thing that makes this album work so well though is the variety of arrangement, not just between but within the songs. Listen to the horns on ‘Little Pigs’ or the Love-esque horns/strings/guitar burst in ‘I Can Illustrate’ and you can imagine how much fun was had bringing these songs together.

Best of all is the album closer, and title track, which demonstrates Pollard’s unmistakable gift for crafting tunes that could have been recorded any time in the last five decades.

This is Pollard’s 22nd solo album and he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Expect number 23 to be announced any day. thanks for the review from Neonfiller,