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ROBERT POLLARD

Robert Pollard

Kid Marine

    Guided By Voices brings you 20th anniversary vinyl reissues of two early gems from the Fading Captain Series. Originally issued as small vinyl pressings (1000 copies) in 1999, used copies of these Guided By Voices “side-projects” have regularly re-sold for hundreds of dollars each. Both have been remastered from the original analog tapes. Kid Marine, the first-ever release of the Fading Captain Series and Robert Pollard’s third solo album, features “Far-Out Crops,” “Submarine Teams,” and the sublime “White Gloves Come Off.” Pollard handles all guitar and keyboard duties as well as vocals, joined by GBV’s Greg Demos (bass) and Tobin Sprout (piano) and The Breeders’ Jim MacPherson (drums), soon to join GBV for Do The Collapse.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Robert Pollard With Doug Gillard

    Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department

      Guided By Voices brings you 20th anniversary vinyl reissues of two early gems from the Fading Captain Series. Originally issued as small vinyl pressings (1000 copies) in 1999, used copies of these Guided By Voices “side-projects” have regularly re-sold for hundreds of dollars each. Both have been remastered from the original analog tapes. Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department is the first album of Robert Pollard’s fruitful collaboration with long-time guitarist Doug Gillard (later to be known as Lifeguards).

      Gillard recorded all the instruments on Tascam 4-track cassette in Cleveland, then sent them via US Postal Service to Pollard who added vocals in a studio in Dayton. Eleven Pollard compositions followed, along with four songs which Pollard wrote and recorded melodies over Gillard-penned instrumentals, starting an unusual songwriting process that Pollard pursued for several years with various long-distance collaborators. Nearly half the songs on the album became staples of the GBV live set for several years, including “Pop Zeus,” “Tight Globes,” “Frequent Weaver Who Burns” and “Do Something Real,” which was featured in the Stephen Soderbergh film, Full Frontal.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Robert Pollard

      Faulty Superheroes

        Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays Robert Pollard from the swift completion of his latest brilliant record. Faulty Superheroes jets off Pollard's vinyl-grooved runway like the prototype for some new super-sonic power pop fighter jet, and at this point in his career is anyone surprised that the twelve tracks on his latest effort are uniformly awesome? The answer is no. Exactly no one is surprised. The biggest thing Pollard has to contend is his own miraculously consistent greatness. That he rarely if ever stumbles is some kind of marvel, and perhaps implies superpowers of his own. If you see what we did there.

        Faulty Superheroes has a tossed-off, effortless magnificence that the rash of indie-whatevers trailing in his wake from Bee Thousand to the present constantly strive for, and fail to achieve. The constant sense of surprise, of wonder, of discovery that you routinely find in superbly-structured instant bomp classics like "Faster The Great" is not something that can be taught, or learned, or imparted, or copied. Pollard pretty much abandoned the four-track for twenty years now and still gets tagged as "lo-fi," which is a word that makes even less sense now in the days of digital recording than it did then in the days of occasionally tape-hiss smothered coulda-shoulda- been hits. "Take Me To Yolita" in lesser hands could have been not much more than a bad one-liner stretched to fit a pop song, but Pollard reverse-engineers the titular pun to build a Kinks-like mini-epic that elevates the raw material of the song to transcendent heights. "She walks to him but that's not him." Damn. And so it goes. Are there bum notes here and there? Recording accidents-on-purpose left in like crushed empty beer cans strewn around the miniature, glimmering pop/ rock/ psych/ prog construction sites left standing in the wake of each of Faulty Superheroes' finished/unfinished songs? You betcha.

        The Guided By Voices aesthetic was formed and developed and continues to be improved by Pollard, which makes all the more puzzling the hand-wringing that accompanies every announcement of a so-called GBV "break-up" (or for that matter, "reunion."). "You only need one," he sings on the song of that title. As long as we have Bob, we need nothing else. And we have Bob. If you're counting your blessings, don’t forget that one. It's kinda crucial.

        Robert Pollard - Guitar, Vocals, Todd Tobias - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards. Kevin March – Drums. Stephen Hopkins - Bass on "What A Man". 

        Robert Pollard

        Jack Sells The Cow

          Even for a guy whose famously abundant output makes a joke of the word prolific, this has been a spectacularly prolix year for Robert Pollard. Jack Sells The Cow is his second solo album in a year that has already seen the release of two reunited Guided By Voices records and will see yet a third before it's done, along with a fair amount of touring.

          So what makes this a Robert Pollard record as opposed to a Guided By Voices record? The best answer is that it's just a matter of nomenclature, but the absence of contributions from other members of the reunited GBV is probably the easiest way to put Jack in its box, if putting things into boxes is your thing. "I'm as true as true can be," Pollard sings on the pithy pop anthem "Big Groceries," from which the album at least obliquely derives its title (in the sense that one verse, at least, seems to refer to the old English "Jack and the Beanstalk" folk-tale, or something like that), and much of Jack seems preoccupied with larger themes: "Pontius Pilate Heart" with judgment, "Winter Comes To Those Who Pray" with the faith/doubt schism, "Big Groceries" with objective vs. subjective truths, and on and on and over and out. At least, that's our reading. That reasonable people might disagree on the precise meaning of Pollard's lyrics doesn't mean they make no sense, as those who take the trouble to handle with care will likely discover. And if not, hey, that's cool. The superabundance of melody and densely-packed stylistic swerves and flourishes on Jack rival anything he's recorded recently, and while five albums in a year might strike some as overkill, you have to imagine Pollard's relentless output is a less than calculated move — a smarter businessman would hold back product so as to build demand, but Robert Pollard has never been a businessman. He's an artist, full stop, at a time when it seems that every artist/musician is expected to have an M.B.A. He puts out records because he likes the records (Bogq knows he's scrapped enough proposed albums to fill many another group's entire discography). And he hopes you'll like them too.


          Jack Sells The Cow sails over the moon of your heart in a snappy thirty-two plus minutes, and despite its relatively heavy subject matter comes off as perhaps the sprightliest, most light-footed music Pollard has recorded this year. Of the quincunx of Bob-related releases this year, we'd suggest you put this one in the center, and hold tight. These suckers move.

          Has any artist had a run like Robert Pollard since he struck out on his own with the launch of GBV Inc. in 2008? With the release of "Moses On A Snail", Pollard has put out an unbelievable twelve albums in a span of roughly two years—and that's not even including all the various EPs, singles and a (third) box set of outtakes and unreleased tracks. "Moses On A Snail" contains a dozen amazingly strong Pollard compositions. Even for the ridiculously prolific songwriter, this was a notable writing session as ten of the twelve songs were written in one sitting. As Pollard describes the process, he started with a notebook of working song titles, and penned 22 songs in a single afternoon's creative burst. He discarded over half, and ten songs were picked to later revise and flesh out. He made demos to send to frequent producer / collaborator Todd Tobias, who recorded the instruments before Pollard did his final vocals. This batch of songs finds a somber, more reflective, yet ultimately triumphant Pollard on such instant classics as "Arrows And Balloons", "Each Is Good In His Own House", "It's A Pleasure Being You" and the enormous title track, which culminates in a dramatic (and a typical) minute-long guitar lead to close the album. Elsewhere, the elegiac "Teardrop Paintballs" delivers seriously heartbreaking melodies, and the (dare we call it) mellow "The Weekly Crow" reminds us to mention that there will be a Pollard composition on the forthcoming Glen Campbell album. Clocking in at a concise 36 minutes, "Moses On A Snail" begs to be played over and over again as it reveals itself more with each listen. It's an album that prompts the question: 'What is Robert Pollard going to do next to top this one?'


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