Posts Tagged ‘lo-fi


Robert Pollard – Space City Kicks

On this very special January the 17th, we at Ears are Tourists have decided to give you, our special reader, the possibility to speak up about a new release. Since announcing the album at issue, Robert Pollard’s new effort Space City Kicks, we have recieved plenty of opinions. What follows is a compendium of thoughts on the lastest work by the indie magician of Ohio [sugary description required as to tone down the overall editorial agressivity of most reviews posted on here]

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“I’d like to raise a question about Robert Pollard’s wardrobe and his general image. We know he likes to wear shirts with awkward roses sewed on ’em and that he used to party dressed as a washed up country dope; but this is too much. A shirt with a red heart stitched on its breast pocket? That’s painful. I guess he just stepped off his Carpet of Love. Quirks aside, I reckon this is the most decent Pollard photo in any of his covers yet. See, it wasn’t so hard not to look like a 60-year old man dying of cancer or like a cocky posh suburbs dad. The cover for Space City Kicks is quite decent, at least they put some effort into it, something that cannot be said of last year’s Moses on a Snail, a terrible sight, worthy of being sold in the filthiest of gas stations. I’m confused though by the placement of a suitcase next to Pollard. I thought he had already gone off to business in a previous release? What about” [text cut off due to severe hyperlink masturbation; also, writer confessed not having heard the record yet]

Amy Joubert, Massapequa, Long Island, NY

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“What the heck, Bob. Man must be getting older becuz I barely required a dictionary to understand the song titles this time around. LOL. Thankfully the record is filled with good stuff. Not very obscure, but accessible material. There’s a couple of generic misfires (a tradition of Pollard) but it is solid. The Elephant Jokes album is still the best thing he’s done in the last several years. Now Bob since you’re such a rock star get your ass on a plane and tour the world, we’ve waited long enough to see your spacey karate-kicks!”

Macedonio Fernández, Buenos Aires, Argentina

“Bob’s been a good ole pal of mine for quite a few years now. Besides being the master of American ale drinking, the man can rock. He’s one of those 60s kids who grabbed the guitar at ten and started composing stuff right away, you know, same for me, I couldn’t contain the urge to play all by myself, but then I hit the road and went to Seattle. Bob however decided for reasons that are unknown to me to stay and rot in a shoddy town. No offense to Bob or anyone but you ever been to Montgomery County, OH? Place’s a friggin’ shit-hole. Oh and by the way, once, when pumped after a show (his body cannot get really intoxicated anymore), Bob confessed to me most of the songs he comes up with are in fact instilled into his brain by swift UFOS surrounding the Dayton area. Anyhow the man’s extraordinary as he showed in last year’s Moses on a Snail, which, as I already stated elsewhere, is a masterful recording full of substance and finesse. Bob continues to be a tremendous musician in his new album Space City Kicks. He succeeds best when he gets into a heavy metal vein – listen to the title track and don’t tell me you don’t dig those whamming guitars. Or in “Sex She Said”, he conjures up a decaying milieu which becomes progressively intense once more shredding guitars come in. “Picture a Star” is also ominous and hard, and “Getting Going” is one groovy rocking song. There’s some other tunes that I don’t particularly recall right now but that’s not important really, after all Bob’s at his best when being himself. I guess you have to meet him to experience that, his anima, such a great guy. That time we both went on stage and ripped The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” up was a personal milestone.”

Eddie Vedder, Seattle, WA

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“Sigh. Here we go again, the quarterly commentary on the new Robert Pollard album. I really wish he would stop fucking around and trying to ruin his mostly creative songwriting. The man’s motivations are fucking murky, something which puzzles me to no end. I mean what the fuck, you’ve got brilliant melodies such as “Something Strawberry” or “I Wanna Be Your Man on the Moon” but you interrupt them to take pleasure in disjointed, unpleasant wrecks such as “Picture a Star” and “Children Ships”. The lo-fi charm of GbV is longtime gone, you hack. Not that I’m much of a fan of GbV, it seems there’s assholes who dig “Kicker of Elves” and other jokey cuts of theirs. I tried to swallow those Suitcase compilations and nearly puked. Preposterous stuff. Pollard should save the dark weird nonsense for his Circus Devils albums (which in truth nobody listens to) instead. In those GbV days if Pollard fussed about his 767 lo-fi bathroom guitar compositions I guess they either gave him a beer or let him place a couple in an EP or even in album (who cared, you knew you were going to skip that track anyway) but now there’s no Tobin Sprout or Doug Gillard or whoever to hinder his thirst for shenanigans and we get this mess. Nobody wants to hear “Spill the Blues” or “Into It”, it’s boring. Material like “Mr. Fantastic Must Die” or “Woman to Fly” prevents me from entirely giving up on Pollard but I feel like kicking him in the face.

PS: Also this review can be almost exactly applied to any of his post 2001 solo releases.”

Edward Bast, New York City, NY

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“Pollard continues his streak of brilliant releases. One has to admire his guts, a rare trait in the music business nowadays. His records are quite the expedition into the realm of nonconformity, in which anything is valid, music is startling besides quality, there’s room for nakedness and for fury, for all kinds of human emotions. No current band is able to come up with hooks so sweet as those in “Something Strawberry” (psychedelic pop perfection) or “Touch me in the Right Place” (so instantly memorable) and sound so unforced and natural. The DIY, lo-fi quality of the recording implies honesty and lack of bullshit and benefits the quieter, folkier cuts (such as the beautiful “Gone Hoping”). His musical taste is clear and all over the place: from the Kinks to Judas Priest. The sonic assault these eighteen cuts represent screams for repeated listens: all Pollard albums seem harmless at first, take a while to get into your skin. Then you find yourself humming songs whilst cleaning your toilet or having sex with your wife or attending other bands’ concerts, tunes you aren’t able to place or recognize, until it hits you: they’re off the new Robert Pollard album you chose to dismiss. You ungrateful bastard. You know that since your turntable lost its virginity to GbV there’s always a Pollard song stuck in your head; they can morph, they can evolve, they can change, but he’s always there forcing you to purr. So shut up, put on hold your exciting new Destroyer and Deerhoof releases and give Space City Kicks another spin.”

Vezetett vélemény, Budapest, Hungary

“Pollard continues his streak of subpar releases. The blatant lethargy displayed in many of the songs, particularly the “more intimate” cuts (“Gone Hoping”, “Into it”), is discouraging. “Tired Life”, for instance, is such a tiring tune, drags on forever. I know he’s not even trying (has he ever?) but does that disinterest need to be so obvious. Also Bob, lay off the hard-rocking numbers, you don’t play in crowded arenas, only hipster-flooded shitty ass redneck bars, and you always will, even if youre “followed by losers” haha. Bleh this.”, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Space City Kicks is the new album by Robert Pollard, the lead singer of a band you maybe know called the Boston Spaceships. Although it has guitars this is pure indie music, made from the soul of a man who wants to manifest his passion of music to the listener’s soul. Even if the record is dominated by the pop, that doesn’t make it more light, instead, there is many rockings parts in the disc. It is produced by Todd Tobias (Sleeptalkers, Circus Devils, Kramies) and recorded in Ohio, in the USA. Interesting soundscapes are evoked: please try it and maybe you will enjoy this very special music.”

EsteladaSempre, Barcelona, Spain

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“GENIOUS! Bob Pollard has done it again folks, he’s tricked us into believing he has recorded a new album when in fact he’s rehashing old material! People will argue it’s all about his genius. Albeit his brain must be shiny, over the years he’s set himself up as this “gimme a guitar and I’ll write you five songs in two minutes” kinda guy, which he really is not! He certainly is hyperactive, thats fo sho, but in his best interest! By putting out half a dozen records a year, there’s no way to re-listen to the albums and let them mature as they should! That way, he guarantees his releases will not be too strictly judged! The only folks who’ll listen to them again and again are jerky fanboys who are bound to love the hell out of it! Nice try Mr. Pollard!”

Nedra Carp, Surrey, UK

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Thanks to everyone who took part in our little feedback project! Unfortunately no special prizes (a flock of dying seagulls) will be delivered to those who sent in their comments, as it had been announced, since they were eaten by one of our editors, who then proceeded to burp and die simultaneously. Our sincerest apologies.

Link in comments.


Twin Stumps – Seedbed

Finally Twin Stumps have decided to release their ode to balding people, as the cover states. The material inside the album does go farther than this mentioned tragedy and reaches heights of sonic filth. Twin Stumps themselves define their genre as “downer”; and of course the one band I can think of who could be also classified as so are the Swans in their nihilistic heyday (early 80s). The similarities are obvious; both bands could be somehow considered “industrial” and “noise-rock” yet they go beyond those tags. The Stumps are overall a sludgy punkish post-hardcore act, whose production here (engineered by the Pygmy Shrews’ Ben Greenberg) is intentionally lo-fi crappy – but also thankfully clear and not as muddled as it first appears to be: the instruments are identifiable instead of being buried in layers of nauseating noise (it’s evidently not recorded in some bathroom but it’s been manipulated as to sound “muddy” – the bass in the excellent “Missing Persons”, for instance, is fuzzy as fuck). Yet of course the album is permanently noisy. There’s some loud, abrasive tracks, such as the shouty “Business Class”; sonic experiments, notably “Body Plan” (a collage of eerie sounds – which might or might not be a subway train, shots being fired and drumsticks being thrown against a wal); or just quiet, disturbingly reptile and droneish segments of bass/guitar repetition (“Lungs”; “Pigs at the Trough”). But it’s always noisy as hell. Some of the cuts are even catchy (“Drainage City” has an ace bassline; “Caged Emily” has rushing hummable crescendos; “Lust Murder”‘s guitar is absurdly memorable). The slowest motherfucker here is probably “Pope’s Nose”, which should become a protosludge classic. Singer/shouter Alessandro Keegan screams “you’ll never be what your mother wanted” and other happy remarks in an array of hate reminiscent of… the Swans, who else. I really don’t know what he’s yelling most of the time, but I suppose it’s nothing too pretty. Many are the Stumps’ influences. Screeching guitars and hammering bass worthy of Flipper, the pounding rhythm and vicious vocals of Godflesh (no really, Keegan sounds like Broadrick at times), the noise/feedback mayhem of Harry Pussy, the gritty reality of the harsher Brainbombs (I’m thinking “Anne Frank”), the atonal, insisting soundscapes of many No Wave acts; the doomish decaying ambiance of Nootgrush; all these bands conform the core of the Twin Stumps’ aural tradition. I believe they display more creativity and expert composition (not just attitude and noise for noise’s sake) than SQRM, Drunkdriver or other “noisy” bands of the moment. I’m not underestimating them at all; it’s just that the whole of Seedbed inspires such confidence and cohesion (by not being boringly reiterative) it’s hard to imagine punky noise rock being more consistent than this. The album leaves the listener exhausted and messed up.

And that is a GOOD thing.

Download here (from, a “band-approved” leak of the album).

‘Come with your ears… leave with your ears!’

February 2019
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