Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Elephant Jokes

With albums credited to Circus Devils, Boston Spaceships,Cosmos, and a solo album already released this year it looks like Robert Pollard is just getting warmed up because on August 11th he'll unveil his thirteenth album under his given name. Elephant Jokes comes via Guided By Voices, Inc. and is comprised of 22 songs that clock in just over the 46 minute mark. The two tracks that I've heard are fantastic, and dare I say classic Pollard. Expect big guitar riffs (provided by Pollard himself) and smart pop hooks. Coming to a record store near you to satisfy your late summer rock and roll fix courtesy of The Fading Captain.

Marc Woodworth, Author of Bee Thousand (33 1/3 Press) did a bang up job writing the press release for Elephant Jokes :
I’m sick and tired of all you backward-looking crybabies. You know who you are: "If only it were 1994..." The present is the new past! So lay down the terrible burden of your quest for perfection. Inspired spontaneity is what you truly want! And there’s an abundance of the real thing on Elephant Jokes, a record released this very year by Robert Pollard who rocks and cerebrates and cuts up through 22 songs in 46.1 minutes. 1994? Were you even alive then? How alive? Not as alive as Robert Pollard is right now—working the boards, finding the words still jump when he says jump and the guitar chimes when he forms the chords on the 6-string with his honest-to-God DIY, home-made calluses. A clutch of these songs started out live in the studio, with Mr. Pollard on guitar, and they buzz with the charge of on-the-spot generation. All the secret ingredients go into the mix—even Mr. P’s brother, the estimable outside shooter Jimmy Pollard returns to tweak a few knobs—and the result is music that comes alive with that sui generis Dayton grit and sparkle. Check out the needling, obsessive riff on the intro to "When A Man Walks Away"—no mistaking the Pollard touch there—or the distortion-drenched start of "Epic Heads" where you can fairly smell the heat rise from the solid state circuit board. You want nostalgia? OK, here’s some nostalgia. Think music as real and unselfconscious as anything since Same Place the Fly Got Smashed or songs alive with Alien Lanes’ aesthetic but even hookier and smarter ("Stiff Me"? Are you kidding? Pure gold). Music that sounds just like friends playing for the fun of it in the family basement (so the family’s grown up and moved away, it’s a different house, and it’s not exactly a basement anyway, but I defy you to hear the difference). On Todd Tobias’ playground, everything’s possible, same as it ever was. Ocarina and kiddie chord organ on "Jimmy" with a drum beat as pared down as Hot Freak's trusty old 4/4? Check. A turn on guitar by Tim Tobias, GBV '99 -’03. Uh Huh. A verbal landscape where angels look like hell and Cyclops calls for his perverted eyelash? Did you expect anything less? If Bob playing guitar and getting new songs down with that kind of freshness and variety is your idea of a good time then I want to have a couple of beers with you and sit around telling Elephant Jokes all night with the volume up so loud all we can see is our mouths making the shapes of unbridled laughter.
- Marc Woodworth, author, Bee Thousand (33 1/3 Press)

Check out the two tracks that were just posted on

[MP3/Stream] Symbols and Heads

[MP3/Stream] Jimmy

Elephant Jokes track listing:
Things Have Changed (Down in Mexico City)
Johnny Optimist
When a Man Walks Away
Parts of Your World
Symbols and Heads
I Felt Revolved
Epic Heads
Stiff Me
Compound X
Accident Hero
Tattered Lily
Hippsville (Where the Frisbees Fly Forever)
Newly Selected Dirt Spots
Pigeon Tripping
Spectrum Factory
Perverted Eyelash
Cosmic Yellow Children
Blown Out Man
(All You Need) to Know
Architectural Nightmare Man

Thanks to Rich Turiel for his assistance and for putting up with all my questions.

1 comment:

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