Chronicling the creative process for Pop Zeus, the forthcoming Guided By Voices/Bob Pollard tribute comic- including sketches, concepts, finished art and whatever else is in my brain at the moment.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Robert Pollard's Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series (Updated!)

(Update! The third release in the Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series has been announced... Current Desperation (Angels Speak Of Nothing) b/w Met Her At A Seance. So that confirms my suspicion that the former Silverfish Trivia track Met Her At A Seance is a b-side. Cool beans!)

Its a mouthful, to be sure. But Robert Pollard's Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series is also one great idea guaranteed to bring a years worth of joy to the hearts of Robert Pollard fans everywhere!

Its still in the planning stages, but the idea behind the Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series is that every month for an entire year, a 7" Robert Pollard single will arrive at your doorstep (kind of like "the fruit of the month club" but for Bob music)! Each large-hole (perfect for jukeboxes) single will feature an A-side from Pollard's October Merge release (tentatively titled Standard Gargoyle Decisions) and a non-album B-side.

The labels for the singles will look exactly the same except for the song title. And each 7" will come in a plain white paper sleeve to keep costs down. But a cool box will be available at the end of the series to house them in. Only a 1000 of each single will be pressed, available through teh internet only (not yet ready for pre-orders so hold yr horses) so don't sleep on this, good peoples.

And the first two releases in the single series have already been named! The first will be Rud Fins b/w Piss Along You Bird. And the second will be Spider Eyes b/w Battle For Mankind. So that also means that two tracks from Standard Gargoyle Decisions are the aforementioned Rud Fins and Spider Eyes- neat!

More information will come to light about the Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, true believers!

(studio photo courtesy of Matt Davis and

Robert Pollard To Release Two, Count 'Em Two Solo Albums On October 9th! (Updated With Tracklists!)

Muppet News Flash! Pitchfork, your home for snarky, ironic hipster rock news and reviews has outscooped everyone with the tracklisting for both Standard Gargoyle Decisions and Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love! And here they are...

Standard Gargoyle Decisions:

01 The Killers
02 Pill Gone Girl
03 Hero Blows the Revolution
04 Psycho-Inertia
05 Shadow Port
06 Lay Me Down
07 Butcher Man
08 Motion Sickness Ghosts
09 I in the World
10 Here Comes Garcia
11 The Island Lobby
12 Folded Claws
13 Feel Not Crushed
14 Accusations
15 Don't Trust Anybody
16 Come Here Beautiful
17 Spider Eyes

Coast to Coast Carpet of Love:

01 Our Gaze
02 Count Us In
03 Exactly What Words Mean
04 Current Desperation (Angels Speak of Nothing)
05 Dumb Lady
06 Rud Fins
07 Customer's Throat
08 Miles Under the Skin
09 Penumbra
10 Slow Hamilton
11 Looks is What You Have
12 I Clap for Strangers
13 Life of a Wife
14 Youth Leagues
15 When We Were Slaves
16 Nicely Now

And the article describes the albums as follows...

One, Standard Gargoyle Decisions, is being described as "super-catchy pop," while the other, Coast to Coast Carpet of Love, as "down and dirty rock

...which is the opposite of what I reported below, ah well. (Update! Pitchfork got it reversed. I was correct. Hee haw!)

So this means that only two of the remaining Silverfish Trivia tracks made the cut (unless they have been retitled), The Killers and Life Of A Wife. Met Her At A Seance and the title song Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love are MIA, presumed dead or perhaps b-sides on the Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series. Very interesting (and somewhat confusing)...

Instead of releasing just one new solo album on Merge Records October 9th, Robert Pollard will be releasing two! They are the aforementioned Standard Gargoyle Decisions and the newly announced Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love, named after a song from the previous incarnation of Silverfish Trivia.

How we got to this place is a long and twisted tale. The recently released mini-LP Silverfish Trivia was originally a full length LP. But Bob was not satisfied and more recording and tracklist fiddling transformed Silverfish Trivia to its current 7 track state. Which left the remaining songs from the original version (as heard on Bob and The Ascended Masters' Normal Happiness tour in November) as well as several others. The known leftover songs from Silverfish Trivia were...

The Killers (formerly a Psycho And The Bird's track)
Piss Along You Bird
Met Her At A Seance
Life Of A Wife
Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love

In addition, Pollard had written and was itching to record an additional 28 brand new songs. So Standard Gargoyle Decisions and Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love will be comprised of the 28 new songs as well as a sprinkling of the original Silverfish Trivia tracks recorded last year, if they make the cut (or aren't a part of Crickets).

Which brings us to the previously posted Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series. And its now been revealed that the series will comprise A-sides from both Standard Gargoyle Decisions and Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love as well as non-album B-sides. The first two 7" singles will be Rud Fins b/w Piss Along You Bird and Spider Eyes b/w Battle For Mankind. So that means that two tracks from Standard Gargoyle Decisions and/or Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love are Rud Fins and Spider Eyes. And Piss Along You Bird (from the original Silverfish Trivia) didn't make the cut for either. Phew!

So come October 9th, us Pollard fans will be spoiled rotten yet again. Not a lot of rock artists have released two LPs on the same day. But if anyone could, it's our prolific and brilliant Uncle Bob! And those in the know are saying that Standard Gargoyle Decisions is the heavier, darker and harder-rocking of the two. While Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love (at one time titled "Lay Them Hands") is more poppy and melodic. More details coming soon, stay tuned...

(photo courtesy of barthatronic and DTS)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Guided By Voices - Pantherz Video (Sound Burger Edition)

If you had to choose just one Guided By Voices song to demonstrate their pure rock power, you be hard pressed to top Pantherz! And the amazing thing is that among casual GBV fans, the track is not terribly well known. The version of Pantherz heard here has only appeared on the Jellyfish Reflector live vinyl bootleg and a 7" that came with Rebound magazine.

This clips primary purpose is a handy demonstration of the Sound Burger, a nifty device from the 80's that plays, amplifies and now digitally transfers vinyl (with the help of only 3 C batteries). The fellow digging through the crate of Guided By Voices and Pollard records is also the creator of a Sound Burger tee-shirt, which is seen being silkscreened at the end. Obviously a big Geebs fan (is that an original Propeller I see at :27? drool...), the video creator wasn't able to slip one little mistake past me! The red vinyl in the Sound Burger is Nightwalker's In Shop We Build Electric Chairs, not Jellyfish Reflector, where one would hear Pantherz. But its a minor continuity error only a nerd like me would care about. Great clip, Tom and keep rockin' the Pantherz!

Debbie X, I love you so
But there's one thing you should know
If he comes 'round here again
I will have to take my teeth out

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Takeovers - Bad Football: Pre-Orders, Tracklist, MP3's And Album Cover Revealed (Updated!)

(Update! The fourth preview MP3 from Bad Football for the track I Can See My Dog is now available at The Takeovers new myspace page! Go now, download, listen, add to your profile, dance like no one is watching, go nuts- its a good one!)

Huzzah! The follow-up to my favorite 2006 Robert Pollard release, The Takeovers "Turn To Red", has finally been unmasked. "Bad Football" is on its way and so far it looks and sounds great!

Earlier today, Off Records cracked open a new webpage dedicated to Bad Football. And long awaited details about the new Takeovers collaboration between Robert Pollard and ex-GBV bassist Chris Slusarenko have been revealed. The mindblowingly awesome cover is another collage previously revealed in EAT 2, brought to fruition on this LP. And a fuller list of session players like Stephen Malkmus (Pavement), Tad Doyle (Tad), John Moen (The Decembrists) and Dan Peters (Mudhoney) has been brought to light. Also included on the website is a full tracklist as follows...

1. You’re At It
2. Little Green Onion Man
3. Father’s Favorite Temperature
4. Molly & Zack
5. Pretty Not Bad
6. Smokestack Bellowing Stars
7. I Can See My Dog
8. The Jester of Helpmeat
9. Kicks At The Gym
10. Music For Us
11. The Year Nobody Died
12. My Will

But the icing on the proverbial cake are three preview MP3's- Father’s Favorite Temperature, Molly & Zack and My Will! My Will is my early favorite, but they all sound groovy.

So jump on The Takeovers bandwagon and pre-order your copy (on CD and collectible vinyl) of Bad Football before the official June 12th release date! And look for another Off Records/Happy Jack Rock Records release of The Takeovers' Little Green Onion Man 7" EP with three unreleased tracks, coming in August...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

33 1/3 Bee Thousand Book Party - June 9th In Brooklyn

Oy! There is so much awesome Bob Pollard and Guided By Voices news to report today, I got my work cut out for me. Let's get started, shall we?

So first up on the calendar (and therefore first priority) is a party for the 33 1/3 book dedicated to the Guided By Voices classic Bee Thousand! It will be thrown at Don Pedro's in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn in just three weeks, Saturday June 9th. Sadly for yours truly, that is the exact date of my black belt test. So please, those of you in the tri-state area (especially my brethren in New Jersey), live it up (before you pass away) for me at this amazing party!

Not only will you get a peep at the short film "Or Something Like That", inspired by three Bee Thousand songs and assembled by master collagist Lewis Klahr. And not only will you bear witness to "Gold Star For Robot Boy", a "live theatrical extravaganza" by Fovea Floods and John Chambers. Additionally, not only will you see varied performances of Bee Thousand songs by the likes of Rick Moody & Nina Katchadourian, Brent Gordon and The Invert String Quartet (as heard on Silverfish Trivia) and even you, you crazy bastard, if you sign up. But the capper is that Robert Pollard and GBV legend Tobin Sprout themselves will be in attendance (not performing mind you)!

So what are you waiting for lucky hipster denizens of Brooklyn (with your complicated glasses and fancy haircuts... or is that fancy glasses and complicated haircuts?), bridge and tunnelers from Jersey and Connecticut, and trust fund hippies in Manhattan? Go check the flyer for more details... and mark yr calendars!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Robert Pollard - The Numbered Head Video (Blood Jewel Conspiracy Bootleg Version)

I am a busy brother these days- sorry for the lack of posts. Between ramping up my kung fu training for June's black belt test (subject of an upcoming post), stressing out about said test and doing what I can for Pop Zeus, posting has become a woefully low priority.

So as a stopgap measure, here is an intensely creepy and cool conspiracy-laden unofficial video by Blood Jewel/Digital Doom Animations for Robert Pollard's The Numbered Head. The song is definitely a highlight of 2006's triumphant From A Compound Eye. And it played really well here in San Francisco last year (Bob jokingly claimed because of the long jam in the middle, heh). The darkness of this video's imagery really meshes well with the intensity of the track. Check it...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Crickets And Austin City Limits Available For Pre-Order! (Updated Again!)

(Update Dos- If you didn't pre-order the Austin City Limits DVD or CD, it is readily available right now at a Best Buy (or any other major music retailer) near you. The Best Buy near me had at least 3 of them on the release day, May 15th...)

(Update- due to a manufacturing error on the Crickets deluxe booklet, shipping for this CD has been delayed for 7 to 10 days, probably arriving toward the end of the month. But Austin City Limits is right on schedule. Just thought you pre-order folks might want to know!)

Newsflash! Crickets "The Best Of The Fading Captain Series" and Guided By Voices' appearance on Austin City Limits are now available for pre-order from Luna Music, home of the Fading Captain Series and Indianapolis' most excellent record shop! They should ship together, reaching your domestic mailbox in time for the May 15th release date.

To refresh your memory, Crickets is a double CD 50 track best-of collection, wrapping up Robert Pollard's long standing side project label. Early word is that the song selection is amazing, making Crickets the ultimate obscuro Pollard mix tape. And don't forget about those 6 unreleased tracks, some possibly from the Silverfish Trivia sessions...

And there is good news and there is bad news about the Austin City Limits DVD. The good news is that there is indeed not only a DVD, but also a two CD set of the full 30 song set from Guided By Voices late 2003 TV appearance! The bad news is that the CD set is not included with the DVD as reported earlier. You have to purchase them separately. It was wishful thinking that we would get that much music for free. But who could complain with this bounty of GBV riches to look forward to?

And I would like to take a paragraph to personally thank Luna Music- especially the tri-titans of rawk Todd, Matt, and Jason. Not only has Luna been one-stop-shopping for Geebs superfans like myself for nearly a decade and not only have they created a home for all of Robert Pollard's most arcane and bizarre musical musings, but they whole heartedly supported my humble little funny books (namely Logjam) from the word go. Without their patronage, a bridge to the GBV fan base, Pop Zeus would not exist. So please keep supporting Luna Music. And thanks again from the bottom of my heart- we love you right back, Luna!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Guided By Voices - Striped White Jets / Quality Of Armor 1996 Live Video

Dang, it's too hot in my apartment to get anything productive done. I feel cranky- bored but unmotivated. Blech! My loss is your gain, though...

Here is a very rare clip of Guided By Voices from exactly eleven years ago (May 10th 1996 at the Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles to be precise). One of the last shows with the "classic lineup" including Mitch Mitchell and Tobin Sprout (with Matt Sweeney filling in on bass), the gig was professionally shot for the mammoth Live At The Whiskey A Go Go VHS tape (which has yet to be released on DVD). But us lucky interweb users can now get a taste of that ole tape courtesy of YouTube! Great to see a youthful version of our favorite band rockin' the grunge kids. And the gig poster (which hangs on my wall) is one of my absolute faves. Spock + GBV = Joygasm!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

EAT 3? Yeah, I'd eat it! (Updated!)

(Update! Got my copy of EAT 3 in the mail today (thanks Rockathon Rich) and its a great one. Let's just say that the next Pollard solo album Standard Gargoyle Decisions' cover and back cover collages are revealed and they rank up there with the best! If that's not incentive enough to check out EAT 3, I don't know what is...)

Happy May Day and here's a welcome surprise- volume 3 of Robert Pollard's literary/art journal EAT (entitled Keep Your Christmas Lights Up Forever) is complete! And our friends at Rockathon Records are waiting for your order (I obviously didn't see this one coming).

If you love Pollard's collages or his unique lyrical stylings like I do, EAT is the only way to get a peek at upcoming album covers and songs. And EAT 3 boasts 33 original poems and 40 original collages, including a band name quiz.

The previous two editions of EAT are also available for order from Rockathon and are great fun. But the rub with EAT 3 is that due to escalating printing costs, its a limited run. So don't sit on your hands with this one.

I'll be back later this week (hopefully) with kung fu and Pop Zeus news plus some fun videos and junk. 'Til then!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Details Slip About The Takeovers "Bad Football"

Midheaven, home of much internet mail-order music goodness, has let some details slip about The Takeovers' June 12th Off Records release Bad Football. Read on, my friends...

Welcome to the second dose of The Takeovers, courtesy of two members of Guided By Voices: The legendary Robert Pollard and the less so Chris Slusarenko. The newest release, Bad Football, finds the boys collaborating again and coming up with a slightly more song-oriented album every bit as perverse as 2006’s Turn to Red. Calling on likeminded bedfellows like Stephen Malkmus (Pavement), Tad Doyle (Tad), John Moen (The Decemberists) and Dan Peters (Mudhoney) to help follow their tuneful and psychedlic hearts, the Takeovers waste no time pushing aside the sophmore curse. In fact, if you like John, Paul, the bass player from Wire and/or Guided By Voices, you’re in good hands with Bad Football. “Chris Slusarenko knows exactly what to do, guiding Robert Pollard through a musical journey of his own past, present, and future, while Pollard continues to test his abilities and grow as a songwriter. This is something he is rarely given credit for, but here’s one example of where he most certainly should.” --Bart Bealmear, All Music Guide
Wow! Bad Football may just be the Pollard release of 2007 (and there are a lot of 'em) that I'm the most dying to hear. A windfall of talented collaborators and (in Midheaven's opinion) The Takeovers dodging the sophomore slump? Can't wait!

Circus Devils Website And Sgt. Disco Cover Revealed!

Circus Devils is real! In anticipation of the greatly anticipated and already legendary 5th Circus Devils release Sgt. Disco (July 24th on Ipecac Recordings), the official Circus Devils website has launched! Go check it out for all kinds of fun including an amusing band info page, a discography (including tracklisting on Sgt. Disco), reviews, and a new mailing list to join. And amidst the craziness is our first glimpse at the Sgt. Disco cover (formerly a collage featured in EAT). Dig it!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Taffypro - I Am A Scientist Video

Wow. Um, so here is an... interesting cover of the Guided By Voices classic (and possibly my favorite Geebs song) I Am A Scientist. Not only are the visuals unusual but Taffypro's vocal stylings, the choice to go octaves lower when the song naturally goes higher, makes this one of the more... unique GBV covers ever. Enjoy, or something...