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.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Guided By Voices Midi Masterpieces

Over the years, phone toting Guided By Voices fans have wondered when and if there will ever be midi ringtones that rock. Their wait is over. Tristram Shandy, longtime Disarm The Setters poster, took it upon himself to learn how to create midi music. And he has since been transcribing and composing Guided By Voices midi masterpieces for all to share and enjoy! You will be the envy of all your friends the next time you get a call and a Geebs tune blasts out of your celly. And there are currently over 45 to choose from! Some of my favorites so far have been...

Underground Initiations

Back To The Lake

Do Something Real

My Valuable Hunting Knife

Blimps Go 90

Edisons Memos

But they are all brilliant. And hearing these songs in a stripped-down way renews my appreciation for the inherent musicality and melody in Bob Pollard's music. Thanks and cheers Tristram!

Yet More Upcoming Robert Pollard Projects!

(Update! It has been revealed that the Austin City Limits DVD will come with a CD recording of the show as well!)

Hello all! 2007 is already turning out to be another amazing and prolific year for Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices music. And some brand new information has come to light regarding the release calendar- more specific dates and a newly announced Austin City Limits DVD! So here is the updated info...

Robert Pollard "Relaxation Of The Asshole 2 - Meet The King"
(Rockathon Records. Available now!)
Oh yes they did! This limited edition vinyl only follow up to 2005's legendary (?) stage rant comedy album will soon be hitting your mailboxes. According to Pollard, "the cover is a photo of me lying in a bathtub drinking a beer with a track suit on". More yuk yuks for you motherfucks...

(fake Silverfish Trivia cover courtesy of DTS and crunch)

Robert Pollard "Silverfish Trivia" (formerly "Hello Forever" and "Gratification To Concrete")
(Prom Is Coming Records. April 17, 2007.)
Forget everything you think you know about Silverfish Trivia! Studio sessions with Todd Tobias were completed in June 2006. But apparently Bob was not satisfied and more recording and tracklist fiddling have transformed the former Hello Forever (described as Kid Marine 2) into Silverfish Trivia. And as of January 2007, Bob has gone back and changed the record for a second time into a mini-LP to be released in April on his new vanity label! The 7 track, 22 minute album has been described by Bob as "much more somber and strange" than recent work. And Chris George of Invert is contributing new string arrangements. The final Silverfish Trivia tracklist is...

Come Outside (string instrumental)
Circle Saw Boys Club
Wickerman Smile
Touched To Be Sure
Waves, Etc.
Cats Love A Parade
Speak In Many Colors (another string instrumental)

...which leaves the following former Silverfish Trivia songs heard on Bob and The Ascended Masters' Normal Happiness tour in November...

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

These tracks plus several unknown others (from the original Silverfish Trivia lineup) are either a part of a new and completely different Robert Pollard LP slated for the fall (more details below), two of the Crickets bonus tracks (see below) or part of an EP of leftovers soon to follow that new LP (confused yet?)...

Various "Crickets" - The Best Of The Fading Captain Series
(Fading Captain Series. May 8, 2007.)
This 2 cd 50 track set with booklet will compile the best of the unreal Fading Captain Series, home of Robert Pollard's solo and side projects for 8 years. And rumor has it that there will be 6 unreleased tracks (including 2 former Silverfish Trivia tracks) to entice the fans who already own the entire run (like me, heh). Sadly, this set will be wrapping up the longstanding Fading Captain Series. But take heart, a new home and new plans are in the works for Bob's more experimental projects- namely, Record Company Records and Prom Is Coming Records run by Rockathon's own Rich T and Bob himself!

Guided By Voices "Austin City Limits" DVD and CD set
(New West Records. May 15, 2007.)
Recorded on November 9, 2004 while on the Electrifying Conclusion Tour, Guided By Voices took the stage at PBS's popular Austin City Limits and blew the roof off the dump. And now we all shall witness and hear the entire show from beginning to end- sweet! The setlist was...

Demons Are Real
Pimple Zoo
Everybody Thinks I'm A Raincloud (When I'm Not Looking)
Exit Flagger
Sleep Over Jack
Back To The Lake
Navigating Flood Regions
Window Of My World
Dayton, Ohio-19 Something And 5
Redmen And Their Wives
Girls Of Wild Strawberries
Gold Star For Robot Boy
My Kind Of Soldier
I Am A Tree
My Impression Now
Sad If I Lost It
Do The Earth
Gonna Never Have To Die
Secret Star
The Best Of Jill Hives
Watch Me Jumpstart
Game Of Pricks
Cut-Out Witch
Buzzards And Dreadful Crows
Murder Charge

Fair Touching
Teenage FBI
Glad Girls
Tractor Rape Chain
I Am A Scientist
Echos Myron

As I recall, Navigating Flood Regions was a kick ass highlight of the aired version of the show. Check out a related interview with Robert Pollard here and a clip of Glad Girls from the show here. The audio and video presentation on Austin City Limits are top notch and the performance was loose and boozy (very atypical for this straight-laced series). Should be great!

The Takeovers "Bad Football"
(Off Records. June 12, 2007.)
Another pop collaboration with former GBV bassist Chris Slusarenko. Rumor has it that Stephen Malkmus, formerly of indie rock legends Pavement will appear. The last Takeovers album "Turn To Red" is my absolute favorite Pollard project of 2006. So I'm already chomping at the bit. Hoo-hah!

(fake Sgt. Disco cover courtesy of DTS and upsetter)

Circus Devils "Sgt. Disco"
(Ipecac Recordings. July 24, 2007.)
Not 100% sure what relation this release has to the previously proposed two Circus Devils albums mentioned once upon a time in Todd Tobias' page. But one thing is known, Sgt. Disco is coming! Sgt. Disco is the legendary 4th Circus Devils release (it will be the 5th one released, but number 4 was called Five... you get the idea) once denied to exist, now a reality! And its arriving via Greg Werckman's and Mike Patton's (formerly of Faith No More) record label Ipacac. Breaking with tradition, this 32 track double album will see the light of day in July (unlike the previous Circus Devils albums released on Halloween, Bob's birthday).

Robert Pollard "Standard Gargoyle Decisions" (tentative title)
(Merge Records. October 9, 2007.)
As of January 2007, Bob has gone back yet again and changed Silverfish Trivia, making it into a mini-LP to be released in April. So the remaining tracks heard on Bob and The Ascended Masters' Normal Happiness tour in November as well as several others are now possibly a part of new Robert Pollard LP for the fall! In addition, Pollard has written and is itching to record an additional 28 songs, the best of which will also be a part of this project. The known leftover songs from Silverfish Trivia are...

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

but there are no guarantees that these make the cut, with 28 more new ones in contention, leading us to...

Robert Pollard "Untitled EP"
(Merge Records? Tentative release date fall 2007?)
So this is where leftover b-sides from both the Silverfish Trivia sessions and the not-yet-recorded 28 new LP tracks will go. Tradition holds that b-side collection EPs are released within a few months, if not weeks, of the LP. Lots of new music on the horizon for 2007, kids!

Guided By Voices "Some Drinking Implied 2" DVD
(Rockathon Records. Tentative release date late 2007?)
Hey now! Another home brew Guided By Voices DVD from the folks at Rockathon! Expect to see recent live footage of both GBV and Robert Pollard, never before seen rare clips from Bob and Rich T's personal collection and as many of GBV's TV appearances as they can scrounge up. Sounds perfecto!

(Moon cover courtesy of the Guided By Voices Database)

Robert Pollard and The Ascended Masters "Moon" - vinyl LP
(Record Company Records. Tentative release date late 2007?)
This version of Merge's bonus live album will be exactly the same as the CD version, just on vinyl. Always a treat to get stuff on wax and you already know that Moon kicks ass, so its a no brainer.

And that's all we know of... so far!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Guided By Voices Minipop From Flip Flop Flyin'

Flip Flop Flyin' is the odd and extremely awesome home of Craig Robinson, English artist and animator. I first stumbled upon the site and Robinson's Minipops, tiny pixelated drawings of rock/rap bands and pop culture figures, a few years back. One of the primary linking themes of Robinson's work are characters drawn in an 8-bit video game style. Lo and behold, Guided By Voices were represented by this minipop...

Cool, huh? Definitely GBV circa 1995, what with the Alien Lanes drumhead, Mitch Mitchell, Jim Greer and Tobin Sprout minipops. And you gotta love the animated everlasting big kick Bob!

Please surf around the rest of Flip Flop Flyin' for more good clean fun including Pete and Bob (two owls who like to dance), Mapping Bruce (maps of places sung about by Bruce Springsteen, including many locales near my New Jersey hometown), 30 Ballparks (silhouettes of baseball parks), and photos of things stuck in trees.

(all art copyright 1999-2007 Craig Robinson)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Circle Saw Boys Club And Silverfish Trivia Cover Unleashed!

Update! Silverfish Trivia, in both the popular CD and unpopular LP formats, is now available for pre-order from Rockathon Records! And if you place your order before April 9th, you should get your music on or before the release date of April 17th. The buzz about Silverfish Trivia is very strong, already touted as one of Bob's solo best. So don't sleep on this one, rock fans around the tight globe!

Circle Saw Boys Club, the jaw-dropping first single off of Robert Pollard upcoming mini-LP Silverfish Trivia is available for download right this very minute! What a song! Those of us who caught Bob and the Ascended Masters on their winter tour are already quite familiar with the tune. But to hear it fully realized, with Todd Tobias' layered goodness- oh man, Silverfish Trivia is gonna be sweet. And check out that album cover- puts me in the mind of A Clockwork Orange or Un Chien Andalou. It may already be my favorite solo cover. Bob did describe Silverfish Trivia as "much more somber and strange" and he wasn't kidding!

Look for the rest of Silverfish Trivia on April 17th from Prom Is Coming Records, Bob's personal label. And for more information on the album, check my recent upcoming releases post here...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hey New Yorkers - Go See American Cannibal This Weekend!

American Cannibal, a hilarious documentary about reality television, is opening this weekend in selected cities- namely New York, Austin and Los Angeles (check the comments below for LA showtimes). And our favorite axe-man Doug Gillard (with help from Kevin March) composed and recorded over 20 songs for the film! If enough of you lucky mugs in the Tri-State Area go check out the movie, it will get wider distribution and the rest of us will get to see it in theaters. So what are you waiting for? American Cannibal is playing at the Cinema Village in my old stomping grounds- 22 East 12th Street, Manhattan at 1pm, 3:05pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, and 9:30pm. Support this film, denizens of the Big Apple!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Guided By Voices Video Smorgasbord - Some Drinking Implied Edition

With the blessing of manager extraordinaire and all around swell guy Rich T, I have uploaded Guided By Voices music videos from Rockathon Records' own Some Drinking Implied DVD to YouTube! The DVD itself is chock full of rare vintage live performances, in studio footage, narration by GBV "mascot" Geo, and even Bob's homemade high school horror movie "Wild People". Every self respecting GBV fan should have a copy.

That said, I thought it would be cool to add to the available Guided By Voices music videos with these rarely seen late 80's-90's clips. So here they all are with my blah blah blah commentary. Rock on!..

Particular Damaged

(Unusual song choice for a video- not the most well known or beloved track off the mighty Propeller LP. But I really enjoy the animated boxers and wrestlers from the Propeller sleeve- similar to animations from The Official Ironmen Rally Song video. And its also fun to see the early 90's configuration of GBV clowning around at the end.)

Weed King

(Epic song, strange video. One of my favorite tracks off Propeller and one of GBV's best songs ever. The video starts and ends rather creepily, but sandwiched in the middle is some cool fast forwarded footage of Bob, Demos, Sprout, Jim Pollard and others heading down to the basement to record. Is that Billy Baloney on the mic? And what's up with that silly dude with chickens on his hands?)

Why Did You Land?

(Classic track with an appropriately energetic and fun video. Amazing that this live staple never saw its way onto an album. Yet again, love the band performance and studio footage, the cheerleader/spider/old guys standing around the car footage not so much. Actually its mostly the old guys that I have a beef with- kinda boring. But the inserts do give the clip some variety.)

Chief Barrel Belly

(This is without a doubt my favorite video of the bunch. Underrated track from Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia, cool video of the band hanging about for a photo shoot, I believe. The part with Bob, Tobin Sprout and Mitch Mitchell looking uncomfortable in closeup is especially endearing. "He said love is the one thing we thing we needed in this world to be happy"- indeed.)

Scalding Creek

(Love this video too. Scalding Creek is a pretty hilarious choice- obscure but great tune from the Get Out Of My Stations EP. Very effective and evocative use of some really great black and white still shots of the band, most of which I've never seen anywhere else. And I've always loved that cover photo from the EP of the sunbeam coming into the basement.)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Disturbing Garfield Comic Strips From 1989

I feel quite lucky to have grown up in what I consider to be a golden age of modern newspaper comic strips. As a kid I was able to enjoy The Far Side, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and Bloom County in their prime- all brilliant and sadly, all currently defunct. Jim Davis' omnipresent Garfield (subject of a terrible film) was huge in my junior high school. But my peers and I quickly grew out of it when more sophisticated and twisted comic strips came onto the scene.

But I was recently made aware of a bizarre and depressing series of Garfield comic strips that actually ran in newspapers back in late October 1989. Speculation ran wild when this storyline was recently rediscovered. Some thought that perhaps Garfield was dead. Others postulated that Garfield was starving to death in an abandoned home and that the whole comic was just a figment of his imagination. Although some may secretly wish death upon this fat feline, creator Jim Davis has recently debunked the speculation and is reported to have "laughed loudly" when informed of the rumors. He stated that "during a writing session for Halloween week, I got the idea for this decidedly different series of strips. I wanted to scare people. And what do people fear most? Why, being alone. We carried out the concept to its logical conclusion and got a lot of responses from readers."

Still, its pretty creepy stuff from a normally light-hearted and tame comic. Alas, poor Garfield! I knew him, Horatio...

(click to make bigger)

For more Garfield fun, check out the Garfield Randomizer. 3 panels of Garfield, completely random, way more funny...

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Breeders - Shocker In Gloomtown Video

Friday equals time to rock! Don't normally post videos of other bands covering Guided By Voices' songs (there are many to choose from). But there are several obvious reasons to make an exception in this case!

In 1994, fellow-Dayonites The Breeders admirably covered GBV's Shocker In Gloomtown for a limited edition 10" single called Head To Toe (which I managed to snag a copy of at the time). And the subsequent music video features various members of Guided By Voices peering through the windows of Kim Deal's garage as The Breeders play their song (love that concept). The idea of windows and reflections also ties in neatly with GBV's 1995 Motor Away music video. See if you can spot all the GBV members: Robert Pollard, Jim Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Kevin Fennell, Mitch Mitchell, and "Fretless" Dan Toohey. And little did we know that Breeders drummer Jim MacPherson would soon be a full fledged member of Guided By Voices!

Rock on kids and have a dandy weekend!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

From A Compound Eye Original Art On Ebay

Sorry for the extended absence. Been on a topsy-turvy emotional roller coaster the last few weeks (not to mention another couple of earthquakes including a 4.3), unfortunately concerning events I can't discuss in a public forum like this. But the good news is that as my current freelance job is winding down or more accurately screeching to a halt (done in April after 3+ years!), I have boatloads of free time for Pop Zeus, blog posting... all kinds of fun stuff. And my energy level is slowly returning back to normal, just in time for my official black belt test in April. Nice.

So anyway, it has come to my attention that the amazing cover art for Robert Pollard's 2006 stunner From A Compound Eye is up on the auction block! Never thought this one would be made available, especially only a year after its release. It is my favorite Robert Pollard solo album cover without a doubt- a creepily great photo of Bob with translucent yellow and green paper over top. And would you believe its only 2 by 2 inches?

And to top it off, the auction winner will get the photo collage back cover and the CD label art, which was apparently taken from a 1939 board game called Gold Metal. Go check out the eBay auction page for all the details and specs.

Don't blow your chance to own a piece of rock history- who knows when these auctions will end. And this certainly is one of the finer pieces thus far. Cheers and I'll be back!