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GEEK SQUAD: Where Do We Go From Here?

Friday, April 27th, 2018

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the-geek-300x300BY RICHARD SUPLEE GEEK SPACE CORRESPONDENT Avengers: Infinity War is biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. The film throws the heroes of all the previous movies (except Ant-Man) into a slugfest with Thanos. Not only do we see Thanos goes one on one with The Hulk, the Avengers line up alongside the entire army of Wakanda and Spider-Man, Iron-Man and Doctor Strange hang out with the Guardians of the Galaxy but we actually feel for their fight.  To recap: We’ve seen The Avengers come together in Phase 1 of the MCU. Then the universe expanded with Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Ant-Man in Phase 2. The Avengers finally came to blows with each other at the beginning of Phase 3 with Captain America: Civil War (2016). Staring down the end of the MCU as we currently know it, the Marvel superheroes must work through their issues to fight the biggest threat yet. In short, Infinity War is an epic comic book fans have been waiting for since they first walked into a comic book shops. But where does Marvel go from here? Can the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) continue?

The obvious answer is yes. The franchise is simply too big of a cash cow for Disney to mothball in the name of closure. We also know there are a few more films left in Phase 3 of the MCU. Ant-Man and The Wasp is coming in July 2018 and may explain why the Paul Rudd’s title character was absent from the film. The film takes place before Infinity War so there is still a chance Ant-Man shows up in the still-unnamed sequel to Infinity War. And it finally brings founding Avenger (at least in the comics) Wasp into the MCU, played by Evangeline Lilly.

Captain Marvel (March 2019) is going to have an even bigger impact on the MCU. The film takes place during the ‘90s and will see Air Force pilot Carol Danvers’ (Brie Larson) transformation into the hero Captain Marvel. She will need all the superpowers she can get to deal deal with the intergalactic war between the blue-skinned Kree , the military minded alien empire last seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Skrulls, an empire of green skin aliens who can shapeshift into other life forms. Nick Fury called Captain Marvel at the very, very end of Infinity Wars. Her super strength, flight, and energy projection will reinforce the Avenger’s depleted roster. And her red and blue body glove superhero outfit will look stunning among the over Avengers.

I assume that Infinity War’s sequel will end with either Thanos’s defeat or his surrender. Most likely Captain Marvel and Vision (who is connected to one of the Infinity Stones Thanos uses for power) will work together to end the mad titan’s reign. You should expect someone to use the Infinity Gauntlet, the oversized glove with all 5 Infinity Stones that Thanos donned in Infinity War,  to undo what Thanos has done. The rest of the Avengers (and assorted heroes) who survived Infinity War will be on damage control. The Hulk is also likely to get more screen time. The jade giant spent most of the Infinity War stuck inside Bruce Banner. I will be stunned if this is not paid off in an epic transformation that saves the day and continues Bruce’s and Hulk’s character developments. Chris Evans has also said he will no longer play Captain America after the Avengers: Infinity War sequel. A heroic sacrifice that passes the mantle off to either Bucky or Falcon (two characters who held the mantle in the comics) could be a fitting end to Phase 3.

But what about Phase 4? The only confirmed films for Phase 4 are a sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) on July 5th, 2019 and Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 coming in 2020.. Recent box office juggernaut Black Panther also has a sequel in the works but no official release date has been announced. The plots of these films are hard to guess.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 might deal with the aforementioned Skrulls from Captain Marvel. These shapeshifting aliens are all over Marvel comics. They use their preternatural morphing abilities to infiltrate other planet’s political structures. In fact, it is possible they are the next Thanos-sized threat. Secret Invasion was a comic storyline where the Skrulls replaced dozens of Earth’s superheroes and a few key political figures. When the Skrull empire then invaded they already had agents in place and access to world governments. Thanos is a straightforward villain. He shows up and you fight him. But the Skrulls will not be as simple as to fight. Any Avenger we cheer for on screen could reveal themselves to be a Skrull.
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Win Tickets To See King Krule @ The Fillmore!

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

King Krule

 

THE NEW YORKER: Archy Marshall, the enigmatic South London singer best known as King Krule, is a creature of the night. Known since the age of 15 as a preternaturally wise and unpredictable songwriter, Mr. Marshall, now 23, has assumed the mantle of a bard for the shrouded underclass, churning his anxiety, depression and insomnia into swampy, after-dark tales for the mischievous and disaffected. On songs that mix jazz, punk, dub, hip-hop and the affectations of a zonked-out lounge crooner, he has cut what he calls “gritty stories about the streets” with a “sensitive and romantic side,” aiming to take “social realism and make it social surrealism.”

He’s also timelessly cool, a child of bohemia with a sharp proletarian edge, tall and model-gaunt with a gold-capped front tooth and a fluff of red hair. “In the dead of night I howl/We all have our evils,” Mr. Marshall snarls in his harsh, accented baritone on the new King Krule album, “The Ooz,”returning to his typical themes.[…] “The Ooz” is a return to himself, written over three years when Mr. Marshall moved back in with his mother in the district of East Dulwich in London. At 19 tracks and more than an hour long, the album, his second as King Krule, feels like a swan dive into Mr. Marshall’s turbulent subconscious, jarring by design as it lurches from laid-back almost-rap (“Biscuit Town”) to post-Clash punk (“Dum Surfer”) back to ’50s-style rock ’n’ roll balladeering (“Lonely Blue”).[…]

The album, dense and uncompromising, as well as its delayed delivery, also place Mr. Marshall in a class of semi-reluctant indie idols like Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt and James Blake — a cadre of cult artists in the making (and like-minded sometime collaborators) who have chosen to withdraw rather than ride the ego-dragon into commercial ubiquity. All prodigy children of the internet who synthesized original combinations of influences — and adolescent angst — into fresh sounds, this group tends to inspire deep, loyal fandom with its commitment to artistic integrity and layered multimedia work. MORE

We have a pair of tix to see King Krule @ The Fillmore on May 2nd to give away to some lucky Phawker reader. To qualify, all you have to do is sign up for our mailing list (see right, below the masthead). Trust us, this is something you want to do. In addition to breaking news alerts and Phawker updates, you also get advanced warning about groovy concert ticket giveaways and other free swag opportunities like this one! After signing up, send us an email at PHAWKER66@GMAIL.COM telling us a much, with the words DUM SURFER in the subject line. If you are already on our mailing list, just send us an email saying as much. Either way, please include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. The 47th person to email us wins! Good luck and godspeed!

KING KRULE PLAYS THE FILLMORE ON WEDNESDAY MAY 2ND

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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

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FRESH AIR: In Aug. 2017, many Americans were shocked to see neo-Nazis and members of the so called alt-right demonstrating in Charlottesville, Va. But author Kathleen Belew says the roots of the rally were actually decades in the making. Belew, who has spent more than 10 years studying America’s White Power movement, traces the movement’s rise to the end of the Vietnam War, and the feeling among some “white power” veterans that the country had betrayed them. “To be clear, I’m not arguing that this is at all representative of Vietnam veterans — this is a tiny, tiny percentage of returning veterans,” Belew says. “But it is a large and instrumental number of people within the White Power movement — and they play really important roles in changing the course of movement action.” In her new book, Bring the War Home, Belew argues that as disparate racist groups came together, the movement’s goal shifted from one of “vigilante activism” to something more wide-reaching: “It’s aimed at unseating the federal government. … It’s aimed at undermining infrastructure and currency to foment race war.” MORE

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CINEMA: The End Of The World As We Know It

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

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AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (Dir. by Anthony & Joe Russo, 149 min., USA, 2018)

Dan Tabor_byline_avatarBY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC More than a decade in the making, Avengers: Infinity War is Marvel Studios most ambitious story to date, bringing together the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to take on its greatest threat, the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin), in an apocalyptic fight to the finish. First glimpsed in the post-credit stinger at the end of the first Avengers film and remaining just outside the periphery of our heroes over the course of Phase 2 and Phase 3, the coming of Thanos promises the biggest shakeup to the MCU since the Russo Brothers’ Marvel debut Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Given that the contracts of most of the Marvel roster (Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, and Jeremy Renner) expire at the end of Phase Three, it looks like Marvel president Kevin Feige is unleashing Thanos to wreak havoc on the MCU and clean house for the top-secret Phase 4. Fittingly, the job of directing the franchise-ending installment of the saga falls to the Russo Brothers, who have picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Whedon and turned in some of the MCU’s more complex and darkest entries to date.

Getting into comics as a kid in the 90s, Thanos was easily my favorite big baddie. Born an Eternal (essentially a demigod) the hideously disfigured Titan was born of the Deviants gene, making him a pure nihilist obsessed with death. The film makes a subtle change to the character while retaining his endgame, imbuing his genocidal crusade with a strange, almost conservationist slant. After witnessing the death of his own planet due to overpopulation Thanos hopes to collect the Infinity Stones to restore “balance” to the universe – by killing off half of the of its population. The only thing standing in his way is not only Earth’s mightiest heroes The Avengers, but also the Guardians of the Galaxy. The film’s narrative forks early on as the Children of Thanos, otherwise known as the Black Order, are sent to Earth to gather the Infinity Stones in the Avengers’ possession, while Thanos and his daughter Gamora search for the few still at large in the galaxy. This back and forth delivers the epic team ups and reunions fans would probably expect, as our earth-bound heroes make their last stand in Wakanda in a desperate attempt to protect Vision.

Infinity War is all dessert and no filler. But you’d kind of expect that after 10 years of pre-gaming. Notably, the film is constructed less like your standard Marvel tentpole, in that the entire film has that third act “battle royale” feel as we go from battle to battle, planet to planet, losing old heroes and gaining new heroes along the way. Without venturing into spoiler territory, I will say this: Infinity War will be Transformers: The Movie (1986) for a whole new generation — it’s really that bleak. While many heroes will fall just as many will rise to take their place. The film somehow keeps a frantic, breakneck pace for the entire 2 hours and 40 minutes as the Russo Brothers perform a precarious balancing act using the Marvel brand of humor to soften blow after blow to our cast of heroes and those around them. It’s a sugar high that will leave fans emotionally exhausted at the end as they wander out of the theater in haze wondering just what just hit them. While this is essentially Infinity War: Part 1, its beyond satisfying and somehow shoulders the gargantuan hype that Marvel has been stoking since the first trailer broke at SDCC.

Infinity War makes good on a decade of character development and plot to deliver a crushing gut punch that will have fans reeling until the second, currently unnamed entry hits theaters in a year. My only complaint is the occasionally embarrassingly bad CGI scattered throughout the film (let’s just say Mark Ruffalo is now the Marvel equivalent to DC’s Henry Cavill) and some lackluster performances, which, in all fairness, is to be expected when wrangling such an immense cast of characters who were often not there. It’s hard to deny the sheer spectacle on screen that is The Avengers: Infinity War and how the Russo Brothers have once again managed to pull the rug out from under an entire fandom in a frighteningly faithful take on one of the greatest comic stories in the Marvel echelon. Thanos is the harbinger of Phase 4 and he is just as complex — Brolin invests him with a brutal sentimentality — and terrifying as his comic book counterpart. it’s a breath of fresh air for those like myself that began to feel the MCU becoming a bit too safe, because what happens next is anyone’s guess.


THE AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR OPENS FRIDAY APRIL 27TH IN LOCAL THEATERS

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INCOMING: My Bloody Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

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My Bloody Valentine return to the stage this summer for the first time since late 2013. The band will tour the United States and play overseas festivals including Robert Smith’s Meltdown in London, Roskilde in Denmark, and Sonicmania in Japan. This is the first stateside run since My Bloody Valentine toured in support of m b vTickets will be on sale at www.mybloodyvalentine.org this Friday, April 27th at 10am local time, except for New York, which will be on sale at 11am Eastern. A presale code will be available via Brooklyn Vegan on Thursday, April 26 at 10am Eastern.

Listen to Kevin Shields and Bob Boilen discuss the newly released all-analog versions of Loveless and Isn’t Anything and more on NPR Music’s “All Songs Considered,” and read recent interviews with Shields on Pitchfork and Rolling Stone.

My Bloody Valentine Tour Dates:
Sat. June 23 – London, UK @ Royal Festival Hall – Robert Smith’s Meltdown
Sat. June 30 – Sat. July 7 – Roskilde, DE @ Roskilde Festival
Tue. July 17 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount
Thu. July 19 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
Sun. July 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
Wed. July 25 – St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre
Fri. July 27 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
Mon. July 30 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
Wed. Aug. 1 – New York, NY  @Hammerstein Ballroom
Fri. Aug. 17 – Makuhari Messe, JP @ Sonicmania

Play loud! NO, LOUDER!

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ROLLING BLACKOUTS C.F.: “Talking Straight”

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

From Hope Downs, out June 15th on Sub Pop.

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MESSAGE FROM EARTH: You Are Killing Me

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

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[Via Printwand]

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Win Tix To See The Mountain Goats On Monday!

Friday, April 20th, 2018

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Illustration by JUSTIN LAWRENCE DEVINE

NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Stephen Wesley has three unconditional loves: John, Joy, and God, perhaps in that order of importance. God is God, Joy is his girlfriend, and John is John Darnielle, the founder and star of a fairly obscure, critically acclaimed, and obsessively beloved indie-rock band called the Mountain Goats. Wesley believes in a mighty and just God, but sometimes he thinks the man upstairs doesn’t approve of the Mountain Goats. How else to explain Wesley’s Job-like disappointments at previous attempts to see the band live? There was the I.D. problem, for instance, the canceled show, and the Mitsubishi breakdown outside of Atlanta in 2007.

But that’s all in the past. Tonight, Wesley waits outside the Music Hall of Williamsburg, bobbing up and down in a pair of green Vans, jeans, and a field jacket adorned with Mountain Goats buttons. He looks more or less like the rest of the assembled Mountain Goats faithful, a cross section of earnest young poet boys, geeky music-philes, and self-styled off-the-grid types carrying messenger bags—nearly a thousand of whom have gathered here tonight to bathe in Darnielle’s light. Wesley follows his brethren inside, sips from a water bottle, and paces the lobby. He stops at the merch table and plunks down $12 on a Mountain Goats T-shirt.

The opening act is a guitarist named Kaki King. Midway through her set, Wesley glances at his watch. “I’m ready,” he says, “for John.” Kaki King exits. The room fills with more fans. The sound system bleats out the opening line of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons’ “December, 1963.” (“Oh what a niiiight!”) To hard-core fans, and that’s virtually everyone, that’s a cue: It’s time. From a stage door to Stephen’s right, the band’s rhythm section makes its way out, and then, after the requisite dramatic pause, Darnielle emerges. He is a stocky middle-aged white man wearing a goofy smile and a blazer festooned with death-metal patches. And yet he is treated here, among his people, as no less an icon than a Mick or a Kurt.Mountain_Goats

Darnielle plugs in his guitar, strums a few notes, and says hello. The crowd cheers. Wesley, who is usually quiet and thoughtful, starts chattering like a tween: “Oh my God, Oh my God,” “I can’t believe this is finally happening. Is this really happening?” and “This is the greatest day of my life.”

“I know superfandom went out with the restraining order,” he had told me earlier, with a self-deprecating smile. “But I can’t help it with John.”

Rock-band worship is nothing new, of course, but the relationship between Darnielle and his fans has its own special hue. This is not the mass, global adulation of arena bands like U2. Nor is it fandom as lifestyle as practiced by Dead Heads. It’s the confessional-indie-troubador-and-his-flock-of-disciples model of Nick Drake, the Smiths, and Rufus Wainwright. Like those musicians and their tribes, Darnielle and his acolytes share an unusually intimate, and often pained, bond. Mountain Goats fans tend to have an air of sadness about them, and because Darnielle sings so openly and candidly about his own difficulties, he connects with his audience on a level that few artists are able to reach (the band is called the Mountain Goats, plural, but the group—and the fuss over them—is entirely about Darnielle). Darnielle sings about what his fans feel but can’t articulate. He’s their hero, but he’s also their soulmate, the one person in the world who understands them. That’s why Stephen Wesley and the legions of fans like him can’t get enough of the Mountain Goats. And that burden is crushing Darnielle. MORE

We have a pair of tix to see The Mountain Goats on April 23rd for the second of their two-night stand at Ardmore Music Hall (the Sunday April 22nd show is SOLD OUT) to give away to some lucky Phawker reader. To qualify, all you have to do is 1.) sign up for our mailing list. (Located above right, just below the masthead. Trust us, this is something you want to do. In addition to breaking news alerts and Phawker updates, you also get advanced warning about groovy concert ticket giveaways and other free swag opportunities like this one!) 2) After signing up, send us an email at PHAWKER66@GMAIL.COM telling us a much, with the words HAIL SATAN in the subject line AND the correct answer to the following Mountain Goats trivia question: What is the name of the best ever death metal band in Denton? Please include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS @ ARDMORE MUSIC HALL MONDAY APRIL 23RD

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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

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FRESH AIR: It’s been almost a year since since James Comey first learned that President Trump had fired him. The former FBI director was in Los Angeles visiting the field office for a diversity event when a ticker announcing his ouster scrolled across the bottom of a TV screen. “I thought it was a scam,” Comey says. “I went back to talking to the people who were gathered in front of me.” But it was true. Comey later told the Senate intelligence committee that he believed he had been fired for leading the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the election and potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. But Trump gave conflicting reasons for the dismissal — including the claim that Comey had mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server that she used as secretary of state. Now Comey shares his story in his new memoir, A Higher Loyalty. In it, he explains his handling of the Clinton investigation and sounds the alarm about the Trump presidency. He also defends the FBI against charges of partisanship. “People love the FBI when they think it’s on their side,” Comey says. But, he adds, “We were not — and are not — on anybody’s side. … That is not how we looked at the world and not how the FBI looks at the world today.” MORE

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LINK WRAY: Son Of Rumble

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

 

“He’s the king. If it hadn’t been for Link Wray and Rumble, I’d have never picked up a guitar.” - Pete Townshend

“Rumble had the power to help me say ‘fuck it,’ I’m going to be a musician.” – Iggy Pop

“Link Wray was a huge influence on all modern rock guitar players. If they say he didn’t influence (them), they’re lying!” - Wayne Kramer, MC5

Sixty years ago, legendary guitarist Link Wray released his influential instrumental song “Rumble,” and changed the face and sound of rock and roll forever. The song has now been inducted into the very first class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Singles. This marks the first time The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has honored songs in addition to artists, and Link Wray’s “Rumble” was immortalized alongside five other singles. “Very happy to see Link Wray’s “Rumble” get its much deserved recognition by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” said Dan Auerbach about “Rumble’s” induction. “It’s a song that changed everything and influenced all that came after it. It’s now time for that impact to be fully recognized and for Link to be inducted to the Rock Hall as an artist, where he always belonged.” Read the full details about the song’s induction via Billboard.

Dan Auerbach’s label, Easy Eye Sound has released “Son of Rumble,” Link’s intended, but never released follow-up to the song that introduced the world to power chords and intentional distortion. “Son of Rumble” is a never before released or heard track from the Link Wray archives, and the song, along with b-side “Whole Lotta Talking,” is now available as 7” vinyl here.

Link Wray’s “Rumble” became a flash point for countless musicians including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop, Steven Van Zandt, Jeff Beck and Elvis Costello. The song was banned in New York, Boston, and Detroit, for fear it would incite juvenile violence, making Wray the only artist in history to have a banned instrumental.

The story of Link Wray sounds like something straight out of a Hollywood movie. In 1937, a boy from the Shawnee Indian tribe was taught guitar by an African American traveling carny named Hambone in the segregated south. In 1953, that boy became a Western Swing musician who played the wake of Hank Williams. By 1957, he was a Korean War Veteran who lost a lung to TB and was told he’d never sing again. Yet, Link Wray spent the next half-century as the only one-lung singer in rock and roll, and lay the foundations for what the genre would become. The impact of Link Wray, one of Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Guitarists of All Time, can be heard in generations of American and British metal, punk, grunge, thrash, and psychobilly rockers, all of whom have claimed him and “Rumble” (and follow-ups “Raw-Hide” and “Jack The Ripper”) as their own.

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The Complete Robert Pollard MAGNET Interview

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: To mark the auspicious occasion of GBV playing Union Transfer tonight here’s the complete, unexpurgated MAGNET interview with Robert Pollard in New York City June of 2013 Issue Number 100
 

SCALPING THE GURU

In the time it takes you to read this Robert Pollard will have written and recorded three brilliant albums and disbanded Guided By Voices again. MAGNET stages a Beer Summit to find out how and why.

BY JONATHAN VALANIA

No light or air or hope gets past the front door of Desmond’s Tavern, a grungy windowless taproom in midtown Manhattan that looks like a VFW hall crashed into a sports bar and smells like a frat house at low tide, and the afternoon crowd seems to like it that way. They like to do their drinking in the same place the fly got smashed. With its tobacco-cured walls, expansive array of Anheuser-Busch products and classic rawk on the jukebox, it’s the closest thing to a Dayton dive this far east of the Buckeye State, which is no doubt why it was selected to host MAGNET’s summit with the clown prince of the menthol trailer park, aka Robert Pollard, the mic-swinging, high-kicking, Bud-swigging past-present-and-possibly-former frontman for Guided By Voices. We must count our blessings, an audience with Pollard is a rare thing these days, he hasn’t granted an interview in three years.

For most MAGNET readers, Pollard needs no introduction and space is in short supply so I will be brief. But if you are new to the Pollard saga, know that he is hands-down the most gifted, beguiling and, by a wide margin, prolific songwriter of the indie-rock era. By his own count he has released upwards of 80 records, including 20 Guided By Voices albums, 19 solo albums and countless LPs, EPs and seven-inch singles from his endless string of one-off collaborations and side projects, among them Boston Space Ships, Airport 5, Circus Devils, Acid Ranch, Lifeguards, The Moping Swans, Lexo & The Leapers, Hazzard Hot Rods and Howling Wolf Orchestra.

The sheer volume and velocity of Pollard’s recorded output continues to amaze and overwhelm even his most devoted disciples. “I think it explains his lack of extreme, worldwide fame,” says director Steven Soderbergh, an avowed Bob Pollard superfan. “I think people don’t trust him. I think they’re just very suspicious of the amount of material. And it’s so unusual that, I don’t know if they find it threatening, or if they’re just bewildered, or they don’t have the stamina to even keep up with it. But all I do is keep listening and marveling at his ability to generate really high quality music. The last couple years — I don’t think he’s ever been bad — but the last couple years in particular he’s been very, very good.”

MAGNET’s interview with Pollard was occasioned by the release of Honey Locust Honky Tonk, his 19th solo record and arguably his best to date. We begin with Pollard dropping the bombshell that he has grown bored with the reunion of the so-called classic line-up of Guided By Voices after four albums and a couple tours and may well pull the plug on it, at least as far as making new albums is concerned. But fear not, my droogs. Even if that happens there will be plenty of Pollard to go around. The Fading Captain is a lifer. He shoots himself with rock n’ roll. The hole he digs is bottomless, but nothing else can set him free.

ROBERT POLLARD: Honey Locust Honky Tonk is basically the songs I wrote for the next Guided By Voices album, but I’m not sure there’s going to be a next Guided By Voices album. I’m not gonna say for sure, but it’s already got a little bit stagnant. To me it’s kind of run its course.

MAGNET: Really?

ROBERT POLLARD: We did a lot within the course of two or three years.

MAGNET: Four albums.

ROBERT POLLARD: Four albums. First, it was a reunion tour and then it was a proper tour, supporting a new album. But now I’m thinking, probably, I’ll relegate [GBV] to the festival circuit, you know? People at festivals don’t want to hear a new album they want to hear the greatest hits. And I’m not that interested in that. I’m more interested in what comes next.

MAGNET: I think the consensus opinion of the post-reunion albums was that you were putting your poppier stuff on your solo records and your more experimental stuff on the GBV records. Is that true?

ROBERT POLLARD: Well, you know, to me, I don’t know if that’s true. What I thought is I was putting my more mature stuff on my solo record because it has a name of a person and some of my less mature stuff with the band name because you can do whatever you want, there is no age limit. Robert Pollard is fifty-five years old, but the singer for Guided By Voices is whatever.

MAGNET: Your rate of releasing new material is just astonishing, and it’s only gone into overdrive in the last five to 10 years.

ROBERT POLLARD: In the time it takes some of my contemporaries to put out two albums, I will have put out 30 albums. That’s pretty ridiculous.

MAGNET: It overwhelms people. People feel like they can’t keep up. ‘I lost track.’ I hear this all the time from people, especially when I mention that I was going to interview you. People were saying that to me back in the early ‘90’s and it’s only gotten worse now that you’ve put out a gajillion records. It’s kinda like trying to swallow the ocean.

ROBERT POLLARD: That’s what I do. I love to write songs, I love to write songs. You can’t turn it off, because you don’t want to turn it off. If you turn it off, maybe you can’t turn it back on.

MAGNET: What do you say to people who tell you you’re oversaturating the market?

ROBERT POLLARD: Well, first of all, I work at a very strong pace. I’ve been putting out much to the chagrin of people — a lot of people say that ‘I dilute my genius’ — genius is their word, not mine, by the way. But I disagree because that’s the way I work and I’m afraid to not do it that way, I’m afraid to turn if off because I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to turn it back on, you know?

MAGNET: But what if — just to play the devil’s advocate here — what if you wrote and recorded songs but didn’t put them out as quickly as you do?

ROBERT POLLARD: Well, I’ve done that. You asked me how do you choose, well for the most part, I’ve been doing it for so long, I’ll have a batch of songs and that’s pretty much what they’re gonna be and they all make it. But occasionally, some of them don’t. One time I finished an album and I went to this bar and there was a band playing. And there were all these middle-aged women up there dancing to it. I started kind of just daydreaming and gazing and second-guessing myself about what I just did. I was watching the dancers and I was like, ‘Would they dance to my new record? Would they be dancing like that?’ and the answer was yes. Yeah, they would dance to it. So I got rid of the whole thing.

MAGNET: I read that you have 2,000 songs registered to BMI…

ROBERT POLLARD: That’s probably five years ago, that count was probably five years ago.

MAGNET: And you released something like 50 albums, between GBV and side projects and solo records…

ROBERT POLLARD: Actually, it’s closer to 80.

MAGNET: I remember reading somewhere that you said a couple of years ago someone played you a song of yours that you didn’t even recognize. It wasn’t even that old of a song. Like, from 2003 or something.

ROBERT POLLARD: Didn’t even know what it was. The thing is, I got some hardcore fans. And a handful — not a lot — but it’s a handful — about five hundred, a thousand — are hardcore. And they know way more than I do. They’ll say, ‘You know…’ And I don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ll have no idea what they’re talking about. We’ll be sitting in a bar, ‘Sing it out dude. That’s you.’ And I’ll be like ‘It is?’

MAGNET: You didn’t even know it was you? How much do you listen to records after they’re done?

ROBERT POLLARD: Hardcore for a month and then that’s it. Hardcore for a month, “Yeahhhh.” Then after about a month, ‘That’s enough.’ Then I’ll listen to it four or five years later like ‘Yeah now it’s gotten good. Now it’s ripe.’

MAGNET: So you don’t fall into that trap that a lot of musicians do where they can’t even listen to their own albums because all they hear are the mistakes and it drives them nuts?

ROBERT POLLARD: I make so many mistakes that I’m artistically exempt. It became almost a good thing. It’s almost like at times he’s doing that purposely. Not that I want to make mistakes on purpose, but I don’t have to worry about it so much because people don’t seem to care so much. I don’t need to be perfect, I not Bowie.
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MAGNET: What’s the longest you think you ever spent on a song?

ROBERT POLLARD: Recording it and then rehashing it and all that? You know, usually when you do that, it’s not worth it, you just throw it away. When I was on TVT I was almost being arm-twisted into spending too much time. You know, ‘It’s not an album, you’re holding back on me?’ I’m holding back on you? ‘Yeah, where’s the hits? Think cars, girls, summer, that kind of shit?’ OK, I can do that. So I go back and write “Glad Girls” and “Hold On Hope” and shit and I would labor over it a little bit. There were all these songs that in hindsight I’m not happy with. ‘Oh, we love those songs.’ That’s fine. That’s all good and fine, but I don’t. They were looking for a hits, and we stepped into that trap when we took a step up. And I don’t know if I told you why we even did that in the first place. But we were playing these festivals where we were, you know, third stage, eleven o’clock in the morning and shit. And Tenacious D is second from the headliner on the main stage. I’m sick of that shit, so I kind of had this thing like ‘We’re going for it.’ Yeah, and it was a pretty stupid, silly move. But I backed up quick enough, I think. I still kind of like those albums. It was cool to get to work with big-time producers — Rick Ocasek and Rob Schnapf. It was fun, but it was just — that’s not my bag. We weren’t allowed to drink in the studio. I’m not saying that those records are bad. It’s just like I don’t appreciate not being able to drink when I’m making my own art. I should have said something, but it was like, he’s Rick Ocasek.

MAGNET: So you still live in Dayton. Born there, probably gonna die there, right?

ROBERT POLLARD: Looks like it. I’ve got some good friends in Dayton and my cop out is always like man, any place you go to after a while is going to suck. Plus my parents are still alive, and it’s like, when your parents are still alive, you know, they’re around 80, and they’re still doing well. It’s just hard to leave. Remember you came and hung out with us?

MAGNET: Are you kidding? Of course I do. It was 1999, for the cover of the September issue.

ROBERT POLLARD: Do you remember some of the crazy shit we did? Remember we got kicked out of the fucking the strip bar?

MAGNET: Because your brother said that ‘That woman’s got the best fart box in town!’

ROBERT POLLARD: I know! [laughing]

MAGNET: But why did we get kicked out? Because we were being loud or something?

ROBERT POLLARD: I don’t think we deserved to be kicked out. You know, what the fuck? What are you supposed to do?

MAGNET: They’re naked and you’re giving us beer! What do you think we’re going to do?

ROBERT POLLARD: What are we supposed to be the perfect little choir boys? We didn’t do anything to deserve to be kicked out.

MAGNET: That was fucking great, that was like going to Guided By Voices fantasy camp. Do you know how many people would have killed to come to your house and hang out at The Monument Club? Go down to the Snake Pit and rifle through all your vinyl. Sit on stools wearing headphones hunched over the four track you recorded Bee Thousand on. See the rooster with the six pack ring around it’s neck that lived next door. Go to the elementary school you taught at and then going to Wright-Patterson Air Force where they took the alien bodies and crashed spaceship from Roswell.

ROBERT POLLARD: Man, I appreciate that. Those are the things I’m always worried about, like after you left. Like, ‘Man, I bet he thought that was weird, that we were fucking retarded.’ (Laughs)

MAGNET: Not at all, no. I grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which is very much like Dayton, that’s a big part of why I’ve always related to your story because I totally know what it’s like to be stranded in the middle of nowhere, in love with rock and roll, with no hope of ever ‘making it.’ Rock stars don’t come from where I live. So you drink beer with your buddies down in the basement, plug in and turn it up and close your eyes and fake it until it becomes real, until you’re Live At Budokan.
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BEING THERE: Ty Seagall @ The Trocadero

Monday, April 16th, 2018

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Photo by MARK LIKOSKY

Ty Segall is like a combination Buddy Holly, Jerry Garcia and every character who’s ever died in a Mad Max film — but shorter, thicker, with a moonpie face and long dirty blonde Cousin It hair. We go way back. I’ve seen him in small venues like The Knockout back in his budding SF days. Those were smaller scale performances but he’s retained that same sincere demeanor of a committed devotee to shredding a hole in his private darkness and unleashing a blinding haze of purifying rock n’ roll light to awaken the masses. He is the sort of performer who could book a show on an empty planet — let’s say, for the sake of argument, Uranus — and disintegrate nearby moons and melt the sun with nothing more than a fuzz pedal and a Marshall stack. In a city like Philly with such a strong psych rock scene Ty was welcomed with warm ears as he effortlessly traumatized the Troc with what was the heaviest set I’ve ever experienced. I do Jiu Jitsu and I’m used to getting tackled and suffocated by guys over 250 lbs. This was heavier. I’ve seen steamrollers smooth out concrete streets on hot summer days. This was heavier. A local female power trio called The Long Hots opened the show, shredding out long heavy discordantly blissful jams with extremely minimal equipment. All told, the $30 door price was well worth the price of a much-needed primal scream session of psych rock therapy. How refreshing it was to walk out of the Troc on a rainy Sunday Chinatown night thankful that I ventured off the couch from Wild Wild Country binging to witness something wilder, weirder and altogether wonderful. – MARK LIKOSKY

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WORTH REPEATING: #FireHannity

Monday, April 16th, 2018

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No, seriously. Fire Hannity.

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Cost of the War in Iraq
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