Delightful Power-Pop from EYELIDS

eyesMan. This EYELIDS tune just made my day.  It might mean much to a few that members of Decemberists and Boston Spaceships make up the core membership of this group, but when you’re writing great pop music that sort of thing doesn’t even matter.  They’ve completed the work on their debut album, 854, and things will surely look up once people hear this collection of songs.  There’s a brightness to the guitar work and a gentle quality that works with the melodies; it sort of reminds me of Teenage Fanclub or a more upbeat Pernice Brothers.  Jealous Butcher Records will release the LP on October 14th, so get your popcorn ready.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/EYELIDS-854-01-Seagulls-Into-Submission.mp3]

Download: EYELIDS – Seagulls Into Submission [MP3]

Boston Spaceships – Let It Beard

Rating: ★★★½ ·

How does one review something written by Robert Pollard?  You know there are going to be some amazing tunes, but you know there will probably be a few that you can toss away, especially when there’s 26 tracks.  But, in the case of Let It Beard, the latest release by Boston Spaceships, the majority of the trucks are solid, and you’ll hardly find any throw-away tunes.

“Blind 20-20” kind of gave me a start, building up towards its machine-gun drumming.  Bob’s entry changed the dynamic of the track, and when he hits that renown Pollard pitch, it’s a great moment–all before the song subsides into itself. Clearly, Boston Spaceships is still under the songwriting of Pollard, as evidenced by “Tourist UFO.”  Sure, the guitar has that angular chug, psychedelically walking in and out of the track, but the voice of Bob dominates in the forefront.  It’s incredible thinking about his persona (the drinking, the shows, etc) and his ability to still pull off warm vocals that grab even the most casual fan.

The construction of “Make a Record for Lo-Life” grabbed me immediately, like riding up and down on some sort of indie rock roller-coaster.  Crashing cymbals and chugging guitars give a bit of bounce to the track, and we’ll call the solo in the middle a bit of a racing moment on straight-away. Of course, song construction, and self-importance might account for the weaker moments on Let It Beard. “I’ll Make It Strong (for you),” for instance, just doesn’t hold up to the energetic tracks.  Like several of the tracks present, they appear to come from a different, almost unplugged guitar sound, taking a bit of the bite out.

Still, even with moments that come off softer, slower moments do have the ability to win out on this latest Boston Spaceships effort.  “Christmas Girl” sticks out, as the guitar itself begins slow, then almost seems muted, but again, Pollard’s voice has this capacity to propel the song into this blissful pop moment.  It’s quite possibly the standout moment of the entire record, if I had to pick one (I mean, there are horns!). Similarly, “No Steamboats” sort of trickles along, begging to be pushed to the limit of maximum rock n’ roll, but it never quite goes there, not until the end.  You’ve got to appreciate appropriate use of restraint.

In the end, Let It Beard is a mixed bag of various touches of Robert Pollard’s legacy.  While a great deal of the tracks have Boston Spaceships focusing on a more raucous garage sound, there’s still elemental dabbling in the studio with visible “lost sounds” tossed in just for the sake of it.  There’s just something about listening to anything penned by Pollard that eventually finds its way into your soul, haunting you passionately, secretly whispering for you to skip this track, love the next one, repeat that one, and then go back through it all over again.  It’s a sort of magic most people wish they had in their songwriting, but so few seem to possess.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ChristmasGirl.mp3]

Download: Boston Spaceships – Christmas Girl [MP3]

More New Music from Boston Spaceships

Just last week we gave you an opportunity to give a listen to “Christmas Girl,” the first release from the upcoming Boston Spaceships album, Let It Beard.  In true Pollard fashion, he already has another song for you folks to enjoy, and again, it’s just a great track.  Over the years he’s been able to win us over, though most will admit he’s tossed out a few misses here and there.  After listening to Let It Beard all week, I can tell you that this is not going to be the case this go round; it’s a solid record through and through, full of gem after gem. You can get yourself a copy on August 2nd.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/11-Tabby-and-Lucy.mp3]

Download: Boston Spaceships – Tabby and Lucy [MP3]

New Track from Boston Spaceships

Not much really needs to be said about Bob Pollard these days.  He’s pretty much conquered everything out there, yet he still keeps on kicking out great jams.  Such is the case with this new track, “Christmas Girl,” which will be featured on the new Boston Spaceships record, Let It Beard. It’s going to be a double album, and if the tracks are half-as-great as the one we’re featuring, then it’s going to be one hell of a collection of Pollard tunes. There’s also an awesome video contest that goes along with this song, and it’s being sponsored by the good folks over at Spinner.  Make sure you get your hands on the record when it hits stores August 2nd.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ChristmasGirl.mp3]

Download: Boston Spaceships – Christmas Girl [MP3]

Boston Spaceships – The Planets are Blasted

boston

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Ohh Bobbie, how we love your Miller Lite infused high-kicks. How we love walking into your shows dry and leaving sopping wet from not only our own but other peoples body sweat. How we love being able to throw beers in the air at innocent by-standers and not give a shit. Above all else Bobbie, we love your unmatched creative output of material. Slurrrrrp.

Boston Spaceships return with Planets Are Blasted only 5 months after their first LP Brown Submarine. In a recent interview, Chris Slusarenko has said they already have a third album ready tentatively titled Zero to 99 which should be out before October. With no trimming on the song count, Planets Are Blasted boasts another 14 songs just as it’s former had. The line-up has stayed the same with booze buddies Chris Slusarenko (GBV, Svelt, Sprinkler) on guitar and John Moen (Decemberists, Jicks, Elliott Smith) on drums. Now implemented as an official band and not a side project, Boston Spaceships carries on the sounds of pop infused punk/garage rock and beyond. In classic Pollard fashion, all the songs are generally under 2 1/2 minutes in length with the exception of one which goes into prog zoning of 4 minutes.

The treats keep coming on this sophomore release which I wonder if they were recorded at different sessions or what? I’m curious to hear more details on the recording process of these songs. For the most part, the way these songs see the light of day all starts at Pollard’s home. He comes up with raw demos, usually consisting of him on an acoustic guitar and singing vocal melodies on top. He’ll go through the songs deciding which ones will work for his solo project and which ones are Boston Spaceships material (The man has a self-proclaimed 3,000 un-released songs give or take a thousand depending on how many Miller Lites he’s had).  He’ll then call Slusarenko up and say that he has some ideas, they’ll get together, have drinking challenges, write notes on songs usually ending with KICK-ASS the more they drink. Slusarenko will then take these songs home, mull over them until he knows every subtle part, take them to Moen and flesh it all out.

It’s amazing at the ease in which Pollard can come up with a catchy chorus. Such is the beast of album opener “Canned Food Demons.”  It immediatley takes you back to GBV days of old, maybe missing the piss and puke buckets, but as close as we’ll get and I’ll gladly take it.  I mean, the man is 52 years old and can still squeal with more power than any rock singer I’ve heard at his age. When you hear him howl, “now she’s coming aroooound, canned food demons aliiiiiiiive!” Just surrender already. This may be the best song on the album but it definetly doesn’t stop here. Gems like “Queen of Stormy Weather” and “Heavy Crown” will quench your thirst for more R-A-W-K.

As a whole, Brown Submarine too me is a much more polished album with catchier and inventive melodies than this one. I don’t know if the songs were picked first for Brown Submarine and the ones on Planets Are Blasted were picked afterward from the same collection of material but either way, this album still holds up in my opinion. Not as strong or consistant throughout, but still many perks that will turn an ear. Most of all, I’m really happy to know that this isn’t a “project” and that Pollard is having fun and pumping out little bits of gold over and over. (insert high-kick here)

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/bigogetsanearful.mp3]

Download: Boston Spaceships – Big O Gets an Earful [MP3]

New Tunes from Boston Spaceships

bobWhat better way to end a pretty great week than by throwing a little Robert Pollard out to the masses. This tune comes via his new band Boston Spaceships, who are set to release their new album, The Planets are Blasted on Guided by Voices, Inc. February 27th, but the album is already available for digital download. Enjoy this tune; enjoy your weekend. 

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/bigogetsanearful.mp3]

Download: Boston Spaceships – Big O Gets an Earful [MP3]