Still the Champ: Uncle Bob!

If you’ve been paying attention this year, you probably know that in 2009 it’s not about quality it’s quantity.  Bands are no longer satisfied to put out an album and maybe a single or an ep and then call it a year.  This year it has been all about inundating you with as many releases as they could fit onto the calendar.  It seemed like every time I turned around Thee Oh Sees were putting out another 7 inch,  or Robert Pollard had a new record.  Pollard is the king of proliferation. The guy is not human.   I’m sure he must know he puts out more records than people can consume, his publishing company is called Need More Songs.  He’s like the Scott Skiles of indie rock.  He may not look like a player, but they guy can rack up the points.

Pollard has been going like this for years, but this year he had some competition.  John Dyer and Dan Melchior both gave a valiant effort to put out more songs and wrest the title from Bob, but in the end both of them didn’t even come close.  Only if they could have combined their efforts they could have won, but only by a little. Yes, Ty Segall, The Fresh and Onlys, Dan Melchior and Thee Oh Sees all had more physical releases than pollard, but none of them came close to him in song total.

This is, of course is very unscientific, and probably does not include all the stuff all these guys have put out, but it’s close.  I feel pretty safe writing this at this point in the year.  What I mean, is I don’t think any of them have anything else slated to come out before the end of the year.  Although, today I did find out that both the Fresh & Onlys and Ty Segall have records coming out before Christmas (both included in the tally). So who knows, tomorrow Dan Melchior could announce a triple album with 40 songs on it.  For the time being this is how it stands: with 23 days left in the match, Pollard is so far ahead nobody will ever catch him. I wish I had some kind of trophy to give the guy.

For those of you keeping score at home, live albums don’t count,  songs on compilations albums count as a half release, while a split EP or 7 inch counts as full release.  The detailed scoring follows.

Robert Pollard
Albums
The Crawling Distance (GBV Inc) – 10 tracks
Elephant Jokes (GBV Inc) – 22 tracks
Tug Of War At The Faithful Center (Happy Jack Rock) – 19 tracks
Circus Devils – Gringo (Happy Jack Rock) – 16 tracks
Boston Spaceships – The Planets Are Blasted (GBV Inc) – 14 tracks
Boston Spaceships – Zero to 99 (GBV Inc) – 16 tracks
Cosmos – Jar of Jam Ton of Bricks (Happy Jack Rock) – 14 tracks

Thee Oh Sees
Albums
Help (In The Red) – 12 tracks
Zork’s Tape Bruise (Kill Shaman Records) – 31 tracks
Dog Poison (Captured Tracks) – 10 tracks
Singles
Tidal Wave (Woodsist) – 2 tracks
Split w/ Jay Reatard (Shattered) – 2 tracks
Split w/ Ty Segall Split (Castle-Face) – 1 track
In the Shadow of the Giant (Sub Pop) – 3 tracks
Blood In Your Ear (Rock Is Hell) – 2 tracks
Split w/ Paul Cary (Stankhouse) – 2 tracks
Compilations
The World’s Lousy With Ideas Volume 8 – 1 track

Dan Melchior
Albums
Thankyou Very Much 2LP (SS) – 16 tracks
Obscured by Fuzz (Topplers) – 14 tracks
Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue – o clouds unfold – 2LP (Hook or Crook) – 23 tracks
Singles
Mr Oblivion (Columbus Discount) – 2 tracks
The Post Office Line (Columbus Discount) 2 tracks
Split 45 w/ Fresh & Onlys (Volar) – 2 tracks
It’s a terrible shame (Dull Knife) – 2 tracks
Dim Are the Lights (Convulsive)  – 2 tracks
Compilations
Skulls Without Borders (Siltbreez) -1 track

Ty Segall
Albums
Horn the Unicorn (HBSP-2X) – 19 tracks
Lemons (Goner) – 12 tracks
Reverse Shark Attack w/Mikal Cronin (Kill Shaman) – 10 tracks

EPs
Split w/ Black Time (Telephone Explosion) – 7 tracks

Singles
Cents (Goner) – 3 tracks
Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin – Pop Song (Goodbye Boozy Records) – 3 tracks
Split w Thee Oh Sees (Castle-Face) – 1 track
Universal Momma (True Panther) – 2 tracks
Ty Segall – My Sunshine (Trouble In Mind) – 3 tracks

The Fresh & Onlys
Albums
Grey-Eyed Girls (Woodsist)  – 12 tracks
The Fresh & Onlys (Castle Face) – 14 tracks

Singles
I’ll Tell You Everything & I Saw You Seeing Me (Dirty Knobby) – 3 tracks
The Fresh & Onlys (Chuffed) – 4 traks
Laughter is Contagious (Trouble In Mind) – 2 tracks
Split w/Dan Melchior (Volar) – 2 tracks
Second One to Know/Hated or Loved (Woodsist) – 2 tracks

Cassettes
Bomb Wombs (Fuck It Tapes) – 10 tracks

Kurt Vile
Albums
God Is Saying This To You (Mexican Summer) – 12 tracks
Childish Prodigy (Matador) – 9 tracks

EPs
The Hunchback EP (Richie) – 6 tracks

Singles
Fall Demons (Skulltones) – 5 tracks
He’s All Right (Matador) – 3 tracks

Compilations
Meet the Philly Elite (K-RAA-K) – 1 track

The Intelligence
Fake Surfers (In the Red) – 12 tracks
Crepuscule with Pacman  (Born Bad) – 12 tracks

Singles
Reading and Writing About Partying (Raw Deluxe Records) – 2 tracks
Split w/ Crash Normal (Compost Modern Art) – 1 track
Split w/ Unnatural Helpers (Dirty Knobby) – 3 tracks

Compilations
The World’s Lousy With Ideas Volume 8 – 1 track

Blank Dogs
Albums
Under the Under 2LP (In the Red) – 20 tracks

EPs
Seconds (Captured Tracks) – 4 tracks

Singles
In Here (Down In the Ground) – 2 tracks
Slow Room / Anywhere (Captured Tracks) – 2 tracks
Waiting (In the Red) – 2 tracks

Compilations
The World’s Lousy With Ideas Volume 8 – 1 track

Ganglians
Albums
Ganglians (Woodsist) – 8 tracks
Monster Head Room (Weird Forest) – 11 tracks

Singles
Split w/ Eat Skull (Dulcitone) – 1 track
Blood On the Sand (Capured Tracks) – 2 tracks

Dutchess & the Duke & Kurt Vile & Meg Baird

Dutchess & the Duke | Kurt Vile | Meg Baird at Josephine
Kurt Vile at Josephine
Of all the do it yourself venues I’ve been to, which admittedly isn’t a whole lot, Josephine is easily the one of the best. The room is great, big, but not too big, a high ceiling, a few couches and really close to my house. The only drawback and this is the problem with all DIY venues is that there is no stage. So you either get up front, or be resigned to not actually seeing anything. DIY places being what they are, I wasn’t sure if I was at the right place so I knocked on the door a little before nine and a friendly guy swung it open, informing me that I was at the right place but that the gig was getting a late start because Kurt Vile was taking a nap. So I grabbed a beer over at the Tin Hat to kill some time.
When I got back around 9:30, Meg Baird was just getting started. Baird and Kurt Vile both from Philadelphia are in the midst of a short west coast tour. She sat on a stool to a completely hushed room and barely said a word. Her songs have a folk feel to them, but her voice was strong and reminded me a little of Kate Bush, but that’s just me, everything reminds me of someone or something from the 80’s.
Kurt Vile reminds me of an 80’s band too.   It’s no secret that Vile is a fan of Bob Dylan, and his voice kind of has that vibe, but the way he plays guitar with it’s warbly and shimmering effects, he reminds me of   Vinny Reilly and the Durutti Column.  Live that comparison is really much more evident than it is on record.  Vile played an acoustic guitar through a set of effects pedals and was accompanied by another guitar and sometimes saxophone. Kurt Vile who spends his days in The War on Drugs is currently moonlighting with his lo-fi solo gig.  Vile solo is  not a whole lot different from WOD, except it’s mostly just him.  His album from last year, Constant Hitmaker was an unheralded sublime, bedroom psych-pop record.  He played a short set last night, but it hit the highlights from that record including Freeway, Breathing Out and Classic Rock in Spring which he played last.  His first song  required a backing track from a cd which after some technical difficulty that involved getting the cd to actually play, he surmounted.   That was the only song that involved any canned beats, after that Vile solicited requests with people happily obliging. Like his record, everything was pretty laid back and lo-fi.   The guy is pretty prolific, besides last year’s Constant Hitmaker, he’s just put out a 12 inch ep with his band the Violators on Richie Records called the Hunchback and he’s got another solos record (limited to 500) on the way from Mexican Summer.   He’ll also be back in April with his other band The War On Drugs at Jules Maes Saloon down in Georgetown.

mp3: Kurt Vile – Freeway (from Constant Hitmaker, buy it)

mp3: Kurt Vile – My Best Friends (from God Is Saying This To You, pre-order it)

mp3: Kurt Vile & the Violators – The Hunchback (from the Hunchback ep, buy it)

Dutchess and the Duke at Josephine, Seattle I had seen the Dutchess and the Duke near the end of last year open for the King Kahn BBQ Show at Chop Suey.  They were great, but I was too lazy to write about the gig.  Last night’s show was something a bit different, because they played without amplification.  Most every time a singer or band decide to do something like this they just can’t pull it off because they don’t have the vocal chops to overcome their instruments or the audience talking.  That was certainly not the case with Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison who both play guitar and sing.  Their singing and harmonies are the real deal,with both of them gifted with voices that just cut through the air.  There was no straining to hear their voices, or the between song banter for that matter. The mood was light with Lortz forgetting the best lines to Strangers and blaming it on his gum, which he spit out.   Their album clocks in at about 30 minutes and the played nearly all of it as well as the two songs from their Hozac single from last year.  If you looked at their history, a folk- harmony-60’s vibe might come as surprise because these two have spent quite a bit of time in a number of Garage and Punk bands including the Fe Fi Fo Fums, Intelligence, and Unnatural Helpers.  I guess it just goes to show, that every punk rocker is a hippy underneath  (I’ll probably get beat up for saying that).  The Dutchess and the Duke have a sound that is easily reminiscent of  the 60’s, but it has a punk-modish slant to it, like the Cat Stevens covering the Creation.  Easily the best unplugged show I’ve ever seen.  Here’s some video I shot for Ship Made of Stone.