Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quick Blurb: New Polvo


Polvo was the first band I ever saw in Nashville, on Friday, September 4, 1992 (I still have the flier somewhere), opening up for Superchunk. Both bands pretty much rocked my world in different ways and opened my eyes to more possibilities within music. Having said that, I was never a huge Polvo fan, but Cor Crane Secret is definitely one of the greatest albums in indie music, a top album of '92 and a somewhat steady mainstay in my listening rotation. I enjoyed Today's Active Lifestyles quite a bit as well and the following e.p. Celebrate the New Dark Age, but sorta fell off the wagon after that (maybe one day I'll post about my 1995 fall from grace with indie rock). But I did see them again around '96 or so and was again blown away by their ability to churn so much power from instruments and equipment that seemed to be held together by duct tape and the simple will to rock. I wanna say they finally called it a day in '98 or so and then Ash Bowie did a solo deal that I never heard.

When I read that they were getting back together and recording a new album, I was interested only in the sense of someone who wants to know what happens at the 10 year high school reunion, but doesn't want to be bothered to show up. Well, JT sent me the link to a new song, so I've given it a couple of listens. They're the same Polvo we all know and love, and yet obviously different with the influence of age and time, etc. I mean how are they possibly going to recapture that urgent, lo-fi aesthetic that they had in their 20s all those years ago? You're right, they're not. In an age where a state-of-the-art virtual studio can be purchased for just a few hundred dollars, the DIY credo no longer means producing dirtily amazing albums that sounded like they were recorded in a damp basement (mainly 'cos they were), but more along the lines of time was booked at Abbey Road studios and all mod cons were employed to make everything as sharp and audible as possible. And really, it's odd hearing Polvo in a "real studio" setting using "nice equipment." Everything is very clear and pristine, but to what end? It's as if they've cleaned up their act, but frankly, nobody was ever complaining about the mess that I know of...but so it goes.

As I said, musically it's still Polvo, but JT pointed out that they now sorta sound like metal with the signature Polvo chimey guitars. Makes me wonder if they'd have always sounded like this given the proper recording facilities...and if so, would we have thought it was anything special? Sure, it's angular, off kilter pop, but it's pretty shiney. Hey, how about kicking some dirt on those new Chucks, man? Regardless, I sorta dig it. Maybe not enough to go pick up the album when it comes out or to go see them if they play, where would they play? The End I guess... But enough to say "Cheerio, boys!" Or something like that. I mean let's face it, indie rock is dead -- and I'm not sure it ever really existed in the first place.

Take a listen for yourself.


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