Weekly Obsessions: 3/7/16

thickasabrickAt the time I am writing this, it’s Monday. Happy Monday! If you’re reading this on a day that isn’t Monday (which will, with absolute certainty, occur) then nuts to you. It feels like a Monday. At least, that’s how I explained it to myself this morning during my daily silent pep-talk. The reason I felt miserable waking up today can’t possibly be my lack of sleep, poor diet and fondness for booze. It has to be Monday. It’s linear time’s fault that I woke up feeling crusty this morning, even though we all know that linear time is a human construct necessitated by the fact that reality is impossible for our brains to perceive all at once.

Anyway, here’s a new thing and an old thing.

Robert Pollard – Of Course You Are

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What separates a solo Robert Pollard record from a Guided by Voices record? GBV is less a traditional “band” than a collection of musicians who play Pollard’s songs. Wouldn’t a Pollard album be virtually indistinguishable from a GBV album? Based on the strength of Of Course You Are, they’re quite different. There’s a lot more polish on these new songs, both in terms of clean production and unusual instrumentation. Check out the trumpet flourish on “Little Pigs” or the prominent strings of “Come and Listen.” Pollard, at well over 50, is still stretching his creative muscles. It’s good to see that the insanely-prolific songwriter still has a way with a hook that is nearly unparalleled. Robert Pollard’s songs start out obscure, transition into subliminal, and finally achieve ear-worm status. But that status needs to be unlocked and earned.

For something old, how about

Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick

I never was into Tull as a kid. Something about them seemed superfluous and ultra-fancy. It may have been the flute. Looking back, it was definitely the flute. It’s a shame that I didn’t get into them until now, because Thick as a Brick is an oft-overlooked progressive rock classic. Laying down themes and phrases and recalling them much later, the record works as 2 ultra-long tracks, but was recently remastered and split into more bite-sized pieces. It’s a lot easier to pick out the parts you like this way, though it kind of ruins the thing Tull was going for. But I can’t really speculate on that, now can I?

See you next week!

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