Robert Pollard almost threw up on New Year’s Eve when Guided by Voices kicked off 2020 with a 100-song set at Los Angeles’ The Teragram Ballroom.
“It was difficult because I have a bum hip,” the intrepid high-kicker tells Rolling Stone. “It felt fine for about the first two hours of the show and then it started hurting. … I didn’t hold back at all in the vocal department. You can’t. The songs are what they are and I really belt them out. There’s no way to really pace yourself or hold anything back. We just kept going toward the finish line. At about the four-hour mark I felt like I might throw up from lack of air and overexerting the diaphragm. But I made it and everyone seemed to have a good time.”
It was a fitting way to enter the New Year for Pollard, who has released more than 100 albums over the years with GBV and other projects. The prolific rocker is now set to add to that tally with a new Guided by Voices record, Surrender Your Poppy Field, out February 20th via Pollard’s own GBV Inc.
Rolling Stone has the premiere of the first single, “Volcano.” It’s a fuzzed-out, pure GBV piece of work with wailing guitars and characteristic avant-garde lyrics: “Blue are the windows I see through/ Red are the taillights in your eyes.”
The title of the album is somewhat a nod to 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, which featured a skywritten message reading “Surrender Dorothy.”
“I think Wizard of Oz came to mind when it was first conceived,” Pollard says. “I did a five-song EP about four or five years ago under the name Sunflower Logic and we included a mock catalog for the label name we used, Pink Banana Records. In it there are 50 or 60 fake band names with titles for 45s, EPs albums and compilations and one of the songs was ‘Surrender Your Poppy Field.’ It stuck and I decided to give it a real home on a Guided by Voices album.”
Surrender — which is now available for preorder — is not the only album the band has coming this year; Pollard says GBV already has a record in the can for later this year.
Surrender Your Poppy Field Tracklist
1. “Year of the Hard Hitter”
3. “Queen Parking Lot”
4. “Arthur Has Business Elsewhere”
5. “Cul-De-Sac Kids”
6. “Cat Beats a Drum”
8. “Steely Dodger”
9. “Stone Cold Moron”
11. “Man Called Blunder”
12. “Woah Nelly”
13. “Andre the Hawk”
14. “Always Gone”
15. “Next Sea Level”