Polvo re-signs to Merge, plans new record

Posted June 8th, 2009 by eric

With just about any band, regardless of stature, reforming whether the public demands it or not, it’s kind of hard to be surprised when these bizarre announcements surface like Polvo re-signing to Merge after all these years. Polvo not only helped shape the early ’90’s independent scene with its oddly-tuned anthems of smart, shape-shifting rock but also helped put Chapel Hill on the map. Re-signing to its original home 19 years after forming is an odd development for a band that disbanded 11 years ago, but in the current musical climate it’s hard to feign shock. On the one hand, I’m excited that a band I once loved is playing and recording again, but on the other hand I’m sort of apprehensive about that decade-plus gap. It’s like a resume that can’t account for a few years in between jobs. Will Polvo in 2009 compare to the Polvo I once listened to adoringly? Does any band ever come back better? Or even as good? The exceptions to the rule are few and far between. Mission of Burma has put up a good fight the second time around, but I can’t name too many success stories of bands that reunited with integrity 100% intact. We will find out the answer on September 8, 2009 when Merge releases In Prism, Polvo’s follow-up to 1997’s Shapes. 3/4’s of the original line-up of Ash Bowie, Dave Brylawski, and Steve Popson recorded the new record with drummer Brian Quast at Echo Mountain in Asheville, North Carolina with Brian Paulson on the boards.

In Prism tracklisting:

1. Right the Relation
2. D.C. Trails
3. Beggar’s Bowl
4. City Birds
5. Lucia
6. Dream residue/Work
7. The Pedlar
8. A Thousand Waves

Tags: news

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Erin Reed // Jun 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Polvo! I am immediately transported back to my freshman year at USC. Thanks for this post Eric.

  • 2 AJW // Jun 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Yep, memories of them being in heavy rotation at WUSC…

  • 3 Jeff Stern // Jun 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Having seen them three times since they
    “re-formed” (they apparently prefer this term to reunion, since they have a different drummer and think of this version as slightly different), I have to say that this is one of the good reunions. Their Chapel Hill show in advance of their ATP performance was remarkably tight, and I was really amazed at how they made all the stops, starts and time changes after all these years (similar to my reaction to the previous Slint reunion – it was incredibly faithful). The next show I saw was a benefit show, and it was even better because they retained the precision but seemed much looser – personally and musically. It seemed like math and jam in equal doses. The third time, at a benefit for NCSU radio station WKNC, they seemed even more comfortable and loose, and the show was very much a rock show.

    If you’re interested, a good portion of the 2nd show I described above is avaialable at http://www.cytunes.org/album/26/, an all-volunteer effort at raising money to fight brain cancer in memory of Cy Rawls (the beneficiary of the original benefit show). I’m also a volunteer at CyTunes and if you’d like to gain review access to the site, just shoot me an email.