Guided By Robert Pollard

Carbon Whales
South (EP)


by Propellerless

The Carbon Whales are an obscure band from the late 70s.
In their short career, the band recorded only four songs,
which make up the “South” ep,
It was recorded in Liverpool, Ohio in 1979.

It was British actor Paddy Considine who turned Bob onto the band.
Bob really loved it,
so he tracked the band down to get permission to release it.
It’s like early Fall, with a little Wire, early R.E.M. and PiL.

It’s a cool little record,
Really something I would have gotten into in 1979,
early New Wave before it became electronic dance music.

I guess it’s not so strange that I’ve never heard of them,
though I was really into the new music at the time.
The whole existence of the band Phantom Tollbooth took me by surprise,
I was a big fan of the Minutemen, who they sound like they are influenced by
and the bands producer Spot, also produced all that classic SST stuff,
which I was a big fan of at the time.

I’d never heard of Paddy Considine, but there is such a person,
just check out his Wikipedia page, quite a lot of movies,
none I’ve ever seen and he’s also a musician.

His Wikipedia page has no mention of Bob,
but my question is,
Bob being from Ohio, which the Carbon Whales are apparently from,
you would think Bob would have known about them,
being the music fan he is?

Or maybe this Bob Evans, is actually Bobs major influence and
Pollard basically stole his style and is just acting like he never heard of Evans?

And how could someone who is as far as England, like Considine,
have the jump on Bob when it comes to an obscure Ohio band?

Lastly, why is the ep opener, “Welcome to Miami” included on the
Robert Pollard: Best of 2008-2009 compilation cd?

So many questions,
the internet to the rescue…

So, I thought I’d look up the band on the Ultimate Band Listing,
uhh don’t bother hitting that link, it’s dead.

Then I tried Google,
Hidden among sites dealing with Whales, Carbon and how they affect the climate,
there were a couple listings of the band,
but all having to do with this, the “South” ep.

There was one site where three people left comments on the ep.
All three were sure that Carbon Whales singer, Bob Evans, is actually Robert Pollard.

Pollard of course has many side projects under various names,
and Bob has never denied that they were him.
Except of course there is Nightwalker and Cash Rivers.

Lets get right to it,
Just like Nightwalker and Cash Rivers, who are obviously Bob,
Carbon Whales is also.

First off just listening to the vocal,
it’s obviously Bob adding a little Johnny Rotten to his faux British accent.

There are those who suspect that Bobs Takeovers/Boston Spaceships
cohort, Chris Slusarenko is the musician on this.
but I have my suspicions that it is Todd Tobias, who Bob was also working
with at the time, because it sounds more like something he would do.

The music track to “False Teeth” because it doesn’t have that same
Power/Pop sound of the others tracks, it’s more of a droney post punk number.
It really wouldn’t surprise me if this is an GBV backing track,
that Bob added new vocals to.
It also wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bob recorded the track on his own decades ago.

I could swear I heard something like this on a “Suitcase”.
The versions of “Why Did You Land?” and “Deaf Ears” included on
“Suitcase: Failed Experiments And Trashed Aircraft”,
have a similar sound to it.

Putting all of that aside, “South” is a great ep.
it actually does sound vintage 1979.

Another thing, kinda nit-picking here,
In 1979, not too many of the new bands put segues between songs,
the first song segues into the second and the third into the fourth,
Wait! the Damned did it on “Machine Gun Etiquette”,

You have probably seen this release for sale on Rockathon and was
afraid to pull the trigger, but have no fear,
This is grade A Bob.
and for only five dollars how can you lose?
and it’s still available.