Austin, TX garage/punk trio Pollen, whose debut release, a self-titled 4-song EP, will be available on cassette and digital formats on June 10th. The band’s first single “Not A Test” is a frenetic retelling of the Independent Lens feature “The Revisionaries,” succinctly examining the tortured balance between expected excellence in schools, flawed methods of standardized testing, and the subjectivity of deciding which knowledge is important. Austin Town Hall says of the track, “I love the crunchy sound of the guitar and the riding of the cymbals by the drummer, but it’s the erratic vocal delivery that really sells me on the group.” The song is now available for download – you can listen below.
Pollen played its first show this past August at Trailer Space Records, leading to a steady stream of DIY slots opening for some of Austin’s best almost-punk bands: BLXPLTN, Big Bill, and Those Howlings. The trio caught the attention of Side One Track One’s John Laird, who praised the band for their “impressive” early work, as well as Matt Simon (Voxtrot, Tele Novella) at Eastern Sun Studios, who offered to record the band’s debut EP. Pollen played the hell out of every SXSW opportunity that arose last month, ripping through sets at five unofficial showcases in five days in venues that included a cramped sex shop, a garage, a backyard, a coffee shop, and a living room, before entering the studio.
Pollen – “Not A Test” mp3
The debut was tracked over a course of hours and recorded live off the floor onto 2 inch tape, capturing the trio’s strengths: Ben Hirsch’s guitar, almost completely dry and distorted only by the age of the Garnet tube amp (all of Pollen’s amps have been built or refurbished by drummer Andy Palmer); Maud Morgan’s smokey ornamented alto, cracking with precision and highlighting the songs’ most dramatic moments. Hirsch’s vocals, energetic and emotive, provide for an engaging interplay of impassioned yelps and raspy backroom crooning, and when their voices join, the dual vocals intertwine into off-kilter harmonies that inspired Nick Hannover of OVRLD to declare Pollen “more than sum of its referential parts and infectiously fun.”
Pollen’s self-titled EP will be available on cassette and digital formats on June 10th, and can be pre-ordered via the band’s bandcamp – check out more info about Pollen at the links below. Thanks for your time!
Pollen media page
Members: Ben Hirsch (guitar, vocals), Maud Morgan (bass, vocals), Andy Palmer (drums)
RIYL: X, Modern Lovers, WIRE, Futureheads
Photo credit: Taylor Swan
“Considering that Pollen essentially just came into existence, Maud Morgan, Ben Hirsch, and Andy Palmer certainly sound comfortable together. It’s impressive. What’s also to love is this track, which is a catchy garage rock tune that feels favorably lifted out of the 90s.” – John Laird, Side One Track One
“I love the crunchy sound of the guitar and the riding of the cymbals by the drummer, but it’s the erratic vocal delivery that really sells me on the group.” – Nathan Lankford, Austin Town Hall
“Packing jangly guitars and off-kilter girl group harmonies, Pollen sound a lot larger than their trio status would lead you to believe. “Not a Test” is more crammed than anything the Futureheads ever released, but that works to Pollen’s favor, granting the track an anxiousness that makes its less-than-three-minute run time as action packed and tense as a crime spree. This is the kind of throwback that’s easy to get behind, more than sum of its referential parts and infectiously fun.” – Nick Hanover, OVRLD