Review: Graham Repulski – Ballerina Arcade

a2275967198_10Were you to hear the eight songs that comprise the Ballerina Arcade EP from New Jersey’s Graham Repulski without any knowledge of title or artist, odds are you’d wager heavily on songs with titles like “Ancient Armies of Ink” and “Casual Strikeouts” being a collection of archival tracks from a future Guided By Voices Suitcase collection.

Big bang boots and ivory robes
Frozen fruits for punch-man’s load
Do the ancient armies of ink
Get whacked out on metal and ripped up on big drink?

Pushing through the fire hole
Pershing meets the street below
Oh no – ancient armies of ink
Get whacked out on metal and ripped up on big drink?

Spanning a run time of just less than eight minutes, Ballerina Arcade was released today — the day before Guided By Voices’ latest, Motivational Jumpsuit. The first of three releases scheduled thus far for 2014,  Ballerina Arcade precedes the forthcoming Portable Grindhouse and Maple Stag albums, thus putting the student ahead of the teacher in terms of productivity. Featuring the perfected lo-fi trademarks (tape hiss, backmasking, distorted vocals), Ballerina Arcade’s obtuse lyrics and kaleidoscope of sound recall Vampire On Titus-era GBV. Sharing the commitment to placing every whim on tape, Graham Repulski captures and rekindles the original magic of discovering Guided By Voices for the first time. And for good measure, the EP was mastered by Pollard’s right-hand-man, Todd Tobias, thus completing the circle.

A little research will yield a backstory to Graham Repulski’s musical career, but I won’t ruin the mystique for you here. Let’s just say Steve Jeltz, Major League Baseball’s record holder for most games played, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, runs batted in, walks and strikeouts among players born in France, was the Phillies player from the 1980s most deserving of a band name.

Delve into the back catalog of cassettes and 7″ releases from Graham Repulski, noting the cover collages and Franklin Gothic header emblazoned on his Bandcamp page. But first, stream/purchase Ballerina Arcade below.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on Google+Share on RedditDigg thisPin on PinterestEmail this to someone