Over the course of last year, the Montreal quintet Pottery began to make a name for themselves. Their debut EP No. 1 toed a line between fried classic rock and brainy post-punk that brought to mind indie acts like Parquet Courts (who Pottery wound up opening for, as it happens). We ranked it as one of 2019’s best EPs, and we also named Pottery one of the year’s best new bands. They were already exciting. But if you caught them live at any point last year, you know they had a whole other, even more exciting, phase up their sleeve.
The thing is, Pottery had already evolved beyond the band glimpsed with No. 1. Onstage, they were a roiling, infectious entity, frantic grooves and tightly wound guitar rhythms and psychedelic synth affectations moving as one organism until the band unleashed it all into danceable, artier chaos that seemed to sit somewhere between Talking Heads and Devo. It left you wondering whether we were going to get an album from that band.
Today, Pottery have announced their debut album Welcome To Bobby’s Motel, along with sharing its lead single “Texas Drums Pt I & II.” And if this is anything to go by, we are going to get an album from that version of the band. In a press release, the band shared a lengthy quote setting up the world they were trying to create with the album:
Who is “Bobby,” you ask?
Enter Pottery. Enter Paul Jacobs, Jacob Shepansky, Austin Boylan, Tom Gould, and Peter Baylis. Enter the smells, the cigarettes, the noise, their van Mary, their friend Luke, toilet drawings, Northern California, Beatles accents, Taco Bell, the Great Plains, and hot dogs. Enter love and hate, angst and happiness, and everything in between. Beginning as an inside joke between the band members, Bobby and his “motel” have grown into so much more. They’ve become the all-encompassing alt-reality that the band built themselves, for everyone else. So, in essence, Bobby is Pottery and his motel is wherever they are.
But really, Bobby is a pilot, a lumberjack, a stay at home dad, and a disco dancer that never rips his pants. He’s a punching bag filled with comic relief. He laughs in the face of day-to-day ambiguity, as worrying isn’t worth it to Bobby. There’s a piece of him in everyone, there to remind us that things are probably going to work out, maybe. He’s you. He’s him. He’s her. He’s them. Bobby is always there, painted in the corner, urging you to relax and forget about your useless worries. And his motel? Well, the motel is life. It might not be clean, and the curtains might not shut all the way. The air conditioner might be broken, and the floors might be stained. But that’s okay, because you don’t go to Bobby’s Motel for the glamour and a good night’s sleep, the minibar, or the full-service sauna. You go to Bobby’s Motel to feel, to escape, to remember, to distract. You go for the late nights and early mornings, good times and the bad. You might spend your entire life looking for Bobby’s Motel and just when you think you will never find it, you realize you’ve been there all along. It’s filthy and amazing and you dance, and you love it.
The whole thing feels a little zany and plenty colorful, just like those Pottery shows did all last year. And “Texas Drums” captures that energy perfectly. Squiggly grooves and gang-vocal chants propel the first half, before the song explodes into a bugged-out second passage complete with warped voiceovers, sputtering instruments, more tumbling rhythms, and humid guitar flashes. The song comes with a video directed by bandmembers Paul Jacobs and Jacob Shepansky alongside Meagan Callen and Charlie Coote. Check it out below.
01 “Welcome to Bobby’s Motel”
02 “Hot Heater”
03 “Under The Wires”
04 “Bobby’s Forecast”
05 “Down In The Dumps”
07 “Texas Drums Pt I & II”
08 “NY Inn”
09 “What’s In Fashion?”
10 “Take Your Time”
11 “Hot Like Jungle”
02/22 – Stockholm, SE @ Obaren
02/23 – Copenhagen, DK @ Ideal Bar
02/24 – Malmo, SE @ Plan B
02/26 – London, UK @ Windmill Brixton (Sold Out)
02/28-02/29 – Oslo, NO @ by:Larm Festival
04/30 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
05/02 – Burlington, VT @ Waking Windows
05/04 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
05/05 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd
05/07 – New York, NY @ The Dance
05/08 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott
05/09 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa
05/22 – Antwerp, BE @ Trix Bar
05/23 – Hamburg, DE @ Nochtspeicher
05/24 – Berlin, DE @ Berghain Kantine
05/25 – Prague, CZ @ Underdogs
05/26 – Vienna, AT @ B72
05/28 – Basel, CH @ Sommercasino (Czar Fest)
05/29 – Milan, IT @ Ohibo Club
05/30 – Fucecchio, IT @ Beat Festival, Limonaia
06/02 – Madrid, ES @ Wurlitzer Ballroom
06/04 – Pau, FR @ Le Pingouin Alternatif
06/06 – Lyon, FR @ Le Sonic
06/08 – Brighton, UK @ Chalk
06/09 – Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute
06/10 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
06/11 – London, UK @ The Dome Tufnell Park
06/12-06/14 – Hilvarenbeek, NL @ Best Kept Secret
07/31-08/02 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga
Welcome To Bobby’s Motel is out 4/10 via Partisan. Pre-order it here.