Robotic Hawks embrace personal growth on ‘Quitter’
Third 2021 single from the New Hampshire power-pop trio is backed with an R.E.M. cover and hits the streams on December 1
The wildly infectious ‘Quitter’ is billed as a ‘freight train of determination’
Artwork by Joe Keinberger
HUDSON, N.H. [December 1, 2021] -- There’s an old adage that it’s never too late to change one’s ways or habits. And in the case of new music, it’s never too late to release one of the catchiest songs of the year, even as the seasons change from fall to winter and most people are busy paying attention to what came out months ago through endless Year In Review coverage.
Such is the case -- the former and the latter -- regarding Robotic Hawks’ infectious new single “Quitter,” set for release on Wednesday, December 1. It’s backed with a cover of “Superman,” the 1969 single from The Clique made famous in the ‘80s by R.E.M., and arrives with eye-catching artwork painted by Joe Keinberger. The longtime friend and collaborator of the New Hampshire power-pop trio crafted the art for their 2020 debut album, Rock ‘N Roll Relapse.
In short, “Quitter” is all about our never-ending quest of making ourselves better -- for ourselves, for those around us -- and it just so happens to be perhaps the finest effort from the band thus far. And that’s saying a lot, as the band is flying high in 2021 after a pair of previous singles -- May’s “Security”, a cover of the Otis Redding song made famous by Thane Russal & Three, and October’s “Ansonia” -- have generated global airplay across indie and satellite radio, including a spot on The Rodney Bingenheimer Show on SiriusXM.
“‘Quitter’ is meant to sound like a personal pep talk that one would have with themselves when struggling to make positive changes,” says Robotic Hawks’ vocalist and bassist Tyler Pollard. “Change is hard, especially when it comes to bad habits and behaviors, but you have to give your goals a voice. The internal dialogue can either foster change for the strong or provide massive guilt for the weak. Either way, we wanted the song to sound as upbeat and determined as the lyrics.”
Pollard describes “Quitter” as “a freight train of determination,” destined to be a fixture in the Robotic Hawks’ live set. Written pre-pandemic but rendered idle until Pollard, drummer Brian Sturk, and guitarist Shawn Doherty were finally able to reassemble and play together once social distancing guidelines relaxed, the harmonious tracks finds Robotic Hawks at their creative apex; writing harmonious, wildly catchy garage rock tunes indebted to power-pop and British Invasion. And while we can hear traces of classic alternative heroes like XTC and The English Beat in its DNA, its real inspiration material comes back to R.E.M.
“We developed the music for ‘Quitter’ before the lyrics and initially it felt very Murmur-era R.E.M.,” Pollard admits. “I am paraphrasing, but R.E.M. has loosely said that their creed in the early years was to ‘make the girls dance.’ We wanted to keep that as the priority no matter where the song ended up. As we really began to know the song and became more comfortable banging it out, it progressed into a potent English Beat-sounding song. Also, that outro guitar solo is the cherry on top and serves as a slight homage to Elliot Easton of The Cars.”
The R.E.M. influence made “Quitter” easily pair up with the single’s b-side, the aforementioned “Superman.” Like the prior two Robotic Hawks singles, each track has been paired with another new composition that flow together, calling back to the days of music when a-sides and b-sides had a cohesive unity. But there’s an even deeper connection between the two songs, one that connects Pollard’s misspent musical youth back in Connecticut some 30 years ago.
“As we talked about which cover would pair well with ‘Quitter,’ I recalled its R.E.M. feel,” Pollard recalls, “and it got me thinking about my band from 1991, Chapter XI, that used to cover the R.E.M. cover of ‘Superman’. The guitarist from Chapter XI, ‘Cosmic Tom’ Simonalle was essential to waking my ears up to harmony and the work required by a band to pull it off. Singing together with Tom on ‘Superman’ was such an important piece for my personal growth. So, I cold called Tom -- who I haven’t seen in person since 1991 -- and asked if he was set-up to contribute a vocal track. Tom delivered the goods! It was such a gift to be able to revisit such a fond memory with my mentor and ex-bandmate.”
Looking back at that time gave Pollard further reflection into where he is today -- as a person, as a musician, as a husband and father. He sees the change in himself. And he sees the ability to change in others around him. Sometimes, you just need a song to get you there, no matter when it’s released.
Robotic Hawks are:
Tyler Pollard - vocals + bass
Brian Sturk - drums
Shawn Doherty - guitar + keys on ‘Quitter’
All songs recorded by Robotic Hawks in Nashua, N.H. - September to November 2021
Produced, Mixed and mastered by Andrew James King
The music of Robotic Hawks has been heard and featured on:
The Rodney Bingenheimer Show on SiriusXM’s Underground Garage; Blood Makes Noise; Bay State Rock; Boston Emissions with Anngelle Wood; Your First Listen on KNNZ 89.1 FM (Fargo, ND); Belter Radio (UK); Christian’s Cosmic Corner, Marc’s Alt-Rock Playground, and Original Music Showcase on Mark Skin Radio; BumbleBee Radio (Boston); Tinnitist; Citywide Blackout: Ricky’s Daily Bangers; Lonely Oak Radio; Everything You Know Is Wrong on WMWM Salem State Radio; Garagerocktopia with Robert Kreutzer, Rising with Skybar on WMFO Tufts Radio; Laura Beth’s Mixtape Show on Reclaimed Radio (UK); Wave Radio Boston; On The Town With Mikey Dee on WMFO Tufts Radio; Volatile Weekly, and other fine shows, blogs, websites and radio stations.
Robotic Hawks press photo:
Robotic Hawks short bio:
Founded on pub rock energy & teeming with pop hooks, Robotic Hawks are a 3 piece out of Boston and New Hampshire. Three bald dads… just fucking going for it. In a nutshell, work days are easier when you have band practice to look forward to… ROCK 'N ROLL FOREVER!