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Preview: The Rock Robot's Guide to Guided By Voices

The Rock Robot's Guide to Guided By Voices





Updated: 2017-11-07T02:10:47.394-08:00

 



Boston Spaceships: Camera Found the Ray Gun (2010)

2014-01-12T13:26:20.649-08:00

I was a big fan of The Takeovers' EP Little Green Onion Man. It was four tracks that were unique, and maybe just a little lo-fi for the two regular album The Takeovers put out. I consider Camera Found the Ray Gun to be for the Boston Spaceships what Camera Found the Ray Gun was for The Takeovers; a small shot of something different and worthy of our attention. Clocking in at around 9 minutes, this short EP is another worthy addition to the Boston Spaceships catalog...

The trend of using past Pollard demos and re-recording them with the full band continues with this EP. Both Pluto is Polluted and Aquarium Hovercraft appear on Suitcase 3 in what sounds like Pollard by himself with a guitar, and even singing the solo part on Aquarium Hovercraft. Both are recorded with the Boston Spaceships here and are generally full band versions that are true to the versions of Suitcase 3. During the chorus to Pluto is Polluted, I am somewhat reminded of The Doors. Aquarium Hovercraft is made up of three distinct parts; the first has Pollard ripping through the lyrics at a hectic pace, the second slows the song down to a grooving pace, and finally the song explodes into an epic conclusion. 

The Way Out is a standard straight-forward rocker that adds guitar layers to the second verse to keep the track building up, and it also includes the EP's title lyric. Rival GT is also on the heavier side, and like Aquarium Hovercraft the heavier sections are split between a quiet interlude. I had to listen to it a couple of times to determine its inclusion on the playlist, and in the end it won me over.

I'm not really sure what the point is to an EP for a band like the Boston Spaceships where the time between releases is usually very small, or how one track is chosen for an EP and another for an album. I'm guessing it is to create the illusion of a band that follows the more usual release schedule where an EP is a great way to remind people that you are still around and working. These four songs probably could have fit in with the next album (Our Cubehouse Still Rocks), but either way, they add to the already excellent catalog of music released by the Boston Spaceships.

Tracklisting (songs in bold make the playlist):

01 The Way Out
02 Rival GT
03 Pluto is Polluted
04 Aquarium Hovercraft



Boston Spaceships: Zero to 99 (2009)

2014-01-11T15:02:35.500-08:00

Back in June of 2011 I wrote my entry on Planets Are Blasted, the second album from Boston Spaceships, a collaboration between Robert Pollard, Chris Slusarenko, and John Moen. I put every song off that album on the playlist, and it cemented itself as one of my favorite GBV-related albums ever. Boston Spaceships are arguably Pollard's best band behind GBV and it was the banner under which Pollard's best work was released under while GBV was in hiatus from 2008 - 2012. Part of the draw of Boston Spaceships was that demo-ish tracks that were already released in products like Suitcase were re-created with the backing of a band making them more "complete", and their third release, Zero To 99, would continue this trend... There are five tracks on Zero to 99 that were first heard in some form on the first Suitcase release. The one least changed is the opening song Pluto the Skate, which at first seems to be the exact same version from Suitcase. After closer listen, the softer parts of the song have some additional texture, but it is basically the same song. In my review of the original on Suitcase, I said "Pluto The Skate has a decent chorus of Pollard screaming 'Is everybody happy now?' over and over, but the rest of the track is disjointed and almost jarring with its switches in noise level". The jarring-ness has been improved, but it is still as disjointed as ever. Since A Good Circuitry Soldier is a fairly simple acoustic tune, it simply benefits from the re-recording, and we get an answer to the statement Pollard says at the beginning of the version on Suitcase, "I don't know what will happen to this". Its a beautiful song that gets an improved hi-def recording and full band treatment.The other three Suitcase tracks get a complete overhaul, and they are all among this album's finest. In my review of Suitcase, I said that Trashed Aircraft was begging to be re-recorded, and we get that here. Though the sound is still distorted and a bit muted (maybe in tribute of the original?), this is a huge improvement with additional backing vocals and a stellar ending. Its great that Exploding Anthills got the remake treatment as well since the original on Suitcase messes with the vocals in a way that distracts from the song. Here, that is no longer an issue as the track is boosted with more instruments, clear vocals, and some great new lead guitar riffs.With Meddle, I said with regards to the version on Suitcase that "Meddle is dark and gloomy, and definitely has the feel of Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia era songs." This re-recording reduces the gloominess and ups the rock, but it seems to lose something from the original. If I was making an early GBV playlist or CD the original would fit in perfectly, so I think that both versions hold their own and one does not necessarily replace the other.I consider four of the Boston Spaceship original tracks on Zero to 99 to be gems. On the top of this list is How Wrong You Are. Everything from the lyrics, the great vocals and melody, and huge ending (that for some reason reminds me of the Muppets) makes this one of Boston Spaceship's best. Radical Amazement has that sweet slow burn similar to Pollard's Shadow Port from Standard Gargoyle Decisions where the song's mood is as important as its building layers. Let it Rest for a Little While is an understated rocker that grows on you after repeated listening, and Mr. Ghost Town is this album's standout fun-and-happy-pop track, which are in abundance in Pollard's work since the disbanding of GBV in 2004. Zero to 99 also features some quieter and somewhat darker songs. Question Girl All Right, Godless, Go Inside, and Return to the Ship all fall into this category. Whereas Go Inside has yet to resonate with me, I have grown to enjoy the others. Return to the Ship is a short and melodic song that doesn't really stand out much, and the same could probably be said about Godless, except there is something about Godless that makes me enjoy it the more I hear it. I think Question Girl All Right[...]



7 1/2 Years Later

2013-07-28T17:39:48.544-07:00

I started this blog in December of 2005, shortly after discovering Guided By Voices - yes, I discovered them after the band was "done". Over the years I have slowed down with the reviews (none last year), in fact, Robert Pollard is easily releasing new albums much quicker than I have been writing up new entries. 

It was something else trying to find copies of everything back in 2005, but I can't imagine what it would be like now, where there is a new GBV-related release every couple months! So I'm going to get back at it, and hope this will prove to be a helpful source for people just getting into GBV. 

Also, eventually I need to go back to my older entries because I know that certain songs have gained favor with me over the years (what's with that terrible entry on Sandbox?), and vise-versa. That will have to wait however, since there are still tons of albums I haven't got to on this site. Also, I apologize for not being very active on the comment boards - I used to respond to almost every comment on each entry, but I haven't been so great lately. I'll try to keep up better going forward. 



Guided By Voices: Let's Go Eat The Factory (2012)

2013-07-28T17:20:30.516-07:00

The intro starts slowly, and begins to build up. Laundry & Lasers is the first track on the first album under the Guided By Voices name in about eight years, and it needs to tell us what the new GBV is all about. And when I say new, I actually mean "classic", as this is the reuniting of Robert Pollard with Tobin Sprout (vocals, guitar), Mitch Mitchell (guitars), Greg Demos (bass), and Kevin Fennell (drums). These are the guys that brought us Propeller, Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, and Under the Bushes Under the Stars. Are they going to continue with the mid-fi sounds that UTBUTS left off, or chart a new course for GBV? Pollard's vocal's kick in, and they are definitely on the mid-fi range, so that question is answered. But then, the driven guitar and drums join in, and the classic lineup starts out with a rocker. Its a great song, and it reminds me of other stellar opening tunes like Man Called Aerodynamics for UTBUTS or A Salty Salute from Alien Lanes. But would the rest of the album live up to potential gleamed from Laundry & Lasers? In a quick answer, not really. The grungy mid-fi sound from Laundry & Lasers is as theme throughout Let's Go Eat the Factory, but most of these songs are not as satisfying as the intro track. The Head is a short song that never really goes anywhere, but it surely is heavier. It sounds like a classic-era EP or single track. Imperial Racehorsing is another grungy one that has potential, and maybe after a few more listens it'll stick. How I Met My Mother is a one-minute tune that has grown on me over repeated listens, and it also falls into this sound category (after you listen, I'm sure you'll hear what I mean - these songs all share a similar sound).The last two grungers are Either Nelson and Cyclone Utilities (Remember Your Birthday). When listening to both of these I am immediately reminded of songs on the various Suitcase box sets (especially Either Nelson). They both have a better song buried under the (albeit likely on purpose) shoddy production, a symptom that many songs on Suitcase suffer from. One of the things I loved about the more recent Boston Spaceships and Robert Pollard releases is how songs from Suitcase really popped after getting the re-make treatment. Maybe I have been spoiled with those releases, but I don't think that something sounding like it would fit on a Suitcase release is a complement for a new GBV album.I may as well talk about the toss-offs now as well (and get to the more positive points after that). It wouldn't really be a GBV album without some toss-offs, and for this album those are The Things That Never Need and The Big Hat and Toy Show. The Tobin track Old Bones is up for consideration as well, though it is at least somewhat interesting, and I'm sure there are fans of the song with its dreamy orchestral sound. Other more bleh tracks (not toss-offs mind you) include the thirty second Go Rolling Home and The Room Taking Shape, the former being more of an idea than a song (Wire Greyhounds it is not), and the latter sounds like a drunk uncle singing at a campfire. OK, negativity over, let's talk about some of the better songs.Sprout sings (and wrote) quite a few songs on Let's Go Eat the Factory, and for me, it seems difficult for Sprout to make a bad song. At the same time, I find that Sprout songs just don't have the same potential to be great compared to Pollard's songs, but that might have more to do with Sprout's quiet and humble approach to his songs. Spiderfighter is a great song title, and at first seems like a verse verse verse kind of thing; a heavier song for Sprout that feels right at home on this album, but relies on a catchy guitar riff. The best part of this track, however, is when it shifts gears at the end. It becomes a soft ballad with Sprout repeating the line "and now is the time to make up your mind". Who Invented the Sun is fairly underwhelming, though pretty, but there is a Tobin gem on Let's Go Eat the Factory, and its called[...]



Quick Update

2013-07-27T21:15:18.685-07:00

Hi, just a quick update! I updated the various pages so they have the latest GBV-related releases. A new post is also in the works!



Still Here

2012-12-14T22:01:35.743-08:00

I know it has been a while (over a year now) since my last post. I just wanted to put out a quick note saying I'm still around, but other things have left me little time to post on this blog. I do want to complete the entries, and there have been tons of new stuff as well to review, so I'm hoping to one day get back at it!



Robert Pollard: Coast to Coast Carpet of Love (2007)

2011-07-02T13:56:47.419-07:00

I have raved about Pollard's solo twosome from 2006 of From a Compound Eye and Normal Happiness, and claimed that they were amongst the best albums in the GBV-related catolog. 2007 saw the release of another combo, the edgy Standard Gargoyle Decisions, and the focus of this post, the mellow and pop-whimsical Coast to Coast Carpet of Love (which I'll abbreviate CTCCOL from here on out). The familiar recording process of Todd Tobias laying out all the instrumental tracks, and then Pollard mixing the vocals would be used here. Though the 2007 offerings do not quite meet the level of awesome of Pollard's 2006 albums, there is still stuff to like here, however, there is something wrong with how the guitar sounds on CTCCOL. I would like to hear other's comments on this, but the way guitar is recorded on CTCCOL prevents me from enjoying it more...There likely isn't anything you won't like on CTCCOL, but there is a chance that nothing will really stand out either. Where FACE and Normal Happiness assaulted with rocking track after rocking track, with tons of variation thrown in, CTCCOL suffers a bit from sameness (similar to Kid Marine and Earthquake Glue). Part of this is the recording process where Tobias' recordings all have a very similar sound, which sometimes make the guitar sound a bit duller. The standouts on CTCCOL are those tracks that stray from the overall sound of the album. The opener Our Gaze is an all-out rocker with great drums and driving bass, two components of a song I rarely refer to (or notice sometimes). Penumbra has an ethnic twist which makes it a bit of an original for Pollard, and it is my favorite on the album. Youth Leagues is also interesting with its altering drum and guitar beats, but even it suffers from portions where the song slows down to a crawl. Nicely Now is Pollard's best vocal performance on CTCCOL, and lastly, the choruses of I Clap for Strangers and Miles Under the Skin are too good to ignore, even if the guitar parts mute them a bit.Rud Fins, Current Desperation, Dumb Lady, Slow Hamilton, Customer's Throat, and Count Us In are all nice songs and all, but they all have that similar dull guitar sound. It may just be me, but there is something about the way the guitar has been recorded that doesn't let the sound come out completely. It is hard to explain, but there is something there just draining the life out of the guitar, and subsequently the songs themselves. Shoo-ins otherwise, these tracks all just barely make the playlist.Current Desperation is a great example. The opening riffs are exactly the sound I'm talking about. It sounds like a guitar and electric piano have been mixed together, and the effect is that it sounds programmed, and not so much like a human is playing the instrument. It is a beautiful song though, and I'm happy including it on the playlist.If it weren't for the strong final part, Count Us In would not be on the playlist. Customer's Throat has great vocals and melody, and Dumb Lady has grown on me the more I listen to it. Rud Fins is straight-up pop, a fun ride from start to finish. There is nothing really special about When We Were Slaves, but it might have stood out as the quiet track on a heavier album. Exactly What Words Mean is slightly disjointed, though the somewhat chorus is fun. Look is What You Have, like every other song on CTCCOL, has its moments but is not strong enough for the playlist. Last of the tracks not making the playlist is Life of a Wife. There is nothing particularly wrong with the song, it simply isn't among my favorites. In general, CTCCOL is a softer album for Pollard, and is greatly contrasted from the same-time-released Standard Gargoyle Decisions. Overall, it is very good, but the recording process that Pollard and Tobias use shows its weaknesses more on this one than any other. As stated many times already in this post, the guitar is recorded in a way to prevent it from al[...]



Boston Spaceships: The Planets Are Blasted (2009)

2011-06-25T13:23:45.543-07:00

One of my absolutely favorite Pollard songs was released in 2009, the incredible opener to Planets Are Blasted, Canned Food Demons. If I made a one-disc sampler of GBV-related tunes for a friend, this track would be on it for sure. The song serves as a perfect opening to Planets Are Blasted, the Boston Spaceships' follow-up to Brown Submarine. The trio of Pollard, Slusarenko, and Moen had a difficult task ahead of them when they set out to top their wonderful first offering, Brown Submarine, but they not only met that challenge, but managed to create one of the best albums in the entire Pollard-related catalog. This one is right up there with FACE/Normal Happiness and the best of the Guided By Voices records... To be fair, Planets Are Blasted includes four recycled tracks from Pollard's back catalog, pumped up to Boston Spaceships level. This isn't new for the band, as Brown Submarine included the previously released Soggy Beavers re-recorded. For all I know, there may be more tracks that already existed in some form or another, but may not have seen the light of day until now.Dorothy's A Planet, Headache Revolution, and Heavy Crown all first showed up on the Suitcase box sets as basically demos (already playlist worthy), and are left virtually unchanged except for the full band re-recording. Catherine From Mid-October was on Pollard's Zoom single, and is also basically a re-recording. The fact that they were chosen for Planets Are Blasted plays a big part on what makes this album so great.Dorothy's A Planet may as well be this album's big single, with its soft verses, big chorus, and melody oozing from all parts. Pollard's vocals are spot on on this one as well. Catherine From Mid-October would have been right at home on FACE, as would Headache Revolution, as both show the band at their pop-rock best. Heavy Crown, however, may benefit the most from the full band re-issue. The album's closer finishes the album the same way it started, pure rock from a band having a great time. The outro, where Pollard sings "In this city there is nothing to cling to" is one of the best moments from the record. Queen of Stormy Weather is not from a previous release, but it shares some of its melody from the chorus of The Naked Wall, from the side project Keene Brothers album (hat tip to John at My Impression Now for catching this). It also has the lyric "pee on my parade", so bonus marks there. It is just one more pop gem on this amazing album.Continuing with the more pop-styled tracks on the album are Sylph, Lake of Fire, and The Town That's After Me. Sylph has some great lyrics ("Its not like her to strum so glum"), and is a bit of a soft-rock ballad. Lake of Fire is probably my least favorite track on the disc, but it is still good (note: every track on Planets Are Blasted is making the playlist), and it is the only song where the chorus is actually quieter than the verses. Finally, The Town That's After Me sounds like Isolation Drills-era GBV, but at a minute length it finishes just as its getting real good. Tattoo Mission is a bit of an oddball on this album. Where most tracks follow the quiet-loud-quiet-loud-louder pattern, Tattoo Mission is more beat driven, and reminds me a bit of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir with the pulsing groove and musical layers that build throughout the song (and maybe because I heard Kashmir recently). Keep Me Down and UFO Love Letters both start fast and heavy and never let it up throughout, utilizing fuzzed-out guitar and constant beats. They work separating the abundance of softer tunes on the album.Now lets talk about Big 'O' Gets and Earful and Sight on Sight. Big 'O' is the anchor of the album, an epic sprawl with soft melodies leading to loud boosts of sound. After an amazing interlude, the song peaks as Pollard asks "will none of us be alive be alive when Big 'O' gets an earful?/one of us to survive w[...]



Boston Spaceships: Brown Submarine (2008)

2011-06-23T16:45:42.243-07:00

In 2008, Robert Pollard put together his new band Boston Spaceships, who are named after the spaceships on the album covers of the band Boston. The band also includes Chris Slusarenko (most instruments) and The Decemberists' John Moen on drums, though the songs are all written by Pollard. Since then, Boston Spaceships have released four full albums, an EP, and have a fifth album due in August. Brown Submarine is the first album from what is likely Pollard's most exciting and consistently rocking post-GBV band (including the solo stuff)...I remember putting this CD on the very first time, and how excited I was after hearing the opening track Winston's Atomic Bird. There was something about the track that embodied the GBV sound in the early 2000s, and was different than the solo Pollard releases that were put out after the final GBV show. It is a quick rocker that is followed by the somber title track, Brown Submarine. The multi-vocal ending of the title track (with violin!) is beautiful. Similarly, North 11 A.M. also sets a dark tone only to pick up a more positive tone near the finish.Some of the tracks on Brown Submarine are incredibly catchy pop songs. You Satisfy Me has a catchy main riff, and Pollard's knack for melody is featured on Two Girl Area. Andy Playboy is one of my favorite songs on the album, and is closer to a radio-friendly hit as anything else on the album. Go For the Exit can be included in this list, as it starts out as an acoustic little pop nugget, but becomes even more amazing when the full band kicks in. Zero Fix has Pollard's vocals on equal footing with driven guitar, and the result is a stadium rocker, with many opportunities for fist pumps and karate kicks. The outro question "How High Can You Go?" is the perfect ending, and the song is book-ended by some voice mail recordings (referencing Navigating Flood Regions no less). Ate It Twice, Psych Threat, and Rat Trap are all great tunes as well. Ate It Twice is a bit of a blues-inspired rocker, and I picture it being performed in a dark bar on the bayou. Psych Threat and Rat Trap are punk-infused, and sound like a band having a lot of fun doing what they do.We first heard Soggy Beavers on Suitcase 2 in a form that was little more than an idea. In many cases, these ideas leaves fans wondering what could have been if they received the full attention treatment. Without changing the song altogether, Boston Spaceships manage to take the idea and fill it out into a pretty decent tune.Trumpets show up near the end of Ready to Pop, a track that is really on the border of making the playlist. Unlike Ready to Rome, where Pollard's brooding vocals worked so well on Zero Fix but seem a bit odd on this one, Ready to Pop is just too much fun to pass on.I am going to possibly spoil something for you here, and let you know that Boston Spaceships' follow up Planet's Are Blasted is amazing! That being said, the framework is very much grounded on Brown Submarine. There is a mix of friendly pop tracks, all out rockers, and a little bit of weird (but only a little bit). Where many Pollard side projects tend to have their thing that makes them unique, Boston Spaceships is, and sounds more like, a band creating a consistently good record that could (and should) extend beyond fans of Robert Pollard. Slusarenko and Moen bring the extra oomph required to propel Boston Spaceships to a level above most other Pollard side projects. Tracklisting (songs in bold make the playlist):01 Winston's Atomic Bird02 Brown Submarine03 You Satisfy Me04 Ate It Twice05 Two Girl Area06 North 11 A.M.07 Zero Fix08 Psych Threat09 Andy Playboy10 Rat Trap11 Soggy Beavers12 Ready to Pop13 Still in Rome14 Go for the Exi [...]



Grand Reopening!

2011-06-22T20:48:48.062-07:00

Hi everyone! I have updated the site to the new Blogger templates, which I hope makes it easier to navigate, and should make it easier for me to update. Now, I just need to post a new review :-)



Soon Soon

2011-06-22T20:49:15.366-07:00

I let a whole year go by without a post, so sorry about that. However, this site is still ongoing as far as I'm concerned, and I hope to find some time to post some new reviews over the summer.



Robert Pollard: Fiction Man (2004)

2011-06-22T20:50:21.864-07:00

You will notice in my reviews for From a Compound Eye (FACE) and Normal Happiness that I mention that they are among my favorite Robert Pollard releases. Those albums perfected the method of Todd Tobias recording full band versions of Robert Pollard's demos, and Pollard recording the vocals afterword. Though this method was somewhat used with the Tobias brothers (Tim and Todd) and Pollard for the Circus Devils albums, the method truly got its start when Todd Tobias recorded the instrumentation for Fiction Man, based on the unused demos from Guided By Voices' album Earthquake Glue. I think I will just get it out of the way now that this album is not among my favorites, and that some of the issues I had with Earthquake Glue filter down to this album as well... One thing I notice different between this album and FACE is that where FACE sounds like a full band recording all at once, Fiction Man sometimes has moments where the vocals and instrumentation seem slightly misaligned. The opening (and best) track Run Son Run highlights this the most at the beginning of the second verse ("Freeze me up from going down the stomach pump"); during this moment, the vocals and music seem to be running at different speeds. That being said, Run Son Run is a pop gem, and a killer opening. I Expect a Kill would feel at home on a Circus Devils release, and is a track that has grown on me after repeated listenings. It has a good mix of distorted guitar and factory ambiance, and yet still sounds strangely melodic and epic. Sea of Dead is a dark acoustic track and a preview of the softer songs on FACE, and it is followed by the more upbeat ditty Children Come On, and the similarly upbeat and distortion filled The Louis Armstrong of Rock and Roll. I give Paradise Style the number two spot on Fiction Man's best songs. I love songs that motor into the chorus in a way that the listener has to take a moment to register that the chorus has actually started. Pollard is great at this, and one of my favorite examples is Little Lines from Mag Earwhig. Keeping up with the pop-driven sound of Paradise Style are Conspiracy of Owls and It's Only Natural. Both are decent tracks, but the chorus of It's Only Natural really stands out. Let's face it, many Pollard-related releases have toss-offs and throwaways, and I am putting Losing Usage in that category. I also wanted to note that along with Children Come On, Built to Improve and Trial of Affliction and Light Sleeping made the Crickets: Best of the Fading Captain Series album. I think this serves as some proof that Crickets is more of a sample or general representative album, and less of a "best of" offering. While Children Come On can be identified as a pretty decent song with its general pleasingness, Built to Improve is the type of epic Pollard has done better many times elsewhere, and Trial is a heavy Circus Devils-ish tune which probably would not have made my Circus Devils "Best of" if it actually were one. The final three tracks of Fiction Man are all good songs, and all on the border of making the playlist. I'm taking Every Word in the World for having Pollard's best vocals on the album. The stadium-rocker Their Biggest Win is also getting on the list because the chorus is just too fun to leave it off. I noted that Earthquake Glue was the later GBV album that I listened to the least, and that it "has a slightly more pop-mellow vibe, and reminds me of Kid Marine in its okay-ness. That is, there is not a bad track on the album, nor does it really ever shine through as spectacular". I think the same can be said about Fiction Man, in fact the opening and last paragraphs from my Earthquake Glue posting can almost entirely represent Fiction Man. Like Earthquake Glue, Fiction Man is the Robert Pollard "solo"[...]



Robert Pollard: Motel of Fools (2003)

2011-06-22T17:53:33.440-07:00

After getting Suitcase 3 in the mail, I realized that I once again let a fairly decent amount of time go between posts. I decided to go over an album I honestly do not spend too much time with, Robert Pollard's somewhat experimental Motel of Fools. I've heard somewhere that this album was meant to sound like a movie soundtrack, and from the album notes, a few regular Pollard contributors show up for this one (Jim Macpherson, Greg Demos, Chris Slusarenko, and Tobin Sprout included). What I tend to do, when planning to write up an album I do not know too well, is listen to it while driving for a little while. Songs seem to imprint themselves on my brain easier if I hear them while driving. Over the course of listening to Motel of Fools a few times, I went from having only 1 of the 7 songs making the playlist, to 4...The album kicks off with Pollard, minus any other sounds, chanting for a minute, and then followed by a psychedelic and breezy tune called In the House of Queen Charles Augustus. I have a lot of trouble when deciding if songs like this (the ones that seem merely "ok") are a keeper or not. The problem is that I know there are tons of tracks I would rather listen too, however, it still bothers me that I will not get to hear it semi-regularly if it is not on the list. Breezy may also describe Captain Black, as Pollard goes for mood with Motel of Fools, an album which appears meant to be listened in full instead of having its parts plucked away onto a mix disc.After a long trippy intro (basically, the song in reverse), the albums cuts into its "hit", Red Ink Superman. You can tell some songs mean business once the guitar kicks in, and Red Ink Superman is a wonderfully dour epic which finishes with a sudden explosion of noise and Pollard repeating "We'll even the score in World War IV!"In The Vault of Moons, a lead guitar from what sounds like an entirely different song keeps intruding on a an acoustic ditty. Other effects are thrown in as well, but I find it is the weakest track of the bunch. Saga of the Elk continues the brooding atmosphere, and has grown on me each time I listen it. It also has some of the strangest lyrics, for example "Fort mold may feather / Personal grain in the heartache" and "Stain at calvary / Racehorse and deadness" are a sample of some of the seemlingly disassociated lines.The Spanish Hammer is a four song musical consisting of She Drives Camaro, Lift, Love Set, and Wildlife Energy. Whereas She Drives Camaro, Lift, and Wildlife Energy are similar to effect-filled Circus Devils snippets (in sound and in title), Love Set is actually a beautiful piano tune which covers roughly a minute and a half. Both the melody and Pollard's vocals are perfect, and this is a great moment of clarity in an otherwise often fuzzed-out and psychedelic album.Harrison Adams is the closer of this dark, weird, and short album, which ironically ends with a (relatively) up-beat pop song. Granted, it has the Motel of Fools minute or so of randomness, which is saved for the end of this particular track. That being said, the chorus of "You aren't happy with me / And I know it / And you are the world to me / But it's all gone now" slightly betrays its joyous sound.Overall, I enjoyed the time I spent with Motel of Fools. Red Ink Superman does stand out on this album, which focuses more on overall theme and not individual success, and may not stand out so much on another GBV-related album. I feel that all of the other songs I picked for the playlist could have not made the list depending on when I wrote this entry, for example, if I waited a few months after the period I played it over and over again while driving around. This time, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.Tracklisting (songs[...]



Purpose

2011-06-22T17:51:55.851-07:00

Time to redefine the purpose of this blog. Originally, the following three items defined the purpose:

1) To create my ultimate GBV/Robert Pollard playlist
2) To create my ultimate GBV/Robert Pollard CD box set
3) To give those new to GBV/Robert Pollard a good starting reference

I'm scratching out point #2, as it has already gotten way to big for a CD box set...

Anyone who listens to GBV knows that there is a certain measure of separating the gems from the not-so-gems (maybe put too politely). I started this blog to do exactly this...get out all of the good songs from the massive catalog and make a playlist (at the time, WinAmp compatible - now geared towards iPod). As I move forward, the third point (being a place for newcomers to get some info) seems to have taken a higher priority.

Where does one start when they get into Guided By Voices? I strongly suggest a pattern similar to the one I took (note, I got into GBV in late 2005):

1) Get the GBV greatest hits album
2) Pick up Bee Thousand - if you love this, you will be a fan for life
3) Pick up the other major GBV releases (Propeller, Vampire, UTBUTS, Alien Lanes, etc.)
4) Grab the later GBV releases (Mag Earwhig and after)
5) Early Pollard solo stuff is next
6) Post-GBV Pollard to follow (especially FACE and Normal Happiness)
7) Begin moving into GBV EP's as you find them, The Box set of early material, and side project stuff like Circus Devils, Takeovers, etc.

Of course, a random approach may also be beneficial, across all GBV, solo Pollard, and side projects - scattered from late 80's to present.

A couple of things I have found since taking on this undertaking:

1) The more I listen to GBV-related music, the more gems I find. Tracks that I didn't original like start to catch on, and even tracks that I originally labelled as toss-offs even start to sound great.
2) My opinion is in no way concensus. For every song I leave off the playlist, there are many who would have it in their top 20.
3) I'm incredibly biased, because I generally like most of the music.
4) This is going to take forever.

Anyway, just some thoughts I wanted to pass along.

Later,
Dave



Robert Pollard: Normal Happiness (2006)

2011-06-22T17:53:49.223-07:00

In my write-up for From a Compound Eye, I mentioned that it, along with its sibling Normal Happiness, are the two Pollard albums I listen to the most. They are likely my favorite albums in the entire GBV-related catalog, so it probably wouldn't surprise you that all but one of the tracks from FACE made the playlist (and the majority of those on Normal Happiness are going to as well). That being said, the majority of the comments I received from my FACE post, either through email, the comments section, or that chat thing I have on the right of the screen, are focused on the exclusion of Payment for the Babies off the playlist. When this happens, I tend to spend some time with the song and see if I can figure out what I'm missing, and in this case, I can not. Payment for the Babies stays off the playlist, and once again we have proof that every single song of the GBV library has its supporters. Alright, now lets get to this great album...I would consider Normal Happiness the little brother of FACE; safer, not nearly as epic, overall lower-fi, more controlled, smaller, but it looks and sounds quite like its older brother. Following the same recording technique as FACE, this collaboration with Todd Tobias also focuses on the more poppy sound of Pollard's.Perhaps low key pop is a better description, as there is a duller edge to most of the tracks preventing them from sounding too radio-friendly (unlike I'm a Strong Lion from FACE). The opener Accidental Texas Who sets the mood right off the bat, with its upbeat riffs and carefree feel. Whispering Whip follows with an almost fantasy-inspired minute ("Whispering whip, your spirit is locked inside/but that's not how we died") which builds to a great finish.Supernatural Car Lover seems to hold the same position of Dancing Girls and Dancing Men did for FACE, and I'm not just referring to them both being the third track on the album. Like Dancing Girls and Dancing Men, Supernatural Car Lover sounds like it is meant to be the album's big song...the lead single if Pollard's albums truly had singles. Its jangly pop, light lyrics ("And your proud man's blues/and your jumpshot too"), inclusion of the album's title in the lyrics, and wicked guitar solo all make it Normal Happiness' focus point.Boxing About has a cutesy riff throughout, and is one of those tracks where you find there is much more going on after a few listens. Serious Bird Woman represents one of those common little annoyances (while also being a fairly cool thing) about Pollard's music...those songs where they are so-so except for about 5 to 10 seconds which are just totally amazing. In the case of this track, it is the short chorus when Pollard croons "serious birdwoman, your turn me on/in" and the few chords after it.My favorite track on Normal Happiness may very well be Get A Faceful. The one-time chorus ("Do you lose control?/Get a faceful, keep it uptight/Do you risk parole with a convict's soul?/Get a faceful, wear it with pride") is my favorite moment on the album. Towers and Landslides continues the casual tone of the album, and I Feel Gone Again is the shortest song on the album, which by the way has the majority of the songs around or under two minutes long.Gasoline Ragtime mixes psychodelic and bluesy-rock, and Rhoda Rhoda makes its own case for being the album's "hit", and can be described as The Beach Boys meet punk rock. Give Up the Grape is the heavy stand-out on Normal Happiness, and (along with Pegasus Glue Factory) have the highest play count on my iPod for this album. It inludes the awesome lines "I drink myself astray/from shadows of fantastic middle-earth/" and "I hide myself in dream/from Howdy Doody's terrorist regime". Peg[...]



new post coming this weekend...

2011-06-22T17:52:30.211-07:00




A New Post!

2011-06-22T17:54:33.597-07:00

Okay, so I finally posted after about 8 months of close to zero activity. I never intended it on going so long, but I must say I have been extremely busy. And like the last time this happened, I'll say again that I do not intend on letting such a long time go between posts ever again. There is a lot of exiting stuff happening in the world of Pollard (there is at least the same amount of Pollard solo material out there as GBV that I'm wondering about the title of this blog...) lately, and as always, it is an exiting time to be a fan.
I thought I'd provide some of my thoughts of some of the newer stuff that has been, and is soon to be released...
  • Sgt. Disco and Ataxia are my favorite Circus Devils albums, so I'm naturally excited about Gringo.
  • The pairing of Coast to Coast Carpet of Love and Standard Gargoyle Decisions was pretty decent, but does not reach the greatness of FACE/Normal Happiness. In fact, FACE/Normal Happiness is still the greatest post GBV material.
  • I'm still not entirely getting into Boston Spaceships. I'll still take the Takeovers over the Boston Spaceships any day.
  • Big fan of both Off to Business and The Crawling Distance.
  • This interview talks about a 3D-film musical about Cleopatra, directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Jim Greer, which will feature GBV music - wow.
Anyway, once again, sorry for the delay between posts. I should have the write-up for Normal Happiness up soon.



Robert Pollard: From a Compound Eye (2006)

2011-06-22T17:53:10.948-07:00

In 2006, the solo era of Robert Pollard truly began with two of the greatest albums of Pollard's; From a Compound Eye (which I'll refer to as FACE) and Normal Happiness. Both albums were done in collaboration with Todd Tobias (Pollard providing Tobias with the basic structure of the song, and Tobias recording most of the instruments), and both stand out as two of my personal favorites. There is not a bad song in the batch among these 26 tracks, and unlike some other Pollard solo albums that are full of recommended tracks (for example, Kid Marine or Coast to Coast Carpet of Love), the majority go beyond being simply good, and many are among the best in the entire Pollard catalog...For me, quite a few tracks on FACE were instant classics on the first few listens, and a couple have since then also joined the ranks. FACE is generally a mix of pure pop songs and harder grunge rock, and it is the latter which make up the three epics which anchor the album together. Included among these are The Numbered Head, Love is Stronger than Witchcraft, and Conqueror of the Moon.The Numbered Head is one of the heavier tracks of Pollard's, and the chorus of "Lets you go up/Lets you go up/Blurring your eyes/Lets you go up" is easily among my favorite moments in Pollard's music. The last half of the track is a long grunge outtro which may half been axed (or never created) if this was produced a few years prior. Love is Stronger than Witchcraft, the second single from the album, moves back and forth between cutesy guitar and heavy distorted riffs, with a bit of wonderful mayhem in the middle. The third epic, Conqueror of the Moon, feels a bit more like different songs pieced together to form a rock opera-like anthem, and is likely my second favorite track on the album.Second favorite? As great as Conqueror of the Moon is, the honor of being the best song on FACE (and one Pollard's best ever) goes to Blessed in the Open Head. From its cut to the chase opening riff/verse riff, to its pure rock chorus ("Find a moment in your time/I say/Live the moment when you find/You'll blow your mind/You won't get dead/Is blessed in an open head"), this song is three minutes of awesome.So what about some of the pop gems on FACE? Included in this group are Dancing Girls and Dancing Men, The Right Thing, I'm a Widow, I Surround You Naked, and the first single I'm a Strong Lion. I'm a Strong Lion took a while to grow on me, and the idea of having a lead off single that is only a minute long seemed a bit odd as well (but hey, wasn't the first single from Offspring's Ixnay on the Hombre the short and satisfying All I Want?). Like it or not, I guarantee you will not be able to get this song out of your head.I've always felt that Dancing Girls and Dancing Men was meant to be the album's "hit" with its upbeat optimistic sound and lyrics ("Be thankful everyday/For everything and pray/For dancing girls and dancing men/to dance their lives away"). My personal favorite from this group has to be I'm a Widow (which has a main riff very similar to the track Kick Me and Cancel). Everything about this song screams radio single, even with its morbidly fun main line "I'm a widow and I'm hot to do you". I Surround You Naked follows a similar radio friendly pop mentality, and The Right Thing starts slow and builds to a powerful finish (with cow bell), also seemingly increasing studio polish as it builds as well.A third type of track would be the weird songs. Four stand out as being in this category which always finds its way onto a Pollard album. The first, Field Jacket Blues, traps a possibly brilliant song (well, 25 secon[...]



Guided By Voices: Half Smiles Of The Decomposed (2004)

2011-06-22T17:55:27.063-07:00

In 2004, Robert Pollard announced that he was retiring Guided By Voices. Apparently he wanted to go out with an album that felt good as a final album, and Half Smiles of the Decomposed felt like that album. I have no doubts that any further GBV albums would have also been great to out on, based on the post-GBV solo work of Pollard's (in particular From a Compound Eye and Normal Happiness), but alas, this is it. Half Smiles is in many ways greater than the previous album, Earthquake Glue (more variety), though it is not nearly as rocking as Universal Truths and Cycles. That being said I feel it completes a trilogy somewhat which includes those other two albums. With songs such as Girls of Wild Strawberries, Gonna Never Have to Die, and Window of My World, we can also see a sort of bridge to the upcoming solo Pollard albums. But hey, as long as they end with a song related to aircrafts everything will be alright, right?...The album kicks off with the closest thing Half Smiles has to a single, Everybody Thinks I'm A Raincloud (When I'm Not Looking). This is the last song GBV played live on television (on Conan), and it is also the heaviest track on this overall, mellower album. It is a very optimistic sounding tune which sets the stage for a great send off. The oddball Sleep Over Jack follows, and it is one of the more interesting tracks in the later GBV period. Dark, creepy, and strangely addicting, this is a Circus Devils song too good to be a Circus Devils song (with all respect to that wonderful band) and may be the true gem on Half Smiles.Its all about melody with Girls of Wild Strawberries, an acoustic number with some beautiful lead guitar. This is probably a good time to note that Pollard is at the top of his game lyrically on Half Smiles; "In tribes I played/Survived and prayed to be free/And send my letters out/Delivered sermons to the sea/For the girls of wild strawberries". Gonna Never Have to Die is proof that this album was meant to be contained somewhat. This track could have been loud, fast, and a rocked out anthem, however, it is kept low-key with an awesome acoustic outro solo. It kind of reminds me of Pearl Jam in the way that Pearl Jam has all these great rockers, but they are tempered a bit and fleshed out, and more rewarding in the end.Window Of My World is the closest thing GBV has to a song found in some movie musical. The deep reverb chorus sounds as though Pollard's singing in some dance hall, and I can't help but to picture the cheesy video shown at the beginning of GBV's final show in Chicago. Nonetheless, its another great pop ballad from Guided By Voices. If I heard it out of context, I would have guessed that Closets of Henry was straight from Do the Collapse. Though lacking the obvious polish of that album, the big stadium chorus ("Wings refer to the wedding cake/The glasses fall and hearts will break/The primal scream is hard to take, you know") almost makes you wonder if Pollard was making another attempt at mainstream success.The best moment of Half Smiles belongs to the otherwise unnoticeable Tour Guide at the Winston Churchill Memorial. I'm referring to the first two times Pollard sings "Be on top of me now". Once again proof that Pollard has the ability to make you love a song because 2% of it is beautiful. Maybe the second greatest moment belongs to "Nothing could be finer, yeah/In Asia Minor, yeah/The devil in the china, yeah" from Asia Minor, a track with rolling verses and cutesy piano. Tying for longest song on the album (at four minutes) are the next two tracks, Sons of Apollo and Sing For Your Mea[...]



The Takeovers: Little Green Onion Man (2008)

2011-06-22T18:51:42.245-07:00

The Takeovers are quickly becoming one of the best Pollard-related side-projects. The duo of Robert Pollard and Chris Slusarenko bring together much of what made early GBV so great; (as stated in my roundup of the first Takeover's album) "instant classics, thrown in half-finished ideas, total toss-offs, and decent tracks, all mixed together to form an album greater than the sum of its parts." So it doesn't really surprise me that my favorite Takeovers album is actually a four song EP. Not only does it only have four songs, but one of them is on the last Takeovers album (Bad Football), and another is a alternate version of a track from their first (Turn to Red). But the real treat is just how great the other two songs are...The EP's title track, Little Green Onion Man was described on my entry of Bad Football as "wonderfully strange..., (it) a) gets its own EP, b) contains the words "bad football", c) has a great riff throughout the verses, and d) includes one of Pollard's stranger vocals. It is a standout, but not even among the album's three best tracks." However, in the context of this strange little EP, Little Green Onion Man seems more at home, and is a stronger track overall.The other revisited track is Wig Stomper 07, a heavier version of the "toss-off" from Turn to Red. In fact, the original was a voice mail message. To hear a voice mail message fleshed out into an actual song is pretty cool.The highlights of the EP are the other two tracks, Rich Man's Girl and Instigator. Rich Man's Girl starts off sounding like a lo-fi boombox recording, but then blends into a full out studio sounding track (well...that is a bit of a stretch...but check it out and you'll see what I mean). The simple chorus of "she's calling out" is just beautiful, and the overall tone of the track is dark. As for Instigator, I love this song! Everything from its fun bass beat to the cheap organ sound is brilliant. Pollard's melody is perfect, and I'm quite confident if I were somehow able to produce a single-disc "Best of Pollard", Instigator would be on it!This EP is a must have, mostly because it includes one of my new favorite songs, Instigator. I find the disc is excellent to listen to on late night drives through the city, due in large part to its oddness and darkness. Its my favorite release from The Takeovers thus far, and I can't wait for the next one!Tracklisting (songs in bold make the playlist):01 Little Green Onion Man02 Rich Man's Girl03 Wig Stomper '0704 Instigator[...]



The Takeovers: Bad Football (2007)

2011-06-22T19:31:54.299-07:00

My conclusion of Turn to Red, the first Takeovers album, was that even though less than half of the tracks made the playlist, the album as a whole was pretty decent. For Robert Pollard and Chris Slusarenko's sophomore effort, there is less quirkiness and more rock n' roll. However, the real difference between Turn to Red and Bad Football is that Bad Football is front-stacked, and shelves the toss-offs together at the end of the disc, whereas Turn to Red mixed them in with the rest of the album. That being said, the percentage of tracks making the playlist this time around has increased...You're At It starts things off. A solid intro, the track sets the tone for a more serious effort, and has the memorable line "This form of suicide's not quick enough, what else you got?" It is followed by the wonderfully strange Little Green Onion Man, which a) gets its own EP, b) contains the words "bad football", c) has a great riff throughout the verses, and d) includes one of Pollard's stranger vocals. It is a standout, but not even among the album's three best tracks.Father's Favorite Temperature has a bit of a classic rock vibe (maybe even southern rock), and is proof that Pollard can be a outstanding singer when he wants to be. Molly & Zack slows things down, and is a bit of a throwback to the more acoustic Guided By Voices tracks, and I can't help but smile when I hear lyrics like "Space stationships arrive" or "Youmans bouncin' off one per other like eated up Molly-cues". The fifth track, Pretty Not Bad, may be the album's best song with its Elvis Costello's Pump It Up-like riff, and rock anthem chorus. Throw in some guitar solos and self-referentiality ("I wrote a song and I like it/called 'Pretty Not Bad'") and this one alone is worth the price of admission.The jolly Smokestack Bellowing Stars has grown on me after repeated listens. The lyrics listed in the liner notes of the album simply say "Great lyrics", and the simple chorus of "Never hitch a ride with those guys baby" is incredibly catchy. The mellow pop tunes continue with I Can See My Dog. However, The Jester of Helpmeat can best be summed up as a messed up version of Pimple Zoo (replace "Sometimes I get the feeling that you don't want me around" with "The Jester of Helpmeat is not fucking around"). It is also the start of a string of odder tracks, with Kicks at the Gym having Pollard almost yelling over a heavy driven riff, and Music for Us featuring the return of Rich Turiel, the "narrator" of Turn to Red, and some strange singing.The Year Nobody Died is generally forgettable, and when things look like Bad Football is going to end on a whimper, it is finished with the fuzz-rock My Will. Is Bad Football better than Turn to Red, I would say so. However, this is an album where after seven tracks I started thinking The Takeovers were going to complete a perfect album, but then four consecutive tracks sort of ruined it. Don't get me wrong, tracks Kicks at the Gym and Music for Us add tons of character to an album, but I almost wished this one included some more You're At It's and Pretty Not Bad's.Tracklisting (songs in bold make the playlist):01 You're At It02 Little Green Onion Man03 Father's Favorite Temperature04 Molly & Zack05 Pretty Not Bad06 Smokestack Bellowing Stars07 I Can See My Dog08 The Jester of Helpmeat09 Kicks at the Gym10 Music for Us11 The Year Nobody Died12 My Will[...]



The Takeovers: Turn To Red (2006)

2011-06-22T18:47:25.238-07:00

I'm changing things up a bit. No longer am I following a chronological order of posts, but mixing it up from here on in. This way, I get to choose what release I post next a little more randomly. That being said, I am loving the Takeovers EP Little Green Onion Man, so I decided to do their first effort, Turn To Red. The Takeovers are a collaboration between Robert Pollard and Chris Slusarenko. There are some guest musicians thrown into the mix as well...After an intro from Rich Turiel, the album explodes into one of its best tracks, Insane/Cool It. This is an automatic inclusion on the playlist with its pure rock vibe, and its chorus ("A nameless hate/A nameless hate/Time gushes pain on my days/And I can't get away") reminds me of classic Rolling Stones. It is followed by the sombre First Spill Is Free, a track who's lyrics are (to me) some of Pollard's most baffling ("I want just to raw/I want head is the word").Mojo Police has a great pulsing beat verse, followed by a Circus Devils-ish chaotic section, and is one of the weirder tracks on the disc. I can't help but love Scuffle With Nature. From its cutesy melody, off lyrics ("By a stuttering f-f-f-f-f"/Healthy does of the T-Ruth crippling me"), and even the crackling recording noise, this one sticks with you. Even Rich's intro comes back and sounds a little more at home in this song. The following Sweet Jelly can be filed under "toss-off" (and while we're at it, so is Wig Stomper - see the Little Green Onion Man EP for a non-phone message recorded version).Competing with Insane/Cool It for the cut of the album is Fairly Blacking Out, an all-out rocker with a great riff, complete with "programming" from Charlie Campbell. I'm not too sure what I think about The Public Dance, and instrumental moving into Circus Devils country which builds nicely throughout its three minutes. Be It Not For The Serpentine Rain Dodger sounds like it comes straight from mid/late 80's GBV, and would have fit in nicely on the first Suitcase box set.Bullfighter's Cut sounds like a preview of what to expect on a later Pollard release, Standard Gargoyle Decisions, a bit of brooding with the rock. With its pulsing baseline, this is the type of track that sounds great during a late night drive. I am not a big fan of Pollard's vocals on Jancy, the albums final track. I think Bullfighter's Cut would have made a better closer...oh well.The five tracks on this disc that make my playlist do stand out from those that do not...quite a bit. The Takeovers' first effort follows the proven formula of instant classics, thrown in half-finished ideas, total toss-offs, and decent tracks, all mixed together to form an album greater than the sum of its parts. And it also looks like The Takeovers are here to stay, as they already have another album (Bad Football), and the great EP Little Green Onion Man.Tracklisting (songs in bold make the playlist):01 Do You Get Your Wish?02 Insane/Cool It03 First Spill Is Free04 Mojo Police05 Scuffle With Nature06 Sweet Jelly07 Fairly Blacking Out08 Wig Stomper09 The Public Dance10 Be It Not For The Serpentine Rain Dodger11 Bullfighter's Cut12 Jancy[...]



Not Dead...

2011-06-22T18:40:47.115-07:00

Hey everyone, just a quick note to let you know that no, I have not abandoned this blog. In fact, I have made my order for the new Takeovers, Psycho & the Birds, & Robert Pollard, and am looking forward to checking them out (also picked up a bunch of t-shirts).

Anyway, I have been incredibly busy since September, and hope things will cool down soon. I also aim to have a post as early as tomorrow, and hopefully by the end of the weekend.

So thanks for all the comments over the last little while, and we'll get this blog into full swing soon!



Guided By Voices: Earthquake Glue (2003)

2011-06-22T18:41:10.937-07:00

Earthquake Glue is likely the new-era GBV disc that I listen to the least. After the rock-fest that was Universal Truths & Cycles, Earthquake Glue has a slightly more pop-mellow vibe, and reminds me of Kid Marine in its okay-ness. That is, there is not a bad track on the album, nor does it really ever shine through as spectacular. It has its fair share of hits (My Kind of Soldier, The Best of Jill Hives, and Useless Inventions are up there with GBV's best), but the album overall may take more listens than usual before other tracks begin standing out. That being said, the whole album is pretty much making the playlist...My Kind Of Soldier kicks things off in a good way. I love the intro to this one, and the chorus ("My kind of soldier/You can ride on my shoulders when you've won") is extremely catchy. A definite hit on first listen, it is surprising this wasn't playing on modern rock radio all over the place.The military-theme continues with My Son, My Secretary and My Country, which finishes with a genius charge of "rahhhhhh!" (which the liner notes attribute to the Model Prisoners of the 5 Sense Realm), blending nicely into my personal favorite of the album, I'll Replace You With Machines. There is a watery sound effect which continues throughout I'll Replace You With Machines. At first, this effect is extremely cool as part of the intro. However, I think it overstays its welcome, and it would have been nice if it faded out shortly after the song's beginning. Otherwise, this track kicks ass ("Ain't it funny how it gets there/And they say it never does/I'll replace you with machines/I can't face you").She Goes Off At Night is the first of those slightly-better-than-okay tracks which will make the playlist due to having at least one part being pretty cool (in this case, the verses). It's a painless pop tune which Pollard can write in his sleep. Beat Your Wings is even closer to the cut-off which goes over the top with its stellar finish, guitar solo included.Useless Inventions is among the realm of great GBV tunes. From its opening pulsing riff to Pollard's melody-oozing verses, this one is topped off with a killer chorus as well. The lyrical work is among Pollard's best ("Come on and purchase the new one/Be the first to strap it on/Lose antiquated fixations that you cannot be without/For a nice try change this model out").Dirty Water has its moments, and its role of being the darker track on a mostly joyful album is a highlight. It is immediately followed by one of Pollard's most beautiful songs, The Best Of Jill Hives. This goose bump inducing pop-ballad is a candidate for the best song to introduce your friend to GBV with.There is something going on with Pollard's vocals on Dead Cloud. This track is another on-the-fence decision for making the playlist. It is fairly repetitive, but the dueling vocal "She said to send the sunlight to me" part is quite nice. Mix Up The Satellite has a great title, and sounds like something from a dreamy early-70's prog-rock tune. The Main Street Wizards also follows the mood of Mix Up The Satellite, though once again Pollard's vocals sound a little different (higher?).Wow is A Trophy Mule In Particular a cool track. The "...and earthquake glue" part is genius, and its continued build up to the line "for I am a soldier" nicely wraps up the album theme. This would have been a wonderful final track (come to think of it, a perfect opener as well). Apology In Advance ha[...]



Guided By Voices: Hardcore UFOs - Revelations, Epiphanies and Fast Food in the Western Hemisphere (2003)

2011-06-22T18:41:31.549-07:00

(image) Boxsets are the collector's dream. Guided By Voices boxsets are not so rare. With two editions of Suitcase, a collection of early out-of-print albums, and Hardcore UFOs, GBV has four boxsets collecting about a hundred songs each. Where the two Suitcase boxsets showcase only unreleased tracks, the Box boxset having four out-of-print albums and one album of unreleased material...Hardcore UFOs has six distinct discs; 1) a greatest hits package, 2) a documentary DVD, 3) A live album, 4) an out-of-print singles/EP collection, 5) an unreleased collection, and 6) an out-of-print EP...

I have not wrote an entry for Watch Me Jumpstart, the documentary DVD (with music videos), since I'm trying to concentrate on the albums (for now). However, please click on the links below for the individual entries for each disc:

Forever Since Breakfast
Live At the Wheelchair Races
Delicious Pie & Thank You For Calling
Demons & Painkillers
Human Amusements at Hourly Rates - The Best of Guided By Voices
Watch Me Jumpstart DVD - no entry yet