Wednesday, March 14, 2018

RE-SCORE: Boston Spaceships: Camera Found The Ray Gun (2010)

TOTAL SCORE: 12, AVG: 3.00

Using my new scoring method (Details can be found here), I wanted to tackle my previous entries for the Boston Spaceships before covering the final two albums that I have yet to cover. When I first reviewed this 4 song EP I compared it heavily with The Takeovers' Little Green Onion Man EP, since both seemed to offer something a bit different from what was appearing on the albums...

    RE-SCORE: Boston Spaceships: Zero to 99 (2009)

    TOTAL SCORE: 47, AVG: 2.94

    Using my new scoring method (Details can be found here), I wanted to tackle my previous entries for the Boston Spaceships before covering the final two albums that I have yet to cover. In the same year that the Boston Spaceships release the amazing Planets Are Blasted, they also put out this solid 3rd album. Though it doesn't reach the greatness of Planets Are Blasted, I think overall it is still a better effort than their rookie effort, Brown Submarine...

      RE-SCORE: Boston Spaceships: Planets Are Blasted (2009)

      TOTAL SCORE: 56, AVG: 4.00

      Using my new scoring method (Details can be found here), I wanted to tackle my previous entries for the Boston Spaceships before covering the final two albums that I have yet to cover. Planets Are Blasted is a masterpiece and a must-have for anyone interested in Pollard or GBV. There is not a single miss on the album, and over half of the album is made up of top notch hits...

        RE-SCORE: Boston Spaceships: Brown Submarine (2008)

        TOTAL SCORE: 41, AVG: 2.93

        Using my new scoring method (Details can be found here), I wanted to tackle my previous entries for the Boston Spaceships before covering the final two albums that I have yet to cover. In my original review I noted how exciting this was for GBV fans since this could have been the start of a new flagship band for Robert Pollard. We now know that this wouldn't be the case as Boston Spaceships would eventually bow out after five amazing records and the Guided By Voices name (and members) would eventually come back. That being said, Boston Spaceships is without a doubt the best ever side-project of Pollard's and it all started out with the wonderful Brown Submarine...

          Tuesday, March 13, 2018

          About the New Scoring Method

          Starting today I have moved away from the previous review method where a song is either chosen for my ultimate GBV playlist or not, to a method where every song will get 0 to 6 points based on the scale below:
          • Among Bob's Best: These are the hits, and the cream of the crop! (6 points)
          • Gems: Great songs that belong on any GBV-related playlist (5 points)
          • Almost-Gems: The best of the rest. (4 points)
          • They're Good: Not a gem, but it probably is a gem to somebody. I would still like to hear it once in a while. (3 points)
          • They're OK: Not likely to make a playlist, but it isn't a bad song by any means. (2 points)
          • Could Live Without: Not a toss-off, but I can get by without hearing it ever again. (1 points)
          • Toss-Offs & Throwaways: There is usually a couple of these on an album. (0 points)
          The album will then get two scores: a total score that simply adds up the points, and an average score that equals the total score divided by the number songs on the album...

            RE-SCORE: Guided By Voices: Half Smiles of the Decomposed (2004)

            TOTAL SCORE: 48, AVG: 3.43

            Using my new scoring method (read about it in my first Re-Score article), I thought it only made sense to get Half Smiles of the Decomposed out of the way. In my original review nearly 10 years ago the context for my review was how this was the last GBV album ever. We have since then had the original lineup come back for six new albums between 2012 to 2014, a solo-effort Pollard GBV album, and a reuniting with Doug Gillard for three GBV-labeled albums (Space Gun is still unreleased as of this). That is 10 new Guided By Voices albums since the first reunion in 2012, eight years after Half Smiles of the Decomposed! ...

              RE-SCORE: Guided By Voices: Let's Go Eat the Factory (2012)

              TOTAL SCORE: 55, AVG: 2.62

              I recently made a GBV-related playlist on Google Play Music that was about 900 songs, where I simply chose any song that I liked at least a little bit. As I listen to the playlist (which is awesome by the way) I've definitely noticed that there is a big difference between songs I like, and songs that I really like, and that I was going about this whole project the wrong way. Sort of. This blog was going to end up generating that 900 song playlist, and even though there is a purpose to have that playlist, I now think it is important to categorize the songs into different levels of awesome...

              Sunday, January 12, 2014

              Boston Spaceships: Camera Found the Ray Gun (2010)

              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...

              Saturday, January 11, 2014

              Boston Spaceships: Zero to 99 (2009)

              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...

              Sunday, July 28, 2013

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

              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

              Saturday, July 02, 2011

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

              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...

              Saturday, June 25, 2011

              Boston Spaceships: The Planets Are Blasted (2009)

              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...

              Thursday, June 23, 2011

              Boston Spaceships: Brown Submarine (2008)

              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)...

              Sunday, February 07, 2010

              Robert Pollard: Fiction Man (2004)

              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...

              Monday, November 16, 2009

              Robert Pollard: Motel of Fools (2003)

              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...