Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Happy Holidays

Hi everyone! Just a quick note that I will not likely be posting until after the new year. With Christmas and New Years activities, as well as myself moving into a new house first thing in January, I will likely not find the time to post until after settling in.

I will be back to posting first thing in 2007!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Guided By Voices: Universal Truths and Cycles (2002)

It's been a while, but I'm back. I woke up this morning and thought that it was about time to get another entry up. Let me start off my saying that for quite a while, this was the GBV album that I listened to the least. It had the least impact on first listen, and took the longest to grow on me. That being said, I now find myself in a 'new era' GBV phase, and Universal Truths and Cycles is getting a lot of plays. It is unique in the GBV catalog with its mix of slick production and heavier rock, somewhat in the vein of Choreographed Man of War. I can tell you right off the bat that there are going to be a lot of bolded tracks on this one...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Airport 5: Life Starts Here (2002)

After the excellent Tower in the Fountain of Sparks, Airport 5 (the duo of Tobin Sprout and Robert Pollard) returned in 2002 with Life Starts Here. Whereas Tower in the Fountain of Sparks was consistent in its low key and beautiful ballads, Life Starts Here is more or less all over the place. It has Yellow Wife No. 5 so you must own it if you are a GBV fan, but generally it does not come close to it predecessor's brilliance. This album received some fairly negative reviews on its release, which put it near the end of my GBV related purchases. However, though it is not in any way among Pollard's best work, it does still have its charms...

Airport 5: Tower In The Fountain Of Sparks (2001)

To create what may be the most beautiful album in the GBV catalog, the dynamic duo of Tobin Sprout and Robert Pollard got back together in 2001 to follow up on 1996's Tonics and Twisted Chasers. However this time around, the two decided not to fly under the banner of Guided By Voices, but as Airport 5. Airport 5 (and of course GBV's Tonics and Twisted Chasers) is characterized as having softer, beatier, and keyboard-based grooves, which strays from the rock of GBV quite a bit. With two "hit" singles already released (Total Exposure and Stifled Man Casino), Airport 5 was starting to look less like a side-project, and more like a new band. However, with a release one year later (Life Starts Here), Airport 5 would only see two releases to date...

Guided By Voices/Airport 5: Selective Service (2001)

Selective Service is simply a collection of three previous vinyl-only singles from GBV and Airport 5. Those singles being Dayton, Ohio - 19 Something and 5, Total Exposure, and Stifled Man Casino. The latter two available also on Tower in the Fountain of Sparks. Also included as a bonus track is the Airport 5 track In the Brain, which I have not been able to get into very much. I currently have it on my list of songs to re-visit for my ultimate playlist. Should someone who actually owns Airport 5's Tower in the Fountain of Sparks pick up this EP? I would answer yes due to the live version of Dayton, Ohio - 19 Something and 5, as well as the two excellent b-sides to Total Exposure. To get my take on the individual releases that make up Selective Service, see the following links:
Guided By Voices: Dayton, Ohio - 19 Something and 5 (2000)
Airport 5: Total Exposure (2001)
Airport 5: Stifled Man Casino (2001) ...

Airport 5: Stifled Man Casino (2001)

Once again, I must apologize for the lack of posts lately. It has slowed down to about one per month, which is definately not what am aiming for. This is mainly due to me spending a few weeks job hunting/interviewing, and that taking the majority of my attention. The good news is that I now have a new job, and perhaps can post a bit more often (no guarantees though). Now that that's out of the way, let's get to business. Stifled Man Casino rocks. It is such a great song, and has a chorus that is just begging for radio-play. It contains one of my favorite GBV-related lines with "Up go the stakes in Stifled Man Casino/No one gets the brakes/That's the breaks, baby". But how are the b-sides?...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Airport 5: Total Exposure (2001)

I am pretty excited, since I just ordered the new Psycho and the Birds EP a week ago (and it should arrive fairly soon). It got me thinking about how my posts have been lacking in frequency lately. I am just finishing my final few days of post-secondary, and will be starting my life as a career-man, so this blog has been pushed back on the priority list lately. So if it is a month since my last post, please do not think that I have abandoned the site...I am likely just really busy. Hopefully I will get to post more frequently soon. With that out of the way, lets talk about the vinyl only single, Total Exposure...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Guided By Voices: Dayton, Ohio - 19 Something And 5 (2000)

GBV embraces vinyl, which is probably one of the most annoying things about the band, for someone like me living in a city in Canada which has maybe one store which actually sells the stuff. I own exactly two vinyl records, of which I do not have the record player to listen to them on: Robert Pollard's Love is Strong Than Witchcraft, and GBV"s Bee Thousand - The Director's Cut. Since I can't actually play them, I have never heard the live version of Dolphin's Of Color which is sitting on the desk next to me. Luckily, Scat Records was cool enough to include the extra tracks of the Bee Thousand album on a CD so I could actually hear them. This particular single/EP was a vinyl only release so I will likely never own it. Of course, all the songs were released a year later on Selective Service, so I can still post an entry...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Robert Pollard and His Soft Rock Renegades: Choreographed Man of War (2001)

What's this? Is it Pollard's first solo EP? At only 10 tracks, the usual GBV fan likely expects a full 10 to 15 minutes of music. But not this time folks, as Robert Pollard and His Soft Rock Renegades (Jim Macpherson and Greg Demos) are here to rock you like Lexo and The Leapers did back in 1999! Thought this time, the fun lasts over a half-hour and the guitar is just a bit heavier. Its like an album full of Skin Parade (okay, maybe an exaggeration, but still pretty close). This is definately among Pollard's heavier albums, and there is not a single dud on the entire thing. Pick this one up as soon as you possibly can, you will not be disappointed...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Guided By Voices: Glad Girls (2001)

The incredible catchy and upbeat Glad Girls was an obvious single from Isolation Drills. Packaged with this song is three cuts from the album, one of which shares its title with the album it was left off of. Generally speaking, GBV tends to leave off some prime cuts for such events (singles, EP's, etc.) in what I suspect is a concious effort to make sure these types of releases are a special treat for devoted fans. If you want to see what I said about Glad Girls, the song, just check out my entry for Isolation Drills here. This particular entry will concentrate on the three b-sides...

Guided By Voices: Isolation Drills (2001)

Not quite the production of Do The Collapse, yet cleaner than Mag Earwhig!, comes their second TVT release, Isolation Drills. If any of GBV's albums could be considered accessible by all, it would be this one. Pop "hits" are scattered all over this beauty (Fair Touching, Chasing Heather Crazy, Twilight Campfighter, Glad Girls...), and it is often considered the best of latter day GBV by their fans. Almost the entire album makes my playlist (which is probably not a surprise for most of you). From its GBV trademark aviation imagery on the cover, to its many throwbacks to 60's/70's stadium rock, Isolation Drills is pure GBV...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Circus Devils: Ringworm Interiors (2001)

Released on Halloween 2001 was the first album by the Circus Devils. The band consists of Robert Pollard's vocals over Tim Tobias' guitar, and Todd Tobias' "Instrumentation & Noises". Picking individual tracks for my ultimate Pollard/GBV playlist/box set is extremely difficult with Circus Devils releases, mainly because these songs are often so different than Pollard's other work. I've decided to keep anything too "out there" off my playlist. However, Ringworm Interiors is meant to be listened to (and experienced) as an album, so even though many songs would be out of place on a mix, they add to the overall texture of the album. This album rocks overall, as it is like being at a rock concert on Mars...on Halloween...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Guided By Voices: Suitcase - Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft (2000)

38 of the 100 tracks found on Suitcase made my ultimate Pollard/GBV playlist/box set. On top of that, I would say that about 80% of Suitcase is not just listenable, but decent as well. Any personal Suitcase "best of" compliation would fit perfectly well amongst GBV's albums, and the quality of these rarities is surprisingly good. I reviewed all the discs separately and hope that I have set aside any fears of those who wonder if the box set is worth the $50 bucks or so to purchase it...

Guided By Voices: Suitcase - Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft: DISC FOUR (2000)

Whereas the focus of the previous three discs in Suitcase was with aborted album tracks (and some album cuts), the focus of the fourth disc is late 80's tunes...and boy were GBV on a roll during this era. On top of the five 80's releases (Forever Since Breakfast, Devil Between My Toes, Sandbox, Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia, and Same Place The Fly Got Smashed), GBV had more than enough material to release a sixth album, and a damn good album at that. Disc Four continues the trend of surprising quality, rounding out what truly is a great box set...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Guided By Voices: Suitcase - Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft: DISC THREE (2000)

Overall, Disc Three is probably better than Disc Two. After a few listens, some songs really started to mesh with me, and I really began enjoying the disc as an album in its own right. The quality here is surprisingly good (not sound quality mind you...song quality), and hidden among the hiss are some nice melodies. Scattered throughout Disc Three are the usual suspects for the Suitcase box set; aborted album tracks from Learning to Hunt, Power of Suck, A Concert for Todd, and The Corpse Like Sleep of Stupidity, outtakes from Bee Thousand and Same Place the Fly Got Smashed, and a bunch of 80's tunes...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Life Is Beautiful

I added Life Is Beautiful from Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department to the playlist/box set. I've been playing it a bit lately, and that beautiful guitar riff won't leave my head.

Guided By Voices: Suitcase - Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft: DISC TWO (2000)

After being dazzled by some prime cuts in Disc One, I was a little disappointed with Disc Two. Though it still follows the pattern of focusing on outtakes from Bee Thousand, Same Place The Fly Got Smashed, and Do The Collapse, as well as grabbing songs from aborted albums Power Of Suck, Back To Saturn X, and Learning To Hunt, Disc One appears to have a better collection. The highlights of Disc Two include the beautiful Supermarket The Moon, which actually had a case for itself for inclusion in Bee Thousand, a wonderful version of Ha Ha Man, and another gem in Our Value Of Luxury. Hey, and it has the Back To Saturn X version of Damn Good Mr. Jam, so it is not without its charms...

Guided By Voices: Suitcase - Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft: DISC ONE (2000)

Disc One of Suitcase's greatest claim to fame is the inclusion of the incredible Bunco Men, a song which has no right being on a rarities collection. This should have been on Under The Bushes Under The Stars, and made a spectacular album even greater. Overall, Disc One is a decent album in itself, especially if you trimmed it of some of the fat. Hey, its better than some of the EPs, and way better than Sandbox! It turns out that 10 of these 25 tracks have made my playlist, which will hopefully shed some of the fears that some of you may have when considering investing in this box set. You need this boxset for at least Bunco Men, as no GBV collection is complete with that track. How about a fast version of Spring Tiger? Or how about some tracks form aborted albums Concert For Todd, Power Of Suck, Back To Saturn X, Learning To Hunt, and The Corpse Like Sleep Of Stupidy? All this and outtakes from Bee Thousand and Do The Collapse make up Disc One of Suitcase...

Demons Are Real

I added Demons Are Real from Bee Thousand to the playlist/box set. How could I have left this off the playlist!? Well, back to my work on Suitcase...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Guided By Voices: Hold On Hope (2000)

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, Hold On Hope is my favorite Guided By Voices' EP. Take the over-production away from Do The Collapse, and what you have left over is a more true to GBV sound, and an overall better product. I should note there are other versions of this EP which include a song called Perfect This Time, which I do not have. If you have this track, please leave a comment and let me know what it is like. Either way, the 9-track version of the EP is spectacular, and at the cheap price there is no reason why anyone who considers themselves even remotely a fan of GBV should not have it...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Robert Pollard And Doug Gillard: Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department (1999)

When I was first getting into GBV, and researching what order to buy their related albums, Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department was often mentioned as one of the best non-GBV releases, if not the best. In particular, the song Pop Zeus kept showing up on various best-of lists by GBV fans. It turned out to be one of my later purchases simply due to the fact that I tried finding it in Canada first (and not for some ridiculous price), and then ended up picking it up from Luna. Is it all its cracked up to be? Did it live up to the hype? The short answer is yes. Is Pop Zeus an awesome track? Once again, the answer is yes. Is it Pollard's best non-GBV album? Well, no. I do not believe it reaches the greatness of either Not In My Airforce or Waved Out (not to mention that Lexo and the Leapers album which is climbing my personal charts after every listen), though it still rocks hard and deserves respect in the GBV world, as it is full of songs begging to be played for a stadium crowd...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Nightwalker: In Shop We Build Electrical Chairs - Professional Music By Nightwalker 1984-93 (1999)

How big of a Robert Pollard/GBV fan are you? Perhaps this album (#3 in the Fading Captain Series) is the ultimate test. From the spelling on the side of the case ("in shop wwe build electrical chairs") to the music within, this Nightwalker album is as far away from another 1999 release, Do the Collapse, as you can get. I personally picked up this disc even after hearing from others how terrible it is, just so I could fill a gap in my Pollard collection, and of course review it for you on this site. I will tell you right off the bat that this disc is in no way essential for the fan, and should be among the absolute last of your Pollard-related purchases...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Robert Pollard: Kid Marine (1999)

Kid Marine's main role in the history of Guided By Voices is being the first release under the Fading Captain Series. Personally, I consider this album to be among Pollard's least interesting, though there are a few tracks that stand out among the rest. However, any visit to Disarm the Settlers will reveal that Kid Marine is often a fan favorite, and sometimes even considered Pollard's best solo effort. I however, simply cannot agree with that, especially considering the greatness of both Waved Out and Not In My Airforce. Us GBV fans for the most part run all over the spectrum when considering what is Pollard's greatest music, and what should be included in, say, a greatest hits package. If I were making a single disc of my favorite GBV/Pollard songs, however, I doubt anything from Kid Marine would make the cut...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hey Hey Spaceman

I added Hey Hey Spaceman from Devil Between My Toes to the playlist/box set. I orginally left this off when I did the entry, but since then have grown to like the song more.

Guided By Voices: Clown Prince Of The Menthol Trailer (1994)

I finally received my copy of Clown Prince. It turns out that I got it from Amazon, as a pre-order where you set up how much you are willing to pay for something, and the moment someone posts selling the album at a price under your max, Amazon automaticaly purchases the disc for you. Therefore, it came as a complete surprise when I got an email from Amazon saying, "thank you for your purchase of Guided By Voices - Clown Prince of the Menthol Trailer EP". After a couple of listens, I am under the impression that Clown Prince is the worst of GBV's stunning EP's, though it does have its charms...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Lexo and the Leapers: Ask Them (1999)

This is the first Robert Pollard side-project which I get to write about. Lexo and the Leapers consists of Robert Pollard being backed by the Tasties. It is a six-track EP filled with heavy rock straight from the 60's and 70's, which has a focus on the fun side of rock. When it comes to Pollard side-projects, there seems to be about three types. The first, is the phone-in lyrics type. These are albums where someone writes music, and separately, Pollard lays down some vocals over the tracks (see Circus Devils). The second is the "I can't believe you bought this" toss-off type stuff, such as Nightwalker. The third type is actual collaborations where the album actually sounds like a full band is performing together. That is the case with Lexo and the Leapers...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Guided By Voices: Do The Collapse (1999)

1999 was another huge year for Robert Pollard, and is important for three reasons: 1) It was the year Do The Collapse was released on TVT Records, Guided By Voices' most produced sounding album ever, and considered by some as Pollard's "sell out" record (more on that later), 2) this was the year that the Pollard side-projects truly began coming out (three this year alone with Lexo and the Leepers, Nightwalker, and a collaboration with Doug Gillard), and 3) the sheer output provided. Other than Do The Collapse and the three side-projects mentioned, 1999 saw the release of Robert Pollard's solo album Kid Marine and a GBV EP, Plugs For the Program, as well. After 1998, which had only a solo album released, the next couple years looked fairly positive for fans of Pollard. As for Do The Collapse, this is no sell-out record, simply a glimpse of what GBV could sound like with a polished studio sound...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Robert Pollard: Waved Out (1998)

1998 saw the release of Robert Pollard's second solo album, Waved Out. In my opinion, Waved Out is the best of Pollard's solo work (just slightly higher than Not In My Airforce), and one of the best albums in his catalog including GBV titles. For starters, it includes two of the greatest tracks of Pollard's entire career, Make Use and Subspace Biographies. Second, the rest of the album is damn good too, without too much filler (we'll get to Showbiz Opera Walrus later). The album is a variety of sound quality, though after a few listens sounds like a cohesive album. I also find that it reminds me of earlier era GBV, say Propeller or even Alien Lanes...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Guided By Voices: Under The Bushes Under The Stars - Bonus Tracks (1996)

If you were lucky enough to find either a European or Japanese version of Under The Bushes Under The Stars, you would have been treated to a few bonus tracks. In fact the European release also contained the Tigerbomb EP and the split with Superchunk (another great band). I thought I'd go through some of these tracks since it appears that I'll get through Demons & Painkillers one release at a time...

Guided By Voices: The Official Ironmen Rally Song (1996)

This single comprises of tracks which were up for some version of what would become Under The Version Under The Stars, such as would-be albums The Flying Party Is Here and The Power Of Suck (which as of now is seeing a huge campaign from GBV fans to get released). The Official Ironmen Rally Song may have been Guided By Voices' first real shot at a huge single with its beautiful melody and great vocals/lyrics. It is a no-brainer for the best of playlist and I have already added it when going through Under The Bushes Under The Stars...

Guided By Voices: Motor Away (1995)

What made the Motor Away 7" single special was (like the My Valuable Hunting Knife single) the alternate take on the title track. The original from Alien Lanes is an anthem for the lo-fi movement. The version on this single sounds slightly more polished, and yet emptier. I choose the Alien Lanes version over the slick 7" every time, but there really is not much of a difference. I'm guessing finding this single is close to impossible now, but you can find its contents on the Demons & Painkillers disc in Hardcore UFOs...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Guided By Voices: Mag Earwhig! (1997)

It is about flippin' time I get to review Mag Earwhig!, an extremely rocking Guided By Voices album. I would have posted it sooner, but as you may have noticed, I am somewhat going chronologically. This album may have the best chance of enticing new listeners to GBV, since it is full of songs meant for the radio, even if non of them were actually played on the radio. The sound quality is mostly decent, and there are hardly any throwaways. After Under the Bushes Under the Stars, this may be my next favorite GBV release. Alright, I also have to mention this is the first new linup GBV album. It is the one where Robert Pollard begins his collaborations with Cobra Verde, and more specifically, Doug Gillard...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

About Your Guide

I thought that maybe I should write a little something about myself and why I decided to create this guide. The main reason I decided to create this site is because I am mostly a new fan of Robert Pollard's work. This past summer (2005) I picked up Guided By Voices' Human Amusements At Hourly Rates (Best Of) for no other reason than I was looking for something new to listen to. I was hooked after listening to the disc once. Over the next four months or so, I have bought (mostly online, since the music stores here in Edmonton which actually sell GBV related material charge a fortune for it) over 50 GBV related releases. I have maybe about 90% of what's available (as I still am missing the Howling Wolf Orchestra album, some split EPs, and the Acid Ranch stuff). So now here I am with all this material to go through, and that is why I created the guide. It started as a personal project, but then I realized that other people might find it helpful, and I would benefit (as would others) from comments from other fans. However, the main thing I wanted to get across was the fact that I am a new fan, and did not get into the band until after GBV was broken up. Therefore I am in no way an expert on the band, nor am I a particularly good writer...I am just someone trying to get through this massive catalog of kick-ass music.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Guided By Voices: Plantations Of Pale Pink (1996)

Plantations Of Pale Pink is a vinyl only EP which came out in 1996, so I'm guessing it is extremely hard to find now. However, like Tigerbomb, its contents are found on Demons And Painkillers from the Hardcore UFOs boxset. I am quite fond of this little EP, and usually listen to it by itself and not as a part of Demons and Painkillers. Though the songs themselves are not in any way spectacular, the EP as a whole is quite consistent, especially compared to similarly out-of-print EP Tigerbomb...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Guided By Voices: Tigerbomb (1995)

I'm in a bit of a bitter mood as I'm watching my favorite hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, getting smoked by the Ottawa Senators 7-0 (and there's still lots of time for the Senators to add some more pain)...alright, focus. I do not actually own this rare 7" (nor any other vinyl actually), however I do have access to it through my Hardcore UFOs box set. However, to keep things in perspective, I'll try to review releases individually. This means that my future Hardcore UFOs box set review of Demons & Painkillers will contain links to other reviews (since the disc is made up of out-of-print material). Tigerbomb is likely best known for its inclusion of two 7" alternate takes on GBV hits from the Alien Lanes era; My Valuable Hunting Knife and Game Of Pricks. Whereas this version of My Valuable Hunting Knife fails to capture the magic of what made the original from Alien Lanes so excellent, the slick production and added intro make Tigerbomb's Game Of Pricks the ultimate version...

Guided By Voices: An Earful O'Wax (1993)

I do not personally have this record, though I thought I should let you know about it because it is a greatest hits compilation of everything from Forever Since Breakfast (1986) through Same Place The Fy Got Smashed (1990). Other than glaring ommisions Land of Danger, The Tumblers, and A Portrait Destroyed By Fire, this is one hell of a collection, and an excellent portrait of early Guided By Voices. I'm assuming it is also extremely hard to find nowadays, especially since it was made in Germany. However, for someone just getting into the Box boxset, it is a virtual guide to its contents...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Guided By Voices: Tonics And Twisted Chasers (1996)

Originally a fan club vinyl release, Tonics And Twisted Chasers was re-released with five extra tracks in 1997, and can still be purchased from Rockathon Records. This album probably has more in common with Airport 5 than it does with Guided By Voices, since it is a collaboration between Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout. I see it as sort of a minimalistic GBV, which makes great use of drum machines and some keyboards. As for its importance in a GBV collection, I would say it is a requirement. The album is nowhere near as rocking as other GBV albums, but instead is full of beautiful and simple melodies...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Guided By Voices: Under The Bushes Under The Stars (1996)

Fans of Guided By Voices put their support behind various albums when concerning the greatest GBV album of all time. Vampire On Titus, Propeller, Alien Lanes, Bee Thousand, and sometimes even Mag Earwhig! all have their supporters. I am not alone when I throw my support behind the perfect Under The Bushes Under The Stars. From the opening onslaught of Man Call Aerodynamics, to the acoustic romp finisher Take To The Sky, and stops of genius in between (too many to list, but we'll get to them), Under The Bushes Under The Stars is a clinic of great rock musical writing. This is a hooked-filled dream, and full of the mid-fi pop gems which GBV is known for. Move over Bee Thousand...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Guided By Voices: Sunfish Holy Breakfast (1996)

1996 was probably the most prolific year of Robert Pollard's career. With a live album and three full length releases (two Guided By Voices, one solo), perhaps it was possible for this EP to to be forgotten from amongst that group. However, Sunfish Holy Breakfast rates amongst GBV's best EPs (of course under Fast Japanese Spin Cycle and the excellent Hold on Hope). The bad news is that at this moment, Sunfish Holy Breakfast is out of print. I was able to find a used copy at Amazon for just over $10 after shipping and everything. Other copies are around, with some going for around $30-$50. However, if you can get your hands on it, you will be rewarding with some pretty cool tunes...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Slower Pace - Starting Today

Hey everyone. Thank you all for the feedback which I have received on this site. Starting today, I'm going to slow down the posting a bit as I've just started my 7th and final year of post-secondary. I hope to post at least 3 or 4 GBV/Pollard entries a week from here on in instead of the past pace of 1 a day which I have been doing. So if you come by one day, and the site wasn't updated since the prior day, just be patient, a new post will be coming.

Robert Pollard: Not In My Airforce (1996)

Alright, I get to go through my first Robert Pollard solo album for this guide! What is the difference between a solo Robert Pollard album and a Guided By Voices release? For the most part I do not really see a difference. Perhaps on future solo Pollard releases like Fiction Man and Motel of Fools, it is a more experimental aspect which makes the largest difference. However, just the first four tracks alone on Not In My Airforce rate among Pollard's finest (not to mention Chance to Buy an Island hiding out at track nine). Maybe it is the group of acoustic tracks tacked on to the end of Not in My Airforce which make this a more experimental outing. With Sunfish Holy Breakfast, Tonics and Twisted Chasers, and the phenomenal Under the Bushes, Under the Stars all released in 1996, how did Pollard have time to create this solo release? And more importantly, how did he manage to fill it with such prime music...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Guided By Voices: Jellyfish Reflector (1996)

You can still get a hold of this live CD from Luna. This was recorded live at the Patio Club in early 1996, before Under the Bushes, Under the Stars came out. As far as live albums go, the sound quality on Jellyfish Reflector is excellent. One problem though, My Valuable Hunting Knife, Matter Eater Lad, and I Am A Scientist are not actually on the CD, though the back cover of the disc case says they are. There are 30 songs played on this live CD, the first 12 of which are from the upcoming (at the time) Under the Bushes, Under the Stars. One of the finest joys when listening to this disc is not hearing the cheers as the opening riffs to Cut-Out Witch and The Official Ironman Rally Song are played, due to the audience not yet knowing the songs. However, they are listening to what will soon be legends in the canon of GBV...

Saturday, January 07, 2006


I would like to thank all those at Disarm the Settlers for their feedback on this site, as well as David from LargeHeartedBoy, and Rich from RobertPollard.net, for linking gbvguide. You guys all rock, and it is an honor to be linked to from such great sites (and to chat with a wonderful group of people at DTS).

Guided By Voices: Alien Lanes (1995)

Essential, absolutely essential. From the opening bassline of A Salty Salute (GBV's drinking song), through my favorite Guided By Voices track of all time (My Valuable Hunting Knife), and up to the brilliant closer (Alright), Alien Lanes is pure rock n' roll gold. There are 28 tracks on this disc, most just over a minute in length, all tempting you to pull out the old air guitar and dance around in your kitchen. As Propeller, Vampire on Titus, and Bee Thousand all have a legitimate claim to the greatest GBV album, Alien Lanes can be added to that mix...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Guided By Voices: Forever Since Breakfast (1986)

So like I've said many times before, I do not purchase vinyl because A) it is hard to come by where I'm from, and B) I would have nothing to play it on. Therefore, I am overjoyed that Guided By Voices' first EP, Forever Since Breakfast, came with the Hardcore UFO's box set. We're going backwards a bit to 1986. GBV may sound a lot different back in the 80's compared to their classic 90's sound, but one fact remains, they rocked from the very beginning...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Guided By Voices: Box (1995)

Simply put, if you do not own the individual albums contained in Box, then it is an essential purchase for the GBV fan (and you can't get King Shit and the Golden Boys anywhere else). It includes the first four Guided By Voices' albums, but not the first EP (that is available in the Hardcore UFO's box set), and a rarities disc. Instead of providing a review, here are my reviews for the individual CD's found in Box:

1987 - Devil Between My Toes

1987 - Sandbox
1989 - Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia
1990 - Same Place the Fly Got Smashed
1995 - King Shit and the Golden Boys (rarities)

Guided By Voices: King Shit and the Golden Boys (1995)

King Shit and the Golden Boys is a rarities disc that comes with the Box box set. It contains two tracks recorded in 1988, five recorded in 1991, and twelve from 1993. Therefore, a large group of these were recorded during the same sessions in which Bee Thousand songs were done. This rarities disc for the most part plays as a cohesive album, and a fairly decent one at that. Highlights include Fantasy Creeps and Sopor Joe from Back to Saturn X Report (Propeller), and less refined versions of Don't Stop Now and Postal Blowfish. However, there are some other gems scattered about on this disc...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Guided By Voices: I Am A Scientist (1994)

I Am A Scientist may be the most famous song in the entire Guided By Voices catalog. I am of the belief that the song deserves that particular credit. The version on Bee Thousand is a lo-fi masterpiece, and an anthem for the entire genre. The reason why you must have this EP is that the version on this disc is a heavier and higher quality version. I would love to hear what people believe to be the best version of I Am A Scientist; the lo-fi and low key Bee Thousand version, or this heavy version which GBV plays live often. Oh, and by the way, Do The Earth rocks hard also...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Guided By Voices: Get Out Of My Stations (1994)

As far as GBV EP's go, this one is quite lo-fi. The highlight for me at the time of purchase was the live version of Weed King which is attached at the end of newer pressings. I did not yet have Propeller, so this was my one and only version of Weed King at the time. However, other to mention that there are live versions of Motor Away, Hot Freaks, Weed King, and Postal Blowfish attached to the end of this EP on later pressings, I will concentrate on the EP proper for this review. Overall, Get Out Of My Stations is a fine EP, which has a couple of toss offs, though nothing I would put on a Best Of Guided By Voices compilation. A song or two may make my playlist though...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Guided By Voices: Bee Thousand (1994)

I should first note that this is an entry in my Great Albums series as well as entry in my GBV Guide. Bee Thousand is (arguably) the best album of Robert Pollard's career. It is the best selling, and countless fans claim it as scripture. It may be one of the best entry-points for a new fan as it is a great example of Guided By Voices' lo-fi aesthetic. From the dive in sound volume in Hardcore UFO's to the what-the-hell-is-that-sound in Demons Are Real, Bee Thousand may well be the ultimate lo-fi album. There is not a bad track on this one (as almost the entire album will make my best of GBV playlist/box set). Indeed, Robert Pollard was channelling the power of the gods of rock when coming up with these tunes. Bee Thousand is the most necessary purchase for anyone who dares say that he/she likes Guided By Voices...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Radio Free Burke's One-Disc GBV Compilation

After I have finished creating my ultimate GBV/Pollard playlist/boxset, I may attempt something similar to what Radio Free Burke has done, which is create a one-disc GBV compilation. Here is the tracklisting of his Guided By Voices compilation (note: Radio Free Burke has not included any solo Robert Pollard or side projects, as they will have their own one-disc compilation which I hope to post here as well). You can check out the original Disarm the Settler's thread here where the idea was discussed, and also check out Radio Free Burke's blogs A CD A Day and Safe European Blog after checking out the list...