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, 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...