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...

For someone like me, who thinks Under the Bushes, Under the Stars is the absolute best Guided By Voices release, this makes a great CD since it is full of songs from that particular album. You can tell some fans in the audience are getting restless with all the new songs, as at one point Pollard needs to ask the fans to stick around, and promises they will hear Tractor Rape Chain later on. I can understand how they feel, since hearing new songs at concerts is not the best way to be introduced. However, looking back, the intro of Man Called Aerodynamics, Rhine Jive Click, and Cut-Out Witch make a spectacular start to a concert. In particular, the performance of Rhine Jive Click is extremely spirited and rocking.

The Official Ironman Rally Song, Bright Paper Werewolves, and Don't Stop Now (where Pollard asks the audience "please don't go") come off just as beautiful as they do on their proper album, and the audience do really start getting into it once GBV is done playing new stuff, and kick it into Lethargy from Propeller. In fact, this performance of Lethargy is spellbinding.

Hits (take that as you will) such as Game of Pricks, Motor Away, Postal Blowfish, Tractor Rape Chain, A Salty Salute, and Shocker in Gloomtown all get their play. Highlights for me include an extremely rocking performance of Melted Pat, a Robert Pollard's starting to get drunk runthrough of White Stripe Jets, and an enthusiastic Some Drilling Implied.

The last two tracks: Echos Myron, and Weed King, reveal GBV's ability to rock out even after a case or two of beer. This version of Echos Myron is a pumped up, full out rock-on, and Weed King is the perfect finisher.

Overall, this is a great live disc, and it covers Propeller, Alien Lanes, Bee Thousand, and Under the Bushes Under the Stars fairly well (Vampire on Titus not so well, uhmm, at all). I would wait to own those four discs before picking it up, yet I would also pick up all proper releases before getting this live one. However, I do not know how long it will be available.

Tracklisting (note, I don't plan on putting live tracks on my playlist):
01 Man Called Aerodynamics
02 Rhine Jive Click
03 Cut-Out Witch
04 Burning Flag Birthday Suit
05 The Officlal Iron Man Rally Song
06 Bright Paper Werewolves
07 Lord of Overstock
08 Your Name is Wild
09 Look At Them
10 Underwater Explosions
11 Don't Stop Now
12 Office of Hearts
13 Lethargy
14 Game of Pricks
15 Striped White Jets
16 Melted Pat
17 Hot Freaks
18 Postal Blowfish
19 My Son Cool
20 King and Caroline
21 Motor Away
22 Pimple Zoo
23 Some Drilling Implied
24 Shocker in Gloomtown
25 A Salty Salute
26 Gold Star For Robot Boy
27 Tractor Rape Chain
28 Yours to Keep
29 Echos Myron
30 Weed King

Luna Music


jazman said...

Hey Rock Robot!

I just picked this up, and boy, am I glad! The highlights for me:

1) Like you - hearing all these great songs get played (like OIRS) and NOT having all the doofs in the audience scream!

2) Hearing the first half of UtBUtS live, in its proper order...COOL!

3) Bob's completely drunken revision of the lyrics to "Melted Pat" (talk about someone who's "going away" many beers had he consumed when he tried to sing this song?)

4) The absolutely definitive version of "Postal Blowfish". They've played it crazier, they've played it noisier, but they've NEVER played it quite so well as I hear it here. It's controlled dynamite mayhem!

5) What can I say? Two words: PIMPLE ZOO!!!!!!! My personal favorite, I sing this to all my friends and family!

This album ROCKS! It's too bad about the songs listed and not included, so maybe I'll make my own modified cover. But this disc really proves the power of GbV LIVE!

Dave said...

In true Indiana fashion, the audience can't be bothered with hearing music that they're not already familiar with. No wonder all the good bands avoid this state like the fucking plague. When we yell "Freebird!" we're actually being sincere. (Also, this is Striped Sswhite Jets!)