Thursday, January 05, 2006

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...

We've Got Airplanes and Dust Devil are both excellent songs which should have found their way to Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia, as both would have been among the finest on the disc. Squirmish Frontal Room is an aural assault of ripping guitar and fuzzy vocals, and one of Guided By Voices' heavier tunes. And Tricyclic Looper is the first track from King Shit which I'll be taking a pass on. There is some cool grunge guitar going on in the track and some fine vocals, but the song is just too weird. You know, I'm liking it the more I listen to it...fine, it makes the cut!

Crutch Came Slinking is a 60's ditty re-invented. Now, I know that I said that both Fantasy Creeps and Sopor Joe are both highlights on this disc, and that is true since they are both part of Back to Saturn X Report. However, I am not a fan of either song in the full form, and am happy just adding Back to Saturn X Report and leaving these two tracks off of my playlist. Crunch Pillow is also not making the cut, mainly due to the horrible sound quality and the fact that Tobin Sprout has tons of better songs in the GBV canon.

Indian Was An Angel is a pleasant acoustic number which I think would have sounded nice on Vampire On Titus (though it was written during Bee Thousand sessions). I am not going to put this version of Don't Stop Now on my box set/playlist because the version on Under the Bushes, Under the Stars is almost perfect, and this one is nothing in comparison. It sounds like a demo for the later version, but is important to this collection since it contains the lyric "King Shit and the Golden Boys". Bite bites (couldn't help it, it's okay I guess).

Greenface is another in your face rocker similar to Squirmish Frontal Room. Deathtrot and Warlock Riding a Rooster is one of my favorite weird GBV songs, and is a guity pleasure of mine. It is just Pollard and someone else (Pollard again?) singing over a constant keyboard rhythm. 2nd Moves to Twin is a pretty decent track, though I am not a huge fan of it...yet, and those who are fans of Bee Thousand will recognize At Odds With Dr. Genesis immediately.

Please Freeze Me is another of those acoustic melodies that Pollard can come up with in his sleep. It is a fine song, though in no way standoutish. Scissors is another Tobin Sprout track, one of his heavier ones (well, it has loud distorted guitars, though it still has Tobin's Beatles melodies).

If you don't want to spring the cash to buy either the Hardcore UFO's boxset, or the Brain Candy Soundtrack, then this may be the version of Postal Blowfish for you. However, the other is superior (which is why I'm leaving this version off of my playlist). It is an essential GBV track, so find it somewhere. Finally, Crocker's Favorite Song is an okay acoustic number, though nothing spectacular.

Therefore, King Shit and the Golden Boys is a fairly good collection of previously unreleased material. I don't think it is the best reason to buy Box, though still a pretty good reason. There will be one or two songs on here that you will likely call among your GBV favorites, so it is definately worth your time.

Tracklisting (Songs in bold make my GBV/Pollard playlist/box set):
01 We've Got Airplanes
02 Dust Devil
03 Squirmish Frontal Room
04 Tricyclic Looper
05 Crutch Came Slinking
06 Fantasy Creeps
07 Sopor Joe
08 Crunch Pillow
09 Indian Was an Angel
10 Don't Stop Now
11 Bite
12 Greenface
13 Deathtrot and Warlock Riding a Rooster
14 2nd Moves To Twin
15 At Odds With Dr. Genesis
16 Please Freeze Me
17 Scissors
18 Postal Blowfish
19 Crocker's Favorite Song

Box at Amazon


Radio Free Burke said...

"Please Freeze Me" is possibly my favorite song on the whole thing. Absolute stunning beauty. Give it a few more spins - I put it on my one-track compilation!

The Rock Robot said...

I actually already have it on my "To Re-visit" list, which is for tracks I wasn't too sure about, and needed to listen to more.

Amanda said...

I kinda like Bite. I always thought Bobby sounded like a soulman in it, but that might not make sense.

Dreww said...

"Bicycle Looper" reminds me of the B-52s--not in an immediate, surfacey way--like when he says "C'mon: loop!" and then the continuous *bump bump bump*, sort of reminds me of parts of "Dance This Mess Around".

Anonymous said...

You're wrong about Sopor Joe. "um ditty ditty ditty um..."

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Anonymous said...

ok, i gotta defend t-cycle loopzys, a magical strokesy little number cause it sounds so cool when the chorus kick in the band starts playin coherent notes. C'MON LOOP!

also i realize you put indian was an angel on the mix but i still think it deserves better, its got some of the most beautifully playful an sad lyrics, i alwas put it on my version of bee1000 after deamons are real, try it, its the ultimate gbv a/b side combo of my dream. i would sell my whole pavement collection for an electric version of this song!

False Teeth said...

Read somewhere that Bob got the idea for Indian Was An Angel when he heard about someone being traded from the Angels to the Indians. Don't know if that's true, but I hope so.

Anonymous said...

My list:

Postal Blowfish
Crutch Came Slinking
Please Freeze Me
Squirmish Frontal Room
At Odds With Dr Genesis