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...

The 7" version of My Valuable Hunting Knife adds effects on Pollard's vocals with more of a dance beat, and has a nice loud finish which is slightly similar to the original. Since the original is one of my favorite GBV songs of all time, this version is different enough to also be included in my playlist. As stated earlier, the new intro on Game Of Pricks is absolutely beautiful, and really gets me pumped for the song. I could see it as a great intro at a concert.

As for the rest of the EP, it consists of what I would mostly consider throwaways, except for Tobin Sprout's Dodging Invisible Rays. Mice Feel Nice (In My Room) had potential, maybe if there some chords being played over the main riff? Overall it comes off as a duller track which at over two minutes overstays its welcome. Not Good For The Mechanism has some of the grungiest and heaviest guitar in the GBV catalog, but is missing that trademark Pollard melody. Kiss Only The Important Ones is okay, but still does not stand out enough to make the playlist. It is a short little acoustic ditty with some feedback effects.

Dodging Invisible Rays does not explore any new territory for Sprout, but delivers that satisfactory pop injection we have come to expect from him. It also stands out quality-wise from this group, since the previous three tracks are recorded with poor quality (of course, sound quality is not a category in which one should be judging GBV).

Tigerbomb is mostly a gift to fans, with its alternate takes of GBV classics, a few tracks not good enough to make a proper album, and a hidden gem of a Tobin song. Just remember that you can get these songs on Demons and Painkillers from the Hardcore UFOs box set.

Tracklisting (songs in bold make my ultimate Pollard/GBV playlist/box set):
01 My Valuable Hunting Knife (7" Version)
02 Game Of Pricks (7" Version)
03 Mice Feel Nice (In My Room)
04 Not Good For The Mechanism
05 Kiss Only The Important Ones
06 Dodging Invisible Rays

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Anonymous said...

my first listening to gbv back in 95.
my favorite big sound, home recording,the weirdy,the definitive harmonies.

jazman said...

I made a short EP for a friend of mine called "Gas Music From Dayton, OH". I put 11 songs on it; the first five were the noisiest, most obnoxious GbV songs I could find in my collection (which is by no means complete at all...). The 5 "noisies" start off with, you guessed it "Not Good for the Mechanism". It's absolutely unrepentantly obnoxious...but how ELSE should a song about something jamming up the works sound?

Anyway, after "Mechanism" and 4 other really hard-to-listen-to cuts (can you hear "Blue Moon Fruit"?), I break the spell with "Dodging Invisible Rays", and it's like the sun coming out after a really bad lightning storm, just all bouncy beat and great guitars!

Oh, and as I've mentioned before, I like this version of "MVHK". OK, it's not the skwonky-guitar masterpiece from Alien Lanes, but I really like the staccato handclaps at the end, and the way the monstrous guitar sound kicks in on the second repeat of the chorus. Awesome!

Marten said...

I think 'Mice Feel Nice' is a stunning masterpiece. It's the song that made me into a GBV-fan. I heard it at a friend's as a first acquaintance with GBV. It sounded like a beautiful drunk tramp. Later I became of the opinion thaT the singing in this song is so soul that it really ought to knock anyone's socks off.
A matter of taste, perhaps.

Anonymous said...

ooooh-oooh-oooh mice feel nice! .... and it is good. IIIIIIIIIITTT IS GOOOOOD!!!! heard this song today and it blew my fuckin mind. this song helped me make the transition from "casual but very-loving fan" to "total fuckin GBV nutjob" back in '04. That and seeing their last show in Dayton that summer--whatta night!

Anonymous said...

Again, I agree with your assessment. Same songs on my list.

Mice Feel Nice may very well be Pollard's finest/most original piece of performance art (rather than singing or playing). As a "song" on the other hand...