Friday, October 30, 2020

Guided By Voices: Motivational Jumpsuit (2014)

TOTAL SCORE: 57, AVG: 2.85

With The Littlest League Possible, I don't think this song could have been anything else but the opening track, though from a title perspective it missed the boat on the thematic tie-in to the previous album English Little League. Of course, where English Little League was a bit dark and constrained, Motivational Jumpsuit is more geared towards lighthearted fun and fantastic rock n' roll. Bookended by The Littlest League Possible and the classic rock energetic feast that is Alex and the Omegas, Motivational Jumpsuit and English Little League couldn't really be any more different...

    Thursday, October 29, 2020

    RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Under the Bushes Under the Stars - Bonus Tracks (1996)


    TOTAL SCORE: 18, AVG: 3.40

    You can read my original post here, which covers which songs were on which version of Under the Bushes Under the Stars, and which ones found themselves on the split with Superchunk. Not much left to say other than here is some more goodness from 1996...

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

      TOTAL SCORE: 17, AVG: 4.25

      Unlike previous singles, the version of The Official Ironmen Rally Song here is the same as the one on Under the Bushes Under the Stars. Both Deaf Ears and Why Did You Land? have alternate versions on the Suitcase boxsets, though I find the best versions are the ones presented here. June Salutes You! is also a decent track that hints at even far greater potential...

        Wednesday, October 28, 2020

        RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Plantations of Pale Pink (1996)

        TOTAL SCORE: 17, AVG: 2.83

        I noted back in 2006 that I was fond of Plantations of Pale Pink (PoPP), and as a stand-alone quick and funky EP it stood up really well, however, as stand-alone songs it can be seen as a weaker EP. Over time Systems Crash has really grown on me, and I specifically remember it being close to not making my original playlist and yet I have a hard time understanding why it wasn't an obvious choice to be included...

          Tuesday, October 27, 2020

          RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Sunfish Holy Breakfast (1996)

          TOTAL SCORE: 36, AVG: 3.60

          Looking back at my original posting I was definitely on Team Sunfish Holy Breakfast, and I am still today. An EP with 10 songs (the size of other bands' full albums), Sunfish continues to expand on the 1996 version of a band that just has so much to offer at the time, and it is generally considered essential as far as fans go...

            Monday, October 26, 2020

            RE:SCORE: Robert Pollard: Not in My Airforce (1996)

            LP SCORE: 57, AVG: 3.56

            EP SCORE: 8, AVG: 1.33

            TOTAL SCORE: 65, AVG: 2.95 

            Between my original review and now, this is one of the records that has grown on me and jumped up the ranks. I imagine re-reading my review I didn't spend that much time with Not in My Airforce before writing that up. For one, I wrote that Psychic Pilot Clocks Out just barely made the playlist, and today it is one of my favorite Pollard songs ever. That being said, the album has six underwhelming bonus tracks from a planned EP tacked on that don't really mix with the album...

              Friday, October 23, 2020

              Guided By Voices: English Little League (2013)

              TOTAL SCORE: 50, AVG: 2.94

              After the scattered The Bears for Lunch, English Little League sees the classic era lineup produce their most ambitious album of their return yet. English Little League manages to sound cohesive and thematic, while also managing to bring out a lot of unique tunes. Apparently this is around the time Robert Pollard installed a recording studio in his home, and English Little League is, from a fidelity perspective, the best this version of GBV has ever sounded....

                Thursday, October 22, 2020

                RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Tonics and Twisted Chasers (1996)

                TOTAL SCORE: 68, AVG: 2.83

                I'm still not entirely sure what this album is. Released as a fan club release, it shares the overall tone with another 1996 release Under the Bushes Under the Stars, but it comes across sounding like a collection of demos from that era. Or possibly, Tonics and Twisted Chasers can be seen as a Pollard and Sprout collaboration and it is the true first Airport 5 album...

                  Wednesday, October 21, 2020

                  RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Box (1995)

                  TOTAL SCORE: 163, AVG: 2.26

                  Updating the entry for Box can now happen since I've updated the scoring for all its contents: Devil Between My Toes, Sandbox, Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia, Same Place the Fly Got Smashed, and the compilation album King Shit and the Golden Boys....

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

                    TOTAL SCORE: 37, AVG: 1.95

                    This compilation of tracks yet unreleased between 1988 and 1993 was included in the Box box set, and it included a good part of what was supposed to be the Back to Saturn X album. My enthusiasm for the very earliest GBV has diminished in the past 15 years since originally reviewing this, and can also be seen in my re:scores for other early era albums....

                      Tuesday, October 20, 2020

                      RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Tigerbomb (1995)

                      TOTAL SCORE: 23, AVG: 3.83

                      When I original reviewed this EP most of the comments were about how Mice Feel Nice (In My Room) is nothing short of a masterpiece. I still think it is just cool how different songs resonate with fans, and to me, who does not get the love for that song, it still makes me happy to know others enjoy it so much. I was also surprised that I didn't include Kiss Only the Important Ones since I think it is pretty good nowadays...

                        RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Motor Away (Single) (1995)

                        TOTAL SCORE: 10, AVG: 5.00

                        There's only two tracks on this single; the more polished version of Motor Away and the excellent b-side Color of My Blade. Unlike Game of Pricks, My Valuable Hunting Knife, and I Am a Scientist, Motor Away doesn't quite get the same level of elevation as those reproductions did for their associated singles. You can check out my original review here...

                          Monday, October 19, 2020

                          RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Alien Lanes (1995)

                          TOTAL SCORE: 98, AVG: 3.50

                          It is crazy to think that when I originally reviewed Alien Lanes the album was only about 10 years old. Now, it is almost 25 years old! I called My Valuable Hunting Knife my favorite GBV song of all-time, didn't really dig My Son Cool, and mentioned that Vampire on Titus has a claim to being GBV's best album. I can say that none of those statements are true anymore (to me anyway), but I completely agree with my original assessment that Alien Lanes is an amazing album and extremely essential when discussing Guided By Voices...

                            Friday, October 16, 2020

                            Guided By Voices: The Bears for Lunch (2012)

                            TOTAL SCORE: 51, AVG: 2.68

                            Following in the footsteps of Let's Go Eat the Factory and Class Clown Spots a UFO, the classic GBV lineup bring out another solid effort, and the third album released in 2012 alone. However, whereas the previous two albums were cohesive records with a range of highs and lows that sounded distinctly like GBV, The Bears For Lunch is more like a collection of separate pieces that has the edges smoothed out, leaving out the lows, but also the highs...

                              Thursday, October 15, 2020

                              RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: I Am a Scientist EP (1994)

                              TOTAL SCORE: 15, AVG: 3.75

                              In my original review of this EP (or single), I was surprised that Do the Earth was a leftover on a single and not featured on an album proper. The version of I Am a Scientist here is a better produced and rocking version that you may or may not like better than the version on Bee Thousand. I enjoy both equally and feel both versions have their place...

                                Wednesday, October 14, 2020

                                RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Get Out of My Stations (1994)

                                TOTAL SCORE: 15, AVG: 2.14

                                Some copies of Get Out of My Stations included some live tracks, but I am not covering those in my re:score. In my original review I noted that a couple of the songs (Dusty Bushworms and Spring Tiger) had alternate takes on Sandbox I and II that could be considered superior. Considering 1994 saw the amazing Bee Thousand released, the '94 EPs are a bit underwhelming but they still have their charms...

                                  Tuesday, October 13, 2020

                                  RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Clown Prince of the Menthol Trailer (1994)

                                  TOTAL SCORE: 14, AVG: 2.00

                                  I stand by my original review in that Clown Prince of the Menthol Trailer isn't a great EP. Listening to it again while putting together this re:score I was somewhat hoping that something new would emerge, but alas, there is still nothing here that truly stands out. Matter Eater Lad is still a lot of fun, and Johnny Appleseed is a solid ballad, but outside of those I'm not a huge fan...

                                    Friday, October 09, 2020

                                    RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Bee Thousand (1994)

                                    TOTAL SCORE: 85, AVG: 4.25

                                    What is there left to say about Bee Thousand? When I originally reviewed it back in early 2006 I was very much aware that this album was considered Guided By Voices' masterpiece and I made sure to go through it song by song. Since then I now like some songs even more today, but at the same time I lament over some of the production details that both give it character and at the same time detract from it. I am also quite annoyed in my early reviews how little I gave credit to anyone other than Pollard...

                                      Thursday, October 08, 2020

                                      Guided By Voices: Class Clown Spots a UFO (2012)

                                       TOTAL SCORE: 62, AVG: 2.95

                                      The return of the classic lineup with Let's Go Eat the Factory was a great event, and the way the record merged the classic sound with Pollard's current (at the time) songwriting was overall a success. It turned out we were going to get six albums between 2012 and 2014 from Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos, and Kevin Fennell (Fennel would be replaced by Kevin March by the last one) before the next big mix up and return of Doug Gillard in 2016. If you were to separate Pollard's work in eras, these six albums (and possibly the 4 or 5 Pollard solo's) would make up the classic GBV reunited era, and the return of that classic mid-fi sound. Class Clown Spots a UFO is held together a bit more solidly than GBV's previous effort, with a military orchestral vibe that permeates throughout, and a general consistency that doesn't quite have the large split of highs and lows that Factory had...

                                        Wednesday, October 07, 2020

                                        RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Static Airplane Jive (1993)

                                        TOTAL SCORE: 13, AVG: 2.17

                                        Looking back at Static Airplane Jive, I am reminded by how these early 90's EPs were both consistent and thematic as smaller records and also were complementary to the larger albums released at the time. When I was getting into GBV in 2005, it was so fun to discover these EPs and throw in another 6 or so songs into the collection...

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

                                          TOTAL SCORE: 55, AVG: 3.24

                                          An Earful O' Wax is a greatest hits album that covered Guided By Voices' first 4 albums and 1 EP that was made in Germany. Since I've re:scored all of the albums covered in the compilation I thought I'd apply the scoring to it at well...

                                            RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Fast Japanese Spin Cycle (1993)

                                            TOTAL SCORE: 24, AVG: 3.00

                                            Fast Japanese Spin Cycle (FJSC) is a cool EP, with its alternate takes on Dusted, Marchers in Orange, and Over the Neptune (Kisses to the Crying Cooks), as well as its centerpiece rocker My Impression Now. My impression of FJSP hasn't really changed since originally reviewing it 15 years ago...

                                              RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: The Grand Hour (1993)

                                              TOTAL SCORE: 14, AVG: 2.33

                                              There's Shocker in Gloomtown, and then there is everything else. Shocker has been given placement among the most famous of GBV tracks, and for good reason. It is a staple at live shows, and it is just a really fun and energetic tune that gets even better the more you hear it. It also doesn't break the 90 mark, so given that it packs that much of a punch in less than a minute and half is something to be admired...

                                                RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Forever Since Breakfast (1986)

                                                TOTAL SCORE: 15, AVG: 2.14

                                                Back in January of 2006 I originally reviewed this early EP and enthusiastically declared that GBV were rocking from the very beginning. Forever Since Breakfast is alright, but today it is even more clear how un-GBV it sounds. Especially in light of the hoard of releases in recent years, and where the line between Robert Pollard solo releases are blurred with GBV-proper, and how it is almost impossible to define how GBV sounds, this EP still is not that sound...

                                                  RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Vampire on Titus (1993)

                                                  TOTAL SCORE: 48, AVG: 2.67

                                                  As I stated in my original review, intentional or not, Vampire on Titus (VoT) is marred by the recording quality on the heavier songs. Although as a cohesive whole this lends a certain thematic quality, and I enjoy listening to the album on its own, it does make it hard for me to rank specific songs higher.  VoT could be a good litmus test for a new listener - if you can hear the gold from the noise, then welcome to the GBV world...

                                                    Tuesday, October 06, 2020

                                                    RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Propeller (1992)

                                                    TOTAL SCORE: 54, AVG: 3.60

                                                    Probably the most surprising thing about this re:score is that no songs from Propeller have been ranked "among Bob's best". I'm sure that at different points in time I would have easily graded Weedking, Exit Flagger, and even Some Drilling Implied with the best score (and if you check out my original review, I basically said Weedking was the best song not included on the Guided By Voices Best Of album), but it has been a long time since I first heard this album...

                                                      Saturday, October 03, 2020

                                                      RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Same Place the Fly Got Smashed (1990)

                                                      TOTAL SCORE: 35, AVG: 2.69

                                                      Same Place the Fly Got Smashed (SPtFGS) is a neat album, and a great companion to the previous Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia (SIAN). Similar to that album, quality of recordings hurt SPtFGS, especially with some of the heavier songs like The Hard Way, Mammoth Cave, and Blatant Doom Trip. Also similar to SIAN, the sum is better than its parts, and SPtFGS does well when listened to all at once...

                                                        RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia (1989)

                                                        TOTAL SCORE: 38, AVG: 2.71

                                                        I included 8 of the tracks on Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia (SIAN) in my original review, and my feelings on the album haven't changed too much. I would just love a studio re-recording of this album because I do feel that the generally poor recording quality does take so much away from SIAN, and there is an even better album buried here somewhere. For me, this is where Guided By Voices truly begins; where the gems lay side by side with the toss-offs, and the only thing that is consistent is that there will be an endearing inconsistency...

                                                          RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Sandbox (1987)


                                                          TOTAL SCORE: 27, AVG: 2.25

                                                          I was fairly negative in my original review for Sandbox, prefering Devil Between My Toes since it had some quirkiness that I felt Sandbox was missing at the time. Going through them both 15 years later, and Sandbox is easily the better album. Looking at the comments, posters at the time were surprised I missed the greatness of Trap Soul Door and Adverse Wind, or how I didn't get the greatness of Sandbox altogether...

                                                            Friday, October 02, 2020

                                                            RE:SCORE - Guided By Voices: Devil Between My Toes (1987)

                                                            TOTAL SCORE: 24, AVG: 1.71

                                                            Looking back at my original entry for Devil Between My Toes (DBMT) 15 years ago, I can tell that my tastes have definitely changed, and I am not as into the pre-Propeller GBV sound as I may have been back then. Captain's Dead, the most latter GBV-sounding tune on the album is easily my favorite now, followed by the next most latter GBV-sounding song, The Tumblers. You can check out how the new scoring works here, but honestly I could cut DBMT a break by not counting the five instrumental tracks, but I decided to leave them in since the final score felt right to me (if you caught this review as soon as I posted it, at first I did take the instrumental tracks out of the scoring)...

                                                              Boston Spaceships: Let it Beard (2011)

                                                               TOTAL SCORE: 76, AVG: 2.92

                                                              This would be PollardSlusarenko, and Moen's final album as the Boston Spaceships, and what a way to go out. Let it Beard is Boston Spaceships at their sprawling best, with 26 mostly good tunes that, though not reaching the highs of The Planets Are Blasted or Our Cubehouse Still Rocks, is still surprisingly consistent over that large quantity of songs.