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Guided By Voices

Welshpool Frillies

    Robert Pollard has a very strong work ethic. With most of their touring canceled due to the pandemic and then a fractured kneecap, Guided By Voices ran up an extremely prolific streak in the studio, recording and releasing eight albums in the past three years and garnering piles of rave four star and five star reviews in the process. In case one were snoozing, the last album, La La Land was Uncut magazine’s “Best Of The Month.”

    The pandemic records were particularly notable and unique that the band members recorded most of their instruments individually in separate cities. Welshpool Frillies finds the gang back together, in a Brooklyn basement with producer Travis Harrison. Much of it was recorded live to tape. The catchy ear worms in these new songs are undeniable, as the kinetic energy of the band is captured in its most raw and pure form. The album is brash, no-frills, and punky, inspired by the wiliness of 90s-era GBV, specifically the Scalping The Guru compilation that Pollard put together in 2022. 2023 marks the 40th anniversary of GBV’s start in Dayton, Ohio. Robert Pollard was an elementary school teacher with no formal music training, and his unlikely success has been an odds-defying adventure. It’s never too late to discover this vital rock band and join the GBV cult.

    Guided By Voices

    La La Land

      La La Land doubles down on the intricate proggy-pop displayed on Guided By Voices’s last album Tremblers And Goggles By Rank. On a hot streak of critical acclaim, Robert Pollard continues expanding his songwriting towards extremes of prettiness, heaviness and poeticism. As always, unforgettable hooks are everywhere. But with this latest, it seems Pollard is playing with the extremes of his abilities as a songwriter, emboldened by the power of this lineup now on their fourteenth album together since 2017. The prettiest stuff is prettier than ever (“Queen Of Spaces”) and odder, more complex songs like “Slowly On The Wheel” combine minimalism, whimsy, and cinematic inclinations. There are the exquisite power pop bangers that fans come to expect like “Ballroom Etiquette” and “Pockets.” Tracks like “Instinct Dwelling” and “Caution Song” effortlessly display a cranked-up weight and complexity most bands could never muster. Celebrating forty years in 2023 with their thirty-eighth album, GBV has lately been garnering rave reviews from Rolling Stone, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, Uncut, MOJO, Shindig, Paste, Popmatters, The Quietus and many more.


      1. Released Into Dementia
      2. Ballroom Etiquette
      3. Instinct Dwelling
      4. Queen Of Spaces
      5. Slowly On The Wheel
      6. Cousin Jackie
      7. Wild Kingdom
      8. Caution Song
      9. Face Eraser
      10. Pockets

      Guided By Voices

      Scalping The Guru

        Scalping The Guru is an archival Guided By Voices release, envisioned and sequenced by Robert Pollard as a cohesive album, featuring select tracks from four GBV EPs released in 1993-1994 by Domino, City Slang, Siltbreeze and Engine Records. These hard to find records are essential for fans of Vampire On Titus and Bee Thousand, with classics including “My Impression Now,” “Matter Eater Lad,” and “Big School.” They feature the line-up that includes Robert Pollard with Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Kevin Fennell, Jim Pollard, Dan Toohey, Greg Demos, and Larry Keller. Recorded on four-track cassette by Tobin Sprout, with some songs lovingly fucked with by Mike Hummel.


        1. Matter Eater Lad
        2. Damn Good Mr. Jam
        3. Hunter Complex
        4. My Impression Now
        5. Scalding Creek
        6. Mobile
        7. Melted Pat
        8. Glow Boy Butlers
        9. Hey Aardvark
        10. Spring Tiger
        11. Rubber Man
        12. Big School
        13. Volcano Divers
        14. Indian Fables
        15. Pink Gun
        16. Dusty Bushworms
        17. Gelatin, Ice Cream Plum
        18. Grandfather Westinghouse
        19. Johnny Appleseed
        20. Scalping The Guru

        Guided By Voices

        Tremblers And Goggles By Rank

          Tremblers And Goggles By Rank marks a new phase in Robert Pollard’s songwriting evolution. His songs have always included non-traditional approaches to form and song structure, but with this album, he has pushed it further than ever. While the familiar Guided By Voices pop-craft and melodic virtuosity always occupies center stage, the first-time listener will never be able to predict what’s coming next in a song.

          “Alex Bell” and “Focus On The Flock” are the two anchors, each one expansive and filled with rock grandeur, and both exemplifying the complex wordplay, melodies, and structures that are hallmarks of the album.

          GBV’s latest batch of brilliant songs ride on colorful psychedelic flourishes and brash post-punk textures that make this ten-song album a one-of-a-kind head trip.

          While there are hooks and earworms aplenty within, this album is a complex and kaleidoscopic journey, representing a new echelon in the Guided By Voices universe. It represents another level of songwriting and performance from the group. It plays out like an intricate and powerful collage, in a very multicolored and multi-faceted fashion; a work grand in scale and undertaking.

          There are triumphant and glorious choruses, deep and dark wormholes, sinewy twists and turns, bold and theatrical bravados, massive cliffs, plateaus, peaks, and valleys - these emotional landscapes reach new and unexpected heights along the way.


          1. Lizard On The Red Brick Wall
          2. Alex Bell
          3. Unproductive Funk
          4. Roosevelt's Marching Band
          5. Goggles By Rank
          6. Cartoon Fashion (Bongo Lake)
          7. Boomerang
          8. Focus On The Flock
          9. Puzzle Two
          10. Who Wants To Go Hunting?

          Guided By Voices

          It's Not Them, It Could Be Them It Is Them!

            It’s been just a few months since Guided By Voice’s faux rock opera Earth Man Blues garnered four-star and five-star reviews, with Rolling Stone proclaiming that it “squarely hits all the marks that make Guided By Voices great - again and again and again.”

            “Again and again and again”, is perhaps GBV’s credo, with Robert Pollard’s never-ending supply of fascinating and supremely catchy rock. Just when one thinks one’s got them pinned down, album number thirty-four opens with bizarre percussion, mariachi trumpets, strings and acoustic guitar. The adventurous spirit pervades yet another killer album from the greatest and most versatile GBV line-up. The golden boys (Doug Gillard, Bobby Bare Jr, Mark Shue, Kevin March) can do no wrong.

            Hooky singles “My (Limited) Engagement”, “High In The Rain” and “Dance of Gurus” intermingle with occasionally dark lyrics and the oddest of GBV oddballs, the ridiculous “Razor Bug”, “Psycho House”, and the “Maintenance Man Of The Haunted House”. The horns and strings return intermittently, with “The Bells Get Out Of The Way” going full Burt Bacharach. It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! is a creative tourde- force full of surprises from the most prolific and captivating band on the planet.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Spanish Coin
            2. High In The Rain
            3. Dance Of Gurus
            4. Flying Without A License
            5. Psycho House
            6. Maintenance Man Of The Haunted House
            7. I Share A Rhythm 8. Razor Bug
            9. I Wanna Monkey
            10. Cherub And The Great Child Actor
            11. Black And White Eyes In A Prism
            12. People Need Holes
            13. The Bell Gets Out Of The Way
            14. Chain Gang Island
            15. My (Limited) Engagement

            Guided By Voices

            Earth Man Blues

              Is it really a musical?! The 33rd Guided By Voices album, Earth Man Blues, is a magical cinematic rock album, full of dramatic and surreal twists and turns. Lyrics and liner notes trace the growth of young Harold Admore Harold through a coming of age and a reckoning with darkness. Vivid scenes appear: snapshots of youth, fantastical nightmares, unknown worlds.

              The music hasn’t softened a bit. One will hear the impossibly perfect melodies and word play that you expect from Robert Pollard, with the band playing at peak-heavy. “Trust Them Now” rocks like an instant classic, “The Batman Sees The Ball” is lean, mean rock muscle. Opener “Made Man” tears and slashes at the ears and heart. Sweeping, colossal tracks like “Lights Out (In Memphis, Egypt)” and “Dirty Kid School” stretch far beyond the ordinary vocabulary of rock.

              Doug Gillard’s brilliant guitar playing explodes out of the speakers. The rhythm section of Kevin March and Mark Shue, always strong and reliable, has grown into a breathing composite organism. Along with Bobby Bare, Jr on rhythm guitar, they drive the songs and make one’s head shake. Producer Travis Harrison ties the talents of the band together, once again recorded remotely and individually, pandemic-style. This group brings to life the sounds in Pollard’s technicolor imagination.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: 33 albums, I mean really now. I would be livid if Earth Man Blues wasn't such a brilliantly constructed and fiery distillation of everything they've done up to now. Hints of psychedelia, fuzzy garage and most of all, stunning power-pop a-la Grandaddy or Weezer. A brilliantly varied and hugely enjoyable listen. If they keep coming like this, then for the love of god i'll keep listening.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Made Man
              2. The Disconnected Citizen
              3. The Batman Sees The Ball
              4. Dirty Kid School
              5. Trust Them Now
              6. Lights Out In Memphis (Egypt)
              7. Free Agents
              8. Sunshine Girl Hello
              9. Wave Starter
              10. Any Repellent
              11. Margaret Middle School
              12. I Bet Hippy
              13. Test Pilot
              14. How Can A Plumb Be Perfected?
              15. Child's Play

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