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Guided By Voices

Sandbox - 2023 Reissue

    Even back in 1987, Guided By Voices was not content to release just one album in a year—Sandbox was released in the summer of that year following Devil Between My Toes’ appearance that February. Likewise, in similar GBV style, the sound and approach of the two albums could not be more different. Where Devil mostly mines a darker, lo-fi psychedia, along with several instrumental explorations, Sandbox is sunny, direct, has a bigger, crunchier sound, and zero instrumentals. Where Devil has a murky and impressionistic black and white photo of a rooster for a cover, Sandbox sports a full color photo of the band relaxing on a lawn on a sunny day. Let’s also recall that unlike today, in 1987 a full-color album jacket wasn’t just a little more expensive than a black and white one, it was way more expensive. Right up front, the band was communicating that this was a more commercially ambitious endeavor, while behind the scenes they rented better gear for a bigger sound, and tackled more sophisticated arrangements and honed in on the hooks and harmonies of the songs. Of all the band’s early self-released albums, Sandbox differs the most from the sound fans would later associate with the group, which is in itself a recommendation. Nowhere else will you hear the perfectly rendered three-part harmonies of “Long Distance Man,” direct Beatles quotes, or Robert Pollard reveling in his southern Ohio drawl. It’s also true that one of the more enjoyable aspects of the record is finding all the places where the band’s future is indeed foreshadowed. Simply put, Guided By Voices just can’t help but be a little weird, even when attempting something like a power pop album. At the close of the opening track, Pollard announces, “Ladies and gentlemen! Back by popular demand for your entertainment and spiritual enlightenment...Electric Jam Soul Aquarium!” a truly “wtf is happening here” moment. Or the stripped down gloom of “Trap Soul Door”—a track that could be right at home on nearly any later GBV album wherein Pollard intones, “Just one spark can start a hell of a fire.” Little did he know how true that statement would become.

    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?

          Robert Pollard

          Our Gaze

            On Oct 9, 2007, Robert Pollard simultaneously released two albums on Merge Records: Standard Gargoyle Decisions and Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love. Both now out of print, Pollard has reimagined and condensed the two as Our Gaze, a single fifteen song album. Because it’s better.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. The Killers
            2. Pill Gone Girl
            3. Count Us In
            4. The Island Lobby
            5. Rud Fins
            6. Current Desperation
            (Angels Speak Of Nothing)
            7. Hero Blows The Revolution
            8. Come Here Beautiful
            9. Shadow Port
            10. Miles Under The Skin
            11. Folded Claws
            12. Feel Not Crushed
            13. Youth Leagues
            14. When We Were Slaves
            15. Our Gaze

            Guided By Voices

            Devil Between My Toes - 2022 Reissue

              Devil Between My Toes was the debut album by Guided By Voices, originally self-released by the group in February 1987 in an edition of 300 copies. Disillusioned by the lukewarm reception to the band’s debut EP the previous year, Robert Pollard resolved that this record would be conceived for an audience of one: “(it) is strictly for me and me only. Because no one’s going to buy it, no one gives a fuck, but I’m still gonna do it. So I might as well put only what I want on it, for me. An album for me.”

              Even amongst the 30-odd proper GBV albums, Devil Between My Toes remains unique, and not simply because it was the first to be released. Much like its out-of-focus cover photo of the mean rooster next door (Big Daddy), the album’s vibe is dark, minimalist, and mysterious. Most of the album was recorded as a trio, and it contains more instrumentals than any other GBV album, but like the best LPs in their catalog, the sequencing renders these tracks essential to the flow and mood of the LP. While there are the expected Brit Invasion hookfests sprinkled throughout, we’re also treated to career highlights like the monolithic “A Portrait Destroyed by Fire” (Tobin Sprout’s first GBV appearance) and “Cyclops,” a track that would be right at home on Vampire On Titus had it been recorded more crudely.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Old Battery
              2. Discussing Wallace Chambers
              3. Cyclops
              4. Crux
              5. A Portrait Destroyed By Fire
              6. 3 Year Old Man
              7. Dog's Out
              8. A Proud And Booming Industry
              9. Hank's Little Fingers
              10. Artboat
              11. Hey Hey, Spaceman
              12. The Tumblers
              13. Bread Alone
              14. Captain's Dead

              Guided By Voices

              Crystal Nuns Cathedral

                The mighty Guided By Voices are set to unleash upon the world their 35th and quite possibly…best album, Crystal Nuns Cathedral. How do they do it you might ask? Well we have no idea how they do it, but we certainly do know why they do it. They do it because quite honestly we need them to do it. The world needs The Rock, and we need loud guitars, we need anthemic songs, we need a reason to raise a rock fist in the air and give a “Hell Yeah”! On Crystal Nuns Cathedral, the band delivers all of this and so much more.

                Just four months since It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them!, comes this latest, twelve songs determined to challenge for the title of greatest Guided by Voices album of all-time. Hyperbole you say? Not this time. The guitars are bigger, the arrangements are more ambitious, the songs are uplifting, epic, and as incredibly hook-laden as always!

                Pure power pop perfection like lead single “Excited Ones” mix perfectly with the slow burning “Climbing A Ramp,” which reaches its climax on a stunning guitar lead before dissolving into the fist pumping anthem “Never Mind the List,” which serves as the beating heart of the entire album. Do you still need convincing? Listen to the one-two punch of “Forced to Sea” and “Huddled” and marvel at the epic scope and vision of an incredible band on full display.

                This record is a statement, a challenge, a monument, a call to arms. Top this one if you can, this is the new benchmark. Who will best it? Who will try? Listen to Crystal Nuns Cathedral, and report back to us. We will be eagerly waiting.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: THIRTY FIVE albums later, and Pollard & co are sounding at possibly their most incendiary for years. It's a bold and raucous collection, punctuated with moments of levity and wry humour, and absolutely jam-packed with the riffs and psychedelic progressions we all know and love from this musical institution.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Eye City
                2. Re-Develop
                3. Climbing A Ramp
                4. Never Mind The List
                5. Birds In The Pipe
                6. Come North Together
                7. Forced To Sea
                8. Huddled
                9. Excited Ones
                10. Eyes Of Your Doctor
                11. Mad River Man
                12. Crystal Nuns Cathedral

                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

                  Isolation Drills - 2021 Reissue

                    Originally released in 2001, Isolation Drills is the twelfth album by Dayton, Ohio indie rock group Guided by Voices. It was their second and final LP released under TVT Records and their second to feature producer in Rob Schnapf. The album notably features instrumental contributions from Elliott Smith and David Sulzer. This special 20th Anniversary Edition has been remastered and it is included on double gatefold vinyl for the first time. The packaging mirrors the original foldout design from the limited cd digipak.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Disc: 1
                    1. Sister I Need Wine
                    2. Fair Touching
                    3. Want One?
                    4. Skills Like This
                    5. The Enemy
                    6. Chasing Heather Crazy
                    7. Unspirited
                    8. Frostman
                    9. Twilight Campfighter

                    Disc: 2
                    1. How's My Drinking?
                    2. Glad Girls
                    3. The Brides Have Hit Glass
                    4. Run Wild
                    5. Pivotal Film
                    6. Fine To See You
                    7. Privately

                    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

                      Guided By Voices

                      Sweating The Plague

                        Guided By Voices is now an unlikely candidate for the most perfect rock band of all time, while at the same time being a thoughtful reflection on what a rock band is, a fantasy that becomes a fact. Sweating The Plague, the band’s 29th album and their third this year, spars playfully with stadium-sized fidelity and uncharacteristically impactful arrangements. Producer Travis Harrison’s counterintuitive approach to Guided By Voices’ historically lo-fi sound is that he doesn’t want it to sound homemade, while the grinding tectonic plate guitars of Doug Gillard and Bobby Bare Jr. anchor the album. Play it loud! Being a fan of Guided By Voices can feel like standing in a ticker-tape parade and reaching out to grab at stray releases as the endless flurry of output from the Needmore Songs publishing house billows around—but here’s twelve compatible nuggets of Pollard content in one handy package, all boxed up and ready to go.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Downer
                        2. Street Party
                        3. Mother's Milk Elementary
                        4. Heavy Like The World
                        5. Ego Central High
                        6. The Very Second
                        7. Tiger On Top
                        8. Unfun Glitz
                        9. Your Cricket Is Rather Unique
                        10. Immortals
                        11. My Wrestling Days Are Over
                        12. Sons Of The Beard

                        Guided By Voices

                        Half Smiles Of The Decomposed

                          The final Matador album from Dayton, Ohio’s legendary geniuses Guided By Voices which, at the time, was set to be their last ever. After twenty- odd years, twenty-odd line ups and twenty-odd albums, EPs, singles, triples, stolen bases, misdemeanour convictions and broken hearts, Dayton’s fortunate sons took a leave of absence only to re-emerge in 2010 at a certain label’s 21st birthday celebrations in Las Vegas. Back in print for the first time since 2008!

                          TRACK LISTING

                          Everyone Thinks I’m A
                          Raincloud (When I’m Not
                          Sleep Over Jack
                          Girls Of Wild
                          Gonna Never Have To Die
                          Window Of My World
                          Closets Of Henry
                          Tour Guide At Winston
                          Churchill Memorial
                          Asia Minor
                          Sons Of Apollo
                          Sing For Your Meat
                          Asphyxiated Circle
                          A Second Spurt Of
                          (S)Mothering And
                          Huffman Prairie Flying

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