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GUIDED BY VOICES

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.

    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!

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Reissue on red translucent vinyl.

      Robert Pollard

      Kid Marine

        Guided By Voices brings you 20th anniversary vinyl reissues of two early gems from the Fading Captain Series. Originally issued as small vinyl pressings (1000 copies) in 1999, used copies of these Guided By Voices “side-projects” have regularly re-sold for hundreds of dollars each. Both have been remastered from the original analog tapes. Kid Marine, the first-ever release of the Fading Captain Series and Robert Pollard’s third solo album, features “Far-Out Crops,” “Submarine Teams,” and the sublime “White Gloves Come Off.” Pollard handles all guitar and keyboard duties as well as vocals, joined by GBV’s Greg Demos (bass) and Tobin Sprout (piano) and The Breeders’ Jim MacPherson (drums), soon to join GBV for Do The Collapse.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Robert Pollard With Doug Gillard

        Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department

          Guided By Voices brings you 20th anniversary vinyl reissues of two early gems from the Fading Captain Series. Originally issued as small vinyl pressings (1000 copies) in 1999, used copies of these Guided By Voices “side-projects” have regularly re-sold for hundreds of dollars each. Both have been remastered from the original analog tapes. Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department is the first album of Robert Pollard’s fruitful collaboration with long-time guitarist Doug Gillard (later to be known as Lifeguards).

          Gillard recorded all the instruments on Tascam 4-track cassette in Cleveland, then sent them via US Postal Service to Pollard who added vocals in a studio in Dayton. Eleven Pollard compositions followed, along with four songs which Pollard wrote and recorded melodies over Gillard-penned instrumentals, starting an unusual songwriting process that Pollard pursued for several years with various long-distance collaborators. Nearly half the songs on the album became staples of the GBV live set for several years, including “Pop Zeus,” “Tight Globes,” “Frequent Weaver Who Burns” and “Do Something Real,” which was featured in the Stephen Soderbergh film, Full Frontal.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

          Guided By Voices

          Heavy Like The World

            "Heavy Like The World" is the subliminally seductive single from the forthcoming Guided By Voices album Sweating The Plague. “Silent Army” is a non-lp b-side.

            Guided By Voices is 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.

            Following Guided By Voice’s sprawling double-album Zeppelin Over China, Robert Pollard has written and recorded another fulllength in record-breaking time. It’s Warp And Woof, exuberantly barreling through twenty-four songs in just thirty-seven minutes with a brevity similar to mid-90s GBV albums Alien Lanes and Vampire On Titus. GBV kicked this one out in a flash, recorded in studios, club soundchecks, hotel rooms and even in the tour van. After completing Zeppelin, Pollard felt the itch to record a few EPs. Just as GBV had done back in 1994, he would use them to channel his everflowing ideas to an outlet. But when a magical boombox writing session produced six fully formed songs in under half an hour, Pollard realized he had an album on his hands. What to do? With a band so formidable they’ve been dubbed the Golden Age of GBV, they completed much of the recording on the road. The 2018 Space Gun Tour provided impromptu recording venues. Pollard recorded vocals in hotel rooms, complimentary condominiums, and small studios. Doug Gillard cut guitar tracks for “End It With Light” through his Mesa Boogie rig at the soundcheck at the Ottobar in Baltimore. Bobby Bare Jr. recorded his spacey main rhythm guitars for album closer, “Time Remains in Central Position” at the same show, but in the backstage green room. Kevin March added drum tracks in a studio in his hometown Montclair, New Jersey. Gillard played guitar on “Bury the Mouse” in a van hurtling at 60-plus m.p.h., and Mark Shue laid bass on “Angelic Weirdness” as he balanced on the speeding van’s bench seat…. Two London shows in early June, their first in years and years, sold out in a matter of days and hours… GBV is still prime time!!

            Guided By Voices

            1901 Acid Rock

              One of two limited edition 7” EPs previewing 6 songs each from the upcoming Warp And Woof long-player. Recorded at soundchecks, hotel rooms and in the tour van, all dozen songs clocking in at 2 minutes or under, recalling the spontaneous spirit of 1993-94 eps Fast Japanese Spin Cycle, Static Airplane Jive and Clown Prince of the Menthol Trailer.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Ltd 7" includes MP3 Download Code.

              Guided By Voices

              Umlaut Over The Ozone

                One of two limited edition 7” EPs previewing 6 songs each from the upcoming Warp And Woof long-player. Recorded at soundchecks, hotel rooms and in the tour van, all dozen songs clocking in at 2 minutes or under, recalling the spontaneous spirit of 1993-94 eps Fast Japanese Spin Cycle, Static Airplane Jive and Clown Prince of the Menthol Trailer.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Ltd 7" includes MP3 Download Code.

                Guided By Voices

                Zeppelin Over China

                  Zeppelin Over China is a major and majestic work in the GBV canon, spotlighting the scope and genius of Robert Pollard’s songwriting. With thirty-two songs in 75 minutes, the massive double-album Zeppelin reaches lofty heights on its musical journey. Pollard continues to deliver endless invention and emotional wallop in two and three-minute guitar rock gems. Pollard has assembled his greatest supporting cast ever—Doug Gillard (guitar), Kevin March (drums), Mark Shue (bass), Bobby Bare Jr. (guitar) and Travis Harrison (engineer)—and this line-up’s virtuosic talents spur him to his most ambitious work yet, a grand album of emotional resonance and narrative drama. After well-deserved acclaim for the mind-boggling milestone of Pollard’s 100 career albums, Zeppelin Over China is a wonderful entry point for new listeners to experience Guided By Voices for the first time. Not resting on his laurels, Pollard’s tireless tenacity pays off with spectacular results.

                  Guided By Voices

                  You Own The Night

                    With the recent Space Gun, Guided By Voices has focused on just a single album per year while touring the new songs across America throughout 2018. That doesn’t mean that the ultra-prolific Robert Pollard is vacationing or sunning himself by the pool. Here’s a 7” vinyl preview of the insanely anthemic "You Own the Night" (from the forthcoming February 2019 double album Zeppelin Over China) backed with "Your Cricket is Rather Unique” (from the forthcoming February 2020 album Street Party) The single is a limited edition of 1000 - just 300 copies going to retail.

                    Guided By Voices

                    August By Cake

                      Guided By Voices’ August By Cake is the one hundredth studio album that Robert Pollard has released since 1986’s Forever Since Breakfast. To put that in perspective, Bob Dylan has released roughly thirty nine studio albums since 1959. And that includes the Traveling Wilburys.

                      This is a highly anticipated record, which includes the new line-up (returning GBV veterans Doug Gillard and Kevin March, virgins Bobby Bare Jr and Mark Shue) that has been wowing audience in clubs and festivals throughout 2016. It’s the most musically adept and versatile line-up Pollard has ever assembled.

                      With thirty two songs, this album is also GBV’s first ever doublealbum, and song contributions from all five band members is additional icing on the cake, setting album #100 apart from the previous ninetynine. The double album is an important format in Pollard’s own musical iconography, and he doesn’t take the form lightly — one reason he’s planned and abandoned several would-be GBV double albums in the past is his high regard for foundational works like Quadrophenia, the White Album, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Daydream Nation, Zen Arcade, Double Nickels On the Dime — “defining records for these bands,” says Pollard. It’s important to him that August By Cake not just be a double album but that it be a great one.

                      Like a long-lost artifact from some golden age of rock that never existed, ESP Ohio’s debut album grabs the ear-holes and demands immediate and undivided attention. Robert Pollard says it’s a band, rather than a collaboration - a distinction which may seem like splitting hairs, but rather than putting melodies and lyrics on top of other people’s instrumentals, Pollard wrote these songs and sent them off to Brooklyn-based bandmates Doug Gillard, Mark Shue, and Travis Harrison to be fleshed out and then returned to him for vocal recording and mixing in the Buckeye State. Instead of fitting words and melodies around someone else’s musical structure, he created the musical structure to fit his words and melodies. Also, there’s a band photo.

                      It makes a difference - Starting Point harkens back to Isolation Drills-era Guided By Voices, perhaps inevitably because Doug Gillard is playing guitar and contributing arrangements the way he did in that era of GBV, but this debut has its own unique characteristics as well. The result is some of the most joyful noise Pollard has made in recent memory: melodic, playful, upbeat, and … what’s the word… sparkly? Sure - call it sparkle rock - a mix of bold-faced rock with weirdo proggypsych elements and textures.

                      Pollard won’t say whether this is a one-off or the first of a series, but he’s keeping the door open. Maybe that’s a key to his “process”: always keep the door open. After countless songs, records, bands, line-ups, accolades, bottles of tequila… after everything, the door to the porches of Pollard’s ears (this is an awkward and inappropriate allusion to Hamlet) remain open to the far-out whispers of his muse.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                      Ricked Wicky

                      Swimmer To A Liquid Armchair

                        Dayton, Ohio-based supergroup Ricked Wicky pulls off a rarely ventured and even more rarely gained three-peat with its third album—all recorded and released in the span of a year—Swimmer to a Liquid Armchair. The quartet, led by Robert Pollard and seconded mostly by multi-instrumentalist Nick Mitchell, with assists from Kevin March on drums and Todd Tobias on bass, have amped Pollard’s already wildly prolific output to Jason-Statham-in-Crank-2 levels. Swimmer serves up the same gleefully messy prog / punk / pop stew as on the previous two Ricked Wicky releases, but there’s a growing sense of assurance evident on the newest record that indicates Big Things for the future.

                        We draw your attention in particular to “Poor Substitute,” as straightforward a song as Pollard has ever written, emotionally charged, melancholy, executed with rough vigor by the band and sung with unaffected mastery. Contrast this with the following song, which showcases Mitchell’s more polished songwriting approach (and abundant guitar chops) and his vibrant, albeit less elastic, tenor voice. If Guided By Voices, Pollard’s other other band, often bear comparison to the Beatles, Ricked Wicky on occasion calls to mind a kind of lo-fi Blue Öyster Cult, with a touch of early Queen (Mitchell’s slide work on “The Blind Side” recalls Brian May). Those accustomed to more standard Pollardian fare will find plenty to chew on here: the virtuosic wordplay on album opener “What Are All Those Paint Men Digging,” the thumping thug-rock of “Red-Legged Pygmalion,” the epic sweep (in three minutes) of “Simple Simon Paper Plates,” for starters.

                        But if Pollard seems determined to establish Ricked Wicky as more than just another in a numberless series of side projects—as an actual thing-in-itself as fully realized as anything he’s ever dreamed up in his rock-crystal bowl—he’s nonetheless never more himself than when testing his own limits. By welcoming different voices and different approaches to both playing and songwriting, by framing Ricked Wicky as a collaboration of equals, he establishes more than ever that he has very few. Put that in your e-pipe and vape it, kids.

                        King Heavy Metal, the second release from Robert Pollard’s self-described “supergroup” (tongue practically piercing his cheek with self-deprecating irony), is a hitherto undiscovered species of rainforest songbird capable of changing colors in the ultraviolet and infrared spectrums. At once prog-struck, collagist, technically impressive and melodically complex, King Heavy Metal lives up to and subverts its title over the course of its twelve songs. There’s stuff on here that wouldn’t be out of place on any post-Isolation Drills Guided By Voices album, stuff that wouldn’t be out of place on an alternate-universe mid-’70s Who album, and stuff that’s as lo-fi, booze-addled and sloppy as anything from “classic”-era GBV.

                        Pollard’s determined to establish Ricked Wicky as more than just another solo or side project: it’s a proper, self-contained group with significant contributions, both instrumental and songwriting, from guitarist Nick Mitchell (long time GBV / Pollard stalwart Kevin March supplies drums). Mitchell sings lead on two songs here, both presumably written by him as well: “Imminent Fall From Grace” and “Weekend Worriers.” The latter is a kind of “A Salty Salute” update, with Pollard taking the anthemic first chorus, but Mitchell handling the rest of the vocals. Stranger, but in some ways more interesting, is Mitchell’s other contribution. “Imminent Fall From Grace” contains probably the most straightforward, earnest lyrics ever associated with a Pollard record—and yet, bizarrely, the song fits, and fits well, with the sort of no-fucks-given experimentation on display throughout King Heavy Metal.

                        From the skewed-time-signature stomp (with periodic King Crimson-esque breakdowns) of “Come Into My Wigshop” to the voice-over montage intro to “Tomfoole Terrific” to the Sabbath-y riff fest (with added insane babbling chorus) of “Ogling Blarest,” the record hops from genre to genre (sometimes within the same song) with the giddy glee of a kid in a record shop. What makes King Heavy Metal different from pastiche-laden past efforts (like, say, I don’t know, Bee Thousand) is the level of technical mastery (high) and recording fidelity (high) and altered consciousness (very high) on display. Though Pollard contributes his own often-underrated guitar heroics, when Mitchell cuts loose with a solo—as he does on, for instance “Map and Key”—it’s like, “Who let Ritchie Blackmore into the studio?” The answer is probably Ritchie Blackmore let himself in the studio, because he’s Ritchie Blackmore, and has his own studio, but on “Map and Key” Mitchell’s blistering, melodic runs coil and twist around Pollard’s epically melancholic constructions with impressive brio.

                        King Heavy Metal is not devoid of signature Pollard moments, like the power pop chug of the album’s opener “Jargon of Clones,” or the lo-fi balladry of “Too Strong for No One to See You,” but the emphasis here is on pushing limits. While not the weirdest record in Pollard’s discography, King Heavy Metal is a very rare bird indeed. Just listen. 

                        This is the reunited Guided By Voices' third album of 2012, in case you had lost count. Many bands struggle to release three albums in their career, never mind three in one year. It would be one thing if these were tossed off lo-fi affairs of the sort one might expect from the fellows who made the defining records of that so-called genre, Bee Thousand (1994) and Alien Lanes (1995). While the debut from the reunited "classic" line-up, Let's Go Eat The Factory, contained its share of basement gems, both that record and its follow-up Class Clown Spots A UFO are notable more for the preponderance of properly recorded rock: a testament to the years bandleader Robert Pollard has spent refining both his songwriting and his approach to recording. The Bears For Lunch is not a great deal different in that regard, but right off, from the opening track "King Arthur the Red," with its full-throated riffery, slam-tastic drums, and even some show-offy lead guitar shredding, it's evident that GBV Mach 2 may just now be hitting its stride. The progression is not dissimilar to the one the band made from Alien Lanes to its 1996 high-water mark Under The Bushes, Under The Stars, both in terms of longer, more fleshed-out songs and let's call it a semi-pro approach to recording fidelity.

                        For all the well-deserved acclaim GBV's first two records this year have garnered, Bears is a step up in every sense. This isn't to say there's a whole lotta gloss going on, and certainly the album has its share of more casually considered songs, but from the relentless drum figure that fuels sure-fire-live-staple and obvious single "Hangover Child" ("the best thing [drummer] Kevin [Fennell]'s ever played" sez Pollard) to the chugging, melancholic, melody-mad "White Flag" ("I think you know this time it's real," Bob sings over an almost New Order-ish bass line) to the propulsive, early-R.E.M.-inflected album closer "Everywhere Is Miles From Everywhere," the 19-song 43-ish minutes long Bears delivers a gut-punch as sure and assured as anything the band's ever dished out. And that's without mentioning the stellar contributions of Tobin Sprout ("The Corners Are Glowing" and "Waving At Airplanes" are particular standouts), bouts of unrestrained whimsy like "The Military School Dance Dismissal," featuring what sounds like seven Robert Pollards singing in unison/harmony over a Beatle-esque piano line, the punning workplay of "She Lives In An Airport," or the staggering work of heart-breaking genius "You Can Fly Anything Right." Add to this Pollard's two excellent 2012 solo albums, a raft of festival appearances and some club touring, and you have possibly the most consistently productive output ever in one year from a band and a songwriter already noted for its/his insanely prolific nature. That said, in a year of highlights, The Bears For Lunch may well take the most cake.

                        Has any artist had a run like Robert Pollard since he struck out on his own with the launch of GBV Inc. in 2008? With the release of "Moses On A Snail", Pollard has put out an unbelievable twelve albums in a span of roughly two years—and that's not even including all the various EPs, singles and a (third) box set of outtakes and unreleased tracks. "Moses On A Snail" contains a dozen amazingly strong Pollard compositions. Even for the ridiculously prolific songwriter, this was a notable writing session as ten of the twelve songs were written in one sitting. As Pollard describes the process, he started with a notebook of working song titles, and penned 22 songs in a single afternoon's creative burst. He discarded over half, and ten songs were picked to later revise and flesh out. He made demos to send to frequent producer / collaborator Todd Tobias, who recorded the instruments before Pollard did his final vocals. This batch of songs finds a somber, more reflective, yet ultimately triumphant Pollard on such instant classics as "Arrows And Balloons", "Each Is Good In His Own House", "It's A Pleasure Being You" and the enormous title track, which culminates in a dramatic (and a typical) minute-long guitar lead to close the album. Elsewhere, the elegiac "Teardrop Paintballs" delivers seriously heartbreaking melodies, and the (dare we call it) mellow "The Weekly Crow" reminds us to mention that there will be a Pollard composition on the forthcoming Glen Campbell album. Clocking in at a concise 36 minutes, "Moses On A Snail" begs to be played over and over again as it reveals itself more with each listen. It's an album that prompts the question: 'What is Robert Pollard going to do next to top this one?'

                        Guided By Voices + Airport 5

                        Selective Service

                        The Fading Captain series is known for its collectablity factor and its rareness. These aspects of the label excite many, but sadly, has been known to disappoint others. The most sought-after items on the label have been the 7" EPs. There have been three of them, one from the Guided By Voices and two more from Airport 5 (a couple of guys also from Dayton, Ohio) and they have been combined here and called "Selective Service'.


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