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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.


    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.


      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.


        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.


        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

        Under The Bushes Under The Stars

          Guided By Voices’ long out-of-print ninth studio album repressed on vinyl - originally released in 1996 as the follow up to the breakthrough Alien Lanes, Under The Bushes Under The Stars further cemented GBV as one of rock music’s most lauded contributors


          Man Called Aerodynamics
          Rhine Jive Click
          Cut-Out Witch
          Burning Flag Birthday Suit
          The Official Ironmen Rally Song
          To Remake The Young Flyer
          No Sky
          Bright Paper Werewolves
          Lord Of Overstock
          Your Name Is Wild
          Ghosts Of A Different Dream
          Acorns & Orioles
          Look At Them
          The Perfect Life
          Underwater Explosions
          Atom Eyes
          Don't Stop Now
          Office Of Hearts
          Big Boring Wedding
          It's Like Soul Man
          Drag Days
          Redmen And Their Wives
          Take To The Sky

          Guided By Voices

          Propeller - Reissue

            Propeller was the fifth album by Guided By Voices, and was intended to be the group’s last. Released as a limited edition of 500 LPs in 1992, the album featured handmade covers and blank labels to keep expenses as low as possible. Their other albums hadn’t sold much, why would this one? Robert Pollard had a family to support and his musical aspirations had not exactly been a boon to their bank account.

            As fate would have it, the band wound up releasing an album chock full of gems Pollard had stockpiled, and for the first time sounded distinctly like the band that fans have since come to love. Propeller also marks the return of Tobin Sprout to the GBV fold, along with an increased songwriting presence. From anthem-to-be “Over the Neptune” to the effortless melodies of closer “On the Tundra,” Propeller is a hell of a ride, and remains one of the most important albums in the band’s discography. The vinyl edition has been out of print for a decade, and features different cover art than previous pressings. The CD edition has been out of print for a minute as well, and is now housed in digipak format, also with a new, unique cover from one of the original pressings.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Over The Neptune / Mesh Gear Fox
            2. Weedking
            3. Particular Damaged
            4. Quality Of Armor
            5. Metal Mothers
            6. Lethargy
            7. Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Boy
            8. Red Gas Circle
            9. Exit Flagger
            10. 14 Cheerleader Coldfront
            11. Back To Saturn X Radio Report
            12. Ergo Space Pig
            13. Some Drilling Implied
            14. On The Tundra

            Guided By Voices

            Styles We Paid For

              Styles We Paid For is Guided By Voices’ third album of 2020 and it stands as a testament to this Year In Isolation, reflecting these dark days through Robert Pollard’s prism, with the band sounding as confident and authoritative as ever. The fifteen tracks were recorded remotely during quarantine from five states (Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Tennessee) to comprise GBV’s ninth album since 2017.

              Pollard’s searing vocals hold center stage, with endless melodic invention and impeccable phrasing. The massively crescendo-ing opening track “Megaphone Riley” seems to be inspired by a diabolical politician-in-chief, and like an indie-rock Nostradamus, presciently highlights the “Jumbo Virus”, while in the final couplet of the album closer “When Growing Was Simple” Pollard urges “Don’t drink and drive / stay at home and eat”.

              Other album highlights include include Big Rock standouts like the incredibly hooky “Mr. Child” with the band in full arena rock power swing, while the titular protagonist is mentioned by name no less than sixteen times; the touching beauty and lyrical relevance of “Stops” and the majestically elegant “In Calculus Stratagem”, a bubbly pop rock joyride in “Crash at Lake Placebo”; the subtle current-day technological observations of “They Don’t Play The Drums Anymore” and the sleek “Electronic Windows To Nowhere” (written by a man who owns neither a smart phone or a computer). It’s notably heavy in it’s worldliness, lyrical content, texture, and approach—and rides out like a cinematic journey of the bizarro world one find oneself in. While other bands have been napping, GBV have achieved their second consecutive hat-trick (three albums per annum), and have further cemented their status as rock legends for achieving more in this bleak year then most bands do across their entire careers.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Megaphone Riley
              2. They Don't Play The Drums Anymore
              3. Slaughterhouse
              4. Endless Seafood
              5. Mr Child
              6. Stops
              7. War Of The Devils
              8. Electronic Windows To Nowhere
              9. Never Abandon Ship
              10. Roll Me To Heaven
              11. In Calculus Strategem
              12. Crash At Lake Placebo
              13. Liquid Kid
              14. Time Without Looking
              15. When Growing Was Simple

              Guided By Voices

              Mirrored Aztec

                When we last heard from Guided By Voices, they had released an astonishing four albums in just over 12 months. Each has a distinctive creative identity: Zeppelin Over China was a meat-and-potatoes double album, Warp And Woof was a return to the band’s low-fidelity roots and under-two-minute earworms, Sweating The Plague was a slice of moody stadium rock, and Surrender Your Poppy Field was an unpredictable grab-bag of all of the above. After venturing through the tangled brambles of Plague and Poppy Field, here is a sunny summer reprieve, a relentless barrage of hooks—Mirrored Aztec is the latest stop on this runaway train.

                Like its immediate predecessors, Mirrored Aztec is both its own entity and unmistakably GBV. It’s also their most immediately welcoming and inviting offering in years—there’s nothing a fan of The Who, Big Star, or Wire, wouldn’t love. For the GBV uninitiated, the clean, confident hooks of highlights “Bunco Men,” “Haircut Sphinx,” “A Whale Is Top Notch,” “Party Rages On” and the strummy “To Keep An Area” will resonate immediately. It also contains some unprecedented GBV moments, too, like “Math Rock,” an apparent tribute to the titular subgenre featuring classroom instruments and a children’s choir, “Please Don’t Be Honest,” a dreamy reversal of the band’s 2016 song and album Please Be Honest, and “Thank You Jane,” perhaps the most open-hearted, guileless power-pop song from Pollard’s pen in ages.

                If Pollard’s discography—107 albums and counting—seems intimidating, do not fear! With a brand-new, high-quality, all-the-way there album every several months, it’s abundantly clear that no band’s fanbase has more fun.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. I Think I Had It. I Think I Have It Again
                2. Bunco Men
                3. Citizen’s Blitz
                4. To Keep An Area
                5. Easier Not Charming
                6. Please Don’t Be Honest
                7. Show Of Hands
                8. Lip Curlers
                9. Math Rock
                10. Transfusion
                11. Biker’s Nest
                12. A Whale Is Top Notch
                13. I Touch Down
                14. Haircut Sphinx
                15. Screaming The Night Away
                16. Thank You Jane
                17. The Best Foot Forwards
                18. Party Rages

                Guided By Voices

                Vampire On Titus - Coloured Vinyl Repress

                  We are pleased to announce a new vinyl pressing of the classic Guided By Voices album, Vampire on Titus. Although there were several different pressings in the 1990s, this is the first since 1998.

                  This edition features a new master cut at Golden, is packaged in a sturdy tip-on jacket, and includes Bob's original insert, now enlarged to a more readable size. A limited quantity will be available on opaque yellow vinyl.

                  Guided By Voices

                  Surrender Your Poppy Field

                    Starting off the year with a 100-song marathon in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve, Robert Pollard is setting a mighty high bar for Guided By Voices in 2020. Following three acclaimed and stylistically distinct full-length albums in 2019, Surrender Your Poppy Field, is a headspinning tour de force: a bit of everything... plus more! And hands down the most adventurous GBV album ever. There are lo-fi four-track tape recordings, there are songs recorded with a single microphone in a basement, there are big studio fullyproduced hook-laden pop songs, and there is a lot in between. Seemingly, the guiding concept of Surrender Your Poppy Field was to make the songs sound as different from one another as possible: sudden shifts in mood, tempo and rhythm, unexpected chord progressions, false endings and codas, string orchestrations, mysterious voices... It’s an exhilarating and dizzying trip to an inventive world of strange characters: Andre the Hawk, Queen Parking Lot, the Cul-de-Sac Kids, the Hard Hitter, the Steely Dodger, the Stone Cold Moron, A Man Called Physician, A Man Called Blunder... Not content with their usual mastery of the 4 P’s (punk, pop, prog, psych) Professor Pollard pushes the envelope on Poppy Field, and continues to redefine GBV from a myriad of angles. Anyone who thinks that he’s gotten complacent after 104 albums hasn’t been paying attention! Don’t miss out.

                    Guided By Voices

                    Man Called Blunder / She Wants To Know

                      A-side “Man Called Blunder” - Robert Pollard says "the recording is perfectly executed, the best performance of a GBV song, ever...”. Non-LP b-side is a sparkling remake of "She Wants To Know" from GBV’s 1986 debut Forever Since Breakfast. A side is Track from forthcoming NEW album!!!

                      Guided By Voices


                        A-side “Volcano” plus non-LP b-side “Sun Goes Down” is a piano ballad written and sung by GBV drummer Kevin March, an outlier in the GBV canon. Volcano from the NEW album… get on it.. these are mega limited.

                        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

                            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!!

                            TRACK LISTING

                            1. Bury The Mouse
                            2. Angelic Weirdness
                            3. Foreign Deputies
                            4. Dead Liquor Store
                            5. Mumbling Amens
                            6. Cohesive Scoops
                            7. Photo Range Within
                            8. My Dog Surprise
                            9. Tiny Apes
                            10. Blue Jay House
                            11. Down The Island
                            12. Thimble Society
                            13. My Angel
                            14. More Reduction Linda
                            15. Cool Jewels And Aprons
                            16. Even Next
                            17. It Will Never Be Simple
                            18. The Stars Behind Us
                            19. Skull Arrow
                            20. Out Of The Blue Race
                            21. Coming Back From Now On
                            22. The Pipers, The Vipers, The Snakes!
                            23. Time Remains In Central Position
                            24. End It With Light

                            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.

                              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.

                                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

                                  Live From Austin TX

                                    “Twenty-plus years... two dozen albums... twice that many bandmates... the mad genius that is Robert Pollard finally decided it was time to bring down the curtain on one of indie rock’s most innovative and, well, outrageous live bands. Certainly nobody could accuse Guided By Voices of being too tame, too mainstream, too predictable. Ever since Pollard created the ‘gang’ in Ohio in the early 1980’s with the help of his brother Jimmy and Pete Jamison (with the help of a loan to pay for the first few records), ‘lo-fi’ may be the best descriptor for their brand of bursting, raw, no-holds-barred shout-out songs.

                                    “The end came in 2004, after the release of their final, critically acclaimed Half Smiles of the Decomposed, and this Austin City Limits recorded on November 9, 2004 was one of their last performances. “I love the guys in the band, but I’m getting too old to be a gang leader,” Pollard said, who’s now focusing on his solo work.

                                    “And what a finale it was. Much of it couldn’t, wouldn’t ever be broadcast on television - public or otherwise - but it’s all here for GBV fans to savor forever. Pollard was in rare form, with buckets of beer literally and liberally decorating the stage. He always said he wanted to end the band’s decades of music on a high note. And this is it!” - Terry Lickona (producer ‘Austin City Limits’)

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    Demons Are Real
                                    Pimple Zoo
                                    Everybody Thinks I’m A Raincloud (When I’m Not Looking)
                                    Exit Flagger
                                    Sleep Over Jack
                                    Girls Of Wild Strawberries
                                    Navigating Flood Regions
                                    Gold Star For Robot Boy
                                    Window Of My World
                                    Redmen And Their Wives
                                    Dayton, Ohio - 19 Something And 5
                                    My Impression Now
                                    Do The Earth
                                    Game Of Pricks
                                    Secret Star
                                    My Kind Of Soldier
                                    Sad If I Lost It
                                    Cut Out Witch
                                    Gonna Never Have To Die
                                    Best Of Jill Hives
                                    Watch Me Jumpstart
                                    Tractor Rape Chain
                                    Buzzards And Dreadful Crows
                                    Murder Charge
                                    Fair Touching
                                    Teenage FBI
                                    Glad Girls
                                    I Am A Scientist
                                    Echos Myron

                                    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.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. A Much Needed Shot In The Arm
                                    2. The Great One
                                    3. Tom Tom Small And Wonderful
                                    4. Miss Hospital '93
                                    5. Bird Man Of Cloth
                                    6. Intercourse Fashion
                                    7. You The Earthman
                                    8. Flowers And Magazines
                                    9. Royal Cyclopean
                                    10. Weakened By A Logical Mind
                                    11. Girls' House
                                    12. This Violent Side
                                    13. The Ticket Who Rallied
                                    14. Sleeping Through The Noise
                                    15. Lithuanian Bombshells
                                    16. Grand Beach Finale

                                    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.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1. What Are All Those Paint Men Digging
                                      2. Crystal Titanic
                                      3. Poor Substitute
                                      4. Blind Slide
                                      5. A Number I Can Trust
                                      6. Simple Simon Paper Plates
                                      7. Red Legged Pygmalion
                                      8. No Man Would Develop
                                      9. Plastic Oceanic Getaway
                                      10. The Box (Including The Curse)
                                      11. Could I See The List One More Time
                                      12. I Am A Coast Guard

                                      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. 

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1 Jargon Of Clones
                                      2 Come Into My Wig Shop
                                      3 Imminent Fall From Grace
                                      4 Too Strong For No One To See You
                                      5 This Has Been My Picture
                                      6 Ogling Blarest
                                      7 Tomfoole Terrific
                                      8 Earth Among Men
                                      9 Weekend Worriers
                                      10 Walk Through Glass
                                      11 I'll Let You In
                                      12 Map And Key

                                      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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