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GUIDED BY VOICES, INC

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

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.


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