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GUIDED BY VOICES, INC.

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.

    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.

          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. 

          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?'


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