Boy, Guided by Voices has released a lot of albums lately, huh? Since their reunion, Bob Pollard's classic indie-rock band has been producing almost nonstop, releasing three albums -- Let's Go Eat the Factory, Class Clown Spots a UFO and The Bears for Lunch -- in 2012, and an EP called Down by the Racetrack just last week. There's another full-length called English Little League coming at the end of April, too.
With all that, you may find yourself saying, "I like Guided by Voices, but I don't have time to listen through all of those records!" Or maybe you're asking yourself, "where do I even begin with all this?" Well fear not, music fan who is short on time! I've listened to all three records and the new EP and herein is your listening guide to the ten best tracks spread out over the course of all those releases!
From Let's Go Eat the Factory:
"Doughnut for a Snowman" A jangly pop song straight out of the '70s, which ends up being one of the catchiest and most endearing indie-rock tracks released in 2012.
"Spiderfighter" "Spiderfighter" starts off with a slinky riff that sounds like the theme song for a '60s superhero as played by the Cramps, then becomes a piano ballad. It works because this is Guided by Voices we're talking about here.
"Imperial Racehorsing" Starting off slow and heavy, "Imperial Racehorsing" ends out with an exceptional, marching chorus and a guitar solo that, surprisingly, wouldn't sound out of place on an Iron Maiden record.
From Class Clown Spots a UFO:
"Keep It In Motion" With an energetic drumbeat and echoing vocals, the rhythm of "Keep It In Motion" has all the hallmarks of '80s New Wave, but has a strangely melancholy undercurrent throughout.
"Fighter Pilot" A dirty rock track with a brilliant lead guitar line taking the forefront. The lyrics are incomprehensibly mumbled, but it's a great minute (literally) of music.
"Fly Baby" A sparse acoustic ballad with warbling, emotional vocals that reminds one of the classic singer-songwriter period.
From The Bears for Lunch:
"King Arthur the Red" On this track GBV just gets down with the rocking, with absolutely no bullshit. It has the attitude and vibe of a Dinosaur Jr. song mixed with the urgency of Sonic Youth.
"The Military School Dance Dismissal" This one has a difficult rhythmic pattern, carried wholly by a twisty piano melody and lo-fi vocals. To me, it sounds like a lost David Bowie demo from the Hunky Dory period, complete with demo-quality recording.
"She Lives In an Airport" At the beginning, this track might not seem like much, but the hooks and the guitar riffs become more insistent as it goes on, demanding that the listener give it its due.
From Down By the Racetrack:
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"Standing in a Puddle of Flesh" Many of GBV's weirder songs are very indebted to the experimental blues of Captain Beefheart and "Stading In a Puddle of Flesh" is no exception with Bob Pollard's janky rhythm and half-spoken, drunken lyrical ramble.