Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Like Soul Man: 5 days of GBV

I'm going to try something new with the blog for now. There are only so many out-of-print records I can go on about, 1) it gets tiring, and 2) I listen to more than just OOP material.

So in a noble experiment, well, not so noble or experimental, but challenging in that it will force me to get creative, I'm going to attempt to nail down my 5 favorite Guided By Voices tracks, one per day. Anybody with some slight knowledge of US indierock/"low-fi" knows how difficult of a challenge this may be, because in the time it's taken to read what I've written so far, Bob Pollard has probably written and recorded 10 songs.

To save my sanity, and make it a more reasonable challenge, I'm limiting myself to the "classic" GBV era (pre-Cobra Verde musicians, ending approximately with the 1996 LP Under The Bushes Under The Stars. No slight on the latter lineup, because the couple times I saw that lineup live they did bring it, but any GBV fan knows that the soul of the band died, or dimmed, when guitarist/foil Tobin Sprout left after the '96 LP.

I'll probably begin with the first-of-the-five in the next day or so (because, like the ultimate construction of their legendary Bee Thousand LP, the many lists I've made in preparation for this post are nearly completely different from each other), as I really need to nail down my absolute top 5 tracks. It's really fucking difficult with this band, even taking out the wilderness years 1985-1991 and concentrating on the Propeller/Vampire on Titus/a million EPs/Bee Thousand/another million EPs/Alien Lanes/more EPs/Under The Bushes Under The Stars sequence - there are, perhaps, close to 200 songs to choose from (and, of those, only a third don't really rate for this post).

So... without dwelling on it, what are my readers' top 5 "classic era" GBV songs? Interesting to see where everyone's head is at with this one. My posts will likely start in the next couple days.


  1. I've been a fan of this band since 1994 (with the rest of the original bandwagoners) when I was tipped to Bee Thousand, and fell head-over-heels-in-love with that record. I then got the Vampire On Titus/Propeller CD combo and really disliked it, sold it, and never listened to it again until the past few days (no reason why it took so long). I don't know what I was thinking, because both VOT and Propeller are hugely amazing records. Which makes my self-assigned task that much harder, because I can't pick a consistent top 5 from either record alone!

    Shhhh... I don't want to burst anyone's GBV bubble, but of the classic run of LPs I listed in the post, I think Alien Lanes is the weakest *as an album*, though it has some of my very all-time favorite tracks as well.

    How I'm going to pull out 5 songs from this batch of records, and name them as my Top 5 as it will be captured for all eternity here on the blog, I have no clue. Maybe I'll cheat...

  2. Echoes Myron

    and four others. You have set yourself an IMPOSSIBLE task. Good luck.

  3. Dayton Ohio,19 Something and 5 Exit Flagger 14 Cheerleader Coldfront Motor Away Cut Out Witch

  4. Impossible task - the impossibleness of this is starting to set in.

    I think I'm going to modify my goal a tad: 5 best tracks from each album during the "classic era" - Propeller through UTBUTS. And a 5 best from the combined EPs as well. Which means:

    Propeller - 5 tracks
    Vampire on Titus - 5 tracks
    Bee Thousand - 5 tracks
    Alien Lanes - 5 tracks
    UTBUTS - 5 tracks
    EPs: 5 tracks

    Giving us 30 songs in 6 posts.

    Alright. Onward.

  5. I am a scientist, 14 cheerleader coldfront, Tractor rape chain, To remake the young flyer, The best of Jill Hyves, Motor away,...
    Oh wait, that's six already.
    It is impossible.
    And yes, I know that 'The best of Jill Hyves' isn't from the 'classic' line-up.
    If I make this list tomorrow, it will probably feature 5 different songs. Only 'I am a scientist' will always be on it. And maybe '14 cheerleader coldfront'. But then again...