Tag Archives: guided by voices

Episode 111: Something Like That

Guided By Voices at The Granada in Lawrence, Kansas (9/28/2012)

Guided By Voices at The Granada in Lawrence, Kansas (9/28/2012)

Sometimes you’ve listened to a band for so long that you forget others may have never heard it.  Sometimes when you dive into a band’s catalog, the plunge is so gradual that you wake up one morning and wonder where this stack of 30+ CDs came from.  Both are true with the work of Robert Pollard, primary songwriter for Guided By Voices.

I don’t remember when I first heard Pollard’s work, but I do remember it was the Guided By Voices album, Bee Thousand.  I was ecstatic to find a band making the kinds of records that my step-brother and I had attempted.  We recorded our tapes in his mom’s basement, so the rough, lo-fi sound of Bee Thousand immediately appealed to me.  There was also something familiar to Pollard’s songs, as well.  Immediately, I felt like this guy had listened to a lot of my favorite records by The Who, (Gabriel-era) Genesis and a band I had just discovered, R.E.M.

Pollard’s work, albeit wildly inconsistent, still seems relevant to me.  These days, I feel like the most punk thing you can do is release music how and when you want.  With labels demanding returns on their increasingly astronomical investments, it’s not unusual to expect a three-year gap between albums for many bands.  As a fan, the wait can be maddening.  Maybe the returns are there, who knows.  That’s why I still like Pollard, who put it best, “If we’re paying for it and no one’s listening to these records anyway, if we’re only making them for ourselves, then I’m going to put exactly what I want on them.”

Enjoy..

  1. “Substitute” by The Who (Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy/Decca/1971)
  2. “The Great Deceiver” by King Crimson (Starless and Bible Black/Island/1974)
  3. “London Girl” by The Jam (This is the Modern World/Polydor/1977)
  4. “London Girls” by The Vibrators (Pure Mania/Epic/1977)
  5. “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones (True Confessions (Singles = A+B’s)/Rhino/2000)
  6. “Fall on Me” by R.E.M. (Lifes Rich Pageant/I.R.S./1986)
  7. “Echos Myron” by Guided by Voices (Bee Thousand/Scat/1994)
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1415312/111radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #111 (4/8/14)

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Episode 109: Back in the Saddle

After 108 episodes, my output of podcasts ground to a halt.  I guess a two-year old, super-demanding job and crashed computer will do that to you.  My last show was in October, a whopping nine months ago!  That’s probably nothing for the newbies still trying to play catch-up, but for some close friends it’s seemed like forever.

Anyway, I haven’t bothered with a theme for this week.  I’m just playing some music that’s been released since Episode 108.  Enjoy.

  1. Don’t Forget (To Forget About Me) – The Mary Onettes (Hit the Waves/Labrador/2013)
  2. Love is Lost – David Bowie (The Next Day/Columbia/2013)
  3. Four Teeth – True Widow (Circumambulation/Relapse/2013)
  4. Distance – Beaches (She Beats/Chapter Music/2013)
  5. Islands (She Talks in Rainbows) – Guided by Voices (English Little League/Guided By Voices, Inc./2013)

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #109 (8/6/13)

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Top 12 of 2012

I’ve a penchant for flippant hyperbole. But when it comes to honestly making lists of favorite albums from any given year, it can take me forever. Unlike years past when I waited a couple months to post my lists, I’ve only missed my self-imposed New Year’s deadline by a few days, so I consider this progress.

I do know some people take my recommendations seriously, so I’ve really put some thought into this list. This is not necessarily what I consider to be last year’s best albums. It’s simply a list of the ones I enjoyed the most in 2012. With seemingly everyone on Spotify or Rdio these days, I hope you all can listen to most of these (multiple times each). If you don’t have access to those services, I’ve included links to a choice song from each album. Enjoy.

12. Dumb Gold by Motel Beds

Another year, another record from another Dayton band that I adore. Maybe it’s too simplistic to say that Motel Beds are a combination of The Ventures and T. Rex, but that’s not too far off, either. If they make a record next year, I’m sure it’ll be in my year-end list then, as well.

Song: Valentimes

11. The Bears for Lunch by Guided by Voices

I thought that, when bands reunite, they’re supposed to just tour and play their hits. Never would I imagine that Guided by Voices’ classic, early-nineties lineup could reunite and release three(!) albums of new material in one year. Then again, I guess most bands don”t have a super-prolific songwriter like Robert Pollard. The Bears for Lunch is its third, and most consistent, album of the year. Not surprisingly, the band is preparing a new EP and full-length album for next year…

Song: The Challenge is Much More

10. Departure Songs by Hammock

A friend characterized Hammock’s music as “post-rock version of The Church,” which sounds as good as any description to me. This record finds the band at its most epic and lush, nearly beating Sigur Ros and M83 at their game. A full two discs in length, Departure Songs is an exhausting, yet very rewarding listen if you don’t mind losing yourself in endlessly reverberating guitars and sweeping orchestrations.

Song: Ten Thousand Years Won’t Save Your Life

9. Dwarf Mountain Alphabet by Joy Electric

I’m pretty sure Ronnie Martin is the only guy out there making synthpop with only analog synthesizers. No drum machines or computers here. If his work ethic alone doesn’t convince you, know that he has delivered his most focused and dancey collection of pop songs since 1997’s Robot Rock. Oh yeah, and his vocals have never sounded better.

Song: Whose Voice Will Not be Heard

8. Shields by Grizzly Bear

I don’t care how predictable Grizzly Bear’s spot in my year-end lists is becoming; I love this band. At the heart of its best songs is a folky-pop thing that I adore. Of course, the band dresses it up with great drumming, lush background vocals and thoughtful horn/string arrangements. I think Grizzly Bear occasionally gets backlash because of its rising popularity and the fact that Ed Droste’s vocals sound so good. Oh, that more bands pay such attention to arrangements, harmonies and lyrics!

Song: Yet Again

7. Lonerism by Tame Impala

Trailing close behind my love for great songwriting is weird sounds. On its last album, Innerspeaker, Tame Impala delivered psychedelia and killer guitar jams. This time around, the band uses more synthesizers and plays up its Paul McCartney and Todd Rundgren influences. A weird and totally perfect album.

Song: Mind Mischief

6. Melody’s Echo Chamber by Melody’s Echo Chamber

So Melody Prochet worked with Australian band, Tame Impala, to make a sugary pop record. Except that, around the seventh track, the band derails the process and the album drops off a cliff into fuzzy, new wave-influenced psychedelia. And it’s beautiful.

Song: I Follow You

5. Places by Sam Billen

I guess admiration could muck up our friendship, but I’ve always envied Sam’s songwriting and musicianship. Songs like “It’s My Life” and “Someday You’ll Regret” that he wrote for his old band, The Billions, were monumental in my personal and musical discovery/development. While I’ve loved his solo recordings up to this point, they’ve never captured the magic of the demo CDs he recorded ten years ago. But this year, Places did it for me. I feel like Sam has finally captured my feeling of driving off from The Billions’ farmhouse, playing one of his collections of mature, difficult songs and rupturing my cerebellum. I love you, Sam.

Song: It’s Not a Lie

4. >> by Beak

Beak, a side project of Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, is quickly becoming a favorite band. It plays to the right influences, most notably Neu! and Syd Barrett. (And you should know that I love Krautrock. Neu!, Cosmic Jokers and Agitation Free are some of my all-time favorite bands.) With vocals taking a backseat to some luminous, motorik grooves, this is perfect music for 2:00 am.

Song: Wulfstan II

3. Kill for Love by Chromatics

Come on now, how can you make an album of hazy, eighties Italian disco with reverb-drenched guitars and expect me not to like it?

Song: The Page

2. Bloom by Beach House

I’ve followed Beach House since its first record, so Bloom didn’t really come out of nowhere for me. I can’t help but feel like this dreampop fad in indie rock might be just a little too trendy. Just as long as bands remember to match the sound with great songs, I’m okay with more albums like this.

Song: Other People

1. Nootropics by Lower Dens

I’m not sure why it’s suddenly hip to sound like a Krautrock band, but I like it. While I loved Bloom by Beach House, Nootropics was just more dark and murky and German, tipping the scales for me. True, I found it to be one of the year’s least-immediate albums, but all that extra work I’ve put into understanding it has made it my favorite of 2012.

Song: Brains

Honorable mentions (or albums that I liked and don’t want to not mention in this blog post): Attack on Memory by Cloud Nothings, The Loudest Sound Ever Heard by The Choir, Until the Quiet Comes by Flying Lotus, Sweet Heart Sweet Light by Spiritualized, Oshin by Diiv, Plumb by Field Music, and My Height in Heels by She Does is Magic.

Stuff I didn’t hear in 2012 (but would probably make my list if I had):Europe by Allo Darlin’, Wild Peace by Echo Lake, Cancer for Cure by El-P, Ark by Halls and Nocturne by Wild Nothing.

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Episode 104: Take your brain, it’s time to go!

Guided By Voices’ difficult yet well-executed 1994 album, Bee Thousand.

Summer school starts next week, and I’m teaching seventh and eighth grade math. I anticipate it’ll be a busy June.

With this week off between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer school, I’ve watched my son and listened to a ton of music. Fueled by our purchase of tickets to see Guided By Voices in September, making a mix CD of Pollard-related tunes and a friend finding a lot of 36 Guided By Voices-related CD’s for $60 on the internet, much of this listening has been to Guided By Voices, Robert Pollard and Boston Spaceships. I’m kind of a nerd, but Pollard can deliver a killer pop hook when he wants to. He’s also quite the wordsmith, when he puts his mind to it.

Anyway, I know you want the goods, so here goes.

  1. “Something to Say” – The Action (Rolled Gold | Parasol | 2002)
  2. “Brain” – The Action (Rolled Gold | Parasol | 2002)
  3. “Somebody Made for Me” – Emitt Rhodes (Emitt Rhodes | Dunhill | 1970)
  4. “Echos Myron” – Guided By Voices (Bee Thousand | Scat | 1994)
  5. “The Unsinkable Fats Domino” – Guided By Voices (Let’s Go Eat the Factory | Guided By Voices Inc. | 2012)
  6. “Wild” – Beach House (Bloom | Sub Pop | 2012)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/104radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #104 (6/1/12)

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Episode 41: Minds Decay

Nothing too fancy this week. I’m tired, sick and ready for the sun to shine again. Hope you like the show.

  1. “I’m Not an Airplane” – Guided By Voices (Bee Thousand/Scat/1994)
  2. “Electric Funeral” – Black Sabbath (Paranoid/Warner/1970)
  3. “I Am the Palm Tree” – Ad Astra Per Aspera (Cubic Zirconia/independent/2004)
  4. “Boogie Stop Shuffle” – Charles Mingus (Ah Um/Columbia/1959)
  5. “The War in the Gulf Between Us” – Adrian Belew (Inner Revolution/Atlantic/1992)
  6. “This and That” – Acid House Kings (Advantage Acid House Kings/Labrador/1997)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1415312/41radiofreeraytown.mp3″

Radio Free Raytown – Episode #41 (5/21/10)

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Rotation (10/15/09)

I’ve decided to pare down my rotation posts to just five lucky albums.  Here they are for this past week or so, in no particular order.

  1. Built to Spill – You in Reverse (Warner Bros. 2006)
  2. David Bowie – Low (RCA – 1977)
  3. Sal Paradise – Welcome (Tooth and Nail – 1996)
  4. Guided By Voices- Human Amusements at Hourly Rates (Matador 2003)
  5. Neu! – Neu! 2 (Brain 1973)
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