Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Artists I Get: Guided By Voices

Guided By Voices - Pitch.Com

I love Guided by Voices. They are my favorite band and have held the number one spot in my rock and roll heart for the past eighteen years. I've seen them in concert thirty-five or thirty-six times since 1995. Their music was played at my wedding. I even sang a Guided by Voices song to my kids when they were born. This blog is named after a line in a Guided by Voices song and they earned the very first post. I get Guided by Voices.

My wife doesn't like Guided by Voices. My family doesn't like Guided by Voices. Some of my friends don't like Guided by Voices. My co-workers don't like Guided by Voices. I've taught two classes at a community college about the history of rock and roll, and all of those students didn't like Guided by Voices. I even had some record store ding-dong give me grief for buying a Guided by Voices record at the store where he worked.

What's not to like?

Here are some complaints I've received about Guided by Voices. Lead singer Robert Pollard sings with a fake British accent. The lyrics are weird and/or pretentious. The band hit it big while they were in their late 30's, so they are "really old". Their music is "boring" and "really stupid". They are from Ohio, so they must suck.

Guided by Voices is a great rock and roll band that formed during the 1980's in Dayton, Ohio. Robert Pollard is the key player behind this band. He is their heart and soul, and yes he does sing with a fake British accent at times. Pollard is a student of rock and roll, plus he is a prolific songwriter that has cranked out thousands of songs. Guided by Voices newbies are in awe over the sheer volume of music they've produced, and trust me, it's great music.

What's not to like?

Guided by Voices has an impressive discography that ranges from REM inspired college rockers to lo-fi masterpieces inspired by the British Invasion and punk rock. Their later albums went into the realm of pop rock and a sort-of-kind-of-not-really progressive rock realm. Guided by Voices also has numerous solo and side projects that stay true to the Guided by Voices "sound", but also goes into some strange and incredible musical territories.

Here are some great selections from the Guided by Voices catalog to show you what I "get"about the band. My first selection is 'Hardcore UFOs', the opening track to their classic 1994 album Bee Thousand. This was the "I get it" song that turned me on to Guided by Voices. I played this album religiously back in '94, and what I love about 'Hardcore UFOs' is that it sounds like a lo-fi transmission from an alternate universe where The Beatles recorded some power-pop tunes.

Guided by Voices have released many fantastic albums. What's incredible about this band is that they have many hidden gems out there on 7" releases, singles, splits, EPs, and LPs. One superb hidden gem is '(I'll Name You) The Flame That Cried', which is featured on the 1997 I Am A Tree single. For those of you that have some sort of hatred of lo-fi music, then I have a killer song that was recorded in a studio.

I placed 'Paper Girl' from Self Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia to showcase the brilliance of this band. How can you hate on this track. C'mon, man!

Guided by Voices is still going strong. last year, they released a great album titled Let's Go Eat The Factory. They were invited to play Letterman and they had a memorable performance thanks to bassist Greg Demos. Watch below and enjoy.

I get Guided by Voices.

 TonyDoug Wright is The Lost Soul of Rock and Roll and is also the head writer and owner of Champion City Comics. Follow him @TonyDougWright on Twitter.

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