Monday, December 24, 2012

Five of Guided By Voices Best Buried Treasures

Five of Guided By Voices Best Buried Treasures

Guided By Voices have, as befits their name, a rather insane output. It's tough to believe that (mostly) one man could pen all those songs. Part of the romance of Guided By Voices is the romance of the thrift store: sifting through a lot of material looking for hidden gems. Well, if you are short on time or looking for some quick hints, here are some of my favorite found treasures.

1) 'Dodging Invisible Rays' -- Hardcore UFOs: Revilations, Epiphanies and Fast Food in the Western Hemisphere

This song is immediately infectious, with a great jangling guitar sound and Tobin Sprout's harmonies. The melody, always the focus for Sprout and Bob Pollard (the primary songwriter), is simple and very appealing. This is one of Tobin's best songs, but it isn't a heralded song in the Guided By Voices canon, unfortunately.

2) "Exit Flagger" -- Propeller

This song is so simple, direct, and awesome. The chords are essentially unchanged for the verse and the chorus. And the subject of this song is just irresistible. This is the most deeply considered song that I've ever happened across that deals a relationship to a traffic controller (unless 'Lovely Rita, Meter Maid' would fall into that category... ). And the way the bridge splinters back into the chorus.. And the way the guitars hammer out those simple 4 chords like they're the best thing that's happened in rock history.. I love this song.

3) "Back To The Lake" -- Universal Truths And Cycles

This is a beautiful song with one of the most expansive melodies that Bob Pollard ever penned. It glides along in perfect counterpoint to the spiky, jarring power chord patterns in the guitar beneath it. I just don't have the words for this melody.. You need to hear it.

4) "Unleashed! The Large Hearted Boy" -- Propeller

This song features a huge drum sound, even by late-80s standards. It also features a huge guitar sound, a beefy melody.. It's just a big, generous song. And it has an amazing title, even by Guided By Voices standards.

5) "Pimple Zoo" -- Alien Lanes

This song is a really interesting forty two seconds. The first part is an ambling acoustic melody. The last part, faded out soon, is an amazing and powerful hook around the heartfelt line: "sometimes I get the feeling that you don't want me around." I feel like this song is an epic song, it has enough material to fuel an 11 minute jam, but somehow they fit it into this tiny concentrate form.

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