Guided By Voices Current Lineup Album By Album Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by 3Dman, Nov 26, 2023.

  1. 3Dman

    3Dman The Adventure Begins Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    Alright Rally Boys and Girls, this thread is going to discuss the output of the current lineup of GBV, also known as the New Classic Lineup. Whatever you want to call it, there is no doubt that what Bob and the boys have been doing since getting together is unprecedented and special. The production thus far: 17 albums since 2016, including two doubles, and a few side projects in there as well. Talk about keeping it in motion.

    After completing (for now at least) the Robert Pollard solo album by album thread, I kinda missed getting together here and talking Bob. I brought up the idea for this thread to @Pop_Zeus, as we kinda got the solo thread going (Though he did all the heavy lifting). Suffice it to say, we thought it would be fun, especially as this thread will continue and stay current as the albums keep getting pumped out. This time around I'll kick things off.

    So here's the roll call: @Pop_Zeus @guidedbyvoices @GuidedByJonO))) @Strummergas @kdawg @guerilla1977 @Echoes Myron @jacethecrowl @yamfox @dthomas850 @BlueTrane @DPK @electricmetaphor @Vangro @Summer of Malcontent @spurious @kouzie @bzfgt @bRETT @Neil Anderson @marc with a c @JTemperance @Alf Panek
    I tried to find contributors to the solo thread and a few others. If I missed you, apologies but please do join in. Any other GBV fans, I hope you find your way to these electronic windows to nowhere, and share your thoughts on the extraordinary and unparalleled output of this band. I can't wait to see what particular favorites you all have.

    My plan is to post a new album/what have you on Sunday nights, as this is my easiest time to put some info out there. Now, I was not the most timely of contributors to the solo thread, but I'll do my best here. Some questions for you all:

    Would you rather one week between releases or two? Maybe one week isn't quite enough time to get your thoughts out there. I know for me personally it took a good 3-5 listens to fully "get" an album enough for me to talk about it at the level I wanted to.

    How do we feel about the non-GBV stuff that has come out in this time period? Should it all be covered? Even Cash Rivers? In discussions with @Pop_Zeus , we both felt ESP Ohio should be included, as it seems like it's an early and integral part of this current formation.

    To kick things off, I will post the details for Please Be Honest next Sunday night. In the meanwhile, hope to see you here, tell your friends, and let's get some preliminary jibber jabber going. To quote a press release "the world needs The Rock", so here we go, nowhere but up!
     
  2. kouzie

    kouzie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Batavia, IL
    Very exciting @3Dman and will be a fun one!

    As for timing, a week in between should be OK. I do feel sometimes with other similar threads that things get in the way and it almost feels like another job to keep up. But on the other hand, I wouldn't want to see momentum to be lost. So maybe start with a week and modify from there if necessary?

    I also think it should cover Cash, Cub Scout Bowling Pins, the live album, ESP Ohio and anything Bob adjacent.

    Thanks and looking forward to this!!
     
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  3. Strummergas

    Strummergas Senior Member

    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Honestly, I've been kinda burnt out on Bob and GBV since Earth Man Blues. I always order the new albums and give them a listen, but they just don't stick with me. Nowhere To Go But Up is on the way, so maybe this time it'll be different, but I haven't even bothered checked out the single preview. I've even skipped the shows the last two times they came to this area.

    But maybe a thread like this will get me back in the groove.
     
  4. Guy E

    Guy E Senior Member

    Location:
    Antalya, Turkey
    The New Classic Lineup has made me a GBV fan. It was Sweating The Plague that reeled me in... not a favorite of most fans, but I love it. Nowhere To Go But Up has been in heavy rotation since Thanksgiving.
     
  5. guidedbyvoices

    guidedbyvoices Old Dan's Records

    Location:
    Alpine, TX
    Great idea @3Dman ! I'm in. One a week, once a week I think is good for now, with the holidays and everything. And I agree with starting with Please Be Honest and ESP Ohio. I was just thinking of revisiting the last few albums so this is perfect timing.
     
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  6. guidedbyvoices

    guidedbyvoices Old Dan's Records

    Location:
    Alpine, TX
    I love Sweating the Plague, and that's what was fun about the album by album thread Pop Zeus did, seeing what other albums and songs other people liked, plus revisiting this stuff. Everything comes out so quickly that some albums get lost in the shuffle for me.
     
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  7. kdawg

    kdawg Senior Member

    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    count me in, I have a lot of love for Please Be Honest and everything after

    I wrote that press release :D I certainly do love Crystal Nuns Cathedral
     
  8. Pop_Zeus

    Pop_Zeus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southport, UK
    Cool :cool: I agree that an album a week would be a good pace. Who knows, maybe an album or two will come out during the process! I pre-order every GBV album, but I get that some people either get burnt out with it all, and/or are just too busy with life in general and keeping up with others bands too. I've no doubt said it before, in relation to the Bob solo topic, or GBV in general, but I think it's good to revisit album by album, to unearth those hidden gems we'd forgotten about, and because in some cases fans may have bought certain albums and only played them a couple of times before the next one came out.

    I also think it can be a couple of albums down the line when a previous one really clicks for you. I never worry much if a GBV album doesn't fully grab me on the first listen or two. This is because I know that in a few weeks or months, it probably will, and even if it doesn't, there'll be another new album waiting around the corner! It really is incredible how many albums this lineup has put out.
     
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  9. marc with a c

    marc with a c Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I appreciate the offer, and I still enjoy Bob’s music, but after a staff member literally doxxed me (and by Ohio law, it definitely qualified, but I didn’t feel like suing while fighting cancer), I have zero public comment on anything that Bob does. I’ll be happy to read, though!
     
  10. kdawg

    kdawg Senior Member

    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    If we really want to go all in, we could tackle Hot Freaks. It will give me an excuse to go back through all of that stuff
     
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  11. kouzie

    kouzie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Batavia, IL
    A GREAT idea, but not sure how much of that is accessible to those who didn't subscribe?
     
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  12. 3Dman

    3Dman The Adventure Begins Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    Hot Freaks would be a lot. It’d be great to talk about some of the releases for sure, but there are so many. The lack of availability would be a problem too. Maybe we’ll have a Hot Freaks week? Or we can bring up notable releases that are nearby a physical release? Hmmm.
     
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  13. guidedbyvoices

    guidedbyvoices Old Dan's Records

    Location:
    Alpine, TX
    Yeah, Hot Freaks is all over the place, but I may dig out the hard drive and revisit the weeks where Hot Freaks had demos for August by Cake, Heaven, Space Gun, Styles, Plague live tracks.... Hot Freaks was so much stuff every week, a lot of that I checked out once and never went back to because I couldnt keep up!
     
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  14. kouzie

    kouzie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Batavia, IL
    Agreed, but man, what if do for there to be another round of it.
     
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  15. guidedbyvoices

    guidedbyvoices Old Dan's Records

    Location:
    Alpine, TX
    Me too! I want it all, and sort it out later. Hot Freaks was well worth the money and it was fun to get the email weekly.
     
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  16. 3Dman

    3Dman The Adventure Begins Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    2016
    Welcome everyone to the first entry of the ongoing New Classic Lineup (NCL) of Guided By Voices (GBV) album-by-album thread. I'd estimate at least 50% of those abbreviations will be used often. We are going to discuss and look at everything Bob-related from this point forward, or at least most (Hot Freaks presents a bit of a problem here). So, to begin with, I have decided to use a year header just to group the output into yearlong chunks. There have been a few album hat tricks netted by the NCL of GBV, and I have tended to look at the band's output on a yearly basis since this lineup began rolling. Maybe it'll make for easier searching later as well; I don't know, really I just felt like doing it. Anyway, on with the show.

    Time to set the stage: The 2014-16 era was one of great flux for Robert Pollard. It witnessed the end of GBV (again) in 2014 when the 'classic lineup' fizzles out after six albums. 2015 sees the formation of a new Pollard-fronted band, Ricked Wicky. Consisting of Bob, steady right hand man/producer/multi-instrumentalist/fellow Circus Devil/etc. Todd Tobias, Dayton newcomer Nick Mitchell on guitar, and former GBV drummer Kevin March (who reentered the fold on final classic lineup LP Cool Planet), they also complete the nifty feat of producing three albums in a calendar year, but that would be all we'd see from this group. Bob steadily pumps out solo albums this whole time (2015's Faulty Superheroes), and Circus Devils is still a going concern as well (the excellent Stomping Grounds in the same year).

    As the year draws to its conclusion, Suitcase Four is released, and a period of transition ensues. A new Bob solo album with Nick playing all the instruments is mooted (The quite good Of Course You Are), as well as other possibilities. I'm not exactly clear on how it all exactly went down and in what type of timeline, but in early 2016 there is an announcement that Bob has reformed GBV with an unknown lineup in order to play live shows, and there is a new GBV album with Bob playing every instrument. Fans await further news in excitement, as Bob has yet again electrified them with by saying Guided By Voices is back. The shot accompanying said announcements:

    [​IMG]
    The lineup is eventually revealed in February as 3/4 of Ricked Wicky (Bob, Nick & Kevin) with singer-songwriter Bobby Bare Jr. on guitar and Mark Shue on bass, although one major alteration will happen fairly soon. The album is released on March 22, and bears the title Please Be Honest. This album is the starting point of the New Classic Lineup, or at least the impetus for its creation. Here's an initial look at the eager young lads:
    [​IMG]
    Alright, looking good boys, let's move on to the main event.

    Please Be Honest
    [​IMG]

    1. My Zodiac Companion 2:12
    2. Kid On A Ladder 1:47
    3. Come On Mr. Christian 2:03
    4. The Grasshopper Eaters 3:22
    5. Glittering Parliaments 2:27
    6. The Caterpillar Workforce 1:28
    7. Sad Baby Eyes 0:34
    8. The Quickers Arrive 2:55
    9. Hotel X (Big Soap) 3:01
    10. I Think A Telescope 2:30
    11. Please Be Honest 2:04
    12. Nightmare Jamboree 2:00
    13. Unfinished Business 1:29
    14. Defeatists' Lament 2:23
    15. Eye Shop Heaven 3:00


    GBVi66
    Released on CD and LP on 4/22/16 by Guided By Voices Inc.
    Recorded, mixed and mastered by Phil Mehaffey at Cyberteknics, Dayton, OH
    All instruments played by Robert Pollard


    Original Release Notes: Robert Pollard wrote and recorded and played all the instruments on Please Be Honest, and when he finished, it felt to him like a Guided By Voices record. He's not wrong. The songs are compact and tuneful, the playing expertly slack, the production raw and unpolished: sounds pretty much like every review of Bee Thousand.

    A better cognate, however, might be Vampire on Titus, Pollard's 1993 pre-Bee Thousand (somewhat overlooked) lo-fi tour de force. On that record, Pollard similarly played every instrument (though his drumming skills then were so rudimentary that he had to record the bass drum and the snare parts separately, which is no longer the case) and as with everything he does, it's about the songs, man. Of which Please Be Honest has no shortage, fifteen of them clocking in at just over 33 minutes. The point being there's precedent for a GBV record where Pollard plays everything, and maybe more importantly there's a reason for that precedent.

    Robert Pollard is Guided By Voices. This has never not been true, certainly, and is now more true than ever. He delights in confounding expectations, and you have to at least suspect that after over 20 years of making records under any number of pseudonyms, of which Guided By Voices is just one, and maybe not even his favorite one, he chafes at the notion that there exists some Platonic ideal of 'Guided By Voices' that isn't just Bob writing and recording the songs with whatever musicians he wants to use. Guided By Voices' new live line-up reflects not just a possibly subconscious desire to prove that unalterable fact, but fits with Pollard's unchanging changeability. He does what he wants. He is who he is. The only 'classic lineup' that has ever mattered is singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist / band leader / magician / thunderstorm Robert Pollard. Long may he rain.
    (courtesy of GBVDB.com, check it out if you haven't. an incredible resource)

    Trivia: Bob and Phil recorded this album a song at a time in sequence. Bob thought this album might be a third Teenage Guitar entry, but he liked it too much, decided to call it GBV and get a good band behind him. 'Eye Shop Heaven' was floated as a possible album title beforehand; this would have only added to large amount of 'heaven' in Bob-related works. Come On Mr. Christian is about a bartender I believe. Before Pitchfork eventually gave up on GBV reviews, they awarded it a 5.9 of 10. I know of no song recycling going here, but I'm not a Bob expert, just a fan.

    Live performances: My Zodiac Companion leads the charge in this department, being played 64 times so far, and is also the most recent airing of a PBH tune live, in 8/28/2021 in Columbus. Also receiving live treatment in order of frequency: Please Be Honest (40), The Quickers Arrive (40), Hotel X (Big Soap) (33), Glittering Parliaments (30), Kid on a Ladder (29), Come On Mr. Christian (28), Eye Shop Heaven (20)

    Feel free to add any corrections about anything, as I said, I'm a fan not an expert. Many thanks of course to my postal collaborator @Pop_Zeus, check out the awesome Bob solo album-by-album thread where this all started, here: Robert Pollard Solo - Album by Album

    Alright folks, no matter how you look at it, Please Be Honest is a huge cog in the history of the band. Please weigh in with your thoughts about this album, how you felt about the return of GBV, and anything else about this period in time of Bob/GBV. All are welcome, let's keep it in motion.
     
  17. Bob C

    Bob C Forum Resident

    Location:
    So Cal
    I bought all of these GBV albums when released but didn't listen to them nearly as much as the original classic lineup records. This is a good excuse for me to take a deeper dive.
     
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  18. 3Dman

    3Dman The Adventure Begins Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    Look forward to your thoughts, deeper dive into Bob's albums often reveal many treasures.
     
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  19. 3Dman

    3Dman The Adventure Begins Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
  20. kdawg

    kdawg Senior Member

    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    I have so many thoughts on this album, I will try and keep it short.

    I think this album is incredibly important.

    I have no insight into the album artwork, BUT it's symbolic of something, perhaps it's fairly simple and GBV is being released from "prison" and Bob is standing there waiting to greet it, OR maybe he is being freed from the thinking that he shouldn't use the name GBV however he sees fit, and he is walking towards it. OR maybe I am reading too much into it and it's just a cool collage., OR it has some higher theme that I can't grasp and am overlooking it, OR maybe the point is to find meaning in it for yourself, so it can mean whatever you want it to mean.

    Anyway, that's just a very small part of it. To this day I play this album on regular rotation. I think it's a bold relaunch. It's a psychedelic, experimental, epic, catchy, and challenging work of art. You have to drop the preconceived notion of what YOU think a GBV album should be, and let it be the album it is, which is just about as pure of an artistic statement as one brilliant artist can make. It's all him, for better or for worse. he stands behind it, in fact so much so that it's GBV. It's not solo, it's not Teenage Guitar, it's not a new side project, it's GBV. There is no record label pressure for him to call it GBV, he calls it GBV because it is GBV, and he is the record label.

    It is remarkable to me that he recorded these songs in order, yet it is not remarkable to me. He plans things out, he had this thing recorded and sequenced in his head before he even went into the studio to record it.

    the sequencing is brilliant, one song leads right into the next, and no two songs that sit side by side sound the same as the one before it or after it. Sure they can sound a bit similar sonically, but the mood is different, the tempo or style could be completely different, creating a natural ebb and flow to the album that I find so appealing. It's a journey.

    I told somebody once that Glittering Parliaments sounded like a song from Universal Truths and Cycles recorded for Vampire on Titus.

    Every song is a highlight for me, but if I had to pick 3 or 4 to play for someone and say this is what this album is about, I would pick Zodiac Companion, Glittering Parliaments, Defeatist's Lament, and The Caterpillar Workforce

    Come On Mr Christian could be about a bartender, but I also know that Bob is a huge movie buff and Mr Christian led the Mutiny on the Bounty, and his songs often tie many thoughts and ideas together, so it could be some of both!

    I love that this album challenges you as a listener, it's different than what was before it or after it, it kind of exists on its own level which I think is pretty cool and makes it special. And at only 33 minutes, it goes by quick and you can play it again.
     
  21. kdawg

    kdawg Senior Member

    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    I'm currently listening to the first Teenage Guitar album, and I like it, it is nowhere near the level of Please Be Honest.

    The biggest criticism of PBH that I heard from fans was "it's not GBV, it's Teenage Guitar. I would love the album if it was Teenage Guitar."

    Really? are you that tied to a name that you refuse to like an album because you don't think it should be GBV? just listen and like it or don't like it for what it is, not because it isn't what you think it should be.

    Now if you don't like the actual songs or music, fine, it's ok, but to dismiss it because it should be called something else is ridiculous to me. it's either good or it isn't, no matter what it is called.

    George Michael said it best...Listen Without Prejudice
     
  22. bRETT

    bRETT Senior Member

    Location:
    Boston MA

    What a great post. I remember when the album came out, there was a generally negative reaction here about it being called a GBV album. So I was surprised at how much I wound up liking it (I was also one of the apparently few supporters of the "classic reunion" period, which I will say had a certain quality that the modern lineup doesn't have-- not better, but different).

    Of course we didn't know what a big thing this album was a start of-- but I would hazard a guess that Bob did.
     
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  23. kdawg

    kdawg Senior Member

    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    it's remarkable how many albums the new classic lineup has put out. AND at least half of my top 10 gbv albums would be new classic lineup
     
  24. kouzie

    kouzie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Batavia, IL
    We all know that Bob plays multiple instruments (well), but we really don't have a ton to base his skills on (demos are largely acoustic guitar and seeing him play live is like seeing Bigfoot in the wild). So the big question, at least to me, was will this sound anything remotely like a GBV album. In some ways it's uber GBV. Homemade, low fi, weird, quirky, catchy...Please Be Honest has it all. I'd say the only thing really missing is that killer perfect pop song that Bob usually has one or two on each album. Not to say I don't love most of these songs, but it's missing an Echos Myron or Gold Star for Robot Boy to elevate it.

    I liked it then and upon review while I'm typing this, I think it's aged extremely well. Not a bad way to usher in the second golden age.
     
  25. kdawg

    kdawg Senior Member

    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    Also, these songs were really brought to life and made huge by the band when they were played live. My Zodiac Companion.. mind blown

    I think they played 7 or 8 of them
     

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