Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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cortez the killer wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:28 am
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Let It Beard (2011)
8. Chevy Marigold – This soul-inspired song brings to mind “Gimme Shelter.” Portland-area soul singer, Tahoe Jackson, was brought it to add some Merry Clayton-esque vocals on this sexy, swagger song. In fact, it was a little too sexy at first. Slushy recalls, “I was trying to find things that we hadn’t heard on a Bob album yet like accordion or a female vocals. It was so funny when she was singing all the rave up/soul stuff it was way too sexualized at first. We were laughing because she was just getting into it but I told her to make it less orgasmic. She dialed it back and it was so beautiful.” Slushy and Moen work up a great groove to support Bob and Tahoe’s vocals. “I took the wrong track, I’ll never go back.” (10)
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R.I.P. Tahoe Jackson
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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Hey Cortez. From Hood's FB

Patterson Hood is at Revolution Hall.
· Portland, OR ·
Skipped the stupid Oscars (still pissed about the dissing of the technical awards) and instead saw @instagbv GBV play 55 songs in 2 1/2 hours of glorious soul reviving rock and roll. Beer chugging, scissor kicks and a phenomenal band playing some of the greatest songs of the past 30 years. No one got slapped (that I know of). Thanks @barejunior for the good times. Loveya! @revolutionhall
Always go to the show

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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P. Hood knows where it's at. 8-)
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chuckrh
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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cortez the killer wrote:
Mon Mar 28, 2022 11:06 pm
P. Hood knows where it's at. 8-)
I wonder if he's going to make any of the (few) Midnight Oil farewell dates. I know he went last tour & at least heard more than one. ;)

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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Image
On Oct 9, 2007, Robert Pollard simultaneously released two albums on Merge Records: Standard Gargoyle Decisions and Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love. Both now out of print, Pollard has reimagined and condensed the two as Our Gaze, a single 15 song album. Because it’s better. Release date is May 20, 2022.
Track list
The Killers
Pill Gone Girl
Count Us In
The Island Lobby
Rud Fins
Current Desperation (Angels Speak Of Nothing)
Hero Blows The Revolution
Come Here Beautiful

Shadow Port
Miles Under The Skin
Folded Claws
Feel Not Crushed
Youth Leagues
When We Were Slaves
Our Gaze
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
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chuckrh
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by chuckrh »

Robert indicated Saturday that there's another GBV in the can too.

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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chuckrh wrote:
Tue Mar 29, 2022 1:04 pm
Robert indicated Saturday that there's another GBV in the can too.
Image
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
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3milelake
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by 3milelake »

LOVE this record.
cortez the killer wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:34 am
Image
Under the Bushes Under the Stars (1996)

In 1996, the band was the talk of the indie world and on a major hot streak. The original plan for Under the Bushes Under the Stars was to do a trimmed-down, concept record loosely based on the story of the band’s origins and ascent called The Power of Suck. Fellow Ohio indie musician, Kim Deal (The Pixies, The Breeders), was brought on board to produce the album. In addition, Deal associate Steve Albini was to contribute as an additional producer. Deal jumped on the GBV wagon around the time Bee Thousand came out. What seemed like an indie partnership meant to be, soured quickly. Deal was insistent the band rehearse daily to get the songs down. Having never really rehearsed on previous projects, Pollard and the band did not respond well. After a tour of Europe, Pollard made the decision to scrap The Power of Suck project and drop Deal as the producer. Instead, GBV headed back into Cro-Magnon Studios in Dayton to record the new songs Pollard had written while on tour across the pond. Pollard called the record more “anthemic, spiritual and serious” than anything the band had done up to that point. The stitching together of song snippets approach that marked the previous two records was pushed aside, with Pollard determined to do a fully-realized, mid-fi rock record. The album the band submitted to Matador was 18 tracks long. However, Matador made the decision to include six extra songs from the sessions as an EP accompaniment to the vinyl version and as bonus tracks on the compact disc. When the third piece of what GBV fans refer to as “The Holy Trinity” was released, critical reaction was mixed. The chaotic, haphazard creation of the record was not helped by the fact that the record clocked in at just under an hour, giving it a bloated feel. Also, with three different producers, the album lacked the kind of cohesion the previous two masterpieces possessed. To my ears, this is an excellent record that marks another step forward in the progression of the band. It also marked the dissolution of the classic lineup. Following the release of Under the Bushes Under the Stars, multi-instrumentalist and co-songwriter Tobin Sprout, guitarist Mitch Mitchell and drummer Kevin Fennell left the band. Sprout went on to pursue a solo career, Mitchell felt underappreciated as a musician (Cobre Verde guitarist, Doug Gillard, was being courted by Bob to join the band) and Fennell had a substance relapse while on tour in Europe. These losses marked the end of an important era of the band, but Bob was determined to keep moving forward.

1. Man Called Aerodynamics – Song bursts with plenty of energy. However, it lacks the hooks and melody Pollard has spoiled me with. Not a bad song, but one of the weakest tracks to open a GBV album. (6)
2. Rhine Jive Click – “Crowded gymnasium, not shortage of knockouts.” Love the riff that holds steady throughout. Dig the tightly-held cowbell that isn’t permitted to reverb. (10)
3. Cut-Out Witch – Killer guitar riff that simmers and soars. This is a live staple that whips the crowd into a frenzy whenever played. “It's another busy day for the cut-out witch. Silver threads for our heads need another stitch. Golden needles in our eyes then we realize.” (10)
4. Burning Flag Birthday Suit – Begins as an eerie, restrained song with Bob stretching out the vocals before it culminates as a reverbed, belted-out mini anthem. Acoustic guitar outro is a nice finishing touch. (8)
5. The Official Ironmen Rally Song – First of the Kim Deal produced tracks. Such a defiant, cathartic, fist-pumping anthem, dripping with melancholy and joy. It's the best song on the record and one of my all-time favorite GBV tracks. According to Pollard, this is the band’s “We Are the Champions”. “To dine alone. To build a private zone. Or trigger a synapse and free us from our traps.” (11)
6. To Remake the Young Flyer – Sprout’s first contribution is a beautiful, psychedelic pop song with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s fingerprints all over it. (10)
7. No Sky – “Could you, could you keep a secret from me?” Seemly simple song that has a way of working its way into your psyche. (7)
8. Bright Paper Werewolves – Sounds a bit like “Gold Heart Mountaintop Queen Directory” minus the acid effects. Very clean, straightforward solo acoustic track. Not a ton of these types of songs in the massive catalog. (8)
9. Lord of Overstock – Has a similar vibe to the 2nd half of “Burning Flag Birthday Suit”. Mid-tempo rocker with a determined guitar line that keeps chugging along. (7)
10. Your Name is Wild – Bob’s son got a shout-out on alien Lanes. Now it’s his daughter Erika’s turn. This is a tight, melodic garage-rocker that became a signature of GBV during this period. (8)
11. Ghosts of a Different Dream – Another peppy, garage-pop song that would serve as a great soundtrack to having a few beers on the deck with friends as the sun sets on a warm summer evening. (8.5)
12. Acorns & Orioles – “I can’t tell you anything you don’t already know.” Another slowed-down, solo acoustic track. Lyrics far less surreal than on “Bright Paper Werewolves”. This is a pleasant song, just not one that sticks to you like the other ones. (6)
13. Look at Them – Starts out sounding like some ominous sci-fi movie soundtrack before turning into another riff-heavy, beer-to-the-sky mid-tempo anthem. Spooky space-effect lingers throughout. (8.5)
14. The Perfect Life – The spacey sounds of “Look at Them” bleed intro this lo-fi piano instrumental that serves as a bridge to the next track. (5)
15. Underwater Explosions – Super-catchy pop song. Has enough of the lo-fi scruff to allow it to remaining charming without being too tweeish. (8)
16. Atom Eyes – Tobin Sprout is back with a swirling, 60s-sounding pop nugget. Not as strong as the previous offering (“To Remake the Young Flyer”), but a very solid song in its own right. (7)
17 – Don’t Stop Now – “What keeps big daddy happy? What makes the buzzard buzz? A leaky quart of motor oil. "Head for the hills".” Probably the most quintessential Guided By Voices song. The track originally appeared as an acoustic demo on the King Shit and the Golden Boys compilation of B sides. Big Daddy is the name Pollard gave to his neighbor’s rooster who greeted him each afternoon he returned from his teaching job, by racing Bob to his door. Big Daddy also shows up on the cover of the 1987 album, Devil Between My Toes. Second of the Deal produced tracks on the record. (11)
18. Office of Hearts – More melodic, lo-fi garage-pop. This one is a tad thin and tinny, but packed with hooks. (7)
19. Big Boring Wedding – Woah! How did this miss the cut for the proper album? Perhaps the sour taste of the Deal breakup pushed this Deal-produced one to the EP. An epic slow burner that builds to a thrilling conclusion. Trademark fist-pumping chorus in full effect. One of Pollards best vocal performances ever. “Pass the word, the chicks are back. The chicks are back, yeah. The chicks are back.” (10)
20. It’s Like Soul Man – Fuzzy, grinding-guitar pop from Sprout. Fantastic guitar solo buried deep in the mix. Produced by Steve Albini, this song bursts with energy. (9)
21. Drag Days – Warm, jangly power pop classic. Another great vocal performance. Most likely left off the record because it was one of the songs from the Deal sessions. Once of the more passionately sung choruses in the band’s catalog – “They will turn around. They will turn around.” This song reminds me of The Kinks “Better Things.” (10)
22. Sheetkickers – Thick, post-punky bass riff that gives way to a big power chord. Strong Wire influence on this track. Lacks some of Pollard’s trademark melody, but it draws more from the post-punk well than the 60s British Invasion one. A creaky guitar solo ushers this one out. Second, and final, Albini-produced track. (9)
23. Redmen and Their Wives – The final Deal-produced track. Another song that starts out as a slow burner and builds into a massive sing-a-long anthem. So fucking good. When it takes off at the 2:27 my dopamine levels spike. "They're sharpening knives and primitive lives for redmen and their wives. Breadwinner and klutz and losing it all before the one eyes shuts.” (10)
24. Take to the Sky – Sounds like a rambling, lo-fi Abbey Road acoustic demo outtake. Never really goes anywhere. (5)



to be continued...

chuckrh
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by chuckrh »

3milelake wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 10:58 pm
LOVE this record.
cortez the killer wrote:
Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:34 am
Image
Under the Bushes Under the Stars (1996)

In 1996, the band was the talk of the indie world and on a major hot streak. The original plan for Under the Bushes Under the Stars was to do a trimmed-down, concept record loosely based on the story of the band’s origins and ascent called The Power of Suck. Fellow Ohio indie musician, Kim Deal (The Pixies, The Breeders), was brought on board to produce the album. In addition, Deal associate Steve Albini was to contribute as an additional producer. Deal jumped on the GBV wagon around the time Bee Thousand came out. What seemed like an indie partnership meant to be, soured quickly. Deal was insistent the band rehearse daily to get the songs down. Having never really rehearsed on previous projects, Pollard and the band did not respond well. After a tour of Europe, Pollard made the decision to scrap The Power of Suck project and drop Deal as the producer. Instead, GBV headed back into Cro-Magnon Studios in Dayton to record the new songs Pollard had written while on tour across the pond. Pollard called the record more “anthemic, spiritual and serious” than anything the band had done up to that point. The stitching together of song snippets approach that marked the previous two records was pushed aside, with Pollard determined to do a fully-realized, mid-fi rock record. The album the band submitted to Matador was 18 tracks long. However, Matador made the decision to include six extra songs from the sessions as an EP accompaniment to the vinyl version and as bonus tracks on the compact disc. When the third piece of what GBV fans refer to as “The Holy Trinity” was released, critical reaction was mixed. The chaotic, haphazard creation of the record was not helped by the fact that the record clocked in at just under an hour, giving it a bloated feel. Also, with three different producers, the album lacked the kind of cohesion the previous two masterpieces possessed. To my ears, this is an excellent record that marks another step forward in the progression of the band. It also marked the dissolution of the classic lineup. Following the release of Under the Bushes Under the Stars, multi-instrumentalist and co-songwriter Tobin Sprout, guitarist Mitch Mitchell and drummer Kevin Fennell left the band. Sprout went on to pursue a solo career, Mitchell felt underappreciated as a musician (Cobre Verde guitarist, Doug Gillard, was being courted by Bob to join the band) and Fennell had a substance relapse while on tour in Europe. These losses marked the end of an important era of the band, but Bob was determined to keep moving forward.

1. Man Called Aerodynamics – Song bursts with plenty of energy. However, it lacks the hooks and melody Pollard has spoiled me with. Not a bad song, but one of the weakest tracks to open a GBV album. (6)
2. Rhine Jive Click – “Crowded gymnasium, not shortage of knockouts.” Love the riff that holds steady throughout. Dig the tightly-held cowbell that isn’t permitted to reverb. (10)
3. Cut-Out Witch – Killer guitar riff that simmers and soars. This is a live staple that whips the crowd into a frenzy whenever played. “It's another busy day for the cut-out witch. Silver threads for our heads need another stitch. Golden needles in our eyes then we realize.” (10)
4. Burning Flag Birthday Suit – Begins as an eerie, restrained song with Bob stretching out the vocals before it culminates as a reverbed, belted-out mini anthem. Acoustic guitar outro is a nice finishing touch. (8)
5. The Official Ironmen Rally Song – First of the Kim Deal produced tracks. Such a defiant, cathartic, fist-pumping anthem, dripping with melancholy and joy. It's the best song on the record and one of my all-time favorite GBV tracks. According to Pollard, this is the band’s “We Are the Champions”. “To dine alone. To build a private zone. Or trigger a synapse and free us from our traps.” (11)
6. To Remake the Young Flyer – Sprout’s first contribution is a beautiful, psychedelic pop song with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s fingerprints all over it. (10)
7. No Sky – “Could you, could you keep a secret from me?” Seemly simple song that has a way of working its way into your psyche. (7)
8. Bright Paper Werewolves – Sounds a bit like “Gold Heart Mountaintop Queen Directory” minus the acid effects. Very clean, straightforward solo acoustic track. Not a ton of these types of songs in the massive catalog. (8)
9. Lord of Overstock – Has a similar vibe to the 2nd half of “Burning Flag Birthday Suit”. Mid-tempo rocker with a determined guitar line that keeps chugging along. (7)
10. Your Name is Wild – Bob’s son got a shout-out on alien Lanes. Now it’s his daughter Erika’s turn. This is a tight, melodic garage-rocker that became a signature of GBV during this period. (8)
11. Ghosts of a Different Dream – Another peppy, garage-pop song that would serve as a great soundtrack to having a few beers on the deck with friends as the sun sets on a warm summer evening. (8.5)
12. Acorns & Orioles – “I can’t tell you anything you don’t already know.” Another slowed-down, solo acoustic track. Lyrics far less surreal than on “Bright Paper Werewolves”. This is a pleasant song, just not one that sticks to you like the other ones. (6)
13. Look at Them – Starts out sounding like some ominous sci-fi movie soundtrack before turning into another riff-heavy, beer-to-the-sky mid-tempo anthem. Spooky space-effect lingers throughout. (8.5)
14. The Perfect Life – The spacey sounds of “Look at Them” bleed intro this lo-fi piano instrumental that serves as a bridge to the next track. (5)
15. Underwater Explosions – Super-catchy pop song. Has enough of the lo-fi scruff to allow it to remaining charming without being too tweeish. (8)
16. Atom Eyes – Tobin Sprout is back with a swirling, 60s-sounding pop nugget. Not as strong as the previous offering (“To Remake the Young Flyer”), but a very solid song in its own right. (7)
17 – Don’t Stop Now – “What keeps big daddy happy? What makes the buzzard buzz? A leaky quart of motor oil. "Head for the hills".” Probably the most quintessential Guided By Voices song. The track originally appeared as an acoustic demo on the King Shit and the Golden Boys compilation of B sides. Big Daddy is the name Pollard gave to his neighbor’s rooster who greeted him each afternoon he returned from his teaching job, by racing Bob to his door. Big Daddy also shows up on the cover of the 1987 album, Devil Between My Toes. Second of the Deal produced tracks on the record. (11)
18. Office of Hearts – More melodic, lo-fi garage-pop. This one is a tad thin and tinny, but packed with hooks. (7)
19. Big Boring Wedding – Woah! How did this miss the cut for the proper album? Perhaps the sour taste of the Deal breakup pushed this Deal-produced one to the EP. An epic slow burner that builds to a thrilling conclusion. Trademark fist-pumping chorus in full effect. One of Pollards best vocal performances ever. “Pass the word, the chicks are back. The chicks are back, yeah. The chicks are back.” (10)
20. It’s Like Soul Man – Fuzzy, grinding-guitar pop from Sprout. Fantastic guitar solo buried deep in the mix. Produced by Steve Albini, this song bursts with energy. (9)
21. Drag Days – Warm, jangly power pop classic. Another great vocal performance. Most likely left off the record because it was one of the songs from the Deal sessions. Once of the more passionately sung choruses in the band’s catalog – “They will turn around. They will turn around.” This song reminds me of The Kinks “Better Things.” (10)
22. Sheetkickers – Thick, post-punky bass riff that gives way to a big power chord. Strong Wire influence on this track. Lacks some of Pollard’s trademark melody, but it draws more from the post-punk well than the 60s British Invasion one. A creaky guitar solo ushers this one out. Second, and final, Albini-produced track. (9)
23. Redmen and Their Wives – The final Deal-produced track. Another song that starts out as a slow burner and builds into a massive sing-a-long anthem. So fucking good. When it takes off at the 2:27 my dopamine levels spike. "They're sharpening knives and primitive lives for redmen and their wives. Breadwinner and klutz and losing it all before the one eyes shuts.” (10)
24. Take to the Sky – Sounds like a rambling, lo-fi Abbey Road acoustic demo outtake. Never really goes anywhere. (5)



to be continued...
that tour was awesome, too. i saw them within a week of the show below. the drummer (robert's brother in law) actually od'd the afternoon of the show i saw. the drummer of presidents of usa owned a bar across the street & offered to play. robert said there was no way that someone from that shitty band was getting onstage with him. they revived bro in law & it was a fantastic show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnyEJ36rmDc&t=3290s

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by cortez the killer »

3milelake wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 10:58 pm
LOVE this record.

Image
Under the Bushes Under the Stars (1996)
1996 was such a fertile time for Pollard. That album marks the end of the classic lineup (although they reunited for a brief run from 2012-14). So many top-tier songs from that year/time period in perhaps the deepest catalog in popular music.

Rhine Jive Click
Cut-Out Witch
The Official Ironmen Rally Song
Look at Them
Don't Stop Now
Office of Hearts
Big Boring Wedding
Drag Days
Redmen and Their Wives
Finks
He's the Uncle
Deaf Ears
June Salutes You!
Maggie Turns to Flies
Get Under It
Release the Sunbird
The Ash Gray Proclamation
Flat Beauty
Psychic Pilot Clocks Out
Cocksoldiers and Their Postwar Stubble
If We Wait
Heavy Metal Country
Systems Crash
Dayton, Ohio/19 Something & 5
Top Chick Silver Chord
Key Losers
Unbaited Vicar of Scorched Earth
Now to War
Mannequin's Complaint
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
- DPM

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by cortez the killer »

cortez the killer wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 11:45 am
chuckrh wrote:Cortez, sorry if you posted & i missed it but are you going to get into the Tobin Sprout solo stuff, too? There gems on all of those records for sure.
I wasn't planning on it. Then again, I wasn't planning on getting this involved with the Pollard solo stuff, either. :|
And so it goes...

Image
Carnival Boy (1996)

From 1987 till 1997, Tobin Sprout played the role of Jason Isbell to Robert Pollard’s Patterson Hood/Mike Cooley in the indie rock band Guided By Voices. While a valuable member of the band, Sprout’s song contributions to GBV albums paled in comparison to that of founder and frontman Pollard. Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes had propelled GBV to the upper echelon of the mid-90s indie rock world and with that came access to more professional studios and producers. The follow up to Alien Lanes, Under the Bushes, Under the Stars, was recorded across at least four studios and as many sets of producers, and many titles and configurations were vetted before a final sequence was reached. Ditching their previous modus operandi of recording on 4-track, the recordings for the new album were done in 24-track. There was a shit-ton of material recorded over the course of the UTBUTS project, but only a certain amount made it on to the actual finished product. Of the twenty-four tracks that comprise UTBUTS, only four were Sprout contributions ("To Remake the Young Flyer", "The Perfect Life", "Atom Eyes" & "It’s Like Soul Man"). Armed with a batch of strong material with no proper home, Sprout decided to break out and cut a solo record. Eight of the fourteen tracks were recorded at Cro-Magnon Studio, with the remaining four recorded 4-track at Sprout’s house. Tobin plays every instrument except drums, with GBV drummer, Kevin Fennell, manning the kit. A talented visual artist as well, all the artwork for Carnival Boy are original Sprout paintings. Not surprisingly, much of the album sounds a lot like GBV. Critically speaking, the album was well-received, with many expressing how accomplished a songwriter Sprout was in his own right now that he was out from under the Pollard-dominated band. Ironically enough, Pollard released his debut solo album, Not in My Airforce, on the same day Sprout released Carnival Boy. Soon after the release of the two solo records, the classic lineup of Guided By Voices was dissolved.

1. The Natural Alarm – Opening track almost makes it to three whole minutes. Like many of the songs on Carnival Boy, this sounds like a Sprout-contributed GBV song. Whether or not it was a Pollard reject or a kept-in-the-sack Sprout nugget is anyone’s guess. What is certain is that this is a top-tier Tobin Sprout track. “The end of the bedlam comes to-day.” (10)
2. Cooler Jocks – This made the cut and was later dropped on one of the many aforementioned drafts for what ultimately became Under the Bushes, Under the Stars. A short (1:15), lo-fi snippet that was recorded 4-track at Sprout’s house. Can absolutely imagine hearing this on a 18+-song GBV album. “A game before eventually you lose.” (5)
3. E’s Navy Blue – Much more upbeat and rocking than your typical Tobin track. This is the lone track on Carnival Boy on which Pollard appears, as he contributes guitar. Love the swirling guitars on this one. “I stitched up your broken ego.” (9)
4. The Bone Yard – Catchy guitar riff repeated over the course of 1:16. (4)
5. Carnival Boy – The title track comes shuffling in like a slightly better fidelity “Awful Bliss.” I know I’m gonna keep repeating myself, but it sounds just like a Sprout-penned track on a GBV record. Tobin channels his inner David Gilmour on the excellent guitar solo. “Where are you going boy? Lost to find your way.” (8)
6. Martin’s Mounted Head – Another 4-track recording done in Tobin’s house. Very similar vibe to the earlier, “Cooler Jocks.” Some great hypnotic guitar parts from Sprout. “Insight to the things of well-being. Saving.” (7)
7. Gas Daddy Gas – Right in Tobin’s sweet spot – tender, vulnerable and twee-ish. This is such a beautiful song and one of the best vocal performances of Sprout’s career. Great way to conclude side one of your debut solo album. “Can't you see the way I want to live? It's not hard” (9)
8. To My Beloved Martha – Side two opens with an outstanding tribute to Tobin’s daughter, Martha. Drives along for two+ minutes and never breaks stride or loses steam. Nearly impossible to not bob your head to this one. “All of the rabbits that don't get your scent get shot.” (10)
9. White Flyer – I suppose when the young flyer is remade, it’s white. Rare instance where Tobin opts to yell rather than sing. Sounds like Tobin taking a stab at the more menacing songs Pollard sang on Alien Lanes. “My burning heart that needs to stay. Cause everybody needs to stay.” (5)
10. I Didn’t Know – Bouncy, mid-fi pop nugget that carries a lot of the feel of Under the Bushes, Under the Stars. Possibly a “diss track”? “I never knew the things that you were undermining. Every time I break the spell that you had held for me.” (7)
11. Gallant Men – Sprout retreats back to the 4-track home recording on this pleasant instrumental. (5)
12. It’s Like Soul Man – Alternative take on the version that appeared on Under the Bushes, Under the Stars. It’s a great song, but I prefer the original Albini-produced one slightly better. “I never liked you till I took a good look at myself.” (8)
13. Hermit Stew – Final cut from the 4-track home recording sessions is the best of that batch. The Paul McCartney obvious influence is obvious. “I could leave today but then I'd just have something on my mind.” (7.5)
14. The Last Man Well Known to Kingpin – Sprout learned a thing or two from his years with Robert Pollard. One is how to bookend an album. Carnival Boy announces itself with the fantastic “The Natural Alarm” and concludes with a great tribute to Pink Floyd co-founder, Syd Barrett. Track features those GBV trademark chugging guitars. Had it been included on UTBUTS, would’ve been one of the better songs on that record. “Friday June 23rd, The Troubadour.” (9)
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
- DPM

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3milelake
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by 3milelake »

^^^^^^^^
Great review, and an excellent record. I had to dig deep to find this, turns out I had it on a hard drive, never listened to until today. Prick move on Uncle Bob to release his own solo same day, but kinda funny too.

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by cortez the killer »

Thanks, 3mike. Up until recently, I was not familiar with Tobin Sprout's solo work. However, I've changed that and it's been very rewarding. He's got some excellent solo material.
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
- DPM

chuckrh
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by chuckrh »

cortez the killer wrote:
Tue Apr 12, 2022 3:02 pm
Thanks, 3mike. Up until recently, I was not familiar with Tobin Sprout's solo work. However, I've changed that and it's been very rewarding. He's got some excellent solo material.
Glad you're enjoying it. I was hooked the first time I heard the Syd Barrett song. Actually before that with the songs like 14 Cheerleader Coldfront & others where he was featured on the GBV records

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by cortez the killer »

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Moonflower Plastic (Welcome to My Wigwam) (1997)

Now that he was no longer a member of Guided By Voices, it didn’t take long for Sprout to follow up his debut solo album. Moonflower Plastic follows a similar script as Carnival Boy, with Tobin playing all the instruments, except for drums. Former GBV drummer Kevin Fennell once again primarily fills that role. As far as production goes, like last time, this is a mix of high and mid fidelity with twenty-four track recordings done at Cro-Magnon and Refraze Studios in Dayton. The lower fidelity songs were cut at Tobin’s house. While a few of the songs sound a lot like the material Sprout contributed to GBV, many of the tracks here show Tobin growing into his own as a songwriter, establishing his own path. Tobin has always drawn a good amount of inspiration from The Beatles, particularly Paul McCartney. However, on Moonflower Plastic, I hear a good amount of mid/late-70s Neil Young & Crazy Horse influence. That guitar tone and hypnotic groove are unmistakable. I gotta imagine Tobin was spinning some Zuma and American Stars ‘N’ Bars leading up to the writing and recording for this project. Carnival Boy was a strong opening statement from the former Pollard sidekick and Moonflower Plastic ups the ante, as Sprout exhibits discernible growth as an artist.

1. Get Out of My Throat – Opens with tape hiss then shifts to a breezy mid-tempo acoustic song before exploding into a Crazy Horse-like, hypnotic-groove stomper. Jim Eno (Spoon) does a fantastic job playing drums here. Moonflower Plastic announces itself with a Sprout masterpiece. “I'd die for you. I'd lay right down for you. God knows I can.” (10)
2. Moonflower Plastic (You’re Here) – After whipping listeners into a frenzy on the opening track, Sprout downshifts to a McCartney-styled piano ballad which is more in line with his typical output. This is a pleasant, well-executed song, but nothing too special. “I'm a lonely man. Yes I am.” (5)
3. Paper Cut – The album picks up the energy with another Zuma-like rocker. This one lumbers along fabulously. I’m really digging this new avenue Tobin is exploring. “You're a serpent in steel.” (8)
4. Beast of Souls – Sprout returns to a more familiar, GBV-sounding song with this one. Wouldn’t be surprised if this was a leftover from those Under the Bushes, Under the Stars sessions. Those slightly-distorted guitars just keep chugging along. “Marvin's in the kitchen working on something right.” (8)
5. A Little Odd – Forty-one second snippet cuts out abruptly. 4-track enthusiasts unite! “Is you favorite Martian queer?” (4)
6. Angels Hang Their Socks on the Moon – Coming off the previous snippet, is the album’s longest track (4:38) and one of the more fleshed out songs in Tobin’s catalog. That psychedelic Beatles sound is expertly captured here. Sprout’s vocal performance is sublime. May or may not be a Pollard diss track. “Seems so feeble, drawn to your weathered crown.” (9)
7. All Used Up – Side one concludes with a short, sweet, sub-two-minute jangle pop nugget. I get major Split Enz vibes from this one. “I did my time. I dumped my deal.” (9)
8. Since I – A+ vocal performance from Tobin to open side two. Another aching, tender ballad knocked out of the park. Sprout seems happy with his decision to cut ties with GBV. “Breathe the air. Taste the freedom you bought.” (8.5)
9. Back Chorus – This forty-four second snippet is the top streamed Tobin Sprout song on Spotify (608,500+) by a large margin. Must be a scaled down version of the Pavement/”Harness Your Hopes” situation. Ether way, this sounds like a McCartney demo outtake from Abbey Road. “I'll never back your chorus.” (6)
10. Curious Things – Another track that would’ve slotted nicely on UTBUTS. Just like Bob, Sprout was in the midst of a great creative explosion during the time leading up to and after that iconic album. “Hit from the side like those curious things, said, ‘I am dead.’” (8)
11. Exit Planes – Like Pollard, Tobin love to sing about flying objects. Another mid-tempo rocker square in Sprout’s wheelhouse. Love the screaming parts that Bob may or may not have borrowed on Earthquake Glue’s “I Replace You with Machines.” “Is it just me, or have your wings decided to fly?” (7.5)
12. Little Bit of Dread – Tobin attacks the whammy bar on this song that never really takes off for me. “I'll carry the crown while evil men frown.” (5)
13. Hit Junky Dives – Another rare song that eclipses the four-minute mark. A melancholic but defiant song that builds beautifully. Strong case for Tobin’s best song ever. If there was a music video made for the song, it would absolutely have to have Tobin standing on a mountain top with the wind blowing through his hair as he delivers the guitar solo. “I'd jump from a plane to escape the flame.” (10)
14. Water on the Boaters Back – Pollard’s chief inspiration is The Who. Tobin draws his biggest influence from Paul McCartney. The album concludes with another demo-like, McCartney-inspired piano ballad. “I need to understand this. It's the only way that I can live.” (7.5)
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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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Let’s Welcome the Circus People (1999)

After two solid records that didn’t move enough product, Tobin Sprout was dropped from Matador Records. Undeterred and armed with a Casio electronic keyboard and a drum machine, Sprout bounced back with his third solo album in just over three years. After playing drums on Moonflower Plastic’s “Get Out of My Throat,” Spoon drummer, Jim Eno, once again lends his talents on three tracks here. All the other instruments are played by Sprout. This album seems to mark a complete departure from Dayton, OH as Tobin is now fully situated as a Michigan-based artist. That change is also evident in how the record sounds. Let’s Welcome the Circus People is less immediate, poppy or hook-laden than its two predecessors. The fidelity is also closer to the 4-track variety than the 24-track quality that a good amount of Carnival Boy and Moonflower Plastic feature. Side 1 has some solid songs, but, overall, is a bit uneven. Side 2 is where the album eventually finds better footing. While void of any Sprout masterpieces, Let’s Welcome the Circus People is another strong album with plenty of Sprout’s own unique twist on pop songs.

1. Smokey Joe’s Perfect Hair – Tobin continues the trend of a strong opening track for solo album #3. Love the song title as well. This is a hypnotic, psych/post-punk track that sounds like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band filtered through a Wire 154 lens. This song doesn’t immediately latch on, but certainly works its way in after repeated listens. “Don't apologize for perfect lies.” (9)
2. Digging Up Wooden Teeth – Sprout settles back into familiar territory with a song that sounds like an outtake from Paul McCartney’s excellent self-titled solo album. “Shoot, shoot, shoot…” (8)
3. Mayhem Stone – Nice little pop nugget accented with a Casio electronic keyboard. Classic Sprout bedroom pop. “Try to see it, in your own way. Shove it off & fly away.” (6)
4. And So On – This one has a little more growl that the two previous tracks. Tobin still incorporating that electronic piano into the mix. “Attempting them, you realize the comfort of your ties.” (7)
5. Making a Garden – Things get a little more experimental on track 5 with some blurry effects added to the music and Tobin’s vocals. A bit more ominous than your typical Sprout track which tends to be warm and sunny. Sort of sounds like Tobin Sprout takes a stab at doing a Circus Devils song. Not sure this really works. “Something that can be done when nature follows its course.” (4)
6. Vertical Insect (The Lights Are On) – Sounds like a paint-by-numbers, sub-two-and-a-half minute Tobin Sprout pop song. A pleasant track, but not one that’ll linger in your head for too long. “The insane have moved on.” (6)
7. Maid to Order – After a few somewhat forgettable songs to close the first side of the album, side 2 picks things up with this track. Tobin provides a great melodic vocal performance and this churns along like a classic GBV mid-tempo rocker. Love the guitar tone he achieves on this one. “Maybe it’s the pure that make the elementary sure that way.” (8)
8. Liquor Bag – Tobin add a little more snarl to this track and it works well. Alternates between singing and more of a raspy, Dylanesque spoken-word sort of thing. “You bit down hard now it’s gone.” (7.5)
9. Who’s Adolescence – Another McCartney-sounding piano ballad from Tobin. He majors in this space and has no qualms mining heavily from it. And why not, as it suits him so well. “In finding a time enclosed, put shoes on a rabbit.” (8)
10. Lucifer’s Flaming Hour – Song title screams Circus Devils. However, the style and arrangement are far removed from that dark world, as this one has some great jangle to it. “Sulking back & forth, sticking to your guns non-stop.” (8)
11. 100% Delay – A mid-tempo rocker with some bounce to it. Tobin isn’t reinventing the wheel, but he is churning out consistent, slightly off-kilter pop songs. “Broken clock steeples often listlessly confused.” (7)
12. And Then the Crowd Showed Up – Arrangement is somewhat similar to “Liquor Bag” but there’s more sunshine here and it is a more fleshed out song. Along with “Smokey Joe’s Perfect Hair,” serves as a great bookend to the album. “And then the crowd showed up; Every evening with a coffee in their hand.” (9)
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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Wrinkled Thoughts/Eyesinweasel (2000)

First things first - Eyesinweasel is an awful band name. I mean, just horrible. What the fuck, Tobin? With that out of the way, it’s great to hear Sprout once again backed by a proper band. For those fans who wonder what a GBV 2.0 album like Mag Earwhig! would sound like if Tobin was still in the band, several tracks on Wrinkled Thoughts come reasonably close to satisfying that curiosity. Sprout’s previous effort, Let’s Welcome the Circus People, while solid in its own right, is lacking something. Other than the three tracks Spoon drummer Jim Eno played on, Tobin elected to go with a drum machine. It’s safe to say that having an actual rock drummer is typically a better option than utilizing a drum machine. Not to completely knock drum machines, as they certainly have their place, but an overreliance on them gets old quickly. Backed by a new band [Nick Kizirnis (guitar), Dan Toohey (bass), John Peterson (drums)] and upping the fidelity (all but three of the songs were recorded in Dayton recording studios (Cro-Magon and Cyberteknics), Sprout sounds reinvigorated on Wrinkled Thoughts. It’s unfortunate that the band only recorded one studio album, as Wrinkled Thoughts is an excellent debut album that is certainly on par with Pollard’s first post-breakup version of GBV, and later his side projects like Boston Spaceships and Ricked Wicky.

1. Seven and Nine – The album jumps out of the gate sounding a lot like Tobin’s former band on this punk-tinged garage rocker. The tempo and energy is much higher than anything on his previous release. Great choice for an album opener, as it very effectively sets the tone and announces the new band’s presence. “He really didn't know that once signed, your soul is mine.” (9)
2. Dusting Coattails – Sprout and the band maintain the mood set on the opener with the album’s best track. Love the drum fill after the killer opening riff. Rivals some of the great fist-pumpers in the GBV catalog. Tobin doing his best Doug Gillard impersonation on the six-string. Could be interpreted as another Pollard diss track. “You covered my sunshine and clouded my days.” (10)
3. Slow Fanges – Less crunch and punch on this one which has Sprout tapping into that child-like, psych- carnival world he has spent a good amount exploring. “A hundred-monkey theory, an internet to the weary.” (6)
4. Marriage Incorporated – After a brief retreat to the twisted twee universe, the band grinds out another GBV-like garage rocker that transports me back to UtBUtS. Love the airy vocal melody Sprout contributes, like he did on those classic 90s records. “Defeat has no purpose; desire solutions.” (8)
5. Pure Flesh – Catchy, jangly earworm that fans of Sprout’s have come to love. This goes down nice and smoothly. Pure pop sunshine with a nod to the Fab Four. “Jump through my hoops and heckle them with cowboy boots and crazy horse threads.” (7.5)
6. Preferred Company – Sprout take a back seat on this song by guitarist Nick Kizirnis song. The arrangement is cool, but I’m not a big fan of Nick’s vocals which stand out too much and disrupt the flow of the album. “Keep your slogans at the bar.” (4)
7. Daughters of the Moon – Tobin incorporates some harpsichord on this dreamy pop nugget that is square in his sweet spot. Could serve as the perfect soundtrack to a beautiful summer evening. “If we offer our support, is there anything that we can't do?” (8)
8. There She Goes Again – Between the song title and the opening guitar line, it’s hard not to think of The La’s “There She Goes.” This song doesn’t reach the level of that jangle classic, but it’s not too shabby in its own right. “If an angel called you on your car phone…” (7.5)
9. Little Bored – Well, it is an apt title. My least favorite song here. “I'm getting bored so bored so bored.” (3)
10. Jealous Mantles – I’m hot and cold with this one. My initial impression was that it sounded like Tobin taking a stab at some generic alt-rock song that was popular at the time. With repeated listens, I’ve warmed up to it a little more. Dig the guitar part during the outro. “It seems when you’re down you choke.” (6)
11. Hint #9 – Sprout and the band deliver a chugging, punk-pop nugget that just eclipses the one and a half minute mark. Hard to believe that’s not Mitch Mitchell playing guitar. “What are the things you live for boy?” (5.5)
12. Hands and Covers – The only song that makes it past the four-minute mark on Wrinkled Thoughts is another Beatles-leaning track with a fantastic vocal melody supplied by Tobin. Again, having a real, competent human behind the drum kit makes a big difference. I can’t imagine a song like this being on a GBV record. Thankfully, we have an Eyesinweasel album to deliver it. “Coming around my head…” (8)
13. Slow Fanges (Reprise) – Track three gets another chance to make an impression, this time rearranged as a no-frills piano ballad. It’s a pleasant song, but I don’t see why there was a need to do a reprise. (5)
14. Ketiling Park – Several tracks on this album would most likely never find a home of a Guided By Voices record. This is not one of them. Has that classic mid-to-lo-fi aesthetic and down-but-not defeated vibe that some of the best GBV songs possess. Another strong album closer by Tobin. “They fixed the holes and sealed the human cracks by handing out the shirts off others backs.” (9)
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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cortez the killer wrote:
Thu Apr 21, 2022 11:12 pm
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Moonflower Plastic (Welcome to My Wigwam) (1997)

Nice take here. Apt observations on the influences. Really easy on the ears, and just a cut above Carnival Boy I think. All Used Up is the star of the show, for me...could have that one on repeat for a good while and destined for future mixes.

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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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I concur. Carnival is a strong record, but Moonflower ups the ante. That runs of Angels --> Used Up --> Since I is pretty great!

If you get around to the Eyesinweasel record, I think you'll find much to like there.
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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Lost Planets & Phantom Voices (2003)

After a four-year hiatus, Sprout was back with his fourth solo album. I use the term “hiatus” loosely, as Tobin did not sit dormant during that time period. He formed a new band, Eyesinweasel, which released an album in 2000 (Wrinkled Thoughts) and subsequently toured in support of it. He reconnected with his old bandmate, Robert Pollard, on a postal collaboration side project (Airport 5) which yielded 2001’s Tower in the Fountain of Sparks. That album received mixed reviews, but I think it’s an excellent record with plenty of Pollard/Sprout classics – “Total Exposure,” “Circle of Trim,” “Stifled Man Casino,” “Feathering Clueless (The Exotic Freebird)” and “Remain Lodging (At Airport 5).” Additionally, Tobin was still active as a visual artist, highly-regarded for his photo realistic painting. Lost Planets & Phantoms Voices is another hybrid recording, with the songs being recorded in professional studios and Tobin’s home studio. Aside from a few tracks, Sprout enlists the support of Nick Kizirnis (lead guitar), Jim Macpherson (drums), Dan O’Connor (bass), and indie-rock band, The Impossible Shapes. Kizirnis was a carryover from Eyesinweasel; Macpherson worked with Guided By Voices and The Breeders; O’Connor played in Mink. The release notes for the album lay out what listeners can expect:
‘Lost Planets’ shows Mr. Sprout heading back to the basement and tackling the majority of the producing and engineering duties himself. This blissed-out recording (replete with delightful tape saturation - bathed in analog warmth) perfectly captures Sprout’s warm, lissome vocals, electric drones that stand majestically in waves of psychedelic fuzz and painterly instrumentation that has been a constant in the Sprout canon.
While this album does not achieve the heights of some of his previous releases, it does contain a pretty high ratio of upper-tier material. A bit more varied in style than the typical Sprout record, this is another strong addition to his catalog.

1. Indian Ink – Album kicks off with a fuzzy psych-pop song with Tobin handling all the instruments. Not the most lyrically complex song in the Sprout songbook, but the repetitive guitar riff is cool. “It’s Indian ink…” (6)
2. Doctor #8 – After going it alone on the previous track, Tobin taps The Impossible Shapes to back him as he heads back to the mid-60s on this Revolver-meets-Highway 61 Revisited sounding song. While the song certainly features those trademark high-pitched, melodic Sprout vocals, it’s nice to hear some lap steel and harmonica incorporated. The standout track on Lost Planets. “Recorded in the Congo, by captured Zulu men, I found this prescription. I hope you like it men.” (9)
3. Catch the Sun – Another full-band song, with the Kizirnis/Macpherson/O’Connor combo backing here. Has a guitar line that sounds a bit like “Like a Hurricane” weaving in and out throughout. This is a well-executed, straightforward rock song. “The gentle man of mystery, studying the sixties.” (7.5)
4. All Those Things We’ve Done – The Beatle Sprout is most aligned with is Paul McCartney. On this track, he draws inspiration from “the quiet Beatle,” George Harrison. This is a really pretty song with that strummed acoustic guitar placed perfectly-forward in the mix. “Jump in and out of pace, covered in Irish fate.” (8)
5. Martini – Instrumental that sounds like it was culled from the credits of an early James Bond movie. Interestingly enough, this track and “Catch the Sun” later appeared on the 2006 soundtrack to Fortunes. Shaken, not stirred. (5)
6. Rub Your Buddha Tummy – Super fuzzed-out, mid-fi psych track with Tobin handling all the instruments. Sprout is certainly moving outside the musical space he typically occupies with the tripped out guitar, vocals and monkish chants, so kudos for that. Otherwise, this song doesn’t do too much for me. Comes off as experimental for the sake of being experimental. (4)
7. Courage the Tack – As side one limps to a close with the instrumental and experimental meandering, “Courage the Tack” comes to the rescue, finishing the opening side on a strong note. Another mid-fi song where Tobin handles all the instruments, I love the multi-tracked chorus on this track. The GBV basement aesthetic looms large. “She offered some salvation…” (8)
8. Earth Links – Beautiful opening to side two with a song that features a similar hypnotic, looping riff that “Feathering Clueless (The Exotic Freebird)” and “Remain Lodging (At Airport 5)” off the 2001 Airport 5 collaboration with Pollard do. Maybe Tobin should’ve added some parentheses to “Earth Links,” too. The fact that this is just Tobin with no backing band makes me think this might’ve been a leftover/reject from the Tower in the Fountain of Sparks postal project. “Reverse your secrets for me. I think I’m falling.” (8)
9. As Lovely as You – This is a solid mid-tempo song that doesn’t do much to separate itself from the other material on Lost Planets. Don’t hate it. Don’t think about it too much. “So impressed with mine, we injest our minds.” (5.5)
10. Shirley the Rainbow – Another Harrison-influenced song with its arrangement tilting more in the folk direction than the psych one. Difficult not to smile when this song comes on. Love Tobin’s vocal performance on this track. This is the final full-band song on the album. “Under covers of gold, rock and roll.” (8.5)
11. Fortunes Theme #1 – Tobin brings back his cheap-sounding Casio for this instrumental. Artistic license and all, this comes off a filler and kills the vibe “Shirley the Rainbow” just set. (1)
12. Cleansing from the Storm – Intended or not, coming off the previous instrumental, the title here is certainly apropos. Other than the fact it is 4:27 long, this most definitely is the type of Tobin Sprout contribution you would expect to find on a Guided By Voices album. Not an ass-shaker/fist-pumper, but more of a head-bobber/foot-tapper. “Carry a big stick along the way.” (7.5)
13. Let Go of My Beautiful Balloon – Album concludes with the type of child-like, innocent song that Tobin has expertly crafted over the years. What makes this one immediately stand out is its length – 6:01. The typical Sprout song rarely hits the three-minute mark, let alone surpass six minutes. The drum machine fits this track like a glove. After moving beyond his comfort zone on several tracks for the project, Tobin shifts back to his wheelhouse for the final statement. “Taunting fingers, leading me to somewhere.” (8)
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by cortez the killer »

chuckrh wrote:
Tue Mar 29, 2022 1:04 pm
Robert indicated Saturday that there's another GBV in the can too.
Tremblers & Goggles By Rank slated for July.

Also some preliminary chatter about the 4 Suitcases being reissued as one massive vinyl box set (400 songs).
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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The Bluebirds of Happiness Tried to Land on My Shoulder (2010)

After a seven-year layoff from releasing an album, Tobin Sprout was back with The Bluebirds of Happiness Tried to Land on My Shoulder, released on Tobin’s new label, Moonflower Records. Recorded in his home studio, Tobin plays all instruments, save for three tracks, where the Vermillon brothers, Steve and Gary, play bass and drums, respectively. As a self-released record with essentially no promotion, this album barely made a mark when it was released. It is the least acknowledged or reviewed record in Sprout’s discography. It is also more outside the realm of what a Sprout typically sounds like, as he explores some different avenues of inspiration. While I am lukewarm on much of the material here, there are a few excellent tracks sprinkled in. Bluebirds of Happiness is also the final Sprout solo album before the GBV reunion show in 2011 which led to the reformation of the classic GBV lineup.

1. Pretty – Tobin’s voice sounds very different than on anything previous. Arrangement/production sounds like a lower fidelity version of some of those later Springsteen albums like Working on a Dream. Keyboards provide a swirling, dizzying effect. Twee vibe is high and straddling the cheesy line. “I pray for the pity of the hormone committee.” (5)
2. She’s on Mercury – As has been touched upon several times before, both Tobin and Robert Pollard share a fascination with flying, the sky and outer space in general. Those topics have surfaced a good amount in their songwriting over the years. Dig the staticky fade-in to start the song. Once the dust settles, some fantastic chiming guitars break through. We get some outer space sounds effects worked into the mix as well. (6)
3. Apple of My Eye - Beautifully strummed acoustic guitar ushers this song in. Tobin conjures a sweeping, orchestral vibe on this track. Neat hum-along to the piano during the bridge. “There was more to say…” (6.5)
4. You Make My World Go Down – Album takes a dark, menacing turn both in the arrangement and the lyrics. Tempo picks up significantly, as well. Steve & Gary Vermillon lend support as the rhythm section and it certainly elevates the song. Latter portion has some creepy, child-like voices dubbed in that remind me of those on Pearl Jam’s “Foxymophandlemama.” “I couldn’t hate you, but I can’t relate to you.” (7.5)
5. Wedding Song – This is a beautiful song. Song title and vibe naturally positions it as a good choice for a wedding song. Tobin nestles back into that tweeish innocence he executes so well. Tacks an excellent fuzzy guitar solo on the outro to usher this track out. “Sentimental rules the day, carrying us all away.” (9)
6. Soul Superman – Tobin dials up the jangle on this infectious song with a clever title. Love the double-tracked vocals as well. A nice, little mid-fi indie track. “You’re soul superman, brave and sure, but only in my dreams.” (7)
7. It’s Just the Way – Tobin taps into his inner Roy Orbison with his vocal performance. Acoustic guitar has some Latin tinges as well. Other than Tobin singing “It’s just the way” and humming, there’s not much more lyrically-speaking going on. Overall, I’d say this is a pretty song that doesn’t necessarily fit into my personal preference musically-speaking. “It’s just the way…” (5)
8. Casubury Bridge – The bleating synths reminds me of the production on the opening track, “Pretty.” This is not a bad song by any stretch. It’s just not my cup of tea. “So I’ll pound the drum of losing faith again.” (5)
9. Fix on Races – One of the most interesting, ambitious songs in the Tobin Sprout catalog and the best track on Bluebirds of Happiness. Those fuzzy, scuzzy garage rock guitars brush up against and, surprisingly, meld well with a stately, dignified orchestral arrangement. Tobin appropriately stretches this sprawling epic out to almost five and a half minutes. Another great guitar solo during the outro. “I wanna play my imperfections.” (10)
10. Field in May – Album concludes with Tobin alone at the piano, pumping out another tender, McCartney-esque ballad. “Johnny come lately.” (6)
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by tinnitus photography »

one of these days i will photograph them on the undercard of some festival so i get actual light to work with, rather than the dogshit mix of blue/purple/magenta that Bob prefers and constantly maintains as stage lighting.

(i hope his facial expression is a bit more flattering when that day comes)

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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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tinnitus photography wrote:
Tue May 03, 2022 7:49 am
one of these days i will photograph them on the undercard of some festival so i get actual light to work with, rather than the dogshit mix of blue/purple/magenta that Bob prefers and constantly maintains as stage lighting.

(i hope his facial expression is a bit more flattering when that day comes)
Bob's getting up there in age. He's even older than me. I'm surprised he can even still do the kicks like that. You know it's got to hurt.

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

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chuckrh wrote:
Tue May 03, 2022 8:47 am
tinnitus photography wrote:
Tue May 03, 2022 7:49 am
one of these days i will photograph them on the undercard of some festival so i get actual light to work with, rather than the dogshit mix of blue/purple/magenta that Bob prefers and constantly maintains as stage lighting.

(i hope his facial expression is a bit more flattering when that day comes)
Bob's getting up there in age. He's even older than me. I'm surprised he can even still do the kicks like that. You know it's got to hurt.
Yeah, there is ZERO chance I'll be able to execute that move in my 60s. Keep it in motion, Bob.
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chuckrh
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by chuckrh »

cortez the killer wrote:
Tue May 03, 2022 9:50 am
chuckrh wrote:
Tue May 03, 2022 8:47 am
tinnitus photography wrote:
Tue May 03, 2022 7:49 am
one of these days i will photograph them on the undercard of some festival so i get actual light to work with, rather than the dogshit mix of blue/purple/magenta that Bob prefers and constantly maintains as stage lighting.

(i hope his facial expression is a bit more flattering when that day comes)
Bob's getting up there in age. He's even older than me. I'm surprised he can even still do the kicks like that. You know it's got to hurt.
Yeah, there is ZERO chance I'll be able to execute that move in my 60s. Keep it in motion, Bob.
I'm there (61). Not happening, haha

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by cortez the killer »

cortez the killer wrote:
Sat Apr 30, 2022 1:30 pm
chuckrh wrote:
Tue Mar 29, 2022 1:04 pm
Robert indicated Saturday that there's another GBV in the can too.
Tremblers & Goggles By Rank slated for July.
Image

Lizard On The Red Brick Wall
Alex Bell
Unproductive Funk
Roosevelt's Marching Band
Goggles By Rank
Cartoon Fashion (Bongo Lake)
Boomerang
Focus On The Flock
Puzzle Two
Who Wants to Go Hunting


Out 7/1/22

You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
- DPM

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3milelake
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by 3milelake »

^^I was getting a little concerned, I mean they haven’t a record out since March 4th^^

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cortez the killer
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Re: Guided by Voices/Robert Pollard

Post by cortez the killer »

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The Universe and Me (2017)

For the second time, there is a seven-year gap between Sprout’s solo albums. This time around the delay can be contributed to Robert Pollard reforming the classic Guided By Voices lineup for a string of reunion records – Let’s Go Eat the Factory (2012), Class Clown Spots a UFO (2012), The Bears for Lunch (2012), English Little League (2013), Motivational Jumpsuit (2014) and Cool Planet (2014). Shortly after Cool Planet dropped, the classic lineup was finished again and Tobin was back to operating as a solo artist. After self-releasing The Bluebirds of Happiness Tried to Land on My Shoulder the last time around, Sprout hooked up with indie label Burger Records for The Universe and Me. In addition to releasing Tobin’s latest album, Burger reissued his first two records, Carnival Boy and Moonflower Plastic, both which had been out of print. The Universe and Me was recorded entirely at Tobin’s Leland, Michigan home studio, and features him playing every instrument, except for three tracks, where Gary Vermillion returns behinds the drums. Sprout had contributed some strong material on those GBV reunion albums and was in the midst of a latter-day hot streak. On The Universe and Me, Sprout seems fully aware of his own mortality, reflecting back fondly on the innocence of his childhood and tracing it to where he now stands as a sixty-two year old man. The release notes for the album do a good job summarizing the overall vibe of the project:
The Universe and Me takes a deliberately primitive approach that focuses on feeling, as opposed to production. The result is a vague bridge between the ballads of psych-era Beatles, and the haunting vulnerability of Daniel Johnston's Hi, How Are You?. It's no surprise, then, that Sprout penned and illustrated his own magical children's books as The Universe and Me plays like a deceptively dense reimagining of simple subjects like comic books, finding your purpose in life, and growing old.
The album made a bigger impression on fans and critics than his previous one, Bluebirds of Happiness. Part of that can be attributed to him being more visible in the wake of the classic GBV lineup reuniting. However, I think the overall strength of material plays a role as well. This is a much better album than his previous solo venture. And while he appears to draw inspiration from areas that aren’t as obvious as they sound now (John Lennon, David Bowie and Daniel Johnston), this album is unmistakably a Tobin Sprout production. It is so much so, that the notoriously snarky Pitchfork, in its review of the record, proclaimed, “Sprout’s dogged insistence on sticking to his original strategy casts him as the AC/DC of lo-fi rock.”

1. Future Boy Today/Man of Tomorrow – Tobin utilizes an old GBV tactic with his first solo “slash” song. Ironically enough, this one Sprout wrote for the next GBV album. As mentioned above, Pollard disbanded the classic lineup and the next Geebs record, 2016’s Please Be Honest, did not include Sprout. Instead the song surfaces on a solo record. After a late start hitting the record button, this one is off and running. Classic, distorted, chugging, lo-fi garage rocker that fans of Tobin’s old band have come to know and love. “There’s just so many things that need to be explained.” (7.5)
2. The Universe and Me – Back to the grand piano for the title track on this ying to the previous track’s yang. As I’ve mentioned several times before, one of Tobin’s primary inspirations has been Paul McCartney. Here he comes off sounding more like Paul's old bandmate, John Lennon, in his post-Beatles solo career. “I’ll take along my wings so all my dreams can fly.” (7)
3. A Walk Across the Human Bridge – Another stylistic detour from Sprout as he gets all loose and sloppy. This time he dips into the sleazy, glam rock world of David Bowie and Mick Ronson. Not a side he typically shows, but it is great when he lets it rip, as he does here with some wicked guitar shredding. “Something’s broken, something’s broken…” (9)
4. Manifest Street – From one of the most high-energy tracks he’s recorded, to a tender, bleating song that could pass for a lullaby. After all, Tobin has written and illustrated children’s books like Tinky Puts His Little Moon to Bed. A master of many trades, Sprout exhibits some great acoustic guitar playing. “In a treasure chest, the dreams you’ve kept.” (7)
5. Honor Guard – Piano ballad with some awkwardly-strummed, fuzzed-out guitar. Production weighs things down with a muffled cloud of distortion. Vocals buried so deep you can barely make them out. Comes off like an extended snippet. “Don’t you cry wolf.” (6)
6. When I Was a Boy – Another child-like piano ballad with Tobin sounding incredibly young and vulnerable. Strong Daniel Johnson vibe to this beautiful song that has the adult Sprout reflecting back on boy Sprout. “I still see the boy. I still feel the days.” (8)
7. Cowboy Curtains – Another Lennon-styled piano ballad with blasts of distorted electric guitar. Really dig the double-tracked, harmonizing vocals. Sounds like a lost Plastic Ono Band track. “Even though we’re certain, take us away.” (7)
8. Heavenly Bones – Side two opens with a dirgey, piano track that drags a bit. Tobin had some good back-and-forth sequencing going earlier, but now the record gets bogged down a bit. “We watched the parade as it swirled and slipped away.” (5)
9. Heart of Wax – The piano streak is broken with this lively acoustic guitar track that provides some much-appreciated sunshine. In a fair and just world, this is an indie hit. “Walk in the clouds with a heart of wax.” (8.5)
10. I Fall You Fall – Ten songs into his second post-GBV solo album, Tobin drops this masterpiece on us. The track is an infectious, Crazy Horse-styled stomper and I simply can’t get enough of it. In a neck-and-neck race with “Hit Junky Dives” for my favorite solo Tobin Sprout song. “It’s so simple.” (10)
11. Tomorrow From Heaven – Tobin’s vocals are buried deep in the mix on this mid-fi piano/acoustic guitar offering. Add a layer or two of distortion, and it’s essentially impossible to make out the lyrics. Still, dig the mood he is able to conjure. “It’s the end of the night, cool heads take flight.” (6)
12. To Wake Up June – What sounds like a cacophonous fiddle overtakes something that began as another piano ballad. Once again, lyrics are difficult to discern. (4)
13. Just One Kid (Takes on the World) – High-tempo, garage punk shredder that explodes out from the shadows of the previous two muffled-lyric tracks. Tobin reconnecting with some of that sleazy glam rock he tackled on “A Walk Across the Human Bridge.” “So your birthmark looks like Satan…” (7)
14. Future Boy (Reprise) – The opening track is rearranged as, you guessed it, a Lennon-styled piano ballad. Beginning sounds a lot like the aforementioned artist’s “(Just Like) Starting Over.” I like the previous arrangement better, but this one works, too. “A man of tomorrow…” (6)
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
- DPM

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