Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand

In case you haven’t noticed, music appears on this site as I find it rather than as it’s released. So while this generally means most of the music here is new, occasionally an album that is many years old will appear. Such albums are classics from years gone by that I have only just stumbled across. Guided By Voices are here because until a month ago, I hadn’t listened to them (at least not consciously). My introduction came through Bee Thousand, their 7th album (of 15!), which I’m reliably told is a good place to start. So much about this album hit me from the very start. First was the (lack of) production. This is lo-fi in its truest form. The sound has a very raw feel to it, as if the whole album was recorded on the cheapest of equipment, in one take and then sent directly to the production line. Another thing that’s immediately noticeable is the VERY short song length. Only one song exceeds 3 minutes and the entire album goes for only 36 minutes; quite a feat for a 20-track album. But what is truly amazing about Bee Thousand is that despite having so many tracks, each has its own unique sound and each is as good as the last. Robert Pollard, the man behind this band, must be one of history’s most prolific songwriters because writing just 20 of these little gems would have been an achievement; to do so continuously for 18 years is just phenomenal. I still find it weird how he’s come up with so many clever ideas for melodies and yet so often they feel underdeveloped (many songs just end suddenly and nearly all sound unpolished). Is this wasted potential or a deliberate style? I don’t know. But I’m enjoying what I’m hearing and in the end, that’s all that matters.

Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory – I actually heard the cover of this of by Trail of Dead first. It feels weird going back to the orignal seeing as it sounds like a dingy pub version itself. Either way, I love it.

God Star For Robot Boy – There’s so many songs here that it’s impossible to keep track. Not only that but they’ve all got their own special sound, making it near impossible to choose between them. What an effort.

Ester’s Day – And a third since they’re all so tiny.

7 comments:

Dave said...

You followed my path to them exactly! I heard Goldheart by Trail of Dead and picked up Bee Thousand. For me it's Tractor Rape Chain and Kicker of Elves, not to mention Hardcore UFOs and Goldheart and Her Psychology Today and...

Yeah, lots of good shit here. It's more rewarding cause they make you fight to get to it.

Sandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra said...

Oops, double comment sorry.

I remember finding about Guided By Voices through a Strokes video "Someday" where they were playing Family Feud against The Strokes. GBV have also done an awesome live cover of the song of Someday or maybe that was Built To Spill...I forget. :\

I fell in love with the follow up of Bee Thousand; Alien Lanes. My favourite. So many short good tracks.

Angus said...

GBV are urrounded by love!

The Strokes do an awesome cover of 'A Salty Salute' and with ...Trail of Dead covering them, it's like the fun never stops.

wwjblog said...

from one GBV fan to another:

http://whatwouldjb.blogspot.com/2007/01/i-was-guided-by-voices.html

i love you,
jesus christ

Rock Daze said...

hahahaha, wwjblog has necrophiliac tendencies

Peter said...

......weird. Why do i get the feeling I'm getting worse at picking tracks. Everyone seems to have their own favourites and they're always different to mine. Either I just happen to pick albums were every track is brilliant (i prefer this scenario) or I'm losing touch....