Is this record worth a spin? Should I buy it? Will it add to or detract
from my credibility? Should I care?
I wish someone could break it down for me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guided By Voices- Bug House

Bob Pollard, the former schoolteacher turned indie-rock godfather, lifted off from Dayton, OH, charting a course for the ears of a generation of music fans who, to this day, are still trying to resolve the impact that his band Guided By Voices has had on the collective consciousness. Bob is a prodigious songwriter, and punk wordstock troubadour, who has always straddled a line between a Beatles pop sound and The Who's bombast. Bug House is a "sampler" of live and radio performances put together by Robert Gray, a GBV fan who has taken on the task of assembling many of Bob's radio performances and live sessions into a cohesive compilation. Interspersed with radio interview snippets are some wonderful versions of GBV songs: "Watch Me Jumpstart", "Hot Freaks", and "Tractor Rape Chain" from the 1-2 punch of Bee Thousand & Alien Lanes, a stripped-down version of "Bulldog Skin" from Mag Earwhig!, "Atom Eyes" and "Burning Flag Birthday Suit" from Under The Bushes, Under The Stars. Two tracks from the Do The Collapse record, "Surgical Focus" and "Dragons Awake",  receive paradoxical treatment here. On the Rick Ocasek produced record, "Surgical Focus" is a busy, rousing anthem but is presented on Bug House as a delicate acoustic number with Pollard singing in a plaintive alto/falsetto voice. Conversely, "Dragons Awake" is a restrained acoustic number on the proper album, yet receives the full bombastic GBV treatment on this collection. Both Bug House versions are superior to the album versions, leading me to believe that Ocasek did a haphazard job of producing Collapse (which also happened to be GBV's greatest attempt at producing a radio-friendly record), failing to understand the dynamics behind Pollard's songwriting. Their are some rarities on here and the short radio interview segments are entertaining, and enlightening. Guided By Voices fans will be ecstatic to add this to their collections.

Buy this record if you're looking for treasure in the attic and grandma says it's ok to keep whatever you find.


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