21 June 2013

21st June - Guided by Voices' Bee Thousand

Artist – Album: Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand
Released:  21st June 1994

Sounds Like: Shit yeah, it's cool

I stuck this album on ten minutes ago, and I’m already on the sixth track. Say what you want about Guided by Voices, but they don’t mess about.

If you are going to say something about them though, I do hope it’s positive. Because GbV are one of the most important and influential rock bands of all time. Yep. At times they laid down experimental, punk-tinged rock tunes of the sort that made a name for fellow cult heroes Pavement. They mixed that though with bustling pop melodies that certainly rubbed off on nineties darlings Weezer. Robert Pollard’s mannish vocals and obtuse, childlike imagery can bring to mind the great Neutral Milk Hotel. Their seemingly unstemmable flow of ideas has been mirrored by the likes of the Mountain Goats and the Magnetic Fields’ Stephen Merrit. However, their influence is felt most keenly on the thousands of great unknown bands worldwide, those who record at home and on their computers, for whom DIY ethic or a lo-fi quality isn’t a choice but a necessity.

Released a full eleven years after they first formed, Bee Thousand was the album that finally helped them bridge that gap from being a great local band to a great band all round. It fires off great tracks at a relentless pace – ‘Hardcore UFO’s’, ‘Tractor Rape Chain’, ‘The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory’, ‘Smothered In Hugs’ ‘Echos Myron’ and ‘Gold Star for Robot Boy’  are all brilliant little songs that light up the first half of the album alone – and strikes a wonderful mix of quirky rock and gentle pop.

Quite simply, it’s excellent. It may not have been recorded in a studio, but it’s better than 99.9% of the works that were.

Albumaday... rating:  9/10

1.       Hardcore UFO’s – 1:54
2.       Buzzards and Dreadful Crows – 1:43
3.       Tractor Rape Chain – 3:04
4.       The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory – 1:45
5.       Hot Freaks – 1:42
6.       Smothered in Hugs – 2:59
7.       Yours to Keep – 1:15
8.       Echos Myron – 2:42
9.       Gold Star for Robot Boy – 1:39
10.   Awful Bliss – 1:12
11.   Mincer Ray – 2:21
12.   A Big Fan of the Pigpen – 2:09
13.   Queen of Cans and Jars – 1:55
14.   Her Psychology Today – 2:04
15.   Kicker of Elves – 1:04
16.   Ester’s Day – 1:51
17.   Demons Are Real – 0:48
18.   I Am A Scientist – 2:30
19.   Peep-Hole – 1:25
20.   You’re Not an Airplane – 0:33

Listen to ‘Echos Myron’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYtEulKl3yE

Also released on the 21st June:
1965: The Byrds – Mr Tambourine Man
Also released on the 21st June:
2004: Badly Drawn Boy – One Plus One is One

Also released on the 21st June:
2004: Kings of Convenience – Riot On an Empty Street

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