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 A Slow Year for Bob
Author: breno 
Date:   04-22-12 20:52

Guided By Voices have announced that they will have a third album coming out this year:

http://www.undertheradarmag.com/news/guided_by_voices_announces_yet_another_album_for_2012

I know Pollard had his recent solo album Mouseman Something or Other. but m I forgetting something or has he only released two albums to date this year with just two more announced (so far)? Is the lazy fucker on vacation or something?

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 Re: A Slow Year for Bob
Author: nosepail 
Date:   04-22-12 21:17

GBV is my favorite band, perhaps of all time, and even I have to say that the news of a 3rd record in 2012 jumps the shark.

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 Re: A Slow Year for Bob
Author: rhettlawrence 
Date:   04-23-12 01:19

Especially when even the first one just wasn't all that good. Like you, nosepail, I had really high hopes for that record and it really just does not do it for me. I'm not sure I'll buy the next one unless one of you tells me it's completely amazing.

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 Re: A Slow Year for Bob
Author: breno 
Date:   04-23-12 12:11

It's an odd thing to call a guy who's released an album every two weeks for the last 20 years lazy, but I kind of think Pollard is. He's long ago decided that it's much easier to just record the snippet of a catchy melody and the fragment of an evocative lyric and call it done rather than put in the time and effort to actually develop those basic building blocks into finished songs.

If he took the time to develop the best material on all three of the GBV albums he's slated for this year (and I won't even get into the inevitable solo albums and side projects), he'd likely have one amazing album instead of three intriguing but ultimately frustrating ones.

He's managed to make the haphazard nature of his work part of his appeal and I'm as guilty as anyone for enabling him to, because I'm willing to put up with 10 frustrating snippets for every "Smothered in Hugs" or "Gold Star for Robot Boy" or "Hold on Hope," to say nothing of songs that manage to be both brilliant songs and frustrating snippets simultaneously, like "Jar of Cardinals" or "Game of Pricks." Moments like those have always made it possible to ignore or forgive the ginormous amount of promising but ultimately discarded waste Pollard has peddled to his fanbase as finished product over the last 20 years.

But I think he's going to be pushing his luck with three GBV albums in one year. In these days where it's much easier to have complete access to someone's work without actually buying it than it is to find someplace that's actually selling it, flooding the market with half-assery is perhaps not the best strategy to take in order to earn a living in the music business. When people can now preview an entire album before dropping $12 on it, it's much easier for them to say "You know, of the 27 tracks listed here, only 3 of them are actually songs. I think I'll save my money" than it used to be.

Now more than ever, Pollard and company might be better served if they would actually turn a critical ear towards their own work once in a while and said to themselves, "you know, this thing could be really good if we worked on it for another couple of days" instead of "Right. Good enough! Next!"

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 Re: A Slow Year for Bob
Author: nosepail 
Date:   04-23-12 12:53

Breno, "Hold on Hope," is universally loathed. Do you actually like that one? Just curious. (I totally agree with your general point.)

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 Re: A Slow Year for Bob
Author: breno 
Date:   04-23-12 15:18

Yeah, I like "Hold On Hope." Call me crazy.

Though I also never paid it much mind until Glen Campbell's cover of it, so it may have more to do with his version, as it's somewhat more powerful when sung by a guy facing down Alzheimer's.



Post Edited (04-23-12 15:27)

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 Re: A Slow Year for Bob
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   04-23-12 15:27

Well put! You just articulated all the problems I have with Pollard and GbV.

The GbV best-of convinced me that there's a great rock band waiting to get out of Pollard's head, but that he doesn't give enough of a shit to give it a hand.

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 Re: A Slow Year for Bob
Author: Tom_Violence 
Date:   05-07-12 17:00

I don't find his work to be haphazard at all. All of the Boston Spaceships albums kick uniform ass. I thought Reunion album #1 was great. I can't wait for #2 to drop next month and I'm geeked to see there will be a third. I can't imagine any fan of Alien Lanes not enjoying his latest solo album Mouseman Cloud.

I think in the internet age most listeners don't have time or the attention span for Bob's sprawling output. Then again, I enjoy most of the Circus Devils albums.

If I have any criticism of Bob it would be that he tends to release too many albums that sound the same. This would include most of the albums released under his own name with Todd Tobias producing. Every once in a while his solo albums are pretty good (Mouseman Cloud, Elephant Jokes), but the rest by and large stick to a generic mid-fi indie rock template. I like my Uncle Bob to be weird and make others uncomfortable at Thanksgiving dinner.

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