Thursday, 31 May 2007


Taken from "Choreographed Man Of War" 2001

"Aerial, I
I took two of these
Offered to take away
Where it has always gone
Leading you
Leading all the way
Offered to do my work
Now it is always done
Leading you
Leading all the way
Aerial, I
I took all of these"

A very long instrumental introduction of a lone guitar with an echoey effect that reminds me of a more sinister Red House Painters song that I have. Then Bobs vocals arrive and the song just floats out the speakers and the effect is both relaxing and uplifting. A great highlight from "Choreographed Man Of War".

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Hank's Little Fingers

Taken from "Devil Between My Toes" 1987

We're watchin Hank
We're watchin Hank's little fingers
We're watchin Hank
We're watchin Hank's little fingers

Touching like new skin
pulling in the fibers within
hammerbox and strum
Beating on the Indian Drum

Unless you got the answers
Don't patronize the mountain man, uh-oh-oh
Unless you got the answers
Don't patronize the mountain man, uh-oh-oh


swimming river flow
rifle, bullet, arrow, and bow,
poster, paint, and tile
lepos, chivine, car and reptile

unless you've got the answers
don't patronize the mountain men."

A tribute to Hank Marvin perhaps? A great song with a fine melody. Niave in some respects but shows how Bob Pollard was a great song writer way back in the day. Someone he can make a list of random words and objects a fist punching rally cry.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Psychic Pilot Clocks Out

Taken from "Not In My Airforce" 1996

"The sign shed light on who is lonely
Run and hide - I'm alright
Light me, blood clot
I am only a child of light
And I'm going all the way
And I've thrown it all away

Service time is lonely
Live it up before you pass away

In my sight- no more fighting
Don't be defensive- not with me
Every issue presents itself
We address them quickly
And throw them all away
And I've thrown them all away

Service time is lonely
Live it up before you pass away

I feel life passing on by us..."

A squally guitar track fades in for about 30 seconds before we hit the song proper with a lone electric guitar and we are then into classic Pollard territory with rolling and crashing drums and a chorus that just lodges itself inside your brain! "I feel life passing us by". Fantastic stuff. This is the stuff of Pollard Legend. Great song.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Scare Me No.3

Taken from "Suitcase 2" 2005

Lyrics Unknown

An acoustic track with strong vocals and some great strumming from Bob and another song with the Number 3 in the title, much like the last song. Strange how that works out sometimes. Sounds like one of the acoustic starts that sometimes pepper album tracks that bob does. Crazy lyrics as ever.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

3 Year Old Man

Taken from "Devil Between My Toes" 1987

Lyrics Unknown

A spooky sounding guitar fills this track with a metronomic riff that sounds like the start of some "The Who" tracks. An instrumental track that is pretty good but doesnt really take off.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Dog's Out

Taken from "Devil Between My Toes" 1987

"Come to me
Say you will say you won't
Come to me
Say you will say you won't
Come to me
Say you will say you won't
Come to me
Say you will say you won't
And I must get high workin that line
And I must get high workin that line
Don't hide come to me
I'm workin that mile -Don't hide come to me"

A very 60s pop sounding moment from "Devil Between Your Toes" (Is this a reference to foot cheese). A strong track with excellent vibrant vocals by Mr.Pollard and a nice chorus. There are some real gems on the early albums. "Come to Me!" indeed Mr Pollard!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Tainted Angels With Butter Knives

Taken from "Suitcase 2"

Lyrics Unknown.

A muffled and fuzzed up Suitcase track with a bizzare title. The vocals are lost in the muddy mess of recorder fizz and grot. Though Im sure he says "Wankers" at one point. Which is nice. You can hear the beginnings of a lovely melody and song amongst the mud. Nice bass though.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Serious Bird Woman (You Turn Me On)

Taken from "Normal Happiness" 2006

Lyrics Unknown

Bang up to date with music from the 2006 album "Normal Happiness". A nice song but feature some weird warlby vocals by the Pollard-miester. Hard to describe the technique he uses here but it certainly takes some getting used to. What happened to the english sounding geezer in his earlier work? The song almost drifts into being out of tune but manages to stay there and has a nice refrain towards the end. I like "Normal Happiness" but this isnt one of my favourits from it.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Red Ink Superman

Taken from "Motel Of Fools" 2003

"Now and then
She serenades the system
I like looking at the crime
I like looking in
Don't fill up your freezer
At Henry's disco
Last night was all over
Last night is all gone
You paid the price
You paid the bill
Zipping in and out
Where are the perfect suits
Tags still hang
From the red light special
From the blue ink dream
From the white man's money
And you know
Ain't no clouds above ya
Proves the angels love ya
And the white man
Now you wanna go
Now you wanna swim
Working on your man
Red ink superman
We'll even the score in World War IV"

Take from one of my least favourite of the "Robert Pollard" albums. Some of the songs are just too damn weird and discordant for my tastes. This song starts with room sounds, clinking and then ultra-slowed down vocals before we hit the song proper nearly 2 minutes in. Like the pounding drum sounds that appear between the mainly guitar led track. Not a bad song but I find the vocals slightly off and feels like tit once to be epic but doesn't quite get there. Ends in a horrible mess of guitars and randomly played instruments. Nuff said.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Lets's Ride

Taken from "Forever Since Breakfast" 1986

"She looked up in the noonday sun, said, "Fighter jets are so unreal"
But we've got a job to be done, come on

When I was just a boy, I saw the kings of the big gold cities
But as they died I dried up inside -- let's ride

Let's ride on airplanes and buses
Let's ride to the end of the line
Let's ride on fast motorcycles
Let's leave the routines of living behind

We pulled into a tick-tock town and all the people looked so happy
Another trip down the elephant slide -- let's ride

Let's ride on subways and steeples
Let's ride to the end of the line
Let's ride on prescriptions and bottles
Let's leave the routines of living behind

Let's ride on airplanes and buses
Let's ride to the end of the line
Let's ride on fast motorcycles
Let's leave the routines of living behind"

Lets take a trip back in time to the beginning to Guided By Voices and the "Forever Since Breakfast" EP. "Lets Ride" is a very REM inspired song with a nice hook and chorus. The production of this early EP reminds me of early era-REM, in fact the lyrics and everything remind me of REM. REM, but a bit different. Its a nice song. Quite soft and winsome.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Marchers in Orange

Taken from "Fast Japanese Spin Cycle" 1994

"The white line of tracers
For the facers of the aftermath
Positioned in the situation
Lost in battles of love
Not learning not returning
Unborn unhatched
Yeah but wait
It's time to collide
To decide, if you will
A purpose for the marchers in orange
Still circus for the children in disguise
Throwing bones to the drug-sniffing dogs
Projecting what we've come to know as ours
For the colors we wear in our dreams
For the flags we fly in our films"

A glam rock beat great you to this mini-rockathon from the earlier days of Guided By Voices. This is a different version from the Vampire on Titus original and Im not sure if I prefer this amped up version or the original lo-fi strum. Is it about the Orange Men? This time they are marching, they are not in a Parade.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

The Best Of Jill Hives

Taken from "Earthquake Glue" 2003

"Paid up weathered and type-o,
clad in gladstone watch him go,
swimming beneath the microscope.
hello lonely bless the nation.
mr. skip to all or none,
wooden soldiers fall upon,
try to find what makes her tick,
while their finding out what makes them sick.

i dont know where you find your nerve,
i dont know how you choose your words,
speak the ones that suit you worse,
keep you grounded, sad and cursed,
circle the ones that come alive,
save them for the best of jill hives.

been around and left you flat,
tragically decided that,
every child of god's a brat,
and shes dying to escape them.
but do we really need to see,
all her punchdrunk history,
and which of it might hold the key
for the exit to her destiny.

i dont know where you find your nerve,
i dont know how you choose your words,
speak the ones that suit you worse,
keep you grounded, sad and cursed,
circle the ones that come alive,
save them for the best of jill hives.
number one in all our souls,
trifle in the crystal bowl,
fill it up with 9 to 5,
save them for the best of jill hives."

A single and one of the most well know Guided By Voices songs. I like the way it builds and has some great lyrics. The chorus as to be some of the most wonderful sounding Poetry that Bob has ever written, just read it and its flows so beautifully. Its a good song but not an absolute favourite of mine and I find the vocal effect a bit off putting, its all sibilance and "sesses" if you ask me. Who is Jill Hives?

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Skin Parade

Taken from "Universal Truths and Cycles" 2002

"For Chrissakes, Charley
Send them your love
Pictures from happier times
When babies acted like babies
So did the grown-ups
The band played "We All Fall Down"
And some of us did...

Fly off the wheel
Travel highwired
There are movements necessary
Then there is unnecessary motion
It happens all the time
You can see it swim

In the skin parade

Where other objects move too
Right through you

To the other side
It is come alive!
It is come alive

In the skin parade
In the parade of skin

Celebrating this level
Of concrete movement


Another Pollard song. Another Parade! The mans Parade Mad! Whats it with Parades! Starts with short acoustic bit with a tinkling of glass in the background and sounds like its recorded in a bar. I like that. The song then turns in a pulsing, industrial piece with off-kilter vocals with disturbing imagery of Skin on Parade. Are we all in the Skin Parade? Ends with a repeated word being shouted out.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Dolphins of Color

Taken from "Five" 2005


A mounrful Circus Devils song that is made up of a keyboard and strange persussion. Bobs voice is very deep and slow and gives a sense of forboding and darkness but with an uplifting chorus. Circus Devils are an odd band, sort of more experimental, but darker as well. "Dolphins of Color" is also a great name for a song.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Request Pharmaceuticals

Taken from "The Pipe Dreams Of The Instant Prince Whippet"

"Foul and unchanged
climbing the rope
Get in to the mood
do you think there's still hope

voted in no names
prescribing the dope

a father that requires skin
a christian who trusts in his bookie
zoos are the new truth
for the island-shopping rookie

evolutionary big shots
transcribing the words"

A great big fuzzy rock song weighing it at around 2 minutes. Quite an industrial sort of sound with pulsing guitars and drums and some fantastic lyrics. Another minor Classic that probably passes some by.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Asphyxiated Circle

Taken from "Half Smiles Of The Decomposed" 2004

"These thoughts replace when I'm on the floor
I cannot taste the sweetness anymore
You bi-polarize me with each test
Contaminate the faintest breath
For speaking well of in the name
Of where to watch and who to blame
All of us there
What should I wear

For human frailty on parade
To entertain you may invade
A silent party - secret wish
At best an unconvincing kiss

Expand, explode, wrinkle up or blow away

I look you up to let me down
I take the time to track you
Through chosen smoke-screen silhouettes
Who've earned the right to back you
This for so long
Perfect and wrong

You write me out - I reappear
To criticize you interfere
But I will say what I want to
And there is nothing you can do

Expand, explode, wrinkle up or blow away"

All the songs from the final Guided By Voices album have a strange longing and finality about them and many of the songs would stand well as a final song on an album/of a band. This is a great song which sounds like Guided By Voices, like no other band, but Guided By Voices. Even the lyrics hint at the end of an Era. What did GBV do? Expand, Explode, Wrinkle Up or Get Blown Away?

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Motor Away

Taken from "Demons & Painkillers" 2003

"When you motor away beyond the once-red lips
When you free yourself from the chance of a lifetime
You can be anyone they told you to
You can belittle every little voice that told you so
And then the time will come when you add up the numbers
And then the time will come when you motor away
Oh, why don't you just drive away?

When you motor away down the icy streets
You can't lie to yourself that it's the chance of a lifetime
You can be anyone they told you to
You can belittle every little voice that told you so
And the time will come when you add up the numbers
And then the time will come when you motor away
Oh, why don't you just drive away?

Come on
Speed on"

A slightly different and gravelly version of the "Alien Lanes" classic. A bone-fide Guided By Voices classic (though I prefer the proper version). As close as GBV come to standard Indie Rock but a sound that captures the sound of American Independant Rock during the Grunge years. Not sure about the echoed vocals at the end but still a good version of a brilliant song. A song to drive cars to.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Off The Floor

Taken from "The Grand Hour" 1993

"In my mind
There are dreams of me
Following white
See the form before my eyes
Wouldn't Jesus be surprised
If in colony
the way to see
And if color be
the way you see its
Distant greetings"

Starts off with a snippet of "Hot Freaks" then goes into what sounds like an out-take off "Bee Thousand" with a very Beatle-like sound. Litterally a song or out-take taken from the Studio Room floor. A simple but nice song.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Blue Moon Fruit

Taken from "Get Out of My Stations" 1994

Lyrics unknown

Not in any way related to the classic "Blue Moon" this extremely low-fi lumbering song sounds like it was recored in another room from the band during a rehersal. Drums change tempo, vocal are lost and the song falls apart whilst never being together. Sure, We love as much Pollard material as possible but this is just an out-take of a "song". Not that good then.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Chief Barrel Belly

Taken from "Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia" 1989

"I get mad at this world
Sit up and scream about it
Every dog has its day
And now they dream about it

Chorus: He said love is the one thing
We needed in this world to be happy

Got a mouth full of teeth
Got to end this searchin'
I got down on my hairless knees
For a tax reduction

Chorus, repeat"

A memorable early Guided By Voices with strange vocals but a fantastic chorus that stands out as one of the best of the "Box" set of early GBV albums. The lyrics in this song are very strong and feel like someone angry at the world and just asking for some good luck and happiness. Though I'm not sure where hairless knees come into it. Good song.

Friday, 11 May 2007

The Other Heart

Taken from "Five"


All the work of Todd Tobias I suppose but I can imagine Bob leaning over his shoulder suggesting "play that chord" with one beer bottle in his hand and a cig in his mouth. A nice orchestral sounding instrumental, that veers into Vangelis "Blade Runner" like territory. I like it and enjoy it when Pollard music goes into interesting new directions.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Kickboxer Lightning

Taken from "Choreographed Man Of War" 2001

"Kickboxer lightning
Kid bites the big one though
He lives behind me
And don't you want him in your head?
And don't you want him in your mind?

Big sparks make lightning
Screw with clips stretch one on one
No clinical high jinks
And some alternatives to your head
Forseen of course new states of mind

Kickboxer lightning
Preach ??? psychiatric matter plan

I want, I want to now
I want, I want to now

Kickboxer lightning
Kickboxer lightning
There it comes arriving
Comes pathetic on dead end street
Open up this black speed meet
Now don't you want them in your head?
And don't you want them in your mind?
In your mind
In your mind
In your mind!"

Great Indie Rock Tune with a killer hook. This Pollard song features vocals that remind me a lot of the style he has used on recent projects where is quite high and has an almost strangled quality to it. Kickboxer Lighning? What is it? Cool name for a car or a Karate film.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

I Surround You Naked

Taken from "From A Compound Eye" 2006

Lyrics Unknown.

An upbeat high kicking gem from "From A Compound Eye". You can almost see Bob kicking and holding out his Mic in defiance during this song. One of the highlights (of many) from this album and a definate recent live favourite.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Ill Replace You With Machines

Taken from "Earthquake Glue" 2003

"If since the letter,
made a deal go sour,
on pacts of golden seal,
post marked.

aint it funny how it gets there,
and they say it never does,
ill replace you with machines,
i cant face you.

so i wrote a letter,
to the messenger of my dreams,
i see him at a party,

aint it funny how it gets there,
and they say it never does,
ill replace you with machines
i cant face you. "

An almost industrial beat back up this crashing track from "Earthquake Glue" complete with Who-a-like guitars and phasing sounds. Theres something a bit menacing about the Chorus. A relationship on the rocks?

Monday, 7 May 2007

Immediate Frozen Lookalikes

Taken from "Suitcase 2" 2005.

Lyrics Unknown.

40 odd seconds a strangeness from Suitcase 2. Hard to review as its hardly a song, hardly a sketch of a song, just a snatch of obscure vocals and plucked guitar. Throwaway at its most throwaway.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Drinkers Peace (Live)

Taken from "Live At The Wheelchair Races" 2003

"At times I wish I was dead
Busy people dancing all over my head
Real shock value with every move they make
Real bad head-ache with every step they take

I get a contact buzz
Can't remember what the problem was
I find it hard to even care
Life was too real 'til you got there

My life is dirt but you seem to make it cleaner
Reduce my felony to a misdemeanor
When I feel sick you're an anti-biotic
Organize my world - my world's pointless
and chaotic"

One of the most heart breakingly beautiful songs ever written. Period. And the live version is just perfect (okay, its recorded a bit wobbly) but the emotion and the crowd response just sends a shiver down your spine. I love the part that goes "buzz,buzz,buzz,buzz,buzz". Simply beautiful. Is it a song about drowning out the pain of loosing someone through drink? Or it could be a song about drink as a crutch. Who knows. All I know is its one of the most heart-effecting songs ever.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

When She Turns 50

Taken from "Same Place The Fly Got Smashed" 1990

"The tavern's open again
The line-up who light up will surely decide the fate
Of these incorrigibles
Who plaster their messages up on the interstate

When she turns fifty
I might be dead

But acting happy again
Go singing his songs about rush-hour traffic jams
When the vodka kicks in
A night at the Rockies
Digging in for the slam

When she turn fifty
I'll bake the bread
I'll bake the bread."

A lovely soft song from early Guided By Voices, just Bob and an acoustic guitar and a whole lot of feeling. I love the internation of "Rush Hour Traffic Jams". The song feels like a women in her middle ages looking back on her life and looking forward with a sort of wisfulness. Nice.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Flowering Orphan

Taken from "From A Compound Eye" 2006.

Lyrics Unknown.

A special Wedding Anniversary "Pollard A Day" from me (its my 1st) and a lovely keyboardy/string arrangement from Mr Pollard from the mighty "From A Compound Eye". I like it when Bob looks beyond the standard band sound and introduces strings and keyboards as his songs sound even more beautiful.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Mannequin's Complaint

Taken from "Suitcase 2" 2005

Lyrics Unknown.

One of my favourite pieces of obscure Pollardisms. A classic sounding Prog Rock Post Psychedelic mini-epic with some of the most interesting instrumentation and ideas on any Pollard track without descending into the realms of discordant Recorder Grot. The Beatles would have loved to have recorded this, maybe the Bonzo Dog Do Da Band did at some point in an alternate reality.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Inchworm Parade

Taken from "I'm A Strong Lion" 2005

Lyrics Unknown

An acoustic track from a rare Pollard single release. Not a bad little ditty with the usual array of strange lyrics that somehow makes sense whilst making no sense. Its all about the emotion. Bob seems to like parades, Inchworms having parades and now Cats having Parades. Whatever next? A Badger Parade?

Tuesday, 1 May 2007


Taken from "Fast Japanese Spin Cycle" 1994

"Comes the sign of wasted times
I will wait no more
Ever trudging through the aimless
Forests we explore
In our boots and money chains
Misfitting cloaks we can't contain
Hidden hates of urgency
Declaring our emergency
And up the tallest window world
The distance was not clear
Unoccupied my brutish thoughts
We had no cause to fear
A lesson so severe
Hotter than the fire we built
Darker than the truth
Ignorance reflected in the windows of our youth
Push me now beyond the bounds
Of healing hands and thorny crowns
And all the sadness it implies
I've tasted with my own two eyes
And as the cattle rack was cleared
The floor was brightly stained
And larger though we grew in size
Not a thing was gained
The fate as so ordained"

Now this is what I call the classic GBV sound, the vocals, the sound of the guitar, the melody. oh yes. I love this. This is a different version of a track that first appeared on "Vampire on Titus" and I think I prefer this version. Strangely enough Ive just had to buy a new Washing Machine because the Spin Cycle on my current one is busted. Odd that isn't it. Classic GBV track. Shame its a "lost b-side".