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by Bradley Bambarger
Special thanks to Antoinette M Niebieszczanski for transcribing!
YORK -- It
may sometimes seem as though indie rock has gone the way of the
If so, no one has told Guided by Voices.
The power-pop cult heroes
embarked on a fresh, fertile phase, with a new label deal and an album
trades in the band's basement-bred sound for veritable radio readiness.
Due August 3 from TVT in the United States, "Do the Collapse" was produced by
Ocasek, whose roots in skewed airwave fodder served him well in directing
by Voices' first effort since leaving the Matador label.
rock operas written by group guiding light Robert Pollard take on
luster with Ocasek's sonic staging.
On the same wavelength, Pollard and Ocasek both hail from Ohio (the former
the latter Cleveland) and both are endlessly in tune with the vintage
of 60s and 70s rock.
"Bob and I like the same bands -- and don't like some of the same bands,"
says. "He knows every record
ever made, and you can hear that history
A child of FM radio, Pollard has "always wanted people to have the chance to
Guided by Voices on the radio," he says, "and who knows that 'radio
than Ric Ocasek? I remember when
the first Cars album came out, with
Police and the first Devo album, too. That
was a great time on the radio."
Working with Ocasek in New York's Electric Lady studios, Pollard and company
the virtues of "being more patient and reaping the reward," he says.
used to doing a record in a week, and this one took a month and a half.
even though Ric upgraded the fidelity for us, he never wanted to sand down
group's previous homemade aesthetic notwithstanding, Ocasek is dismayed
Guided by Voices hasn't been on the radio more all along.
belong, with all those unbelievably catchy, artful songs," he says. "I've
marveled at the poetic sophistication of Bob's lyrics, and I love every
on this record. All I did was try
to frame the premise of the band --
sense of creative adventure."
a series of underground albums on the Cleveland indie label Scat
in 1994's classic "Bee Thousand", Guided by Voices embarked on an
efficacious tenure with Matador Records. A
whole host of albums
EPs resulted, including the masterpiece, "Under the Bushes, Under the
The final Matador years featured the band's"Mag Earwhig!" and
hook-heavy solo disc from last year, "Waved Out".
"The years with Matador were fun," Pollard says, "but we thought we needed to
advantage of more resources if we wanted to expand our audience.
Matador has been down on rock as of late, TVT is excited and full of
unique feature of Guided by Voices' deal with TVT lets Pollard indulge his
imagination with solo albums and various offshoots via his
Flying (sic) Captain Series on Record Head/Rockathon (distributed
Luna Music of Indianapolis). Flying
Captain's first fruits include the
indie rock of Pollard's third solo set, "Kid Marine", and two low-fi
under the noms de guerre Lexo &
the Leapers and Nightwalker. Another
disc could see light by Halloween.
"Teenage FBI", the first single from "Do the Collapse", is being shipped to
alternative radio in early July, with the full album going to
outlets later in the month. "Teenage
FBI" is also the first track on a
sampler that will be distributed on the summer HORDE tour, and the song
on the TVT soundtrack to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".
by Voices -- with Pollard joined by guitarist Doug Gillard, ex-Breeders
Jim MacPherson and new bassist Tim Tobias -- have played live at
festivals in California and various trade events this summer. A
tour commenced this month in the northwest, with a fall trek supporting
spirits Cheap Trick to follow on the east coast.
is clear-eyed but excited about the future of Guided by Voices.
death of great guitar rock bums me out," he says, "but I know it'll
around in the popular imagination again. If
it can happen with swing,
it can happen with anything."