When I was growing up, my brother listened to a lot of different sorts of music and over the years I was fairly limited in my own taste. For awhile, I was only interested in classical music and then I had a year of listening to classical music. Meanwhile, my brother continued to enjoy a variety of music and tried to get me into it — he would play me songs and for a few years would make the most excellent mix tapes decorated with artwork he put together.
One of the bands my brother tried to introduce was Guided By Voices, an Ohio based band that founded in 1983 and performed in various configurations and lineups for twenty one years before disbanding. At the time that my brother tried to get me interested, I wanted nothing to do with them but in the last few years I rediscovered many of the bands my brother thought I would like — including Guided By Voices.
This has been particularly more the case since I discovered the beauty of vinyl. One of the most disappointing things for me since making these rediscoveries was when I read that Guided By Voices disbanded and I realized I would never get to see them perform.
Fortunately for me, the Matador record label got them to get the band back together — with the 1993 lineup — and in 2010 they played some shows that each sold out within seconds. They somehow all happened to fall on days of the week I couldn’t go for one reason or another.
I was thrilled to find out that they had not just one but two albums in the pipeline for this year. The first album, Let’s Go Eat The Factory, came out earlier this month and I am quite happy to say that it could be one of the best albums of the year — bold words from me considering that it is January.
The album kicks off with a vintage sounding “Laundry and Lasers” — bringing back the beautiful lo-fi sound for which Guided By Voices is well known. Among the twenty-one (!) tracks on the album, most are somewhere close to two minutes long. They come in, express brilliant notions, and wrap it up before it feels like it is going on too long.
The average pop song is anywhere from three to four minutes long. I believe that this has something to do with the length of recording time allowed by a seven inch record spinning at 33 1/3 rotations per minute. If you have a canvas that is only two inches by two inches, you’d want to fill it to the best of your capabilities, would you not?
Here is the band performing “The Unsinkable Fats Domino” earlier this month on the Late Show with David Letterman.
As you can see and hear, the band is back and better than ever. If at all possible see them when they come to your area — it is well worth it.