Sunday, April 9, 2017

"August By Cake" The New GBV Double Album // Music Review for April 9, 2017

I remember reading an interview with Robert Pollard years ago in which he claims to write five songs every time he goes to the bathroom, three of which will be masterpieces.

Fortunately, most of the songs in his repertoire sound better than that image might indicate. With "August By Cake," Pollard has released his 100th studio album. Bandmates this time around include Kevin March and Doug Gillard, along with Mark Shue and Bobby Bare, Jr.

"August By Cake" is a double album featuring several tracks penned by band members in addition to the typical preponderance of Pollard pop gems. The sounds from this record are more diverse in nature than recent GBV releases and some hearken back to the sound & mix from 90's era releases.

There are likely several who might read this while rolling their eyes, "Another GBV album...zzzzzz," but I would invite you to check it out in spite of yourself and your hangups :)

I also invite you to check out the WCBN show I hosted July 3rd, 2016 if you are interested in the "classic lineup" era of Guided By Voices.

The new album begins with a magnanimous invitation/invocation from Pollard. Song highlights for me include, "Generox Gray," decidedly sluggish with a nod to political considerations of some abstract aging population. "West Coast Company Man" is one of the more inventive pop songs I've that I've heard from Pollard in years, featuring odd segues, dramatic climax affect and rugged individualism. "Dr Feelgood Falls Off the Ocean," is driven by drum machine-like beat in 3/4 time. "Deflect/Project," a song by longtime GBV lead guitarist Doug Gillard, employs minor scale harmonizing and soul beat.

Additionally, there are some good interlude tracks with the drone/feedback laden "Chew the Sand," an instrumental with voice samples and written by bassist Mark Shue. "Fever Pitch" is a song that begins engulfed by fuzz and distortion, leaving my ears ringing and my mind off center. I liked it. 

When they play on April 29 at the Pyramid Scheme and May 5 at the the Magic Stick, I hope to hear a good chunk of these songs.

Freeform DJ notes: No FCCs. Most of the songs fade into and out of each other, a consideration when "free forming" it with other musics.

01. 5° On The inside.
02. Generox – Gray
03. When We All Hold Hands
04. Goodbye Note
05. We Liken The Sun.
06. Fever Pitch
07. Absent The Man
08. Packing The Dead Zone
09. What Begins On New Years Day
10. Overloaded
11. Keep Me Down
12. West Coast Company Man
13. Warm Up To Religion

14. High 5 Hall Of Famers

15. Hiking Skin
16. Sudden Fiction
17. Its Food
18. Cheap Buttons
19. Substitute 11
20. Chew the Sand
21. Dr. Feelgood Falls Off the Ocean
22. The Laughing Closet
23. Deflect Project
24. Upon The Circus Bus
25. Try It Out Its Nothing
26. Sentimental Wars
27. Circus Day Holdout
28. Whole Tomatoes
29. Amusement Park Is Over
30. Golden Doors
31. The Possible Edge
32. Escape To Phoenix
Additional WCBN DJ reviews:
Animal Collective "The Painters" EP
Domino Recording Co. 2017
FCC on 1

A brief follow-up to the 2016 release "Painting With," this EP eschews the pop experimentation often present in AC releases for what I would describe as mid 80's Manchester-esque indie bounce pop. For example, think Happy Mondays. Pick any track for freeform radio. There is a sneaky FCC in the first track and their cover of Martha and the Vandellas [nothing special IMO], ends quite abruptly at 4:00. - D.W.C.B.N.

1. Kinda Bonkers "...What the fuck is happening?"
2. Peacemaker
3. Goalkeeper
4. Jimmy Mack ---- Ends abruptly.

Goldfrapp "Silver Eye"
Mute 2017

New release from this synth pop duo. This album starts out with some fuzzy electro pop disco polo tunes and trudges along to the end. I can see if you are into this, it could get you through the work day, but I am really struggling to write anything of note about this record. It's not that the record is horrible or anything, it just is very... medium. It will fit into any freeform set. - D.W.C.B.N.

1. Anymore
2. Systemagic
3. Tigerman
4. Become The One
5. Faux Suede Drifter
6. Zodiac Black
7. Beast That Never Was
8. Everything Is Never Enough
9. Moon In Your Mouth
10. Ocean