Tag Archive: “Guided By Voices”

Guided By Voices is on a roll. You could argue, but please don’t because I have a headache, that GBV is never not on a roll, that Robert Pollard’s output plows past the word “prolific” like prolific is standing still in a snowbank; and that’s true, but this new version of the band (Doug Gillard, Bobby Bare Jr, Mark Shue, Kevin March) has given Pollard new tools to complement his song-hammer. Thus, ergo, quod erat demonstrandum: roll. They’ve shared the single “Just To Show You off the group’s

Hot on the heels of the smothered-in-plaudits double album August By Cake comes this hot and heavy fifteen-tune long player, a melody-dense thwack to the earholes that will both energize you and deplete your body of its remaining music-appreciation enzymes. Recorded by the band in New York, and by Bob in Ohio, How Do You Spell Heaven capitalizes on the current incarnation’s tour-buffed shine without sacrificing eternal GBV verities such as but not limited to: off-kilter rhythmic jolts; krazy chords; purposefully imperfect harmonies; and fragmented structures that start and stop on a coin of small denomination and go somewhere else, and quickly.

For example: Lead off track “The Birthday Democrats” features a surfeit of pop hooks and swaggering sure-footed wordplay before dissolving like a perfect dream into Beatles-esque sound collage. “King 007” starts off like an acoustic demo from Tommy before shifting gears into a galloping riff-driven hyperspace guitar battle, before pivoting back to some kind of weirdo hybrid of the two… and then stops short just when you think you’ve got the thing pinned down. “Pearly Gates Smoke Machine” opens like the best thing Marc Bolan never wrote and then stubbornly refuses to cohere into an actual song, instead serving as a platform for some entertainingly normcore guitar pyrotechnics, while “How To Murder A Man” channels David Bowie channeling Scott Walker. Is this enough? Is it ever? How about “Nothing Gets You Real,” a deceptively straightforward breezy number that sounds like Pollard looking back at his life-in-rock and nodding, with a melancholy smile, at past versions of himself. It’ll make you cry, if you have a human heart.

So how do you spell heaven? “G-B-V”

Guided By Voices Tour Dates:

28 – Chicago, IL. @ Beat Kitchen – SOLD OUT
29 – Chicago, IL. @ Wicker Park Festival (suggested $10 donation at the door)

16 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Woodward
17 – Bloomington, IN. @ The Castle Theatre
19 – Minneapolis, MN. @ Hilde Performance Center ^
20 – Milwaukee, WI. @ Turner Hall
31 – Baltimore, MD. @ Otto Hall

01 – Asbury Park, N.J. @ House of Independents
08 – Rehoboth Beach, DE. @ Dogfish Head Brewery (FREE SHOW)

(^ = w/ Soul Asylum and The Suicide Commandos)


How Do You Spell Heaven  Track listing
1. The Birthday Democrats
2. King 007
3. Boy W
4. Steppenwolf Mausoleum
5. Cretinous Number Ones
6. They Fall Silent
7. Diver Dan
8. How To Murder A Man (In 3 Acts)
9. Pearly Gates Smoke Machine
10. Tenth Century
11. How Do You Spell Heaven
12. Paper Cutz
13. Low Flying Perfection
14. Nothing Gets You Real
15. Just To Show You

Since the year 2000, Ghettoblaster has been putting out a quarterly print magazine. For Ghettoblast from the Past, we look back at the bands and artists that were showcased within these pages.

From Issue 30, Matador Records Guided By Voices.  Words by David C. Obenour.  Photos by Beowulf Sheehan.

G B V 1

GBV2 (2)




To subscribe to Ghettoblaster Magazine or to pick up this issue, head over to our In Print page.

The One Where Luke is Adopted

On this episode of Best Song Ever: Luke gives motivational tips so you can Live Like Luke #LLL, Brian talks about the Bachelor much to Luke’s chagrin, Luke presents Lil Luke’s Complaint Sesh in defense of La La Land #LLL, the dear LaBenne cousins play everybody’s favorite game show #traintrackbaby, and Luke plays our first country song!  It’s a weird and wild ride with a truly fantastic soundtrack.

Every week Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne bring you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.


Songs Played on The One Where Luke is Adopted

Wire – Short Elevated Period from Silver/Lead out March 31st on Pink Flag

Foxygen – Avalon from Hang out now on Jagjaguwar

Raekwon – This is What it Comes to from The Wild out March 24th on ICEH20/Empire

Blank – This Journey from Weary Soul out April 7th

Guided by Voices – Hiking Skin from August by Cake out April 7th on GBV, Inc.

Tift Merritt – Love Soliders On from Stitch of the World out now on Yep Roc Records

The Feelies – Gone Gone Gone from In Between out February 24th on Bar None Records

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy from Pure Comedy out April 7th on Sub Pop

Mitch Mitchell blew out speakers and eardrums when the “classic lineup” of Guided by Voices reunited in 2010 for a great four years and six albums. But nothing’s constant and just as out of the blue as the reunion had seemed at first, so did its ending.

Of course Bob’s got a new lineup of Guided by Voices, out playing his great self-penned and performed Please Be Honest, but now there’s good news for fans who like their rock n’ roll performed with a carelessly ever-present cigarette: Mitch Mitchell’s Terrifying Experience is back!

His first album since 2000, debuted here is “Hot Action!” from the album, Mother Angelina – out June 1.

No dates have been announced yet, but stay tuned to the Terrifying Experience‘s page for possible future announcements.

Dogfish Head Brewery has announced a tributary beer for alt rock greats Guided By Voices‘ classic 1994 Bee Thousand LP. Dubbed, obviously, “Beer Thousand,” the drink is set to be slung by fans of the Ohio outfit later this fall.  The craft brew comes in time for the 20th anniversary of the album, with the 10 percent ABV imperial lager comprising 10 grains and 10 hop varieties.

“Beer Thousand” will be available at U.S. liquor stores this fall. Though details have yet to be delivered in full, packages will also include a 10-inch record featuring 10 songs recorded during the group’s “Insects of Rock” tour in 1994.

Print issue #38 of Ghettoblaster will be hitting shelves this week!

With the mighty Atmosphere gracing the cover, we’ve also got interviews from Guided By Voices’ Tobin Sprout, Fucked Up, Afghan Whigs, Tombs, Little Dragon, Kelis, OFF!, King Buzzo, Pharoahe Monch, comedian Chris Gethard, Marvel Comics’ Mangeto author Cullen Bunn, plus a feature on the new Trailer Park Boys movie, Don’t Legalize It and the Adventure Time: Card Wars game and much, much more. There’s also pages and pages of album, book, game and movie reviews to keep you up to speed on all of what’s going on.

You can order a copy soon over here, or you can fill out this form to subscribe for a whole year’s worth of Ghettoblaster delivered straight to your door!


Guided By Voices have announced another album coming out this year, not to be confused with the 20 track Motivational Jumpsuit that was released on February 18. Recorded during the sub-freezing Polar Vortex of 2014, the next GbV record is titled Cool Planet and it’s out May 18/19 via Fire Records. Listen to the track “Bad Love Is Easy To Do” below where you’ll also find the full 18 song tracklist.

Catch them at these dates in May:

5.18 London – The Lexigton
5.23 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
5.24 Washington, DC – Black Cat

Shove (Mark, Jay and Jen)
Shove (Mark, Jay and Jen)

Indie rock is a small world where artists, fans, booking agents, public relations people, label figureheads, etc. are loosely and sometimes intimately connected by just a few degrees of separation. Once upon a time in the ‘90s, a scrappy, Pixies loving, indie-trio from Northern California collided with Dayton’s musical movers and shakers in a way that left both challenged and changed. Like most rock and roll back stories, this one had tremendous ups, and serious downs that left the band defunct, and little more than an interesting part of the indie rock puzzle and a brilliant piece of Dayton’s musical mythology.

Ghettoblaster spoke with two former members of indie-rock trio Shove (bassist Mark Kaiser and vocalist/guitarist Jen Schande) about their Dayton connections, brushes with The Breeders, and Dave Doughman’s mustache (just kidding).  Below is part one, Mark Kaiser’s account of crazy times with some of the Gem City’s most celebrated bands.

Writer’s Note: California native Mark Kaiser began his obsession with records and the people that make them at an early age. Before the end of his teenage years he had toured the country extensively with his band, Shove, and was waist deep into the music industry quagmire, releasing records on his fledgling Omnibus label, which would later serve as the jumping off point for The Shins, Mates Of State, The Intelligence, was the label home of young James Murphy’s Speedking and many more. After more than a decade of playing bank account and babysitter to 20 and 30 something music makers, Kaiser put an abrupt end to Omnibus, joined forces with long time musical and artistic collaborator Jay Howell (whose cartoon Sanjay and Craig debuts on Nickelodeon on May 25!) and began Mt.St.Mtn. (Mount Saint Mountain), an art and recording project dedicated to limited vinyl releases and printed works which continues to this day. A professional art director and graphic designer by trade, Kaiser continues to play in bands from time to time.  Some of his past endeavors included Gift of Goats and Mayyors.

How did Shove get together and how was the band inspired by Dayton’s musical exports?

Jen and I have known each other since we were small. We both jumped feet first into music in the mid-late ‘80s around Jr. High. We were huge Pixies fans, and were naturally head over heels for the Breeders once Pod dropped, right around the time we started playing together.

In high-school we’d sneak off to L.A. to see them play (once with Unrest, once with Yo La Tengo). Jen made a habit of hanging out to chat with Kim and crew, who usually hung out in the back of the venues after each show. This continued into our early college years, as Shove solidified as an actual band and we started touring a lot.

What originally brought Shove to Dayton in the ‘90s?

Around this time, probably our freshman year of college or so, GBV blew up and Jen was a super fan. That probably was the origin for us getting to Dayton the first time on our first U.S. tour (we were about 19 at the time).

We met the Olive Records twins and Mike Justice, probably through MRR “Book Your Own Fucking Life,” and through that first show or two met most of the Dayton scene that were around at the time (Tasties, Nostromo, Brainiac, Swearing At Motorists, Lazy, O-Matic and a ton of younger pop-punk bands like Something Gay, etc.). It’s a city full of townies (a lot like Sacramento) and when something’s going on, everyone seems to come out, even the old timers.

Who introduced you to everyone?

Dave Doughman, the ultimate connector, took us under his wing from then on and introduced us to anyone and everyone – including Kim. We ended up playing and touring with Swearing At Motorists over the years, and always found a solid home in Dayton. Through Dave and Mike Justice we were introduced to Trader Vic, his shop and his Simple Solutions label.

You guys did a song for the GBV tribute he released, right?

We were one of the first bands to confirm a track for the GBV tribute record he was planning (with lots of big names from that era).  Unfortunately it took years to finally release and it didn’t come out until we had broken up 5+ years later as a CD only, a bit after the momentum had gone. We donated a track to an Olive Records 7” comp too, I think that came out after we split as well.

There was a connection between you guys and The Breeders too, right?  What happened there?

Dave Doughman had introduced us to Kim and the Amps line up of The Breeders in Dayton one Summer when we came through on tour.  He later went on tour with them (so did Neil Blender, more on that later) and invited us down to see them in Santa Cruz and again the next night at this ill-fated SF show with Primus on New Year’s Eve. Everyone was chafed about how insane the brodie-filled Primus crowd was, heckling and throwing fireworks on stage, so we bolted back to the legendary band crash-motel, the Phoenix.

The hotel was letting in bridge and tunnelers for NYE, paying big bucks to party with whatever overwhelmed rockers were staying at the joint that night (I remember meeting the Descendants). We got drunk, jumped in the pool fully clothed and continued to break glass and wreak havoc (one of the other Breeders roadies had to go to the ER on acid after a backward fall through a planter).

It’s going to get fuzzy, but I have fond memories of sliding the handrail into the pool barefoot with Neil, and dancing to Eek-A-Mouse who was playing in the hotel lobby. Jen, myself and the rest of our party crashed in Kim’s room. The next morning, The Breeders’ booking agent set them up a last minute show at Slim’s in SF to make up for the Primus thing, Kim insisted we opened and we did. It was a truck-ton of fun, our biggest show to date at that time. We had a show at a big community center in Vacaville the next night (always packed to the gills, one of our favorite place to play), and Kim and Neil rescheduled their flights so they could come see us again.

That Summer we toured the U.S. again and ended up visiting Kim at her home while she was booking their next tour, she added us to some shows in Pacific NW where we were going to be on the way home anyway. More fun times.

Her house was insane, packed with records piled on top of records, framed gold records underneath laundry piles, original prints from the first Pixies covers (a print of the photo used for Come On Pilgrim was getting warped in her bathroom, she offered it to me and I forgot it).

(Look for Part 2 with Jen Schande later this week!)

Tobin Sprout

When Guided By Voices released Let’s Go Eat The Factory earlier this year, one thing stood out on that release: The Tobin Sprout songs are really good. It wasn’t shocking as Sprout contributed many sing-along favorites to a handful of GBV albums in the 1990s, but not since Under The Bushes Under The Stars in 1996 had his songs been featured on a GBV release.

Sprout’s musical output didn’t slow down during his absence from GBV. The singer-guitarist released five stellar solo albums in that 16-year span and also collaborated with Robert Pollard on two Airport 5 albums in the early 2000s. Fast forward to 2012: GBV’s three albums with a reunited “classic” lineup this year mark a return to the band’s brilliance which made them popular in the 90s, and it also marks a return to hearing Sprout’s songs sprinkled in, which work so well matched alongside Pollard’s magic.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with 57-year-old Dayton, Ohio, native Sprout, who now lives in Leland, Michigan.

Interview conducted by Mark Toerner.  Photo by Beowulf Sheehan (from the photo shoot for Ghettoblaster issue 30)

The Bears for Lunch is getting some really positive reviews. What are your thoughts on the album in comparison to the other two GBV releases in 2012?

I’m glad to see Bears getting good reviews. I think it is a strong album as is Class Clown. A lot of what I’ve read seems to say they are growing better with each album, but I think Let’s Go Eat the Factory is as strong as any of them and I think works from a larger pallet.  Every song on Factory is a very different tempo, style and sound. I see Factory as an abstract, where Bears and Clown have more of a polished feel.  Not that one is better than the other. 

Tell me about the process of recording your songs for the new albums. Are they mostly recorded by you in your home studio?  

I record most of my songs here in Leland but have started taking songs into the studio with the band. A song on (forthcoming 2013 album) English Little League called “Island (She Talks In Rainbows)” is a song left over from my solo Bluebirds. I re-worked it and had Kevin and Mitch play on it.  I think it really turned out great and hope to do more with the band. When I record here in Leland, things that start as demos often end up being the final work. Sometimes it’s hard to redo something and get the same feel that the original had. I’ve gotten better as a drummer (straight beat with little fill). It’s simple but it works in most cases.   

Do you have a different vision when writing/recording a song for a GBV album rather than a “solo” Tobin Sprout song? 

I have a lot of songs that after I’ve recorded them, I will go back and record them again on piano. “Atom Eyes” is one that is out there, but I also have versions of “Starfire,” “14 Cheerleader Cold Front” and “Indian Ink” where I sing and play the piano. I also found a version of “My Back Pages” I did back around the time I recorded Circus People. I sat down and played the song on piano and sang it, then went back in and recorded the vocals again. Added some strings. Very pretty. I’m thinking of releasing them on a demos and outtake album, might call it Tanks and Whatnots

Do you go back and listen to any of the GBV/Pollard-related material? What’s your favorite release?  

I do go back and listen to older material. I hear them differently than when they were first recorded. I don’t remember the chord structure or how the parts and vocals were put together. I can hear them as one finished piece. I feel the same when I see a painting I did a long time ago. I can just see the painting, and not what happened the day I did that part. I sometimes wonder, how did I do that?

The sequencing of songs really shines on Bears – and particularly the placement of your songs. How involved are you in the sequencing process on the new albums? Was it a different process in the 90s?

I send the songs to Bob and that’s all I do. I have the feeling Bob spends a lot of time on the sequencing. And also is there for the mastering. I don’t think the process has changed much from the 90s.

With the success of the new material and a fourth album coming out next year, can fans expect any more touring to showcase more of the new songs? 

I hope so. I really think the new songs need to be played out.  By the end of the last tour I could tell the new songs were as welcome as the older songs.  

Any plans for future albums? 

There is talk of a fifth GBV album next, and also an EP due in January called Down By The Racetrack.

Looking back on the last few years of Guided by Voices, do you feel like the band has hit its peak? 

I don’t know. I still love to write songs. I like playing out. Some people will always say our peak was Bee Thousand. I guess you should stop when it doesn’t work or you lose your drive, but I don’t feel that.

Downtown Revival – Saturday & Sunday, September 8-9 in Dayton, OH
By David C. Obenour

As Ghettoblaster’s editor, I am proud to choose to be based out of Dayton, Ohio. Not New York City, not Los Angeles, not Chicago and not even Cleveland – no disrespect to any of those places, two of which I’ve lived in – but I’m happy here.

You may think you know about my hometown from what you read about the Wright brothers in middle school history books or the Dayton Peace Accords in high school history books, but there’s a lot more. There’s funk, there’s rock, there’s soul and most importantly, there’s an innovative spirit that lives on to this day. The Downtown Revival’s organizer, Matt Luongo sought to bring all of this together right in the heart of the downtown Dayton to show everyone and by in large, he succeeded at it.

Starting out Saturday, there were a number of lesser-known local acts scheduled as the volunteers and organizers worked through the kinks and final preparations that come from a first year festival set in a non-traditional location. Wheels is definitely one you should be hearing of soon. The gimmick is that most of them aren’t old enough to drive, but the follow through is that they play an incredibly infectious and melodic new generation of Americana. The Motel Beds are another gaining momentum with a sound that harkens back to the eclectic lofi rock sound of Brainiac, The Breeders and Guided by Voices that once got Dayton dubbed, “the next Seattle” by Spin Magazine. Full disclosure: I’m actually helping these guys for their next album. Doubly full disclosure: I’m doing so because they fucking rock.

Motel Beds

With everything more or less in order at the festival, the stage was literally and figuratively set for a band that’s put Dayton on the map for over the last two decades for many fans worldwide. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect and Guided by Voices were firing on all cylinders, playing in front of what was probably their largest hometown audience since X-Fest at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in 1999. Though known for their marathon performances, the roughly hour and a half festival slot saw the band tearing through a number of songs from their four new albums along with a smattering of old classics, including the first post-reunion performance of “If We Wait.” Yup, that’s pre the “classic era,” so apparently all of the songbooks are open and fair game. Looks like I’ll be needing to buy some more GBV tickets in the near future.


After that it was a short drunken stumble over to the backside of the throng that had gathered to see neighboring Springfield, Ohio native John Legend. Now I’ve never really listened to much of Legend’s music and what I have heard I respect but don’t really get into. That all might change after seeing the amount of soul he poured into his headlining performance. For as much as you can tell about a performer from being 150 feet back, Legend seems like a remarkably genuine dude with a lot of love from where he’s from.

John Legend
John Legend

Starting day two off with a talented ex-pat, The Heartless Bastards were another stand out from the weekend. Though now based in Austin, the band still has a loyal following of friends and family here, the latter of which were easy to pick out with their white hair and band t-shirts tucked into pleated khakis. God bless supportive moms, dads and grandparents. Odds are good that you’re fairly familiar with the band given their success, but if you haven’t caught them live yet you’re really missing out. The dusty Americana can get pretty damn rocking.

Heartless Bastards

After their set, as a true Ohioan, I took a brief break to watch the Browns lose in the most frustrating way possible. Probably a bad choice, but it’s too longstanding of a masochistic ritual to break now.

Another great local act, The Buffalo Killers quickly cast off the post-game blues. Once hand-picked by The Black Crowes as an opener, what you get is a mix of Neil Young, The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd as interpreted by much younger hearts and hands.

Buffalo Killers

I was looking forward to seeing The Ohio Players ever since they were announced, but I didn’t really think anything could come close to Guided by Voices’ set on Saturday. Even as a rabid Bob fan though, there was no denying it’d be hard to pick a favorite between these two. Ripping through decades of hits including “I want to be Free,” “Fire,” and “Love Rollercoaster,” forty years past their heyday, The Ohio Players are funkier than all y’all. Here’s hoping future Revivals can draw from some of the other acts from Dayton’s funk past, including Zapp & Roger, Heatwave, Faze-O, Sun, Slave, Lakeside, Dayton… the list goes on.

Ohio Players
Ohio Players

After The Ohio Players, The Revival still had performances left from Train and Robert Randolph, but my festival was complete. It had featured some of my city’s best music from the past, present and still-to-come. Thanks for the good times!