Archive | July, 2011

Guided by Voices – Bee Thousand (1994)

3 Jul

I’m not a huge fan of absurdist lyrics but I’m sometimes inclined to make exceptions. Of ’90s alt-whatever songwriters, I think Jeff Mangum did them a bit better than Robert Pollard, but hey, Bee Thousand, which is generally hailed as GBV’s seminal work, is an exceptional album with a few particularly great cuts. It is sometimes challenging, sometimes accessible, and always riddled with tape hiss that I in turn both abhor and adore.

My path to finding this album was a bit convoluted. Ryan Walsh of Hallelujah the Hills, a local band that I’ve really gotten into over the past several months, posted a link to a 1995 NPR segment about Guided by Voices from HTH’s Twitter account. I proceeded to listen to it a few times over the next week, entranced by the snippet of “I Am a Scientist” included in the piece. (As an aside, it is somewhat hilarious listening to a digitized cassette recording of a radio broadcast of a song that was of poor recording quality to begin with.) “Queen of Cans and Jars,” which was also in the public radio segment, is another catchy standout. “Echos Myron,” as it turns out, was my girlfriend’s ringtone for better than a year (I think she said that it was on a film soundtrack) and I never really knew who sang it until now, always assuming that it was the work of some obscure British Invasion group whose name had been forgotten by history.

Mystery solved.