Guided By Robert Pollard

Hot Freaks (subscription service)
Weeks 4 - 10
2020

by Propellerless

Yes, I know I should be reviewing GBV related albums here.
But as the title says, “Random,” so it can be anything GBV.

I’ve been a Guided By Voices fan since 1995,
and with constant releases,
it’s always exciting to be a fan of the band.

But I honestly have to say,

for a band so far in their career,
they are at the top of their game,
especially Bob and his song writing and the albums the band releases.

The HOT FREAKS email subscription,
is probably the most exciting thing a GBV fan could wish for.

I find it hard to think of a Guided By Voices fan to NOT have a subscription.

Yes, I know it’s $100, but I’ll tell you this,
I really couldn’t afford it.

I subscribed so I could review it here,

It would be foolish to have this site and bypass the subscription.

Who am I kidding,
I have to have everything GBV,
and I wouldn’t have passed it up.

With each weekly email,
I have proven that I made the right choice.

Week 4,
“Live From Industry City” Brooklyn, NY - September 27, 2019.
This is a great sounding 66 song set,
with the band performing songs from their most recent album,
“Warp and Woof.”

The band is in great form.
I’m a big fan of the most recent line-up and the albums
they have made.
Especially songs like, “Step Of The Wave,” “Cool Jewels And Aprons,”
“The Rally Boys,” “Heavy Like the World,” “Bury The Mouse,”
“Space Gun” and the great “Thimble Society.”

But there are also lots of classics, some you may not expect,
“She Wants To Know” from their first ep “Forever Since Breakfast,”
“Yours To Keep,” “Peephole,” “Echos Myron,” “Choking Tara,”
“Your Name Is Wild,” “Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory,”
“Jane Of The Waking Universe” and so much more.

Also in that email,
A video clip from the concert of the band performing
“Yours To Keep” and “Echos Myron,”
color and black and white photos from the show,
and a copy of the set list.

All of that in one week,
Excellent!

Week 5 and Week 7, like Week One,
feature two tracks each from GBV’s upcoming album,
“Mirrored Aztec.”

Week 5:
"I Think I Had It. I Think I Have It Again" and "Party Rages On"

Week 7:
"A Whale Is Top Notch" and "Math Rock"

I have to admit something here,
When pre-album singles come out, I buy them.
But I avoid listening to them.

Because I find I’d rather hear the album first all at the same time.
Without knowing any of the songs.

Sure I’m excited to hear the new songs,

but I’d rather hear them first,
in the context of the album.

Way back in the late 70’s,
I started coming across a lot of Beatles Bootleg albums,
I never really cared for the live recordings,
they were usually inferior sounding.

But I loved the demo recordings,
no matter how basic the recording was,
I just loved hearing a classic song in its early form.

I’ve bought three of the recent Beatles box sets,
“Sgt. Pepper,” “The Beatles” (White Album) and “Abbey Road.”
I didn’t buy them for Giles Martin’s remix, which I can’t stand,
but the demos and early or unreleased takes.

Bob has always been very accommodating with releasing
demos and unreleased recordings with the “Suitcase” box sets.
He released two albums of demos,
each which had demos for a whole album.

“Edison's Demos” was an album of “Earthquake Glue” demos and
“Let It Beard Boombox Demos” was demos from
Boston Spaceships last album “Let It Beard.”
Incredible to hear Bob’s demo tracks become the fully realized versions.

The Week 6 release “Quiz Wednesday” (How Do You Spell Heaven demos).
“How Do You Spell Heaven” on first listen, I thought it was the weirdest of the
albums by the current line-up.
But now I find it as totally brilliant, kind of a Prog/Psych thing going on.
And that feeling comes through in Bob’s demos.

I enjoy Bob’s rough edits, some of the songs in their early stages
would fit perfectly as is on some of the old classic albums.
Fifteen tracks of Robert Pollard Brilliance.

Week 9 gives us, “Psychopath Timecard” 17 demos from “August By Cake.”
Before “August By Cake” it seemed like GBV would be Bob by himself,

like on the prior album, “Please Be Honest.”

But “August By Cake” turned out to be the beginning of a Great New era
in the history of Guided By Voices.

“Psychopath Timecard” was originally planned as a single album,
it’s not clear if was to be released in place of “August By Cake”
as a follow up to “Please Be Honest.”

“Psychopath Timecard” was also the original title of “August By Cake”
as well as a lyric in the song "Packing The Dead Zone.”

I really hope these albums of demos continue in future weeks,
I’m loving it!

Week 8 is “Sweating The Plague - Live From The Black Cat”
One of my problems when GBV releases amazing albums,
such as “Sweating The Plague” they only perform a few songs
from them live.

“Live From The Black Cat”” features ten songs from that album in order,
sadly the two more progy songs “Mother's Milk Elementary” and “Tiger On Top”
are not included in the set, album highlights for sure.

But it’s great to hear the rest of the songs live, instead of just a couple.

I do have a complaint about week eights release.
Usually you have the choice of downloading the songs as Mp3s or wav files.
Or one big mp3 or wav with all of the tracks.

This time the only choice was one big mp3 file.
I prefer the individual wav files, much better quality.

Still an Excellent week for Hot Freaks!

Week Ten is “2020: Live From Dayton, Ohio,”
This is the live show they played on line Friday July 17th.
if you bought the show, you also got audio downloads
of the whole 53 song set.

The show was better than I expected.
My biggest fear was with a seven camera shoot,
it would be like a concert on MTV.
Camera behind, flying overhead, bad camera effects,
some cameramen get overly creative with their shots.

But I need not fear,
I have to give the cameramen and the editor their props,
the filming was very restrained.
So it become more about the music and bands performance.

The lighting was the bands usually light blue and red.
I wish the show is released on dvd and blu-ray.

It reminds of live performance videos of the past,
where a band is performing live on a sound stage with no audience.
Not that I don’t enjoy the whole live GBV experience,
But I love seeing the band, especially this line-up in this setting.

Guided By Voices shows are usually celebrations for all involved.
But this show is more about the performance.

Great set, the opener “Year of the Hard Hitter” is stunning.
A great mix of new and older songs,
Great to hear “Whiskey Ships” back in the set,
lots of Classic favorites.
The band is in Top Form.

We also get a live video from the show

of the song “Haircut Sphinx.”

This is an Exciting Time to be a Guided By Voices fan