CD Bee Thousand (CD 967488),
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Guided by Voices
1. Hardcore Ufos
2. Buzzards and Dreadful Crows
3. Tractor Rape Chain
4. Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory, The
5. Hot Freaks
6. Smothered in Hugs
7. Yours to Keep
8. Echos Myron
9. Gold Star for Robot Boy
10. Awful Bliss
11. Mincer Ray
12. Big Fan of the Pigpen, A
13. Queen of Cans and Jars
14. Her Psychology Today
15. Kicker of Elves
16. Ester's Day
17. Demons Are Real
18. I Am a Scientist
20. You're Not an Airplane
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 35
Guided By Voices: Robert Pollard (vocals, guitar); Tobin Sprout (vocals, bass, guitar, drums, piano); Mitch Mitchell (guitar); Jim Pollard (guitar, bass); Dan Toohey (bass); Kevin Fennel (drums).
Additional personnel: Don Thrasher (drums); Greg Demos.
All songs written by members of Guided By Voices.
Personnel: Robert Pollard (vocals); Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell (guitar).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Dan Toohey; Don Thrasher; Jim Pollard; Kevin Fennell; Greg Demos.
Sounding like a Big Star album recorded in Sebadoh's practice space, this exploration into '60s rock mythology is the one that sealed Guided By Voices' lo-fi legend. From their hideaway in Dayton, Ohio, Guided By Voices previously released six albums with almost no distribution (the first five, in fact, had none at all) and minuscule production values before gaining the critical attention that would blossom with BEE THOUSAND. The production remains maddeningly haphazard here, but the seemingly tossed-off melodies are ever grander. And with the help of a Breeders' cover of their "Shocker In Gloomtown," Guided By Voices are now quite ready for indie-rock stardom.
What voices guide songwriter Robert Pollard? He kept his gig as an elementary-school teacher until around the time of BEE THOUSAND, which possibly explains why GBV's best moments sound like casual sonnets scrawled on a high-school text, or like they're stolen from his students. "Her Psychology Today" finds Pollard correcting a paper: "When she speaks the flag unfurls/And the heavens split in half/When she launches her attack/In her opening paragraph." BEE THOUSAND's excellence is largely in its sparse arrangements and casual fragments of songs. Rather than obsess over completion, Pollard lets his songs bask in their casual greatness.
Rolling Stone (8/11/94, p.66) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...BEE THOUSAND is a tour de force by a good old-fashioned American basement genius....the real miracle of BEE THOUSAND is that it not only celebrates the power of rock music, it also embodies it..."
Spin (12/94, p.78) - Ranked #10 in Spin's list of the '20 Best Albums Of '94' - "...a thousand hooks, offering perfect distillation of...basement tape aesthetic....sloppily records immaculate melodies capable of breaking your heart...they're so insistently catchy and so fleetingly brief..."
Spin (7/94, p.69) - "...Guided By Voices hides absolutely shattering melodies that call to mind a thousand reference points..."
Entertainment Weekly (6/3/94, p.56) - "...Whether he wants to or not, Pollard and his loose-knit gang may be the logical successors to Beck in the up-from-the-underground poster-boy category..." - Rating: B+
Alternative Press (9/94, p.72) - "...Wish I knew the names of the voices guiding...Robert Pollard and his friends to make some of the most hazily gorgeous records being made today..."
Magnet (p.96) - "[I]t does show the amount of thought Pollard puts into making and sequencing a record."
Option (Sept-Oct/94, p.89) - "...the band's basic folk-pop melodies come straight from art-rock England circa 1967-1969. Through no fault of GBV itself, the critical hype has obscured the subtleties in the group's music..."
Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #8 in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Mojo (Publisher) (p.57) - Ranked #80 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "[T]hey peak with a batch of tunes that sound like long-lost Beatles and Who demos."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.118) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Rarities galore make this a must for any self-respecting fan."
New York Times (Publisher) (1/5/95, p.C15) - Included on Neil Strauss' list of the Top 10 Albums Of '94 - "...The most consistent album of quickie tunes yet from this 12-year-old Dayton, Ohio band."
NME (Magazine) (8/13/94, p.46) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Exactly why the indie-rock world hasn't yet gone as misty-eyed over Guided By Voices as it did over Pavement and Sebadoh is one of the great mysteries of our age..."
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