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Featured artist: Guided By Voices
I’d imagine you’re aware of them, given that they have a new record plastered over our front-page every other fortnight, but just in case: Guided by Voices is Robert Pollard’s idiosyncratic pet project, once full of smart songwriter buckos like Tobin Sprout, now revitalised with a line-up of people who probably used to be Guided by Voices fans themselves. Releasing odd, randomly assembled indie rock collages with surrealist sunshine pop vignettes, they were one of the most inventive ‘90s bands going. These days, they release too many records to reflect on, but there’s still the off chance Pollard will throw out a gem or two.
When Pollard started Guided by Voices, he was a school teacher in love with the subtle inflections of R.E.M.; you can hear their mark left deeply on 'Devil Between My Toes'. A few beers and a couple records into proceedings, he just wanted to sound like a stumbling and bumbling, a band who could wring hooks out of the most bothersome of songs. It's resulted in an endless series of records that make for great playlist fodder: songs can be as stark and stubborn as "Ambergris", an early cut from 'Same Place the Fly Got Smashed', and as cool and classic as "Long Distance Man", a folk jangler from early opus 'Sandbox'. It's also worth noting that he might be both the best and worst song namer in the history of rock 'n' roll; coming up in 2019 is the new album 'Zeppelin Over China'.