Back in 2004, Robert Pollard had decided that Guided By Voices, a band that had been his baby for more than 20 years, had run it’s course. Live From Austin, Texas was one of the band’s final gigs, and you can now share the emotional night with them again. Available on 2LP vinyl or 2CD+DVD. It needs to be pointed out that Guided By Voices reformed in 2012 and have released a further 9 albums to date.
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God. I love this. Like, not the album, but the audacity: can you imagine if LCD Soundsystem had released their farewell show after reuniting? I love it. Back in 2004 Robert Pollard decided to ‘call it quits’ on Guided by Voices, dissolving the thousandth iteration of his band and all the hilariously named merrymen that came with it: Todd Tobias, we hardly knew ye, Greg Demos, where-for art thou? So he made a big farewell album at Austin City Limits, one of the last shows they’d play, and yelled affectionately at the crowd in the way that he does.
While ruining half the songs his band were playing. Chugging away at some of their many classics, it largely offers that beefier and more fleshed sound the band developed way beyond the height of their lo-fi weirding. Old songs get rerouted, such as “Gold Star for Robot Boy” (or “ruhbut boy!”, as Pollard likes to sing here), while the underrated gold of ‘Half Smiles of the Decomposed’ -- their fake last record -- gets its deserved outing.
I’m mostly reviewing this because I want to write out what my favourite thing Pollard does on this record, which is introduce songs badly. For “Teenage FBI”, he explains: “This is a song called… the Teenage FBI, they’re looking for you right now”. For “Buzzards and Dreadful Crows” he creaks out “This is a song, kids! From the album Bee Thousand!”. On “Fair Touching” he just starts yelling “Wow Bob wow!”, and my all time favourite, for “I Am A Scientist”: “This is a song, this is a song, hey kids, I would like to play you a song right now from the album Bee Thousand”.
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- Live From Austin, TX by Guided By Voices
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