Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Guided by Voices - "Bulldog Skin" 7"

Guided by Voices – “Bulldog Skin” 7”
Matador, 1997
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2010
Price: $3

Mag Earwhig! tends to be an album that gets overlooked in GBV’s discography. It’s the first album to feature Cobra Verde as the backing band. Classic Line-Up bros Tobin Sprout and Greg Demos were there too, but in a reduced role (Sprout’s “Jane of the Waking Universe” is one of the album’s highlights). Yet while it clearly depicts a sea change in GBV’s direction, it sounds more like its precursor Under the Bushes Under the Stars than its follow-up: the overblown black sheep of the discography Do the Collapse. While Pollard’s songwriting is as sharp as ever, the songs are glossier, moving closer to the rock star ideal Pollard always wanted. “Bulldog Skin” is a classic GBV earwormer that is about a hundred times better than the atrocious “I Am a Tree” which served as the album’s big single. The b-side hosts a deserving castoff, “The Singing Razorblade,” and a terrific electric version of the album’s “Now to War,” which is right up there in terms of quality with “Sad if I Lost it,” “Learning to Hunt,” “Little Lines,” and “Choking Tara.” It’s a simple, catchy little tune, and the sort of thing GBV does best: No frills indie rock with maximum rewards.

"Bulldog Skin"

"Now to War (Electric Version)"

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