Thursday, September 4, 2014

Covered Up: The Breeders - "Shocker in Gloomtown" (Guided by Voices)

The Breeders – “Shocker in Gloomtown” (Guided by Voices)
Head to Toe EP, 1994

I’m sure I’ll cover it later, but one of my favorite bits of indie rock lore is that Robert Pollard gifted Kim Deal the song “I Am Decided” as thanks for producing Guided by Voices’ Under the Bushes Under the Stars. She recorded and released it with the Amps on their sole LP Pacer. The fact that two indie rock heavyweights like Pollard and Deal both hail from Dayton, Ohio, is like some weird little miracle, and the music video for the Breeders cover of GBV’s “Shocker in Gloomtown” (released a mere year prior on The Grand Hour EP) is one of my favorite songs of all time. The original is great, but to GBV it’s just another box to check off the list. Deal & co swing for the goddamn fences and knock it straight out of the park. The Breeders bring an energy to the track that the original lacks, and I think maybe even GBV know this. The video is hilarious. The Breeders are Jamming out this sub-two-minute track in a garage in Dayton and GBV are outside peering through the windows. That’s the sort of shit that makes me giddy. “THEY KNOW EACH OTHER!” I say to myself. “THIS IS THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS.” This is one of those tracks you can play forever. It’s so short, and vacuum packed with dangerously condensed hooks, that the only better delivery vehicle I can think of other than headphones is a pure injection of pop bliss right into my heart like a needle full of adrenaline. Just pipe that shit in all day, I don’t care if I eventually go insane. The Breeders version was produced by J. Mascis, which is another thing that makes brain hurt with joy. If you haven’t heard this song before and you’re about to listen to it for the first time, you’re welcome, and I’m sorry. Because you now know no one kicks more ass than the Breeders.

I don't mean to slag GBV's original, but it's like Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah": A great song perfected by someone else. No shame in that, none whatsoever. Still a fucking jam and when I saw them play it live I immediately ordered a $7 Miller Light from the dude walking through the crowd with a cooler and raised that cheap beer to the sky in tribute. 

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