I guess this is just a tradition now. Last April Fools, we decided to play a prank on ourselves by covering a terrible band that became a joke on someone else’s terms. This April Fools, we’re covering a band that wanted to be a joke, but also serious, and failed at both, while still being wildly successful. This week, we’re covering the first half of the discography of Canada’s greatest musical crime: Barenaked Ladies.
If you’re American, you probably know Barenaked Ladies as the “chickety china” guys, thanks to the breakout success of “One Week.” But in Canada, they actually have a hugely devoted fanbase, dating all the way back to the incredible success of their first album, Gordon. To this day, you can find both diehard enthusiasts and actual critics earnestly praising and defending their work. Millions of people love this band.
We do not. We didn’t go into this band hating them—neither of us really listened to them before, and we were hoping to find some hidden gems and surprises in their impressively lengthy discography. But after this first eight album stretch, which covers everything from their indie debut Gordon up to their musical Shakespeare collaboration As You Like It, left us thoroughly broken. We stared into the void, and learned too much. We’ve crossed the rubicon here, folks. See for yourself just how deep this rabbit hole goes.
Also: we pick yet more ill-advised fights with famous writers, discuss getting “Shrekked”, and put out our first ever reviewer mixtape (check it out below the fold)!
We’ve had a good time with Bob Pollard over these last three weeks, but alas, every Julyded by Voices month must one day come to an end. Fret not though, for we’re celebrating the holiday’s end with Guided by Voices new beginning, exploring the 8 (!) albums they’ve released since reforming back in 2012. Yep, Bob brought the classic boys back together again, and we’re here to guide you through their awkward first steps, their power pop triumphs, and eventual re-dissolution. And the story doesn’t even end there, as we continue through a mysterious “solo” album and a massive double album monument from a reformed hi-fi lineup. How do these myriad forms of Guided by Voices stand up to their past selves? Well, it’s messy, but it’s also marvelous, much like this episode, which left quite a few PBR tall boys in its wake. Also: winking poets, parental beer snobs, silver badgers, and the debut of Desert Island Dinner tips!
The chaotic weather patterns of Julyded by Voices month have shipwrecked another guest on the island—fortunately, that guest is poet, actor, and Guided by Voices superfan Andrew McAlpine! That’s right, we have double the bearded Andrews on board to guide us through GBV’s wild and wooly hi-fi era. Spanning multiple lineups and a bevy of labels, this era is commonly seen as the moment when Bob Pollard lost his way, ditching the lo-fi charm of their classic albums for a more commercial sheen. Yet it also sees the band experimenting with their sound like never before, and the end result is an eccentric collection of highs and lows that produced some of the most interesting (and highest charting) albums of their career. With the help of Andy’s jovial, moderating presence, we take on a divisive set of albums, and find far more jewels than we expected. Also: Controversial Opinions, Doug Gillard’s Extraneous Solos, and plenty of new stickers to help those albums fly off the shelves!
For more Andrew McAlpine, check out http://www.andrew-mcalpine.com/!
Bet you didn’t think you’d be seeing us again so soon eh? Well this time we’re trying out something new here at the island. Don’t worry: the main series is going to continue being the same sprawling, discography devouring experience you all know and love. But albums are so much more than just an entry in a longer line: they’re independent experiences, a web of relationships, fandom, and artistry that’s worth exploring in its own right. So for our new series, which we’re calling “B-Sides”, we’ll be bringing in a guest to talk about one specific album—not just as its own work, but as a piece of art in their lives. What do these songs inspire in an individual? What does this album mean in your specific life? Music is always a personal thing, and this is our chance to really explore what that means.
For our first B-Side, we’re talking about Same Place the Fly Got Smashed (from our Guided by Voices Lo-Fi episode) with poet, musician, and raconteur James Eidson. In the process, we discuss our shared country origins, shifting perceptions of middle age, and, of course, fleshlights. It’s like My Dinner with Andre, only excessively drunk. Enjoy!
Order for the New Slave Trade
It’s that time again, when we join together with family and friends to celebrate our proud heritage, shared love, and spirit of independence. That’s right, it’s Julyded by Voices month! For our latest poorly named and hurriedly invented holiday, we’re dedicating the next three weeks to national Tascam heroes Guided by Voices. This week we focus on the lo-fi era, when Bob Pollard and his Band of Merry Men emerged from the alcohol soaked basements of Ohio and into the hearts and minds of indie-loving Americans everywhere. Also: Brain Shortages, Max Tape Tips, and an extended stinger about fleshlights.