It’s that time of year again when Real Gone takes stock of all of the great music that’s been sent our way over the last twelve months. Changes in how people consume their music has meant shifting from providing a free download to offering an album length stream, but the variety and quality of the new music remains very high.
After Guided By Voices reunited in 2012, the band went into recording overdrive. Robert Pollard’s abilities to be prolific were always known – at any one time, he could be working on a variety of projects – but few would have suspected the band would release three albums of brand new material in a little over ten months. Their comeback disc ‘Let’s Go Eat The Factory’ was a return to many of the ramshackle lo-fi experiments that filled the much-loved ‘Alien Lanes’ and while it sounded great upon release, time has allowed a little rust to set in. Some of the moments that sounded like welcome imperfections now sound like generic GBV filler rather than lo-fi quirks. Thanks to a few amazing tunes – and a really catchy single in ‘Doughnut For A Snowman’ – it’s worth a spin once in a while, but looking at the much bigger picture, it ranks somewhere in the mid table of the band’s vast output.
Love it or hate it, Record Store Day has become an important fixture on the music-related calendar. From humble beginnings with a few bits and bobs to entice people into independent record shops, it’s now become a huge business tool, giving major labels an excuse to reissue all kinds of stuff. While it now seems more about a money making venture than to highlight small business, there’s still some cool stuff to be found. Never more so than for the 2020 event, where there are a truckload of artificially created rarities that look like lovely items for the keener fan.
Lo-fi indie legends Guided By Voices are set to release their twenty seventh studio album in February 2019. Scheduled for release on the 1st of the month, the mammoth thirty two track ‘Zeppelin Over China’ will be, unbelievably, the Ohio legends’ tenth album since releasing ‘Let’s Go Eat The Factory’ in 2012.
In addition, there’s more great news for UK fans, since Robert Pollard and company have confirmed a UK visit. Since their appearance at All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2011 was cancelled, this will be the first UK GBV gig in fifteen years.
More details on the new album and gig, along with a link to a streaming track can be found in the press release below. Real Gone’s review of ‘Let’s Go Eat The Factory’ can be read here.
For their fourth EP, US lo-fi/anti-folk duo Vacation take on some familiar – and not-so-familiar – tunes by other artists. As Tori Amos proved time and again, you can take the most rocking numbers and reduce them to a minimalist piano ballad with reasonable ease, almost to the point where the once unimaginable becomes predictable. In some ways, Vacation play by a similar rule in that their chosen material gets stripped down and re-imagined in an echoing lo-fi acoustic fashion, but whereas Ms. Amos, Emm Gryner and countless other artists always ensure there was accessibility even within their most bizarre reimaginings, these guys just want to strip things back to their most stark. This results in at least one tune that’s anything but predictable.