Friday, October 07, 2011

90's Hit Parade #23

Guided by Voices - Weedking

So we've determined that Smashing Pumpkins are my favorite big-time 90's rock band, which begs the question, who are my favorite small-time 90's indie band? At the time, without hesitation, I would have chosen The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, but now, for the band that really stuck with me through the years, I gotta give it to GbV. The bottomless well of amazing pop songs, the experimentation with tape noise and other "lo-fi" sounds, the haphazard way there albums are seemingly slapped together, all give them a mysterious aura. When you listen to a GbV album, it's easy to fantasize that you're listening to some mysterious relic you found on a dubbed cassette that was for some reason in the bin at Goodwill.

"Weedking" is not what I think of as a typical GbV song. What most often comes to mind are straightahead pop songs with tight Buzzcocks-like harmonies: "Hardcore UFO's," "Quality of Armour," "Echos Myron," "Game of Pricks," "My Impression Now." "Weedking" is more of a heavy psychedelic rock thing. Like a lot of their songs, rather than a verse-chorus-verse structure, it cycles through phases, new hooks being introduced every few bars. It begins with heavy mystic shit: "Long live rockathon/Offspring and Tagalongs were finding/The history book has lost its binding/Pages everywhere/Two Titans without care will read them/We conjure ghosts and then we'll feed them." Is it just babble? Probably, but it sure sounds like it means something, the images possessing a powerful, mythical iconography like Tarot cards. The song builds, then abruptly cuts off, leaving the listener to imagine the brilliant guitar solos that fill the rest of the missing tape.


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