August 27, 2003

Guided by Voices "Get Out of My Stations"

I have a very special connection with this little GBV EP. A few years ago, in Whole Foods in Austin, Texas, I met Guided by Voices. Well, I didn't meet them in person, mind you, but over the store's stereo, "Motor Away" was playing. I was excited, because I liked this song I'd never heard before. The person I was with at the time said "that's Guided by Voices, Joseph. You should check them out!" She told me that I should start with Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, because those two were their best albums, and I couldn't possibly go wrong with them. She was right, of course.

But, in my eager anticipation to hear more by this band, I happened to stop at a very small record store owned by a major Guided by Voices fan. He told me that they had many, many other records, and that some of them were better than the two albums I was looking for. Of course, any store owner's going to say that, but this guy was SO in love with them that he decided to be "point-blank honest" with me, and he said that, as a businessman, he had a self-interest in getting me to buy lots of music, but as a fan of GBV, and wanting to spread the word, he wasn't gonna screw me over when it came to his favorite band. This man was good people, I'm telling you.

So he played me some records, he told me what was good and what I should avoid. He told me that I'd be best suited by..heh...buying Box, as well as the two albums I had been looking for in his store. He was generous, though; he said that he'd take some off of the final cost, out of fairness. When it came to the seven inch records, he said that they had three that I simply must own. I Am A Scientist,, Fast Japanese Spin Cycle, and one that was special to him, Get Out of My Stations. It was kind of rare, as it had been out of print for years, but he played it for me and I instantly fell for it. I paid ten bucks for it--he took five off of it, again, out of kindness--and I loved it, too. So on that day, I walked out of his store with all of the records I've mentioned in this review, and I've not regretted it since.

The paper sleeve looked as if it had been photocopied at Kinko's and the music sounded like it was recorded by a cockroach living in an empty beercan in Pollard's basement, but there's a magical quality to Get Out Of My Stations that I have yet to explain. When the needle hit the groove and Pollard sang "In the scalding creek, we were happy just to be happy oh yeah," something inside me fell in love. It was lovely, it was pretty, it was badly out of tune...but it was magical. Following that up with the rock powerhouse of "Mobile," I couldn't help but be drawn in. It sounded like it had been recorded live in his garage. (Oh, wait, it was.) "Melted Pat" is one of my all-time favorite Pollard songs. "Dusty Bushworms" and "Spring Tiger" were also excellent, and, heck, even the weird little lo-fi sonic goofing off of "Queen of Second Guessing" and the horrible sounding "Blue Moon Fruit" were great!

It was with Get Out of My Stations where I realized my love of Guided By Voices. I'm happy someone took the time to reissue it a decade later. It still sounds about as bad as it did before--though, weirdly, the hiss of the vinyl only made the sound better, not worse. I'd also like to thank Slitbreeze for updating it with four shit-hot live recordings from that era. This really was, in my opinion, the best lineup of GBV, and to hear these four classics ("Motor Away," "Hot Freaks," "Weed King" and "Postal Blowfish") live shortly after they were released is a damn treat, and make this record even more essential. Whenever someone asks me "Joseph, where should I start with GBV?" I can tell them Get Out Of My Stations without feeling guilty about sending them out on a expensive search through eBay, or the embarassment of having to tell someone no when they ask to borrow it.

In case I didn't make myself clear, this record is essential.

--Joseph Kyle

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