Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Psychobabble’s Perfect Guided by Voices Box Set Recipe!

Among rock critics’ most tiresome clichés is “Bob needs an editor.” The Bob in question is Guided by Voices’ guide-in-chief, Robert Pollard. The body of work in need of editing is Guided by Voices’ consistently stellar LP catalog. Really? What would you snip off Bee Thousand? Or even the track-stacked Alien Lanes? Or even even the critically and fan maligned Do the Collapse, which is actually an incredible assortment of polished yet still fairly weird pop from start to finish (and, yes, that does include the beautiful Lennon-esque ballad “Hold on Hope”).

As much as I’d never imagine tampering with GBV’s proper albums, their equally plentiful assortment of EPs, outtakes, oddities, and B-sides collections is another story. Here an editor would be welcome to sift through the go-nowhere experiments and sub-par song sketches to cull only the most valuable gems, of which there are many. A small handful of these discs—King Shit and the Golden Boys or Sunfish Holy Breakfast, for example—are solid and require no culling or pruning. But for the most part, even the best of Guided by Voices’ collections—Suitcase or Hardcore UFOs, for example—could use a good set of shears.

In this second installment of Psychobabble’s Perfect Box Set Recipe, I humbly submit myself as shears-wielder. I’ve pored through a mass of the band’s CDs to rescue 141 tracks for the perfect four-disc box set of Guided by Voices’s best outtakes, exclusive singles, EP tracks, demons, painkillers, and pipe dreams. I did my best to assemble the tracks in roughly chronological order, though the sketchy info on some of the outtakes made this impossible, so I attempted to guess the relative era of each mystery track.

I also included a few longer EPs—the Hold on Hope EP, The Pipe Dreams of Instant Prince Whippet— in their near-entirety simply because they’re really good, but I’m rarely inspired to put them in the CD player… and because I had the extra space on these four discs to include so many of their tracks. Hey, this isn’t science, and unlike Bob, I am not a scientist.

As always, I insist that these playlists be burned onto actual CD-Rs and listened to on an actual CD player. To do anything else would make a sham of Psychobabble’s Perfect Box Set Recipe. This also means you need a box, so I hope you recently bought a pair of Keds or something. I should also warn you that the volume levels of these tracks can vary wildly. Just think of the constant volume-knob adjusting you’ll have to do as “engaging in active interaction with your music.” The days of lazily listening to your iPod on shuffle are over here, people. Get ready to work for your entertainment.

But enough jabberstroking! Let’s get to that recipe!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started…hope you have an extensive Guided by Voices collection or really deep pockets (though, some of these tracks can be downloaded for free as MP3s on

4 Blank CD-Rs
Bee Thousand Director’s Cut
The Best of Jill Hives (EP)

Clown Prince of the Menthol Trailer

Darla 100 - Sixth Anniversary Compilation CD (various artists)

Fast Japanese Spin Cycles

Get Out of My Stations

The Grand Hour

Hardcore UFOs

Hold on Hope (EP)

I Am a Scientist (EP)

The Pipe Dreams of Instant Prince Whippet

Static Airplane Jive

Suitcase 1

Suitcase 2

Suitcase 3

Tonics and Twisted Chasers

Wish in One Hand


And now, the music…

Disc One

Disc Two

Disc Three

Disc Four

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