Weekly Obsessions: 4/17/2017



Hey, everyone! After a bout of rain that made Chicagoland just about kill itself, ol’ Mr. Sun finally peaked his little head out from between the clouds. Although, I suppose that, technically, the Sun’s whole body is a head. After all, he’s just a sphere, innit?

Also, I don’t know why it has to be a man, necessarily. Can’t it be Ms. Sun peaking her head out from between the clouds? Yeah, that doesn’t sound quite right to me either.

In any event, this week, like all weeks so far, featured me listening to some new music. Here’s a riddle: what do you get when you cram 20+ songs onto an album with a non-sequitur title, marinate the whole thing in the flavors of arena rock and jangle pop, taking care to glaze before serving with a healthy dose of feedback and booze? Why, you’ve got the latest Guided by Voices record! Yes, the best group ever to hail from the flight-producing city of Dayton, Ohio is back at it with their latest, August by CakeSee what I mean about the non-sequitur title?

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Though this is the 30th (or so) lineup in as many years, Cake does a better job than any GBV album in years of capturing their trademark low-fi brilliance. A song like “Keep Me Down” is such an immediate classic that it might have been an outtake from the Mag Earwig! album 20 years ago. Though I suppose that the constantly-rotating lineup (minus resident genius/songwriter Bob Pollard)  does help to keep things fresh after all this time, it’s really Pollard’s songwriting that keeps the group relevant. The man is a hook machine. There’s never been anyone like him, and though his hair is now full grey, that hardly seems to matter. This is Bob Pollard’s 100th album (between GBV and his various other projects), but it sure doesn’t seem like it.

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