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May 9, 2015 / bloggenstatt

G is for Gun Club, Guided By Voices and Girl Talk.

It was really hard to pick a G-band with music on my iPod to bash. I was perilously close to picking The Givers, because I was a huge fan of their eponymous EP, and was subsequently disappointed by their debut album. Still a handful of good songs and cheerful filler really isn’t worth complaining about. In fact, I’d mostly speak positively about In Light. I then saw an album by a band called Go Back to the Zoo in my iTunes, and couldn’t remember anything about them. Instead of a the anticipated suckfest, I was rewarded with pleasant guitar-pop and tunes that sort of reminded me of Madchester. In summation, the letter G is a-OK in my book.

It was also hard to pick a third favorite artist. The Gun Club and Guided By Voices were no-brainers for me, but I played with that third slot. Graham Parker and Gram Parsons are both awesome, but aren’t quite in frequent enough rotation. I loved Girls, but they were sort of short-lived, and when revisiting their albums I found that my fondness mostly boiled down to four or five songs. Then, I remembered Greg Gillis, and how amazing I found his pop music collages, and I realized he’s probably the pinnacle of the mash-up genre, so Girl Talk made the cut. I’m pretty sure these preambles are getting longer and more arbitrarily personal, anyway band blurbs are below.

The Gun Club: The Gun Club are my all-time favorite L.A. punk band. They played roots music with a sneering intensity. Jeffrey Lee Pierce had an amazing knack for marrying weird voodoo-influenced ranting with outstanding hooks. Fire of Love and Miami are both incredible albums and hold up to this day. Both Japandroids and Jack White count themselves as fans of The Gun Club.

Guided By Voices: GBV are responsible for almost two dozen albums. Robert Pollard and Co. are nothing if not prolific. Many times they’re also really damn good. My personal favorite Guided By Voices album is also pretty much everyone’s favorite Guided By Voices Album–Bee Thousand. It’s just a perfect, lo-fi rock record. It’s shaggy, and hops from style to style as Bee Thousand parades on. It also clocks in at a brisk 37 minutes despite consisting of 20 songs, which is admirable. Just about all of their output is worth pursing through to some degree, and Guided By Voices’ later work, especially 2012’s Let’s Go Eat the Factory, is strong.. Absolute indie rock treasures.

Girl Talk: Girl Talk is the absolute pinnacle of mash-up music. He was always able to disassemble four, or five, or six, songs and put them back together in a way that felt fresh. His output also largely eschewed gimmicky mismatches and instead embraced pulsing, catchy beats cross-pollinating music from different genres and years. If you nerd out about pop music, it’s incredibly rewarding to dissect a Girl Talk song and suddenly I.D. a subtle element from a long-forgotten pop song. For years Girl Talk was my go-to running music, so I’m sure I’ve got an endorphin-based bias. It’s tough for me to estimate how many miles I’ve ran listening to Night Ripper, Feed the Animals, and All Day.

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