Guided By Voices - Alien Lanes
30th Anniversary reissue of this unstoppable indie rock classic.
Originally released on April 4, 1995, Alien Lanes served as the first Guided by Voices album to be released on Matador Records. With 28 tracks spanning the course of 41 minutes, the album would fundamentally alter the concept of what a rock and roll record could be. Bursting at the seams with classic rock bravado (“Game of Pricks”, “Closer You Are”), anthemic power pop (“My Valuable Hunting Knife”, “Motor Away”), punk (“Pimple Zoo”, “My Son Cool”), psychedelic experimentalism (“Ex-Supermodel”, “Alright”), and tape-warped ballads ( “King And Caroline”, “Blimps Go 90”, “Chicken Blows”) Alien Lanes dips and dives between genres and moods with breakneck efficiency and a remarkable amount of intellect and emotion bolstered by the abstract poetry of songwriter and front-man Bob Pollard.
In a rare statement, Bob Pollard has written a short essay reflecting on the creation and lasting legacy of this landmark album.
“We were fearless at the time we recorded Alien Lanes. That's why it bristles with insane energy and confidence. We were still riding the high accolades of Bee Thousand and probably should have succumbed to the critical pressure of a worthy follow-up. Instead we had, in our megalomaniacal view, mastered the instant gratification machine known as the 4-track and began recording song after song with titles like "Cuddling Bozo's Octopus", "My Valuable Hunting Knife", "Pimple Zoo" and "After the Quake (Let's Bake a Cake)".
The door had been opened for us to throw out as many weird ass ideas as we were capable of and we did. We even thought we were starting to look cooler and decided cool enough to have the entire back cover be a photograph of us in the basement looking pseudo intellectually laid back and stoned with long hair, stars and stripe gym shoes and a box of Tide in the background.
Our friend Kim thought the album was too bombastic. Too frenetic and difficult to digest. I agreed. We were proud to be putting out our first album on Matador and cock strutted accordingly. It cost us $10 to make. It's worth a million. I personally think it's better than B-1000 (but not by much). There are two different camps of GBV fans to argue and debate.
God bless 1995 and open hearted record labels like Matador (and Scat before them) for allowing bands like us, with the preferred limited resources, to remove the constraints and pre-conceived notions of the more industry-minded constituents who would have much preferred we destroy the cassette master of Alien Lanes in the better interest of sound manufacturing and what's more agriculturally consumable. It's better to leave the farm than to continue plodding through the cow shit.”
--Robert Pollard 2020