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The Bears for Lunch

November 13, 2012 | Format: MP3

$9.49
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2:14
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3:02
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1:09
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2:57
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1:10
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1:50
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1:48
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3:13
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2:06
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2:15
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3:42
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2:44
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2:46
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2:13
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2:12
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0:34
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1:59
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1:54
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3:05
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By J. brastad on November 13, 2012
Format: Audio CD
If anyone who isn't by now cool enough to have heard or heard of GBV (oh, yeah, btw, even the Obama Administration acknowledges their greatness, as Jay Carney so hippishly leaked-out!) needs to be provided with some kind of smoothly accessible access-point to join in on the debate on why this band is the best, most versatile rock band on the planet, just direct them to tracks 4 ("Hangover Child") and 14 ("Waking Up the Stars") on their appropriately consistent 3rd album of 2012 "The Bears For Lunch". One is boisterous, chant-along, defiant, hard-charging rock led by drummer Kevin Fennell's unforgettable frontbeat and ringleader Robert Pollard's resolve to 'not back down'. The other is guitarist/co-songwriter Tobin Sprout's latest quest for the perfect immaculate lost folk-tinged pop-song, pealed away of pretentiousness and precociousness: the sort of song Paul Simon or The Shins only wish they could write. But whereas to find these two seemingly opposite (but perfect) tracks on the same album would be a near miracle for any other artist, for GBV its just another testament to an ongoing, ever expanding love affair with their own musical collaboration. Yet, I as all GBV fans know that to find their true genius, sometimes you have to wade through the occasional muck (muck as in Pollard, a pint of Cuervo, an out-of-tune guitar and five minutes with one take to knock-off a song muck), muck that sometimes might seem too hodge-podge, too throwaway, too experimental, but muck that also sometimes may embrace you in the end. Although it has less muck than their last album ("Class Clown Spots a UFO", which came out as far back as 4 months ago (!Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
With the release of The Bears For Lunch, Guided By Voices 3rd LP in 2012, some critics are saying Bob should have consolidated his efforts and made only one "Best of" GBV album this year.

For the sake of science and against my opinion that the above criticism is bologna, I will reluctantly make a 21 track song list (21 songs being the average length) from Bob's 2012 Guided By Voices releases. The songs are in no particular sequence, just as you would likely get in an arbitrary best of compilation. I've simply typed them down as I thought of them.

1. White Flag
2. Chocolate Boy
3. The Head
4. Spiderfighter
5. She Lives in an Airport
6. The Challenge is Much More
7. Imperial Racehorsing
8. Breathing (B Side)
9. Class Clown Spots a UFO
10. Hang Up and Try Again
11. Chain to the Moon
12. Waving at Airplanes
13. Waking up the Stars
14. Everywhere is Miles from Everywhere
15. Waves
16. Tyson's Highschool
17. Hang Over Child
18. Laundry & Lasers
19. How I Met My Mother
20. King Arthur the Red
21. Doughnut for a Snowman

All this proves is that I chose the wrong songs.

In fact I would strongly argue that there isn't any single choice or arrangement of 21 songs that would be a sufficient substitute for the 75 sequenced songs (61 LP tracks + 14 B-sides) GBV have released since January.

How could anyone who seriously gives a damn about this band and value what makes their contribution to music undeniably inventive and thrilling think that this would be a plausible solution? If Bob Pollard had only released one Guided By Voices album of 21 songs this year, then we would be only hearing 28% of his output intended for GBV.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are a couple of easy rebuttals to the criticism that Guided by Voices albums are uneven. If you don’t like the weirdo song nuggets on Bee Thousand and Alien Lane, then all you need is to look at Under the Bushes Under the Stars, which, minus the noise track “The Perfect Life,” contains twenty-three (twenty-three!) killer songs. For me, Bears for Lunch stands as the unofficial follow up to Under the Bushes Under the Stars, because each and every song aims to embed itself in your brain and stay there. Despite the fact that Bears for Lunch was recorded decades after the band’s golden period, it actually serves as a great introduction to GbV, mostly by encapsulating their great songwriting skills and musical influences. Punk, psychedelia, Pete Townsend guitar heroics, and 90s indie rock all find a place on Bears for Lunch. The album also serves as a great showcase for Tobin Sprout whose often lighter touch nicely compliments the work of frontman Robert Pollard. Sprout’s responsible for many of the album’s highlights, including the Beatlesesque “Waking Up the Stars” and the CSNY inflected “Waving at Airplanes.” It’s Sprout’s prettier songs that really balance out the album, and it’s often true that Pollard works best when someone works as a foil. While he has written a few great solo albums (including the incredible From a Compound Eye), Pollard benefits from working closely with other creatives, which is why outside of GbV, his best work is with the band Boston Spaceships. What’s truly amazing about Bears for Lunch is that at a moment when GbV should have been tiring out (this was their third album of 2012), they sounded more energized than ever.
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