Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft by Guided by Voices | 665998900628 | CD | Barnes & Noble
Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft

Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft

3.0 1
by Guided by Voices
Since graduating from home-recording obscurity to indie-rock iconhood, Guided by Voices have released a prolific stream of albums, EPs, and singles. Still, it isn't all that surprising that frontman Robert Pollard and company lay claim to enough unreleased archival material to fill the 100-song, four-CD Suitcase. This consistently colorful stroll through


Since graduating from home-recording obscurity to indie-rock iconhood, Guided by Voices have released a prolific stream of albums, EPs, and singles. Still, it isn't all that surprising that frontman Robert Pollard and company lay claim to enough unreleased archival material to fill the 100-song, four-CD Suitcase. This consistently colorful stroll through Pollard's basement tapes -- which includes a snazzy booklet with lyrics, photos, and essays -- is obviously aimed at the most die-hard GbV completists, but the material is actually consistently engaging, boasting the band's trademark mix of hissy lo-fi sonics, sterling pop hooks, and artfully inscrutable wordplay. Though a handful of Suitcase's songs -- including "Buzzards and Dreadful Crows," "Wondering Boy Poet," and "Static Airplane Jive" -- have appeared on albums in different versions, most of these sonically humble but musically ambitious tunes have never been released before. Rather than crediting Guided by Voices, each of the tracks -- which date back to the early 1980s and are performed by various combinations of players -- is attributed to a different fictitious band with a regal moniker (e.g. Huge on Pluto, Judas & the Piledrivers, Champion Hairpuller, Elvis Caligula). Offering an embarrassment of musical riches that will delight GbV fanatics and probably perplex everyone else, Suitcase is a powerful testament to the band's loopy brilliance.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Only a fool would argue Robert Pollard's talent as a songwriter, but even the most loyal fans may find room to question his decision-making process. As the frontman, benevolent dictator, and sole constant member of Guided By Voices, the ever-prolific Pollard writes songs the way most people eat potato chips (one right after another), but while a surprising number of them are good, he doesn't always appear to know which songs are keepers and which would be best left in his basement. The majority of Guided By Voices' albums have at least two or three songs that are purposeless fragments (often more), and it's significant that GBV's most consistent (if not their best) album, Do the Collapse, was the first with a "real" producer (Ric Ocasek) on hand to assist in the editing process. Pollard's issues with quality vs. quantity are practically the raison d'être of Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft, a four-CD box set that collects homemade recordings of 100 songs that didn't make the grade on GBV's albums, from a tune Pollard wrote and recorded while a junior in high school ("Little Jimmy the Giant," one of the better songs on disc one) to several tunes rejected for Do the Collapse. Like most of Guided By Voices' previous releases, just about everything here was recorded on cassette machines in basements or rec rooms, and it sounds like it; I'm no audiophile, but the constant rumbling of hiss, fumbling of microphones, and rising and falling of levels was driving me nuts by the end of disc four. (However, on " Try to Find You," recorded live in a noisy bar, we do get to overhear the touching reunion of two women who apparently haven't seen each other in a while.) And true to form, each disc has several songs that sound unfinished, go in the wrong direction, or are simply dumb jokes that don't communicate outside the rehearsal room. But it's just as true that Pollard's genius with a melody, a chord change, and a hook runs wild and free through this set, and if you don't mind wading through losers like "Mr. McCaslin Will Sell No More Flowers," "Gayle," and "Driving in the U.S.A.," you'll be rewarded with beauties like "James Riot," "The Terrible Two," "Shrine to the Dynamic Years," "I Can See It in Your Eyes," "A Farewell to Arms," and "Long Way to Run," to name but a few. In many ways, Suitcase plays like Bee Thousand or Vampire on Titus expanded to epic length -- the work of a bunch of inspired semi-pros serving up a little noisy crap alongside a healthy portion of unpolished genius. The noise and the crap are what keep the mass audience away, and at the same time makes them all the more endearing to their cult; the same cultists probably also love the bulk of a four-disc box, while most anyone else would be better served with a more tightly edited two-disc package. If you're already a GBV loyalist, you don't need me to tell you you'll love Suitcase, but if you're either a dabbler or new to the band's work, let me point out that Do the Collapse and Mag Earwhig! are a lot cheaper, more portable, and readily available at better record stores near you.

Product Details

Release Date:
Recordhead Records


Disc 1

  1. The Terrible Two
  2. Bloodfeast
  3. The Kissing Life
  4. Bottoms Up! (You Fantastic Bastard)
  5. Tear It Out
  6. Cinnamon Flavored Skulls
  7. Bunco Men
  8. Bad and Rare
  9. Dorothy's a Planet
  10. Pluto the Skate
  11. Let's Go Vike
  12. Sabotage
  13. Pink Drink
  14. James Riot
  15. It's Easy
  16. Dank Star Ground Control
  17. Spring Tigers
  18. Born on Seaweed
  19. Flesh Ears from June
  20. Driving in the U.S. of A.
  21. My Big Day
  22. Have It Again
  23. Little Jimmy the Giant
  24. Taco, Buffalo, Birddog and Jesus
  25. Ding Dong Daddy (Is Back from the Bank)

Disc 2

  1. Supermarket the Moon
  2. Hold on to Yesterday
  3. Ha Ha Man
  4. Our Value of Luxury
  5. Bughouse
  6. Rainboy Billy
  7. Shrine to the Dynamic Years (Athens Time Change Riots)
  8. On Short Wave
  9. I Can See It in Your Eyes
  10. Tobacco's Last Stand
  11. Shifting Swift Is a Lift
  12. Sing It Out
  13. Messenger
  14. The Fool Ticket
  15. Mallard Smoke
  16. Mr. McCaslin Will Sell No More Flowers
  17. Shit Midas
  18. Blue Gil
  19. Invest in British Steel
  20. Spinning Around
  21. Let's Go (To War)
  22. Grasshopper Rap
  23. I'm Cold
  24. Damn Good Mr. Jam
  25. In Walked the Moon

Disc 3

  1. Long Way to Run
  2. Mr. Media
  3. Settlement Down
  4. Mr. Japan
  5. A Kind of Love
  6. Meddle
  7. Big Trouble
  8. A Good Circuitry Soldier
  9. Devil Doll
  10. Pantherz
  11. Cocaine Jane
  12. Exploding Anthills
  13. Perch Warble
  14. Medley: This View/True Sensation/On the Wall
  15. What Are We Coming up To?
  16. Scissors and the Clay Ox(In)
  17. Cody's Antler
  18. Once in a While
  19. Buzzards and Dreadful Crows
  20. Carnival at the Morning Star School
  21. Cruise
  22. Gayle
  23. Gift
  24. The Flying Party
  25. Trashed Aircraft

Disc 4

  1. Trying to Make It Work Again
  2. Turbo Boy
  3. Chain Wallet Bitch
  4. Little Head
  5. Why Did You Land?
  6. Time Machines
  7. A Farewell to Arms
  8. Best Thing Goin' Round
  9. Sickly Sweet
  10. United
  11. Unshaven Bird
  12. Black Ghost Pie
  13. Go for the Answers
  14. Rocking Now
  15. Excellent Things
  16. Static Airplane Jive
  17. Where I Come From
  18. Try to Find You
  19. Deaf Ears
  20. Good for a Few Laughs
  21. Raphael
  22. My Feet's Trustworthy Existance
  23. Eggs
  24. Wondering Boy Poet
  25. Oh, Blinky

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Guided by Voices   Primary Artist
Kevin Fennell   Drums
John Shough   Bass
Tobin Sprout   Guitar,Piano,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Jim MacPherson   Drums
Robert Pollard   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping,Trash Cans
Greg Demos   Bass,Vocals
Pete Jamison   Vocals
Jim Pollard   Guitar
Don Thrasher   Drums
Steve Wilbur   Guitar
Doug Gillard   Guitar,Background Vocals
Paul Comstock   Guitar,Background Vocals
Johnny Strange   Bass
Mitch Mitchell   Bass,Guitar
Larry Keller   Drums
Bobby Pop   Vocals
Mitch Swann   Guitar
Greg Toohey   Bass
Eric Payton   Drums

Technical Credits

Jon Pareles   Liner Notes
Tobin Sprout   Composer
Terry Lawson   Liner Notes
Robert Pollard   Composer,Artwork,Cover Art
Dan Toohey   Composer
Byron Coley   Liner Notes
Mitch Mitchell   Composer,drum machine
Michael Corcoran   Liner Notes
Dhafer Youssef   Composer
Michael Azerrad   Liner Notes
Matt Diehl   Liner Notes
John Mulvey   Liner Notes
Victoria Segal   Liner Notes
Ethan Smith   Liner Notes
Dave Spague   Liner Notes

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