Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Suitcase 3: Up We Go Now (disc 12) (2009)

Suitcase 3: Up We Go Now
(2009, Guided by Voices Inc.)

This Disc is a bona fide drool session for fanatics and historians of the band, as it provides a glimpse into an improvised acoustic noodling session between Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos, and of course, Robert Pollard. The name states that the recording took place in between Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, and in fact, some Bee Thousand sound snippet material can be found on this particular release. At any rate, if one were to latch on to Suitcase 3, after years of listening, this is a nice gift. Although not always necessary, exactly. Like the box-set (or sets) itself, this is a FOR FANS ONLY collection.


For a proper introduction for Suitcase 3: Up We Go Now, click here, on Disc 9. 

Disc 12: Tall Tale Moon (Antiquated) and Other Known Facts- Spontaneous Lo-Fly Field Recordings (Controlled Acoustic Jams 1994- Between The Recordings Of Bee Thousand And Alien Lanes) 

Pluto is Polluted - 3 Later made into a Boston Spaceships track featured on Camera Found The Ray Gun, this song is a few angular minor acoustic chords with a typically  Pollard cryptic rapport. Would have easily fit on on one of the Pollard outputs, but this isn’t exactly a standout track.

Aquarian Hovercraft4 Another song that was later adapted by Boston Spaceships, this track boasts some bizarrely awesome Pollard vocals, and unexpected off-timey guitar parts.

Brand New Star Slightly out of tune and rambling words, in a stream, perhaps a river in this case, of consciousness lyrics. Isolated, the song is fairly strong as a snippet type track.

Sea-Mint Robots2 Sea-Mint? Hmmm. Creepy minor chord strumming meets some kind of William Burroughs cut and paste nightmare imagery. Listen closely and you can hear a kid playing in the background. 

South Rat ObservatoryWhoa!  The acoustic strums that are tacked on to the beginning of "Tractor Rape Chain," and essentially comprise the verses of the song, are heard here in original form. Muttered vocals are heard on this cool artifact, of a still rad skeleton of a tune.  Song also proves that despite the title given to the disc, some of this material was NOT recorded between said LPs.

The Cinnamon Flavored Skull2  Repetitive, downer of a song. Sounds like it could have been fitting material for a mid-90s Matador GBV EP.

Porpoise Mitten (Was a Real Good Kitten) -  4  Nursery rhyme scheme over a cool acoustic song that is pretty insanely catchy and equally sad.  Short and bittersweet.  

Mr. Spoon-  Up strokes verses with saddened, tinged with tears chorus strumming.  Melancholy and sweet, if not pretty damn silly.

Hey Mr. Soundman [Acoustic Version]-  1  Early version of same song that appeared on the split 7'' w/ The Grifters.  Mehhh.  Acoustic uninteresting waste of time.

Oh PiePollard croons while Sprout noodle picks all around the guitar, but the song stays pretty stagnant. Pollard then kind of drunkenly yells, which is the most interesting part of the song, but it is still an easily tossed off contribution.

Kotex MoonRepetitive as hell in terms of the vocals, we hear Bob repeat "Kotex Moon" and Sprout or Greg Demos comes in with more repetitive melodic backups.  Possibly could have been fleshed out in a more satisfactory way, but this song is by no means terrible.  Early EP territory for sure.

Bingo Pool Hall of BloodThis is a 50 second unfinished track where Bob sings in a few different voices after announcing the oddball title, and then it goes unfinished before everyone laughs.  Okay.

There Goes the King Again2  Another repetitive demo that sounds fairly made up on the spot.  Off the cuff and pretty grating. Pollard delivers a good dose of strange accent bending on this one. 

Evil Vandalia/Mojo Crown Zenith3  The first part of this song is a 30 second song snippet, before stopping and breaking into a mid-tempo (SMOG)-esque tune, but more tuneful. Some solidly improvised lead guitar noodling is nestled underneath. 

Cuddling Bozo's Octopus4 A minute and a half song that sounds like a drunk swimming in a hammock and singing himself to self to sleep. And this is before the song is cut short with laughing and eventually resumed.  Actually, this song is pretty goddamn awesome!  Sounds like a lost cut from Static Airplane Jive.

I Shot a JezebelThis song really has no direction to it whatsoever. It features Pollard bellowing seemingly completely off the cuff, with some modest noodling over simple, enjoyable chord structures. The "I tell my story to the world" repetitive outro had promise, but nothing more.

After the Quake (Let's Bake a Cake)Innocent enough. Average basement acoustic jam with run of the mill GBV era melody. Minor chord pop.

P Melts Everything4  The repetition of the title and rhyme at the beginning is pretty classic Pollard of this time. Could have been a cool track if tacked onto an EP from around the same era. Make no mistake, there's nothing to this song, and it's still pretty great.

My Dad Is a Motorboat-Find yourself a window, and stare out of it sadly while listening to this lo-fi gem. Not the best song ever, and it's garnished with some motorboat sounds, but all in all this is a pretty solid track.

Ugly Ba Ba-  What the fuck?  Classic GBV song structure, with hand on knee percussion while Pollard sings to a baby, I assume.  However, this song is absolutely perfect for newborns that were into GBV of this era.

Hairspray Lies2  Someone's gotten into the beer trough again. Pollard wails some anthemic, wobbly melodies over his guitar strumming. No new ground broken, as title is repeatedly sung.

Sawhorse With Big Blue EarsThis one has a phone ringing in the background!!! The phone rings four times, with the fourth ring being cut short. Did anyone answer?  Was it the machine?  No one knows.  Oh the song? It's pretty damn forgettable.

Tough Skin River1 Notable for Greg Demos singing lead vocals on it! And that's all it's notable for. This song is constructed from an odd mess of guitar chords, with level peaking and off-timed accents. When the last beer is guzzled, and the sun has set, I guess sometimes you gotta let Demos sing a song.

Cruise [Acoustic Version]Demo version of the Freedom Cruise song that appeared on the split 7'' w/ Nightwalker.  This is a fairly slow, grungy, hazy kind of song. Recalls a Nirvana box set outtake.

Alright [Acoustic Version]-  "Alright" closes out Alien Lanes and I've never been that big of a fan of the song in the scheme of that album when you consider how fantastic Alien Lanes is. It's loud and noisy on the LP version, but this acoustic demo is actually a very enjoyable alternative. This could have easily held its own as a solid track on almost any given GBV EP.

1 comment:

  1. This is the most disappointing disc in the suitcase series for me--these acoustic versions just don't hold my interest. Pluto is Polluted is such a strong song that I consider it an exception, but the rest of the songs on this c.d. are just meh. Glad the Boston Spaceships revisited Pluto is Polluted and Aquarian Hovercraft and did them justice.