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GUIDED BY VOICES - Vampire On Titus LP


GUIDED BY VOICES - Vampire On Titus LP

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The most banged-up, wrecked, and trashed Guided by Voices LP. A real lo-fi cry in the night. It conjures up mazes of crushed basement beer cans. Most of the songs don't even have drums. What keeps us coming back are all the solid tunes beneath the grime. This is great, unsettling cartoon-land psychedelic pop from front to back. It just might need some time to grow on you. Several classics lurk in this murk. 

The album title is nicked from a line Jim Shepard used to describe Robert Pollard (who lived on Titus Ave. in Dayton, OH at the time), and it's appropriate considering that this LP is essentially Guided by Voices risen from the dead. They broke up after Propeller and then started to build up an enthusiastic fanbase. The Scat Records label came calling and Pollard threw this, and the Grand Hour EP, together for them. The whole album is just Robert Pollard, Jim Pollard, Tobin Sprout, and tape hiss.

Although there were several different pressings in the 1990s, this is the first since 1998. This edition features a new master cut at Golden, is packaged in a sturdy tip-on jacket, and includes Robert Pollard’s original insert, now enlarged to a more readable size.

Originally released in 1993, Vampire On Titus was not unique at that time in its four-track recording methodology, but it was perhaps the first to garner major media attention. Many minds were blown, and a few were baffled enough to return the album to the store, believing the crude sound meant their copy was defective.

The album occupies a unique place in the GBV discography. It is a snapshot of a brief time in the band’s history, a turning point after having broken up the previous year. It doesn’t include any older or last minute material. Although sonically consistent, the songs exhibit tremendous variety, skirting several genres and many moods. The lineup is just a trio: Robert Pollard and brother Jimmy Pollard with Tobin Sprout. Although it could be described as one of GBV’s “difficult” LPs, it has several songs that could’ve been standouts on Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes. It was their first album that was not self-released. It is an innocent album, unaware of its audience, and fearless to the core as only true outsiders can be. As such, Vampire On Titus is an essential piece for even the more casual fan of the band. It’s also just a damn good album that’s held up to repeated listens for a quarter century.

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