Guided by Voices mastermind Robert Pollard will open his fabled treasure-trove of unreleased recordings this fall, releasing the four-disc box set Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft.
The collection, due Sept. 12, will include 100 songs recorded over 25 years, according to representatives of Guided by Voicesaffiliated indie labels recordhead and Rockathon Records, which are jointly releasing the project.
"[Pollard] had all these tapes most of them were in the basement," said Rockathon Vice President Matt Davis, who helped compile the release. "There were songs that even he didn't remember."
The music on the set is attributed to about 80 apparently fictitious bands, including ..., including God's Brother, Urinary Track Stars, Ceramic Cock Einstein and Homosexual Flypaper, the pseudonym GBV used for a recent surprise concert in New York.
At least a dozen bands are credited with more than one track on the set. One, Antler, is credited with "Grasshopper Rap," "Devil Doll," "Static Airplane Jive," "Deaf Ears" and "Buzzards and Dreadful Crows," which is also the name of a song on GBV's Bee Thousand. Another, Styles We Paid For, is credited with the set's opening and closing tracks, "The Terrible Two" and "Oh, Blinky." The other, Styles We Paid For, is credited with the set's opening and closing tracks, "The Terrible Two" and "Oh, Blinky." In addition to tracks recorded as recently as this year, the set includes "Little Jimmy the Giant," a song Pollard recorded while in his teens. The song is credited to Little Bobby Pop.
Guided by Voices fans had lobbied for the release of this set for years, ever since Pollard, who is the band's only permanent member, mentioned the existence of a suitcase full of unreleased songs in an interview. Fans' interest helped convince Pollard to release some of them, according to recordhead owner Todd Robinson.
"Bob's always kind of just talked about the suitcase [of unreleased songs]. For a while, it was just fan conjecture that this might come out," Robinson said. "Then the seeds were sown in Bob, and it really came to the front of his mind that maybe [he] should put some of this stuff out."
Although Guided by Voices helped pioneer lo-fi rock with such four-track recordings as Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, some of the material on the box set falls well below four-track quality, Robinson said.
"Some were just old, Radio Shack-from-1979-type tapes; some were done into a handheld cassette recorder thing," he explained. "The fidelity was not lo-fi; it was no-fi."
The 100 songs on the box set are only a fraction of Pollard's unreleased output, Robinson said. "This is a drop in the bucket this could be the first of many installments."
The set will be available through record stores and Guided by Voices' Web site (www.gbv.com).
It also will be released in an abridged vinyl edition that will be limited to 500 copies and will include one bonus track, according to Davis.
The full track listing for Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft is:
Styles We Paid For, "The Terrible Two"
Standard Generator, "Bloodbeast"
Huge on Pluto, "The Kissing Life"
Whitey Museum, "Bottoms Up! (You Fantastic Bastard)"
(The Amazing) Benzing, "Tear It Out Zing"
Meat Kingdom Group, "Cinnamon Flavored Skulls"
Elf God, "Bunco Men"
Judas and the Piledrivers, "Bad and Rare"
Eric Pretty, "Dorothy's Planet"
Global Witch Awakening, "Pluto the Skate"
Magic Toe, "Let's Go Vike"
Hazzard Hotrods, "Sabotage"
Tax Revlon, "Pink Drink"
Champion Hairpuller, "James Riot"
Burns Carpenter, "It's Easy"
AA Bottom, "Dank Star Ground Control"
Crushed Being Groovy, "Spring Tigers"
Rex Polaroyd, "Born on Seaweed"
Monkey Business, "Flesh Ears From June"
Ghetto Blaster, "Driving in the U.S. of A."
Turned Up Turner, "My Big Day (3 Versions)"
Maxwell Greenfield, "Have It Again"
Little Bobby Pop, "Little Jimmy the Giant"
Bozo's Octopuss, "Taco, Buffalo, Birddog and Jesus"
Mooshoo Wharf, "Ding Dong Daddy (Is Back From the Bank)"
Clinton Killingsworth, "Supermarket the Moon"
Stingy Queens, "Hold on to Yesterday"
The Judy Plus Nine, "Ha Ha Man"
Nicotine Cranes, "Our Value of Luxury"
Arthur Psycho and the Trippy Warts, "Bug House (2 Versions)"
Groovy Lucifer, "Rainbow Billy"
Approval of Mice, "Shrine to the Dynamic Years (Athens Time Change Riots)"
Eric Pretty, "On Short Wave"
Atrock Unicorns, "I Can See It in Your Eyes"
Kuda Labranch, " Tobacco's Last Stand"
Elvis Caligula, " Shifting Swift Is a Lift"
Tabatha's Flashpot, "Sing It Out"
Ricked Wicky, "Messenger"
K.C. Turner, "The Fool Ticket"
Brown Smoothies, "Mallard Smoke"
Edison Shell, "Mr. McCaslin Will Sell No More Flowers"
Ceramic Cock Einstein, "Shit Midas"
Moonchief, "Blue Gil"
Ricked Wicky, "Invest In British Steel"
Pearly Gates Smoke Machine, "Spinning Around"
1st Joint, "Let's Go! (To War)"
Antler, "Grasshopper Rap"
King of Cincinnati, "I'm Cold"
Ghost Fart, "Damn Good Mr. Jam"
"(The Amazing) Ben Zing, "In Walked the Moon"
Fake Organisms, "Long Way to Run"
Tom Devil, "Mr. Media"
Urinary Track Stars, "Settlement Down"
Red Hot Helicopter, "Mr. Japan"
Doctor Formula, "A Kind of Love"
(The Amazing) Ben Zing, "Meddle"
Hazzard Hotrods, "Big Trouble"
Eric Pretty, "A Good Circuitry Soldier"
Antler, "Devil Doll"
Indian Alarm Clock, "Pantherz"
Flaming Ray, "Cocaine Jane"
Grabbit, "Exploding Anthills"
8th Dwarf, "Perch Warble"
Coward of the Hour, "Medley: This View/True Sensation/On the Wall"
Oil Can Harry, "What Are We Coming Up To?"
Too Proud to Practice, "Scissors and the Clay Ox (In)"
Zeppelin Commander, "Cody's Antler"
God's Brother, "Once in a While"
Antler, "Buzzards and Dreadful Crows"
Kink Zego, "Carnival at the Morning Star School"
Royal Japanese Daycare, "Cruise"
Stingy Queens, "Gayle"
Homosexual Flypaper, "Gift"
Fast Forward Life, "The Flying Party"
Bus of Trojan Hope, "Trashed Aircraft"
Pete Eastwood, "Trying to Make It Work Again"
Panzee, "Turbo Boy"
The Unfriendly, "Chain Wallet Bitch"
King of Cincinnati, "Little Head"
Matted Pelt, "Why Did You Land?"
(The Amazing) Ben Zing, "Time Machines"
Hazzard Hotrods, "A Farewell to Arms"
Jumped or Pushed?, "Best Things Goin' Round"
Good Parts Only Corporation, "Sickly Sweet"
(The Amazing) Ben Zing, "United"
John the Croc, "Unshaven Bird"
Go Back Snowball, "Black Ghost Pie"
Brown Star Jam"Go for the Answers"
Factory Rat, "Rocking Now"
God's Brother, "Excellent Things"
Antler, "Static Airplane Jive"
Fake Organisms, "Where I Come From"
Fat Chance, "Try to Find You"
Antler, "Deaf Ears"
Academy of Crowsfeet, "Good for a Few Laughs"
Nelly and the Dirtfloor, "Raphael"
Maxwell Greenfield, "My Feet's Trustworthy Existance"
Bravery Umpire, "Eggs"
Clinton Killingsworth, "Wondering Boy Poet"
Styles We Paid For, "Oh, Blinky."