Guided By Voices might be taking their last lap around the course, but that doesn't mean that we'll ever stop following the exploits of Dayton's favorite Pop sons. Here's a random sampling of imminent and recent releases that will ease the pain of a world without GBV:
· Robert Pollard/untitled solo album (TBA label): By Pollard's admission, his first official post-GBV album is a sprawling double-length affair he felt was too significant to relegate to his excellent but largely unpromoted Fading Captain series, the standard repository for his non-GBV work (the exception being Waved Out, his Matador-sanctioned-and-released 1998 solo album). Matador currently has no tentative date scheduled for the album's release, and Pollard himself wasn't entirely sure where it would eventually land. Stay tuned at gbv.com.
· Guided By Voices/Hardcore UFOs (Matador): Based on Pollard's assessment that the GBV archives are loaded to the rafters with releasable goodies, last year's Hardcore UFOs could well stand as merely the latest multi-disc set of band rarities. It's clearly one of the best collections of its kind, comprised of a "greatest hits" comp, a single/B-sides/oddities disc, two sets of unreleased studio and live tracks, a reissue of their disturbingly great Forever Since Breakfast debut EP from 1986 and the Watch Me Jumpstart DVD, which includes the Banks Tarver title documentary as well as 30 minutes of live footage and nearly every GBV music video.
· Tobin Sprout/Live at the Horseshoe Tavern (Luna): Sprout now resides in Michigan and has put a good deal of energy toward his trompe l'oiel painting career (his hyper-realistic canvases graced the covers of many early GBV releases and a good number of his own), but he still occasionally puts together a quick sonic blast of his patented Pop goodness, live or in the studio, either on his own or with his Eyesinweasel project. His latest release, a double live recording of his April show at Toronto's Horseshoe plus a smattering of exclusive studio tracks, will hit the streets next week (but since he's opening for GBV at the Southgate House Friday, there's a good chance he'll have it at the merch table). Check his web site at tobinsprout.com for news of upcoming releases, gallery shows and other cool offers.
· Doug Gillard/Salamander (Pink Frost): GBV guitarist Doug Gillard isn't wasting any time waiting for the dust to settle on the band's legacy.
His latest solo album (he's previously released a cassette-only album in 1990 and an EP in 1999, plus two collaborations with Pollard under the Lifeguards banner) was released this week, and it's a marvel of crackling six-string and familiar Todd Rundgren-fueled faux '60s Brit Pop songcraft with flecks of Who power and acoustic/electric Folk/Rock subtlety. Other than a trio of tracks with guests Jay Farrar, Superchunk's Jon Wurster, Marah and violinist Joshua Pollock, everything here is Gillard's doing.
· Phantom Tollbooth/Beard of Lightning (Off): A truly quirky and totally cool project from Pollard's twisted mind. A huge fan of the late '80s Phantom Tollbooth gem Power Toy, Pollard got permission from the band to drop the vocals from the music, rewrite the lyrics and re-sing the songs for one of the most astonishingly original quasi-tribute records in Rock history. 1987 Phantom Tollbooth + 2003 Robert Pollard = timeless Pop/Punk bliss.
· Cobra Verde: When Pollard dissolved the original GBV in 1996, he hired Cleveland Glam Rock guns Cobra Verde as his backing band. The arrangement resulted in 1997's Mag Earwhig!, widely considered by fans to be the best GBV album since the unassailable Bee Thousand in 1994. Although CV's Doug Gillard remained with Pollard, most of the band ultimately drifted out of GBV and continued to release albums, as they'd already decided to remain a viable band even during their GBV membership. Cobra Verde is still a hot ticket in Cleveland; their 2003 album Easy Listening was broadly acclaimed and CV was voted Best Band in the city last year by the alt weekly Scene. The band is reportedly finished with a new album, and they're playing songs from it on their current tour. Details can be gleaned at cobraverde.com.