Two tribs, one
recently released, one due next year, attempt to answer that question.
By Perez Mills
It’s an idea whose time has come… but perhaps should be left
to go away. Pitchfork is reporting on not one but two Guided By Voices tribute
albums – one, which is apparently due
from the No More Fake Labels label in early 2011, and the other on Wild Animal
Kingdom, which has just issued Guided by
Guided by Voices on cassette.
The former, we learn, will feature the Flaming Lips, whose
Wayne Coyne has posted an intriguing video clip of him singing “Smothered in
Hugs.” The latter includes such heavy hitters as Harpoon Forever, Fluffy
Lumbers, Air Waves and Halelujah the Hills, so you know you are already racing
to track that down.
But ask yourself: with so much extant GbV product already
out there, much of it of such high quality that no cover could ever do it
justice, not to mention the possibility of seeing the reunited band perform
this fall at the Matador anniversary bash and selected other national dates, do
you really need to listen to a bunch of other bands doing GbV songs? It
actually defeats the purpose of listening to a Robert Pollard composition –
let’s face it, if it ain’t him singing it, it ain’t a “real” GbV tune.
All respect to brother Wayne and all the others, but this
would seem to be an instance of the tribute album syndrome swallowing its own
tail. Tributes have been on a downward spiral, quality wise, for some time now.
You have to ask yourself, how many of
these damn things have I bought, and how many did I actually listen to?
Wait – here’s an idea. “A Reggae Tribute to Guided By
Voices.” No? How about a fresh entry in the “Pickin’ On…” series of bluegrass
tributes to rock bands, hmmm?