In terms of modern-day Herculean tasks, chronicling Guided By Voices mastermind Robert Pollard‘s recorded output would certainly make the list. Even if one were to make very specific lists with rigorous criteria for inclusion, the task would still be daunting. Jeff Gomez, Gen X chronicler, has taken on the daunting task with his surprisingly essential new book, Zeppelin Over Dayton: Guided By Voices Album By Album. (Perhaps it’s his way of atoning for writing the divisive Gen-X exploitation novel Our Noise?)
Gomez lays out some ground rules: no compilations, no singles, no side projects. He’s sticking just to the album proper releases. He has to, really; the singles alone would warrant their own text. He offers a little bit of historical background for the context of each album, and then he dives into the record track by track. Mixing facts and fanboy enthusiasm, Gomez isn’t afraid to geek out when the spirit moves him; if he loves a song, he’ll tell you in no uncertain terms. But he’s not too much of a fan to overlook weaker moments and disappointing records, either. For a band with such a hardcore fanbase, such honesty is refreshing; I went into Zeppelin Over Dayton expecting blind devotion. Gomez is the type of writer who can use the word “rocking” as both noun and adjective and get away with it.
Zeppelin Over Dayton is obviously a labor of love, considering GBV’s vast, deep, and sometimes inconsistent discography. The task is Herculean, indeed; the book was already out of date upon its release–Pollard’s muse stops for no one–here’s hoping this valuable little guide keeps getting updated as time goes on.
Purchase Zeppelin Over Dayton: Guided By Voices Album By Album: Jawbone