PLAY: Music in our CD player

Drew Austin

Guided by Voices’ new album, Human Amusement at Hourly Rates, collects the band’s best songs from a catalog of more than 800. For those unsatisfied with a single album, here are five of the best.

Bee Thousand (Scat, 1994)

Guided by Voices’ landmark album features 20 rock songs about elves, robots and demons (among other things) in fewer than 40 minutes. The band mixes near-perfect melodies, home-recording-quality guitar sounds and lyrics that make no sense but sound really cool.

Alien Lanes (Matador, 1995)

An insane romp through lead singer Bob Pollard’s wacky mind, Alien Lanes is a more fragmented, bombastic version of the great Bee Thousand. Pollard’s lyrical weirdness peaks on this album: “Chain smoke rings like a vapor snake kiss / She says she don’t know why.” Huh?

Under the Bushes, Under the Stars (Matador, 1996)

This one rocks harder and faster than most of GbV’s output. Once again, the band begs the question: Why record with such crappy sound quality? After a few listens to Under the Bushes, that question no longer makes sense.

Mag Earwig! (Matador, 1997)

GbV sound more like the Who and Beatles than ever on this album, a departure from its traditional lo-fi style. “Bomb in the Beehive” should win an award for “Most Fist-Pumping Rock Anthem Ever.”

Earthquake Glue (Matador, 2003)

The band’s newest full-length recaptures the sound of their early ’90s peak with more classic rock melodies and static-hiss guitars. Bob Pollard & Co. maintain their status as some of the hippest old people on the planet.