It takes a special skill to make a song feel effortless. Wilco, Iron Maiden, and Black Sabbath were great bands…but never, at any point, did they make it look easy.
This isn’t to say that Tony Molina sounds anything like those bands. He doesn’t. Dinosaur Jr., Weezer, and Thin Lizzy are the obvious points of reference here, but that’s not what I want to write about. I’m more curious as to why I can’t stop playing a record that feels unfinished.
I don’t mean unfinished as a criticism. Guided by Voices made a career out of releasing songs that were, for all intents and purposes, demos. This record feels like that, like you got your hands on a great practice tape.
If I had to guess, the short songs have less to do with Guided by Voices and more to do with Tony M’s punk rock background. Why repeat the verse and chorus? What would it accomplish? Nothing. In fact, had he extended any of these songs any longer than he did, it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.
“Dissed and Dismissed” is 12 songs in just as many minutes, and he still manages to fit an instrumental guitar piece (“Sick Ass Riff”) and a Guided by Voices cover (“Wondering Boy Poet”). It’s fuzzy, catchy, and over way too soon.
I’d like to think that Tony rolled into the studio on no sleep, ran through each track once, and threw the tape to his friend with the record label, all while giving zero fucks whether his buddy liked it or not.
That’s what it sounds like, but not what happened. That’s what makes it such a special record. And it’s probably why I feel like I’m wearing the grooves out on it already.