Inspired equally by jangle pop and artsy post-punk, Guided by Voices
created a series of trebly, hissy, independent rock records filled with
infectiously brief pop songs that fell somewhere between the British
Invasion and progressive rock. After recording six self-released albums
between 1986 and 1992, the Dayton, Ohio-based band attracted a handful
of fans within the American indie rock underground. With the 1994
release of Bee Thousand, the group became an unexpected alternative rock
sensation, winning positive reviews throughout the mainstream music
press and signing a larger distribution deal with Matador Records. Despite all of the attention, the band
never changed their aesthetic. They continued to record their albums on
cheap four-track tape decks and thereby limited their potential
audience, yet that devotion to lo-fi indie rock helped Guided by Voices
maintain a sizable cult during the late ’90s. However, on records such
as Do the Collapse or Isolation Drills, the sound is more polished.
Amplified to rock and eager to drink beer, schoolteacher Robert Pollard formed Guided by Voices in early 1983. Throughout the group’s history, Pollard was at the center, writing the majority of the songs and leading each incarnation of the band. During the ’80s, Pollard was frequently joined by his brother Jim, who continued to write songs for the group even after his departure in the late ’80s. Guided by Voices didn’t become a full-fledged band until guitarist Tobin Sprout and bassist Dan Toohey joined the group in 1985.