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Doug Gillard – Creative Process 473

Varied soundtrack to the short film, offers everything from stately acoustic tracks to freak-out blurts, country, surf and samba riffs to porno music, funky rock to college radio-ready songs. In other words, more excellence from alternative rock’s most under-appreciated guitarist. It’s worth the search to find this Gem (if you get that play on words, you’re a true fan).

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Doug Gillard – Call From Restricted

GBV alum releases another excellent solo record. Opening track Time Is Nigh strikes as an acoustic Echoes Myron initially, then morphs quickly into something else equally listenable. From there the album progresses through lovely and creative monster riffs and blistering solos, strong (and, as expected, slightly wonky in a beautiful way) songs throughout. So good to hear this man’s guitar in action again.

I had an interesting time acquiring this record. It was only available on Amazon.com (not .ca), and it’s the first time I’ve been aware that CDs can be printed upon ordering. That’s got to save a lot of storage space and, as James pointed out, may be the difference for some artists as to whether their record sees release or not. Still, the packaging is credible, devoid of label info except Amazon’s name above a single bar code. Neat! Have I just seen the future? Maybe!

I always say you should buy these GBV-related records, and I am always right! Trust the KMA! We love you!

Doug Gillard – Salamander

Long-time Guided By Voices guitar-hand (and Robert Pollard side-project collaborator) Doug Gillard released this, his first solo record, three years ago and I’ve gotta tell you, it should’ve been more popular than it was. I mean, I didn’t hear any of these tracks on the radio, did you? Well, we should have!

This entire record is chock full of tightly-crafted, intelligent pop and rock songs. We’re treated to interesting chord changes, tuneful melodies and interesting lyrics… what more could one want? How does one record become popular and yet not another? What is wrong with people’s (so-called) taste? This is a far superior record to a lot of the crap that found acceptance amongst the unwashed masses… Oh. Wait a minute. I just answered my own question.

Now, sure, sometimes the jangly electric guitar sounds just like a GBV song, and sometimes the way he phrases certain lines sound a bit more than a little like Mr. Pollard, but there’s so much here that’s individual too, so that those moments come off simply as homage, a tip of the top hat (so to speak), not a rip-off at all.

Another treat is to hear the smattering of tracks that showcase his acoustic guitar talents. Somehow, to me, these are highlight moments. It’s probably because in my mind, I associate him so much with his Les Paul, so the acoustic is a nice reminder that the man has more dimensions to share and we should appreciate them all.

As if all of this isn’t impressive enough, Gillard played all the instruments on the record himself (!), except on three tracks where he had some help from Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Jay Farrar, Marah) on drums, and some violins. Damn.

Record-opener Vallpolicella gets things going in style, Wait For You and Momma add moments of grace. Blockout has a great message. The shifting silt of chords in Landmarks (In My Mind) is impressive, while the intelligent, roomy Beatles-esque space-out of The Cape And Bay is highly awesome. The slinky wit and groove of (But) I See Something will kick your ass and, well, I could probably give a shout-out to every song on here and it would all boil down to the same message: I really liked it.

Even better, the songs here that rock really rock, in the best tradition of the word. So forget about the main stream. College radio, at the very least, should have been all over this record. And so should you.

Completely recommended.
 

Track Listing:
01 Vallpolicella
02 Wait For You
03 Going Back (To You)
04 Present
05 Momma
06 Me & The Wind
07 Give Me Something
08 Blockout
09 Symbols, Signs
10 Landmarks (In My Mind)
11 Fate, Say It Again
12 Drip-Nose Boy
13 The Cape And Bay
14 (But) I See Something

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