Guided By Voices are famous for throwing multi-hour, beer-drenched shows and it seems as though they’re not letting the pandemic stop them.
The band is playing a concert on Friday, July 17th, in an empty venue in frontman Robert Pollard’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio, which fans will be able to livestream starting at 5 p.m. EST. Tickets are on sale now. Twenty percent of ticket sales will go to venues the band has played over the years to help keep them afloat during COVID-19. “It will be like a sporting event without the crowd,” Pollard tells Rolling Stone. “Maybe it’s not quite the same thrill as having a crowd but it’s the next best thing.”
The show will also serve as a testing ground for new material from the band’s upcoming 30th album, Mirrored Aztec, out August 21st. “This is an upbeat, bright pop album (it’s still weird) that is important because it marks Guided By Voices’ 30th album,” Pollard says. The band released the track “Haircut Sphinx” Tuesday via Rolling Stone. A guitar-heavy, old-school rock song, the track combines GBV’s characteristic off-the-wall imagery (what, exactly, is a haircut sphinx?) with some serious riffs.
Mirrored Aztec is GBV’s second album of 2020, following Surrender Your Poppy Field, which dropped February 20th. The band kicked off 2020 with a 100-song New Year’s Eve set in L.A. “It was difficult because I have a bum hip,” Pollard said after that feat. “It felt fine for about the first two hours of the show and then it started hurting. … I didn’t hold back at all in the vocal department. You can’t. The songs are what they are and I really belt them out. There’s no way to really pace yourself or hold anything back. We just kept going toward the finish line. At about the four-hour mark I felt like I might throw up from lack of air and overexerting the diaphragm. But I made it and everyone seemed to have a good time.”
GBV also recently launched a subscription service called Hot Freaks that gives fans access to unreleased songs, previews, rarities, demos, concerts and more.