Endless Loop: The Official Ironmen Rally Song

guidedbyvoicesI write about music a lot. That’s okay though…I really like music. But the majority of my past articles and columns have focused primarily on albums, short and long stretches of artistic cohesion or chaos, easily consumable in piecemeal nuggets, but more greatly appreciated as works in whole form. In 2015, who has the time for that? Where are the singles man? Where are the powerful three minutes of pop perfection or the 20-minute free-form explorations of the outer cosmos? Give me something with a beat I can dance to. Well, I’m here to oblige my own queries, so without further ado, let’s get rolling with a new column, Endless Loop, a look at songs I never seem to tire of, songs I could listen to eternally.

“The Official Ironmen Rally Song” by Guided By Voices

Sometimes there are songs that are able to grab you with their opening bars, their opening chords, their opening notes. Those sounds creep, or slide, or crash into your ears, jarring your brain awake, making your body and soul take notice of the beautiful noise being made, a pathway to divinity. From the opening seconds of “The Official Ironmen Rally Song” from Guided By Voices’ 1996 album, Under the Bushes Under the Stars, I was utterly and completely hooked, mesmerized even. Here was a song that made me think about my past, present, and future, simultaneously making me feel nostalgic, alive, and eager for the days and years to come. I was 17 years old.

Having formed in the early 80’s, by 1996, Guided By Voices were already legends in the underground music scene. The band had gone (and would continue to go) through many iterations and cast member changes, all the while songs and multiple releases piling up thanks to the prolific output of front man and ever constant presence of former teacher/beer enthusiast Robert Pollard. GBV were one of those lo-fi bands whose albums and singles made you think you could make music too. Much like Beck’s early work and the Ronald Jones-assisted output from The Flaming Lips in the early/mid 90’s, Pollard and GBV made me realize that all the cruddy, little songs I was writing and playing in my bedroom had validity. That they had worth. It didn’t matter if I was dubbing them on a beat up tape recorder. It didn’t matter that I was using a cheap and sketchy guitar. The broken rhythms are heaven. The tape hiss is God. Lo-fidelity gold.

Under the Bushes Under the Stars found the band falling into favor during the alt-rock boom of the mid 90’s, signing to Matador Records and working with a string of producers on the album. “The Official Ironmen Rally Song” reaped the rewards of this period of prosperity, putting Pixies/Breeders bassist and singer Kim Deal behind the boards. Deal pretty much just let the band do their own thing, and the tune is all the better for it, three minutes of crunchy, unflawed pop masterpiece.

Listening to the song now, it still gives me that sense of wistfulness, that feeling that the past is still precious, the future still hopeful, and the present all I really need. I want to put my arms around my family and friends and just sing to the heavens.

Listen to (and watch the video for) the song below.

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

One Response to Endless Loop: The Official Ironmen Rally Song
  1. Chester Whelks Reply

    This column could probably subsist on GBV songs alone.

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