Stereogum x Amazon MP3 Friendly Deals #1: Guided By Voices’ Bee Thousand

Today we announce a partnership that brings you classic indie rock albums at hugely discounted prices. Every week, Amazon.com is letting us select one album from its MP3 store to go on super sale (up to 75% off normal prices). Hopefully you’ll be able to add these must-own LPs to your library without breaking your budget. First deal up: Guided By Voices’ Bee Thousand.

Released in 1994 by Scat, an independent label then located in Cleveland, Bee Thousand was Guided By Voices’ seventh album. The Dayton group, a ragtag lineup of friends centered around Robert Pollard and vast quantities of beer, had been making music together as GBV since 1983. They released a number of other earlier gems (1992’s Propeller, 1993’s Vampire On Titus, etc.), but this 20-track/tidbit collection crystallized their lo-fi collagist approach to pop songwriting and, via Matador’s help with distribution, propelled the band onto stereos far beyond their hometown.

From “Hardcore UFO’s” through “You’re Not An Airplane,” Pollard’s melodic sense, immediate hooks, and catchy cut-up lyricism coupled with Tobin Sprout & Co’s dead-on contributions are uncanny, moving, ecstatic, and ultimately transformative. Flipping between Kinks-esque noise, post-Syd-Barrett nuggets, skeletal psychedelia bursts, cassette-only garage pop, and Who-meets-hiss balladry, Bee Thousand is a rich pop kaleidoscope, a 36-minute patchwork that feels like a Beatles bootleg folding in on itself, or like surfing the radio dial and finding one AM hit after another. (The order of the songs is so important it’s strange unstitching the track list and judging tracks separately.) In line with the buzz Bee Thousand received, it was GBV’s last album for a smaller label: They followed Bee with their official Matador debut and another bonafide classic, 1995’s Alien Lanes, which refined Bee Thousand’s approach without losing much of the fuzz.

As part of the Stereogum x Amazon Garage Sale, for one week Bee Thousand is available at Amazon MP3 for only $3.99, down from the regular price of $9.99.

Help us make great albums available at low prices by suggesting future Friendly Deal selections in the comments.