Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Best known for his time spent as a guitarist for Guided By Voices, Doug Gillard has been making the kind of scruffy and to-the-point, to-the-hook rock and roll for just about 30 years now. The Ohioan, who is now living in New York City, puts together guitar arrangements that teeter and go bananas only momentarily (there's a nice, extended outburst of a section here on "New Cape and Bay" that will have you salivating and shaking with the bending notes), relying on the kind of sturdy compositions that many bands and guitarists that have come after him have filed away in the mental card catalog under, "This is how I want to write songs. This is how they're supposed to be played when they're done right" It's economical and smart. They are written and played in a way that makes you think of home. They are homey and they ooze with the breezy day offerings of a writer who needs not to think about anything too hard. Much like his Guided By Voices counterpart, Robert Pollard, Gillard could fall out of bed and have three incredible, succinct and genius songs started and finished. The melodies are easy and the music follows them, everything touching on the belief that nothing should wear or out-stay its welcome. There is a purpose to everything and that's a shared philosophy that he seems to have with guys like Paul Westerberg and Elvis Costello, a philosophy that could have rubbed off on guys like Ted Leo and John Davis of Superdrag, both of whom bear resemblances to Gillard on their own albums. Gillard seems to be able to look at a song the way a director can be standing out on a set and put his pointer fingers and thumbs together, forming a makeshift frame and see everything sized up, within borders, the way they need to see it to comprehend whether it's going to work or not. He sees the horizon, the periphery and all that's below the ground, making the most of the vision.