Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn’t open, click the iTunes application icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview and buy music from Suitcase 2 by Guided By Voices, download iTunes now.

Already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download
iTunes for Mac + PC

Suitcase 2

Open iTunes to preview, buy and download music.

Album Review

This is the second four-disc box set of unreleased recordings by Guided by Voices, led by Robert Pollard. It also marks the first use of the Guided by Voices name in the marketplace since their principal member dissolved the unit at the end of 2004. Like the initial Suitcase, it spans nearly 30 years' worth of previously unheard demos, outtakes, jams, live excerpts, and spur-of-the-moment musical ideas from Pollard's vast vault. While the former collection didn't favor one period over another, it's notable that here there is very little attention paid to the band's peak years, 1992-1996 (not much more than a few aborted concept album tracks and a handful of songs that didn't make it on to Pollard's first solo album). Instead, there is a focus on their earliest beginnings, including songs that would've fit nicely on their debut, Forever Since Breakfast, had the decision been made to turn that 1986 EP into a full-length. And it's not like the man has stopped writing since the last box, so there's a wealth of material from 2000 and beyond (including songs written the year this compilation was released, 2005).

It's a treat for fans to get this kind of access to Pollard's development as a songwriter and to find melodies that would show up in later works: "Sacred Space" would soon become "Office of Hearts," "Daughter of the Gold Rush" begat "Volcano Divers," and there's a bit of the Bee Thousand castoff "Deathrot and Warlock Riding a Rooster" in "Beach Towers" (as well as the influence of Blue Öyster Cult). But it's the 1988 recording of the song "Rocket Head" that provides the greatest thrill, as many years later it would turn into "Teenage FBI," one of GBV's finest numbers. There are also glimpses of early cracks at writing and recording, one result being a little tune from 1980 called "Metro XVI" that sounds like excited kids attempting to play new wave. It's fascinating to observe Pollard's progression and evolution over the years, and to discover the origins of future approaches such as the riff-rock method taken up for 2001's Isolation Drills dating way back to 1987 ("A Proud and Booming Industry") and resurfacing fully formed as early as 1996 ("Madroom Assistance"). These examples aren't just fragments, either (though that aspect of his process is present elsewhere on this anthology), and most of the songs on Suitcase 2 are more fleshed-out than one might imagine. While it's often an absorbing listen, it's hard to fathom this appealing to anyone but the terminally obsessed; neophytes who have read this far probably realize this is not the one for them. There is a pared-down single LP, Briefcase 2 — The Return of Milko Waif; Suitcase 2 Abridged, which is only available on vinyl and frustratingly includes two songs not found here.


Formed: 1985 in Dayton, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Inspired equally by jangle pop and arty post-punk, Guided by Voices created a series of trebly, hissy indie rock records filled with infectiously brief pop songs that fell somewhere between the British Invasion and prog rock. After recording six self-released albums between 1986 and 1992, the Dayton, Ohio-based band attracted a handful of fans within the American indie rock underground. With the 1994 release of Bee Thousand, the group became an unexpected alternative rock sensation, winning positive...
Full Bio