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February 2, 2004

Fading Captain

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the release of Bob Pollard's Kid Marine, and with it, the birth of The Fading Captain series.

I remember my excitement. After two albums that failed to meet my grand expectations of Guided By Voices (Mag Earwhig! and Do The Collapse), Kid Marine was refreshingly straight-ahead and raw, following grandly and successfully in the tradition of Pollard's first two solo albums, Not In My Airforce and Waved Out.

In the past four years, there have been 29 releases in the Fading Captain Series, among them full band side projects, collaborations of postal rock, b-side compilations, live shows and rareity releases. Like a GBV album, some are stellar to my ears: the aforementioned Kid Marine; Lexo & The Leapers, Ask Them; Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department (with Doug Gillard); Suitcase; Choreographed Man Of War. Less enchanting to me are the collaborations, two with longtime GBV member Tobin Sprout (Tower In The Fountain Of Sparks and Life Starts Here) and one with Superchunk's Mac McGaughan (Go Back Snowball).

In the series, there is always something for the dedicated fan, many vinyl-only releases for the purists, and plenty of Pollard's lyrical imagery. I have to admit, though, that I haven't bought anything in the series since Choreographed Man Of War (#14). Most of the releases have been given to me, but I have no use for vinyl and most of the cd's have been traded in.

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