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Liz Phair Announces Exile in Guyville 30th Anniversary Tour

Liz Phair Announces Exile in Guyville 30th Anniversary Tour

Liz Phair embarks on the GUYVILLE TOUR this fall, celebrating 30 years of the acclaimed EXILE IN GUYVILLE, performing the record in its entirety, along with fan favorites.

Tickets on sale Friday, May 19 at 10a local time.

The 18-date tour will launch on November 7th in El Cajon, California, and take Phair through various cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Nashville, and more, before wrapping up in Dallas on December 3rd.

Exile in Guyville is the debut album by American singer-songwriter Liz Phair, released on June 22, 1993, by Matador Records. It was recorded at Idful Music Corporation in Chicago between 1992 and 1993 and produced by Phair and Brad Wood. The album received critical acclaim and in 2020, it was ranked No. 56 by Rolling Stone in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. It was certified gold in 1998 and as of July 2010 it had sold 491,000 copies.

Phair's 1993 debut studio album, Exile in Guyville, was released to acclaim; it has been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Liz Phair Announces Exile in Guyville 30th Anniversary Tour

Exile in Guyville is the debut album by American singer-songwriter Liz Phair, released on June 22, 1993, by Matador Records. It was recorded at Idful Music Corporation in Chicago between 1992 and 1993 and produced by Phair and Brad Wood. The album received critical acclaim and in 2020, it was ranked No. 56 by Rolling Stone in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. It was certified gold in 1998 and as of July 2010 it had sold 491,000 copies.

In the summer of 1991, Phair wrote and recorded songs on audio cassette tapes, which she circulated in Chicago using the moniker Girly-Sound. Initially, she sent out only two tapes, one to Tae Won Yu from the band Kicking Giant, and the other to Chris Brokaw. The recipients of the Girly-Sound tapes circulated copies with other early fans.

John Henderson, owner of the Chicago indie label Feel Good All Over, heard the tapes and contacted Phair. Soon she moved into his apartment and started playing her songs to him. Henderson brought in producer Brad Wood to help develop the 4-track demos into full songs. Originally, Phair's recordings were supposed to come out on Henderson's label. However, the whole process was made difficult by the fact that he and Phair had opposite ideas regarding what direction to take in terms of sound. Henderson preferred a stripped-down but precise sound, possibly with outside musicians, while Phair wanted a fuller sound. Phair has stated, "We both wanted something for me. He was projecting onto me what he wanted my music to come out like, which was wrong. So I blew him off." Eventually, Henderson stopped showing up at the studio, which made Phair move out of his apartment and start working exclusively with Brad Wood on what would become Exile in Guyville.

Eventually, a Girly-Sound tape had made it to the head of Matador Records. Despite the outcome of the recording sessions, Henderson tipped off Brad Wood that Matador was interested in Phair. When Matador was contacted by Phair in 1992, they signed her. Gerard Cosloy, co-president of Matador, stated that "We usually don't sign people we haven't met, or heard other records by, or seen as performers. But I had a hunch, and I called her back and said okay."

Phair was also responsible for a great part of the artwork design. Originally, the album cover was largely collage based and involved "a fat lady in a pool". In 2008, Phair stated it was originally "an orgy of Barbies floating in a pool", a concept that Matador rejected, stating that such artwork would not sell. The final cover design is a photo of Liz topless in a photo booth, taken and cropped by Nash Kato of Urge Overkill. The interior artwork is based on that of Lopez Tejera's 1952 album The Joys and Sorrows of Andalusia. The booklet also features a collage of several Polaroid photos of Phair, Wood, Rice (and various other people), with a paraphrase from lines from the movie Dirty Harry.

The term Guyville comes from a song of the same name by Urge Overkill. Liz Phair explained the concept of the album in a Billboard article, stating that "For me, Guyville is a concept that combines the smalltown mentality of a 500-person Knawbone, KY.-type town with the Wicker Park indie music scene in Chicago, plus the isolation of every place I've lived in, from Cincinnati to Winnetka". When asked during an interview with Noah Adams on his radio show All Things Considered about the concept, she elaborated: "It was a state of mind and / or neighborhood that I was living in. Guyville, because it was definitely their sensibilities that held the aesthetic, you know what I mean? It was sort of guy things - comic books with really disfigured, screwed-up people in them, this sort of like constant love of social aberration. You know what I mean? This kind of guy mentality, you know, where men are men and women are learning." Asked about what she sees in Guyville, Phair said that "All the guys have short, cropped hair, John Lennon glasses, flannel shirts, unpretentiously worn, not as a grunge statement. Work boots."

Phair has also stated that most songs on the album were not about her. She commented, "That stuff didn't happen to me, and that's what made writing it interesting. I wasn't connecting with my friends. I wasn't connecting with relationships. I was in love with people who couldn't care less about me. I was yearning to be part of a scene. I was in a posing kind of mode, yearning to have things happen for me that weren't happening. So I wanted to make it seem real and convincing. I wrote the whole album for a couple people to see and know me."

Phair commented in interviews that the album was a song-by-song reply to the Rolling Stones' 1972 album Exile on Main St. Some critics contend that the album is not a clear or obvious song-by-song response, although Phair sequenced her compositions in an attempt to match the songlist and pacing of the Rolling Stones album.

Exile in Guyville received critical acclaim. It was the No. 1 album in the year-end critics poll in Spin and the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll.

It was also a moderate commercial success. The videos for "Never Said" and "Stratford-On-Guy" received airplay on MTV. By the spring of 1994, it had sold over 200,000 units, peaking at No. 196 on the Billboard 200 and was Matador's most successful release at the time. In 1998, it was certified gold by the RIAA.

Phair reacted to the reception of Guyville, saying "I don't really get what happened with Guyville. It was so normal, from my side of things. It was nothing remarkable, other than the fact that I'd completed a big project, but I'd done that before... Being emotionally forthright was the most radical thing I did. And that was taken to mean something bigger in terms of women's roles in society and women's roles in music... I just wanted people who thought I was not worth talking to, to listen to me." The sudden success of the album also generated a somewhat negative response from Chicago's indie music scene. Phair commented, "It's odd... Guyville was such a part of indie. But at the same time... I was kind of at war with indie when I made that record." Another problem that arose from her success was also dealing with her stage fright.

Despite this, the album inspired a number of imitators, and the lo-fi sound and emotional honesty of Phair's lyrics were frequently cited by critics as outstanding qualities. It frequently appears on many critics' best-of lists. It was ranked 15 in Spin's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005". VH1 named Exile in Guyville the 96th Greatest Album Of All-Time. The album was ranked number 56 on Rolling Stone's 2020 reboot of their The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list (it was ranked number 328 in the original 2003 list and number 327 in the 2012 revision). In 1999, Pitchfork rated Exile in Guyville as the fifth best album of the 1990s. However, in its 2003 revision of the list, it moved to No. 30. Robert Christgau named it among his 10 best albums from the 1990s.

In 2013, The New Yorker's Bill Wyman dubbed it "patently one of the strongest rock albums ever made", feeling that each song "reverberates powerfully". He described it as "arguably the quintessential example" of indie rock. PopMatters' David Chiu wrote that Exile lay bedroom pop music's groundwork. He noted that several indie bands and musicians had gained their "musical DNA" from the record, such as Frankie Cosmos, Jay Som, and more.

In 2008, Phair signed to ATO Records and released a 15th-anniversary reissue of Exile in Guyville on June 14. It includes three previously unreleased tracks ("Ant in Alaska", a cover of Lynn Taitt's "Say You" and an instrumental listed on the disc as "Standing") and a DVD documentary.

On May 4, 2018, Matador reissued Exile in Guyville for its 25th anniversary. The reissue consists of the original album remastered and Phair's three Girly-Sound demo tapes, marking the first time that the full set of demo tapes had been officially released. The reissue was released in four formats: the physical LP box set, the digital deluxe edition, as well as cassette and CD pressings. Absent from the reissue are the two Girly-Sound demos "Shatter" and "Fuck or Die", as Phair was unable to get clearance for samples used in the songs.

Track listing

All tracks are written by Liz Phair.

Exile in Guyville track listing

1. "6'1"" 3:05

2. "Help Me Mary" 2:16

3. "Glory" 1:29

4. "Dance of the Seven Veils" 2:29

5. "Never Said" 3:16

6. "Soap Star Joe" 2:44

7. "Explain It to Me" 3:11

8. "Canary" 3:19

9. "Mesmerizing" 3:55

10. "Fuck and Run" 3:07

11. "Girls! Girls! Girls!" 2:20

12. "Divorce Song" 3:20

13. "Shatter" 5:28

14. "Flower" 2:03

15. "Johnny Sunshine" 3:27

16. "Gunshy" 3:15

17. "Stratford-on-Guy" 2:59

18. "Strange Loop?" 3:57


As per the liner notes of the 2008 reissue:

Liz Phair – guitar, piano ("Canary"), vocals, hand claps ("Mesmerizing")

Casey Rice – lead guitar ("Mesmerizing", "Divorce Song"), cymbal ("Shatter"), background vocals, hand clapping ("Mesmerizing")

Brad Wood – bass and drums (various songs), organ ("Glory", "Mesmerizing"), synthesizer, ("Explain It to Me"), percussion, bongos ("Explain It to Me"), tambourine and shaker ("6′1""), maracas and hand claps ("Mesmerizing"), background vocals, vocals ("Say You"), drones and feedback ("Shatter"), "sick guitar" ("Gunshy"), guitar ("Say You")

Tony Marlotti – bass ("Johnny Sunshine", "Say You"), vocals ("Say You")

John Casey – harmonica ("Soap Star Joe", "Divorce Song")

Tutti Jackson – backing vocals ("Soap Star Joe")

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