Posts Tagged ‘smashing pumpkins’

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Smashing Pumpkins Reunion (New Album?)

October 11, 2006

To be honest, no real news within the past month or so. It has been almost a month since the last little update here and close to jack shit has happened. Jimmy has continued to post new “Love Letters” getting less and less sappy and Billy-esque the farther they go along. But even though they are interesting, they reveal nothing. No real news along the lines of any band lineup. The Pumpkin Queen was, however, revealed to be of some official descent and is the manager for the site, I believe.

The only two sites right now that you can take seriously are the official myspace page and smashingpumpkins.com, the latter of which is pretty much in limbo. The former is, and you’re going to love this, turning into an outlet for complete tools. I got weirded out when I saw fan directed videos, avatars, and artwork posted all over the place on the myspace page. But hey, whatever. Some of the videos are actually alright, and myspace has always been the home of huge tools everywhere. But they I saw a fanmade music video depicting various Naruto scenes played to Bullet, and I basically said screw it, I’m checking back once a week. Last time I checked, a small FAQ on the left border was there. The four questions that were asked are obvious, and vague as to who answered them.

Q. Who’s in the band?
A. Not telling.

Q. When is the album coming out?
A. Soon.

Q. What does it sound like?
A. The Smashing Pumpkins.

Q. I want to submit art…
A. Submit to The Pumpkin Queen. We’re down with avatars, myspace layouts, fan directed videos…

Pretty much the same bull. But hey, it’s just a matter of waiting. At the moment I’m optimistic about Iha, neutral about D’arcy. I just can’t see only Billy and Jimmy popping out of some cake at an executive press-release somewhere yelling “gotcha, bitches! It was US the WHOLE TIME!”

Well right this second, it’s the night before Halloween, which means it’s the essential pumpkin time of year. Really, it’s never been about candy, although that sure is a plus, so much as it’s about getting off your ass and doing something outside, be it hiding in some bushes, walking somewhere, or just sitting on your porch. You can bet I’ll have Mellon Collie blasting if at all possible, wherever I may be. I’ll try to smash a pumpkin, but I can’t make any deffinitive promises.

Strangely enough, smashingpumpkins.com was updated again.

“IN STUDIO NOW! ALBUM OUT SOON!!”

Reall, what does that mean? I made a guess a while ago that I’d have the next SMP LP by January or February, and if they are really getting their asses in gear we’ll see what comes of that prediction. More Jimmy “Love Letters” which are essentially still bullshit. Like, still stuff you would expect Billy to say. The only thing worthy of note is that as of the third post, drums were almost done being tracked and that they would soon be “cutting BC loose to work his magic.” Which essentially could mean anything from recording and overlaying guitars to simple producing stuff, but it was mentioned before that Roy Thomas Baker was done being worked with, so really theres no way of knowing how far in production they are. Like, if drum tracking was JUST done with and a producer was finished up with, well what the fuck. You know?

The music player and youtube video are everchanging. The music player seems to be changing daily to differeng lower key songs and a bigger one every so often, usually live takes. The youtube portion is always live stuff, always featuring all four original members. Which is strange. Draw from that what you will. Apparently there was some message for a talent search or something which I missed, and I can’t find. I can’t really say anything more about that.

If it’s pumpkin day tomorrow, I guess there very well might be anything ranging from nothing to a “love letter” (god these things suck) to a bigger announcement. Billy is scheduled to play with Pete Townshend on TV sometime in the near future. I’ll keep this posted if anything happens.

Well, within the past half week or so the three songs that have been playing on the Pumpkins’ myspace have been everchanging. Every day mostly, and more often than not live takes of great songs that weren’t necessarilly hits. I guess I would probably still kill a man to see the Pumpkins in all their glory, but I would really consider their studio work to be far superior to their onstage sound.

Anyway, Jimmy Chamberlain did a few blog posts which he described as “love letters.” Well, at least it’s not Billy. He really didn’t reveal much besides the fact that he was doing drum tracking and they finished up working with Roy Thomas Baker. Beyond that, the obvious question of who the band even is right now save Billy and Jimmy is conspicuously being dodged.

For those too lazy to check themselves, Jimmy is pretty much talking like you would expect Billy to. Talking about souls and shooting stars and shit. If the posts are frequent I’ll be happy, even if they are vague. This waiting sucks, doesn’t it?

Some news. The music player on the SMP myspace has some songs up and running now. Bury Me, Set The Ray To Jerry, and Daughter are all on there now. All tracks we had before, and obscure lesser known tracks as well, save maybe Bury Me. I believe Daughter was co-written by D’arcy. Whether or not this means anything is unclear. Beyond that, it has also been announced on the myspace page that a studio blog of Jimmy Chamberlain will be in commission soon.

Alright, I’ll be blunt. There isn’t enough information to really justify a post, but I’m doing it anyway. I’m going to try to take this is slowly and as basically as I can. If I have any of this information wrong (which actually isn’t too unlikely), I appologize.

Well, as most of you know, a few months ago smashingpumpkins.com was updated. I believe it used to just redirect browsers to Billy Corgans website or myspace, I forget which. Well, not too long ago it was actually directed to the url with a big SP heart in the middle over a white background, and a little bar to enter in your email address for a mailing list. The site was quickly assumed legit, because it was directly affiliated with Warner Brothers. Time passed. A lot of time. And eventually the site was updated with a little passage of text on the bottom. I forget the exact wording right now, but the gist of it was that the “Smashing Pumpkins” (in quotes because really I have no idea what that means right now) are in the studio and are working with producer Roy Thomas Baker on their first album since 2000.

Which brings us to another issue which has been alluded to but not officially stated numerous times. Who are the Smashing Pumpkins now, if they really do exist anymore? It has been pretty common knowledge that James Iha and D’arcy will not be involved, and it might just be a Billy Corgan/Jimmy Chamberlain thing going on. What do I personally think of this? Not good. But really there isn’t much to back up this as fact beyond past statements of James and D’arcy that they aren’t exactly interested in such a reunion. Beyond that, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they didn’t end up being included, though I would be very bummed.

Jimmy Chamberlain was interviewed in a German (or perhaps it was French. One of the two) drum magazine not too many months ago as well. He requested that questions about the band not be asked, but they were, and he sort of brushed them aside. But he did reveal the detail that many songs are being worked on. Like, a lot. Beyond that, back in September, an interview with Kill Hannah (whatever) revealed that the band had heard two instrumental tracks from the, uh, band, after having dinner with Billy and that they were good. Specifically, “the intelligence of Machina” and “the accessibility of Mellon Collie” were stated to be signature of the sound. Beyond that, the only instruments were guitar and drums. Whether or not this is true is a tad hazy, but I wouldn’t be too surprised.

Five days ago (October 6th), Billy’s myspace got a facelift. A new background and logo were posted. However, go there now they have been taken down, as well as the audio from TheFutureEmbrace and other such things. It looks pretty blank right now. But go to smashingpumpkins.com and you will see something different. Specifically, the background that was included on the myspace page for the time it was there. The image is a big grayscale American flag type of image, with thirteen stars that look like they just might be simmilar to Billy Corgan’s handwriting (which is actually rather distinctive if you are a fan) next to a jagged SP logo.

Strange, but interesting. Beyond that, the message that the band is in the studio is gone. Whether this means the band is out of the studio or not is unclear. The bar for entering your email address for the mailing list is still there. To make things more confusing, there are other myspace issues and mysteries cause even more weirdness. On the sidebar of Billys myspace page, a url was provided for the actual url, which is that of another profile completely. http://www.myspace.com/billycorgan This is a relatively blank page with only scattered information. Friends are being added, but no comments allowed. It is rumored to be Billys personal myspace page where he does other stuff (you never used to see him online on the previous myspace page anyway). And now there is this. http://myspace.com/smashingpumpkins Official or not? I’m pretty goddam sure it’s an altered version of Billys old myspace which can no longer be reached. But note the standalone player and how it is attatched to an undefined file. To be honest, I’m taking all this out of the mouths of many. There seems to be confusion as to which myspace page is in fact official. It’s all very confusing, and I’m not going to try to even begin to understand the little details which I have just described.

The only truly official and non-mistakable detail is the flag. The image has spawned much controversy, as many people see it as a sign of political music. Personally I agree with the few who say that Billy has already stated that he does not wish to make political music or tell people how to vote. Beyond that, I don’t really care whether his music is political or not.

Upon further inspection, the picture of the flag is sourced from the following link.

http://s71.photobucket.com/albums/i153/Janelly333/

Some people have been saying that this person is affiliated with Billy Corgan and works for him in the marketing department. This very well could be true. The fact that this is where it’s sourced from means something after all. The fact of the matter is, there has been a ton of confusion over the past few days over, really, nothing. I mean, a total lack of details. The truth of the matter is, Billy Corgan, as ingenious as he is, is a bit of a mystery to all of us outside of his music, and quite the paranoid perfectionist so it seems. I know someone who heard his previous marketing agent speak at a conference, and she described her old job as working with the “male diva” Billy Corgan. Maybe not a diva, but Billy does seem very shadey with the updates both official and questionably official, a fact which I am not quite happy with. This is all very strange yes, but it’s really more of a matter of anything happening at all.

I’ll keep this post updated continuously for as long as I feel I need to.

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Shuffle Time, Again

October 9, 2006

Hey, sorry about the missed update on Thursday again. It’s not that I’m running out of things to say so much as time to say it in. And beyond that, I am having difficulty finding things to review that haven’t already been acclaimed by everyone already. It’s not that I don’t want to review things like Oasis, Tool, or Liquid Tension Experiment. I’m just 90% sure that you don’t give a shit. And why should you? I don’t want to stray too far into the mainstream even though I am your typical mainstream whore. I just want to keep things a tad interesting.

Sonic Youth – Silver Rocket

Talk about a dream job. What non-jock guy wouldn’t want to be Thurston Moore? He’s around fifty now, and yet he’s still kicking, producing great records with his art punk band that not only revolutionized music, but can still kick out some good hooks and also features his lovely wife. Now that’s the life. I haven’t heard Rather Ripped yet but I’m told it’s pretty awesome. Daydream Nation, however, I have heard and it is an awesomely badass album not to mention revolutionary and extremely important on it’s own. Silver Rocket is actually a standout punk song of sorts, with a livid guitar squall in the forefront driving it all the way home. It’s no Teenage Riot, but holds it’s place as a fantastic short rocker.

Head Automatica – Broklyn Is Burning

Theres something awesome about this, but I don’t know what. It’s got a solid beat I guess, and the riff is nice, but that’s about it. It’s kind of sleazy rock, and if you are in the right mood for it, that’s good. I haven’t heard too much else by these guys nor do I really have a desire to. I believe they just recently came out with a new album. The guys voice really annoys me though, enough so that even if this is a half-decent song, I have absolutely no desire to get anywhere close to anything with these semi-emo vocals.

Stone Temple Pilots – Days Of The Week

This was one of STPs last hits off of Shangri – La Dee Da in, what, 02 or 03? Something like that. The album is rather difficult but if you give it a chance it could be considered better than No. 4, which is usually classified as a little better than Shangri. In any case, this is one of the bands better songs. But there are a few other good ones on that album… Bi-Polar Bear, Hollywood Bitch, even Coma. Theres good things to be found in the druggy mind of Scott Weiland, and it’s surprising enough that these good things are infectious straightforward pop. Purple was the height of that talent though, and after that things sort of went downhill, at least as far as albums go. The band still produced pop gold until the end, but just not consistantly as they did before.

Home – Smashing Pumpkins

This is one of the better tracks off of Machina II, the final album from our great friends Smashing Pumpkins. I’ve already ranted more than necessary in refference to their current situation, so I won’t do that. But this is a great song from a pretty underrated album. In my opinion, Machina II is miles over Machina/The Machines of God. For whatever reason, it is just much more inviting and comforting than it’s predecessor. For those of you who don’t know, the album was only released in hard copy form in extreme rarity in the form of four rare EPs (I think they may have all been vinyl, actually), but the gist of the whole thing was that the bands last album was encouraged to be shared on the internet for free. What a nice gesture. The only problem might be the production, and even then that might just be the version I have. I’m sure there is a higher quality version elsewhere on the web. Anyway, this is actually a standout track from an album that really shines and serves as a grand sendaway to SMP.

Led Zeppelin – Night Flight

As far as I’m concerned, Physical Graffiti was the last Led Zeppelin album that really mattered. Presence never did anything for me, nor did In Through The Out Door (although I guess In The Evening is a classic product of it’s time). I never even really liked Houses of The Holy that much either, but I would still say it’s a good album. Physical Graffiti, however, remustered the bands old energy and innovation and put out all the cards on the table. It was a big deal when it came out, surely. My mother even remembers the sign in the local mall above the entrance to the record store. “ITS NOT HERE YET.” That’s just how big they were. Half the album was new stuff and the other half old unreleased stuff. It’s hard to pinpoint which was which, but you can hear some of it having some newer eastern and even dance type stuff in it, while the other half is more vintage Led Zeppelin, consisting of more bluesy and pop stuff. This is one of the better tracks from that world. Great track from a great album.

Nirvana – Stain

Well, it was bound to happen. How many Nirvana songs do I have on my iPod anyway? Over two hundred easily. So one is bound to come up early in a shuffle. To be honest, there isn’t too much special about this song. There are some Nirvana songs I just don’t like. They are few and far between yes, and most of them are b-sides like this. It’s just generally an uninspired obnoxious rocker. And yet when I get to this whenever I listen to Incesticide, I won’t skip it. It’s got pretty good production and the solo is good. It’s got the punk attitude down, it just doesn’t follow through with it, and the lyrics are kind of tasteless. Not much else to say.

Porno For Pyros – 100 Ways

Theres something strange about Perry Ferrel…
Wait, I didn’t just fucking say that, did I?
EVERYTHING is strange about Perry Ferrel. He’s totally weird, but ingenious too. For some reason, not one of my friends likes Jane’s Addiction, and they seem to bring up the fact that they don’t like them at totally irrelevant times. I can’t understand that. Whatever. Porno For Pyros was the sort of follow up project to Jane’s Addiction featuring Perry as the main songwriter. They had two albums, and the approach was generally much more relaxed and mellow. This is a pretty good song, but there is something unnerving to hear him making something serious and contemplative instead of genuine angry punk like Mountain Song. I still like it though.

Elvis – Can’t Help Falling In Love

Here’s one from the King, maybe my favorite song from him. It’s just a beautiful love song. It’s a cover, like most all of Elvis’ songs, but we all know that Elvis didn’t really shine in his songwriting ability so much as his keen delivery. Everyone has to have a little Elvis, right? Right. Want a greatest hits? Go here and prepare to get sick.
http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:6qotk60x9kr0~T21
I myself find the vast number of movies he starred in more dependably hokie and interesting than I find his music ingenious or fantastic. He’s the man, theres no denying that.

Tool – Parabola

Tool disorients me. They are a great band, don’t get me wrong, but they have some obvious downfalls. One of which is their fanbase, which is about 7/8 complete and total ass wipes. Second is the fact that I personally find it tiring to listen to one of their albums all the way through. Their sophistication in the metal genre is off-putting to the casual listener too. Their sound is very tribal and often times filled with strange time signatures and progressive outings that people find difficult. I know I sure did, and it took me a long time to bring myself to like Lateralus. But it happened eventually, and this is probably one of the better songs off of the album, standing up there with The Grudge, Reflection, and Mantra (what can I say, I was never really one for Schism).

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dosed

The best song off of the bands best album, By The Way, easily. To be honest I’m not a big fan of the band, but they can pull off some great songs if they put their mind to it. I think the main reason why is Anthony Kiedis. I think the instrumentation of the band is utterly fantastic. But with his voice and lyrics… I find I can’t really take them too seriously anymore. Especially on Stadium Arcadium. There are so many great songs there just ruined by uninspired lyrics, but you have already heard my take on that album. Coincidentally, my friends mother recently saw Anthony Kiedis in an airport. Apparently there was some fuss in the ticket line with him, and he was a little flustered. Keep in mind that my friends mother is pretty much the biggest RHCP fan EVER. He was doing a little damage control I think, so he allowed a picture to be taken with her. Strangely enough, she saw the band on an airplane ten years earlier, before she was a fan. Weird coincidence.

Brian Eno – The Big Ship

Another Green World defined the electronic genre and what synthesizers could do in not only a pop context but in a lush instrumental. It’s easily one of the greatest albums ever made, truly a one of a kind piece. This is one of the instrumentals, which arguably make up the more interesting portion of the album. A very floaty and airy guitar fuzz wall is in the middle, with a piano like instrument augmenting the chords, a noteworthy beat supplementing the beauty, and an interesting synthesizer cut in the background (which if you listen closely enough, is in the same rhythm but not the same time as everything else). The image is what it sounds like. Think a traveller who has come all the way from a monastary in sixteenth century England, now arriving at a port with a big beautiful ship ready to take off to his next destination into the early morning sea.

The Jesus And Mary Chain – Dirty Water

This is the opener to the bands 1994 accoustic album Stoned And Dethroned. It’s really a very relaxing tune. The entire album is underrated I’d say, and it contains a lot of mellow almost country-ish chill tunes. Like Psychocandy, it’s got such a great number of songs that it should keep even the most avid Chain fans satisfied for a long time. To me, this is the more obvious choice for a single, way more obvious than Come On or Sometimes Always (with all due respect). This song reminds me of when I was on vacation in upstate New York when I was in Seventh grade. We stayed with some relatives, and we all went swimming in a pond one day. I didn’t really swim so much as put my feet in the water. I was still a little pampered back then, so I didn’t really want to jump into the dirty and cold water on that chill late summer morning. It wasn’t that big of a pond as far as diameter goes, but it was bordered by an extremely high cliff, at least a few hundred feet tall. I remember someone saying that the pond was probably at least as deep as the cliff was tall. That always stuck with me for some reason.

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James Iha – Let It Come Down

August 3, 2006

I said I’d do it, right?

I typically hate anything even vaguely reminiscent of country music. Nothing annoys me more than sitting down in a movie theater all comfortable with my nachos and hearing Toby Keithe or some stupid hillbilly fuck talking about what he would do if he only had three days to live. Because I can tell just from hearing that music that the artist doesn’t care enough about me as a listener to actually produce quality music. But then again, these people lurk in all genres. Which explains why James Blunt is the biggest <female genitalia> on the planet. See? I’m getting angry just thinking about these people. I shouldn’t be angry in a movie theater, unless the movie itself dictates so. I just wanna eat my nachos and enjoy myself.

So why is it that James Iha’s solo album doesn’t annoy me at all when it could easily be considered some kind of country? Well, it’s not contemporary country like what I hear a lot in the theater. And it’s not flat out hick country either, the kind of stuff you hear on Prairie Home Companion (god, please supress these people somehow). So I fail to see how it is really country. Perhaps it is folk of some kind, because folk also bears some resembelance to country, but without the binds that attatch music to the sleazy open plain kind of music. Bob Dylan is folk, and Bob Dylan is not sleazy, mostly because he is a poet and he knows how to write hooks. Let It Come Down has hooks too, and it’s not sleazy, and it’s soft california pop/rock. So I’ll just give in and call this pop/folk.

For the record, James Iha was the guitarist of alternative kings (and queens) the Smashing Pumpkins. He wasn’t that big in the band, mostly because no one except Billy Corgan was. Which is probably why he ended up being a George Harrison type figure, only having contributed a few fantastic songs the the bands work (most of which were b-sides), and co-writing a lot of stuff too. So it’s obvious why the man would want to be able to make a solo album. His songwriting was being pushed back, and there was a lot of stuff he had to say in 1997, when this album was made. And this album has a lot of ideas that could not be covered through scattered Pumpkins appearances.

The main theme of the album is love, but it is clearly discussed and presented in different ways than other people do so throughout the record. Almost like a Beatles album. It’s not sappy, because this guy knows how to write music that he can fit lyrics around, which is a feat that I really respect. And a lot of the songs are very simple in melody as well as lyrics. See The Sun is one such tune with a very simple chord progression and a theme of love that I guarentee the listener has heard before. And yet, it’s… Adorable. And that word is coming from a straight male. I’m not going to pretend, because that’s what it is.

The question is, do I really want adorable when it comes to music? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Here, it’s pretty good, and I honestly have no idea why. Yeah, not all of the album is like this, but this is country. It’s ****ing country, and I like it. The first time I heard this, I literally felt like hitting my head over something. That line, “you know theres no denying” is almost tantalizing, but then the awesome heart warming chorus “see the sun, and what you’re given” is just irresistable. People, bear with me here, because this is about as vulnerable as you will ever see me. It’s desperation. I SHOULD NOT LIKE THIS SONG.

But I do.

But not everything on the album could be considered some form of country. There was only one single off of the album, and it was the first track, Be Strong Now. It’s a very good tune, and it has a toe tapping drive to it, and it almost seems like this shouldn’t be the first song so much as the last because the harmonization is done well enough to make it seem conclusive. Theres a cello in the background too if I’m not mistaken, and it’s very subtle, but it adds to the whole experience. And the lyrics and shy disposition of the vocalist really make it seem like the words are important. I’m not sure that this got much radio play, but it’s totally top 40 material. As are two other equally strong songs, Jealousy and Beauty. Jealousy is just flat out infectious pop, and Mr. Iha even tries to promote the virus with his “doo-doo-doo”s later on. Beauty is also very good, and I’m pretty sure the cello is utilized again.

The album has some quieter numbers too. A personal favorite of mine is Winter, which should probably be played at the said time. It’s a relaxing little musing of a song, and it is more atmosphere music than anything, because the hook isn’t so apparent even though the chords are delightful. Country Girl is another song I feel bad about loving, because it’s just so… Goddam catchy and innocent. It even has “country” in the title. It’s hard to work that into a title and still make the song good in my eyes. It’s more country once again. I’m starting to feel the pain by that part of the album, because it’s right after See The Sun.

The entire mood of the album probably should remind the listener of some open pasture or something in frickin Kentucky, but fortunately it does not. Because Iha does not dwell on trivial matters like other country artists do, and theres a way of reason and poetry to his lyrics. The ****ing Dixie Chicks are going to tell you exactly what they want to say, and that’s annoying to me. If given the chance, they will talk about what they ate for breakfast, or how to milk a cow or something, and if you want them to get deeper, they will tell you exactly how they love taking roads less travelled by and how men constantly break their hearts and eat all the food in their refridgerator. Thankfully enough, the theme of love is upheld throughout this entire album, and it is presented in different enough ways to keep interesting. And this doesn’t really scream hillbilly-nation either. It’s more of an album for suburbia, evidence for which can be found in the Be Strong Now Music video. If this was an album exclusively for people with cowboy hats, a little less (or more, depending on how you look at it) would have been said during this music.

The album isn’t even close to perfect. Three songs are utterly bad. Sound of Love is too sappy even for the most vulnerable part of my mind, Silver String has almost no direction at all (and almost wanders into the contemporary country boundaries a little), and No Ones Gonna Hurt You is way too blunt. But the better parts of this album are enough to make it one of my personal favorites, even if it isn’t really that standout brilliant or revolutionary or anything. A few weeks ago I picked up Billy Corgans solo album. Yes, it’s okay, but it doesn’t have sticking power like this does, and this isn’t even in a genre I like all the time. That shows really good persuasive songwriting power. My question is, why hasn’t this been followed up yet? If it turns out that James Iha is not in the reformed Pumpkins that I have been hearing about so much, I can only hope that another solo album is possible.

Oh yeah, and on a completely different note, I acquired the last three EPs of The Aeroplane flies high. My favorite EP is the 1979 EP, which actually features two James Iha numbers. The better one is The Boy, which is just great pop and might be the best song on the entire box set, probably one of the best songs the Pumpkins have ever done. Try to get that track if you can.

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Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet With Butterfly Wings (EP)/Zero (EP)

June 24, 2006


There are few bands that I have seen that have more B-Sides than Smashing Pumpkins. It’s actually kind of ridiculous. The band actually only made one b-sides collection, and that was released right before Siamese Dream and was named Pisces Iscariot. For the record, the band also has a lot of really really good b-sides. During the span of the Mellon Collie era, the band released quite a few EP-single thinies. I’m pretty sure there were five. If I’m right and there were five, I think they were for Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Zero, Tonight Tonight, 1979, and Thirty Three. I could only grab a few through the library, but what I got I was very pleased with. I have to say, for one of my favorite bands, despite the fact that fans have a reason to be angry about the silence as of late, they can surely be satisfied by such a huge amount of songs that float around on EPs, Singles, bootlegs, etc. The band almost invites people to become obsessed, because there is so much to be obsessed about.

The Bullet EP is pretty good, if nothing else because it captures the band in all sorts of different states. More than half the disk is covers, which is kind of cool, because the band doesn’t actually do a whole lot of covering elsewhere. But yeah, the title track is obviously golden. A real classic of radio, and probably the bands most popular song. …Said Sadly is also a really good song, and was actually written by James Iha, the bands guitar player (well, along with Billy Corgan). He has always sort of been my favorite pumpkin, for some reason. Yeah, Billy is always up there writing stuff and singing and playing guitar, but once and a while you get a knockout almost folky or country performance from James. I have Let It Come Down, his solo album, and it’s really good. I might do a review on that later. It’s just that good. Anyway, this is a duo with some girl. Doesn’t really matter who she is. This might have faired better on Mellon Collie than Take Me Down. It would be a better transition into the next disk, I’m sure of that. It’s a beautiful song, but hey, most of the stuff he writes is good. Just very calm and country-ish. I have to admit, it’s sort of a guilty pleasure to listen to this kind of song, but I can’t help but grin when I hear it.

Clones (We’re All) is a happy cover, maybe the best on this disk. It plugs along at a very happy pace and features a lot of the signature guitar effects of the band, with this little quick chords in the background. Billys voice is in really good shape here, and I think that’s great. I mean, I can see why this was left off of Mellon Collie, because it is just kind of built like a b-side is ususally built, but it’s still just so good. That’s the kind of thing that I mentioned before about SMP. They have such a vast number of b-sides and outtakes and live stuff that it’s hard to keep track of. Some of the best b-sides aren’t even on EPs or singles. But this one is very good. A Night Like This has James on vocals again. It’s okay, it’s kind of got a quiet more minor thing going on. And I really admire the drum part here for some reason. The drums are always so essential in SMP tunes, even if they are simple.

Destination Unknown is a very electronic song. It kind of progresses in the same way that Clones does. I like it, but not really that much. It gets weird later on. And Dreaming is very very good. It has both D’arcy and Billy on vocals. I kind of like D’arcys voice. The lesser known knockout track on Gish was Daydream which also had her voice, and that was just fabulous. This is sort of a trance inducing electronic song, and I like it a lot.

The Zero EP is pretty good too. Of course the title track is phoenomenal, probably my favorite SMP song ever. Billy Corgans sneering voice works perfectly to make this the most grindingly tough song the band has ever made in my opinion, and even makes the song a little sensual, if you can believe it. But no one would ever buy a Smashing Pumpkins EP for a track that is already on an essential album. God is a good one, yes. It is sort of like Zero in some ways. It seems to be in the same key, or at least have simmilar ideas, but with that comes some kind of sacrifice. Even if you have the same ideas as Zero, it’s impossible to be better than Zero. So it doesn’t really fall flat on it’s face, but it fumbles. The entire “God” lyrical score gets old after a little while, but it’s catchy and a fan favorite.

Mouthes of Babes is okay. It’s got a typical progression, but the tune is sort of more trudging. It’s good though. But not really that great. It just seems like nothing that can’t be heard on Mellon Collie. But the real standout tune here is Tribute To Johnny, basically a tough and glorius jam session. No lyrics here, and that’s good. The dueling rhythm and solo guitars make this essential material, and a song that easily should have been on Mellon Collie. It’s honestly enough to sell this EP, at least I think. I mean, it’s just really really good. When I get into my oldschool Nintendo mood, I always whip out Battletoads for GB, and this is by far the best tune to play that game to. You just feel like you want to put on a cape and go around fighting crime and riding a motorcycle when you hear this. The gritty guitar riffs later on are gold.

Next is Marquis In Spades. Basically just another Mouths of Babes, really. Not that standout. I’m not even going to give this one more than a few sentences, because it’s just not standout. It’s good, yeah. I mean, it’s great. So is Mouths of Babes, but they are simmilar and not really that individual to get that much attension. Pennies is also another gem. This probably deserved to be on Mellon Collie too. But it almost seems out of place here. To complement the anger in the other tracks? No, this is way to gentle to be on this EP and a switchup would have been good, but honestly, no one cares about how an EP “flows.” They care about the actual songs on the EP. And this is just fantasticly beautiful. Even the lyrics are touching. It seems like even though Billy, or more likely his fictional character, has moved on from a relationship, he still shows respect and reminisces gently. “I always loved you so/especially when you go/all the world must know.” That’s just classic SMP, and the most classic SMP is the quieter stuff that has more room to move.

Pastichio Medley is sort of tacked onto the end of the EP as a little bonus to fans. But it’s hardly necessary, even for the most hardcore of fans. It is basically snipits of what seems like fifty or so SMP b-sides and outtakes that never made it onto any EPs or albums or anything. Most of them just seem like jam sessions with names, but that is okay. The fact that the band could put a least a name on any given jam session is a good sign that they cared enough about their own music to at least put it somewhere. So maybe if you are really really hardcore into Smashing Pumpkins, this might be a little bit cool, but also useless considering you can’t really find more than a few of these tracks, if any, anywhere else. So it doesn’t really satisfy. I would have much rather had a full length high quality b-side than this, and I’m sure there was enough at the time to spare one, or at least a full version of one of the songs presented here.

Scaling the SMP library for bad songs is hard enough. But searching it for bad b-sides is admittedly harder than you would think. Yes, if you dig deep enough you will find lower quality stuff on Mashed Potatoes and other collections, but the band just had a solid career, and that even shows in their lesser known songs.

So what of a Smashing Pumpkins reunion later in the year? Billy Corgan is killing me, man. I’m trying to be patient. It’s not like I have staged any protests or anything, or even done anything more than mutter to myself about how Mr. Corgan needs to, at the very least, keep the fans posted more. I know something is going on. I have heard rumors that Billy has signed on to a major label as SMP, and the new site up at smashingpumpkins.com is official enough to let us know that Billy is at least in some sort of contract. But the waiting is always the hardest part. Beyond that, the fact that James Iha and D’arcy Wretsky may not be involved hardly constitutes this as a reunion. Actually, as a friend of mine said, it doesn’t AT ALL. It’s really more of a get-together. Of course, I am excited whenever Billy creates music, but I think his ego and attitude tends to get in the way of what people think of him. I’m sure everyone would be less annoyed if he was on better terms with people other than Jimmy, and if he was keeping us posted more.

Aaaaaanyywaaay… I’ll be pleasently suprised either way. The only ways I would not be pleased with the situation are if he ends up not releasing anything at all (very unlikely) and if he releases utter crap, and knowing Billy, this hasn’t even really crossed my mind.