Besides the B-Sides...
It's been days since I've posted, and I bet some of you thought I'd fallen off. It happens all the time out here in the blogoverse... you add some jackass to your "Favorites" folder, and then within weeks, he has fallen off the face of the earth, never to dish out music or commentary again. Who knows, that time may eventually come for me as well. I may be planning a move in a month or two, so who knows. But for now, I'm right here. And as my gift to you for being patient with me, I'm posting all b-sides tonight.
B-sides are those extra tracks added on to singles to get the superfans to dish out a few extra bucks for a few extra songs from a band they love. Before the arrival of the web and places like Napster or iTunes, music geeks had to scour record stores -- sometimes for years on end -- to find a fabled track they may have heard about in a magazine or from a friend. When I was in junior high, I was in love with The Cult. No one put out more b-sides than those bastards, and I spent top dollar hunting every one of them down, the good and the bad. In high school, that love shifted to bands like Pearl Jam, who were also no strangers to the b-side.
Eventually, I would come to learn from bands like Superchunk: if you wait long enough, the band will just compile all of those tracks and you'd be able to find them on one or two affordable CDs. Groups like U2 and the Smashing Pumpkins just posted all of their b-sides on iTunes, making them not only available for purchase, but also available so fans can finally sample them and see whether or not they're wasting their time and money hunting some of this crap down. My guess is the guy who owns 8 different versions of U2's "Lemon" single is cursing them right now for this very reason.
So, hopefully tonight you'll find a few tracks here you've always wanted but could never find or afford. Please feel free to email me any band/song requests, as I'd be happy to keep this feature going.
"Cars Can't Escape" by WILCO: Anyone out there familiar with the oft-leaked Yankee Hotel Foxtrot demos from Wilco may have already heard a more skeletal version of this song, with singer Jeff Tweedy singing somberly over a simple piano. This is a much more fully realized version that actually popped up on the band's website last year. While it may not actually qualify as a "b-side" (having not been released on an actual single), I was still pretty stunned to learn it existed when I found it while hunting around online.
"Tender (Cornelius remix)" by BLUR: From Blur's "No Distance Left to Run" CD single, this remix (done by Cornelius, who I posted about a few weeks back) is as good as remixes get, really. The original, a great song from Blur's 13 album, is like an indie gospel song. Cornelius keeps the gospel vocals while completely revamping the track with all kinds of bells and whistles (literally and figuratively). This track was so powerful that it may me go back and reconsider my dislike for the original.
"Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" by JOSH ROUSE: Anyone who has ever moped a day in his/her life can probably guess that this is actually a cover of a Smiths song. Rouse has already shown an obvious love for the Smiths on his new record, with the song "Winter in the Hamptons" sounding like a classic bouncy Smiths number like "Ask." If I'm not mistaken, this track was a b-side from his first album, DRESSED UP LIKE NEBRASKA.
"Another Pearl (The Broadcast Remix)" by BADLY DRAWN BOY: Another remix, this one a b-side from Damon Gough's debut album, THE HOUR OF BEWILDERBEAST. There were at least 2 UK singles for "Another Pearl," so there are a few remixes of the track available. This one appeals to me in the same way the Cornelius stuff does. I love when someone radically remixes a song because I'm a firm believer that putting a song - even one you don't like - in a different light can redefine it. If you're a fan of BDB, I'd recommend checking out the iTunes music store for a ton of b-sides and EPs that are hard to come by in the States.