Thursday, October 16, 2008

Of Things Remembered

Currently pumping some old tune into my noggin. Best form of therapy when recovering from an allergy attack that left me wasted for three days. And this finally shows up in the mail: Earphoria by the Smashing Pumpkins. Earphoria is an anomaly of Pumpkin releases. It isn't a best of, it was released just after Siamese Dream and before the same album made them Smashing Pumpkins. What is it then? Pieces Iscariot was their b-sides collection (albeit incomplete) so this isn't that either. I think Earphoria then was just a one-off, screwing around in the studio affair that came along with a video of the band.
For the longest time I had a bootleg copy with the expected messed up track listing, badly photocopied liner notes and mediocre sound quality. I suppose I should thank Billy Corgan for being so full of himself and greedy that he would allow Virgin Records to put out a new release. It's a fantastic record of the band at that moment right before fame when they didn't care about their image so much (or at least Corgan didn't) and drugs hadn't consumed the drummer Jimmy Chamberlain. It's mostly live recordings from various places across the globe (such as the only live recording of Slunk that I know of, made in Japan of course). There's also a smattering of strange songs like Bugg Superstar by lead guitarist James Iha that could have hearlded a new direction in music at the time. Along with that are random things like Pulsczar and French Movie Theme that seem to come from nowhere and Why Am I So Tired? that just goes nowhere. To top it off, there's probably the best live rendition of Silverfuck that I've heard including the opening riff of the never-completed Jackboot at the end.
Earphoria is an album that reminds you why the Pumpkins were so good, even if it also reminds you of what the Pumpkins became afterwards. Still, this is high school and college for me, starting fifteen years ago. It's wonderful warmth and exuberance for my soul. Even if you vowed never to buy a Pumpkins records, pick this up.