Another great month to be a member of Vinyl Me, Please has come and gone, leaving me seven discs richer. This may have been the most exciting shipment to date in fact, since as you can see within was contained the Smashing Pumpkins box set of Mellon Collie b-sides, The Aeroplane Flies High, the greatest collection of b-sides ever to be released.
The Album of the Month this month was one of the old favorites, Weezer’s Pinkerton. A lot of people say that this album isn’t as good as the blue album, the one with “Buddy Holly” and “Say It Ain’t So,” and maybe it isn’t, because yeah, it probably doesn’t have any song as good as “Say It Ain’t So” on there, but it seems that Pinkerton outdoes the blue one one a couple levels: coherence and just plain old not-giving-a-f@#%. Whether or not this one is any “better” than the blue one don’t really matter anyway. They are both great albums, but Pinkerton always seemed to ring truer to me in some way, less inhibited. It definitely gets played more often than the blue one, and now it can be played even more, since it just came in the mail. The disc itself is the translucent blue pictured below. It’s cool to see the album art of some of these older albums in a larger format. This a pop-up scene on the inside of the gatefold jacket has the not-sure-I’ve-seen-that-before quality.
After that, we’ve got this new album by the band called Nothing. I got interested in this after seeing an article on Vice about the band member’s sordid past. The singer has spent some time in prison for evidently stabbing someone in a fight. He was later jumped after a show and badly injured. Now, why would something like this draw someone to the music though? First of all, the music is really good, but also maybe James Joyce is right when he writes: “The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.” Whether or not stabbing someone and getting jumped and injured after a concert is considered deep, I don’t know, but it is true that the quality of the music can often be related to something about the life from which it comes.
Regardless of this, the layers of heavily distorted guitar remind me a lot of something like Hum. The vocals are lowered in the mix, nearly muffled by the guitar and drums. This and the steady and repetitive guitars create an atmospheric quality. More melodic than the punk the backstory might suggest, the album has an uplifting quality, despite the dark and depressing lyrics. It’s called Tired of Tomorrow.
Wow, I was excited when I saw that The Aeroplane Flies High would be in the member store this month, and at a 30 dollar markdown from what Amazon had been offering. The five-disc box-set contains the five singles from the Mellon Collie and the Infiinite Sadness album along with the b-sides from each. Each disc contains the single along with 5-6 additional tracks.
First, the “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” single contains one other original, James Iha’s “Said Sadly,” and five new wave covers from The Cure, Blondie, The Cars, Alice Cooper, and Missing Persons. Iha and D’arcy both get some time to display their singing talents on “A Night Like This” and “Dreaming,” respectively.
Second, the “1979” single contains five more new-wave originals, all a bit softer and slower than what’s to come on “Zero.” “Set the Ray to Jerry” gets credit as one of the best songs in the set.
Third, the “Zero” single has the grungiest tunes of the bunch. “Mouths of Babes” and “Marquis in Spades” are two standouts. The last track is the “Pasticio Medley,” a half hour long collection of instrumental snippets, mostly heavy guitar distored in a variety of interesting ways, all with titles that intrigue with what could have been, had the songs been fleshed out. Some find it unlistenable, but taken as what it is, a look into the artisitic process, it can be appreciated once or twice.
Fourth, the “Tonight, Tonight” single contains the soft acoustic tracks of the set. “Meladori Magpie” and “Rotten Apples” are two of the best.
Last, the “Thirty-Three” single contains the leftovers, another Iha track called “The Bells,” a piano cover of the old standard “My Blue Heaven,” and the set-title song “The Aeroplane Flies High.”
A quality album could be easily be made from the b-sides in this box-set. After very little thought about it, here’s what I would do:
- Set the Ray to Jerry
- Marquis in Spades
- Mouth of Babes
- Meladori Magpie
- Rotten Apples
- My Blue Heaven