HU Podcast #97: 3D Movie and MCIS Deluxe 7:23 pm // Thursday, January 31, 2013Posted by chris in mellon collie, movies and film, podcast, tour.
It has been so long since our last show that we went quite long with our latest podcast, so I split it into two parts. In part one, we talked about the Brooklyn show that was filmed in 3D for possible future release and the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness deluxe edition.
Listen to the full podcast (41:12)
-Chris, Jill, and Susan
-Jill fills us in on the Brooklyn show and we discuss the possibility of three full dimensions of the Smashing Pumpkins in a theater near you. (17:30)
-We lament the pricing of the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness reissue but marvel at the wealth of bonus material and beautiful packaging. (22:35)
Tune in next time for part two, featuring our thoughts on Lucky 13 and Kickstarter as well as a look ahead at the Pumpkins in 2013.
HU Podcast #96: Oceania in St. Louis and Chicago 5:35 pm // Thursday, October 25, 2012Posted by chris in mellon collie, podcast, tour.
After attending a show last week, I had to bring on some fellow concertgoers this week to talk about our experiences (mine in St. Louis, theirs in Chicago). As an added bonus, our special guest took part in the VIP festivities and gives us a rundown of the experience. Did the sparse crowd dampen my spirit? Did the orb burn the lies off of our souls? Tune in and find out…
Listen to the full podcast (51:08)
-Chris, Alex, and special guest Doug
Song of the Week
A Song for a Son (October 18, 2012)
Thanks to everyone who wrote in and volunteered to be on the podcast. Unfortunately I probably won’t have time to do any more shows before the end of this tour, but the offer stands in the future. Sorry to those that wrote in that I didn’t get to; hopefully we can have you on next time around.
HU Podcast #95: MCIS Reissue, Eulogy for HU 6:32 pm // Wednesday, October 17, 2012Posted by chris in Madame ZuZu's, mellon collie, podcast.
This week the two founding members of Hipsters United came back to talk about their time blogging about the Smashing Pumpkins, and we also discussed the beefy track list of the upcoming reissue of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
Listen to the full podcast (1:15:49)
-Chris, Jason, Jill, and Susan
-The full track listing for the deluxe edition of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is released, and we discuss some of the highlights. Also, will the steep price tag affect critical reception? (20:03)
-Jason and Susan visited Madame ZuZu’s and provide a review for anyone considering a trip. Also, we touch on the presence of James Iha solo demos in the Mellon Collie reissue. (9:09)
-Jason and Jill talk about starting the Hipsters United blog and how it changed over the years, and Susan discusses her involvement and the chilling feeling of being blocked on Twitter by Madame ZuZu herself. (41:43)
Song of the Week
To Forgive, Dusseldorf, Germany (April 7, 1996)
I’ll be seeing the band in St. Louis tomorrow night (look for me in the crowd, I’ll be wearing a Pumpkins shirt!) and plan on talking to some other attendees about this and the Chicago show next week.
HU Podcast #94: “Oceania” Tour Hits the States 11:27 am // Wednesday, October 3, 2012Posted by chris in mellon collie, podcast, tour.
This week I talked with two people who attended warm-up club shows in advance of the arena tour proper. We also touched on some other recent Smashing Pumpkins news, including the VIP packages that are being offered and the reissue of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
Listen to the full podcast (46:52)
-Chris, Andrew, and Weston
-Weston details the shorter, Sunshine-less show at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (7:36)
-We discuss the VIP packages that are available for the larger venues in the Canadian and US legs of the tour. (10:42)
-We anticipate hearing the details of the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness reissue, although we recorded this before the full tracklisting and release date were announced. (11:22)
Song of the Week
Black Sunshine, Austin, TX (September 27, 2012)
If you’re attending an upcoming show, especially if you’re ponying up the cash for the VIP package, and would be willing to join us for a podcast, let us know (note: if you’ve already contacted us and haven’t heard back from me, sit tight).
HU Podcast #93: “Oceania” Tour 1:37 pm // Saturday, August 11, 2012Posted by chris in oceania, ozphoria, podcast, tour.
This week I was joined by Simon from Ozphoria, who attended all but one of the Australia and New Zealand portion of the current tour supporting Oceania. We talked about the early results of playing the new album straight through, the logistics of traveling and performing with a gargantuan guest star, and even got a hint of some songs that haven’t been performed yet but may show up on setlists in the near future.
Listen to the full podcast (42:39)
-Chris and Simon
Song of the Week
Violet Rays, Melbourne, Australia (August 2, 2012)
HU Podcast #92: “Pisces Iscariot” Reissue 8:08 pm // Monday, August 6, 2012Posted by chris in james iha, pisces iscariot, podcast.
Somewhat lost amid all the news and media appearances surrounding the Oceania release and tour was the reissue of Pisces Iscariot. We still don’t quite do justice to the criminally underappreciated b-sides collection, but we do talk a little about the bonus material, the joys of Topspin Media, and even James Iha’s surprising cover.
Listen to the full podcast (31:45)
-Chris and Eric
-We discuss the reissue and its bonus material. Eric has a few issues with Topspin, and I have some issues with the song selection. Plus, Eric makes an official SPFC ruling in the great debate of “Bye” vs. “By” June. (20:31)
-Eric weighs in from close(r) to the source of James’ controversial cover. (8:40)
Song of the Week
Purr Snickety, New Haven, CT (July 21, 1991)
We’re hoping to bring on a special guest for a report from the front lines of the Oceania tour very soon, so stay tuned.
Smashing Pumpkins’ “mixtape that went platinum” selling again 11:50 am // Tuesday, July 17, 2012Posted by jjb in news, pisces iscariot, releases.
The reissued Pisces Iscariot is on sale today, and its liner notes purport to resolve definitively such often-asked minor questions as “What is the first word of the first song on this album?” and “Who is pictured on the cover?” Excitement abounds; feel free to share yours in the comments.
Marketing push for U.S. release of Iha’s ‘Look to the Sky’ begins 12:58 pm // Monday, July 16, 2012Posted by susan in james iha, look to the sky, merchandise, record labels, releases.
After premiering in Japan back in May, James Iha’s video for “To Who Knows Where” is now available for your streaming pleasure here in the United States (and possibly worldwide? Let us know if you have problems.)
Iha has also posted information to his Facebook account about the preorder for the U.S. release of Look to the Sky. The label for the release is listed as Brooklyn-based indie The End Records. You can preorder the album in CD or LP format along with other Look to the Sky branded merchandise; the first 100 orders will also receive a polaroid photo and button hand-made by Iha himself.
UPDATE: The U.S. Look the Sky CD and LP feature an additional track, “New Years Day,” that was not available on the Japanese release. As expected, the Japanese bonus tracks “Diamond Eyes” and “Stay Lost” are not included on either the U.S. CD or LP. However, “4th of July” and “Dark Star,” two album cuts from the Japanese release, are listed as bonus tracks for the U.S. CD and will not appear on the LP.
James Iha announces additional concerts in Asia 1:46 pm // Sunday, July 15, 2012Posted by susan in james iha, japan, look to the sky, news, south korea, tour.
James Iha has announced a few additional tour dates in support of his second solo album, Look to the Sky. On July 27, Iha will put in an appearance at the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Icheon-si, South Korea. On the 29th, Iha will perform, as previously announced, at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival. Then, in September, Iha will play two club dates in Japan; he will hit Osaka on the 24th of that month and Tokyo on the 26th. According to CD Journal’s announcement of the September shows, Iha may be touring with a 20-piece band from Brooklyn (!?!).
According to a recent announcement, Look to the Sky will finally see a U.S. release on September 18 of this year, having been out in Japan since March. Last week, Iha took to Twitter to tease fans with images of goodies for pre-order bundles and promised an album-related announcement on Monday.
Smashing Pumpkins fill in ‘Pisces’ reissue with outtakes of outtakes 11:23 am // Monday, July 2, 2012Posted by jjb in news, pisces iscariot.
A press release this morning contains a photo and complete lists of contents for EMI’s expected July 17 reissue of Pisces Iscariot, the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1994 b-sides compilation album.
PISCES ISCARIOT is being released in multiple configurations: Deluxe Physical Album—which comes with a live DVD and the first-ever PUMPKINS demo reproduced on cassette—Deluxe Digital, Standard Physical, Digital and 180G Vinyl.
As previously reported, the live DVD contains 24 tracks, among them the Pumpkins’ complete November 19, 1988 session recorded for broadcast on public access television, a session known to comprise nine songs. It turns out that 17 of the 24 DVD tracks are devoted to this 1988 session: eight incomplete song takes are included along with the nine complete takes. The remaining seven DVD tracks come from live performances between 1989 and 1994 and may (dis)please fans of Steve Miller and Thin Lizzy:
Blue (1991/10/22, Milwaukee) | Offer Up (1992/6/9, Milwaukee) | The Joker (1992/6/10, Milwaukee) | Slunk (1992/6/10, Milwaukee) | Dancing in the Moonlight (1993/7/4, London) | Snap (1989/8/11, Chicago) | Hello Kitty Kat (1994/8/21, Dallas)
The press release verifies that the so-called “first-ever Pumpkins demo” chosen for reproduction and inclusion is indeed The Smashing Pumpkins cassette, self-released by the band in 1989.
The deluxe physical and digital editions also come with a bonus compact disc(‘s worth) of Pumpkins recordings, most of which are studio outtakes that missed Pisces Iscariot the first time around:
By June (Ignoffo Sessions/2012 mix) | My Dahlia (Ignoffo Sessions/2012 Mix) | Jesus Loves His Babies (Gish Sessions rough mix) | Cinnamon Girl (Ignoffo Sessions/2012 Mix) | Glynis (2012 Mix) | Crawl (Gish Sessions outtake) | Cinder Open (Eddy St. demo/2012 mix) | Blissed (Sadlands demo/2012 Mix) | Slunk (Live) | Jackie Blue | Venus in Furs (Live) | Translucent (Sadlands demo/2012 mix) | French Movie Theme (Siamese Sessions outtake) | Purr Snickety (Gish b-sides session outtake) | There It Goes (demo/2012 mix) | Vanilla (Ignoffo Sessions) | Why Am I So Tired (Live in studio demo)
Most notable for diehards might be “Crawl,” a song that has not been bootlegged in any form, and the demo “Cinder,” of which only live recordings have previously circulated.
Smashing Pumpkins may work on new studio material in August 4:56 pm // Sunday, July 1, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, news, oceania, teargarden by kaleidyscope, thefutureembrace, zeitgeist.
Bill Palmer of Beatweek Magazine has published a wide-ranging new interview with Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. In the interview, Corgan discusses the dynamics of the current Smashing Pumpkins lineup, their plans for future recordings, and how the Pumpkins’ reissue project has influenced their live performances, among other topics. Below are three excerpted quotations.
I think in that way I’ve never made a bad album. I would say the album that was the least fulfilling of its potential was Zeitgeist…I think every other album was in the range of its potential as an A or a B. I wouldn’t necessarily rate Zeitgeist as a C, it just didn’t hit its potential and it kind of got lost somewhere along the way in the process. Some of the best songs are in the demos that didn’t get recorded and that kind of shit. I think it’s up there, but I also think it has to do with familiarity. There’s a certain ring here that people are comfortable with, and I’m okay with it or obviously I wouldn’t have put it out. But I think TheFutureEmbrace was a great album, and it was completely overlooked, my solo album. Over time now, over the last seven years, now people are starting to really get into it because it’s got a bit of a visionary aspect to it. So again, what was the point of the album? The mainstream always assumes that every album you’re throwing yourself out there with your bust, and I’m not that type of artist. I pick my spot and I go for that spot, and I rate it on whether or not I hit my spot.
Of the first Teargarden by Kaleidyscope songs, Corgan says that “I think there were ten official Teargarden releases. In those ten there was at least two or three really good songs.”
On the future of Teargarden, Corgan had this to say:
I’m kind of mulling that around. There’s a lot of demos that are really fairly quality at least in terms of the songs. They’re just interesting, dusky sketches. The problem with the world we live in now is everything is judged so fast so hard and is given too much power, for lack of a better word. Three months from now I would love to just reach in and toss out a couple of those demos from 2009 so people could hear some different songs, maybe some things that helped lead to Oceania. But then invariably some asshole with a blog is going to write about the new Smashing Pumpkins song and how it sucks. I’m mature enough now that I don’t really care, but at this point we’re in a positive place and maybe we just need to play a positive game. Maybe we just need to be like everybody else and shine it up real nice and bright before we put it out. We definitely want to do another album. We’re already talking about starting to do some demos in August. It’s tough. I do want to put out some of this stuff that I’m sitting on. I do want to finish the project as I sort of originally sketched out. But right now we’re riding a wave and I’m not really sure where that wave takes us.
Go over to Beatweek and read the interview in full, because it’s fascinating stuff.
Justin Bieber tops U.S. album chart; Pumpkins’ ‘Oceania’ at #4 10:50 am // Wednesday, June 27, 2012Posted by jjb in news, oceania, sales.
On U.S. sales totaling one-seventh those of Justin Bieber’s just-released Believe—Bieber’s fourth number-one album in under three years—the Smashing Pumpkins’ new record Oceania occupies the fourth position on this week’s Billboard chart.
Oceania reportedly moved 54,000 copies in becoming the sixth Smashing Pumpkins album to reach Billboard‘s top four. It is the seventh album of songs principally written by Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan to chart that high.
Back with Alex Jones, Billy Corgan links ‘Oceania’ to ‘Zeitgeist’ 12:15 am // Wednesday, June 27, 2012Posted by susan in billy corgan, interview, news, oceania, politics, radio, zeitgeist.
Billy Corgan spoke with info-warrior Alex Jones on the latter’s radio show today, phoning in from South America where the Smashing Pumpkins are, as I write, onstage for their first-ever concert in Venezuela. This is Corgan’s second appearance on the program this year; he sat down at Jones’s Austin studio during SXSW back in March.
Over the course of the new, 40-minute interview, Corgan and Jones discuss systems of social control, in particular as they relate to Corgan’s experience in the music business. Here’s one transcribed excerpt:
Alex Jones: Let’s cut right to the chase with this new album. Beyond political, you’re talking about the nature of reality: You know, [“Quasar,” and “The Celestials,” and “Panopticon,”] and of course, “Oceania,” right out of 1984. Break down the spirit that you were basically channeling when you put together this new album.
Billy Corgan: Well, I think some of the roots start—on this album—start from the last album, in 2007, Zeitgeist, which you know, on some conscious or unconscious level, listening to you, and doing my own research on the Internet, kinda led me to a dark place where I felt, you know, what’s happening to my country? How do I grapple with these feelings that I’m having? When I started in music, you know, it was all cheery, Reagan, flags-a-wavin’, everything is great, and there was a lot of middle-class discourse on stuff that maybe now seems really small in comparison to what we’re really grappling with as we see what’s coming economically down the pike.
So, I think if you can draw a line from sort of a darker place and trying to grapple with the American Dream, which Zeitgeist had something to do with, five years later, now Oceania I think is a way to say, you know, I’m just not gonna live in that spirit, that energy, that dark energy. I’ve heard you talk about it, and certainly I’ve thought about it a lot, which is, you know, we gotta live. You know? Some of the most inspirational stuff I’ve ever heard you talk about is when you just talk about nature, about how God’s kingdom inspires you to fight the good fight and think of families and what life’s really about. And I think my album is really about that, it’s like, we all go through hard times, our country’s going through a hard time. It’s not a political album in that sense, but at the same time, if the politics is part of the backdrop, in the foreground I just wanna embrace my life, and get right with God, get right with my spirit, because I think that’s the way to lead us out of this kind of craziness that again seems to be coming, and God knows where it’s coming from. But everywhere you go, people feel it. And they can’t put their finger on it.
Corgan’s bandmates contribute by keeping up, not by reining him in 10:23 pm // Tuesday, June 26, 2012Posted by jjb in analysis, band, criticism, mellon collie, oceania, thefutureembrace.
A metaphor often used to illustrate Corgan’s supposed position has been that of a horse beneath a rider, and (as predicted) that metaphor has been trotted out in reviews of the Pumpkins’ new album Oceania. Spin Magazine’s Rob Harvilla used it today:
And so when it’s time for the nine-minute, multi-suite title track that gets way out of hand, these young bucks at the very least keep up, rein Corgan in, keep him honest.
Yes, it can plausibly be argued that Corgan’s music has been better when other hands are very involved; if you don’t love his solo record TheFutureEmbrace but hold dear the Pumpkins canon, that’s a ready conclusion to reach. But this is probably the case because Corgan is, or at least feels, freer to explore and go crazy when he’s in a band setting: His bandmates improve the music not by burying him in noes but by, to borrow Harvilla’s other phrase there, keeping up—not in the saddle but alongside Corgan, enabling him to divide labor and achieve wilder visions. What, after all, are the attributes we ascribe to the band’s reputed best work? Harvilla lists a few himself:
Prime Smashing Pumpkins reveled in the alleged worst aspects of the ’70s (the excess, the prog, the squeedly-deedly-doo guitar solos) and has nonetheless aged splendidly: Siamese Dream is a shitload less dated than, say, Ten; and Mellon Collie, for all its blatant absurdity, is an astoundingly deep, committed, multifaceted, entrancing clusterfuck that is way closer to being the best record of the grunge era than any of us should be comfortable with.
The next time someone says that TheFutureEmbrace reveled in excess will be the first; as was fairly apparent, Corgan imposed some tight constraints upon its recording, such as a limitation to only one guitar track per song. That record aside, the other major output from Corgan’s interstitial solo period was…a batch of exclusively acoustic music. And we are supposed to believe that James Iha, D’Arcy Wretzky, and Jimmy Chamberlin’s contributions to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Siamese Dream are best characterized in terms of placed restraints? When Corgan talks about Butch Vig’s influence on Gish, he doesn’t speak of boundaries—he says that Vig was the only one who could stay up with him, while everyone else had gone home.
Harvilla is smart, and his review of Oceania is mostly on point. But it does suffer, pardon that expression, from
pomposity a lack of self-awareness. Harvilla goes on for 1,200 words, the writing is showy as a public fuck…and it’s fine; the piece is entertainingly expressive, and a hardass editor cutting out modifiers would probably kill the major joys therein to be had. This here is to urge the guy forward, not to choke him back into an amble: Rob, write on.
Billy Corgan made the great lost record. 3:28 pm // Saturday, June 23, 2012Posted by jjb in amusing, analysis, billy corgan, chicagosongs, interview.
During a Los Angeles meet-and-greet yesterday, this exchange (video) took place between KYSR-FM deejay Darren Rose and Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan:
Billy Corgan: If I told you my real opinions of every album, you’d probably laugh.
Darren Rose: Do you have a favorite?
Corgan: Not really, no. Honestly, I think the best album I’ve ever made I haven’t released. It’s sitting in a can at home. I did a solo acoustic record about my hometown of Chicago. And I played one show, and I thought the show was amazing, and then I went on like an idiot the next day and read what the fans were writing and they said ‘Can he just please pick up an electric guitar again? Screw this acoustic music, we don’t want to hear this shit, dadadada.’ And I said OK, and I put the album back in the can and it’s sitting there to this day. People who’ve heard it say it’s some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever done. It’s just sitting there.
While Corgan seems to blame “the fans” for the album not having been released, another possible reason is that Corgan has to be his own best editor. If he’s putting out something, it’s a decision he’s made, and sometimes it doesn’t have anything to do with musical quality. It has to do with personal satisfaction. He’s earned the right to fucking suck.
Also, exuberance from Corgan about his yet-to-be released records (e.g., Zeitgeist, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, Oceania), as well as negative comments by Corgan about released records that the public has not embraced (e.g., Zeitgeist, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope), are par for the course.
RESEARCH UPDATE: On October 19, 2004—exactly six months after the “one show” Corgan played—a Toronto radio DJ asked him (audio, at 3:55) to “Tell us about the [ChicagoSongs/ChicagoKid] DVD.” Corgan replied: “It’s in the can. It’s all acoustic. There’s been about thirty songs recorded. And we’re just starting to cut it together, and hopefully that’ll be out by the end of next year.”
“The Celestials” promo goes out to U.S. radio stations 10:29 pm // Thursday, June 21, 2012Posted by jjb in news, oceania, photo, radio, releases.
(Well, really we can only swear up and down that one station has gotten it, but, come on.)
Thanks to HU reader Kevin for the tip and to HU reader Kevin’s DJ friend for the image.
UPDATE (6/22): Billy Corgan performs “The Celestials” and “One Diamond, One Heart” after being interviewed on KROQ-FM’s ‘Kevin and Bean Show.’
Highland Park landmark featured on ‘Oceania’ cover 9:50 pm // Thursday, June 21, 2012Posted by susan in chicago, news, oceania, photography.
The structure on the cover of the Smashing Pumpkins’ new album Oceania has been identified as the North Shore Sanitary District Tower. The tower is located in tony Chicago suburb Highland Park, which also happens to be Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan’s current home base.
Built in 1931, the tower features Art Deco motifs. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 (you can search for it on their site by entering the reference number 83000322). It is located on a knoll just off the shores of Lake Michigan, near Rosewood Beach.
UPDATE (6/23): The tower is featured in an animated promotional video for the Australian release of Oceania.
HU Podcast #91: More ‘Oceania’ 6:08 am // Wednesday, June 20, 2012Posted by chris in james iha, oceania, podcast.
After being left out of the meat of the Oceania discussion last week, I finally was able to hear and digest the album, so I brought Alex on to talk about the album as well as the concert he attended at the Metro last week and Billy Corgan’s newest comments about James Iha.
-Chris and Alex
-Our thoughts on Oceania, which sound a bit more negative than I think either of us intended, especially considering my answer to my own question of Best Corgan Album Since _____. (27:06)
-Is Oceania an artistic progression for Billy Corgan? We talk about what that means to us and some other bands that have not progressed at all. Plus, Billy’s ambitious goals for the album. (17:48)
-Alex attended the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit concert at the Metro, so he gives us a full report. Plus, he’s not so sure about the plan to play Oceania straight through. (5:40)
-Billy once again made some inflammatory comments about a former band member, and once again he has something to promote at the same time. Are the comments a calculated attempt to get publicity? (11:17)
Song of the Week
Bleed, Chicago, Illinois (June 12th, 2012)
‘Oceania’ is here 11:35 am // Tuesday, June 19, 2012Posted by jjb in oceania, releases.
Have you acquired the new Smashing Pumpkins album? Don’t make us wonder how you did so or what you notice or think about it—comments are open.
Greg Kot: ‘Oceania’ is “Corgan’s best work since the ’90s” 2:08 pm // Friday, June 15, 2012Posted by jjb in billy corgan, interview, oceania, zeitgeist.
Chicago Tribune mainstay Greg Kot has posted today a great interview with Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan. The two explore motivating factors behind the new Pumpkins record Oceania, managing also to look back with some perspective on the band’s previous LP Zeitgeist and the controversial tours that followed its release, and they touch on other relevant topics too. Here’s an excerpt:
[Greg Kot]: When things are working, great artists say they reflect their audience. Do you feel you’re still in touch with your audience?
[Billy Corgan]: I feel I’m reflecting the part of the audience we don’t hear from. There are a lot of people out there who love music but don’t have a place in music culture as it exists. I meet these people all the time. Soccer mom, 34, has good taste in music. They are your average rock fan who isn’t part of the Pitchfork culture. They don’t follow the train. They’re the difference between 40,000 sales and 400,000. We’ve disenfranchised that part of the culture by playing to the (snobby, snarky) crowd. The Internet has swelled that (expletive) crowd. The crowd that trashes what you do instantly and writes you off. It’s like the ’90s indie-rock crowd all over again: Don’t look this way, don’t dress this way, don’t play long guitar solos, whatever. But there are people out there in their teens who found Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, they don’t care that those bands don’t exist anymore. They exist in their computer. They’re finding this other value system that isn’t contemporary. It’s a wider scope. The unspoken audience, the stragglers, and this new audience who isn’t snarky or cares much about modern record business, that’s our audience.
UPDATE (6/18): Kot’s full review of Oceania is published.