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Pitchfork clears out its inbox 11:59 pm // Monday, January 4, 2010

Posted by apm in criticism, pitchfork, teargarden by kaleidyscope.
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Pitchfork published a review of “A Song for a Son” today, nearly a month after it was released (3 days to spare!). The review was written by noted MP3 blogger (and HU blogroll entrant) Matthew Perpetua.

While Pitchfork’s initial news post about the song’s release was surprisingly positive (given past history), Perpetua returned to the usual Pitchfork treatment of Billy Corgan, branding the song with a whoppingly awful score of 2. On the other hand, Perpetua did provide the following bit of constructive (?) criticism, saying the song is

…not awful so much as it is bloated and dreary.

So it has that going for it.

I tried to take a scan through Pitchfork’s track reviews to see what company Song for a Son is keeping with its score of 2, but Pitchfork’s “Advanced Search” capability is either Firefox incompatible or just plain broken. Therefore, I hereby give Pitchfork’s search functionality a 0.0.

HU Podcast #48: Everything From Here to There 5:19 pm // Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Posted by chris in criticism, efhtt.com, pitchfork, podcast, stereogum.
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We have an unprecedented two podcasts for you this week.  In the first, we discussed Billy’s new website and how it was received.

Later in the week, we talk all about the announcement of Teargarden by Kaleidyscope and what it means for Smashing Pumpkins fans over the coming months and years.

Listen to the whole show (50:13)


This week’s topics:

-Chris, Jason, Jill, and Andrew

-Billy Corgan debuts EverythingFromHereToThere.com, and we wade through its posts, be they insightful or psueudoscientific, to try to get to the bottom of what he hopes to accomplish with the site. (23:34)

-Billy’s recent collaboration with Dave Navarro did not merit a mention by the music blogosphere, but the new website garnered its fair share of ridicule.  We discuss the disparity in coverage and talk about why we care how the band and Billy Corgan are covered. (20:20)

Song of the Week
-If All Goes Wrong, Asheville, NC July 2, 2007

Keep a lookout during the next day or two for our second podcast of the week.

For top indie music sites, Corgan remains mostly a gossip item 2:14 pm // Thursday, September 10, 2009

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, criticism, news, pitchfork, stereogum.
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Its most insular readers don’t know that Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro was part of Billy Corgan’s Spirits in the Sky, nor have they seen a word about the nine new Corgan songs performed on that band’s recent tour, but today Pitchfork Media (“the essential guide to independent music and beyond”) carried a 250-word report on the spirituality-themed website Corgan launched yesterday.

As his source for this news item, Pitchfork’s Tom Breihan cited SmashingPumpkins.com — a music-themed website that during August carried thorough coverage of the six-date Spirits in the Sky tour.

Pitchfork’s lesser rival Stereogum, which never reported that the Spirits’ tour was to take place, also posted an item today regarding the new Corgan website.

Corgan, Brown: We chose “so-so songs” to play on Spirits tour; Corgan has “total confidence” in as-yet-unplayed “best material” 3:42 pm // Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Posted by jjb in interview, mike byrne, news, pitchfork, spirits in the sky.
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In a friendly group interview with Hot Topic-owned website ShockHound, Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan tells pal Tatiana Simonian that he and collaborator Kerry Brown deliberately avoided playing Corgan’s best new songs on their recent tour with Spirits in the Sky:

SHOCKHOUND: How did this tour come about?

BILLY CORGAN: I’ve demo’d out something like 50 songs [at Kerry Brown’s studio], so we kind of hit on the idea that going out and playing a few shows would be a natural conclusion. When you just work in the studio, you don’t get a lot of energy back. So I wanted to try some of my so-so songs live, try to see which was better. We’re actually not playing the best material.


CORGAN: Because there’s no need to put it out there, I have total confidence in it. This stuff is more trying to get a feel. Pumpkins used to do the same thing; we’d go out and play the lesser songs to see which ones really had something.

KERRY BROWN: These are the songs that we want to iron out. Not that they’re “B songs,” but they’re in the “B” pile as far as recording goes. We’re doing them live to see if we can take them to that next level.

Corgan also discussed his new partnership with young drummer Mike Byrne, noting that Byrne’s positive attitude toward the Pumpkins played a role in his hiring:

SHOCKHOUND: This tour marks Mike Byrne’s first outing with you. Did you have any trepidation about choosing a 19-year-old to be the new Pumpkins’ drummer?

CORGAN: Well, I did have trepidation about his age, but his talent level is so high that it made me have to go, “Well, is age really that important?” At the end of the day, a person’s character is your indicator of the fidelity of someone’s being. So I’m going to just trust the situation. He’s a good person and great drummer; better that than a great drummer and a shit person. He gives me hope for his generation. He’s coming from a world that’s willing to look beyond all the Pitchfork crap and get back to good music.

Byrne and Spirits in the Sky guitarist Dave Navarro also took questions from Simonian; the full interview is definitely worth reading.

Led by Pitchfork, blogosphere unites on top song of decade 4:26 am // Saturday, August 22, 2009

Posted by jjb in idolator, listmaking, maura johnston, news, outkast, pitchfork, stereogum.
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If there must be a “song of the decade”, everybody — critics included — knows that song is OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” But as the music-news site Stereogum notes today, Pitchfork Media has refused to certify the obvious at the pinnacle of its listicle “The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s”:

The top track’s by a group you might expect at the top spot but via a different song.

Yes, Pitchfork did choose an OutKast song for #1, but it was lesser known single “B.O.B.” And, interestingly, influential blogger Maura Johnston of Idolator quickly lined up behind the indie titans’ choice:

Listening to Pitchfork’s No. 1 song of the decade with @jamiattenberg. I kind of love this pick!

I must say that the “B.O.B.” selection is a brilliant out for the critics.  For their readers, it means that the keut guy/girl they’re hitting on does correctly recognize the greatness of OutKast but simply prefers the less edgy of their two most awesome songs! Nothing very wrong with that!  And for the critics themselves, it means keeping the rest of us securely in thrall to their slightly superior taste.

UPDATE: Well-known New Yorker critic Sasha Frere-Jones has signed on.

Pitchfork drops predicate from comic Corgan one-liner 11:02 am // Sunday, April 12, 2009

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, bullshit, pitchfork.
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Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal on Friday put a Billy Corgan sentence fragment into Dombal’s “Echo Chamber” (a ‘Fork feature that took part in HU’s April Fool’s Day celebration!).  Is Dombal’s reading correct, or will an errant echo ring forever on?

First, the original source. Corgan wrote:

I would point very gently to the diversity and complexity of my artistic work to give you some sense of who Billy Corgan really is (that is a joking 3rd person by the way). Part-alien, part-human, part-robot, part-star-crossed lover and part-mercury filled apparently if one was to read the songs in that way.

Here’s what Dombal made of that:


Feel their love 9:14 pm // Monday, February 2, 2009

Posted by jjb in business, criticism, FOL, gear, pitchfork.
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A selection of “FOL”-related matters:

Pitchfork’s Breihan to Pitchfork’s Maher: I can top that 6:46 pm // Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Posted by jjb in criticism, pitchfork.
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Dave Maher is, of course, not the only Pitchfork Media writer who gets the hate shakes when the Smashing Pumpkins are mentioned — nay, Pitchfork’s rep is well earned in this matter.  In opening his effort today at outdoing Maher’s thesaurus-thumbing rant from November, Tom Breihan ditched proper English to write that “The Smashing Pumpkins’ recent reunion tour sucked real bad”.

Breihan added that the band is “not remotely relevant”, that its members are “dessicated”, and that Yo-Yo Ma can match strides with the Pumpkins as a “fellow rank opportunist”.

Chicago-based group lazily rants at its diminishing audience 10:10 pm // Thursday, November 20, 2008

Posted by jjb in amusing, bullshit, criticism, pitchfork, shitshow.
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Poor setlist choices, awful-sounding music, and confounding sartorial decisions mixed with heavy doses of audience mockery: These are the reports we’ve been getting about the Smashing Pumpkins“20th Anniversary Tour”, and guesses at Billy Corgan’s motivations can only confuse and infuriate.

That would be Pitchfork’s Dave Maher, hyperlinking his way into an hilariously intense fury at Billy Corgan instead of walking down the street to cover the Chicago Theatre shows. After (maybe) watching a YouTube clip and (probably) reading the Rolling Stone and Fluxblog concert reviews, Maher denounced the tour as a “shitshow” (what?), claimed that Corgan had “lashed out at his band’s fans” with an “outburst”, called Zeitgeist “mediocre”, said the band was “meandering into formless noise jams”, accused Corgan of “ruining people’s nostalgic fondness” for the Pumpkins, said Corgan was “cashing in”, and called Corgan “crazy”.

Can you explain this, Dave? Why all the anger?

Personally, I don’t buy that this intentional audience befuddling is some kind of pure pursuit of an artistic muse. It seems like the flailing around of an artist who has declined and is unwilling to face that truth even when his own fans proclaim it so by their reactions to his art.

You may be on to something there… (more…)

Music-news sites discover “G.L.O.W.”, aren’t over themselves 5:40 pm // Monday, October 13, 2008

Posted by jjb in analysis, G.L.O.W., idolator, pitchfork, stereogum.
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Within a three-hour span this afternoon, music-news websites Stereogum, Idolator, and Pitchfork all posted the same recording of “G.L.O.W.” sourced from the song’s radio debut on Chicago’s Q101. “NEW SMASHING PUMPKINS” blared a Stereogum headline, with the accompanying article stating that “it finally hit the airwaves”. Shortly thereafter, Idolator promoted the recording as “Leak Of The Day”, declaring that today marks the song’s “WEB DEBUT”. Pitchfork followed, saying “Chicago’s Q-101 played it, someone upped a rip to YouTube, and now you can listen to it in rather abysmal sound quality.”

The YouTube clip of “G.L.O.W.” embedded and hailed as newsworthy by all three sites? It’s been on YouTube for a week. The Q101 debut featured in the clip? That happened two weeks ago. And the song has been in the top 40 at alternative radio for eight days now. Links to various recordings of the song (even to perfect-quality versions) have been appearing in comments on HU posts over that entire span, and of course similar links are all over Pumpkins messageboards.

It’s one thing for these sites not to cover the Smashing Pumpkins well and therefore not to have the story on day one; really, that’s fine and no one should much care. But for them to claim that they are right on it, to act as though the music world has shrunk to the size of a three-site circle jerk, is in every sense of the word…wait for it… pretentious.

United Center or Allstate Arena for November Chicago gig 2:11 am // Thursday, August 21, 2008

Posted by jjb in billy corgan, brent dicrescenzo, criticism, interview, machina, news, pitchfork, venues.
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Brent DiCrescenzo — yes, the former Pitchfork Media contributor (more on Brent D. below) — gets the news in a phone interview with Billy Corgan for Time Out Chicago:

Corgan promises the Pumpkins will return to “Chicago proper” in November for the band’s 20th anniversary show; the only question, he says, is whether the venue will be the United Center or the Allstate Arena.

DiCrescenzo, best known to Pumpkins fans for his withering review of Machina, is apparently back in the world of music writing. (In 2004, DiCrescenzo wrote that he was quitting the profession at the end of his review of the Beastie Boys’ album To the 5 Boroughs, a piece that was later blasted by Pitchfork editors for…wait for itmaking stuff up about Radiohead.) So, now what did he think of the not-really-reunited Smashing Pumpkins playing at a fucking casino?

[I]t’s a shame nitpickers avoided the Horseshoe for the sake of some mythical rock ideals; there’s no way those shows will sound as sweet as this one.

The Pumpkins have been practicing seven hours a day, Corgan says, and it shows: The band rips through material from each of its records, some B-sides and a cover of Pink Floyd’s early acid freak-out, “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.” Unlike in his ’90s performances, Corgan exerts control over his voice; in fact, he sings better than ever. The group blends heavy-metal geek shredding with trippy goth shoegazing. After an insane, extended guitar duel, the band huddles up for a quiet acoustic set at the front of the stage. The Pumpkins always balanced the audacious with the intimate, which might have led to many listeners’ inability to understand Corgan’s intent. But that’s his point—to remain enigmatic. Before his biggest hit, “Today,” Corgan tells the audience, “This is for you, even though I don’t know who you are. But you don’t know me either.”

Wow, not even a snarky comment about how Billy singing “better than ever” must mean that he paid big bucks to have his “wax-paper septum” replaced! Looks like you can take the Pitchfork out of the boy.

Seen on scene 10:37 am // Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Posted by jpiniak in amusing, fashion, pitchfork.
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After spending a long, long weekend taking in the sounds (and more amusingly, the sights) at the annual Pitchfork Music Festival here in Chicago, I’m needing some recuperation time from all the rock.

One of the stranger sights seen at this indie rock hipster heaven?

Some guy wearing an Arising! tour t-shirt. (Note, the baseball style, not the one pictured.)

 I don’t know if he was trying to be ironic.

DeRogatis: Gish tour would be “as sad as any state fair act” 9:47 am // Saturday, July 19, 2008

Posted by jjb in analysis, criticism, gish, jim derogatis, live, liz phair, mission of burma, pitchfork.
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In praising Mission of Burma’s performance of a 25-year-old album at Pitchfo*k Music Festival last night, venerable Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis drops two comparison points:

It’s easy to take shots at Pitchfork’s opening-night “Don’t Look Back” concept of bands performing one of their classic albums in its entirety and to dismiss it as a gimmick or cheap nostalgia. But as with everything else, it all depends on the music in question.

A long since gone-Hollywood Liz Phair performing “Exile in Guyville” or the reunited sorta-Smashing Pumpkins rendering “Gish” arguably are as sad as any state fair act. But a band like Mission of Burma is a different story: Its music was always far ahead of its time; it ended the first round of its career prematurely, in part because of guitarist Roger Miller’s tinnitus, and the new albums it has recorded since 2004 have been every bit as good as “Vs.” (1983), the subject of Friday’s retrospective.

The reformed Pumpkins haven’t actually yet performed Gish, but now many of DeRogatis’s Sun-Times readers (particularly those who know that Liz Phair recently did perform Exile in Guyville) are going to assume that they have. But hey, since he already knows it’s going to suck, no harm done!

Hook hassles Corgan for Freebass vocal tracks 10:31 pm // Friday, June 20, 2008

Posted by jjb in interview, new order, pitchfork.
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New Order bassist Peter Hook has just spoken to Pitchfork about the progress being made on the album by his new bass-based band Freebass.

“We’ve already written 17 tracks and it’s coming along very well,” said Hook. “We hope to finish it soon.”

Whoops, my mistake — that was Hook being quoted from a November 2006 edition of Argentine publication Página/12. Here’s Hook in his new interview with Pitchfork:

PH: Freebass is coming along quite well, really. If I didn’t have to work for a living as a DJ, it’d be done a lot quicker because DJing can be quite arduous. I enjoy it a great deal, all of us do– Mani, Andy Rourke, and I DJ professionally, and we do it a lot. And we’re trying desperately to fit Freebass in between, which is proving to be a little bit annoying now, because as it’s sounding better and better, we’re more desperate to finish it. So it’s coming along quite well.

To the transparent delight of Pitchfork interviewer Matthew Solarski, Hook the hardworking DJ teasingly asks Corgan to rush delivery on his promised contribution of free bass-free vocals for the project:

Pitchfork: I’ve also heard that you were trying to get Billy Corgan to sing?

PH: Yeah, Billy offered his services, and was provided with a couple of tracks. I’m still waiting, so if he’s listening out there: Billy, get on with it!

Pitchfo*k thanks reader for link to smashingpumpkins.com 6:07 am // Saturday, May 24, 2008

Posted by jjb in amusing, analysis, pitchfork.
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On Thursday, industrious Pitchfo*k newsman Dave Maher located the official website of the Smashing Pumpkins, using information found there to snark out a report on a two-week-old interview.  All links are Maher’s:

Not letting their music get overshadowed by their typically dramatic activities from earlier this year, Smashing Pumpkins revealed their plans for the rest of the year to ArtisanNews.com (as reposted on their website.)

Thanks to reader Keith Beshwate for the tip.

Maher added value to his reposting of the Artisan News Service interview by misspelling Jimmy’s last name, saying that the Pumpkins’ “best songs are behind them”, and suggesting that a reunion with James and D’Arcy would be desirable.

In which we once again anticipate their reaction 6:19 pm // Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Posted by jjb in criticism, legal, pitchfork.
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[18:33] pins: you know, there’s some criticism to be made about this lawsuit.
[18:34] jjb: and i’m looking to you
[18:34] jjb: haha
[18:34] jjb: i just don’t care about it
[18:34] pins: well, goodwill with the fans? integrity? not too sure about that.
[18:35] jjb: what?! you think it’s about money?!
[18:35] jjb: haha
[18:35] pins:
[18:35] pins: well, goodwill with the fans, like selling 7 versions of the same album?
[18:35] jjb: hey, maybe some people wanted seven versions
[18:35] jjb: just kidding
[18:36] jjb: i would agree that they have not been perfectly assiduous in cultivating an “alternative” image
[18:36] pins: just saying, weird terminology. they’re well within their rights in the lawsuit, but all they had to say was unauthorized usage.
[18:37] jjb: i agree with you
[18:37] jjb: i remember, back with the sharon obsourne lawsuit, people making fun of the terminology
[18:37] jjb: that billy sounded like he was still an abused child
[18:38] pins: heh
[18:38] jjb: and i was definitely reminded of that
[18:38] jjb: reading the press release
[18:38] pins: funny, so pitchfo*k totally just said the same thing i did
[18:39] jjb: oh there’s a shock

Pitchf*rk to launch yet another medium in which they revere Radiohead 6:31 pm // Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Posted by Jill in pitchfork, video.
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Apparently, betwixt the Pumpkin negativity, Pitchf*rk is trying to replace MTV. Or at least the MTV I grew up with that still played music videos. On April 7th, reports Idolator, Pitchf*rk.tv launches, replete with loads of footage of bands-you-never-heard-of and music-videos-your-kid-sister-could-probably-make.

In rare form, Idolator jokes:

I’m sure every Idolator reader is eagerly awaiting the moment when “The Interview Show,” which promises to bring “today’s best and most respected artists face-to-face with the Pitchfork critics who write their features and review their albums,” embarks on its ratings-grabbing “0.0 Week.” Let the fists fly!

According to Pitchf*rk’s press release, the site will be featuring current and long-lost music videos, full-length feature films, vintage concerts, music DVDs and even live pro-mixed concerts. Interesting. Why do I suspect that the Superchrist video will not be included?!

What looks hilarious are the recurring programs that they’re starting. I have taken liberal editing authority on their descriptions.

Daytripping – “puts you in the passenger seat for a day out with some of the most vibrant personalities in independent music.”  Let’s hope they’ve showered.

Juan’s Basement – a program that takes you into the basements of high school kids everywhere to find out what the real underground scene is like. Ugh. Flashbacks from my high school punk days scare me.

Treefort Sessions – answering those seminal questions such as “What happens when disparate artists are chosen to spend a day recording together in a Brooklyn studio?” Gee, that question was keeping me awake at night. Oh wait… no, that was my neighbor who actually does record in his Brooklyn studio next door. They’ve colonized this borough.

Don’t Look Down – apparently not for the vertigo-inclined, this program “brings artists to rooftops around New York and Chicago and says go.” Okay, so this one could be cool since they’re actually performing live sets. Can I nominate Deerhoof? That’s a long way to fall.

The Interview Show – in which Pitchf*rk reviewers come face to face with their destiny — of fists.

Gee, I can’t wait.

Pitchfork posts Pumpkin punditry, sponsors snarky stickers 12:30 am // Thursday, February 21, 2008

Posted by Jill in billy corgan, pitchfork, studio.
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I’ll admit: my Google Reader does have an RSS feed to Pitchfork. I’m not one to read it regularly because its self-indulgent Radiohead pandering causes quick-onset indigestion. However, once in a great while they do post relevant Smashing Pumpkins news… if you can tolerate the suffocating cynicism.

This morning, Pitchfork reported that Billy Corgan will be heading back to the studio to do a collaboration with New Order bassist Hook, Mani from Primal Scream and ex-Smiths star Andy Rourke for their “supergroup” Freebass. If you want to skip the blurb below in favor of a fairer reportage, check out this article from Gigwise.

First there is the matter of Freebass, the Peter Hook/Andy Rourke/Mani all-bass supergroup. Freebass, as you know, have been recording with a number of different vocalists, including ex-Stone Rose Ian Brown and the Charlatans’ Tim Burgess. A BBC 6 Music report yesterday quotes Hook as saying, “We persuaded Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins [to work with us].” Mr. Corgan will, presumably, assist in the vocal capacity, as will Haven frontman Gary Briggs, UK singer Rowetta, and celebrity dope-dealer Howard Marks (“doing a rap,” according to Hook). Oh boy!

On a semi-related note, my co-blogger Pins picked up a CD today that included a promotional sticker flaunting that it is “Recommended by Pitchfork!” No way! Gee, that’s such a compliment! Tastes like… Radiohead!

[This post made possible by American Apparel (and AdBlock Plus)!]

2007’s betters of Billy and Jimmy, according to Pitchfo*k 11:18 pm // Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Posted by jjb in criticism, pitchfork.
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[Pitchfo*k] closes 2007 with a look at each of our writers’ favorite albums of the year. To construct our consensus staff list, we used a combination of the following lists– with most writers listing 50 records– and, as we’ve done each of the past two years, a points allocation system similar to Pazz and Jop.

La dee da. Among the artists with a 2007 release earning more than one mention among the 37 Pitchfo*k writers’ top-25 album lists: Against Me!, The Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, Cam’ron, Devin the Dude, Dinosaur Jr., Fall Out Boy, Feist, Low, Oh No, The New Pornographers, Paramore, Pissed Jeans, PJ Harvey, Rhys Chatham, Rihanna, Sally Shapiro, The Sea and Cake, Elliott Smith, Britney Spears, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The White Stripes, White Williams, Amy Winehouse, Wu-Tang Clan, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Here are all the albums that appeared on exactly one of the 37 lists:

“Inside the Zeitgeist” DVD out today 7:49 am // Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Posted by jjb in criticism, marketing, news, pitchfork, zeitgeist.
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This making-of-Zeitgeist documentary is available from Best Buy for $13.99; it will be packaged with a free CD copy of Zeitgeist that contains a previously unreleased bonus track entitled “Ma Belle”.

No, that’s not how it’s being marketed, but that is an economically equivalent way of describing the “re-release” of Zeitgeist. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with the band pricing a new standalone DVD documentary at $14; however, the offer of a $14 DVD/Zeitgeist combo ($10 if pre-ordered) has been met with some hysterically righteous denunciations. Two examples:

  • Pitchfo*k Media has responded to this $14 DVD/CD offer by (again) trotting out an image of a 100-dollar bill with Billy Corgan’s picture superimposed upon it, referring to the band as “$mashing Pumpkin$”.
  • The webzine Prefix headlines an article “Billy Corgan’s integrity R.I.P 2007” and says anyone who wants this item would “probably better off writing a check for the same amount and sending it to P.O. Box Your Toilet”.

UPDATE: The “full length” DVD reportedly contains the 20-minute-long documentary as well as the promo videos for “Tarantula” and “That’s the Way”. That plus “Ma Belle” for $14? It’s a borderline call for me, but I won’t pretend to be deciding for everyone. Of course, I’m listening to “Ma Belle” right now for $0, so… :)

UPDATE: The in-store price is $10 through Friday.


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