Saturday, May 29, 2010

Music Review: Smashing Pumpkins - Teargarden By Kaleidyscope Vol. 1: Songs For A Sailor

This was first published earlier today by Blogcritics Magazine.

In the year 2000, the Smashing Pumpkins gave away what was then their final album before breaking up - the impressive 25-track Machina II - for free on the Internet as both a thank you to longtime fans and an F-bomb to the record label business. This was years before Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and some lesser known artists would make it cool to give away their music for little to nothing.

Four years after reforming (with only one original member left), three years removed from its comeback album Zeitgeist (2007), and two years after releasing the little noticed and underrated American Gothic EP, Billy Corgan and co. are writing and recording a mega 44-song album entitled Teargarden By Kaleidyscope, its most ambitious project of new music since its classic 1995 2-CD masterpiece Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness.

Starting last December, the 44 tracks are being released as free downloads one song per month or so at a time via the band's website But in the current year and who knows how long beyond that, there will also be 11 collectible four-song EPs packaged with extra/newer material for purchase.

So far, four cuts from the album have been recorded and released since December (with assistance from producer Kerry Brown), and they all appear together on TBK Volume 1: Songs For A Sailor, which came out May 25 on Martha's Music/Rocket Science Ventures as a box set with new, exclusive material on CD and vinyl. This review focuses on the main four songs on the EP.

Going back to first Pumpkins album Gish and even as recently as the Zeitgeist disc, Corgan has never shied away from showing off his 70s classic rock influences. On "Astral Planes" one can hear vintage psychedelic traces of Queen and Led Zeppelin in the flange-aided big-sounding guitars. The song's only issue is Corgan's vocals, which leaves some truly authentic emotion to be desired.

The Pumpkins are pushing radio to play the most radio-ready song on here, "Widow Wake My Mind." However, longtime SP fans may do a double-take on all the generic and frankly un-Pumpkins-like "oh-oh" vocals Corgan sings, and not really feel the generic "love will shine" lyrics. But the Hammond organ/piano entry late in the song does add a welcome and lasting impression to the ears.

Read the rest here

No comments: