Smashing Pumpkins: Pisces Iscariot: Deluxe Edition

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Pisces Iscariot: Deluxe Edition
(Virgin/EMI)

Pisces Iscariot, a collection of b-sides and rarities from the Smashing Pumpkins, initially came out at a pivotal time for the band, sandwiched between Siamese Dream and the wildly-successful Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The band became among the biggest rock stars of the ’90s.

I’m not exactly spilling any industry secrets when I say rarities collections are seen as little more than placeholders for record companies looking to keep the momentum going between proper albums. But Pisces Iscariot is actually so much more. It went platinum when it was initially released in 1994, in part because music fans could not get enough from this band, but more surprisingly it contains some of the band’s best songs. While the double album Mellon Collie was a tad bit bloated, the songs off of this outtakes collection – recently re-released and given the deluxe treatment from Virgin and EMI – come across with more purpose. Tacking on the second disc on this deluxe version, the album is among the band’s best. Speaking of that second disc, there are some great covers like “Cinnamon Girl” and “Jackie Blue.”

The DVD is mainly footage taken from a 1988 cable access program and shows a band that hasn’t yet started to cop the life-is-so-hard attitude that would come to define the petulant Billy Corgan and band mates in the years that followed. The deluxe set also comes with a cassette of their demos (yeah, I don’t get this hipster fascination with tapes either). Do yourself a favor and go back and rediscover the group through these songs, before Corgan drew a target on the band and practically begged us to hate them.