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Thursday Three: B-Sides are best.

June 10, 2010

This is the first of what will (hopefully) be a weekly post about music that involves the number three. Now it could be me posting three songs I really love and think people should hear. Or me posting about three albums or bands I’m currently in love with. Or it could be me posting songs with the word “three” in the title. Basically, the post will always be about music and the number three – how I want to interpret those rules will be completely based on my whims that week.

The theme for this first installment of Thursday Three is b-sides. B-sides were once just that: the song on side b of any 45/7″/single. Now they’re thought of more as songs that were recorded during a certain album’s sessions that never made it onto the actual album. But sometimes they’re some of the best songs that band/musician/artist has ever made. And some of my favorite songs by bands I really love are b-sides. So without further ado, here are three b-sides I totally adore.

Throwing Muses “Cottonmouth” This song was a b-side to the single “Counting Backwards” off of their 1991 album The Real Ramona. I first heard this song when I saw TM perform it live at the old Knitting Factory in New York City in the summer of 1993. I was instantly obsessed with the song and only owned it in live bootleg form, not knowing for years that it was a b-side. I finally tracked down an import copy of the single – “Cottonmouth” was omitted from the U.S. version of it – and my ears have been thanking me ever since.

Elastica “Spastica” After already being fully obsessed with Elastica’s self-titled debut album my good friend Greg Der Ananian introduced me to the plethora of b-sides for the many singles the album spawned. While most of them are fantastic, “Spastica” stands out as the brightest star among them and is one of my top three songs from the band’s catalog. From the catchy “whoa oh oh” of the chorus to the deliciously snide way Justine Frischmann sings the word “arse” and Annie Holland’s always excellent bass work, it’s a 2:33 second burst of Britpop perfection that is nearly impossible to not sing and pogo along to.

Sleater-Kinney “Everything” To say I’m a fan of Sleater-Kinney is putting it about as mildly as possible. They are easily my most favorite band that existed in the last decade-plus and to say I miss them during their “indefinite hiatus” is an understatement. But the band took a bow on the best note possible with their near-masterpiece of an album, The Woods. S-K were never big on b-sides but The Woods did spawn one of the few that made it out to the public, the rocking, punishingly excellent “Everything”. The song opens with an almost My Bloody Valentine-esque haze of distorted guitars until it collapses into a taut opening riff punctuated by Janet Weiss’s cracking snare hits. Lyrically it seems to be taking shots at fame-obsessed celebrities, the train wreck of reality TV and maybe even sellout bands desperate for success. But mainly it’s just an explosion of eargasmic rock that could very possibly melt your face off.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. polynesian69 permalink
    June 10, 2010 10:08 pm

    Blog layout looks hella nice! I didn’t spend much time on the content as I only listen to Black Metal and the Back Street Boys. Keep it up, this rocks!

  2. June 13, 2010 10:16 am

    This is a great idea for a regular column. Excellent song choices. And I’m glad that somebody else acknowledges the greatness of “The Woods.” I know a lot of SK fans were put off by the sonic splendor of it all, but it has some of the band’s best songs, in my opinion. The solo at the 2:10 mark of “What’s Mine Is Yours” makes out-of-body experiences seem all too plausible.

  3. June 13, 2010 6:26 pm

    Wow, computer speakers are not all that super awesome for Corin’s voice.

  4. June 18, 2010 12:40 am

    Oh man, people who can’t hang with “The Woods” just don’t make any sense to me! It’s such a fantastic, beautiful, LOUD album. The first time I heard them rip into “The Fox” with that crazy peal of feedback and Janet just pummeling the life out of her drums I practically pooped my drawers. So fantastic. And I love how in the midst of all of that noise and distortion and sludge they can still close the album with “Night Light” and Corin Tucker doing that amazing thing of creating longing and melancholy and hope all in one song.

    Wow, I just totally nerded out about them, didn’t I?

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