Since leap day was yesterday, and we got a boner day, we decided to make our list this week about bonus songs/albums. Artists leave songs off of an album for a number of reasons. Maybe it was the length of the song. Maybe the tone didn’t fit with the rest of the material. And maybe the artist made a really, really stupid mistake. Luckily for us, there is the b-side to atone for these late cuts. Enjoy our list of some of the best.
10. Damien Rice – B-Sides
Damien Rice has not released an album since 2006, 9, which was a minor disappointment. Luckily his debut, O, was fantastic and he managed to squeeze a superb collection of b-sides in between. Of particular note is the French-influence “The Professor & La Fille Danse”, whose lyrics probably just proved a tad too risqué for his major label debut.
9. Modest Mouse – No One’s First and You’re Next
Modest Mouse’s unreleased material from their work on their two previous albums has no want for personality, much like the rest of their catalogue. What is nice about No One’s First and You’re Next is the rawness compared to their commercial-friendly breakthrough, Good News.
8. Radiohead – Airbag: How Am I Driving?
Our first of two Radiohead entries, because they make a lot of music, and not all of it makes the albums, and Thom Yorke has a lot of feelings. Airbag contains a few spillover tracks from OK Computer best album. ”Polyethylene Parts 1 and 2” certainly deserved to make the album to compete with “Paranoid Android” for most extravagant display of layers, guitars, and multiple songs wrapped into one.
7. The Clash – Super Black Market Clash
The Clash gave us a nice compilation of unreleased material by one of the greatest rock/punk bands of all time during the pinnacle of their career. Covering Toots and the Maytals was most bold at the time, and may be a precursor to dub and thus dub-step by merging reggae with punk.
6. Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche
Sufjan’s leavings from Illinois are not necessarily cohesive by any stretch of the word, which only leads the listener to realize the brilliance of leaving off this still exceptional material. My major qualm is that three more versions of “Chicago” are superfluous after the perfection of the version on Illinois.
5. Iron & Wine – Around the Well
Samuel Beam consistently releases solid material and Around the Well is no stray cat. Nuff’ said.
4. Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind EP
The excess material of Merriweather Post Pavilion was unsurprisingly as tight and well-rounded as anything Animal Collective has released, just on a smaller scale. I happen to like Animal Collective on just such a scale, and the masses would tend to agree with me.
3. Radiohead – Amnesiac
Thom Yorke may get all pissy when people label Amnesiac as a b-side off-shoot of Kid A, but there is no one I could care less about pissing off more than Thom Yorke. Anyway, Amnesiac manages to be like Kid A’s little brother: but more like Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen than Sly and Frank Stallone.
2. Tom Waits – Orphans (Brawlers, Bawlers, & Bastards)
While much of the material on Orphans turned out to be new, the thought behind making it was to release long-overdue material from Wait’s illustrious career. Enough of the material is old or re-recorded though to allow Orphans to merit a place on this list. LxL’s favorite nomad is just the man on a list of forgotten gems.
1. Elliott Smith – New Moon
The third installment of the Twilight Saga…oh wait…never mind. Elliott Smith’s posthumous double LP is something to behold. Even if the construction wasn’t imagined by Elliott himself, it was handsomely done. Like a huge dessert that is not too rich to plow through, New Moon takes the cake.
Todd: Dave Matthews Band – Busted Stuff
“Digging a Ditch” has gotten Todd through many a heartbreak, along with the rest of Busted Stuff. This may be a studio release, but not until The Lillywhite Sessions leaked faster than a Paris Hilton sex tape.
Wes: Andrew Bird – Useless Creatures
This disc was originally paired with Bird’s Noble Beast and features Bird at his inventive best on nine instrumental tracks. Suffice it to say, Wes is being a super hipster rod for picking this album, and I bet he hasn’t listened to it more than twice.
Austin: Pearl Jam – Lost Dogs
Aptly titled, this collection as a whole may not be superb, but I’ve got two words for you: “Yellow Ledbetter”. If Mike McCready can play that guitar lick behind his back live, I can make it one of my top ten favorite songs of all time.