Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Smashing Pumpkins: New Music, Fall Tour

Keeping up with Billy Corgan can be a bit of an exercise is patience and tolerance. His work as a solo artist, producer, and front man for multiple bands can get rather perplexing as one tries to figure out where his heart lies. And yet, it seems that Billy always returns to his roots, and that his heart rests, eventually, with his first band, Smashing Pumpkins.

After a few conflated reboots, it's easy to simply dismiss the Pumpkins as simply a relic of the nineties, that never really had a moment in the sun after their classic Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness. To some extent, that's true. Despite Corgan's studio and guitar prowess, the band hasn't realized anything close to it's late 90's success. Moreover, Corgan's attempt to cross genre boundaries has often fallen short, and left even the most devout fans a tad disappointed.

Such was the climate in late 2009 when longtime drummer Jimmy Chamberlin left the band, and Corgan started new once again. Around HAD, we're something of Corgan devotees, so despite our inclination to roll our eyes, we had to stick around and give the new material a taste. And let it be said: we're damn glad we did.

Corgan's new material began to be released in 2010 under the moniker of Teargarden By Kaleidyscope. The release was intended to be a set of 4 EPs, released digitally via the Pumpkins' online store, and then further down the road as limited edition physical releases. This was all well and good, and seemed like a solid fan-centric strategy for the Pumpkins in the wake of a number of fallen-short efforts. Then something interesting happened: the records turned out to be really, really, good.

It's tough to express how enjoyable the first two Teargarden releases are, except to say this: they're as good some of the Pumpkins' best classic moments. Granted, if you're searching for Billy's early 90's pure-shredding style, this is probably less your style. But if you're into the studio experiments and theatrics of Mellon Collie, then you are in for a treat. Across the 8 tracks thus released from Teargarden, Corgan delves into synths, orchestras, straight-ahead rock, and acoustic pop. It is a record as versatile as Mellon Collie, but with a relaxed perspective only heard previously in Corgan's work with Zwan.

Apparently we weren't alone in our perspective on Teargarden: in April Corgan announced that the future EPs would be postponed, and the band would be releasing a new "record within a record" entitled Oceania, and touring in support. Suffice it to say, we're more than a little excited to see and hear where this goes. For once, it seems that Billy Corgan has truly hit his stride, and found somewhere that he feels comfortable making awesome rock and roll. For Smashing Pumpkins fans, that's a very good thing.

Oceania is tentatively targeted for late 2011 digital release.

Tickets for the band's fall tour go on sale this Friday at noon.

Smashing Pumpkins Fall 2011 Dates
Oct. 05 - Wiltern Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 07 - The Fox Theatre - Oakland, CA
Oct. 08 - Cosmopolitan - Las Vegas, NV
Oct. 10 - Ogdan Theatre - Denver, CO
Oct. 13 - Riverside Theatre - Milwaukee, WI
Oct. 14 – [to be announced] - Chicago, IL
Oct. 15 - The Fillmore - Detroit, MI
Oct. 17 – 9:30 Club - Washington, DC
Oct. 18 - Terminal 5 - New York, NY
Oct. 19 - Lupo's - Providence, RI
Oct. 21 - Orpheum Theatre - Boston, MA
Oct. 22 - Tower Theatre - Philadelphia PA