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Pisces Iscariot
Smashing Pumpkins
Pisces Iscariot
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

The Smashing Pumpkins are a big rock band, molded by leader Billy Corgan after stadium and progressive rock giants from the Seventies. As such it's only fitting that after only two albums they would release a collection of...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Smashing Pumpkins
Title: Pisces Iscariot
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 8
Label: Virgin Records Us
Original Release Date: 10/4/1994
Release Date: 10/4/1994
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, American Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 724383983421, 017046176712, 724383983452, 724384226527

The Smashing Pumpkins are a big rock band, molded by leader Billy Corgan after stadium and progressive rock giants from the Seventies. As such it's only fitting that after only two albums they would release a collection of B-sides. The result, Pisces Iscariot, is not only a good compendium to their other work, but it's a very good record in its own right. Most of the 14 tracks follow the Pumpkins' blueprint, traveling sonically from soft to loud and back again. Among the slew of originals previously available on singles and imports is a hauntingly beautiful cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." Surprisingly there's less fat here than on 1995's bloated Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. --Greg Emmanuel

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Member CD Reviews

Walter B. (AquariumWB) from BROOKLYN, NY
Reviewed on 3/10/2010...
One of the most impressive albums by the awesome awesome awesomest Smashing Pumpkins. This collection of B sides that didn't make it on the Siamese Dream album is fantastic. It would've sucked if they decided to trash or shelve the songs all together. Songs like Frail & Bedazzled, Hello Kitty Kat, Pissant, and Blue are superiorly crafted.

In my opinion, all Smashing Pumpkins albums beyond this one have not been able to capture what Pisces Iscariot or Siamese Dream excel in music-wise. If you like the Pumpkins and don't have this album -- GET IT and listen to the songs I listed. Soooo gooood!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Amy E. from AUSTIN, TX
Reviewed on 8/24/2006...
Different artwork.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

CD Reviews

A+ Sides
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 09/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Most bands with genuine rock creation going on end up with some B-sides, and the Smashing Pumpkins were no exception. While it has no internal cohesion, "Pisces Iscariot" is a solid album in its own right, with the mix of bombastic and balladic that the Pumpkins did so very, very well.

With a few exceptions like Broken Social Scene, B-side albums usually have a few enchanting songs, surrounded by half-formed songs that might be good when they grow up. "Pisces Iscariot".... is not one such album. Virtually all of these songs are worthy of being A-sides.

The Pumpkins were one of those rare bands that did both quiet and loud songs equally well. There are mellower, beautiful songs like "Soothe," the beautiful cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," or the rather wispy "Whir." On the other hand, there is the rock side: frenetic "Frail and Bedazzled," steady "Plume" and jagged "Pissant." Then there's the center jewel of the album, the steadily built-up "Starla," which starts soft and turns into pure sonic insanity.

The instrumentation has a raw quality -- it doesn't sound unpolished, but it does have a lot of unbridled power and enthusiasm. Billy Corgan was in good form during each recorded track, including the one from his apartment, be it fuzz-rock, distorted jams or his acoustic guitar, with James Iha quietly and exceptionally backing him up. And as the finishing touch, there's outstanding drumming by Jimmy Chamberlin.

Corgan's voice is a bit off in "Landslide," but otherwise his high vocals fit in as well as always. James Iha also gets to shine in "Blew Away." And the songwriting is a bit more simplistic ("You hear a lot of visions/you can't even stop/can't see what you're missing/spinning like a top") than the usual Corgan fare, but still quite pretty to listen to.

"Pisces Iscariot" is a rare beast among B-side albums -- the B-side album that is better than many regular rock releases. And whether you're a Pumpkins fan or a newbie, it's a solid listen."
Pumpkins' B-Sides?
Samhot | Star Land | 03/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Smashing Pumpkins' music that made the actual studio albums were, for the most part, nothing short of enigmatic, yet positively beautiful, otherworldly, mood-inducing and cathartic. The songs that didn't make the albums, however, are just as stunning and deserving of the attention from any Pumpkin fan. In fact, some of these songs could surpass some of the ones that actually made the albums; further evidencing the need to own the B-sides.

_Pisces Iscariot_ is a collection of B-sides and outtakes deriving mostly from the _Siamese Dream_ sessions, while a couple derive from the _Gish_ sessions, and one track is taken from the (now) hard-to-find _Lull_ EP.

A reviewer below makes a great observation: _Pisces Iscariot_ doesn't feature the overall grandiose, bombastic consistency of mood found on _Siamese Dream_ and subsequent Pumpkins studio albums. Instead, there's more of an intimate, lo-fi and subtly nostalgic mood that permeates these recordings. But, regardless, the trademark Pumpkins' mix of soft, dreamy ambience, and overdriven sonic extremeties are here aplenty.

Some of my favorites: "Soothe" is a track recorded in Billy Corgan's bedroom. An intimate, low-key acoustic track featuring autumnal chords, which provide as the backdrop for Billy's equally intimate, breathy mannerisms. "Frail and Bedazzled" is a retro-sounding rocker with a tint of psychedelic mannerisms. The swirling guitars, the precise, yet seductively-rhythmic drumming from Jimmy Chamberlain (this guy was mind-blowing on the kit), and D'Arcy's bottom-heavy basslines coalesce to create this indescribably beautiful number.

"Whir" is simply one of the most preciously beautiful things this band ever did, and they have done many, to say the least. The dreamy melody, punctuated by the strumming of the seemingly-unplugged strings, the willowy, subtle line overdubs, and Billy's breathy vocals are some of the few things that help to create this monumental beauty. The minor-key ending was a nice way to round off this one. "Blew Away" is a dreamy number by James Iha. The first part starts off slow, only to end on a heavier note.

The next two songs are the Pumpkins at their explosive best: "Pissant" is almost punk-like in it's rhythm and lyrics, yet you would rarely find overdriven guitars as thick and heavy as this in most punk songs. "Hello Kitty Kat" is almost ambient in it's heaviness; the heaviness and overdriven sonics are so extreme, that it nearly crosses over into house & techno. The wall-of-sound is massive here, and Billy's soft voice is beautifully drowned in the explosive mix. It creates a wonderful effect, and the noise only gets more intense as the song progresses. What's more astounding? The noise is actually melodic and almost trance-inducing.

After those last two sonic powerhouses, we are brought back into the band's softer side. "Obscured" is a beautifully-meandering, mood-inducing number, which actually ends on an eerie, fuzzed-out note. "Landslide" is the Pumpkins' cover of the famous Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac track. Billy and gang actually did a nifty job on this performance. Billy claims that this song is quite an inspiration on him, and that he highly identifies with it. "Starla" is an 11-minute powerhouse. Starts off smoothly and melodically, with a few psychedelic-like backdrops. Then, later, it concludes with a swirling, drawn-out instrumental jam that you could easily lose yourself in.

Not much else needs to be said. If you're a Pumpkins fan, you won't want to be without it. Of course, if you really are a Pumpkins fan, you already do have it. But, by the subtle chance that you fall into the former, you've got my recommendation, to say the least.