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Pisces Iscariot

4.6 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 4, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1994 compilation from the Alt-Rock quartet consisting of B-sides and outtakes from the prolific mind of Billy Corgan.

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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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Digital Booklet: Pisces Iscariot
Digital Booklet: Pisces Iscariot
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 4, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin Records Us
  • ASIN: B000000W6R
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,611 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As a longtime fan of The Smashing Pumpkins, I was looking forward to this reissue nearly as much as I did the 'Siamese Dream' reissue, as 'Pisces Iscariot' has always held a special place in my heart. While not the flawless masterpiece that 'Siamese Dream' is, it really showcased the band's wide range of styles, much more so than their two studio albums, and with more of a raw, "live" sound overall. It could be argued that these outtakes and B-Sides are better than most of their alt-rock peers' grade-A material. I couldn't wait to hear these songs with cleaned-up sound, not to mention all the bonus material--the outtakes of the outtakes, if you will.

Within seconds of popping in the remastered first disc and playing "Plume," I thought maybe I had grabbed the bonus disc by mistake, as the vocals are entirely different from the original, sung in a lower register by Billy, with slightly different lyrics in spots. Nowhere in the liner notes does it mention the use of a different vocal take, so I'm wondering if this was accidental. Or did Billy not care for the original take, so he swapped it with another? Either way, I think this version should have been saved for the bonus disc, instead of going all George Lucas and altering things that were fine to begin with, but I didn't let this kill my buzz. However, during the next song I listened to, "Frail and Bedazzled," something didn't sound right to me again, but I couldn't quite figure it out, even after listening to the original version to compare. Eventually I decided to play both at the same time on separate players, and within 15 seconds they were out of sync with each other. The new one, while the same as far as the vocal and instrumental tracks, is actually slower, hence lower in pitch.
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot (1994)

This collection of non-album tracks is quite diverse as it explores both the most quiet and the hardest-rocking extremes this band was capable of. Too bad it skipped some fantastic non-album material like "Glynis," but record companies tend to keep some gems in the "harder-to-find" category so fanatic collectors can feel special (and mastermind/uber-ego Billy Corgan obviously had something to do with it). I'm a fan, but since I don't have any particular inside info about the band to impart (except that I just read today that Billy is trying to get the band together again), I'll just relay my impressions of PISCES ISCARIOT -------->

"Soothe" - a gorgeous performance on vocal and acoustic guitar by head Pumpkin Billy Corgan recorded at home. *****

"Frail and Bedazzled" - supercharged balls-to-the-wall rockin' out. *****

"Plume" -one of my very favorite SP tunes, this one really captures a certain "don't give a f@#%" feeling that I myself am prone to fairly often. Corgan's piercing guitar really soars on this one when he solos and he makes excellent, trippy use of some kind of foot peddle or thingamajig (a tech wizard I am not). *****+

"Whir" - an easy-going tune, nice and melodic, although I'm not crazy about the way it ends (with a rather ineffective guitar riff that sounds a little too melodramatic for my tastes). ***1/2

"Blew Away" - another mellow cut with James Iha on vocals. Apparently Corgan left Iha to his own devices on this one and it turned out really nice. ****

"Pissant" - The thrashiest track on PISCES, and a real shot of adrenaline. Frantic drumming from Jimmy Chamberlin. ****1/2

"Hello Kitty Kat" - steady, super-heavy rocker.
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