B-sides (and unreleased tracks)

I've been wondering...

Do any of you music listeners here actually listen to B-sides or unreleased tracks by your favorite artists? I know not all B-sides are that great but I often find gems in some of them. Like this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYZDoXL-y-0

That is Changing Places by the band Flaw, a B-side from the album Endangered Species not released on the actual album. I think it is pretty cool although other B-sides by the band aren't that great.

So with that said, is there anybody else that likes to listen to unreleased material by their favorite artists?

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I used to <3 B-sides more than the A-sides, because they felt rarer. Then I realized that the majority of them are bad. Now I just don't even care. I've got one giant B-side collection for NIN, Marilyn Manson, Deftones, even Paramore. Oh and Cold too. Never listen to any of it.

Some demos are pretty cool and some demos are so good that you wonder why they never made it to the full album, but usually that's a case of the writer is different.

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I guess it depends on whether the music/artists you listen to are gearing the release towards the singles market. For much current electronic music, for example - which is not so geared - small collections of tracks might be released, with the collection taking its name from the first track, just as happens with a single, but other than the fact that the title track is the title track, there's nothing that really distinguishes it, in terms of significance, from the other tracks, so the a/b side distinction carries less weight. One of my favourite autechre tracks is technically a b-side, but that's certainly not how I think of it.

With dance music - house/techno/dnb - where artists tend to releases pairs of tracks on a single 12" , people talk more in terms of a/b side, but obviously it has a certain literal significance in that context, and again, there's not such a sense of the b-side being some special extra - it would certainly be perverse to not listen to it, or to disregard it, just because it isn't the title track. Perhaps the converse attitude occurs more when you think of the artist's body work as existing primarily on albums, with b-sides as non-album tracks, and so as a sort of bonus content. But this way of carving things up is not well suited to a lot of released music.

As for unreleased or bootlegged stuff, in my experience that tends to be more of a curiosity than something I'll return to for repeat listens. Sometimes it's interesting, particularly if you're interested in tracking the development of a particular artist, but often it isn't, and in cases where 'unreleased' stuff is commercially released, I often find myself thinking that there was no need to release it. An example here woud be alternative takes of jazz tracks - very rarely are they superior to the released take.

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Genesis B-sides are often as good or better than album tracks - because the guys are consummate professionals and perfectly good songs often get dropped just because they didn't flow with the rest.



Of course, rarity ain't what it used to be, as they've pretty much re-released anything that features a Genesis member plunking around with a microphone in the general area.

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I usually enjoy B-sides and otherwise unreleased tracks, but I won't go out of my way to find them unless I just can't get enough of a certain band, like I did with Iron Maiden. I generally enjoy when these tracks finally get onto some compilation or reissue, as long as the reissue itself isn't screwed up by bad remastering.

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Obviously depends on the artist/band, but for my favourite band I prefer their B-sides to a lot of normal songs due to their more experimental nature: They aren't bad, rather they're more interesting and thus stand out.

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the Smiths famously made great b-sides. Oasis too if you like that sort of music. I used to collect b-sides of my favourite band as a teenager - Mansun. Not sure if they remain significant as sales of the physical single dwindle in favour of downloading individual tracks.

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purist said:

the Smiths famously made great b-sides.

Yeah the Smiths definitely were the ultimate in B-Sides. It's been so long since I heard some of them before though.

Unreleased music is indeed a curiosity thing, and sometimes it is worthwhile, sometimes it isn't. I don't really track the development of artists, only want to see if some non-album tracks are actually good, if not better than, album tracks. Of course, commercially re-released stuff that was previously unreleased (e.g. Smashing Pumpkins) tends to never be good IMO.

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There are some great b-sides and rarities out there, yeah. A couple of my favorites:

Radiohead - Lift - live bootleg from around the time of The Bends and OK Computer, no studio version was ever released

the pillows - Stalker Goes To Babylon - originally a b-side, used much later on FLCL's soundtrack

Guided By Voices - (I'll Name You) The Flame That Cries - b-side, probably the best song to get passed up for Mag Earwhig!

Hector Zazou and Björk - Visur Vatnsenda-Rosu - technically not a b-side, but it's a comparatively unknown release

Moody Blues - The Dreamer - Ray Thomas track recorded for one of their late 60s/early 70s albums that went unreleased until a few years ago

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I happen to have a special edition of Machine Head's phenomenal sixth studio album The Blackening which contains an entire CD full of B-sides and unreleased tracks, but I rarely, if ever, listen to them.

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I've only ever listened to two B-Sides on the albums Play and 18 by Moby. I think this was due in part because in middle/high school those were the only albums I came across with B-Sides and never thought about other albums potentially having them. REgardless, both of these albums (especially Play) had some great songs on their B-Sides which I still listen to today. I would happily recommend anyone to listen to the Play B-Sides.

I have yet to listen to another ablum's(or even artist's) B-Side, but this thread looks to be a good starting point.

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A lot of artists have the A side be a track from the album whereas the B side is something that can't be found elsewhere. That gives them some novelty value IMO. It's particularly rewarding if if the artist concerned puts quality B sides out.

Of course, I remember when the only real option was a vinyl record where the B side actually was on the second side of the disc and not just another track on the CD or in the MP3 release. :P

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The entirety of Foetus' album "Damp" was a collection of previously unreleased or hard to find material, spanning perhaps 10 years. The tracks are all fantastic and the album blends together well despite its concept.

Foetus - I Hate You All

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I listen to B-sides sometimes, but the only memorable one to me is !aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT. Creepy, to say the least.

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geo said:

I used to <3 B-sides more than the A-sides, because they felt rarer.[


Having a bias one way or the other seems to be human nature. I don't have much to say on the thread subject, but I've noticed that I tend to lose interest in any writing once it's published somewhere. The last major works of fiction I've read all the way through are free and online.

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