Considering 2007's Zeitgeist, the hired guns replacing all the band's original members and lone warrior Billy Corgan's oft-embarrassing mouth, Smashing Pumpkins fans are long overdue for some good news. Here it is: The Chicago-born alt-rock group's first proper album in five years, Oceania, has been issued a June 19 release date. And judging by recent SP songs, the new LP could be the band's best since the '90s.
First, some necessary info: Oceania is intended to exist as a standalone project within the larger concept of the band's 44-song project Teargarden By Kaleidyscope, which has been released track-by-track online. "I reached a point where I saw that the one-song-at-a-time idea had maxed itself out," Corgan told Billboard.com last September. "I just saw that we weren't reaching the sort of casual person who still gets their information from traditional sources. So I thought, 'What do I need to do?' and then I thought, 'OK, I'll go back to making an album.'"
Good idea. And if Oceania sounds anything like the recent Teargarden tunes, then SP could be poised for a full-fledged return to the alt-rock throne. Psychedelic, atmospheric and heavy, the Teargarden songs hark back to SP's classic (and perhaps best) album, 1993's Siamese Dream, while the hyper-catchy guitar hooks and poppy songwriting recall Corgan's short-lived (but criminally underrated) band Zwan. In my opinion, that's essentially a collision of Corgan's best periods. Perhaps Corgan is getting sentimental about the recent reissue of Siamese Dream and Gish. Hey, it's possible.
Want proof of all this awesomeness? Done. Check out the best of SP's Teargarden tracks below. We got the guitar heroics of "A Song for a Son"; the psych flourishes and head-rocking beats of "Widow Wake My Mind"; and the slick-and-sliding fuzz-bomb riffs, "nah nah nah nah" sing-along and Corgan's dreamy vocals and snide delivery on my favorite of the bunch, "Freak." Damn, that last one's really, really good.