1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year

Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and 35 other bands who made the word "alternative" lose all meaning

29

Smashing Pumpkins, 'Pisces Iscariot'

Smashing Pumpkins Pisces Iscariot
Courtesy of Virgin Records

In the days before file sharing, odds 'n' sods comps were the ultimate in fan service. Between their numerous B-sides, EPs, and compilation cuts, Smashing Pumpkins had enough material to release a rarities collection a mere two albums into their career, and, as Rolling Stone declared upon its release, "It's better than a lot of albums that bands labored hard to put together." This pile of songs cohered because of Billy Corgan's musical vision being squarely at its center, though there are a few clear standouts. "Starla" is an 11-minute opus of guitar pyrotechnics, and "La Dolly Vita," which originally appeared on the Pumpkins' contribution to the Sub Pop Singles Club (which the band recorded the day they met Butch Vig) begins placidly then opens up into a pummeling coda. Maura Johnston

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