Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #1

First, a recap ...

4. Giving

... and now, #1!


On October 17th, in a tiny little town on the Mississippi River called Moline, Pearl Jam opened a concert with Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town, and then proceeded to blow the mind of every Pearl Jam fan around the world.  For the third time ever, Pearl Jam played a full album in concert.  Previously playing Ten (Munich 1992) and Pearl Jam (Torino 2006), the band broke out No Code from start to finish.  Ed even dropped a new improv song called Moline.  An album AND a new song!

Fans immediately hunkered down to wait another decade for another album in concert, but then, three days later in Milwaukee, a little later in the concert this time, Pearl Jam pulled out Brain of J, and didn't stop until the end of All Those Yesterdays, playing Yield in full, in order, front-to-back.

As if, one album played in full in concert wouldn't have been enough to top our Top Ten list, fans were treated to two albums this year.  If you missed them, both shows are available on bootlegs from Pearl Jam.

Will this be repeated in 2015?  Where is Vs.?  Vitalogy?  Oh man, the anticipation is almost better than the show!

See you next year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #2


In early 2005, word leaked from Studio X that Pearl Jam had some songs almost ready for their forthcoming (at the time, unnamed) eponymous album: 2X4, Of The Earth, Cold Confession, World Wide Suicide, Marker, Armor, Crapshoot Rapture, Let It Ride, and The Bigger The Wave.  Most of those songs, recorded the previous December, ended up on the album with edited titles, Of The Earth has popped up in concert,  and two more (Cold Confession & Let It Ride) leaked in demo form last year.

Just as we had given up hope on 2X4, an internet user, Anonymouse, leaked a huge collection of eleven demos from Pearl Jam.  Most of the songs from that December session and more from a March 2005 session were part of the package.

  • 2X4
  • The Only Cloud in the Sky
  • Life Wasted
  • Severed Hand
  • The Bigger the Wave
  • Open Door
  • Rearranged Furniture
  • Rearranged Priorities
  • 10 Billion Years
  • Lucky 13
  • Breeze in D
Some were early vocal rough cuts.  Some were instrumental.  All changed the idea of what kind of album Pearl Jam could have been.  It took only hours for the on-line community to start cutting the songs into the tracklist of the original album to recreate the feel, the flow, the magic of the original album.

With no major musical release from Pearl Jam in 2014, this signified the only real influx of new music, and it could be argued that it was even more exciting than the hard studied, studio-polished music that comes via the official pipeline.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #3


Every year since 2011 (aka PJ20), Pearl Jam has made a rare, unreleased show available via their bootleg program.  Even though there is often some grumbling about a missing song or two, the choice in shows has been more or less impeccable.  

Last year, Pearl Jam stepped up the game by making a limited run of vinyl copies available to Fan Club members, and this year they did that as well.

The show this year was one of two early, pre-tour shows that Pearl Jam played in the Pacific Northwest, prior to heading across the pond for their European Tour.  It was the live debut for eight of the songs off of Binaural and was a show that may not have been improved upon in the subsequent tour.

Long time fans and new agree that this bootleg was a great choice and worth your time and money to pick up from the Ten Club.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #4


Some ridiculous amount of 2014 YouTube traffic was dedicated to something called the ALS Bucket Challenge.  The rules, as best we can remember, were thus: Donate $100 to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (that's ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease), then challenge three friends to do the same.  They can either donate, or dump a bucket of ice water over their heads.  Then they challenge three friends.

Each member of Pearl Jam participated in solidarity with their friend, Steve Gleason.  We presume that they all donated money AND took the ice water, so hooray for their dedication ... which, by the way spawned many other donations and buckets from fans.

Over all, Pearl Jam fans were part of a movement that raised over $115 million in donations for ALS research.

Then in September, Eddie Vedder and his wife, Jill, became founding board members of the Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Partnership, the largest non-profit organization dedicated solely to funding research to cure Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB),a group of devastating life-threatening genetic skin disorders impacting children that is characterized by skin blisters and erosions all over the body. 

This fundraising video featuring Eddie got a lot of press for the new organization.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #5


There were no major musical releases from Pearl Jam in 2014, but the band kept excitement high with several surprise items that popped up (and disappeared quickly).  Three singles and an EP by band members made their way into the Ten Club's warehouse (Free Ride by Brandi Carlile, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard and Barrett Martin; Knife Fight/Caught In A Mess by Stone Gossard and Mason Jennings, Music From Film EP by Mike McCready; and Hold Your Head Up/Holy Roller by Mother Love Bone), but each was gone in less than an hour.  If you wanted some rare vinyl this year, you had to be fast.  To date, only Music From Film is even commercially available in any other format as none were even released as a digital download.

What is a fan with a day job supposed to do?

Fear not, collectors!  This past spring, the Ten Club did some major house cleaning and created Mystery Boxes.  A steal for around $70, fans were promised two posters, two clothing items, a bootleg, and various other goodies.  What arrived were old newsletters, test pressings of Fan Club Singles, rare cassettes, backstage passes, and out-of-print vinyl/CDs.  Most sizes were available for more than an hour, and fans raked in some fantastic goodies.  Check out some sample shots from fans below.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #6


Definitely the latest moment in our countdown ... earlier this month, we found out that Lightning Bolt was nominated for a Grammy.  Although we all feel it was deserving of a Best Album grammy, this particular nomination was for Best Recording Package.

The package, featuring art by Don Pendleton, who we originally met when he provided artwork for Jeff Ament's solo album, While My Heart Beats, was part of our Top Ten Moments last year because of the original way Pearl Jam rolled out the artwork, revealing single pieces of art in a drawn out, dramatic way.

If the album wins, the Grammy would be shared with art directors Jeff Ament, Joe Spix & Eddie Vedder (who provides art direction under the pseudonym, Jerome Turner).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #7


While Pearl Jam played Milton Keynes in July, aggressions between Israel and Palestine were heating up and the area was struggling to reach a cease fire.  Never one to shy away from a political viewpoint, Ed used his bully pulpit to weigh in.
“I swear to f---ing god, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill,” the famed American rocker said. “They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them. They should get the f---out, and mind their own f---ing business.”

“We don’t want to give them our money. We don’t want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children.”
Fans in Israel, who up until then had been very vocal in their wishes for a Pearl Jam concert struck out.  Eventually, his comments gained enough attention that Ed felt the need to address his fans further.
I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.

“I hope someday you’ll join us,…”
To further extend the olive branch, Ed eventually made his cover of John Lennon's Imagine available via iTunes will the proceeds benefitting Heartbeat.fman organization "that creates opportunities and spaces for young Israeli and Palenstinian musicians to work together, hear each other, and amplify their voices to influence the world around them."

Happy Birthday, Eddie Vedder

Monday, December 22, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #8


Pearl Jam fans rejoiced and Soundgarden fans cried when, in November 2013, Matt Cameron announced that Pearl Jam's touring schedule would not allow him to play drums for Soundgarden, so he was taking the year off from that band to focus on Pearl Jam's world tour.

The impact of this announcement became even more dire when Soundgarden announced their intent to reissue Superunknown in a massive, super deluxe package.

Enter Matt.  Matt Chamberlain.  Known to Pearl Jam fans for his two months of drumming for the band, Matt was a great choice to step in for Cameron. 

Although Matt Cameron made several appearances with Soundgarden in 2014 and spent time working on the b-sides release, Echo of Miles, it was Chamberlain that carried the band through their tour.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #9


You can count on one hand the number of Pearl Jam originals that haven't been played live, and now that task has gotten a little bit easier.  On June 29th, Pearl Jam debut the much-begged-for fan favorite, Strangest Tribe in Oslo, Norway.

Possibly, even more strange is how many fans can be heard singing along to this 1999 Fan Club Single / Lost Dogs release.  What is in evidence is the dedication of Pearl Jam fans everywhere in the world.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2014, #10

Each December, TheSkyIScrape looks back over the passing year to remember all the great Pearl Jam-related news stories and prepare for what is to come in the new year (check out previous years here).  And so we begin, our first of ten installments to close out 2014 ...


Whenever a Pearl Jam fan attends a show, it's tough to think of any other shows measuring up to the one you just attended, but in this case, we think the last Pearl Jam show was pretty amazing.  Besides two nights worth of great, sit-down classics by the band, Pearl Jam was joined on stage by Chris Cornell both nights for a Temple of the Dog reunion (a near yearly occurrence at this point) on Hunger Strike.  

This was made even better when Neil Young joined "The Band" on stage immediately following to cover Throw Your Hatred Down from Mirrorball.

Bridge School has never disappointed, but it was the great reunions that made this year special.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Seattle Symphony to Host Mad Season Reunion

Mike McCready will be performing one of his original works with the Seattle Symphony next month.  They Symphony will also be hosting a reunion of Mad Season with Chris Cornell stepping in for Layne Stayley.
Joining Ludovic Morlot, the Symphony, and members of Vocalpoint! Seattle on stage, McCready will perform during the piece. Ludovic commented during a recent score reading with McCready: “With this collaboration we are both coming out of our normal comfort zones. This is an incredible opportunity to learn from one another and give ourselves a chance to grow as artists.”

Mike McCready will also perform with supergroup Mad Season, including original drummer Barrett Martin. The star studded line up will also include iconic Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan. Ludovic Morlot will lead guest musicians and the Seattle Symphony in a debut performance of orchestral and solo arrangements of original Mad Season works.
Tickets ($50) are available at, by calling the Seattle Symphony Ticket Office at (206) 215-4747, or by visiting the Ticket Office in Benaroya Hall.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Goodies on the Way!

Make sure your address is up to date.  The Ten Club has announced that your Fan Club Single and Deep Magazine will be shipping early in the new year!

New Tour Dates from Soundgarden

Soundgarden have added two dates (February 24th and 26th) to their 2015 Australian Tour.  No official word on who the drummer will be, but being as Pearl Jam has no plans for 2015, Matt Cameron will most likely be behind the kit.

Soundgarden's tour dates are below.  Ticket information is available at

February 21/22 - Soundwave Festival in Melbourne
February 24 - Festival Hall in Melbourne
February 26 - Luna Park Bigtop in Sydney
February 28/March 1 - Soundwave Festival in Sydney
March 3 - Westfest Festival in Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, December 5, 2014

Vedder Self-Centered?

In a recent interview with The Independent, Billy Corgan, who has recently built a kind of resurgence for his music on top of insulting other 90's bands and tooting his own horn, voiced displeasure with how self-centered Eddie Vedder is.
Corgan, whose on-off (now very off) relationship with Courtney Love preceded Kurt Cobain’s, was there for all grunge’s grubby glory years, which Cobain’s 1994 suicide ended. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder once told me he felt survivor’s guilt afterwards.

“That would be Eddie Vedder,” Corgan snorts. “Somehow he makes it about him even when it’s about somebody else! I had a much more personal perspective, because I’d been in contact with Courtney through a lot of the setting up of that period, and afterwards.
Most of us would argue that Ed is concerned with a lot of things that are not him. Let's offer up his recent work with EB suffers as a recent example.  If you agree with Corgan or not, maybe a donation will put the focus on someone who needs it more than Mr. Corgan or Mr. Vedder.

Lightning Bolt Nominated for a Grammy!

Lightning Bolt will be in competition with The Muddy Basin Ramblers' Formosa Medicine Show, the Pixies' Indie Cindy, FKA Twigs' LP1, and Passenger's Whispers for the category of Best Recording Package at this year's Grammy's airing February 8th.

OK, that headline was click bait, but nonetheless ... congratulations to art directors, Jeff Ament, Don Pendleton, Joe Spix & Jerome Turner (aka Ed)!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hockey Talkter Records

Today, Mike McCready announced a new record label, Hockey Talkter, though which he'll
release digital & vinyl singles
and he promises you can
be first in line for limited edition vinyl releases
by following the Facebook page.

The first item available through the label is the single, One Wish, by Danny Newcomb (of Shadow) and The Sugarmakers.  More great things to come?  We hope!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

McCready Featured on Horrible Bosses 2 Soundtrack

Mike McCready who helped to score the original Horrible Bosses movie, has joined Christopher Lennertz with his friend, Stefan Lessard, from the Dave Matthew's Band to score the sequel as well, even recording much of it while on tour.

Lennertz had this to say in an interview with We Are Movie Geeks:

“The goal for the score for Horrible Bosses 2 was to be as rock-n’-roll as we could be. We wanted to make sure it sounded authentic so we approached it like a record as opposed to a typical scoring session. I had Pearl Jam’s Michael McCready and Dave Matthews Band’s Stefan Lessard recording while they were on tour to give us an authentic vibe that was appropriate for the movie,”

Monday, November 10, 2014

Activism Through the Vitalogy Foundation

Pearl Jam Ten Club members received their monthly newsletter today, and although there is some new merch out there, the main focus was on activism done by the band through their non-profit foundation, Vitalogy Foundation.  There are updates on the projects that band members support, and a new app for your browser donates a portion of your on-line purchase to the Vitalogy Foundation automatically and with no additional cost to you.  You can check it out in the video below.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Music For Film - The Details

The Uncool has finally release details on the upcoming release of Music For Film by Mike McCready, and it's gonna be cool!
Vinyl Films Records is pleased to announce the release of Mike McCready’s Music for Film 10″ vinyl. Side A features Mike’s songs from Pearl Jam Twenty and Side B includes his We Bought a Zoo compositions. Music for Film will be released on November 25th on black vinyl at an Indie Record Store near you and on lavender colored vinyl on December 10th at — check out the Vinyl Films Records page for all the details and track listing.
Here's the stats on the limited release.
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Catalog #: VFR-2012-5
Number of Copies:

400 (Black)
400 (Lavender)
500 (Clear)(Future Boxset)
What's the "Future Boxset?" We want to know as much as you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Is Pearl Jam Ready To Take It To 11?

A year out from the release of Lightning Bolt, it is now, apparently, time to discuss Pearl Jam's eleventh studio album.  Rolling Stone recently interviewed Jeff, and though the discussion wasn't solely about the next album, they did pop the question.
I think everybody's got some stuff stowed away. All the stuff I've written recently is gonna go into the RNDM box with Joe Arthur. It's pretty easy for me at this point because we don't have kids, so when I'm home I'm tinkering in the studio all the time.
He also hit on his favorite venues (Joe Louis Arena, the Forum, Madison Square Garden, and Red Rocks), Pearl Jam's longevity (they're "winging it"), and Jeff's Montana Skatepark Association (offer your support here).

Check out the full article here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Soundgarden: Echo of Miles

So, the other Soundgarden shoe has dropped.  If you listened to Storm yesterday, you'll be happy to know that you can now pre-order that song on iTunes as part of collection of b-sides coming out November 24th, called Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path.  Fans have been begging for this since before the break-up, and now here it is.


Disc 1
1. Sub Pop Rock City
2. Toy Box
3. Heretic
4. Fresh Deadly Roses
5. H.I.V. Baby
6. Cold Bitch
7. Show Me
8. She’s A Politician
9. Birth Ritual
10. She Likes Surprises
11. Kyle Petty, Son of Richard
12. Exit Stonehenge
13. Blind Dogs
14. Bleed Together
15. Black Rain
16. Live To Rise
17. Kristi
18. Storm
Disc 2
1. Swallow My Pride
2. Smokestack Lightnin’
3. Everybody’s Got Something
4. Thank You
5. Come Together
6. Stray Cat Blues
7. Into The Void
8. Girl U Want
9. Touch Me (Friday Rock Show)
10. Can You See Me? (Friday Rock Show)
11. Homicidal Suicidal (Friday Rock Show)
12. I Can’t Give You Anything (Friday Rock Show)
13. I Don’t Care About You (Friday Rock Show)
14. Waiting For The Sun (Live)
15. Search And Destroy (Live)
16. Big Bottom (Live)
17. Earache My Eye (Live)
Disc 3
1. Twin Tower
2. Jerry Garcia’s Finger
3. Ghostmotorfinger
4. Night Surf
5. A Splice Of Space Jam
6. The Telephantasm
7. Black Days III
8. Karaoke
9. Fopp (Fucked Up Remix)
10. Big Dumb Sex (Dubbed)
11. Spoonman (Steve Fisk Remix)
12. Rhinosaur (The Straw That Broke The Rhino’s Back)
13. Dusty (Moby Remix)
14. The Telephantasm (Resurrection Remix)
15. One Minute Of Silence

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mike McCready: Music For Film

Mike McCready has been talking up a solo album for a couple of decades now.  It appears as though the closest thing will be on its way soon.

Amazon is currently taking pre-orders on a vinyl-only compilation of music written and performed by Mike McCready from the films Pearl Jam Twenty and We Bought a Zoo called Music For Film.  The album is produced by Cameron Crowe's music label, Vinyl Film Records.

1. Be Like Water
2. Be Like Wind
3. Corner Store
4. Last Medicine Dance
5. Ashley Collective
6. Throwing Arrows

No word on whether to expect this on CD or digital release, but keep your eyes out.  Without an official announcement from Pearl Jam or Crowe, there could be news on the horizon.

Ed to Play Shepherds Bush with The Who

The Who announced today, via Facebook, that Ed would be joining them on November 11th in London to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.
Tickets for An Evening Of Who Music In Aid Of Teenage Cancer Trust are on sale from 9am Friday 31st October from:

Rare Reunions Rule at Bridge School

Over two nights at the Bridge School Benefit, Pearl Jam shared the stage with some old friends and reformed two awesome supergroups.  Both nights, Chris Cornell sat in to create Temple of the Dog and the band played Hunger Strike both nights.

And on the second night, Neil Young took the stage with his old backing band from Mirror Ball to perform Throw Your Hatred Down from that album.

Soundgarden Release New Song: Storm

The press release is not very wordy, and there is no mention of whether Cameron played on this track, but since Pearl Jam was not on tour at the time of the recording, we can only assume it's him.
Listen to Soundgarden’s “Storm,” recorded in May this year with producer Jack Endino in Seattle. Stream it here:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ed to Play Epidermolysis Bullosa Benefit in Seattle, October 30th

Today, Pearl Jam announced that:
Eddie Vedder is holding a private and intimate solo show in Seattle on October 30 to raise money to cure EB Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). All proceeds from the contest will benefit the EB Research Partnership. Learn more at
Only two tickets are being made available to the public.  You can win those tickets plus airfare and y accommodations by donating $10 here.
Each entry is $10 and you can donate as many times as you’d like to increase your chances to win. ($10 one chance, $20 two chances, $50 five chances, etc.)

This contest is open through Monday, October 27th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be chosen and contacted Tuesday, October 28th.

All proceeds from these tickets and the contest benefit the EB Research Partnership whose mission is to find a cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Pearl Jam!

" [...] half of Mother Love Bone, the guitarist from Shadow, a local drummer, and some random singer from San Diego convened on a stage for the very first time. They’d only known each other for days, and had been holed up together making up song after song. Now it was time to audition this singer – this “Eddie” guy – live. So at the last minute, they got themselves onto a bill at the Off Ramp. Someone had the foresight to videotape, and fans have been watching this show for well over a decade."

October 22: Pearl Jam in Denver

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mason Jennings and Stone 7-Inch Single Sells Out in One Hour

Stone has collaborated with American pop-folk singer-songwriter, Mason Jennings, on a 7" single.  It includes two songs, Knife Fight and Caught In A Mess.  Autographed vinyl went up for sale at the Ten Club about an hour ago, but the limited run has already sold out.  Check back for more updates, but there are no promises.

Pearl Jam Drops Yield in Milwaukee

Well, there aren't enough shows to finish off the discography, but it looks like Pearl Jam has done it again.  Last night, for the fourth time only, they played a full album in order during their show in Milwaukee.  This time, we enjoyed Yield.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hold Your Head Up Single For Record Store Day

There will be one "Pearl Jam" release for November's Record Store Day (November 28th).  The surviving members of Mother Love Bone have put together a 7" single of Hold Your Head Up and an unreleased song, Holy Roller.  Here's the information from the Record Store Day website:
Limited edition single includes a never-before-released studio recording cover of Argent's "Hold Your Head Up" and an unreleased version of "Holy Roller" from the recording sessions during the making of Apple.

October 20: Pearl Jam in Milwaukee

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pearl Jam Rough Cuts: A Review

It looks like Christmas came early this year. A series of 11 very rough cuts from the S/T sessions has come to the surface. It contains very early versions of Life Wasted, Severed Hand, and Big Wave, two more songs with vocals - Open Road and 10 Billion Years (stone) - and 6 additional instrumentals. An impressive amount of material, though only 10 Billion Years is at the level of completion we got with Cold Confession and Let it Ride.

Still, even with the rough state of these songs this is a revelation that sheds a whole new light on the S/T sessions. The closest parallel we have was the way Lost Dogs expanded Binaural’s universe. But those new songs felt like they belonged on Binaural. While throwing on Sad or Fatal or Education might have enhanced the album, it didn’t fundamentally alter it. You could mix and match the songs to make the album your own, but it’s still Binaural.

This is something different. These songs, for the most part, don’t really belong on S/T—not the finished version of it, anyway. They’re looser and sloppier, more open, organic, playful—and on occasion thoughtlessly beautiful. Granted what we have are songs in their early stages, but they are less intense and focused. They document the experience of guys playing in a room together for the love of making music, rather than people coming together to make a statement. And these songs can’t help but make you wonder what else S/T could have been if the band didn’t feel that Riot Act required its musical negation, or what Pearl Jam would be if they didn’t feel the need to always sound like ‘Pearl Jam’. If nothing else, these songs bridge the gap between the record and a song like Cold Confession, whose presence in the S/T sessions now makes sense.

What it means when Pearl Jam says they write songs for their live show also becomes apparent with this leak. These songs are long, meandering, and easy to get lost in. They could have made for an excellent album, but probably would be out of place with the revival atmosphere and dynamic pacing of the shows that defines the Riot Act -> live experience.

Okay, so let’s take a look at what we have:

2X4 (instrumental) (4:24) 
Pretty cool song—has some of the jagged elements of Tremor Christ refracted through a punk sensibility that circles around itself in a lighthearted way that feels sharp without ever actually cutting.

THE ONLY CLOUD IN THE SKY (instrumental) (4:49)
I’m pretty sure there are parts of this song used in the Immagine in Cornice DVD. One of those songs that starts pointing towards Cold Confession. Pretty without being showy, and thoughtful without being overly pensive, like a radiohead song minus the claustrophobic alienation. A mature song, in a good way. It seems to be grasping for something while being self-aware enough to question whether or not it deserves to have it—though in the end it decides that it does.

LIFE WASTED (vocal rough mix) (4:13)
Very rough vocal mix. The melody is there but the lyrics are incomplete (or different). Slightly less abrasive than the studio version, which will be a plus for many people, but it still has the same gritty attitude. And we get the whole outro solo (though sections are absent during the final chorus) without the second most irritating fade out in the entire pearl jam catalog (Lightning Bolt has it beat). Life Wasted has always been one of my very favorite Pearl Jam songs, so it’s a bit of a treat to watch it develop.

SEVERED HAND (vocal rough mix) (4:12)
Like Life Wasted this is still in its pretty early stages. Part of my issue with the final studio version is that it didn’t sound as huge as it wanted to be. The home recording feel of these demos steers this away from anthem and closer towards garage rock, which probably does the song some favors. In particular it gives the final solo a bit more life. I always thought it disappointed a bit on the record, especially when you had the monstrous Life Wasted Solo occurring just a few songs prior

THE BIGGER THE WAVE (vocal rough mix) (3:01)
This is Big Wave before it was about crustaceans. This may have been my favorite discovery. It’s rougher, but somehow groovier, than the studio version. It also feels more natural, has a better bridge, and rocks harder by trying less hard. Big Wave was always a pleasant enough but ultimately forgettable track. But The Bigger the Wave is actually pretty strong.

OPEN DOOR (Vocal rough mix) (6:24)
This sounds exactly like one of those meandering improvs from the late 90s/early 2000s period that people used to go nuts for. There’s a compelling, plaintive edge to Eddie’s vocals that call to mind Cold Confession. The song starts out slow and overly familiar, but the fact that it is in no rush to make its point or take the listener somewhere means that you get the time and space to get pulled in, and by halfway through the song I’m committed. The ‘bridge’—which basically feels like a less clean version of what we’ve been hearing—drags a bit but I’m immediately sucked back in when Eddie starts up again. This is a lovely performance by him. Odd ending though—it sounds a bit too much like the start of Education.

REARRANGED FURNITURE (instrumental) (4:04)
Has the muscular feel of Let It Ride but without being so deathly serious. These ‘lighter’ songs definitely benefit from the scruffier production.

REARRANGED PRIORITIES (instrumental) (4:19)
I like this one a lot. Flows nicely from Rearranged Furniture, further softened with an acoustic guitar, and even more playful. If the Fixer was less earnest it might have ended up sounding a bit more like this. It’s really a shame this never turned into a song (or one we’ve heard, anyway). There’s a palpable ‘joy of playing music with my friends’ feel to this song that rarely makes it onto the albums but is all over the live experience.

10 BILLION YEARS (vocal rough mix) (6:00)
Stone’s on vocals here, and he sounds really good. This is a very pretty song, in the same slightly country vein of a song like Off He Goes or Thin Air (I may like this one more than those two, actually, though they were never favorites of mine). Simple repetitive lyrics that end up becoming fairly poignant by the end. This was a gem.

LUCKY 13 (Litho demo) (4:29)
I presume this is a Matt song. It sounds a bit like a Wellwater Conspiracy number.

BREEZE IN D (instrumental) (5:10)
A friendly barroom handshake of a song.

Overall this was an awesome little surprise. I really like the Big Wave demo. 10 Billion Years is Beautiful. 2x4 and Rearranged Priorities are very solid instrumentals. The Only Cloud In the Sky could have been a great song if they wanted it to be. There’s a different band on display here then we’ve gotten on the last three albums. And while Backspacer and Lightning Bolt are two of my favorite Pearl Jam albums, I definitely wouldn’t mind hearing them spend some time exploring this side of the music.

October 19: Pearl Jam in St. Paul