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Ben’s Vinyl Jams #6: B-Sides

For this edition of vinyl jams, I’m flipping it over to the B-Side. Here are two of my favorite releases that have especially great B-Sides:

Matt Pond PA - Starting EP

First, I’ve got Matt Pond PA’s Starting 7″. This is the first release in a series of EPs put out as accompaniment to the 2009 full-length The Dark Leaves. Matt Pond PA is a band whose name I’d always heard tossed around as the favorite band of girls whose music taste I couldn’t trust at all, so I shied away from ever giving them a fair listen up until I saw they were playing at the Milestone Club in Charlotte, NC during my time at Winthrop University. Having little else to do, I made the trek to the Milestone to see them play to a crowd that totalled about twelve due to some seriously poor promotion of somebody’s part. That show turned out to be one of the greatest I have ever witnessed during my lifetime. It was so good that I’m completely comfortable saying that if there was only one indie show I ever went to for the rest of my life, it would be to see them. At the time they were touring in support of 2007’s Last Light, which was definitely on my top ten for that year, so when I saw them announce The Dark Leaves as the follow-up to that record, I was more than a little excited. Starting was the first track I heard from the album, and it’s a great single, and classic MPPA: wonderfully layered, orchestral, and full of soft hooks. On the other side, it actually has two B-Sides. The first of which is the instrumental (save a few oohs, ahhs, and whispers), The Colour Out Of Space. It’s a soothing track that makes you feel warm all over. Its second B-Side, Stopping, is the perfect complement to the single on the A-Side. It glides gently through it’s catchy pop melody, layered with ear candy and a healthy dose of longing. Also, I’m always a sucker for a good string arrangement, and I can’t think of anyone who does that better than these guys. I really can’t wait to see them again. Luckily, I won’t have to wait long, as they’re playing The White Mule in Columbia on October 9th [Tickets Here].
Matt Pond PA – Stopping

Modest Mouse - King Rat

Next up, I’ve got Modest Mouse’s King Rat. This song was actually pressed as the B-Side to two 7″ singles Modest Mouse released in 2007: the Dashboard 7″, released in January as the first single off of We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, and the King Rat 7″, included with pre-orders of the album. Though the song is the title track to the King Rat 7″, it is actually pressed on the B-Side with the single Fire It Up pressed on the A-Side. The song was also feature on their rarities compilation No One’s First And You’re Next, as well as used for other assorted promos. Now, I’ll admit, I was very late to the party with Modest Mouse. I didn’t get into them until they started releasing the series of limited 7″‘s leading up to the release of No One’s First… This track and Satellite Skin were the first two songs of theirs I really got into, but once I heard them, I couldn’t stop spinning them, King Rat especially. I really love the instrumentation on the track, especially the horns when the songs starts reeling after the “Deep Water” breakdown. In tracking down media for the post, I actually learned that Heath Ledger wrote a music video treatment for the song shortly before his death, which was then brought to life by the art collective known as The Masses, and is a commentary on the issue of whale poaching. Heath Ledger was posthumously credited as director for the video.
Modest Mouse – King Rat

Check in next Wednesday for the next edition of Vinyl Jams. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter: @benjaminkerley.

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