Porcelain Boys, waaaay better late than never. Their If You Were Real and Relive 7"s from 1989 and 1990 respectively, became two of the most coveted records in my collection by the mid-90s, and remain so to this day. Ditto goes for my second generation dub of the Fetish for Female tape them I'm still dying to obtain an original copy of. If there was ever a group that didn't make it, that deserved to achieve the same level of success and reverence as say, Superchunk or Jawbreaker, the Porcelain Boys were it. Trust me, that's saying a lot.
Needless to say when I learned that Erik Kaiser and Co. were reuniting in '96 with a new album (Away Awhile) and a brief tour I was beyond stoked, only this wasn't exactly the same Porcelain Boys. Erik, following in the fine tradition of Grant Hart and Phil Collins, managed lead vocal duties and bashed up a frenzy on the drum kit. That was until the reunion, when he switched to guitar, filling the role of original axe-wrangler Tom Spence. Bassist Scott Cook maintained his spot in the Porcelain Boys, yet even with 2/3 of the core lineup intact, it was a significantly different sounding band. Truth be told, you can also chalk up the palpable sonic disparity to the vastly improved production employed on Away Awhile. Though it made sense to recut many of the "vintage" PB songs for purposes of exposure to a larger audience, the new coating of paint concealed many of the rough edges that belied the charm and excitement of those early recordings. At any rate, Away Awhile split the difference between entirely new material and re-recordings of some big time favorites of mine, including "If You Were Real," "Bedtime," and "Squeaky Clean." Preceding this album, was about another record's worth of demos and unreleased songs, including more old school nuggets like "Problem #1," "Last," and the tender acoustic ballad, "Jen's Song," all given the Clinton-era treatment. I've compiled these songs here alongside eight more, some of which never made it to the album or onto the Porcelain Boys preceding singles and tapes. To my recollection this assemblage of demos was obtained on the file sharing platform, Soulseek nearly ten years ago. The track numbers range from 1 to 16, making it evident that about five songs from these sessions presumably didn't make it to the internet for whatever the reason. At any rate, what is here is pretty commendable.
It came to my attention today that a remastered version of Away Awhile was made available online, including the two PB songs from their split with Marble, and a couple of outtakes, one of which is a lively rendition of "Holiday Road."
03. My Machine
04. Problem #1
06. Take It
07. Jen's Song
13. Hey Melissa
16. Just Then