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EELS: OFFICIAL WEBSITE

 

MEET THE EELS PREVIEW SAMPLER EELS USELESS TRINKETS PREVIEW

EELS CELEBRATE FIRST DECADE WITH BEST OF AND RARITIES COLLECTIONS


FIRST RETROSPECTIVE, MEET THE EELS: ESSENTIAL EELS VOL. 1 (CD+DVD), AND FIRST RARITIES COLLECTION, EELS USELESS TRINKETS (2CD+DVD), SPAN 1996-2006 FOR THE ACCLAIMED ALT-ROCK ENTITY

Release date:
USA January 15, 2008
UK January 21, 2008

The EELS are one of music's most acclaimed and idiosyncratic enterprises, accomplishing what The New Yorker calls "that rarest thing in contemporary pop: a unique sound." The ever-changing lineup of musicians that play the songs of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett (aka E), unveils both its first best of compilation, Meet The EELS: Essential EELS Vol. 1 (CD+DVD), and its first collection of rarities, B-sides, film contributions and unreleased tracks, the EELS Useless Trinkets: B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased 1996-2006 (2CD+DVD), each issued by DreamWorks/Geffen/UMe on January 15, 2008. All videos are available for the first time on DVD and all music is digitally remastered with both packages packed with never before seen photos, artifacts and Everett's notes about each track.

Meet The EELS: Essential EELS Vol. 1 spans the first decade of the EELS with 24 selections on CD and 12 promotional videos on DVD.  The CD opens with four tracks from the band's 1996 debut Beautiful Freak, two tracks from the Eels' highly acclaimed second album 1998's Electro-shock Blues follow plus a previously unreleased Jon Brion remix of "Climbing to The Moon."

Four songs from 2000's Daisies Of The Galaxy, which NME dubbed "a masterpiece in almost every way," are represented on the Essentials album plus three tracks from 2001's Souljacker, which Time Magazine crowned as one of the best albums of the year, was acclaimed overseas with NME calling it "downright brilliant" and the London Sunday Times named it Album Of The Year, writing that "the conventional wisdom that (the earlier album} Electro-shock Blues was E's masterpiece will have to be reassessed: it was clearly just one of his masterpieces."

2003's live-in-the-studio Shootenanny! (awarded four stars by Rolling Stone) adds two fan favorites, while five songs from the highly acclaimed, and best charting album in the band's history Blinking Lights and Other Revelations are included. Also on the Essentials album are the previously unreleased "Get Ur Freak On", a live version of "Dirty Girl" from 2006's With Strings: Live At Town Hall and "I Need Some Sleep" from the Shrek 2 soundtrack.

Highlights within the 50 CD tracks of EELS Useless Trinkets are longtime concert favorite "Living Life" from the Daniel Johnston tribute album, the previously unreleased 2006 cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" and other covers including James Carr's "Dark End of The Street" and Prince's "If I Was Your Girlfriend. " Useless Trinkets also includes a large handful of BBC performances, unique live versions of "Novocaine For The Soul" and "My Beloved Monster," tracks from films-- The End Of Violence, Holes, Levity and How The Grinch Stole Christmas and several previously unreleased tracks including the original collections title track which frontman Everett performs backed by a 28 piece orchestra. The DVD features six performances from the EELS' Lollapalooza 2006 performance, including a gospel rave-up take on "My Beloved Monster" and a high octane rumble through "Souljacker part I".

Meet The EELS: Essential EELS Vol. 1 and EELS Useless Trinkets prove why, following that 2006 Lollapalooza performance, Rolling Stone wrote: "EELS define coolness. "




MEETING THE EELS
by Mark Edwards, The Sunday Times



Opposites attract. And I think it's the opposites in Mark Oliver Everett's songs that attracted me. I think it's the opposites that make his work so special.

They're not merely opposites. Some of them are heart-wrenchingly irreconcilable conflicts - the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" decisions that bedevil our lives, those moments when you suddenly realize that you want X but you need Y, and you can't have both, and you beat yourself up so much over the choice that you end up with neither.

But perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. Perhaps you've only recently discovered the Eels and you've decided to find out more, and so here you are with an album called Meet The Eels which will allow you to do just that. And I'm going on about the opposites and conflicts and paradoxes at the heart of the man's work as if you're already au fait with his oeuvre. And you're thinking "uh-oh, I just wanted some nice songs."

Don't let me put you off. All I'm saying is that there's a tension in Everett's songs that gives them a strength and a resonance that most other songwriters couldn't ever equal. Sometimes the tension exists in the title. Your Lucky Day in Hell. Just how lucky can that be? I suppose it sounds better than an unlucky day in Hell. Although I'm not sure that we should rush out and get T-shirts made, saying "Better a good day in Hell than a bad day in Heaven."

Sometimes the tension is between the lyric and Everett's delivery. "Goddam right, it's a beautiful day," he sings on Mr. E's Beautiful Blues. But he sure doesn't sound like he believes it. Although he does sound as though he's decided that if he says it often enough, he might start to believe it. Mr. E's Beautiful Blues was the big hit single off Daisies of the Galaxy, and yet it only appeared bolted on the end of the album as a "hidden" track. (Sometimes the tension is between the art and the marketplace.)

Sometimes the tension is between the lyrics and the music. Go and put on track 11 without looking to see what it's called. Gee, that piano is pretty isn't it? What kind of sweet, tender lyric would go well with that loveliness. Oh, well, he's ruined it, hasn't he with his foul language? Imagine what a smooth love lyric Paul McCartney might have put in there. Or Elton John.

Except that he hasn't ruined anything. (Goddam right) It's a beautiful song, and it's even more beautiful because he made it a little ugly too.

The French have an expression for it: "Jolie-laid." Leaving the Angelina jokes aside, it means "pretty-ugly." Not "pretty ugly" as in "she's pretty ugly," but "pretty-ugly" as in pretty and ugly at the same time. They reckon that people who veer slightly away from the perfect symmetrical norms are actually more attractive than those people who are, er, more attractive. If you follow. The pretty isn't really pretty until you add a bit of the ugly.

Which brings us neatly to Mr. E's world view. Because sometimes the tension is between received wisdom and Mr. E's world view. As in Hey Man (Now You're Really Living). And I quote:

"Do you know what it's like to fall on the floor
And cry your guts out 'til you got no more
Hey man, now you're really living."

Most people think it's a funny song, but we're not most people. We're cleverer than that. We understand that what E's doing here is taking the whole "jolie-laid" idea and applying it to life as a whole. Life can't be beautiful unless there's a bit of ugliness in there, too. Or, as your Jungian therapist might say (if you had one) "you have to embrace the shadow." "Now you're really living" doesn't just mean you're having a great time, it means that you're REALLY living, and REALLY living involves sometimes having a really bad time (but that way, when you do finally have a really great time, you should appreciate it).

It's a hard philosophy, but E never lied to us. Right back in the first song on this compilation he told us "life is hard, and so am I."

Those with a working knowledge of rock musician's biographies will know two facts about Mark Oliver Everett:

First, that his father was a famous physicist who authored the Many Worlds theory, which tries to make sense of some of Quantum Physics' loose ends by suggesting that every possible outcome of every event exists. Those of us who are not quite as clever as Dr. Hugh Everett extrapolate from this the idea of an infinite number of universes each marginally different than the next one. So in one of these alternate worlds there is a band called Eels and an album called Meet The Eels and you bought it, but you never read these sleeve notes (and what a strange and unimaginable world that must be).

The irony here is that so many of the issues that E tangles with in his songs and in his life might be easily resolvable were he to have emerged in a slightly different world. One where there are no loveless, and where your soul doesn't need any novocaine. One where we humans were more like birds.

The other fact we know about E is that he lost all his family members in fairly quick succession, and that instead of shutting down and giving up, he addressed his feelings in songs -- most obviously on the Electro-shock Blues album. Not in a couple of lines at the end of a verse somewhere, but relentlessly and in an incredibly moving way.

This is one of the things that makes E special. Not that he suffered loss. (That's part of really living.) But that he confronted it head on and made something so extraordinary out of it. There are only a handful of songwriters who have done this. John Lennon on Plastic Ono Band. Kurt Cobain on In Utero. E.

That's the company he keeps.

I haven't mentioned my favorite Eels song yet. It's called I'm Going To Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart. I'm not going to analyze it, because it's already perfect, and any insight I have into it won't make it any better. Anyway, you're already won over by the title -- the amazing title -- or, if you're not, then your life is probably a lot more straightforward than E's, and it may well be that you just bought the wrong record. But don't get too upset about it. Sometimes, as E says, you just gotta let it go.



Read a selection of EELS 2008 press HERE.



The best of EELS' first decade
24 digitally remastered tracks with 24 page full color booklet plus EELS video collection DVD w/12 EELS videos.
- includes commentary track
by EELS leader E

click to purchase

Release Date:
US January 15, 2008
UK/Europe January 21, 2008
01 novocaine for the soul
02 susan's house
03 my beloved monster
04 your lucky day in hell
05 3 speed
06 last stop: this town
07 climbing to the moon (jon brion remix)*
08 flyswatter
09 i like birds
10 mr. E's beautiful blues
11 it's a motherfucker
12 souljacker part 1
13 that's not really funny
14 fresh feeling
15 get ur freak on*
16 saturday morning
17 love of the loveless
18 dirty girl (live at town hall)
19 i need some sleep
20 hey man (now you're really living)
21 i'm going to stop pretending that i didn't break your heart
22 trouble with dreams
23 railroad man
24 losing streak

* previously unreleased

EELS VIDEO COLLECTION DVD:
01 Novocaine For The Soul
02 Susan's House
03 Rags To Rags
04 Your Lucky Day In Hell
05 Last Stop: This Town
06 Cancer For The Cure
07 Flyswatter
08 Souljacker part I
09 Saturday Morning
10 Hey Man (Now You're Really Living)
11 Trouble With Dreams
12 Dirty Girl (Live at Town Hall)



2 discs of 50 digitally remastered rare, hard to find or unreleased tracks from EELS' first decade with 76 page full color booklet plus EELS 2006 Lollapalooza DVD.

click to purchase

Release Date:
US January 15, 2008
UK/Europe January 21, 2008
DISC 1:
01 novocaine for the soul (live from hell)
02 fucker
03 my beloved monster (live from tennessee)
04 dog's life
05 susan's apartment
06 manchester girl (BBC)
07 flower (BBC)
08 my beloved mad monster party (BBC)
09 animal
10 stepmother
11 everything's gonna be cool this christmas
12 your lucky day in hell (michael simpson remix)*
13 altar boy
14 novocaine for the soul (moog cookbook remix)
15 if i was your girlfriend (live) (previously unreleased)
16 bad news
17 funeral parlor
18 hospital food (BBC)
19 open the door (BBC)
20 birdgirl on a cell phone
21 vice president fruitley
22 my beloved monstrosity
23 dark end of the street (live) *
24 the cheater's guide to your heart (live) *
25 useless trinkets*



DISC 2:
01 mr. E's beautiful remix
02 souljacker part I (alternate version)*
03 dog faced boy (alternate version)*
04 jennifer eccles
05 rotten world blues
06 can't help falling in love
07 christmas is going to the dogs
08 mighty fine blues
09 eyes down
10 skywriting
11 taking a bath in rust
12 estranged friends*
13 her
14 waltz of the naked clowns
15 i like birds (live)*
16 sad foot sign
17 living life
18 the bright side
19 after the operation
20 jelly dancers
21 i could never take the place of your man (live at Town Hall)
22 mr. E's beautiful blues (live at Town Hall)
23 i want to protect you*
24 i put a spell on you (live)*
25 saw a ufo*

* previously unreleased

EELS LOLLAPALOOZA 2006 DVD:
01 Saturday Morning
02 Eyes Down
03 My Beloved Monster
04 A Magic World
05 Not Ready Yet
06 Souljacker part I


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