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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thin White Line

Good news for Jawbox fans: their third album, For Your Own Special Sweetheart, will be finally be reissued on Dischord later this year with three bonus tracks. Remembering when this reissue was announced back in 2004, this is pretty fantastic and all that good stuff. But the bad news for Jawbox completists: the band's cover of the Avengers' "Thin White Line" will not be on this reissue. Nor is "Falk" or "Chump II."

Essentially, this Sweetheart reissue contains the original album, along with the B-sides from the Savory+3 EP. These three B-sides ("68," "Lil' Shaver," and "Sound On Sound") are fantastic non-LP gems. A Peel Session version of "68" originally appeared on the My Scrapbook of Fatal Accidents compilation, but not the original studio version. "Sound On Sound" gets the double-dip reissue, but "Lil' Shaver" has never been reissued anywhere else before.

While I've never heard "Falk" or "Chump II," I actually have "Thin White Line" on CD. I just so happened to be very lucky in picking up a copy of the super-rare "Cooling Card" promo at the CD World on Greenville Avenue five years ago. The deal is, I've only heard the song once, and I've never really pined to hear it again and again. Not that it's a bad song; it's just not a lost gem. (I won't lie: it is nice to have the song on something physical and CD-quality.)

I remember reading an interview in AP with Kim Coletta about why certain B-sides were not featured on the My Scrapbook of Fatal Accidents comp. If I remember correctly, it was their comp and if they didn't think the song was good, they didn't include the song on there. Wise choices because there really isn't a stinker on the comp, and there are a lot of songs on there. Bad songs wear good comps down, you know?

Of course, the atmosphere of being a completist for any band is much, much different now in the world of SoulSeek and torrents. You can scour all you want online, but it's nothing like scouring through a used record store looking for CD singles or 7-inches with songs not found on reissues or box sets. And probably the biggest difference: when you got one of those rarities in physical form, you didn't have to wonder if the sound quality was less than 192.

So, good news for those who have always wondered why Jawbox's third album is such a treasure. And to think, this was originally released on a major label. Now, how's about a reissue of that final, self-titled Jawbox album from 1996?

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