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Teargarden by Kaleidyscope
Studio album by The Smashing Pumpkins
Released Starting December 8, 2009 (digital download)
April 20, 2010 (Vol.1 physical)
Recorded September 15, 2009 – present
Genre Alternative rock
Label Self-released (digital download)
Rocket Science (physical)
Producer Billy Corgan, Kerry Brown, Bjorn Thorsrud[1]
The Smashing Pumpkins chronology
Teargarden by Kaleidyscope
(2009 onwards)

Teargarden by Kaleidyscope is a set of new songs currently being recorded by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, to comprise the band's eighth full studio album, in a combined form of separate single music downloads and a series of physical EPs, released exclusively.[2] The album will be composed of 44 new songs, released one at a time.[3]

Formally announced by the frontman Billy Corgan on September 16, 2009, the concept album, "a new kind of album [...] you can hear as it's being made,"[4] will be released over the Internet, from the band's official website for free, one song at a time. Each time a set of four tracks has been made available for download, it will then be made available for purchase in two formats: a physical limited edition EP on CD and digital format[3] – beginning with Teargarden By Kaleidyscope Vol.1: Songs for a Sailor, to be released on April 20, 2010.[5] All eleven EPs will culminate as a box set with extended versions of the initial EPs.[6]



The Smashing Pumpkins reformed in 2006, after almost a six-year hiatus, releasing the studio album Zeitgeist in 2007. Although Zeitgeist went gold, which Billy Corgan considered an achievement given the state of the music industry, Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin decided in 2008 that they would not make another traditional studio album, citing changing listener habits.[7]

In March 2009, Chamberlin left the band. Corgan held tryouts to find a replacement, eventually deciding on 19-year-old Mike Byrne.[8] In April, Corgan laid out his vision for the new album:

[I] don't think I'm going to make albums in the old-fashioned way, meaning 12-15 songs, etc. in one small package. My desire at this point would be to release one song at a time, over a period of 2-3 years, with it all adding up to a box set/album of sorts that would also include an art movie of the album... My thinking is that if I focus on one song at a time I would approach them as beautiful, distinct paintings that would each require the attention they deserve. This would also mean I would choose what I am recording quite carefully as there would be tremendous internal pressure to get it just right, and that is the kind of pressure I like, which is to make the most beautiful thing possible. I've gotten lost many times during the long haul of making a record and have overlooked some great songs because of that. The new standard for an SP song would that it be excellent and fantastic and most importantly essential or it's not coming out. I will do my best to meet that intention fully.[citation needed]

Corgan spent much of summer 2009 in ex-Catherine member and "Superchrist" producer Kerry Brown's home studio (where Zeitgeist was recorded), recording demos for about fifty songs.[9] In July, Corgan formed the band Spirits in the Sky to play a tribute concert to the late Sky Saxon of The Seeds. He then toured with the band, comprising Brown, Electric Prunes bassist Mark Tulin, Strawberry Alarm Clock keyboardist Mark Weitz, frequent Corgan collaborator Linda Strawberry, flautist Kevin Dippold, "Superchrist" violinist Ysanne Spevack, new Pumpkins drummer Mike Byrne, and Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, playing covers and some of the new Pumpkins songs at several clubs in California.[citation needed]


Concept and sound

Billy Corgan explained the story as follows:

The story of the album is based on 'The Fool's Journey', as signified in the progress of the Tarot. It is my intention to approach this by breaking down the journey of our life here into four phases as made by these different characters; the Child, the Fool, the Skeptic, and the Mystic.[10]

“The Fool’s Journey” is the name of a modern interpretation created during the 1960s of the 22 cards that comprise the trump suit and the Fool of the Tarot, a pack of playing cards that dates to the late Middle Ages.[11] Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play trick taking card games. In English-speaking countries, where these games are largely unknown, Tarot cards are now used primarily for divinatory purposes.[12] [13] Musically, Corgan describes the sound as a return to the Pumpkins' "psychedelic roots", and will be "atmospheric, melodic, heavy, and pretty".[10]


Spirits in the Sky members Corgan, Tulin, Byrne, Brown, Dippold, and Spevack were joined by longtime Corgan recording collaborator Bjorn Thorsrud at Corgan's home studio in Chicago, and began work on September 15.[14][15] The band is recording in analog, with Corgan on guitar, Tulin on bass, and Byrne on drums.[16]

Co-producer Kerry Brown explained the mindset going into the recording:

[...]the goal is to treat each song sonically different to best present its palette... Billy writes a song, we record a demo, listen back and find the feeling that the song evokes and then visualize the picture that it paints.[17]

Ginger Pooley and Jeff Schroeder are not participating in the recording sessions, though remain members of the band's live incarnation.[18] Corgan explained, "I've gone back to the way I used to do things, which is that as long as I have a drummer then I pretty much do the rest of it myself."[18] Corgan has not publicly mentioned the involvement of Mark Tulin on bass, despite Tulin's continued involvement in the project.[19]

Touring keyboardist Lisa Harriton, however, stopped by the studio during recording, probably to perform on the album.[20][21]

Spirits in the Sky member Dave Navarro has expressed interest on working on the recordings.[15] Spirits member Linda Strawberry spent a week recording vocals for the first EP.[22]

As of last notice, six songs have been completed.[23]


Corgan has stated his intention to continuously release one song every two to four weeks until all forty-four are released, all at no monetary cost to the listener.[15] This would be the second time that a Smashing Pumpkins album is being released for free over the internet, the first being Machina II: The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music (2000), although that album was released in such a fashion as a reaction against Virgin Records. Corgan has stated his reason for releasing Teargarden this way as being that he wants people to at least hear the songs before making a judgment, and that he is interested in "subverting a system that works against holistic thinking when it comes to how art is made and delivered to those who might want to hear it."[15][24]

While all of the songs will be released free with "no strings attached", eleven limited edition EPs will be released on CD of four songs each, culminating in a box set release, although the limited versions of EPs will be different from editions in the box set. Digital singles with demos of songs are being considered.[6] The album will also be accompanied by a making-of documentary entitled The Making of Teargarden.[25]

On December 8, 2009, the first song "A Song for a Son" was made available as a free-download 192-kbps MP3 file.[26] Corgan said about the song to

I think it's got something to do about not having any kids and thinking about why I don't have any kids. And then also kind of thinking about my relationship with my father — there's some kind of connection there, but it's not overt. I didn't set out to write that, it just rolled out of me.[27]

The second song "Widow Wake My Mind" appeared on January 18, 2010, on the band's MySpace profile, and January 19, 2010 on the band's website.[28]

The first physical EP, Teargarden By Kaleidyscope Vol.1: Songs for a Sailor, comprised of a wooden box with the 4-song CD, a 7" vinyl record with two additional songs, and a hand-carved stone obelisk, will be released April 20.[5] Select independent record stores will have a pre-ordering option for Volume 1 available on April 17, 2010 as a part of international Record Store Day.[29]

The third song "A Stitch in Time" was made available on March 2, 2010.


Rolling Stone, which had initially called the releasing of a 44-track album for free "extreme,"[30] after the release of "A Song for A Son," wrote: "...Nothing in Corgan’s prolific recording history could have prepared us for the over five minutes of classic rock that is “A Song for a Son,” which starts off with a “Stairway to Heaven”-esque riff before exploding into the rest of ZoSo’s touchstones... If “A Song for a Son” is any indication of what we can expect from Teargarden, each EP will likely be the length of Exile on Main Street."[31]

The online magazine Pitchfork Media considered Corgan "something of an innovator when it comes to the online marketplace", thanking him "for taking a chance with this model — [even] without having heard a note, this new project seems a lot more worthwhile than that last Smashing Pumpkins album."[32] Later the title described "A Song for a Son" "an epic": "There's a contemplative intro, a shredding solo, and plenty of classic rock panache in between." [33] However, another Pitchfork editor's criticism of the song was very negative, giving it only a 2 out of 10, and ultimately stating that Corgan "just sounds defeated and deflated, like a man who ought to seriously consider ending his long-term relationship with his melancholy muse." [34]

The song was also reviewed by's Tim Grierson, who calls Corgan "charitable with Teargarden by Kaleidyscope"[35]: "Led by a stately piano figure reminiscent of Adore, 'A Song for a Son' eventually introduces electric guitars into the mix, climaxing with an ecstatic solo. Overall, it's a moody, vaguely psychedelic number that's a promising start to this ambitious, unconventional album.[36]

Spin's review of "Widow Wake My Mind" was positive, stating "Widow Wake My Mind is a very pleasant surprise. Read: It doesn't suck... at all." Spin further claims that "Mr. Corgan has a record of 2-0. Let's hope he keeps the winning streak up—42 more songs to go! [31] Rolling Stone included it in their "hot list", calling it "[Corgan's] sweetest (only?) pop melody since Kennedy left MTV."[37]

Track listing

Vol. 1: Songs for a Sailor[38]
Track Title Date of digital release Length
1. "A Song for a Son"   December 8, 2009 6:02
2. "Widow Wake My Mind"   January 18, 2010 4:26
3. "Astral Planes"   TBR  
4. "A Stitch in Time"   March 2, 2010 3:33


Technical personnel


  1. ^ "Ain't No Sleep When You're Living the Dream". Blog of Kerry Brown. Posted 2009-09-15.
  2. ^ Anderson, Kyle (December 7, 2009). "Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan Explains Why He's Giving Away New LP For Free". Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Eisen, Benjy (December 10, 2009). "Billy Corgan Calls Smashing Pumpkins Split a 'Mistake'". Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  4. ^ Epstein, Dan (September 17, 2009). "Smashing Pumpkins Recording "A New Kind Of Album"". Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "InSound: Teargarden by Kaleidyscope". InSound. January 23, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Martens, Todd (December 7, 2009). "Billy Corgan offers a free look into new Smashing Pumpkins project". Pop & Hiss. The L.A. Times music blog. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 13, 2009. 
  7. ^ Kot, Greg. "Billy Corgan dishes on the Smashing Pumpkins: The past is dead to me". Chicago Tribune Blog. 2008-12-09.
  8. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins Replace Drummer". 2009-08-19.
  9. ^ "Billy Corgan/Dave Navarro: Spirits In The Sky". 2009-09-04.
  10. ^ a b Smashing Pumpkins Announce Free 44-Track Album! 2009-9-16.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Dummett, Michael (1980). The Game of Tarot. Gerald Duckworth and Company Ltd.. ISBN 0-7156-1014-7. 
  13. ^ Huson, Paul, (2004) Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage, Vermont: Destiny Books, ISBN 0-89281-190-0 Mystical Origins of the Tarot
  14. ^ "Ain't No Sleep When You're Living the Dream". Blog of Kerry Brown. Posted 2009-09-12.
  15. ^ a b c d Interview with Dave Navarro. Dark Matter radio show. 2009-09-16.
  16. ^ "Ain't No Sleep When You're Living the Dream". Blog of Kerry Brown. 2009-09-14.
  17. ^ "Ain't No Sleep When You're Living the Dream". Blog of Kerry Brown. Posted 2009-09-23.
  18. ^ a b Interview with Billy Corgan. Local 101 with Chris Payne. WKQX. 2010-02-14.
  19. ^ Mark Tulin] on Twitter.
  20. ^ a b "Ain't No Sleep When You're Living the Dream". Blog of Kerry Brown. Posted 2009-10-07.
  21. ^ "Lisa Harriton in the studio with The Smashing Pumpkins". 2009-10-08.
  22. ^ Strawberry, Linda. "A Week in Pumpkinland." Blog of Linda Strawberry. 2009-10-30.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Billy Corgan Talks New, Free 44-Song Set, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope". Paste 2009-09-17.
  25. ^ Brown, Kerry. Twitter Update. 2009-10-08.
  26. ^ The Smashing Pumpkins (2009-12-08). "The Smashing Pumpkins on Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  27. ^ Eisen, Benjy (2009-12-07). "Smashing Pumpkins, 'A Song for a Son' -- Song Premiere". Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  28. ^ "The Smashing Pumpkins on MySpace". January 18, 2010. Retrieved January 18, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins EP Part Of 'Record Store Day' Promotion". Roadrunner Records. March 18, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  30. ^ Kreps, Daniel (September 16, 2009). "Smashing Pumpkins Reveal New LP “Teargarden By Kaleidyscope”". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  31. ^ a b Kreps, Daniel (December 7, 2009). "Smashing Pumpkins Unveil New “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope” Track “A Song for a Son”". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  32. ^ Dombal, Ryan (September 16, 2009). "Massive New Smashing Pumpkins Undertaking: 44 Songs, All for Free". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  33. ^ Dombal, Ryan (December 7, 2009). "Hear the Epic New Smashing Pumpkins Track: "A Song for a Son"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  34. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (January 4, 2010). "Track Reviews: The Smashing Pumpkins - "A Song For a Son"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 11, 2010. 
  35. ^ Grierson, Tim (September 16, 2009). "The New Smashing Pumpkins Album, 'Teargarden by Kaleidyscope,' Will Be Epic ... and Free". Tim's Rock Music Blog. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  36. ^ Grierson, Tim (December 7, 2009). "Smashing Pumpkins Debut First 'Teargarden' Track, "A Song for a Son"". Tim's Rock Music Blog. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  37. ^ Rolling Stone Magazine. Issue #1099. March 4, 2010.
  38. ^ "Overview: Teargarden By Kaleidyscope Vol. 1: Songs For a Sailor". Allmusic. Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  39. ^ "Ain't No Sleep When You're Living the Dream". Blog of Kerry Brown. 2009-09-16.
  40. ^ "Ain't No Sleep When You're Living the Dream". Blog of Kerry Brown. 2009-10-05.

External links


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