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Rarities Edition: New Miserable Experience

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Like all the 2010 “Rarities Editions” being issued, this one contains most of the rarities found on the “Deluxe” version of the album. The original album is not included here. Instead, this is the alternate route – outtakes, b-sides, live tracks. Tempe, Arizona’s Gin Blossoms were initially viewed as a standard-issue jangle-pop band with country-rock tendencies and their treatment by the music business is yet another tale of mismatched priorities. The group’s main songwriter, Doug Hopkins, took his own life after being booted from the group over problems with alcohol and depression. His songs fueled the group, but it’s singer Robin Wilson who imbues these songs with a fragile emotional edge that transforms every performance into an essential listen. Whether plowing through live versions of their hit, “Hey Jealousy,” the Johnny Cash cover “Folsom Prison Blues” or the theme to the Jeffersons TV show (“Movin’ On Up”) or a studio run-through of Big Star’s “Back of a Car,” Wilson throws himself into each tune with a jarring sincerity. The Gin Blossoms were no instrumental slouches either, as the quick-stepping instrumental “Cold River Dick” brilliantly illustrates.

Biography

Formed: 1987 in Tempe, AZ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

By blending contemporary power pop with elements of the post-grunge era, Gin Blossoms briefly emerged as torchbearers of the lighter side of alternative rock. Bassist Bill Leen and guitarist Doug Hopkins formed the band in 1987 in Tempe, AZ, rounding out the initial lineup with vocalist Jesse Valenzuela, guitarist Richard Taylor, and drummer Chris McCann. The following year saw several personnel shifts as the band struggled to solidify -- McCann was replaced by Dan Henzerling (and, shortly thereafter,...
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