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Smoking Popes - It's Been a Long Day (Cover Artwork)

Smoking Popes

Smoking Popes: It's Been a Long DayIt's Been a Long Day (2010)
Asian Man Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
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The extensive and turbulent existence of the Smoking Popes has, from its beginning, witnessed dramatic nascent growth, eventual deterioration, dissolution, reunion and subsequent rebirth. The 1990s left the band with four outstanding full-lengths, tours with the likes of Jawbreaker, Green Day and Mo.
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The extensive and turbulent existence of the Smoking Popes has, from its beginning, witnessed dramatic nascent growth, eventual deterioration, dissolution, reunion and subsequent rebirth. The 1990s left the band with four outstanding full-lengths, tours with the likes of Jawbreaker, Green Day and Morrissey, and by the turn of the decade, no more Smoking Popes for five years. What It's Been a Long Day collects are some of the gems from that first period of activity that didn't find their way onto a full-length but have now received the remaster treatment and found a nice new home on Asian Man Records.

Even though this compilation brings together material from various non-full length releases, most of the tracks have been previously available through one or more outlets. Nineteen of the 20 tracks were previously released via a series of splits, compilations and seven-inches, while many were re-released on the (now out-of-print) compilation 1991-1998 from drummer Mike Felumlee's Double Zero Records. The Popes' debut LP Get Fired, which was included on 1991-1998, is not included in the mix (Asian Man's giving it a proper re-release later this year), but in its place are several additions that make up for its absence. The trio of "No Time for Your Lies," "Missing Out" and "Theme From 'Cheerleader'" have at times been available through online fan sites in the form of lo-fidelity MP3s, but get a much-needed touch-up on It's Been a Long Day. Even with the improved audio quality, however, the raw punk of the Popes' early years shines through, especially on the Descendents-like "Missing Out": "Some people really make me sick / And here's another reason why I don't lift weights / I don't talk about it in the locker room / But I don't like football so I just keep my mouth shut!" Also included here but not on 1991-1998 is the Smoking Popes' half of their split with Groovy Love Vibes, which contributes the rough-hewn "Hang" and the delightful duet cover of Stevie Nicks and Don Henley's "Leather and Lace" with Popes frontman Josh Caterer crooning along and Erik Pertl's raspy take on Henley's section of the song.

The title of the disc is derived from the recently unearthed relic "Long Day," which was recorded in 1992, never released, presumed lost forever, and then found "hiding in a corner of the basement." Quite appropriately, it's one of the standouts in an already sterling collection of songs, and hears Caterer concede rather enthusiastically, "You can take my records / And my leather jacket / I'll keep all your promises that you'll come back." The portion of the disc that was already released on 1991-1998 is utterly fantastic, from possibly the catchiest song ever ("Writing a Letter") to one of the cutest ("Stars") to the strengthening break-up anthem "Never Coming Back." There are a few tracks lacking that make this collection incomplete (correct me if I'm wrong) like "Ft. Stockton, TX," "Angel Flying Too Close to Ground," "Devil in Disguise," "Language of Love" and "Hope You're Still Around" among others, but this release doesn't claim to be a complete anthology so it's somewhat of a moot point. Plus, like any good collection, It's Been a Long Day makes good use of its insert to gain insider insight as Caterer discusses the stories behind his "top five" songs of the CD.

For any Smoking Popes fan who never got their hands on 1991-1998 before it went out of print, or even those who did, there are plenty of reasons to buy It's Been a Long Day. While most rarities compilations are reserved for the die-hard fan, the quality music the Smoking Popes consistently put forth makes this a release that anyone should be able to enjoy.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
bytheslice (February 27, 2010)

I love the 'Popes, but I think Duvall are amazing and a bit overlooked as well. Their Asian Man Records album "Volume & Density" is very good.

potatoeboy (February 27, 2010)

ah, my memory fails me yet again!

TahoeJeff (February 27, 2010)

You could never reply to comments in reviews. Only in news submissions.

potatoeboy (February 27, 2010)

am I retarded or can you not reply to comments anymore? anyways...illazilla, try spin records in carlsbad. They should have it.

visiting_day (February 26, 2010)

Haha, Chadreligion's comment is fucking hilarious.

What a great band, great songs on this one.

greg0rb (February 26, 2010)

Probably won't get this because I have 1991-1998, but maybe I'll get those individual tracks on mp3 or somethin. To the person below me, yeah I don't know what the f is up with Stay Down. I reviewed it, and their PR person couldn't get me a full-art copy because she never got any. They may not exist. Even like 6 months after the release I asked again and she said she still never had any copies. Sucks.

IllaZilla (February 26, 2010)

Anyone know where I can find this? I figured being on Asian Man it'd be in stores, but couldn't find it at Lou's Records (the best record store within reasonable distance of San Diego) or elsewhere. I have 1991-1998 and pretty much everything else, and thought I had the complete discography until I read this review & saw that there are tracks here that weren't on 1991-1998. Now I've gotta have it. I could also use a physical copy of Stay Down...got it on iTunes but haven't seen a physical copy anywhere, ever (not even at Amoeba in Hollywood). Mailorder to the rescue.

AnEpicProblem (February 26, 2010)

I'm pretty ambivalent towards this band. I absolutely adore some of theirs songs ("Let's Hear It for Love," "Not That Kind of Girlfriend," "Midnight Moon"), but most of them make no impression whatsoever on me. I think that Duvall's Volume and Density is more consistently strong as an album that anything the Smoking Popes ever released.

chadreligion (February 26, 2010)

I still have the original Get Fired cd, and just to give you an idea of how fucking short that album is, one day, my roommate was drunk and put that cd in his back pocket(to copy it on tape later), and cracked a piece off when he got into his car. A HUGE chunk fell off, so the cd almost looked like a "Pac-Man" shape and despite that and all the scratches, it still plays in it's entirety. Haven't gotten this, but probably will, even though I own most of this.
Born to Quit is their finest work, Hands Down. Hell, that was one of Morrissey's favorites at the time, as well, if I remember correctly.

mattramone (February 26, 2010)

Killer comp, especially side 2. Can't wait for the rest of the reissues.

pufferfish (February 26, 2010)

Rules.

MN_DrNick (February 26, 2010)

Excellent material.

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