Glen Phillips releases "lost record," Tornillo [2003]

Posted by Greg , Monday, December 6, 2010 10:08 PM

Glen Phillips, lead singer of Toad the Wet Sprocket (who broke up in 1998 but have since reunited and tour sporadically), has dug through his unreleased back catalog and unearthed his "lost record," Tornillo:
I finally went back to the vaults and collected the tracks from my "lost record", Tornillo. It was recorded in 2003, features many of the songs which later appeared on Winter Pays for Summer, and has never been heard by the general public. I leave it for you to decide if shelving it was a good idea or not. It is available now at Bandcamp for $7 (or more if you wish), and is streamable for free. I hope you enjoy perusing the historical documents, such as they are. And just in time for the Holidays, too!
Phillips has had an ambivalent relationship with the demos of his solo work.  After Toad broke up, he began releasing some of his new material online in 1999.  Fans were excited, especially as new songs emerged every few weeks.  However, Phillips' debut album, Abulum, was greeted with complaints over the reworked versions of these songs, or over those that were not included at all, such as "Easier."  Some time afterward, Phillips remarked that the experience made him unwilling to release unfinished demos in the future.  (Paraphrasing, of course; I'm going off memories from a decade ago.)

Fans were further surprised when Winter Pays for Summer was released on Lost Highway/Universal Records.  The album's slick production diverged strongly from Phillips' live shows, which were predominantly solo acoustic affairs.  Tornillo is a more natural extension of those live performances, albeit with more instruments.

Somewhat surprisingly, Tornillo's best selections are those that never saw a major release.  The album leads off with "Better Off Here," which may be the best Phillips song we've heard in years.  "Let it Pass," another heretofore-unreleased track, rollicks with energy rarely seen since his Toad days.

Some of the tracks that eventually showed up on Winter, such as "Courage," sound much better in the more stripped-down arrangements found here.  "Half Life" may be even more haunting (although the version on Winter was excellent, as well).  "Thankful" benefits from a noisier garage rock presentation, compared to the "official" version, which always seemed a bit overproduced.

Overall, Tornillo is great listen.  You can buy or stream the entire thing here.

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