Danko Jones

B-Sides

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The 2009 release of this 27-track B-Sides collection welcomes Canadian hard rockers Danko Jones into the rarefied company of other, brilliantly prolific but criminally underrated bands like the Wildhearts and the Hellacopters, whose massive popularity with a dedicated cult audience spread across the globe and inexplicably hasn't translated into major U.S. sales -- yet. And don't forget that this is actually Danko's second round-up of loose nuts and bolts, the first being 1998's I'm Alive and on Fire, with which it shares a handful of tracks. But while that first set truly qualified as an odds & sods collection filled with formative cuts of varying quality, the decade-spanning B-Sides is, as the saying goes, pretty much "all killer, no filler." In fact, it's no exaggeration to say that several of these tunes could very well have been highlights on the already stellar albums they were left off of -- especially 2002's Born a Lion outtake "The Rules," 2003's We Sweat Blood leftover "Woogie Boogie," 2005's Sleep Is the Enemy extra "Sex," and 2008's Never Too Loud castoffs "Sugar High" and "You Ruin the Day." Pad out these incredible nuggets with an astonishing amount of very strong material dating all the way back to 1997, like the presciently horny "I Like to Ball," the typically bitter breakup ditty "Ice Cold Angel," and the punked out, demo-like rawness of "Drop Your Man" and fans will have a veritable embarrassment of songwriting riches to dig into. A couple of scattered covers -- Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up" and the Ramones' "The Return of Jackie and Judy" -- round out the package by reminding listeners that, behind all of the sexual bravado and predominant AC/DC/Thin Lizzy sonic touchstones, Danko Jones' eponymous leader is really an open-minded, music-loving student of every rock & roll era...as heavily influenced by James Brown as he is by Rocket from the Crypt and Piggy from Voivod! So if Danko Jones simply carry on decanting those eclectic influences into their chosen hard rock spirit -- and if commercial success finally catches up with their talent level on tape and on-stage -- it surely won't be long before another anthology of incredible B-Sides such as this will have to be compiled.

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