The Bride on the Boxcar: A Decade of Margot Rarities 2004-2014

Margot & the Nuclear So and So's

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The Bride on the Boxcar: A Decade of Margot Rarities 2004-2014 Review

by Marcy Donelson

Marking the 11th anniversary of the band, Joyful Noise Recordings presents an expansive five-LP collection of previously unreleased songs, demos, and alternate takes by songwriter Richard Edwards' outfit Margot & the Nuclear So and So's. The Bride on the Boxcar: A Decade of Margot Rarities 2004-2014 offers a full album's worth of outtakes from each of the group's five full-length records to date: Hybristophilia (The Dust of Retreat rarities), Panic Attacks (Low Level Bummer) (Animal!/Not Animal rarities), Now, Let's Risk Our Feathers (Buzzard rarities), Dark Energy in the Spotlight (Rot Gut, Domestic rarities), and You Look Like the Future, Baby (Sling Shot to Heaven rarities). The set also arrives after Edwards' 31st birthday, making it representative of his twenties. Gems among the previously unreleased songs -- and there are more unreleased songs than previously released ones -- include the very first track of the compilation, a tender acoustic duet called "Lost at Sea," and the lovely, regret-seeped rock tune "Lost on 49th St," also from Hybristophilia. That album also features a much more vulnerable (and arguably better if not cleanly ended) demo version of "On a Freezing Chicago Street." Animal!/Not Animal cuts include a winning, grittier, electric guitar-guided version of "Broadripple Is Burning" (a "Living Room Version" appears later) and the unreleased "If Ya Wanna Go Out [Demo]," a sweet and catchy acoustic-guitar ditty ("If you wanna go out, I'll go/But I'd rather stay home, sleep in my bed, smoke cigarettes"). The genial ballad "As Beautiful as Ever" probably didn't belong on the rock-minded Buzzard but still deserves an airing, and a quiet cover of Jules Shear's "All Through the Night" (made popular by Cyndi Lauper) from the Rot Gut, Domestic rarities surprises with its fragility. A nihilistic love song packaged as breezy AM pop, "Bummer" is a standout from the Sling Shot to Heaven rarities and of the whole collection ("I'm gonna love you 'til the big one hits"). At 58 tracks, The Bride on the Boxcar is a lot of Margot, so it's really for devoted fans who want as much of the band's material as they can get. Having said that, Edwards' intimate lyrics and singer/songwriter disposition sit beautifully on the stripped-down production of the majority of the demos and some alternate versions, and the abundance of "new" songs will make it worth the investment for anyone on the fence.

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