Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path


A&M, 2014

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Well, Chris Cornell is dead. Having chosen to end his life, all we are left with are memories and some great music.

After years of talking about it, guitarist Kim Thayil finally put his money where his mouth was in 2014 by lovingly assembling this three-disc box set that comprises just about 90% of their outtakes and rarities, split into sections: one disc of originals, one disc of covers, and one disc of weird, esoteric instrumental and oddities. Being a fan myself, I was overwhelmingly happy to see this package because where else are you going to find songs like the rockin’ “HIV Baby,” “Fresh Deadly Roses,” and all the others in one package?

Kicking things off is one of their earliest tracks, “Sub Pop Rock City,” from a time when the band wasn’t overly serious. It’s clear that the band were setting themselves apart from the other Seattle bands from the start. Other songs like the classic, epic “Birth Ritual” from the “Singles” movie soundtrack are here as well, and just beg to be cranked up til’ the speakers break. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Other interesting nuggets include “Kyle Petty, Son Of Richard” and “Live To Rise” from “The Avengers.” There are two newly recorded tracks as well, and unfortunately, the last Soundgarden cuts released in Cornell’s lifetime. “Storm” is an older track that the band had worked on before Matt Cameron joined and was produced by longtime friend Jack Endino. “Kristi” is a newer track but isn’t as great. Other moments include the slower “Show Me” and “Blind Dogs,” recorded for “The Basketball Diaries” soundtrack.

The covers disc is where the band shows off their influences and engages in a bit of fun. They even covered Green River’s “Swallow My Pride” for shits and giggles. Guess what? It still holds up, even if it was just a toss-off. Great covers of The Ramones (“I Can’t Give You Anything”) and the all-girl group Fancy (“Touch Me”) really help to show off their influences besides just the Beatles and the Stones. They even took Sabbath’s “Into The Void,” changed the lyrics to words from a speech by Indian chief Sealth, and got a Grammy nomination for it! Closing out with some live covers of Spinal Tap and Cheech & Chong really shows how humorous the band was when they wanted to be.

The final disc is just okay, mostly if you like edits and remixes. There are some quirky instrumentals, including “Jerry Garcia’s Finger” and my personal favorite “Night Surf.” It is definitely not for everyone, but still part of the Soundgarden magic. In essence, this is the perfect encapsulation of Soundgarden’s entire career from beginning to unfortunate end. Cornell may be gone, but his spirit, his music, and his incredible voice will forever live on.

Rating: B

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