Essential Eels and Useless Trinkets

(antiMusic) Eels fans mark you calendars for next Tuesday (January 15th 2008). Here is why: It's been an interesting and unique journey for the EELS over the past 15 years, renowned for their prolific songwriting, consistently great studio recordings, their idiosyncratic nature and charismatic live shows. Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, Mark Oliver Everett (aka E) and his revolving lineup of bandmates are now set to unveil their first "best of" compilation - Meet The EELS: Essential EELS Vol. 1, 1996-2006, and its first collection of rarities - EELS Useless Trinkets: B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased 1996-2006.

Spanning the first decade of EELS music, Meet The EELS offers 24 tracks that showcase the band's evolution and growth of E as a songwriter, along with 12 videos. While Useless Trinkets is a must-have collection of 50 hard-to-find B-sides, film contributions and unreleased tracks, and a DVD of live performance footage from Lollapalooza 2006. All music has been digitally remastered and both releases are accompanied by notes from E and full-color booklets.

Four songs from 2000's Daisies Of The Galaxy, which NME dubbed "a masterpiece in almost every way," are represented on the Essentials album plus three tracks from 2001's Souljacker, which Time Magazine crowned as one of the best albums of the year, was acclaimed overseas with NME calling it "downright brilliant" and the London Sunday Times named it Album Of The Year, writing that "the conventional wisdom that (the earlier album} Electro-shock Blues was E's masterpiece will have to be reassessed: it was clearly just one of his masterpieces."

2003's live-in-the-studio Shootenanny! (awarded four stars by Rolling Stone) adds two fan favorites, while five songs from the highly acclaimed, and best charting album in the band's history Blinking Lights and Other Revelations are included. Also on the Essentials album are the previously unreleased "Get Ur Freak On", a live version of "Dirty Girl" from 2006's With Strings: Live At Town Hall and "I Need Some Sleep" from the Shrek 2 soundtrack.

Highlights within the 50 CD tracks of EELS Useless Trinkets are longtime concert favorite "Living Life" from the Daniel Johnston tribute album, the previously unreleased 2006 cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" and other covers including James Carr's "Dark End of The Street" and Prince's "If I Was Your Girlfriend. " Useless Trinkets also includes a large handful of BBC performances, unique live versions of "Novocaine For The Soul" and "My Beloved Monster," tracks from films-- The End Of Violence, Holes, Levity and How The Grinch Stole Christmas and several previously unreleased tracks including the original collections title track which frontman Everett performs backed by a 28 piece orchestra. The DVD features six performances from the EELS' Lollapalooza 2006 performance, including a gospel rave-up take on "My Beloved Monster" and a high octane rumble through "Souljacker part I".

Meet The EELS: Essential EELS Vol. 1 and EELS Useless Trinkets prove why, following that 2006 Lollapalooza performance, Rolling Stone wrote: "EELS define coolness.

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