Recorded in Tornillo, Texas, and intended as the follow up to his debut solo LP, “Tornillo” arrives more than half a decade later as a collection of alternate versions and also-rans from Glen Phillips, the frontman from Santa Barbara’s ’90s alternative rock outfit Toad the Wet Sprocket.
More than half of the songs appear on subsequent releases and some of them are the better for it. While the level of polish was unnecessary on 2005’s “Winter Pays for Summer,” Phillips plucked the best songs from “Tornillo” for it, including “Courage,” included here with an alternate third verse.
“Thankful,” a single from “Winter,” benefited from the upgrade in production, ditching the piano that gives it a child-like quality on “Tornillo.” Others will recognize “The Hole,” tucked away on an EP, from its inclusion in the AMC series “Breaking Bad.” Here, it goes for spooky and doesn’t quite hit its aim.
In too many places in “Tornillo,” Phillips feels lifeless, like he’s not sure he wants to be in the studio laying these tracks down, making the record inessential for anyone except Toad/Phillips diehards.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.