Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Discovered Uncovered #3 (Nirvana-rama)

I started writing this post two days before Halloween, and I thought to myself "wow, I may actually post something relevant for once." And then I didn't touch it for almost a month. Granted, there were many things to be done in the city of Taipei, including finishing the process of becoming a legal alien resident, and buying things like cheese graters and mini plastic palm trees for my apartment. Basically I'm groping for an excuse for calling this a Halloween themed post. But I have none. Fuck it; here's the super-spooky edition of Transmissions From Wintermute's Discovered Uncovered. Sorry...

Molly's Lips - Nirvana

Ain't it a Shame - Nirvana

Here She Comes Now - Nirvana

Heartbreaker (Live) - Nirvana

The above covers are of songs by The Vaselines, Lead Belly (most famously), The Velvet Underground, and Led Zeppelin, respectively.

I will always love Nirvana. They changed my brain in high school. Sorry to be such a cliche, but I have never gotten their sound out of my bones.

So much of their b side material, as well as all the live and unreleased stuff floating around the intra-net, and recently released on With The Lights Out, is covers. I always found this slightly odd because of their general standing as a band with a very distinct style and a seminal place of importance in rock history. Probably not that strange though with Cobain's acclectic musical taste and appetite. Nirvana was certainly always first to claim, even broadcast, their influences and idols, usually downgrading their own uniqueness. However, whenever they covered anything, it instantly became their style, just drenched in their personality and the sound of the early 90s. I kinda think this was Nirvana's power in general, the ability to absorb and synthesize so many of the rock, punk, and pop breakthroughs (or breakdowns) of the late 80s-early 90s, along with Cobain's personal imagination and outlook. They took all this amazing noise happening around (and before) them, and turned it into this loud, full, coherant sound. It was challenging and personal yet widely appealing.

Anyway, it's pretty fucking hard (I said "fucking" to sound more "punk") to find a bad Nirvana cover. At the top are four of the best I've come across. The Lead Belly cover was done as the grunge supergroup, The Jury (consisting of Kurt Cobain on vocals, Krist Novoselic on bass and backing vocals, and the Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan on guitar and Mark Pickerel on drums). According to wikipedia, it was done as part of a planned Lead Belly tribute album which was never finished. Also, the VU cover isn't the rockin' version they did as a Sub Pop split with The Fluid, but is rather an acoustic version I found online. If anyone out there in blogland has any idea where it's from, please hook it up in the comments.

Sub Pop has a way cool site with a bunch of original Nirvana press photos and one sheets from their Bleach days, as well as a really comprehensive discography. Here is how they described Nirvana back then:

NIRVANA sounds like mid-tempo
Black Sabbath playing the knack,
Black Flag, the Stooges, and a
pinch of the- Bay City Rollers.
Their personal musical influences
include H. R. Puffnstuff, Speed
Racer, divorces, drugs, sound
effects records, the Beatles,
rednecks, hard rock, punk rock,
Leadbelly, Slayer, and, of course,
the Stooges.

And if for some reason you're still reading, here's an old and unidentified film of them playing Seasons in the Sun, (Made Famous by Terry Jacks).

Hope you enjoyed the tardyness.

Happy late Canadian Thanksgiving!



Blogger Grant Miller said...

I love the Vaselines. They might be my favorite band ever.

November 27, 2007 11:03 PM  
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