To me and many people my age the shot gun blast took not only Cobain's life but also immortalized him and the band Nirvana forever. Because of this the band has become a sort of scared cow, one everyone would acknowledge as being wonderful, but no one was allowed to criticize or mess with his songs. That is why this tribute disc has been so long in coming, over eight years have passed since his death and the demise of the band. I have to say when Scott first gave this to me I wasn't sure how I would like it. I felt that no one should be allowed to fuck with these songs, they were sacred and any band trying to do them could never do Nirvana justice. As I was all set to rip this disc apart, something happened, the songs were done extremely well by a batch of artists whom I had never heard of. This surprised me a lot. I have been playing it a lot lately. This disc had a little bit of everything. Since between Scott and I, we didn't know a single band on this I've decided to do a track listing and give people at least an idea of what the bands sound like.
The disc starts off with haunting version of "Rape Me" by Storm Inc. This started out with a girl sweetly singing the intro and first verse over heintently picked acoustic guitar. As the song continues she starts to get louder and more aggressive with the singing and the band starts to build behind till they back up a loud distorted finish with the girl screaming "rape me" as loud as she can, until it all completely dies at the end, where she whispers the last rape me. Very effective way of opening a disc, and probably my favorite track.
Next is "In Bloom" by the Crosstops, that do a punk, country, rockabilly thing. I don't care for this band and the cover is not bad, but after listening to it a coupe times I really started to dislike it and this band.
"Francis Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle" done by JoJo is a perfect cover which sounds exactly like a cleaner version of the original version.
The Reducer does a fucked up version of "Polly" This band does an industrial version of it very similar to Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, and Ministry only with a woman screaming the chorus and seductively whispering the verse. Not bad, especially if you're into that kind of music.
"Something In The Way," performed by Birdsaw, is really good. It starts with a slow piano intro and builds as the chorus comes to include a few bars of distorted guitars. Very good, I was even a bit moved while I listened to it. I think that it helps convey the desperation and depression of the song.
Deadweight does "Breed" with a hardcore DEVO type of sound. The guitars play a very similar to original version, but in the back round their are keyboards and sound effects that really remind me of DEVO or maybe NIN if Trent was on a shit load of Prozac.
Violet Discord does "Lithium" is a typical pop-punk fashion. To me this band sounded a lot like the Eyeliners. Good female fronted pop punk that breaks away from the overall depressing sounds of the other bands on this comp.
El Destroyo does an acoustic version of "Dumb" which sounds nothing like Nirvana version of it. The guitar sounds very different with more picking and some echo thrown in, while the singer doesn't sign it so at times it sounds like he is speaking it. One of the weirder tracks but also one of the better tracks on here.
"Territorial Pissings" is done by Hotbox as a raging hardcore song, much like the original. In the middle they do stop and do a bass breakdown, which sounds like it was performed on a upright bass. This is definetly a band I want to find out more about.
The Hellworms do "Milk It" in a Dead Kennedys' fashion. The singer even has a Jello type of voice and the band plays that weird sort of punk the DK's were known for. Even the solo was similar to "Holiday in Cambodia"
Blinky does "Pennyroyal Tea" with horns, but not in a ska version. The band plays a basic punky version, which is very similar to the original version, with a trumpet that accompanies the band and does the solo, the trumpet playing sounds very Spanish, maybe a little bit of VGS influence in it. This was another one of my favorites on this disc.
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" is done by Amanita, in a very straightforward fashion. The only really difference from the original is that instead of mumbling their way thrpugh each verse, the singer actually just speaks it in a rythmic way that follows the music. The chorus sounds just like the original.
"All Apologies" is done by Jeff Halford & the Healers in a old country version. It reminds me a lot of Johnny Cash or Hank Williams. It really stood out against the rest of the album, but made its mark and made me want to learn more about this group.
"Come As You Are" is done by The Chantigs, in a straight forward fashion, with a few electronic sounding parts and the singers voice is done with a weird echo sound to it. Interesting, but I didn't really like this track and found myself skipping over it a lot while listening to the disc.
Wilson Gil & the Willful Sinners do "Heart Shaped Box" with a very distorted organ. The organ sounded a lot like it was going through a wah-wah type of device, it actually reminded me of the organ sound of the Blue Meanies probably the same set up. The singer just sang it, but not with the screaming from the original. Weird, but still a good version.
While not technally a Nirvana song, Castles in Spain did "Oh Me" which was on their acoustic album. Their is really no difference between this version and the original other than it is a female singer rather than Kurt.
Liar does "School" which starts out with a tasteful classical acoustic guitar playing before launching into the grungy original version, until the end which goes back to the acoustic guitar.
"Silver" is speeded up by Pootwang, very similar except it is a little more punk than the original, their is also an organ playing in the background which doesn't take away, but at the same time doesn't really add to the song. At the end there is some talking which might explain why Kurt wanted to go home so badly.
Capsule does a very punk sounding version of "On A Plain". It is very similar to the original but played a lot faster, and with more attitude than the original. A really good version.
"Stay Away" is done by Bunny Knutson in a very hardcore version which is similar to the original, but think of it be played faster, harder, with more hatred in the chorus.
The Postmen do "Very Ape" and their really isn't much difference between this and the original, except for that it goes a little faster and its not as hard to listen to as the original.
Most tribute albums fall short and most of the time its big name bands just doing it to get an easy check and to keep their names out there. This one was different in that I was really enjoying most of the songs, and really wanting to find out more about the bands that contributed to this disc. One thing that really caught my attention is that over half the bands on this comp have female lead singers, which is rare in this scene, another impressive thing was that all the groups brought a different sound to the album. Its nice to be able to listen to a comp that isn't made up of 20 NOFX/Pennywise/Blink/Emo clones. I think that anyone who is a big Nirvana fan or just like a good set of cover songs would enjoy this.