Sunday, March 28, 2010

And Then I'm Gone.

I'm taking a much-needed vacation this week, so Stallion Alert will be sitting idle.

Enjoy this incredible video of the Supersuckers until I return.

You're going to want to watch it repeatedly, so it should tide you over.

Back soon, probably with stories of record shopping.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Old Skull - Get Outta School (LP, 1989)

Back when Musicland still existed, they used to have a free magazine sitting out on the counter of their stores in the mall. Actually, maybe they were free with purchase. Either way, it was called Request, it looked like this, and I used to get them whenever I could. The thing should have sucked (It was Musicland propaganda, after all), but it actually didn't. Well, it depended on the issue. But, really, it was like a slightly less legit version of Spin, and for a kid on a limited budget - teenage me, for example - it was a great resource for reading about music.

In one issue that I must have picked up in 1989, there was a full-page photo and a short little blurb about a band called Old Skull, a three-piece punk group whose members weren't even teenagers yet. The picture was sweet, and of course I can't find it anywhere on the web. Anyway, I was never intrigued enough to actually buy the album, but my brother was, and he picked up their tape at some point. Upon hearing it, it became clear that they weren't much more than a novelty act, but it had some fun points. But, I never really got into it.

I found this LP at the record show I went to a while back, and I picked it up. I don't plan on listening to it much, but it's a nice one to have.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Ol' Dirty Bastard - Nigga Please (2xLP, 1999)

Wow. I want to find the dude who wrote the Wikipedia entry for this record and shake him. What a load. Nice try, ace.

So, here's the deal - and though I'm sure some folks will disagree with me, I'm just going to get right to it: this album really isn't very good. We want it to be good. Everyone wants to believe the myth of ODB (Big Baby Jesus, by this point), wants to believe that his genius remained intact until the day he died, but this record is full-on proof that the guy was a shell of his former self. If anyone deserves to be patted on the back for this one, it's the dude who spent months piecing together all of Dirty's nonsense and forming songs out of the random lines. Almost every single track here sounds like single lines cut-and-pasted together. Sometimes it kind of works; most of the time it doesn't.

This record actually starts out fairly strong. The first two tracks ("Recognize" and "I Can't Wait") are pretty good. From there, shit gets dicey. "Got Your Money" has one catchy-ass beat and chorus, but Dirty's rhymes are a mess. Tracks like "I Want Pussy" and "Dirt Dog" are borderline throwaways, and "Good Morning Heartache" is a complete throwaway.

The bright spots end up being the title track - on which RZA delivers a dope beat and Dirty sounds enthused - and "Gettin' High," mostly because Shorty Shit Stain (of "Protect Ya Neck II The Zoo" fame) is on it. But for the most part, I really think this album is overrated. And I hate The Neptunes. So that doesn't help. But tell me it doesn't sound like they propped Dirty up and just let him ramble until they had enough shit to cobble together and make songs out of.

Yes, there are some good songs on here. But it's not a great album. We would like it to be. But it's not. Especially coming after his debut.

"Got Your Money"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ol' Dirty Bastard - Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version (2xLP, 1995)

This was only the third official Wu-Tang release (after Enter the Wu-Tang and Method Man's Tical), and it kept the momentum going, once again proving that the Clan was the strongest force in hip hop. This album was nominated for a Grammy, and while it didn't win, it should have. When people say that ODB was an original voice, or a misunderstood genius, or whatever, this is what they're talking about.

This is the Ol' Dirty Bastard LP. The one with RZA. The one with a bunch of the Clan dudes popping in and out. The one where he sounds relatively coherent and even articulate in spots. Trying to explain the approach of this record is impossible, because I've been listening to it for 15 years and I still don't really understand why it's as good as it is. I mean, I do - the beats are insane, Dirty is over-the-top entertaining, and there's not a bad song on the damn thing - but it just seems so nuts that Dirty actually pulled this off.

In the context of the Clan, he was a force. His verses on Enter the Wu-Tang are fucking fantastic, but when listening to that album, I couldn't picture him being more than a team player, a brilliant juxtaposition for the more dead-serious rhymers like Masta Killa and GZA. The thought of listening to him rap, sing, and single-handedly (mostly) carry a collection of songs for an hour straight didn't seem wise to me.

I was way off.

If you listen to the five-minute intro on this record and recognize - even though you might not be able to put your finger on why - that it's like nothing you've ever heard before, then you'll get it. And when "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" kicks in after that, there's not going back. "Brooklyn Zoo" will go down as one of the best Wu songs ever, and "Protect Ya Neck II The Zoo" remains one of the dopest posse cuts on record.

More than anything, I love the fact that Dirty made this record before he really lost it and things got too fucked up for him to be the nutball he wanted to be - the one who was crazy, sure, but the one that could also rap his ass off. And he does a lot of that here.

When I think of ODB, this is what I think of. Because this was when he was at his finest. I mean, come on - the cover is his food stamp card. That's fucking awesome. And 15 years later, this whole record remains fucking awesome.

"Brooklyn Zoo"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Okkervil River - The Stage Names (CD, 2007)

I don't usually put much stock in Pitchfork reviews, but they gave this album such a hand job that I, after reading the article and determining that it sounded like something I might like, had to hear it. So I found a site that was streaming the entire album to promote its release (it might have been their MySpace page), and after listening to it for days straight and driving my future wife nuts, I decided it was worth picking up. I found a used copy, listened to it even more, and drove my wife even further into Okkervil madness. I still remember her whining when the first few bars of "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe" would come on. Memories.

So, anyway, this record was my introduction to the group, and I was really excited to find some new music to listen to. So much so that played this one into the ground, bought their two previous records (we already talked about that), and proceeded to get completely burnt out on all of it. I've since taken a long enough break that I can listen to this album in particular and remember what I initially loved about it so much.

If the group hadn't already found their sound - and I think they had - they definitely found it on this group of songs. There are only nine tracks here, but they're all good, all completely fleshed out, and all complementary to the songs that precede and follow them. That's the sign of a great record, and something that I think gets lost a lot these days. I love this record because I never have any desire to do anything with it but straight up front-to-back it. It's got a striking beginning, a huge ending, and a bunch of cool shit in between. That's waaay oversimplifying it, but you get the idea. The songs are good, the execution is appropriate given the material, and there's no space wasted.

I'm always hesitant to recommend this to people (I'm still pretty sure my wife doesn't care for it), but what the hell. It's your life. Live it. Of course, I still haven't purchased their new LP, so who the heck am I to tell anyone what to do?

"Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy (CD, 2005)

While I like Down the River of Golden Dreams quite a bit, this record is even better, and over time, I've grown to like it almost as much as The Stage Names. In fact, this record sounds like Part One of that album, in a way. While the production is a little different, the songwriting is strikingly similar, and you can tell the band has found their sweet spot.

"For Real" starts out in their standard timid fashion, but soon blows open and turns into a legitimately powerful track, while still remaining comfortably ragged. "Black" is another romper, and one of the band's catchiest songs. It made me realize that while I certainly enjoy their fragile stuff, I like it when they really get the strum going, too. Will Sheff's got a more versatile voice than he lets on, and this record really give him a chance to use it.

Tracks like the slow and frail "In a Radio Song" and the eight-minute "So Come Back, I Am Waiting" might be a little much for some people, but I think they move just enough to be really effective at what they're trying to do. And that can be said for this whole record. It's jam-packed with peaks and valleys, but the sequencing is smart and the songs are strong. That's all you need.

"For Real"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Okkervil River - Down the River of Golden Dreams (LP, 2003)

After reading tons of rave reviews for Okkervil River's 2007 LP The Stage Names, I listened to it online, loved it, bought it, and then quickly bought the band's two previous releases. This is the first of those two, though it's the group's third full-length overall.

A bit about Okkervil River, before I go through the few of their albums that I own: I've never been able to put a finger on exactly why I like this band. Like a few other groups that I almost guiltily enjoy, I feel like they're constantly inches away from being a group that I despise. Will Sheff always sounds like he's about to cry, the tracks are often frustratingly delicate, and they're sometimes painfully slow. But when I'm the right mood, the tunes really do it for me. Dude's got a knack for melody, and although his lyrics can get pompously literary, I always find that's way better than throwaway lines.

So, as I said, I started out on The Stage Names, and worked backwards to this one. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the band's sound had barely changed between records, and what I like about their then-newest one was still a part of the sound on this older release.

The band's not for everyone, but if you like your indie folk/pop timid with the occasional build-up-then-controlled-explosion, cuts like "It Ends with a Fall" and "The War Criminal Rises and Speaks" should do it for you. Some of the songs here push the five-and-six-minute length markers a little too hard, but often I don't notice. And that's a good sign.

"It Ends with a Fall"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ric Ocasek - Beatitude (LP, 1982)

Ric Ocasek put out two solo records while The Cars were still together, and this is the first. Released between Shake It Up and Heartbeat City, I'd like to say that this album bridges the gap between those two, but it really doesn't. It sounds like a sparser version of The Cars, and while that's cool because it allows Ocasek's vocals to get more Lou Reed-y, the songs just aren't as strong, and definitely don't portend Ocasek penning the band's most commercially successful album in the few years that followed.

Still, even if this album sounds like a collection of Cars B-sides, it's Ocasek in 1982, and that's pretty cool. The guy was a huge star at this point, and releasing a record that features as many disparate sounds as this one was pretty gutsy. "Something to Grab For" features the standard synth ploddings, but when a shredding guitar solo comes in, you'll never see it coming.

Songs like "Prove" and "I Can't Wait" seem one little tweak away from being radio hits, but they never quite get there. The best track on this - or at least the most interesting - might be "Out of Control," the only song co-written with Cars bandmate and frequent collaborator Greg Hawkes. The synth lines are stacked, and hearing Ocasek fake-laugh at the beginning and say "fucked around" in the first verse is pretty sweet. The song is subdued, but lyrically, it's about as pissed as Ocasek gets and that's something.

The more I listen to this album, the more I like it, and the more I realize I should probably shell out the two bucks for 1986's This Side of Paradise. Maybe I will.

"Something to Grab For"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oaktown's 357 - Wild & Loose (CD, 1989)

Back in '89, I saw a video for an Oaktown's 357 song which I thought was called "Get Loose." I knew, even at the time, that it was a terrible song, but damn if the chorus wasn't stuck in my head for weeks. For years afterward, whenever I thought about the group, I thought about their asstastic dance moves in the video, and that chorus: "3-5-7 - get loose!" Just shameful.

So, when I came across this CD in a dollar bin a few years ago, I figured I'd pick it up. There was no song called "Get Loose" listed on the back, but the album title made me pretty confident that the song was on it and it must just be titled something different. (Though I was a bit worried, because with a group like this, the label's looking to make it very clear that the single is on there. But then sometimes they put a sticker on the front clarifying the nondescript title. Whatever.) I get the thing home, listen to it, and wouldn't you know it - the song's not on there. But, the first song on the record - "We Like It" - uses the exact same sample that's on the "Get Loose" song, and contains a chorus that kind of sounds like the one in that song, too. Hmmm.

Now check out this version of the video. It lists the title as "We Like It," and the album as Wild and Loose. This video has the song title listed as "Wild N' Loose," and in the comments, the dude posting it says it's a "remake" of "We Like It."

At this point I just wanted to know if the song was ever released on wax. After some light digging, I think I found it. Good ol' Discogs. Looks like the group released a two-song 12" (and also a CD promo) that contained the "Video Version" of the song. The date on those is 1990, so it must have been a standalone release after the album didn't do well...? Because it's not a remix. The lyrics are completely different.

The Ultramagnetic MC's pulled almost the same shit with "Traveling At the Speed of Thought," with this version and this version. But that's another story.

Anyway, this album is terrible. MC Hammer wrote all the songs, and the lyrics are brutal. But I guess it was about the dance moves.

"Yeah Yeah Yeah"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Northern State - Can I Keep This Pen? (CD, 2007)

After revisiting the shit out of the first two Northern State albums, I decided - as I hinted at in my previous post - to pick up their third album, the only one I didn't have. Now I have it. And I'm glad I do.

I've only been listening to it for a few days, but I'm already of the opinion that it's their best one. While their first record found them still finding their sound, and their second seemed like it might have had a bit too much major-label interference, this one finds them jumping to Ipecac (Mike Patton's label) and sounding more confident, composed, and free than ever. There's more singing on this one, and that ends up being a great thing. The hooks on "Better Already" and "Good Distance" are mad infectious, and "Run Off the Road" is light, hazily melodic, and like nothing they ever tried before. A nice move.

Adrock produced two tracks here, the bumping "Oooh Girl" and the frantic "Sucka Mofo," which is arguably the best cut on the record. Adrock doesn't drop any rhymes, but you can hear him a little bit at the beginning of "Mofo." It's a shame, because he would have wrecked some serious bizness on that track, but what can you do.

I love records like this. While the group's first two albums were really good, I always got the vibe that they had a little bit more in them. This is the record where it all comes out. Rock that shit.

"Better Already"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Northern State - All City (CD, 2004)

For their second release, the Northern Staters hooked up with some big-time hip hop producers (Muggs, ?uestlove, Pete Rock) and got some guest spots going (The High and Mighty, Har Mar Superstar). Their rhyme style got a little more fluid, and the beats got - obviously - a little more slick. I haven't listened to this album in a few years, but it's coming back a little bit.

The song structures are similar to the first record, and anyone who didn't like that one isn't going to like this one. The hooks here are a little less organic, but whatever. This record definitely feels a little more "major label" than their first (because it is), and I think that takes a tiny bit of the charm away, but it's not like this thing's all polished and shiny. And the lyrics are still there. Wish I had more to say about it, but I really haven't rocked this in a while.

They went on to put out another record after this one (on Ipecac, of all labels), but I never picked that one up. Not sure why. I may do that. I've got the first two, might as well complete the trilogy.

"Girl for All Seasons"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Northern State - Dying in Stereo (CD, 2002)

Way back in '02, the music rags were all abuzz about this trio of white gals from the East Coast who were doing some semi-old-school hip hop shit that was lyrical, fun, and apparently pretty good. It didn't take much convincing to get me to bite.

So I picked this disc up, and while it didn't blow my mind (it was almost exactly what I was expecting), I enjoyed the shit out of it. And listening to it now for the first time in a while, I still think it's great. While the backlash against the group started almost immediately (it's constantly amazing to me how music as harmless as this can drum up such white-hot ire in people), those who criticized it weren't saying anything that - it seemed to me - the group wouldn't readily admit themselves. (The Beastie Boys comparisons were way too easy.) This album is what it is - it's light, witty, and just fun. And honestly, the rhymes on this thing are smarter than a lot of the stuff floating around. There's some throwaway lines, sure - but fuck it. It is what it is.

And if there's something wrong with three girls getting together and rapping, then I don't want to be right. There's no need to make songs like "At the Party" complicated. Just kick back and enjoy it. Or don't. And that's that.

Oh, and here it is:

"At the Party"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Knife - Drunk on the Moon (LP, 1996)

Man, it's been a while since I've listened to this one.

I know I saw No Knife live once, when they were opening for Pond, but I think I spent most of their set in the 21+ area bugging one of the dudes from Pond for insight into some of his more obscure lyrics. Yes, I am that guy. But I do remember catching at least part of their set. But that's all I remember.

I don't remember when I bought this LP, but I think it was fairly recently. One of those random finds at a record store that I was happy to cough up five bucks for. No Knife sort of sounds like what overly confident bands on the Warped Tour probably think they sound like. It's slightly poppy punk on the surface, but calling their music that doesn't do it much justice. These guys can play their instruments, and while they can write a solid hook, they don't harp on it. They're happier to incorporate weird-ass breakdowns and instrumental sections that get challenging.

They're like Superchunk, but with a bit of Fugazi in there. It's a solid mix, and though this album sounds a little dated now, it's still sounding pretty damn good to me. "Ginger Vitus" is sounding strangely familiar.

Clearly I don't know this album very well, but I'm happy to have it. Hopefully I'll randomly find some of their other shit one of these days.

Can't find a lick of audio or video for this one...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stallion Alert! - Krist Novoselic

It somehow always seemed perfect that the bass player for the biggest band in the world was a six-and-a-half foot tall goofball with a constant grin on his face. While Kurt Cobain was diminutive, quiet when he wasn't screaming his songs, and often overly serious, Novoselic seemed to be the exact opposite. He was tall, slightly mouthy, and he really just seemed happy to be along for the ride.

I still love the story of Novoselic getting black-out drunk, stumbling over to Jonathan Poneman's (or was it Pavitt's?) house, and demanding that Nirvana be given a written contract from Sub Pop. This was after he was belligerent at their initial meeting with the label, almost screwing up the deal. He ended up doing Sub Pop a favor: when it came time for Nirvana to jump to a major, they still owed an album to their current label. DGC had to cut Sub Pop in for profits on the new shit, and it's been said that that drunken contract saved the label.

Anyway, not trying to get off on a tangent here. It's just a funny story. And Krist always struck me as a funny guy, and a genuinely nice one, too. And while you won't often hear him praised for being a superb bass player, go back and listen to the bass lines in tracks like "Lounge Act" and "On A Plain." They're doing a lot more than you think.

He should also be commended for maintaining Nirvana's legacy (to the best of his abilities) and involving himself in social issues when he could just as easily lay back and wait for the next Nirvana retrospective. The list could go on and on. The guy's a stallion. I know it and you know it.

He currently blogs for Seattle Weekly, and you should check that shit out.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nirvana - Outcesticide (Remastered Edition) (CD, 1995)

I almost forgot I had this. But I do. So, as an afterthought to all the legit Nirvana albums we covered, here's a bootleg that I've owned for a long-ass time.

Before the box set but after Incesticide, there were still a bunch of non-album Nirvana tracks that were floating around. This disc contains (arguably) the most notable of those, though almost all of this stuff would indeed end up on the With the Lights Out box years later, with some having been given different names. I also think there are a few cuts on here that are different versions of songs that ended up on the box. For example, "Junkyard" on here is a live version of the song listed on the box set as "Token Eastern Song," and the version there is a studio demo. If that makes sense.

There is a really weird version of "D-7" on here that I can't really figure out the origins of, but it's more of an oddity than anything. There's also the version of "Breed" when it was still called "Imodium" that's pretty sweet. So, yeah, some random stuff. And it was really cool to have this before the box set came out, and it's still cool to have. It's more or less the kind of "Unreleased Nirvana" mix I would have made myself. And I guess that's why I still have it.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Went to a Show: Supersuckers at the Hawthorne Theater (March 11, 2010)

The Supersuckers hadn't come to Portland since New Year's Eve 2008, though fans of the Alert will recall that I did go to see Eddie Spaghetti (the 'Suckers lead dude, if you didn't know) play a solo gig this past summer. Since they're one of the only bands left that I'll go out of my way to see, I was ready for the show. But this time around things were going to be different, and I was a little worried.

I'll try to keep this brief, because I could probably write a book about the Supersuckers if I let myself go. So here's the short version, even though I probably mentioned some of this stuff before and I'm going to get much further into the details of all of it when we get to their albums. Anyway. The first time I saw the band was in 1991, and since then I've been a loyal fan. I've probably seen them live 20 times. Maybe more. I don't know. A lot. Over the years, they've gone through a lot of changes, both with their music and with their lineup. Around 1995, original guitarist Ron Heathman left the band, and they recorded their third studio album without him, replacing him with Rick Sims from the Didjits. This made me uneasy, but it was short-lived. Heathman rejoined the group before they recorded their next record.

Around 2003, original drummer Dancing Eagle left the group, and he didn't return. They kicked around with a few drummers before settling on Scott Churilla, who remains their drummer. This never sat well with me, but I got used to it. Around September of this past year, Eddie posted a weird message on the band's site about how they were getting ready to debut the "new look" Supersuckers. This made me nervous. Again, long story short - Heathman left the band again and had been replaced with "Metal" Marty Chandler, the dude who was playing with Eddie Spaghetti when I saw him at that solo show in August. I guess I should have wondered why Chandler knew so many Supersuckers songs so well when he was playing with Eddie, but I'm an idiot and don't put things like that together.

I love Ron "Rontrose" Heathman, and the idea of the band going on without him (and with only two remaining original members) wasn't sitting well with me. I watched some videos on YouTube, and really wasn't feeling it. It didn't look right, it didn't sound right; it just wasn't the same band. But I had to go see it for myself. So, Thursday night, the wife and I did just that.

The opening bands were Kleveland (who we thankfully only caught the last song of) and Pure Country Gold, a two-piece guitar-and-drums outfit from Portland who were actually pretty cool, despite their goofy (and inaccurate - maybe that's the joke?) name. As usual, the crowd consisted of the most random group of people you can imagine: burnouts, buzzards, full-on old people (I'm talking 60), hammered fat guys, sleeve-tattooed punky dudes, chicks who look hot across a dark room like that but are mad haggard when you see them up close, and grown men who couldn't wait to slam dance, or "mosh" as the kids called it 20 years ago when it originally sucked. There was a dude standing near us who actually had a backwards hat on and a flannel tied around his waist. And he was in his 30's. There is always the sad mosh-pitting at the Supersuckers shows. It's embarrassing.

The 'Suckers took the stage a little before 10:30. Eddie has apparently finally shaved his head bald, and his goatee is long. He looked substantially creepy. Dan "The Steak" Bolton looked like he's lost some weight. Good for him. Dude looked trimmer than I've seen him in years. Churilla was buried behind his drums as usual, and Chandler looked like he was trying to be confident but is still wary of how the fans are going to react to him. I don't envy the guy: filling Rontrose's shoes is going to be impossible, and guys like me aren't really looking to like him. But I'm also not going to give him a hard time during the show. I'll just talk shit about his wanky playing to my wife in the car on the way home. Which I did. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I don't want to pick the show apart too much, so I'll just get right to it: I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. Which, to me, was a victory. The band wasn't in top form, but they were in decent spirits, and though I don't really like Chandler's guitar playing, he does an OK job on the songs. He's kind of got some cool guy shit going on that I don't really care for, but the guy's a guitar player. Whatever. He doesn't hold a candle to Heathman, but if the band is going to keep this thing going at whatever cost (which is clearly the case at this point), they could do worse than this dude. I'll just leave it at that.

Here's why the show didn't suck:

The setlist was solid. They played a good mix of songs from their entire catalog, which I hadn't seen them do in forever. They did end up doing a lot of the standards that they play almost every time I see them, but they also played "Fisticuffs," "Hot Rod Rally," and the rock version of "Sleepy Vampire." The biggest surprise came near the end of the show, when they played "What Love Is," a Dead Boys cover from their second 7". That was the highlight of the show for me. I hadn't seen them play that in forever.

They also didn't play "Creepy Jackalope Eye," which is a sign that they're moving out of their comfort zone. And I like that. And they didn't play a ton of stuff off the new record, which is a good thing.

Eddie and Bolton are still fun for me to watch. I can't deny it. I've got a soft spot for those dudes, especially The Steak. He's just too cool.

At one point "Metal" Marty was soloing in the front of the stage and hanging himself and his guitar over the edge. Some dumbass (this guy had been hopping around like an asshole all night) decided to grab his rhythm/treble toggler thingy and flip it up and down real fast. Chandler kicked the dude in the head. That was pretty sweet.

Also, Eddie kept intentionally knocking into Chandler while he was soloing, and came close to knocking him off the stage. Apparently this is what passes for initiation these days.

I had an OK time, all around. The $15 price tag on the tickets sucked, but I guess I don't mind supporting the band. I bought a t-shirt, too, so I guess I supported the shit out of 'em the other night.

Maybe I'm too set in may ways. I've been listening to the band for so long now that I can't turn my back on them. And they've been playing for so long that they can't quit now. Maybe we're all getting old. Maybe it's a comfortable rut and I don't mind being stuck in it. I think that's OK. If I had my way, the original band would still be playing together, but I guess it's amazing that they're still playing at all.

Strangely, the band announced on their site today that they've had an emergency and they're canceling all their upcoming tour dates. Hmmm. That doesn't sound good.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nirvana - Bleach: Deluxe Edition (2xLP, 2009)

Even if you already have Bleach and have been listening to it for years (possibly 20 at this point), there's still some really compelling reasons to buy this new deluxe set, especially the vinyl version.

First, the original album has been remastered. Maybe my ears are playing tricks on me, but I think you can really tell the difference. It makes you realize what a great job Endino did of recording the thing in the first place, especially given the limited time and resources. So the album itself sounds fantastic.

Second, the packaging is sweet. I'm sure the CD comes with the same Bleach-era photobook insert, but in the LP version, it's nearly as big as the gatefold sleeve and almost seems like a coffee table book. Pretty sweet. Plus, it's pressed on white vinyl (like the original issue of the LP), and I was even lucky enough to get a copy with a few grayish streaks in it. And, you get a free download of the album that is a version recorded from the vinyl, which is sweet. You can actually hear them putting the needle down. Maybe that would be annoying for some, but I think it's pretty cool. And really: it sounds good.

The third - and biggest - reason to get this thing is for the live set that's included. It's from 1990 at the Pine St. Theatre in Portland, and though it's short, the sound is incredibly good and the band plays a great set, filled with a nice assortment of songs. About half the songs are from Bleach, but they also toss in "Spank Thru," "Molly's Lips," "Dive," "Been A Son," and perhaps most random of all, "Sappy" (sometimes known as "Verse Chorus Verse"), which wouldn't see an official release until about four years later.

It's a great little show, and though it's a tad sloppy, that just adds to the charm. It's great that such a quality recording from this era exists. 20 years later. Crazy that it's been that long.

"Scoff" (Live at the Pine St. Theatre, 1990)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nirvana - Live at Reading (2xLP, 2009)

I already did a review of the DVD of this show, so I'm not sure what else I'm going to add to that. The album is, aside from the odd exclusion of "Love Buzz" (think they might have had to yank a song to keep the set under 80 minutes), the same set as the DVD, and it's equally powerful.

While it's probably a little more fun to watch the band playing the songs, this live recording sounds so good that it's worth having in addition to the film. While From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah is a great live album, this one might win just for being one long, complete show, featuring the band at their peak. They sound so into it during this whole thing that I defy you not to get at least a little bit of a boner. Go ahead, try it.

The vinyl is a nice little set, with two thick-ass records that sound great, and a nice gatefold sleeve. A sweet addition to the collection. I said this in the entry for the DVD, but if you like Nirvana, you owe it to yourself to own this. It's blistering.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nirvana - With the Lights Out (3xCD, 2004)

The talk about a Nirvana box set had been brewing for years, with rumors rampant about what it would (or wouldn't) contain. I was going to get it regardless, so I just hoped for the best. When it finally arrived under the Christmas tree for me in 2004, I was very excited.

In the months before its release, we finally got word that it was going to contain nothing but rarities, demos, home recordings, and other random ephemera. This was going to be my kind of box set. The Nirvana greatest hits comp (containing the anticlimactic "You Know You're Right") had been released a few years before, so there was no need to rehash the best of the band. It was time to go digging for the shit no one (not even the most ambitious bootleggers) had heard, and the folks who put this thing together did a great job. While it does contain some tracks that had seen release on various unauthorized comps ("Opinion," "If You Must," "Pen Cap Chew," among others), the majority of the stuff here was new to me, and some of it had been cleaned up for this release.

I was actually shocked that they released this thing, given what it contains. Most of this stuff is probably only of interest to the more obsessive Nirvana fan, and a lot of it is not as listenable as it is just a cool reference point as to where some of these songs started. The home demos with just Cobain and his out-of-tune acoustic are both creepy (voyeuristic much?) and endlessly interesting for people who wanted to know more about the guys songwriting process. I count myself among that group, so a lot of these tracks are really great for that. Two different versions of "Rape Me" right next to each other on Disc 3, recorded about a year and a half apart, do a great job of illustrating that song's growth in particular.

This set is also chronological, which is awesome. Not so awesome: some of the glaring mistakes in the titling and liner notes that should have been more thoroughly researched. Sure, only the harder-core Nirvana fans would probably notice this stuff, but songs here that had actual titles were given made-up ones, which is pretty lame. Also, there were a few songs that I had actually heard cleaner recordings of on bootleg versions ("Opinion" being one of them). This is nerd gripery, and I don't really like to go for that (or do I?), but I think it's worth mentioning.

The fourth disc, a DVD containing crazy-old rehearsal footage and other random stuff, is worth the price of admission alone. Again, it's probably more for the die-hard fan, but if that's you, you'll enjoy the shit out of it.

I've been listening to this thing for the last few days, and while it's great to rock, headphones-style while you're in front of the computer, it's not going to be the first thing you grab for a car ride. So, there's a time and a place. When the moment's right, strap on the phones and nerd out. That's what I do.

"Old Age"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nirvana - From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (2xLP, 1996)

Released a few years after Kurt Cobain's death, this record was a shining light in the otherwise bleak musical landscape of 1996. For me, at least. Enough time had passed to process the loss of the band, and an official live album from the band seemed like a fine idea. And it was.

While the Unplugged album was a nice, solemn note for the band to end on, I for one was ready to remember the band as the screechy, scratchy, loud and uneven band that they really were. This record is perfect for that. Krist Novoselic assembled this thing, and he clearly intended to not leave any soft spots. "Polly" is the closest thing to the mellower side of Nirvana, but after the opening chords, they launch into a fast and heavy version of the song. Good stuff.

So, here's what I like about this set:

As I mentioned, the loudness is all-encompassing. It's a heavy album, and almost relentlessly so. I can get with that.

The recording quality is awesome, and the performances seem untouched. Some of the tracks are sloppy, but that makes it seem even more legit.

I wasn't initially excited to see "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on here, but the version they included is awesome. It was recorded right after Nevermind came out, and the band is obviously still really into playing the song.

Here are my few minor gripes:

It's not chronological. I know. Boo-hoo.

Even though the performances are culled from all sorts of different shows and years, it's all blended together to sound like one long show. It makes the sound more fluid, but it's bothersome to me for some reason. It's misleading or something...?

Otherwise, I love this thing. I bought this on vinyl right when it came out. The LP is sweet, because the fourth side contains nothing but random stage banter from the band - stuff that wasn't included in the CD release. It's not something I listen to more than every other year or so, but it's cool to have. This hasn't ended up being one of the more in-demand Nirvana records, but it's relatively hard to find. And until recently, it was the only official Nirvana live album, not counting Unplugged. So that's pretty sweet.

Definitely one of my favorite live records.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Stallion Alert at the Movies: Nirvana: Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! (1994)

I bought this on VHS, lost it, bought it again on VHS, and then just recently picked up the DVD, which was released a few years back.

I've always loved this movie. Not only is it well made, but it contains rare (or what used to be rare, pre-YouTube) footage of the band that is usually notable for one reason or another. There's the part where Cobain get punched by the bouncer during an particularly spastic version of "Love Buzz," the part where Cobain sings "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in a deep timbre over a backing track on a foreign TV show, the part where the band is on another show and is announced as playing "Lithium," but they instead play "Territorial Pissings" and wreck all their shit, and lots of other good stuff.

It might not be for the casual Nirvana fan, but if you enjoy seeing a bunch of random Nirvana performances and interviews spliced together, it's fantastic. The editing is weird enough to keep things interesting, and the pace of the whole thing never slows. I've watched this movie at least ten times, and I still love every minute of it. The band put it together (some before Cobain's death, some after), and that's probably why it's so great. It's definitely a "warts and all" sort of affair, and I've always felt that that was part of its charm. Some of the live performances are rough to say the least.

The DVD added a handful of full live songs from a 1991 performance to the VHS release, as well as a rehearsal version of "On A Plain" that rolls after the credits. The audio on that bit is awful, but watching the band in their practice space is awesome.

A fine little film.

Watch the trailer here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Nirvana - MTV Unplugged in New York (LP, 1994)

While In Utero was Nirvana's last album, this will always be considered their last hurrah, with Cobain's blood-curdling last yelp on "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" continuously romanticized as his last public act. It is a striking image, and it's a nicer way to remember him than for how the remainder of his life played out. The MTV Unplugged performance is a great one, and as much as the act of doing it was very "corporate," the way Nirvana did it was admirable.

"Come As You Are" was the only single the band played (not counting "About a Girl," which was released as a single to coincide with the album's release), and of the other originals they played, there were some ones that obviously lent themselves to the acoustic arrangement of the show ("Polly," "Something in the Way," "Dumb") and a few that didn't ("On a Plain," "Pennyroyal Tea"). While the cover of the Vaselines' "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam" wasn't too surprising, the Meat Puppets segment and the cover of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" were fairly random. Of course, it all worked.

When this first began airing on MTV, one of my friends taped it and we watched it repeatedly. Seeing the band play acoustic was just bizarre, but once we settled into that aspect of it, we quickly began to realize how great the performance was. Cobain looked healthy and happy, the band seemed rehearsed and genuinely pleased to be there, and most of all, the band who made their living being noisy as shit translated their songs perfectly to the stripped-down setting. If anyone doubted there were genuinely brilliant songs under the ragged guitar tones (not many did), they were proven wrong by this performance.

After Cobain's suicide, MTV played this thing into the ground and the tone of it instantly turned from easy enjoyment to sullen mourning. It wasn't hard: the flower arrangements made the whole think look like a funeral, and if you pay attention, you start to realize that almost every song in this set mentions death in one way or another.

I bought this record right around the time it came out, when I took a trip with some friends to Portland (from Eugene) to dick around and go record shopping. I have one of the first pressings on white vinyl and I've managed to hold onto it for all these years. I used to listen to it a lot, but I don't put it on nearly as much as I used to. It's a nice performance, but I've just heard it so many times. The record was good for two songs that didn't make it onto the initial broadcast: "Something in the Way" and an additional (and great) Meat Puppets song, "Oh Me."

This thing is worth checking out on DVD, too. I was going to write up a separate entry for it, but there's not too much to say that I couldn't say here. A few things are worth mentioning, though: the DVD includes the entire performance (between-song banter and all), as well as the originally aired version and a making-of doc that features some cool behind-the-scenes stuff.

Now if MTV would just put out a DVD of the Live and Loud show Nirvana did at the end of '93...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nirvana - In Utero (LP, 1993)

When I saw Nirvana at the Portland Meadows in September of 1992, they played a few songs I hadn't heard before. I thought one of 'em was just a live jammer, but it turns out it was an early version of "Tourette's." The other two were starkly more memorable, as they were clearly almost-finished new Nirvana songs. One was "Rape Me," and the other was "All Apologies."

"Rape Me" stuck with me just because of the lyrics. I would also later see footage of Nirvana playing the first few bars of it the MTV Video Awards, which took place the night before the Portland Show. I don't remember it airing the night before the show that I went to, though it may have. I'm pretty sure I didn't see it that night, though. It's not important.

"All Apologies," aside from having one of the most instantly catchy melodies in the Nirvana catalog, haunted me because our local favorite video show, Bohemia Afterdark, played a short videotaped clip of it (from the show) the week after the concert. My brother and I were excited. We had no idea what the song was called, but man it was catchy. So, when In Utero was released almost exactly a year later, I expected those tracks to be on it. And they were. But other than that, I didn't know what to expect.

(Funny aside: I remember listening to In Utero for the first time with my brother and we kept waiting for "that song" to come on while we were enjoying the record. By the second half of the second side, we were starting to get worried. And then, boom. There it was. The last track. It was called "All Apologies." It was even better than we imagined it being. And all was fine again.)

For a while, I thought Cobain starting off the most anticipated album of the 90's with the lyric "Teenage angst has paid off well" was a bit much. I've since come to believe that it was a pretty sweet move; by getting that out of the way early, it became an acknowledgment that sort of shielded him from any criticism in that area. It just seemed very un-Nirvana at the time. And so did the song. But I was ready to head down any road the band wanted me to follow, so I learned to love this album real quick.

If they set out to make a less polished release than Nevermind (and they did), they pulled it off. This thing is screechy, sharp, and the drums are fucking huge. It makes for a very different sound, but it serves the songs well. Tracks like "Milk It" and "Scentless Apprentice" were deliberately challenging the listener, but songs like "Very Ape" and "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" were instantly easy to love. Both of those songs still sound great.

"Pennyroyal Tea" was never one of my favorite Nirvana songs, and I think I'm in the minority on that. At track 9, it's put in a good spot on the record, though. The three songs that follow it, "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter," "Tourette's," and "All Apologies" are a great trio to end this record on, especially considering it would be Nirvana's last proper record. The fact that "All Apologies" is the last song on the last Nirvana album just makes too much sense, and it's beautiful, sad, and maddening all at once.

So, yeah, this would be the last Nirvana album issued while Kurt Cobain was still alive. And while it's not regarded in as high esteem as Nevermind, it's usually not placed far below that record in terms of quality and influence. And that's the way it should be. I'd argue that it's an equally important record in terms of the quality of the music, but the shitstorm that Nevermind started will never be equaled. I didn't know what to expect from Nirvana's post-Nevermind output, but I was never disappointed in this record. I've listened to it thousands of times, and it still sounds great to me. "Dumb" and "Rape Me" haven't aged super-well, but "Heart-Shaped Box" and "Serve the Servants" still sound as powerful as ever.

I have this LP on clear vinyl, from the original limited edition that was released (I believe) when this album came out. "Limited edition" is a relative term, but this thing is still in demand. And it should be. It's a great record.

"Milk It"

Friday, March 5, 2010

Nirvana - Incesticide (LP, 1992)

Probably doesn't warrant mentioning, but this is a compilation of pre-Nevermind Nirvana songs, released (from what I can tell) to tide fans over until their next proper record was finished. Worked for me. I'm fairly certain I had heard every track on Incesticide before it came out, aside from "Big Long Now," which had somehow not sneaked onto any of the tapes that were being passed around. Not trying to sound like a cool guy; I'm just saying. And the versions I had heard were ones that had been dubbed a jillion times, so I was ready to step things up.

Between having CD-quality copies of all these songs and the sweet extensive liner notes by Cobain on the inside (that mentioned the No on 9 benefit show I saw them at!), I could not have been more jazzed about this collection. I still think it's great. As usual, I wish they would have sequenced the songs in chronological order, but the recording dates for all the songs are all within the scope of a few years, so it's not that big of a deal.

The one track that's conspicuously absent from this thing is "Spank Thru," which was, to the best of my recollection, the first Nirvana song. I always wished that track would have kicked this thing off. But, that's a minor complaint. For folks who had fallen in love with Bleach, this thing was a godsend. Most of the cuts were of that era, and a lot of them retained that scratchy, dirty quality that made that record so fantastic. There are a few covers here (three of the four from Hormoaning), but for the most part, this thing is filled with Nirvana originals, which is awesome.

Casual fans didn't really care for this thing, but for those of us who were dying for something new from the group, this did the trick. And for me, I was crazy excited to even hear one song I hadn't heard before. I've never gotten the vibe that "Big Long Now" is a hugely popular Nirvana song, but I've always loved it. It's slow, slightly sludgy, and Cobain's vocals on it are incredible.

I still put this record on every once in a while, and I have no trouble rocking it front to back. I still consider it a fairly odd release, and I think I was pretty surprised when it initially came out. There are no songs on here with any commercial potential (aside from maybe "Sliver"), and DGC didn't make much effort to push it. I think this was the first Nirvana album that I bought on CD, now that I think about it. I had the "Come As You Are" and "Lithium" singles on CD, but not either of their first two records. In fact, strangely enough, I have never owned a copy of Bleach or Nevermind on CD. Maybe that's not that strange.

I bought an original LP copy of this record probably about ten years ago, along with an original copy of In Utero, at my favorite record store in Salem. Incesticide is on blue and white swirled vinyl and is awesome looking. Glad I bought it when I did, as they go for a good chunk of change now. Nothing outlandish, but they're becoming rarer and rarer. It's worth it. This is a real purdy record, and the songs are damn good as well.

"Big Long Now"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nirvana - Hormoaning (CD, 1992)

This six-song, import-only tour EP started making the rounds via cassette dubs shortly after its release, and though I heard a few people had actual copies of it, I don't recall seeing it in person until at least a year after I heard it.

It's a cool mix of songs, with four covers and two tracks ("Even in His Youth" and "Aneurysm") that had already shown up on versions of the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" single. Of the covers, two of them are Vaselines songs ("Son of a Gun" and "Molly's Lips"), one is a Devo cover (the very un-Nirvana "Turnaround"), and one is a Wipers song ("D-7"). Of those four, three would end up on Incesticide, leaving "D-7" as the most rare track on this record after all was said and done.

I dug the shit out of this when I first got a copy, and listened to it quite a bit. The Vaselines tracks were simple but short, and the Devo song was so odd that it always got a rise out of me. The version of "Aneurysm" here is the same one from the "Teen Spirit" CD single, but it's not the same version that would end up on Incesticide. And strangely, "Even in His Youth" was not included in that compilation at all.

"Aneurysm" is really one of the quintessential Nirvana songs, and I've never really understood why it wasn't released on one of their proper albums. I guess I could see how it didn't really fit on Nevermind, but man, it's just such a strong song, and one of the only ones that really encompasses everything that was great about Nirvana in one track. The other highlight of this EP has got to be "D-7." It's just so aggressive, and given where it starts and where it ends, that build-up really emphasizes its strength.

Here's the deal on owning a legit copy of Hormoaning. It's tough to pull off. There are tons of fakes floating around. I have a CD copy, from Japan, that I thought for sure was real, and I've since (via info from this site) come to the conclusion that it's counterfeit. I didn't pay a ton of money for it, but I'm still bummed. There were only 4,000 copies of the EP pressed on vinyl in Australia, and those are the only vinyl copies that are real. They're pressed on red and blue swirled wax, and other than the original "Love Buzz" single, they're arguably the most sought-after Nirvana record. They're expensive, but I'm determined to get my hands on a copy. They're not technically out of my price range, but it's more in the lying-to-my-wife range of things. It's a slippery slope.

There are legit Japanese copies on CD (with the cover like the one above), but distinguishing between a real and a fake without holding it in your hands is near impossible. And I'd rather have the vinyl anyway. Time to start saving.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stallion Alert at the Movies: Classic Albums: Nirvana - Nevermind (2005)

If you've ever watched any of the Classic Albums episodes on VH1 and then seen that same episode on DVD, you know that DVD is the only way to go. The episode's longer, and in most cases, there's extensive bonus features that get even more nerdy than the clips they use for the main piece.

Such is the case with this one. After watching it on VH1, I bought it, and have probably watched it three times since then. I'm a huge Nirvana fan, but this is also just a great little movie (or whatever you want to call it) for anyone who likes to see how an album gets put together. If you can look past producer Butch Vig's Bono-esque eyewear, he's got great stories to tell about the recording of this record, as well as some hands-on mixing board stuff that is incredible to hear. By omitting certain tracks in the recordings, he's able to give a clearer picture as to how the songs were put together, and just how much work he and the band put into the whole project.

People who champion Butch Vig as a big reason that Nevermind was so successful won't have any reason to back down from that opinion after seeing this. His methods aren't exactly by-the-book, but damn if he didn't get some great results. However, he's the first to admit that he wouldn't have had as much to work with if the songs hadn't been so great in the first in the place. He talks about how the band tightened up certain parts per his advice, but mostly it sounds like they had the songs down when they showed up.

Interviews with Grohl and Novoselic are of course included, along with the ubiquitous Thurston Moore and a few others. But it's really Vig that makes this thing so interesting. Dude's either got an airtight memory or took extensive notes (probably both), because he talks about the recording sessions - and moves through the tracks - like they're still fresh in his mind. It's really cool to watch and listen to.

The bonus features, like I said, dive a little deeper into things that are touched on in the main presentation. There's spots on Dave Grohl's joining of the band, some info on the album cover art, and a great segment where Vig meticulously breaks down all the elements that went into one of the record's most expansive tracks, "Drain You."

Thank god they did this right.

Watch the first segment of it here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nirvana - Nevermind (LP, 1991)

At the beginning of my sophomore year in high school, I had a friend who was - via his older sister and his predilection for blowing money on pot - more juiced-in with the older crowd (seniors!) than the rest of us. Between gravity bong hits, these older dudes were turning him on to some sweet music. We all had our ears to the ground, but he had enough expendable cash to actually buy these CDs (still a fairly new technology), and he was gracious enough to share from time to time. He had hipped me to Sonic Youth's Goo the previous year, and I was eternally grateful to him for that. The dubbed cassette he gave me was getting plenty of use.

He asked me at school one day if I'd heard Nirvana yet, and I admitted that I hadn't. He gave me a lift back to his parent's house after school, insisting that I had to hear it. I can't remember exactly how he prefaced the listening-to of the album, but I do know that he hyped it up immensely. Of course, I was skeptical, but I was more than game to give it a listen. His parents had a ridiculous sound system in their family room, and I saw him cranking the volume knob as he placed the disc in the tray. I waited.

I've romanticized the first time I heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to the point where I now usually end the story with me scooping handfuls of diarrhea of out of my underwear in my friend's guest bathroom while trying to get my boner to go away, but I'll spare you the hyperbole. But I can say, with complete conviction, that it just felt like something else. Like all this "alternative rock" that we'd been listening to for the past year or so had been building to something, and we didn't realize it until we heard it. But when we heard it, we knew, this was it.

The rest was a whirlwind. I immediately rushed out and bought the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" single on cassette (why didn't I buy the whole album?), and listened to it over and over and over. "Even In His Youth," a non-album track was on the b-side, and I rocked that hard, too. I mean, just repeatedly. Soon after that, I remember being in another friend's basement and seeing the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video for the first time. We couldn't believe it was on MTV. And then we couldn't believe that they were playing it every fucking hour. And then like a week later it was all of a sudden the biggest thing in the world.

And then in January they played on SNL, and my friends and I all got together to watch it. They played "Territorial Pissings" as their second song and wrecked their equipment. I wanted to stroke my teenage dong. By this time I had a proper cassette copy of the album, and it was all I listened to. We watched the "Teen Spirit" video every time it came on, and waited for the world premiere of the "Come As You Are" video. I bought the SPIN magazine with Nirvana on the cover and studied it like a textbook. I bought the Rolling Stone with the first article about Nirvana they did and took it to Kinko's and made a color copy of Kurt Cobain's face to hang on my wall. I grew my hair long and parted it down the middle. I bought a Nirvana smiley-face t-shirt from the local rock shop and wore it way too often.

I bought the "Come As You Are" CD single for the bonus live tracks, and the "Lithium" single for the unreleased cut "Curmudgeon" and the fact that it had all the lyrics to Nevermind on the inside. I found out that Cobain screams "God is gay" at the end of "Stay Away" and I thought that was fucking fantastic.

I bought the "Sliver" 12". I traveled to Portland to buy (the aforementioned) bootleg 7"'s which contained songs that no one had heard of. I combined these with dubbed cassette copies of other unreleased songs and made an entire mix of Nirvana songs that weren't on their proper albums. It sounded like shit but I didn't care. I even bought the Sassy magazine that Cobain was on the cover of. I wish I would have kept that.

And I listened to Nevermind until I thought I should have been sick of it, realized I wasn't, and kept listening to it. I eventually got a little tired of a few tracks on the first side, but I still contend that the second side of the album ("Territorial Pissings" - "Something in the Way") is one of the finest sides of a rock album ever. Songs like "Drain You," "Lounge Act," and "On a Plain" might never get old for me.

A guy I work with told me that he heard his nephew saying "What was that band Dave Grohl was in before Foo Fighters?" If I heard my kid saying that, I'd toss him out on the street. These fucking kids today.

I have an original U.S. pressing of this LP, and that's all I ever wanted. I found one many years ago in a record store, bought it, and I'll keep it forever.

When it comes to records that really played a huge part in my life, this might be at the top of the list. There's a few others, but if it really came down to it, it's this one. I feel like this album has fallen out of favor with critics over the years, and I'm not quite sure I get that. I listened to it today and it's still incredible. Every single song.

Nothing better could have come along for teenage me.

"Territorial Pissings"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nirvana - Blew (LP, 1989)

I caught Nirvana fever hard following the release of Nevermind, and this was one of the many records I scooped up during that time. (A lot of the other ones were bootleg 7"'s, though I do still have a UK 7" of "Smells Like Teen Spirit.") It was a wise purchase, as legitimate (non-bootleg) copies of this four-song EP have become scarce over the years. The original pressing was reportedly 3000, and they go for about fifty bucks on eBay these days. Not a ton of money, but I'm happy I got mine for far less than that and held onto it.

This record, like I said, has four tracks. "Blew" and "Love Buzz" seem to be the same versions that are on Bleach, and the recording of "Stain" appears to be the same one that would later end up on Incesticide. "Been A Son" is also on this record and would also end up on Incesticide, but they're not the same versions. So, if you really like to nerd out (and I do), that's pretty cool.

Plus, when I had this and Incesticide hadn't come out yet, this was one of the only ways to have legit copies of either of those songs, which was also pretty cool. A lot of songs like these were making the rounds on dubbed cassettes, but the quality varied. So I was happy to have the goods.

Not much else to say about this one, aside from mentioning that it's always been one of my favorites, because it's remained one of the more oddball Nirvana releases and I used to really get off on showing it to people. Maybe I still do.