Spin Magazine – Newermind, A Tribute To Nirvana’s Nevermind

It took twenty years, and fifteen after his death, but someone at Spin magazine thought this would be a good idea. At least it was free. Now, I’m a sucker for a cover song, but covering an album from start to finish. An album that is revered among most music critics, fans and tragics like myself. It was a huge risk.

Smells Like Teen Spirit is covered by The Meat Puppets. It’s fitting as the influence and relationship between The Meat Puppets and Nirvana. However, their semi-acoustic take on the song took away the punk-fuzzed brilliance that made it an anthem. If it was meant for an acoustic performance, don’t you think Kurt would’ve played it for the MTV unplugged album?

Butch Walker & The Black Widows take In Bloom. They’ve given it a slowed down, dirty swamp blues feel to it. The verses sound quite good but it lacks the punch in the chorus the band aim for. Come As You Are was given to Midnight Juggernauts and wow!…..what a fucking disgrace. The song sounded nothing like the original. Electronic beats and chipmunk style vocals would make even Courtney turn in her grave and she’s not dead yet or had anything to do with Nevermind. That’s how ridiculous it is.

Titus Andronicus take on Breed. They did a fantastic job of it. Why try and recreate a song that works? Keeping to the original, it’s a stand out on this record. And after track 3 atrocity, brought my faith back to this not being completely crap. Lithiumwas always my favorite Nirvana song. The Vaselines did ok with this. The frantic chaos that was held in this song was controlled down to an almost haunting, ethereal track.

Polly was given the Amanda Palmer treatment. Played on xylophone with sound effects in the background in the first verse. Banjos were introduced in the second verse and then double bass in the last verse. Her voice is dirty sexy and actually works this song to a new level that impresses. Surfer Blood do Territorial Pissings and like Titus Andronicus, keep true to the original. A pacey punk number with three chords.

Drain You were interpreted by Foxy Shazam. Interpret is the best word. Starting out like a stadium Queen style track before slipping into their oddball brand of pop/punk/theatrics. They are a kooky band and they sure do mix it up on this version. I didn’t love it or hate it. Jessica Lea Mayfield did a nice stripped back indie pop version of Lounge Act. Very Tegan & Sara in sound

Stay Away was given the southern blues rock touch from Charles Bradley. I don’t know who you are Charles but I likes what you’ve done to this song. It does have that whisky-fueled, red-lit smoky bar feel to it. On A Plain is performed by Telekinesis and they keep true to the original with enough fuzz box distortion and teenage don’t care vibe that sat with the original version. Jeff the Brotherhood gives a creditable version of Something In The Way. Sparse verses with a true Seattle grunge chorus. Endless Nameless caps of the tribute performed by EMA.

Overall this is better than what I feared. There’s a couple of bizarre choices, as you’d expect on a tribute record, and one blatantly horrible one. Otherwise a commendable job from

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