Addicted to Noise: Nirvana

NIRVANA'S RAW POWERAddicted To Noise editor Michael Goldberg reports: As Pearl Jam began their first full-fledged world tour in some years the other night, I received an advance of the upcoming live Nirvana album, From The Muddy Banks Of the Wishkah, one of the most brutal live albums in the history of rock & roll. There is some irony in the fact that while Pearl Jam will be taking it on the road, Nirvana too is back, delivering the live versions of their songs albeit on CD. The album is genius, but it isn't a revelation. How could it be? The knock-out punch of Nevermind, one of the greatest rock & roll albums, was the revelation, establishing Nirvana's greatness. Still, when, after an exhausting version of "Aneurysm," "Smells Like Teen Spirit" begins, and again, when "Heart-Shaped Box" kicks in, you can't help but stop in your tracks and just listen in amazement, at the power of these songs. And though it feels like I've heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" 1000 times, that song, heard anew here in this live version from a Dec. 28, 1991 performance at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego (back before the group had a chance to tire of playing it), can still just devastate you with its power. And speaking of raw power, after listening to performances of such songs as "Negative Creep" and "Scentless Apprentice," you'll feel like you've been pummeled in some back alley. There are 16 songs on the album, drawn from shows as early as 1989 and as recent as 1994. This album includes a version of the first Nirvana song, "Spank Thru." Vaguely a musical rewrite of "Gloria," for those who haven't heard it, it does not disappoint. The mood for the whole album is set when, during a 52 second intro, Kurt Cobain just screams. Nirvana was many things, but somehow, Kurt Cobain, screaming, says it all. What Nirvana might have accomplished if Cobain hadn't blown himself away, we'll never know. Pearl Jam are forging ahead, evolving their music even as they mature as individuals. Still, the five albums of Nirvana music that we are left with (three studio, two live) are an amazing legacy. Few bands, no matter how long they stay together, record work like this.GREEN DAY "HANGING OUT," RESTING & WRITING NEXT ALBUMAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: While Green Day are busy "writing, hanging out and resting," after their exhausting world tour in support of the relatively wan Insomniac, (wan in the sense that, according to Soundscan, it sold 1.5 million copies versus a staggering 6.1 for their breakthrough album Dookie), dedicated fans can slake their thirst for the band's music by tracking down a rare live EP that's just now making its way to the U. S. in very limited quantities. The seven-song disc, Bowling Bowling Bowling Parking Parking was recorded live in Tokyo, Prague and St. Petersburg in early 1996 and is a limited pressing, international and Japan-only collector's item that contains the tracks, "Armatage Shanks," "Brain Stew/Jaded," a cover of the Operation Ivy song, "Knowledge," "Basket Case," "She," "Walking Contradiction," and a special unreleased bonus track sung by Tre, "Dominated Love Slave," which can be found only on the true Japanese version. The EP was released in late July in Japan, Australia and select markets in Europe only.UPCOMING COUNTING CROWS ALBUM ABOUT "CATHARSIS"Addicted To Noise editor Michael Goldberg reports: Counting Crows epic new album, due out in mid-October, is 60 minute song cycle that, on one level, deals with, well, the changes band leader Adam Duritz went through following the band's international success. "It's an album about uncertainly, about the attempt to recover yourself, and it's also about the attempt to throw yourself off the cliff that you have to recover yourself from," Duritz said on September 12, as he sat in his Laurel Canyon home. "Certainly earlier portions of the album are about a great deal of turmoil inside myself and the desire to hurl myself off into oblivion, on a couple of these songs. We, the band, had a running joke about [two of the songs on the album] 'Daylight Fading' and 'Catapult.' We called them two verse suicide notes. They have exactly the same structure. Somewhat purposely. And they have exactly the same subject matter. They're not suicide notes, but they're about nihilistic desire, a desire to gain that disintegration and that fading as a relief. And they bookend a song about screaming at god or a woman or someone about why they hang you on a fence and make you wait for them. Why you can't have faith in things that are there for you. Why faith does not come and cradle you in it's arms, as opposed to you having to stand there all day like this [he spread out his arms] --or getting beaten about the head by it, by your desire to have faith in something. And those two songs bookend that song, 'Angels Of The Silences.' The first half [of the album] is about that turmoil and the amount of damage you can do to yourself... The second half is about the attempt to deal with it."DOLLY PARTON GOES ROCK (SORTA)Addicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: Okay, so we already told you that Mr. Pearly Whites, Pat Boone, is doing a heavy metal album. So now that your cat has stopped walking backwards and speaking in tongues, get ready for round two: Dolly Parton covers Neil Young. Parton, (insert joke here) who's own career was rejuvenated when Whitney Houston turned her corny ballad "I Will Always Love You," into the least escapable single other than the "Macarena," unleashes her Treasures (insert second joke here) on the unsuspecting world on September 24. Hear Parton sing Cat Stevens' "Peace Train" with Ladysmith Black Mambazo! Stand back as Parton tip-toes her way through "Just When I Needed You Most," alongside Union Station's Alison Krauss! Hold on to your britches as she gives the Hallmark treatment to Neil Young's "After the Goldrush"! And you won't believe the mess Dolly gets into when she wrastles with Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine"! Not satisfied? How about Blues Travelers' John Popper adding vocals and harmonica to a cover of Merle Haggard's "Today I Started Loving You Again"? And, in the leftover categories, you've got your John ("Welcome Back") Sebastian and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, who must have taken a wrong turn into the wrong studio somewhere, lending a helping hand.GUIDED BY VOICES HAVE NOT DISBANDEDThe Dayton, Ohio-based lo-fi rock band Guided By Voices have not disbanded. Contrary to reports in news groups and email ricocheting about the Net, Guided By Voices leader Robert Pollard is currently at work on the group's next album, which he is making "just the way he always works," according to his management. The rumors began following a Dayton show on Sept. 8 where Pollard himself said that the live performance was the group's last. Not so, says GBV management, although they also confirmed that "Pollard offhandedly said that." It does appear that personnel changes are in store for the acclaimed group, best known for their brilliant album, Bee Thousand. A spokesperson at Matador, the company GBV record for said that "there may be personnel changed." ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ALEX CHILTON, ALAN VEGA & BEN VAUGHN FORM CULT SUPERGROUPAddicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: It took two years to crawl to the light of day, but now the truth can be told. The big beat pow-wow that occurred over a pair of late nights in late 1994, and which brought together the unlikeliest of comrades, Suicide survivor Alan Vega, Big Star Alex Chilton and producer/guitarist extraordinaire Ben Vaughn, is called Cubist Blues (October 9) and thanks to the kind folks at Thirsty Ear, you can now hear the amazing results. Supergroup you say? Neurotic Outsiders eat your hearts out. This trio are, to put it mildly, stunning. Vega handles the vocals on all the tracks, pleading like a defrocked, wayward sheep on "Come On Lord," and dredging up visions of a sleepy Jim Morrison on the epic opener, "Fat City," which, for over eight minutes lurches forward into a blurry big city night full of shady characters reminiscent of "Break On Through (To the Other Side)," if Morrison had really let loose with some soul screeches and non-Freudian dada poetry. What's most remarkable about the dozen songs on the CD are that the trio entered a studio for two days and entirely improvised the music and lyrics, from the barrelhouse roll of "Lover of Love," on which Alex Chilton's piano seduces almost as much as Vega's breathy crooner vocals, to the hypnotic synthesizer and guitar groove on "Too Late." From the scat style of Vaughn's drumming to the surprisingly ragged guitar by Chilton, there's a informal looseness that permeates the album and strips it of the inherent pretension that inevitably precedes these types of musical meetings of the mind.OFF-THE-(ATN) WIRE: Pearl Jam played a secret show at the Showbox in Seattle on Sat. Sept. 14 before 500 fans before beginnning their world tour two nights later on Sept. 16 at the Key Arena in Seattle where they thrilled a sold-out audience performing songs from their four albums, including plenty of material from the new one, No Code... Soundgarden's third video, for the amazing "Blow Up the Outside World," will be directed by Devo's Gerry Casale...R.E.M.'s New Adventures In Hi-Fi entered the charts at #2, selling about 250,000 copies the first week of release...

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