Mega Bargain!! Nirvana's 3rd + 4th albums together for £3.99.
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Buying time and thwarting bootleggers, Nirvana and DGC released the rarities compilation Incesticide toward the end of 1992. Like any odds'n'sods collection, this is uneven, but that's its charm since it captures Nirvana's character better than any official album. After all, this was a band that was born equally from '70s sludge metal, bubblegum pop, post-punk artiness, and indie rock inclusiveness, each of which are apparent on this collection. There are some non-entities here, particularly on the second side, but the plodding sub-metallic grind was part of their identity, one part of their multi-faceted character. Nirvana meant everything to everyone, from the jangle pop veterans to the garage rock ravers that worshipped the Stooges to stoner metal fetishes and indie rock bed-sits that adopted Sebadoh just as they outgrew Morrissey -- everybody loved Nirvana, and there's something for every kind fan here, thanks to murky sludge, Devo and Vaseline covers, BBC sessions, instrumentals, and limited-edition singles, plus sub-Melvins goop, everything visceral where Bleach was tame. Nevermind doesn't capture this freewheeling indie spirit but Incesticide does, piling on some essentials in the meantime -- the pummeling "Dive," the childhood snapshot "Sliver," the terrific forgotten indie pop tune "Been a Son," and "Aneurysm," perhaps the greatest single song the group ever recorded. Yeah, there's some filler here, but this is the sound of what Nirvana was actually like.
Nirvana probably hired Steve Albini to produce In Utero with the hopes of creating their own Surfer Rosa, or at least shoring up their indie cred after becoming a pop phenomenon with a glossy punk record. In Utero, of course, turned out to be their last record, and it's hard not to hear it as Kurt Cobain's suicide note, since Albini's stark, uncompromising sound provides the perfect setting for Cobain's bleak, even nihilistic, lyrics. Even if the album wasn't a literal suicide note, it was certainly a conscious attempt to shed their audience -- an attempt that worked, by the way, since the record had lost its momentum when Cobain died in the spring of 1994. Even though the band tempered some of Albini's extreme tactics in a remix, the record remains a deliberately alienating experience, front-loaded with many of its strongest songs, then descending into a series of brief, dissonant squalls before concluding with "All Apologies," which only gets sadder with each passing year. Throughout it all, Cobain's songwriting is typically haunting, and its best moments rank among his finest work, but the over-amped dynamicism of the recording seems like a way to camouflage his dispiritedness -- as does the fact that he consigned such great songs as "Verse Chorus Verse" and "I Hate Myself and Want to Die" to compilations, when they would have fit, even illuminated the themes of In Utero. Even without those songs, In Utero remains a shattering listen, whether it's viewed as Cobain's farewell letter or self-styled audience alienation. Few other records are as willfully difficult as this.
4. Been A Son (BBC Mark Goodier Session)
5. Turnaround (BBC John Peel Session 1990)
6. Molly's Lips (BBC John Peel Session 1990)
7. Son Of A Gun (BBC John Peel Session 1990)
8. (New Wave) Polly (BBC Mark Goodier Session)
11. Mexican Seafood
12. Hairspray Queen
13. Aero Zeppelin
14. Big Long Now
1. Serve The Servants
2. Scentless Apprentice
3. Heart Shaped Box
4. Rape Me
5. Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle
7. Very Ape
8. Milk It
9. Pennyroyal Tea Album Version
10. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
12. All Apologies/Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip