Except unlike other members of the criminally neglected alt-rock trailblazer club [...] Slint didn’t just fail at becoming the world-beating superstars that their record labels and music-critic boosters alike hoped they would be. Through their initial 1986-1991 existence, Slint were obscure outsiders even within the subterranean confines of the American indie-rock underground.
Slint‘s breathtakingly awesome album “Spiderland” has been reissued as a 3xLP box set. That’s a fact worth mentioning in itself, but I also just thoroughly enjoy Pitchfork’s reviews of reissued albums – it teleports me back to the time they were released in the first place, and gives some more insight in bands and albums I love.
“Spiderland” scores a 10. I wouldn’t have expected otherwise.
Kurt Cobain died 20 years ago today
Seeing exactly this at my parents’ house is how I found out about Kurt Cobain’s death in April 1994. Although I was as shocked as anyone, I didn’t know about the full story until years later, when I saw BBC’s The Seven Ages of Rock. I’ve always known about it by and large – heroin addiction, unable to cope with the maelstrom of commercial success he so openly made a mockery of. But not until then did I hear about the terrifying bleakness of Cobain’s addiction, his overdose and hospitalization in Rome just one month prior to his death and his insistence on their November 1993 MTV Unplugged session looking like a funeral. And also: the close friendship between Kurt Cobain and Michael Stipe, and Stipe’s failed attempt to lure Cobain away from his downward spiral, faking a made-up collaboration project he wanted Cobain to join him on. It still remains a very tragic story.
It’s also in retrospect that I’ve come to realize the importance of Nirvana to the music I’ve so dearly loved since then. Of course Nirvana themselves today still sound every bit as vigorous and sincere as they did back then. But they opened the floodgates to many bands that are very important to me now. No, bloody fucking Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and a whole slew of other acts that went and ran with a counterfeit of Nirvana’s legacy are not what I mean. What I do mean is that Nirvana chose to play ”The Man Who Sold the World” right after “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam” on their MTV Unplugged session, in one broad stroke making tiny little Glasgow band the Vaselines equally important in the Great Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as David Bowie. They invited another little unknown band up on stage, the Meat Puppets, to play no less than three of their songs with to a television audience of millions. They publicly spoke up for bands that influenced them and actively supported bands that sprang from the same lineage they themselves did. It’s like Cobain realized he gained his immense success partly by just being lucky, something he wished upon his peers even more than upon himself.
Kurt Cobain’s influence on indie rock can’t be overstated, not even as much musically as more so in spirit. He relentlessly supported his own folk – I mean, check out this picture of Cobain saluting both Sebadoh and K Records. It made me realize there had to be more below the surface than what I before had been exposed to – something to be very grateful for.
I’ve been listening to Flake Music‘s first and only album “When You Land Here, It’s Time To Return” today. Not only does it remain a remarkable album, although quietly unnoticed – it’s almost as good as the debut album from The Shins, the band Flake Music morphed into. But until now I didn’t realize how much akin it is to Built To Spill, especially “Blast Valve” could easily have originated from 1994′s “There’s Nothing Wrong With Love”.
“Seven Swans” is 10 years old
Sufjan Stevens‘ album “Seven Swans” means a lot to me. I listened to it a few weeks ago, as I do every once in a while, and it still is breathtakingly gorgeous. It’s been released a whopping 10 years ago – it’s weird to realize there are as many years between, say, Portishead‘s debut “Dummy” and “Seven Swans”, as there are between “Seven Swans” and today. Stereogum posted an article about the album.
Perfect Pussy‘s debut album “Say Yes to Love” is out to some glowing reviews: 8.6/Best New Music on Pitchfork, 8 on Spin. I’m not totally convinced myself, judging from the NPR stream – to me it sounds too much like Pretty Girls Make Graves and White Lung to be truly special. It’s a good album nonetheless, I’m probably going to listen to it a lot this year.
Liars are back after 2012′s “WIXIW”. I’m not sure what to think of “Mess”, their latest release, but I wasn’t especially fond of “WIXIW” either. Maybe it’ll get to me eventually, anyone interested can stream the album over on NPR.
Amazingly, The Smiths were a band for just five years. If you’re interested in a detailed documentation of the glorious times when they were still around, check out the interactive timeline on their newly launched web site with tons and tons and tons of information.
Speedy Ortiz & Eagulls @ Paradiso
Went to see Eagulls and Speedy Ortiz yesterday. Regardless of how damn good (and loud) Eagulls were, their show was WASTED by the headliners. Not only the sheer genius of Speedy Ortiz’s songs, but the way they just as easily hurled through them – amazing. I dearly, dearly missed “Fun”, my all-time Speedy Ortiz favorite. “Plough”, “Cash Cab”, their full-on rendition of early song “Hexxy”, to name just a few out of many great tunes, quite made it up. Besides writing great songs, Sadie Dupuis unexpectedly proved to be an awesome guitarist. And wow man, does Matt Robidoux have one fucked up instrument.
Speedy Ortiz at Paradiso, Amsterdam
St. Vincent‘s new record gets a well-deserved 8.6 on Pitchfork. I can’t stop playing it.