I’ll never forgive myself for loaning my cassette of Nirvana’s Nevermind to a so-called friend because, of course, I never got it back. Twenty years later, I’m still bitter. And, wait … it’s been 20 years?? This one is gonna start making me feel old.
To celebrate the anniversary of what few would argue to be the most influential album of our generation, Spin cooked up a covers album — Newermind — to complement coverage of the event in their August magazine (that’s that thing with glossy pages that also was influential 20 years ago).
I’m just starting to make my way through the album after downloading it for free at Spin’s Facebook page (you have to “like” Spin and then cough up your email address). Naturally, I had to start with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” not only because it’s the leadoff track but because it’s handled by Arizona’s Meat Puppets, who were famously covered by and played with Nirvana for MTV Unplugged in 1993.
The Puppets’ Curt Kirkwood tells Spin: “It wasn’t daunting. ‘Teen Spirit’ is just a few chords. It’s easy to play — slap some reverb on there and it’s good to go. This was a cool, weird opportunity — like playing with Nirvana on MTV Unplugged — so we’re happy to take it.”
Another of my favorites, Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis, came through in a pinch and put together a taut version of On a Plain, which you can hear at NPR.
I’m starting to really miss that cassette tape again.
Tracklist for Newermind:
1. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Meat Puppets
2. “In Bloom” Butch Walker
3. “Come As You Are” Midnight Juggernauts
4. “Breed” Titus Andronicus
5. “Lithium” The Vaselines
6. “Polly” Amanda Palmer
7. “Territorial Pissings” Surfer Blood
8. “Drain You” Foxy Shazam
9. “Lounge Act” Jessica Lea Mayfield
10. “Stay Away” Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band
11. “On A Plain” Telekinesis
12. “Something In The Way” JEFF the Brotherhood
13. “Endless, Nameless” EMA