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30 Years Ago Today: Terrible music was released

Nirvana Bleach is one of the worst so called rock records in the history of the universeNirvana’s debut album, Bleach, was released on the Sub Pop label on June 15, 1989.

I have never liked Nirvana. The simplistic songs and nonsensical lyrics make a mockery of actual talent. The band was awful from the start, and Bleach serves as Exhibit A.

Nirvana was not the greatest “grunge” band. Nirvana was not a good band period.

I will not apologize for this opinion. I question the sanity of those who gave the release positive reviews, both at the time and in the years since.

“About A Girl” is perhaps the most tolerable song on the album. If you want to torture your eardrums, click play:

25 Years Ago Today: STP releases a #1 album

Stone Temple PilotsAfter the success of Core in 1992, grunge rockers Stone Temple Pilots upped their game in 1994 with Purple, released on June 7, hitting #1 just 18 days later. The English word of the title is nowhere found on the US version of the album; only the Chinese character 紫 appears on the cover with a picture of a child riding a qilin.

Several singles received airplay on alternative and modern rock radio stations and fared well on corresponding Billboard charts. “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song” both hit #1 on the Album Rock Tracks chart and #2 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart; “Big Empty” hit #3 and #7 on those same charts, while “Unglued” went to #8 and #16.

The album was released just a few days after I graduated high school and I remember listening to it with a friend who had received it as a graduation present. It didn’t have quite the impact on me that Core had, but I still enjoyed Dean DeLeo’s guitar playing and Scott Weiland’s voice.

The band is preparing an “Expanded Deluxe” double-disc release to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Purple. It will be released in September; you can pre-order it here. Of course, if you can’t wait, pick up the standard release here. One of the new tracks will be a previously unreleased acoustic rendition of “Big Empty” and the group uploaded the audio yesterday to YouTube. Listen to it below:

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Pearl Jam edition

It took me a long time to warm up to Pearl Jam. Long as in about twenty years. It was not until I watched the documentary on Netflix a few years ago that I really started digging the band. I tried back in the day; I had Ten on cassette, and Vs. on CD, but never really got into them. But after watching Twenty and reviewing the band’s output since the grunge explosion, I have grown to appreciate and even like Pearl Jam, much to some of my college friends’ displeasure. With their recent Rock Hall induction, this is a perfect time to give these rockers the “Ultimate Mixtape” treatment.

Pearl Jam Ultimate Mixtape

If you are not familiar with the “Ultimate Mixtape” concept, here is a quick run-down of the rules:

  • Every album must be represented by one and only one song.
  • The selected song does not have to be a single used to promote the album.
  • Live albums are fine if you want to use them, but you are not required to include them if you are satisfied with your “Ultimate Mixtape” without them. Sometimes they are a great tool to sneak in a classic song when the studio version didn’t make the cut. “Even Flow” and “Just Breathe” get the live treatment here from two PJ concert albums.
  • “Greatest Hits”/ “Best of” albums are eligible only if they contain new songs, or new versions of old songs. Since “State of Love and Trust” (from the Singles soundtrack) was never released directly by the band until their first hits compilation, I decided to use it to represent rearviewmirror.

Everyone’s “Ultimate Mixtape” will be different, and I would love to know how yours differs from mine. There are no right or wrong tracklistings (as long as you follow the rules)! Are you ready to rock? Let’s check out “JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Pearl Jam edition”…

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Pearl Jam edition

The “Bonus tracks” are taken from soundtracks, tributes, solo projects, and collaborative works…tunes that never made it on a Pearl Jam album, but is still related in some way to the group. And man, there was a ton that I omitted here. These are some of the best Pearl Jam-related tunes out there:

Bonus tracks

What did I miss? How does your Pearl Jam mix differ from mine?

Mudhoney: The Sound and the Fury from Seattle by Keith Cameron (2014)

Mudhoney book

Mudhoney: The Sound and the Fury from Seattle
by Keith Cameron
Voyageur Press, 2014
304 pages

Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam. Those are the names most often associated with the Seattle music scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s. But there is another band, one that predated the explosion of Kurt Cobain in the mainstream and probably influenced him more than he would ever admit: Mudhoney, comprised of Mark Arm, Matt Lukin, Dan Peters, and Steve Peters. Largely forgotten by so-called fans of grunge music, Mudhoney never achieved the commercial success of their peers—which was never the band’s aim. “They’re four guys who got together and played music for fun, and the grand plan ended there.”

Author Keith Cameron’s definitive work on the overlooked grunge rockers covers it all, starting with each member’s upbringing and musical influences, early endeavors, and coming together to form the classic lineup. The band received critical accolades for their releases on Sub Pop, and disdain for the materials released by Reprise. Drug addiction and turmoil among the band members, dwindling crowds and IRS audits were among the many struggles the band faced during their career, ultimately leading to bassist Matt Lukin’s departure from the band. Soldiering on despite many difficulties, the band still exists today on a smaller scale, playing smaller venues, but still releasing new music for fans. While many of the grunge bands of the past have abandoned their roots, Mudhoney embraces them.

Whether you are a fan of the musical output or not, the story of Mudhoney deserves to be told. A story of realistic expectations and resilience through adversity. Cameron’s Mudhoney: The Sound and the Fury from Seattle leaves nothing out, and is a worthy addition to any rock fan’s bookshelf.

Learn more about Voyageur Press.

Purchase Mudhoney: The Sound and the Fury from Seattle by Keith Cameron.

“Kurt and the Gang” sticker book coming soon…

A new book featuring the artwork of grunge legend Kurt Cobain and others associated with him. The description from the book’s website follows:

‘Kurt and the Gang’ is a sticker collection chronicling the life, influence and friends of Kurt Cobain. The book is packed with 72 stickers and printed illustrations designed by 13 artists from around the world. Together, in some way, we hope to have captured a very unique and awesome generation of which Kurt was a giant part.
Kurt Cobain sticker book
Kurt Donald Cobain was born on February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington State. He was tragically found dead, in his Washington home with a shotgun to his head, in April of 1994.

Kurt Cobain has been remembered as one of the most iconic figures of the Twentieth Century, within music and beyond. Eric Olsen wrote, ‘Viewed by many as the ‘last real rock star’, a messiah and martyr whose every utterance has been plundered and parsed”. He is the figurehead of Generation X, a poster boy for the MTV era.

‘Kurt and the Gang’ features illustrations of Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Dylan Carlson, El Duce, The Pixies, Lead Belly, Daniel Johnston, Dave Grohl and many others based around the Cobain scene.

and Illustrations from Patrick Schmidt, Murray Somerville, Chris Golden, Sean Morris, Brooke Olsen, Christoper Worker, Rob Goodall, Chaos vs Cosmos, Michael Hsiung, Paul Windle, Laura Handyside and Sophy Hollington

You can place your order for the book, scheduled for an October 29 release, at the Belly Kids store here. The first fifty pre-orders will include a free print.

Learn more about Belly Kids.

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