Red Method has shown some love to their influence Nirvana with their cover of “Heart-Shaped Box’. The track came off InUtero, which debuted twenty-six years ago this week. Check it out! Continue reading
For those of a certain age, the news that twenty-five years have passed since the death of Kurt Donald Cobain will scarcely be believable. But it is 25 years and yes, you do now feel old. You probably still feel sad and melancholy. Time has a terrible way of playing tricks with your memory but the passing of Nirvana’s frontman still resonates as if it were yesterday. The past remains, undoubtedly, a foreign country but I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was in laundrette in Bristol, England doing a weekend load of washing (this is what students did then). I was listening to the BBC on my five-year-old Sony radio walkman- remember those?- when the terrible, heart-stopping news came through on that grey, terrible slate grey April day.
After being teased before the season, the full piano and orchestra-based version of Nirvana’s classic track ‘Heart Shaped Box’ appeared last night in the Season 2, eighth episode Kiksuya of HBO’s Westworld. The cover was created by acclaimed series composer Ramin Djawadi, also known for his work on Game Of Thrones. The trailer uses imagery that also called to mind the lyrics and even the music video for the song, which came from the In Utero (DGC Records) album, which has its 25th anniversary this year. Djawadi’s Westworld soundtracks have featured re-imaginings of classic songs from artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Wu-Tang Clan, Soundgarden and more.
An elegant orchestral version of Nirvana’s late-era classic ‘Heart Shaped Box’ debuted last night in the Season Two trailer for HBO’s Westworld. The cover was created by acclaimed series composer Ramin Djawadi, also known for his work on Game Of Thrones. The trailer uses imagery that also called to mind the lyrics and even the music video for the song, which came from 1993’s In Utero (DGC Records) album. Season 2 of Westworld premieres on April 22nd at 9 PM local time. Watch the trailer now! Continue reading
Do you remember where you were on September 24th, 1991? That is, if you were even alive, since it was a quarter century ago. I was in class at community college in my home town. As usual I was hanging out on the soccer field, guitar in hand, hanging with my usual band of freaks, geeks, stoners, punks, metalheads, and the like. The buzz around campus was this song ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ that was not only all over MTV, but also becoming an actual hit song on the radio.
A wail of feedback, a sludgy, laconic riff, a jarring bass line and Success (Season of Mist) shudders into being in the style of that too-cool-to-give-a-fuck band that ambles on stage and begins the song with each member starting at their own pace and point of choice. KEN Mode, kings of the post-surf/noise rock power-trio kingdom stroll acerbically into their sixth album.
Jesse Matthewson, known for intelligent, confrontation and biting observations, has chosen to measure his delivery this time, and most of his outpourings are part-spoken and spat, rather than roared or thrown from his maw, seemingly intent on imparting off-centre soundbites. “I would like to kill the nicest man in the world” he states at the outset of ‘These Tight Jeans’, where he trades off lines with Jill Clapham in both a catchy and knowingly cool fashion, channelling his inner Jesus Lizard.
The hand of Steve Albini is present all through, as the In Utero (Geffen) producer skuzzes up ‘The Owl’, an astringent swagger with stoner undertones, before a bass crunk and cello mid-section pull the song into a discordant yowl over clashing chords, as KEN Mode play with the notion of traditional song-structure effectively. Sonic Youth would be proud.
Yet all is not rosy in KEN and Barbie’s world. There is a nagging feeling that while Clutch (for whom KEN Mode certainly owe a something to) are naturally and instinctively quirky, for the first time KM things feel a bit forced, as if stating “Handfuls of proverbial shit tossed over and over against that same proverbial wall” (‘Blessed’) is a little close to the mark, and that moving to a more caustic pop sound may be contrived, such as on the overly self-aware and smug ‘A Passive Disaster’. The cap might not fit at the moment, but all it would take is adjusting the clasp at the back. At times, this new KEN Mode just sits a little uncomfortably. But then such doubts are stomped to dust by the rising dynamic of ‘Management Control’ which builds to feedback end, or the exemplary dark, brooding, sprawling ‘Dead Actors’, that recalls The Doors clashing with a more progressive Nirvana.
Mixing a Clutch of stoner, a Tad of grunge and pinch of Mudhoney slovenliness in their Helmet of groove, KEN Mode can consider their transition a Success. Just.