Nirvana

Courtney Love Not Involved in New Kurt Cobain Doc

It’s surprising that Kurt Cobain has been gone from this world for 20 years, but it’s even more surprising… Read More

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Searching for Clues — and Closure — in Ian Curtis’ and Kurt Cobain’s Handwritten Archives

Ian Curtis wrote in all caps, often with a Sharpie. When he wanted to change a word in his lyrics or notes, he’d scratch out his former word choice utterly completely — as if he wanted to erase it from existence. In a lot of ways, the Joy Division leader’s handwriting seems to reflect his personality: “Ian was a very definite person,” says Jon Savage, the co-editor of So This Is Permanence, a collection of Curtis’ notebooks released last month by Chronicle Books. “If he didn’t like something, he would eventually make his displeasure shown. He was a Cancer.” … Read More

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Taylor Swift, Steve Albini, Spotify, and the Fruitless Quest for a Music Industry Savior

If you ever need a reminder that all those rose-tinted remembrances of the pre-internet music industry do not account for the full story, look no further than Steve Albini’s seminal 1993 essay for The Baffler. It’s called, simply, “The Problem With Music.” In it, Albini details the flaws of the major-label music system in actual numbers and simple math — something that’s not done often enough in trade and consumer publications alike when it comes to how musicians actually make their money. … Read More

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Dave Grohl’s Transformation From Gen X Icon to Guardian of Baby Boomer Rock: A Timeline

This week, the Foo Fighters release Sonic Highways, their eighth album, which doubles as a selective history lesson in their own particular brand of rock ‘n’ roll worship. It’s fitting, considering their leader Dave Grohl has become one of Baby Boomer guitar music’s most vigilant defenders (take our quiz on that very topic), in an era when breathless praise of Led Zeppelin seems about as original as yelling “Free Bird” at a rock show. … Read More

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Dave Grohl Sets His Rock Savior Schtick Aside for Solid Storytelling in HBO’s ‘Sonic Highways’

Forty minutes into the first episode of Dave Grohl’s eight-part HBO docuseries, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, he starts singing out a heavy baritone guitar part to Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen in the most dramatic of manners, waving his hands like a marching band conductor. (Grohl, it should be noted, was just seen wearing a T-shirt with Nielsen’s face on it.) He breaks eye contact with the underrated guitar great just twice in the ten-second exchange, instead looking right at the camera as if to make sure there was footage of him directing yet another one of rock’s legends. … Read More

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Flavorwire Premiere: Cellist Maya Beiser Transforms Nirvana’s “Lithium” Into Ferocious Classical Music

From Owen Pallett to Andrew Bird to Kishi Bashi, there’s no shortage of musicians incorporating classical string sections into rock and pop. Far fewer do it the other way around, or at least on a level that reaches classical neophytes. Brilliant cellist Maya Beiser’s reimaginations of rock and roll hits deserve the kind of mainstream recognition Kronos Quartet’s covers of Sigur Rós and the Pixies have received. … Read More

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The Definitive Ranking of Dudes Covering “Royals”

Between scowling at a Cubs games and ending up a meme, Jack White found time to cover Lorde’s “Royals” this week. The news wasn’t all that surprising for two reasons: White has been covering pop songs, like Jay Z’s “99 Problems” and Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead,” on his current tour; and old-school rock dudes love them some “Royals.” (I personally think the latter has to do with its message of anti-consumerism harkening back to a time WHEN ROCK MUSIC RAILED AGAINST SOMETHING, damn youths, grumble grumble, etc.) Most singles that spend more than a couple weeks at No. 1 are going to garner a bevy of covers — from up-and-comers and YouTube unknowns alike — but Lorde’s breakthrough really has inspired an astonishing number of covers… from dudes you would not expect. Let’s take a look at who covered it best, shall we? Worst comes first. … Read More

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Famous Songs Become Buildings in Federico Babina’s ‘Archimusic’

Music often drives us to change the architecture of our bodies – if it wasn’t for Rod Stewart’s raw, animalistic beats or Barry Manilow’s thrashing guitar, I wonder if I’d ever move at all. But seriously, the idea of music itself being architectural isn’t too hard to fathom, whether in the way that it’s laid out in blueprint form before it’s actualized, in the way that a series of supporting sounds bolster one another and create a song, or in the 4’33” sense that silences create their own music, just as there’s architecture in empty space. … Read More

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The Stories Behind Controversial Album Covers

Today, in 1990, a defiant Fort Lauderdale record store owner was arrested, convicted, and fined after selling 2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna Be. The explicit album was embroiled in a massive obscenity trial. It was deemed illegal and unfit for store shelves by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The ruling was later overturned, but the case became a landmark for artists fighting for the freedom of speech. But it wasn’t just the sexual lyrics that caused a controversy. It was the album’s fleshy cover, too. We tracked down the stories behind some of music’s most controversial album covers — those artworks that were banned and misunderstood in their time. Here are just a few albums that have been put through the wringer. … Read More

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