20 Years Post-Kurt Cobain

A lot of sites are posting about Kurt Cobain today, 20 years after his death. Of those I’ve read, I find Time’s the most interesting since it has quotes from members of Soundgarden, Weezer and The Roots about Nirvana. I hadn’t planned to write anything myself for the same reason I didn’t review the 20th anniversary edition of In Utero…that icky feeling of capitalizing on a tragedy. But the significance of today and the memories it evokes are much stronger than any misgivings I felt before, so here we go…

I was a high school freshman 20 years ago and I, along with most of my classmates, was in love with everything connected to Grunge. I dyed my hair black, raided my brother’s and grandfather’s closets for old flannel shirts and traded mixtapes with friends made up of songs by Temple of the Dog, Tool, Pearl Jam and, of course, Nirvana. We all watched their videos on MTV with an almost religious fervor and had excited debates about their music in between (and sometimes during) classes.

Previous generations remembered where they were when Kennedy was shot and we all know where we were on 9/11. But, in between, I always remembered the moment when MTV News announced Kurt Cobain was dead. I was home sick from school that week watching our huge, ancient living room television and that’s where I stayed for days, glued to the news coverage in a way that was unusual in those pre-24-hour-news days. I cried as Courtney Love read her husband’s suicide note to a crowd of his fans.

Across the sea in Ireland the same day, Brendan heard the news on Irish radio. Which in itself is kind of amazing considering it was such a different time in music, in life, then. Long before the internet connected everything and everyone and gave local bands a worldwide audience. It was somewhat of a miracle at that time for the Seattle music scene and subsequently Cobain’s death to make such an international impact. Or maybe it wasn’t. There certainly hasn’t been anything since that sounds like this….

The Strypes: Snapshot

Time for another awesome Irish band alert! The Strypes are four teenage lads from Cavan, Ireland. Their debut album, Snapshot, has a bluesy garage rock sound somewhere between early Beatles and Stones and all those early 2000s “The” bands – The Strokes, The Vines, The Libertines, etc. In other words, I love it! Fave tracks: “Mystery Man, “Blue Collar Jane,” “Angel Eyes” and their cover of the Willie Dixon/Bo Diddley song “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover.”

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The Strypes Official Site

GEMS: Don’t Cry Cover

I was excited to learn that GEMS had covered “Don’t Cry,” then disappointed when I found it wasn’t a cover of the Guns ‘N’ Roses song. Instead, GEMS puts their sultry, electro-pop twist on Seal’s “Don’t Cry.” Which is also a good song, just not quite as exciting as GNR. The cover is featured on GEMS’ Medusa EP and you can download a free, legal mp3 of it by signing up for their email list.

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