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Some noise, yes, very nice. And that was my only thought on this white-vinyl Sub Pop thingy my brother dragged home. I wish I could tell you I was hip to the game from the first snarly moan and diseased power chord. But that would not be the truth.

Later on, of course, I went with them all the way, or as far as I knew how to go at least. When “In Bloom” spilled out of the boom box of a dude at a bus stop tuned to a classic-rock station, I figured the war was over and we won. Yeah, I was young and stupid. It was a hell of a moment, and I hadn't lived through a moment like that before. I sometimes miss it. I've gone on with my life and I understand life goes on.

I wish I still had some of the friends I had from in and around that moment. Nobody calls or writes anymore.

But life goes on.

My brother went through a bad patch and sold the white vinyl, but he did emerge alive, unlike others we could name. Oh, and the tunes? Draggy. Which I don't mean in a bad way. With a merely decent drummer on board, the heaviness they inherited from the Melvins still ruled the roost like uprooted globs of tar. The singer’s obsessions with decay and helplessness and nightmares and dragged, smeared repetitions (how many different ways can one mangle the word “alcohol”) would sear the Western world next time around. But how fascinating to hear the revolution still confined to someone's basement.

Or somebody's small theater. The live tracks have no spectacular audience-baiting (Kurt painted his neck red for one early show), but they blister. Some noise. Yes. Nicer all the time.

  • Album: Bleach: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (2009)
  • Artist: Nirvana
  • Label: Sub Pop
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