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October 11, 1996 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-11

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10-The Michigan Daily --Friday, October 11, 1996

Nirvana live record does band no justice

From the Muddy Banks of the
The second posthumous release from
Nirvana, "From the Muddy Banks of
the Wishkah," a hodgepodge of live
tracks, offers nothing terribly new or
interesting --just more Nirvana to add
to your collection.
Comprised of 16 songs compiled
from 10 different shows between 1989
and 1994, "Wishkah" misses the boat
by falling into the same trap that spoils
most live records: Instead of giving fans
an entire non-stop show, we get a best-
of live compilation sown together with
audience cheering to give the impres-
sion Nirvana was a flawless and calcu-
lated band.
Nirvana was neither.
While the tracks themselves are just

fine, most staying very true to the orig-
inals, it's the same slick production and
remixing that bothered Kurt Cobain
about "Nevermind" that makes this
record fairly uneventful or exciting. The
music is too perfect, too precise. It
doesn't capture Nirvana
with as much of a grisly
edge as it could have.
One of the rea-
sons for this
release was proba-
bly to counter the
hundreds of
Nirvana bootlegs
already floating
around and being sold
for absurd prices. Most die-
hard Nirvana fans probably already
own a decent amount of live Nirvana
material, so "Wishkah" won't appeal too
much to them, other than its cheaper
price tag and CD quality sound:The fact
is, there are good Nirvana bootlegs out

there - ones that have comparable
sound quality, but entire performances
that show the spontaneity of the band.
"Roma," a CD bootleg released by
the Italian Kiss the Stone bootleg com-
pany captures one of the last Nirvana
shows, only days before
Cobain overdosed in
Europe and canceled
the band's tour.
From beginning
to end, "Roma"
captures the raw
intensity of
Nirvana without
post production,
with wrong notes, on-
stage banter and don't for-
get the show-closing noise /
destruction session. The bootleg even
includes more songs than the official
release (22, as opposed to "Wishkah"'s
16), and in the order the band chose to
play them. While "Wishkah" was com-


piled by Nirvana bassist Krist
Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl, it
still isn't Cobain's set list, and even
omits the noisy long-time show opener,
"Radio Friendly Unit Shifter."
"Wishkah" does include some rare
live performances, like the non-album
track "Spank Through," but the majori-
ty of the tracks are predictable. There
isn't even the obligatory cover song on
the album either. "Smells Like Teen
Spirit," "School" and "Polly" are some
of the record's highlights, played a little
faster than the originals, but nothing
terribly new.
All in all, "From the Muddy Banks of
the Wishkah" is an economical and
legal alternative to bootleg CDs, but the
fact that it's a throw-some-pre-record-
that-were-recorded-years-apart kind of
disc should be enough to make Cobain's
ashes churn just a little bit.
- Brian A. Gnatt
Josh Clayton-Felt
Inarticulate Nature Boy
What are we supposed to make of ex-
School of Fish singer Josh Clayton-
Felt's cryptical musings and atmospher-
ic layers of production? Is there any-
thing underneath?
The key to listening to "Inarticulate
Nature Boy" is patience. Lots of it. At
first listen, it seems like our Nature
Boy is stuck in the '80s, or at the very
least stuck back with School of Fish,
begging us to find meaning in futuris-
tic noises and lyrics like "I fell into the
smallest ocean that I have ever wit-
nessed," "I've begun to recognize that
the earth is round in shape" and "I'm



Nirvana circa 1989 with original drummer Chad Channing (center).

another weapon for the world" (the
last two of which are from the same
song, no less). Sure, the songs are
catchy and danceable, but so is lots of
music; is Josh Clayton-Felt essential
to our musical fulfillment? Probably
Eventually, things begin to change.
And though the musical fulfillment
question retains the same answer it had
before, at least a few songs begin to
stick out. "Matchbox Head" doesn't
make any more sense, but its Verve
Pipe-like cerieness does merit some
musical value. "Dead American" gets
more hilarious every listen as it pokes
fun at our generation's apathy.
"Waiting,"' the disc's best song,
boasts a killer guitar hook and a con-
ciseness that many of the other tracks
on the album could greatly benefit
from. The refrain from "Doubt"
("Doubt could do me in / doubt could
leave me out") will stick in your head
for weeks, guaranteed. And even
"Helpless," the culprit song of the two
silly lines referred to above, becomes
So all in all, this is not a particularly
wonderful disc, but it certainly shows a
lot of promise. If the direction taken in
the latter half of the album prevails in
his future writing, Josh Clayton-Felt
could very well be an important artist in
a few years. But in either case, he'll
have to change his stage name if he
really wants to be a star.
- Mark Feldman
Various Artists
Cup of Tea - A Compilation

tion (through Island Records newest
subdivision, Quango Music Group)
mixing a combination of trip-hop, du ,
house and freestyle jazz.
Bristol, England has a long history of
breeding experimental music with early
British dance innovators such as Smith
& Mighty and Soul II Soul. The current
Bristol music scene continues to thrive
with notable artists such as Massive
Attack, Portishead and Tricky (who has
just released the new "Nearly God" col-
laborative effort with artists such 4
Most of the tracks from this compi- .
lation have been culled from various
artists' albums and 12-inch singles. The
first track, however, offers the previ-
ously unreleased track' "Love -
Anybody" by Barcode. The song, co-
written by St. Etienne's Sarah
Cracknell, presents the listener with a
trip-hop sound along with some jazz
guitar woven in.
The standout track is Purpl*
Penguin's "Passion," presenting a simi-
lar sound to a Portishead track com-
plete with Beth Gibbons' catlike
vocals, funky drum patterns, and eerie
samples. The pair Monk & Canatella
contributes three tracks including "This
Time is Different (Live in France)," a
reggae-rap hybrid backed by a break-
beat style.
Other noteworthy tracks ap
Spaceway's "Crimes," a dub trac
spiced with repetitive drum patterns
and jazzy horns, and Statik Sound
System's "Secret Love," a track best
described as a rhythmic clatter of
sounds. Other artists such as The Eff
Word and Red also contribute to the
If any of you want to know what al)
the fuss is all about concerning the trip-
hop scene, pick up any Portishead,
Massive Attack, or Tricky albung
Though "Cup of Tea- A Compilation"
will do just fine.
- Philip Son

jW d a Major Events production~
ofemSEVO~ATS AR 20 AT THEt Mc/1/CAN V (/A4O'TacerT OFF/Ct XAU T/CKETmAsTfA' oiuTLS. Cwmf 85' PsIo&.rAT 263-TATS

Josh Clayton-Felt lives out of his car.

The Bristol-based
label has released a

Cup of Tea record
10-track compila-


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