Smells Like Nirvana
The long-in-the-works Nirvana box set “With the Lights Out” takes a chronological look at the Kurt Cobain-led band’s brief but enormously influential career, beginning with a Led Zeppelin cover from its debut show in 1987 to Cobain solo acoustic performances just prior to his 1994 suicide. The three-CD/one-DVD package arrives this week via Geffen/UME.
Kicking off with a run through Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker,” disc one sports early versions of familiar tracks like “Floyd the Barber,” “Polly” and “About a Girl,” demo recordings of the Leadbelly tracks “Grey Goose,” “They Hung Him on a Cross” and “Ain’t It a Shame” and undated tracks presumed to have been recorded in 1987 or 1988, such as “Beans,” “Clean Up Before She Comes” and “Don’t Want It All.”
Disc two includes demos for the classic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and an alternate mix by producer Butch Vig, a 1991 live radio performance of “Dumb” two years before it appeared on the studio album “In Utero” and such covers as the Velvet Underground’s “Here She Comes Now” and the Wipers’ “Return of the Rat” and “D-7.”
In addition to unreleased acoustic and electric versions of “Rape Me” and an undated run through “All Apologies,” some of Nirvana’s final studio recordings show up on disc three. Six tracks originate from a January 1993 session in Rio de Janeiro, including “Gallons of Running Alcohol Flows Through the Strip” and “The Other Improv.” Cobain’s solo home demos of “Do Re Mi,” “You Know You’re Right” and “All Apologies” close the set.
As for the DVD, it includes nine tracks captured at a 1988 rehearsal at the home of bassist Krist Novoselic’s mother, 10 previously unreleased live performances of such tracks as Jacques Brel and Rod McKuen’s “Seasons in the Sun” (recorded at the Rio sessions) and “Pennyroyal Tea” and the rare 1990 video for “In Bloom.”