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Album Review

Buying time and thwarting bootleggers, Nirvana and DGC released the rarities compilation Incesticide toward the end of 1992. Like any odds'n'sods collection, this is uneven, but that's its charm since it captures Nirvana's character better than any official album. After all, this was a band that was born equally from '70s sludge metal, bubblegum pop, post-punk artiness, and indie rock inclusiveness, each of which are apparent on this collection. There are some non-entities here, particularly on the second side, but the plodding sub-metallic grind was part of their identity, one part of their multi-faceted character. Nirvana meant everything to everyone, from the jangle pop veterans to the garage rock ravers that worshipped the Stooges to stoner metal fetishes and indie rock bed-sits that adopted Sebadoh just as they outgrew Morrissey — everybody loved Nirvana, and there's something for every kind fan here, thanks to murky sludge, Devo and Vaseline covers, BBC sessions, instrumentals, and limited-edition singles, plus sub-Melvins goop, everything visceral where Bleach was tame. Nevermind doesn't capture this freewheeling indie spirit but Incesticide does, piling on some essentials in the meantime — the pummeling "Dive," the childhood snapshot "Sliver," the terrific forgotten indie pop tune "Been a Son," and "Aneurysm," perhaps the greatest single song the group ever recorded. Yeah, there's some filler here, but this is the sound of what Nirvana was actually like.


Formed: 1987 in Aberdeen, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Prior to Nirvana, alternative music was consigned to specialty sections of record stores, and major labels considered it to be, at the very most, a tax write-off. After the band's second album, 1991's Nevermind, nothing was ever quite the same, for better and for worse. Nirvana popularized punk, post-punk, and indie rock, unintentionally bringing them into the American mainstream like no other band to date. While their sound was equal parts Black Sabbath (as learned by fellow Washington underground...
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