“We had grown up admiring punk bands and thinking all those groups on the pop charts were embarrassing, and suddenly we were one of those bands.” - Kurt Cobain, 1993.
Shonen Knife soundcheck, Munich, Germany, 2011.
When Nirvana released their debut album Bleach in 1989 on a small-time American independent label (Sub Pop) very few people took any notice of its caustic, angst-ridden howl of Black Sabbath and Black Flag-isms twisted around irresistible yet spiky melodies. Two years later, in September 1991, the band released their follow-up, Nevermind, and they were transformed from underground favourites to the biggest rock stars on the planet. The angst in their music was still palpable, the attitude unchanged, but this time Kurt and co. let the melody and pop control the metal and punk rather than the other way around.
In every interview we’ve had over the last two years we’ve been practically warning everyone that we’re writing more pop songs, so I don’t think it’ll be a surprise to anyone when they hear [Nevermind]. All my favourite songs are pop songs. Pop just means simple, and that’s what punk rock has been forever until it turned into hardcore. - Kurt Cobain, August 1991 interview with NME.
Two decades and over 30 million sales since its first release we take a look at five bands whose approach to songwriting helped to shape Nirvana’s own, making Nevermind the iconic album that it is.
Legendary Japanese group Shonen Knife are set to celebrate their 30th anniversary this summer & plan on a new album + touring. Three teenage girls in love with The Ramones, Shonen Knife were formed at a time when Japan was not recognised for its music scene. Allowed to work unhindered, the band carefully built up a back catalogue of impeccable punk-pop.
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