Skip to main content


Match 082:

Alice In Chains "Rooster" (Demo) (1991)
Nirvana "Polly" (Live) (1989)
Pearl Jam "I Am Mine" (2002)
Soundgarden "Applebite" (1996)

The hi-hat jumps out at you (seriously, they need to check the fucking sibilance on that thing).  The sound of the recording is more reminiscent of the "Sap" EP, which would make sense since those songs were in this batch of demos along with half of "Dirt" and another song we'll be covering shortly, "Lying Season".  This version is a refreshing change from the one I've heard on the radio a bajillion times.  The production is more in line with "Got Me Wrong", which had the chill verses and bombastic choruses.  Also, this has more life to it than the somber version that got popular.  Then again, because of these differences, one might be inclined to think in the back of their head that this was a cover band, especially because the vocal harmonies aren't fully fleshed out, but I still think this is an interesting work-around if you want to actually enjoy this song after 25 years of ear fatigue.

Just when I thought all these bands were at least in the 90's, Nirvana has to drop one on me that's from when Chad Channing was still on drums.  Recorded in London on December 3, 1989, we get an early glimpse at a song that wouldn't come out on record for another two years.  This version is a full band rendition, bringing the fuzz and oomph of "Incesticide", yet played at the pace of "Nevermind".  Look, this is the fourth time I've covered "Polly".  The "Nevermind" one is a polished, intimate, practically solo performance, "(New Wave) Polly" was a fun, double time twist that's the antithesis, the "Unplugged In New York" one was kind of a boring retread of "Nevermind" and this one lands in between the first two.  Yet somehow, this is the second best of the four.  I don't think it eclipses the "Nevermind" version, but it's pretty damn good.  They've managed to make another take on this song different and interesting.  Kudos.

"I Am Mine" was the leadoff single from "Riot Act" and the video has the theme of robin's egg blue.  It's also the only song I recognize even a little from this album.  It's a plodding waltz that gets some fire in its belly by halfway, but the tune is fine enough to carry it though the first part that you don't mind the plod.  It's a build.  Easily the most defined experience I've heard from this band since "Yield". 

I've always liked the atmosphere of "Applebite", which is good, because that's all it is: five minutes of ambient grunge.  It starts with this down-a-long-concrete-hall echo effect that makes you think you're hearing double, then when you enter the room it focuses into the singular form of the song.  The intro especially encapsulates the serpentine nature the title was going for.  And speaking of doubled, I thought that intro was at least twice as long...

I always considered "Applebite" an instrumental because Cornell's vocals are so obfuscated by effects and fuzztone guitar drone that I forget they're there.  Normally, something like this would stop an album dead in its tracks, but "Down On The Upside" is more a loose collection of ideas as it is, so this five minute detour into the ether isn't unwelcome.  I dunno.  I remember liking this song more, but a) That could be in context of the album (which may fit together better than I give it credit for) and b) When I listened to this song on a more regular basis, I had wildly different tastes.  It's still fine, but on it's own it feels a little lost.  It needs to be in some sort of playlist to make sense.

"Polly" (Live): 4
"I Am Mine": 3
"Rooster" (Demo): 2
"Applebite": 1


Alice In Chains: 217
Soundgarden: 212
Pearl Jam: 200
Nirvana: 191

Man, I did not realize how far ahead Alice In Chains was pulling.  Last time I really paid attention to the distance, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden were all one point or less apart and squabbling for the lead.  Now AIC is five ahead of Soundgarden, SG's TWELVE ahead of Pearl Jam (who just broke 200; congratulations!) and Nirvana is only nine behind PJ instead of fifteen.  Things gettin' crazy.


Popular posts from this blog


This has certainly been a heck of a thing.

Writing this started out as a labor of love to a subgenre of rock and roll that came along at the perfect time for me (both when I was entering middle school in the bottom 5 of the popularity pecking order and when I started buying albums at the impressionable age of 11).  It obviously took a long time to put together: August 29th, 2016 is when I began planning, May 24th is when I wrote the last entry, the wee hours of August 1st, 2017 is when I finished proofreading and uploading the entries to the blog with video links, and here I am typing these words on August 15th.

The elephant in the room is this genre seems to be built on death.  Three of the four frontmen of these bands are dead, one of which occurred during the run of this series.  (Shouts to Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr as well.  R.I.P.)  On top of that, Pearl Jam only exists because the lead singer of Mother Love Bone died, causing that band to break up.  If you go down the nex…

WHAT THE HELL IS A BLOG? - iTunes Music Reviews, April 2018

Being that it's been more than a year since I've attempted one of these and iTunes is gonna stop selling mp3's next year, this is probably my next to last chance to do this sort of thing.  I started doing hot take reviews of albums based off nothing but 30 second iTunes previews in 2007, and if I'd been smart, I'd've transitioned to YouTube with them in about 2009.  I didn't, so here we are.  If reading a slightly older gentleman trying to temper his apathy and vexation at modern pop music and give it a fair shake (or trying to be funny when shitting on things that he can't resist shitting on) is your jam, step up to the dance floor!

Scoring system goes from 0 stars (sometimes negative if it goes the extra mile of horrible) to five stars (which has happened three times in 11 years of doing this, and I'd take every one of them back because that's the thing with hot takes).  Here we go!

Cardi B "Invasion Of Privacy" ❂ & 1/2
(or ❂❂, dep…

MUSIC REVIEWS: Sophie, Hannah Diamond, The Brash Menagerie, Beach House & MC Lars

Hey, y'all.  Managed to cobble together some more opinions on the musics and such.  Let's see what listening to albums has done to my brain-to-word connectivity this week!

Ratings are like this:
0 Stars: Utter Shit
* Star: Had at least one redeeming thing about it, but definitely not my thing
** Stars: Meh.  Maybe a thing or two I liked, but definitely coulda been worse.
***: A Good Album.
****: A Great Album.
*****: Absolutely fucking incredible.  (Almost impossible to achieve.)

Sophie "Oil Of Every Pear's Un-Insides" *** and 1/4

Starts with a relaxing, reassuring song "It's Okay To Cry", which gets jarring out of nowhere at the end.  Which seemed needless, but then "Ponyboy" slams into the picture and I see what she was doing there: Dialating your sphincter for the unholy beating your asshole is about to endure.

This album is jagged; it's harsh; it's repellent; it's brutal; but most importantly: it's interesting.  It's…