[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ummed you missed the secret Nirvana show last night at St. Vitus in Brooklyn? Don’t be. Does an invite-only show in NYC with (admittedly awesome) older folks jamming on teen anthems for journalists and their plus-ones really seem like the place to capture the energy that constitutes this legendary Seattle outfit’s enduring legacy?
Instead, try these newer acts on for size — they’re roughly the age Kurdt & Co. were at the peak of their powers and they’re carrying the torch around the country in small-capacity venues like the one packed by VIPs last night in Brooklyn.
Another trio whose early material was released via Sub Pop, only these guys formed across the continent from Seattle about 20 years later. The cacophonous Canucks won a Polaris Prize for their blistering self-titled debut last year, which includes standout grunge-killers like “Wasted.” Kurdt would probably want the vocals a little more up-front, but otherwise I think it presents a nice continuation of his legacy.
Like Nirvana, Cleveland, Ohio’s Cloud Nothings are essentially a pop band under all the layered feedback and distortion. On songs like “No Thoughts” off Here and Nowhere Else, their fourth album, head Cloud Nothing Dylan Baldi lets loose on vocals, and while compression and saturation are evident, he’s definitely ruining himself on this take. Channeling Cobain, Baldi doesn’t so much as “deliver” a vocal performance on the bridge and final chorus as desperately fling a series of screamed accusations.
Tasteful reverb on the vocals and a lead over the verse don’t scream “Nirvana,” but I couldn’t help hearing some serious ’90s vibes in the odd-interval, steeped-in-chorus guitar shredding and pummeling drums over the chorus of “Time and Place,” the lead track off of Philadelphians Bleeding Rainbow’s newest album Interrupt. There’s no throaty growls (although the vocal performances range from song to song over the course of the record). Instead, major Nirvana influences like the Pastels and the Vaselines seem to inform Sarah Everton’s easy-but-not-disaffected vocal style here.
Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females is a certified shredder, but her while her riffage and singing err on the theatrical side at times, they retain a punk vitality that has endeared her band to both the underground rock scene and alt-rock mainstays like Garbage, with whom they toured last year. The band’s a force of nature live, as is apparent on this year’s Live at the Hideout collection, Paternoster rocketing between wildly vibrating melodic vocals and raw shouts while her guitar alternates chiming chords and searing, full-throttle leads. It’s no wonder the band has the approval of former Nirvana engineer Steve Albini and punk rock cohort Kathleen Hanna alike.
After several albums of fuzzed-out, psych-influenced folky pop and heavy rock tunes, Purling Hiss entered the studio for WXPN’s Shaking Through series to finish and record a new song in two days with The War On Drugs’ Adam Granduciel. The result is “Lolita,” potentially the group’s most high-fidelity offering to date, and a song that could probably be slipped in among the bonus tracks on the special edition of In Utero without so much as raising an eyebrow. This tune wouldn’t sound out of place blasting through the loudspeakers in an area, and yet I caught these guys in the basement of the Cambridge Elks Lodge just last year.