This year, two big Rock albums that were among the best of their respective decades celebrate milestone anniversaries. On October 9, 2001, New York City band The Strokes helped define Indie Rock in the ’00s with their debut album, Is This It. About 10 years before that, on Sept. 24, 1991, Nirvana released its breakthrough album Nevermind, which reshaped the state of music at the time (and, some say, forever). Two music outlets have curated full-album cover versions of Is This It and Nevermind, featuring individual song contributions from a variety of contemporary artists. Both have also made the compilations available as a free download.
The blog Stereogum has a history of these sorts of album tributes, doing the same thing for Radiohead’s OK Computer and R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People. For STROKED: A Tribute to Is This It, Stereogum rounded up a mix of up-and-coming and established Indie acts to tackle The Strokes’ 10-year-old debut, including Peter Bjorn and John (title track), The Morning Benders (“Last Night”), Real Estate (“Barely Legal”) and Computer Magic (“Take It or Leave It”).
Click here to grab your own copy of STROKED.
When Is This It was released, there was some backlash over the amount of pre-hype The Strokes were receiving. The band never quite lived up to the buzz; since the debut, the group hasn’t come close to recapturing Is This It’s magic. For Nevermind, the opposite happened — no one expected much from the three skuzzy rockers from Seattle and their major-label debut (after just one full-length for indie label Sub Pop). But, of course, it exploded well beyond anyone’s dreams, pushing Michael Jackson off his perch atop the album charts and becoming so huge that artists from genres that were big pre-Nevermind (like Hair Metal) today claim Nirvana killed their careers.
Spin put together the Nevermind compilation, dubbed Newermind, which features several more recognizable names than Stereogum’s tribute. Newermind includes reworked versions of the classic album’s tracks by the likes of Surfer Blood (“Territorial Pissings”), Jeff the Brotherhood (“Something in the Way”), Amanda Palmer (“Polly”), Titus Andronicus (“Breed”) and two bands that were actually influences on Kurt Cobain's music — The Meat Puppets (“Smells Like Teen Spirit”) and The Vaselines (“Lithium”).
The album also features a version of “Drain You” by Cincinnati’s favorite wild-eyed, theatrical rockers Foxy Shazam. Bassist Daisy tells Spin he’s “the Nirvana guy” in the band and knew "Drain You" was the one for them immediately. As soon as the band settled on the song, he tells the mag, "we were getting drunk and jamming out on it."
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