Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Directed By: Adam Aminé Daniel + Jack Begert
Concept By: Adam Aminé Daniel, Jack Begert, + Liam MacRae
A Psycho Films Production
Executive Producer: Sam Canter
Producers: Eric Cook + Austin Will
DP: Ben Mullen
Wardrobe Stylist: Calvin How + Daniel Pacitti
Drone Op: A-Cam Aerials
Production Coordinator: Chelsea Unsbee
Additional Production: Matt Burns
Editor: Jack Begert + Will Tooke
VFX: Justin Johnson, Will Tooke, + Jack Begert
Production Designer: Jordan Kronquist
Set Dresser: Kyle Wallace
1st AC: Jesse Tobler
2nd AC: Keaton Rodgers
B-Cam AC: Madison Rowley
Gaffer: Ian Jennings
Key Grip: Bruce Lawson
Swing: Ken Riddle
Makeup Artist: Sara Dickman
Set Medic: Michael Fine
PA: Maureen Pandos
PA: Roland Dahwen
Debuting more as a funeral procession than any sort of live performance piece, Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged In New York was a deliberate posthumous release from the band that offered another side to the often biting riffs and snarls that accompanied their records previously. With nearly more cover tracks than original Nirvana tracks, MTV Unplugged In New York remains to be a personal touch and bitter closure to nearly an hour of bleeding through sound.
While this record is difficult to cover as it essentially acts as a halfway mark between a greatest hits album and something closer to what David Bowie did with Pin Ups, Nirvana takes and creates renditions that at times hit harder than the original. Beginning with “About A Girl” that glances back at their beginnings of Bleach, a record that Cobain explains with, “most people don’t own [it]” before strumming to break the silence. It is not until the group introduces other personnel like Lori Goldston on the cello with tracks like “Something In The Way” does MTV Unplugged In New York truly shine.
Hearing the acoustic versions of the Meat Puppets’ through “Plateau,” or “Oh Me” does Cobain’s voice add something deeper to the original track. Where Curt Kirkwood was able to have a distinct style of singing that fit the Meat Puppets and casted a lit fire around the group, Cobain drops lower in his vocal approach to form a shadowed figure. The entire record has this dead feel behind it and with the blackened candles that surrounded the stage, as well as the change on percussion for Dave Grohl and the work of acoustic bass from Krist Novoselic. Even when Nirvana adds Pat Smear who was carrying the touring sections of guitar for Nirvana near the bands end, the ensemble feels more complete and easier to reach into.
The second half of MTV Unplugged In New York holds Nirvana as this beautiful apparition that wields more of a dense weapon. The guitar work on “Oh Me” is nothing short of gorgeous and that ties into the backing production that carries with the strings and percussion in sync. MTV Unplugged In New York grows to be nearly 30 in the next few years, and hearing the final moments of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” is bone-chilling and desperate. It is a goodbye sendoff that takes inspiration from Lead Belly’s “In The Pines,” giving a rebirth to the American folk singer in the same city that he died in. As MTV Unplugged In New York cascades off this cliff of despair, Nirvana balances one last candle into the night.
Where the wind blows and that candle eventually falls, Nirvana tight walks both beauty and death on two hands. The inevitable end that comes from those dramatic moments as the claps cease, creates a broken barrier between a whole generation waiting to rise again.
Listen Here – Soundcloud
Produced By: Choo Jackson + Gengarcade
Apart from having a name that brands like a child’s pool toy, Soakie is pretty badass in the way that they carry themselves. From the debut self-titled record with a bright, baby blue cover and some vintage dog-doll hybrid made in your nightmares; Soakie is 13-minute, seven-track ear stabbing that shines like a Melbourne day.
Speaking of Melbourne, half the band hails from Australia and the other half is NYC bred but when the two sides combine, they are a shrieking banshee that cracks pavement through instrumentation. Not only are the four members, Summer on vocals, Nellie on bass, Austin on percussion, and Chumz on guitar a unified presence, but Soakie is entertaining through the beatdown. At every turn, the record spikes and has these rapid-fire dips where the energy makes the listener want to jump off the highest thing nearby, even if there is no crowd to catch them.
The opening track “Nuke The Frats” is a growling and hissing cornered animal that breaks out in about ten seconds. Quickly, the overdriven amps on the guitar and bass are in perfect frequency of turmoil, working to grind these gears of an android machine. Soakie as a band has this tight nature behind their sound, but their energy is what creates such a draw. The vocals alone on an acapella could bring a brick house down with her shouts and cries over blisteringly fast punk rock.
The following track, “Or You Or You” is this exceptional example of just how intimidating the band is as a conglomerate. They start with a lit fire that blazes disguised as the instrumentation which then puts Summer on the main stage to begin her frantic rambles. She explains, “I don’t care what you think, I don’t owe you anything. I don’t care just what you say cause I don’t owe you anyway. I don’t care what you think, I don’t owe you anything. I don’t care what you say, I wish you would go.” This is the hardcore equivalent of serotonin being injected directly to the brain where Soakie is a wrecking crew with battering rams disguised as catchy verses and instrumentation.
But before Soakie packs its bags and hits the dusted brick road, they want to possibly cause bodily harm to the audience a few more times. With tracks like “Ditch The Rich,” and “What’s Your Gender,” Soakie engulfs this anger and wraps it into a digestible and fulfilling meal. The addiction of hearing those rolling drums from Austin and wanting to rip the walls down is a revitalization during this quarantined timeframe in history.
When the walls of Babylon come falling, Soakie will hopefully be there playing as the house band for the theme of destruction. Australia recently has seen an amazing crack in the hardcore community and Soakie is another record that stands as a halfway monument for that movement.