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Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (a review)

May 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Kurt Cobain was a tortured soul… physically as a result of a lifelong stomach ailment that he tried to numb with illicit drugs, and a shitty childhood that scarred him psychologically. When I heard the news about his death, I remember thinking, “He had it all, why would he do that?” If you thought the same, then you should watch this documentary.

Directed by Brett Morgen, “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” had unprecedented access into old home movies, photos, journals, artwork and interviews from Cobain’s life, friends, family, and bandmates. Frances Bean Cobain is a producer on this doc and she, along with her grandmother/Kurt’s mother (Wendy O’Connor) and mom Courtney Love gave permission for the material to be used as well as a say on the final cut (Frances Bean).

Admittedly, there are reports that O’Conner and Kurt’s sister were pretty upset at a few old home movie scenes that were included (there is one where he is holding Frances as a baby looking very strung out while Courtney tries to cut her hair), but there was no major effort to remove them from the footage that was used. The movie is pretty unblinking and candid regarding the drug use, once rumored to be rampant even when Love was pregnant with Frances Bean and confirmed in Love’s interview. Despite the issues with drugs, home movie footage that Courtney filmed during their time together shows a genuine level of affection that the two shared for each other and for their child.

Love also gives an interesting theory as to what could have drove Cobain to attempt suicide in Rome 8 days prior to his successful attempt: she was considering have an affair with someone else, and he found out about it and got really upset. **(I have my theories as to who the person is/was, but she does not go into that detail during her interview.)** Yes, the popular opinion is to hate Courtney and blame her for Kurt’s suicide and drug use, but listen to what she has to say in her interview and how she says it. Kurt’s heroin use didn’t start with their relationship, and two addicts trying to raise a baby wasn’t exactly a recipe for success by any means.

Obviously there are quite a few people that like the conspiracy theory that Courtney had Kurt snuffed out, but this documentary shows how really messed up he was inside and outside way before Courtney entered the picture. His drawings (vividly brought to life), old anecdotes about his dysfunctional family life (and one involving his first sexual experience and his first attempt at suicide), journal entries and interviews with his parents and an ex girlfriend paint a picture of a man who didn’t feel like he had the skills to gain a sense of enjoyment out of life even as a rock star that millions of people admired.

Watch this movie, and then listen to Bleach, Nevermind, and In Utero again. It’s pretty mind blowing hearing the progression of his musical skills and anger at the world and at himself.

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck is available for viewing now on HBO and HBO Go. I had heard of a theatrical release in the works, but nothing concrete as of yet.

Music Review: Sleater-Kinney’s “No Cities to Love”

February 3, 2015 Leave a comment

From left: Corin Tucker, Janet Weiss, and Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney)

The album has been out a few weeks, and as usual, I’m late with the review. But that’s ok, no one pays me for this anyway 🙂

If you’re a fan of Sleater-Kinney since back in the day like I am, I think you’ll like this album. Clocking in at 32 minutes, you can listen to it on the commute to work/school and be done by the time you get into the parking lot.

So, track by track, here’s the review. I’ll also post each cut as Sub Pop helpfully added all of them to their Youtube channel.

  • Price Tag – classic SK

  • Fangless – I got such a Modest Mouse vibe from this song I had to go put one some old MM just so I was sure I wasn’t going crazy:

  • Surface Envy – classic SK and I can’t stop listening to this track. It’s my theme for the winter:

  • Title Track (No Cities to Love) – S’alright.

  • A New Wave – LOVE LOVE LOVE this song. Performance from the Late Show with David Letterman:

  • No Anthems – Very rough, garage rock… never a bad thing:

  • Gimme Love – Haven’t decided how I feel about it. Maybe a few more listens will convince me one way or another:

  • Bury Our Friends – Modest Mouse represents again!

  • Hey Darling – Listen to the track first:

And then listen to Lita wail:

  • Fade – Kinda dark. Good ending to the album:

All in all, a great album. My all time favorite SK album is still The Hot Rock, but this one is really growing on me. If you get the chance, see the ladies live on tour this spring and rock out.

Welcome back, ladies. The rock and roll is mightily appreciated!

Song of the Day: Down by the Water (PJ Harvey)

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Nice to hear the gems now and again from the queen Ms. Polly Jean.

Categories: Music Tags: ,

Song of the day: RJD2’s “A Beautiful Mine”

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Mad Men fans will recognize it as the theme song. It’s great to play in the background when you’re in the kitchen creating your latest masterwork or doing homework. I love listening to it while studying for finals.

Categories: Music Tags: ,
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