Everett True

Song of the day – 377: Amanda Palmer (Nirvana cover)

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Amanda Palmer

Wait a second. It seems like the floodgates are finally opening.

Listen up. You need to trust me a little here. I’m not one to be overawed by cover versions. Matter of fact, the last time I can recall being so impressed at such inspired reworkings of another artist’s songs would be some time around 1994, with Austin TX singer Kathy McCarty’s incredible album of Daniel Johnston songs, Dead Dog’s Eyeball. That was just one artist, though … and here I am, faced with the unsavoury prospect that Spin Magazine have been involved with something of value after all these years, a decent Nirvana tribute album. (You can download the entire album for free by holding your nose and ‘liking’ Spin, at the above link.) I had only heard two tracks from it – this, and EMA – but I am way impressed. Both tracks are sensitive in their beauty and distortion, but whereas EMA’s version of ‘Endless Nameless’ rages with its dissonance and jagged fury, Amanda Palmer’s reading of ‘Polly’ is quietened, a spooked horror show, a creepy music box after-the-event version, which recalls some of the scarier playground moments from the debut Siouxsie And The Banshees album, and absolutely unsettles.

Is her solo stuff this good? I used to be quite a Dresden Dolls fan, early on. Am I missing something here?

12 Responses to Song of the day – 377: Amanda Palmer (Nirvana cover)

  1. Lucy Cage July 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm


    ‘Who Killed Amanda Palmer?’ is a work of genius. You get totally mental big showtune numbers ‘about’ a Yorkshire football team (Leeds United: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlJ9z_LowBI); hilarious, terrible, jaunty pop about a teenager getting an abortion but being cheered up by having tickets to see Oasis (Oasis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C17yfGyJjM); and huge, heartbreaking ballads about love and time and hopelessness (Ampersand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJOMSkn1Wwg; Another Year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX21kRZdOy4)

    I love her. She is a heroine of mine – not just for her music but for her attitude and the way she works: she told her erstwhile label Roadrunner to fuck off when, among other things, they suggested she lose her belly, and now releases everything herself, for free or for a donation, with the financial/creative support and collaborative input of her fans. She’s a creature of the internet. (It totally fits that her husband, Neil Gaiman, one of the THEE most inventive, intelligent, humane writers on the planet, was photographed at a conference this week proudly wearing a ‘Mr Amanda Palmer’ name badge.)

  2. aurist July 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    wow, that is really good. i think if you are looking for that kind of thing from her solo stuff you probably wouldn’t find it worth looking. her solo stuff is quite good though, kinda bombastic, brooding stuff not too far off the dresden dolls from what i’ve heard, but packed with a lot more instruments. her song ‘leeds united’ is pretty damn great.

  3. Everett True July 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    As I say, I was quite the fan of Dresden Dolls and so, yes. I think it’s long overdue time that I reacquainted myself with Ms Palmer’s music. Thanks Aurist and Lucy.

    Two minutes in, I’m totally in love with ‘Leeds United’

  4. aurist July 20, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    ok, listening further and she did a somewhat stunning version of radiohead’s idioteque, she has new album out on the 20th and i get the impression it’s gonna be a lot more like this nirvana cover

  5. Scott Creney July 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    This and Ema are BY FAR the only decent tracks off this album. But you should hear it, just to make sure the rest of it is as terrible as I think it is.

  6. Lucy Cage July 20, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Yeah, I haven’t listened to the others yet, but I suspected as much.

  7. Everett True July 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    This and Ema are BY FAR the only decent tracks off this album. But you should hear it, just to make sure the rest of it is as terrible as I think it is.

    That might well be so – and certainly, four tracks in it’s proving to be that way – but none of them can hold a candle for ABSOLUTELY ATROCIOUS APPALLINGNESS to the two Nirvana covers I’m going to be posting up on my blog tomorrow. Although fucking Titus Andronicus runs them close. (You’re welcome to guess which two versions I’ve chosen, btw. There will be a good old-fashioned Marvel Comics-style No Prize for the winner.)

    UPDATE: Yep. Quite correct. Horrible horrible horrible. Except for these two covers.

  8. Chris Ovenden July 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Hmm, Tori’s version of Teen Spirit better not be among them…

  9. Darragh July 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Have you seen the Dresden Dolls do Black Sabbath’s War Pigs live? Immense.

  10. Scott Creney July 21, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I’m going to guess the Vaselines and the Meat Puppets. I think Jessica Lea Mayfield’s is far worse (her quote in the article: ‘Lounge Act is like two different songs.’), but it’s way more fun to single out the bands that Nirvana actually covered.

  11. David July 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Her Radiohead covers are grand as well. This one in particulary is fucking brilliant ^^

  12. Randall March 13, 2012 at 4:16 am

    I can see Amanda Palmer’s Sea Org marketing team are out in droves. The Scienos have called in the calvary! Bring in the sound designer! Pay off the ex boyfriend. Let’s try and put a coat of paint on this turd known as Amanda F*cking Palmer. Amanda Palmer STILL SUCKS!!!!!

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