The bands on Forevermind — a Nirvana tribute record organized by X103 — stay true to the Seattle aesthetic, with standout efforts reinventing familiar melodies and textures without departing from the template. The album works as a Heartland tribute to a band that forever changed music.
Monofiction, a band featuring the Johnson Brothers (who own The Pop Machine studio and helped engineer the album), checks in with a power-pop take on “On a Plain.” Jenn Cristy’s version of “Lithium,” soulful and at its best in the slower parts, gently channels another Seattle band, Heart. Redline Chemistry’s nuanced, engaged take on “Polly” is a highlight, with acoustic guitars and harmonies that hit 45 seconds into the song.
Other standouts include ”In Bloom” from Phoenix on the Fault Line (with its echoes of the Smashing Pumpkins), Devil to Pay’s rendering of “Breed” as thrash garage rock, and a Gaslight Anthem and Ramones-inspired take on “Territorial Pissings” by New Politics.
We give kudos to X103 for putting together a project featuring Indiana bands in addition to national acts. Even now, the legacy of the Nirvana still resonates at the radio station. No Nirvana? Probably no X103.
There’s a division between bands that hits a note-for-note replication and those who twist the tune into their own sound. Regardless, hearing the songs from another band’s perspective is a thundering reminder how songs like “Smells Like Teen Spriit” and “Come as You Are” are flat-out great rock songs, time capsules of how it sounded when hair metal was pushed aside and flannel rock ruled.