Forget the $150 box set and the fax from Steve Albini — the most amazing thing to emerge from the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s In Utero might just be a pair of cover albums. Last month at Brooklyn Bowl, Deer Tick donned some flannel to become Deervana and played the album in its entirety. But that fairly faithful rendition (audio here) is nowhere near as trippy as a collection of covers, out this month, by bands from the Canadian label Hand Drawn Dracula.
We caught wind of “Milkin’ It” when Edan Wilbur played some tracks during this week’s episode of Death by Audio on East Village Radio. It kicks off with a dream-pop cover of “Serve the Servants” and then takes turns into psychedelia (“Rape Me” by Ostrich Tuning), stoned shoegaze (“Frances Farmer” by Fresh Snow & Julie Fader), hippie folk (“Pennyroyal Tea” by Weather Station), and goth-industrial (“Radio-Friendly Unit Shifter” by Odonis Odonis and “Tourettes” by Hooded Fang).
At this point Nirvana has been covered by everyone from Tori Amos to Leif Garrett and the Melvins, so there isn’t all that much novelty in degrunging the band — what’s surprising is how well the entire project holds up. If you burned out on In Utero after one too many infinite-repeat sessions back in high school, these fresh takes make for a nice reunion. Listen here.