Release: Nevermind [Limited Super Deluxe Edition] Disc 2
Label: Geffen Records
1. In Bloom [Smart Sessions]
2. Immodium (Breed) [Smart Sessions]
3. Lithium [Smart Sessions]
4. Polly [Smart Sessions]
5. Pay To Play [Smart Sessions]
6. Here She Comes Now [Smart Sessions]
7. Dive [Smart Sessions]
8. Sappy [Smart Sessions]
9. Smells Like Teen Spirit [Boombox Rehearsals]
10. Verse Chorus Verse [Boombox Rehearsals]
11. Territorial Pissings [Boombox Rehearsals]
12. Lounge Act [Boombox Rehearsals]
13. Come As You Are [Boombox Rehearsals]
14. Old Age [Boombox Rehearsals]
15. Something In The Way [Boombox Rehearsals]
16. On A Plain [Boombox Rehearsals]
17. Drain You [John Peel BBC Radio]
18. Something In The Way [Mark Goodier BBC Radio]
On the second disc of Nirvana’s Nevermind deluxe edition, there are the very first eight songs that were recorded with Butch Vig, who actually went on to produce the Nevermind album, entitled the Smart Sessions. This is also the last set of recordings to include original drummer Chad Channing. Out of these initial sessions, the only recording that was carried over onto the album was the song Polly. These eight recordings were used by Nirvana to shop around for a major label, as Sub-Pop records were being bought out by another company and the band wanted to cut out the middle man and just go for the major label. Kurt Cobain later blew his voice out on the song “Lithium” which concluded the five day recording session (at the same time they ran out of funds).
One track, “Immodium,” was always intended to be a raw, punk-like song. It even shows that difference in comparison to all of the other tracks on this demo. This song was later renamed “Breed” and contains much of the same lyrics. The guitars are like saw blades on the ears, but in a good way. Chad Channing’s drumming here is simply phenomenal and with Krist’s heavy bass, they preserved the punk legacy on this song.
A rare song that was later included to the b-side to Sliver is the track “Dive.” This is truly one of my all time favorite Nirvana songs, but I think the best version is the live version on the With The Lights Out box set. This version is a little slower but also heavier, with drums encompassing the hard rock type and the guitars that sound really adventurous as compared to the straight forwardness of all their other songs.
The next eight songs, entitled the Boombox Rehearsals, were tracks that Nirvana literally recorded on a boombox for producer Butch Vig to hear a year after recording the Smart Sessions before heading into the studio to record the album Nevermind. This showed the early nature of iconic Nirvana songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Not going to go too much with reviewing this as, after all, it was recorded on a freaking boombox.
To wrap up this disc, the next two songs were for two separate radio sessions, the first one with John Peel and the other with Mark Goodier. “Drain You” was surprisingly well done, and in many ways sounds better than the actual studio recording, until you hit that weird draining sound at the 2:00 mark, and that takes a toll on the ears. “Something In The Way” is different from the studio recording by the mixing job, which places the instruments (notably the guitar) more up front than the subtle studio version.