14 Unreleased Nirvana Songs Unearthed, Some Recorded in Brazil

Lead Photo: Nirvana, group portrait, backstage at Nakano Sunplaza, Tokyo, Japan, 19th December 1992. Photo by Gutchie Kojima/Shinko Music/Getty Images
Nirvana, group portrait, backstage at Nakano Sunplaza, Tokyo, Japan, 19th December 1992. Photo by Gutchie Kojima/Shinko Music/Getty Images
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It’s been 21 years since we lost Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, but the fascination behind the band’s songs hasn’t diminished ever since. Although they technically only recorded three studio albums, there’s still stuff coming out of the dusty corners of their history, and they never fail to create some sort of commotion. We’re still marveling about the shows they managed to play in their lifetime (like their performances in Tijuana), so new recordings are undoubtedly sources of excitement.

Over the weekend, 14 Nirvana demos, outtakes, and session recordings surfaced on YouTube. Soon after, Reddit users annotated those songs, identifying them by date and session to give them proper context. For Remezcla readers, this is particularly exciting, since six of the songs were recorded at Rio De Janeiro studio BMG Ariola Ltda., when the band played the Brazilian city. Nirvana performed at the Hollywood Rock festival (not Rock In Rio, contrary to popular belief) in January 1993 at the height of their popularity, along with fellow icons Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice In Chains, and L7, among others. While you’re listening to the songs, you’ll realize that they were in much better shape than when they played the second date of the festival. During both their sets, the band openly fought and rejected their own songs for badly played covers. Cobain was clearly intoxicated the whole performance. Co-founder/bassist Krist Novoselic threw his bass at Kurt during their first show and stormed out. On the second night, Cobain was more interested in exposing himself to the cameras than playing guitars.

Thankfully, not everything from their Brazilian visit was a disaster, probably a testament to their love of Os Mutantes. During their shows, they jammed to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers playing trumpet. They aced the six songs they recorded at the Rio studio, some of which are alternate takes from their third album In Utero.

The songs played during the sessions were “Onward Into Countless Battles (Meat);” (sung and played by Dave Grohl with backup vocals by Cobain); “I Hate Myself and I Want To Die,” a cover of “Seasons In The Sun;” In Utero bonus track “Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip;” and album songs “Milk It” and “Scentless Apprentice.” The songs have already been wiped from YouTube, but a brave fan has uploaded selections to Soundcloud.

With documentaries on Nirvana and Cobain coming out the wazoo, as well as more artifacts being unearthed (like photos of their first show ever in 1987), it’s safe to say that thirst for their music will continue bring forth more from the short-lived but timeless band.