Culture

A New Kurt Cobain Solo Album Is in Utero

cobain
Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain during a September 1992 performance at the MTV Music Awards show in Los Angeles. Reuters

In Newsweek’s recent feature about Montage of Heck, the HBO documentary about late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, director Brett Morgen spoke about de-mythologizing the superstar-turned-martyr, saying the film “may be the final chapter.”

Well, never mind that. In a Friday interview with New York City blog Bedford + Bowery, Morgen spoke about another project that’s sure to give die-hard Nirvana fans an aneurysm: a new Kurt Cobain album is due out later this summer.

The project bloomed after Morgen sifted through 200-plus hours of audio, unreleased recordings and narrations from a California storage locker containing the musician’s final belongings. Asked if there was any notable music from that dive into Cobain’s brain—all 108 cassettes of unreleased or “rarely” heard music—Morgen replied, “We’re going to be putting out an amazing album this summer that I think will answer that question.”

To some, the news may be a downer, a way to milk the last of Cobain’s output. But Morgen promises this album will serve the servants, as fans are “going to hear him do things you never expected to come out of him.” That could mean anything, from early demos from the son of a gun’s punk band Fecal Matter to unexpected covers; jam sessions with friends and his widow, Courtney Love; and sound design experiments, all of which he found in storage.

Hell, there may even be a lounge act on the album. But Morgen, who was given access to Cobain’s last belongings by Love, was relatively mum on what would be on the album. The only thing he mentioned was that it will be Cobain’s, not Nirvana’s, and will consist of “home recordings [that] will feel like you’re kind of hanging out with Kurt Cobain on a hot summer day in Olympia, Washington, as he fiddles about.”

Previous reports have said that at the time of his death, Cobain was turning around a solo album. “It would have been his White Album,” Eric Erlandson—guitarist of Hole, Love’s band, and a friend of Cobain’s—said of the unfinished album in a 2013 interview with Fuse. But there’s always been something in the way of its release: namely, complicated legal wrangling that’s made it difficult to access rights to Cobain’s final songs.

No word yet on a release date for the album, or whether it will come in a heart-shaped box. But like most of Cobain’s work, it will likely drain you. 

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