Various Artists

Birth of Alternative Rock, Vol. 1

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This budget collection should probably be called Birth of Sub Pop Records, since that's where all the tracks were licensed from. Still, there's definitely some influential stuff here. "Blew" and "Love Buzz" from Nirvana's formative Bleach; the deadpan indie pop of Beat Happening's "Indian Summer"; Tad's twisty, sludgy debut single, the 1988 grunge prototype "Ritual Device." Afghan Whigs' "Turn on the Water" is another highlight, as is Mark Lanegan's dirge version of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?," which comes from his 1990 solo album and features Kurt Cobain on guitar.

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