If you’d never heard of the Gaslight Anthem and their ’59 Sound before this year, in all likelihood you’ve become acquainted with them this summer, courtesy of the generous radio play of their current single, “45.”  I’m not planning on buying or otherwise obtaining their newest album, Handwritten, but my interest was piqued when I learned that the deluxe version of the album includes a cover of Nirvana’s “Sliver.”  After all, “Sliver,” a non-album single released in 1990, is one of my favorite Nirvana songs (others include “Lounge Act” and “Swap Meet”).  So, I hopped on YouTube and gave the Gaslight Anthem’s cover a listen.  I actually liked it quite a bit, probably because it’s a pretty faithful cover (right down to the lead singer doing a sort of Kurt Cobain impression).  Then I went back and listened to the studio and live versions of Nirvana playing the song; it now strikes me that the Gaslight cover, despite being a studio cut, more than anything captures the grunge-punk turbulence of the live performances from the early ’90s.  Frankly, I’d rather listen to this cover than to the original compositions on Handwritten — and I like “45”!

Here’s the Nirvana studio version, which can of course be found on Incesticide.

Here’s a live performance of the song by Nirvana in November 1993 in Springfield, MA, which was included on the From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah compilation.  (For some reason, this video keeps jumping to 22:26 even though I’m telling it to jump to the 22:44 timestamp.  “Sliver” starts at 22:44.)

And finally, here’s the Gaslight Anthem cover version, released this very year.