Velvet Underground

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Yex
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Velvet Underground

Post by Yex » Mon Jul 01, 2013 08:34

I greatly enjoy the Velvet Underground, and I just opened up a box set I got for Christmas that commemorates the 45th Anniversary of the release of The Velvet Underground and Nico. It has the album in Stereo and Mono, as well as a bunch of alternate versions of songs, live versions, et cetera, and it comes with a book (that I've yet to read properly) that has a bunch of information and photos and stuff. Oh, and it also comes with Chelsea Girls by Nico, which prompted me to download the next three Nico solo albums (The Marble Index, Desertshore, and The End...). I had previously only heard a few of Nico's solo songs, but I'm starting to really dig her stuff. I also watched Nico Icon (the documentary about her life that I learned about from a thread here) and she's a fascinating character (but then again, so are the VU folks).

For other folks that like the VU and/or Nico, what are your favorite albums/songs? I think the VU and Nico remains my favorite, though I also like White Light/White Heat a lot, and their self-titled track is pretty good too (though to be fair I'm not terribly familiar with VU stuff after that). As far as Nico goes I really like the album The End...

Also, any suggestions on Lou Reed or John Cale solo albums? I have a Lou Reed album on vinyl, but I haven't listened to it much and I'd have to dig it out to tell you what it's called. I did recently download Metal Machine Music, which is pretty interesting. (I say "interesting" because that's generally the best word I can use to describe my attitude towards noise music; I don't hate it, unless I'm in a mood where I find it irritating, but it's hard to say I love it because by definition it's challenging to listen to... but that's another thread).
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Huw » Mon Jul 01, 2013 08:43

I don't often post on here, but I couldn't resist!

John Cale made some wondrous records in the 1970's - please, please, please check out Paris 1919, it's beautiful. He also made three albums with Island which you can get as a two-disc set called The Island Years, which also has various bits and bobs on like this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0eqW7612KU - which is my favourite song by anyone, anytime, ever.
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by RITH » Mon Jul 01, 2013 08:57

'VU & Nico' and 'Loaded' are my favourite albums by VU. By Lou Reed I only own old vinyls of 'Transformer' (which is great) and 'Berlin' (which I don't like too much).

I haven't listened to any of this for ages, except the occasional spin of individual songs, like 'I'll be your mirror' and 'Who loves the sun?'

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Jay » Mon Jul 01, 2013 09:46

Liking The Velvet Underground gets more difficult by the year. For years we've had to deal with Lou Reed being one of the most unpleasant men on the surface of the earth, but now we've also got to contend with the ultra far right wing ramblings of Moe Tucker. I'm starting to understand how classical music enthusiasts feel about liking the music of Wagner. But for all that, they're still one of the few bands I listen to outside the field of indiepop.

I'd recommend the first 4 studio albums to anyone (there is a 5th, it's called Squeeze, don't buy it, it's terrible and has nothing to do with any of the four original members). If I could delete one song from each of the first three albums (European Son, The Gift, The Murder Mystery) I'd say that those 4 albums represent a near perfect body of work.

To call Lou Reed's solo work patchy is actually giving him a bit of credit. For me, Metal Machine Music is the most self indulgent twaddle ever committed to tape. And it might not even be the worst thing he's done! But there is some good stuff out there. Transformer is raved about more than any other of his albums and is as good a place to start as any. The music press in the UK went mental for Magic and Loss in the early '90s. I like New York from 1989.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by indiansummer » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:20

Jay wrote:Squeeze, don't buy it, it's terrible
i heard it was a pretty decent album as long as you don't take the idea that it's a VU album too seriously. not the case then?

also i like The Gift and think it works really well on White Light White Heat... and The Black Angel's Death Song was always the one i could live without on ...And Nico

but each to their own innit
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by richpassivity » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:22

As well as the 'official' studio albums the 'VU' & 'Another View' albums are pretty essential too.
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Jay » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:07

indiansummer wrote:i heard it was a pretty decent album as long as you don't take the idea that it's a VU album too seriously. not the case then?
Apologies, I was getting carried away. I really shouldn't make definitive statements and say things are terrible. What I should have said is that I don't like it. To me half of it sounds like a Beatles parody album, while the other half sounds like the really bad out takes from the Loaded album that the band rightly dismissed. Some people like it though.




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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by timahall » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:58

Squeeze is a nice little early '70s pop rock album. I like it a lot. Just don't think of it as a VU album (and to be fair to Doug Yule, he didn't want it be treated as such). Nice to see it finally got reissued on CD and vinyl recently.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Yex » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:05

Oh my, 'The Gift' is one my favorite songs by anyone. I really enjoy 'European Son' too. (The Olivia Tremor Control does a pretty decent cover of the latter). But to each his own, of course.

And yes, it's bizzarre that Moe Tucker turned out to be a reactionary right-wing nutjob. I've started listening to her solo stuff (so far only Life In Exile After Abdication), and it's decent, not amazing, but weird to listen to knowing that she thinks her (pretty conservative) president is leading us down a road to socialism.
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Shaun A » Mon Jul 01, 2013 13:39

Best band ever.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by gloom button » Mon Jul 01, 2013 15:25

Yex wrote: Also, any suggestions on Lou Reed or John Cale solo albums?
Lou Reed's New York is one of my favourite ever records; some of his best writing, I'd say.* I'm very fond of the one Reed & Cale did together, too, Songs for Drella.

*Also, it gives me an excuse to link to this:

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Trev » Mon Jul 01, 2013 15:54

I love Street Hassle and Metal Machine Music.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Modern Antiquarian » Mon Jul 01, 2013 21:10

Jay wrote:Liking The Velvet Underground gets more difficult by the year. I'm starting to understand how classical music enthusiasts feel about liking the music of Wagner.
That is a very good similie / comparison type thing.

I think Sweet Jane is my favourite Velvets song, but I prefer the Mott the Hoople cover.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by bullyhuff » Mon Jul 08, 2013 17:31

I am also a big VU fan, as far as Lou Reed solo the first one "Lou Reed" has a lot of songs that were VU songs on 'VU' & 'Another View' ,
I love Transformer and I think Bowie/Ronson did a great job on that. Berlin is good if somewhat somber as for later ones I'd pick Coney Island Baby, Street Hassle, The Blue Mask, New York, and Songs For Drella. I agree with Huw that John Cale's stuff is great and more consistent than Lou's. Nico's albums are great too. A good bootleg to keep an eye out for is Le Bataclan '72 which was a Paris concert than Cale, Reed, and Nico did and has good stuff from all of them.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by indiansummer » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:04

has anyone heard the Castle Face Records tribute to ...And Nico? Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, White Fence, Warm Soda etc

i didn't even know it existed til i got it for my birthday last week but it's absolutely ACE
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by bullyhuff » Tue Jul 16, 2013 15:03

I got that when it came out, It is pretty good. Happy (belated) Birthday by the way!

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by indiansummer » Tue Jul 16, 2013 15:19

cheers!

here's some personal (noisy) highlights:







Kelley Stoltz' version of Sunday Morning is utterly lovely too, but that wasn't on youtube so never mind

anyway, the album's boss
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Elvistears » Tue Jul 16, 2013 21:07

I've been playing the "VU" album today. Had it sat in my collection for a while, but always went for "Loaded" or "Velvet Underground" instead. Its a pretty great album though - not sure I'll love it as much as their "official" albums but we'll see. The sleeve notes claim VU is the "lost" 4th album, but I'm not sure how much credibility to attach to that.
I find it difficult to compare the later albums to ...And Nico - the songs on that are so familiar that I can't find any way of imagining what it would be like to hear them for the first time. I feel like I don't like it as much, but that's probably incredibly unfair.
Nico's "Chelsea Girls" is one of my favourite things ever, along with "Loaded". "Somewhere there's a feather" makes me cry every time.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Dear Sir » Thu Jul 18, 2013 14:21

Yex wrote:
Also, any suggestions on Lou Reed or John Cale solo albums?
Cale's Slow Dazzle is nearly perfect for many many reasons, most notably i) a Brian Wilson tribute song that doesn't try to sound like The Beach Boys, ii) a creepy cover of Heartbreak Hotel that recasts it as a building full of dangerous lunatics, iii) the self explanatory Dirty Ass Rock N Roll, and best of all, iv) the Kevin Ayers-referencing Guts which contains one of the best opening lines of any song ever. I had a period of, uh, emotional turbulence a couple of years ago and listened to nothing but Slow Dazzle and Ghosts Of Dead Aeroplanes by Prolapse on loop for most of the time which both hit different but equally cathartic nerves and I'll love them forever just for that.
Yawn.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by nicolnicol » Sat Jul 20, 2013 02:21

I'm a big Velvets nerd. Kind of surprised not to see more love for the self-titled third album. It's pretty much THE proto indie-pop album. Perfect in every way. I hope history is kind to Doug Yule. He was put in a tough position, and his contributions from 68-70 are really wonderful, even if he wasn't a creative force. The live recordings from that era as good as they ever got (and I love Cale/White Light/noise).
Jay wrote:If I could delete one song from each of the first three albums (European Son, The Gift, The Murder Mystery) I'd say that those 4 albums represent a near perfect body of work.
Those three are so much fun though! The Murder Mystery especially, though pretty incomprehensible when taken as a whole, if you focus on any one voice you can hear some beautiful and hilarious lines:
"Let the wire extend from the tip of a rose
Caroline, Caroline, Caroline, Oh!"

I'm still digging through Cale's records (enjoyed everything so far). His early 90s collaboration with Brian Eno is pretty brilliant.


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