the velvet underground

The contents of this page relate to the velvet underground.

John Cale; Chinese Envoy (1982)

John Cale; Chinese Envoy (1982)

As with anyone who was there, I have a vivid memory of John Cale's show at the Gluepot back in September '83, and in fact I still have the poster ("Tickets sold! Limited door sales. Be early!") Cale's Sabotage/Live from '79 can't be topped for the sheer intensity he brings to material like the thrilling seven minute version of...

Lou Reed: Berlin (1973)

Lou Reed: Berlin (1973)

Right from the beginning -- aside from a short period as a jobbing songwriter for the Pickwick label in ‘64-’65 -- Lou Reed’s lyrics had a literary quality. With the Velvet Underground his songs would take the listener to an immediate location (“standing on the corner . . .”) or conjure up characters...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Deerhunter: Microcastle (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Deerhunter: Microcastle (4AD)

To be honest, this album by Bradford Cox and his Athens, Georgia band -- he's also the man behind his solo project Atlas Sounds, an album reviewed very favourably here some weeks ago -- sounds like a lot of other people, but what a lot of great other people: the Velvet Underground, the Church, the Pixies, the Cure, Mojave 3, Jesus and Mary...

Lou Reed's Berlin: Lou Reed, Julian Schnabel (Madman DVD)

Lou Reed's Berlin: Lou Reed, Julian Schnabel (Madman DVD)

Elsewhere last year posted Lou Reed's 1973 Berlin as an Essential Elsewhere album, also noting the CD release of the soundtrack to this filmed concert of the album, staged and directed by Julian Schabel. Berlin was an album that begged to be filmed and indeed there were loose plans, but then the album tanked, Reed had to hit the road to...

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, WHAT GOES ON (BOX SET, 1993): The velvet blueprint

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, WHAT GOES ON (BOX SET, 1993): The velvet blueprint

Most reviewers of this well-packaged, 57-track, three-disc set can’t help but comment on the overwrought essay by Clinton Walker who starts with superlatives, then works up to a screech. He sets up the customary and needless rock-crit comparisons (VU more street-damaged than the Beatles. So?) to advance the case that the Velvets...

Cybiont: A Trilogy of Random Thoughts and Considerations (Cybiont)

Cybiont: A Trilogy of Random Thoughts and Considerations (Cybiont)

First let it be noted that this album by a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Northland is not an easy proposition, and nor does it give up its manic diversity that easily. The title is some kind of clue and you may well think, as I do, that someone outside the project might have been brought in for a little editing as Cybiont...

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Given that this album was produced by Calexico's Joey Burns (who also wrote the music) this one comes as something of a surprise: you might have anticipated some kind of alt.Americana. There is something of that in the music and arrangements in places, but Dissard vocals (all in French) have that whispered, intimate, beguiling quality of the...

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

Marianne Dissard is a woman whose music confounds expectations, yet there is an impeccable logic to it: she is French but lives in Tucson, so there is an almost inevitable marriage of chanson and Americana on her album L’entredeux which was produced by Joey Burns of Calexico, who also wrote the music which envelops and supports...

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE by JIM DeROGATIS: When the whip comes down

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE by JIM DeROGATIS: When the whip comes down

In 1976 the musician/producer and music theorist Brian Eno said to Punk magazine of New York’s the Velvet Underground: “I knew that they were going to be one of the most interesting groups and that there would be a time when it wouldn’t be the Beatles up there and then all these other groups down there. “It would be a...

The Renderers: Monsters and Miasma (Last Visible Dog)

The Renderers: Monsters and Miasma (Last Visible Dog)

Once known as “the only country band on Flying Nun" (Trail of Tears in 90, their sole album for the label), this on-going project of Brian and Maryrose Crook has progressively taken a darker and deeper path the past decade. These 10 songs owes debts to old murder ballads, the Velvet Underground and the Doors, acoustic Neil Young,...

LOU REED AND PATTI SMITH IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Patent pending

LOU REED AND PATTI SMITH IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Patent pending

When those archetypal New Yorkers Lou Reed and Patti Smith both released albums in the early days of 2000, it allowed anyone still interested in their careers the chance to consider their relative positions as they entered a new decade -- in fact a new century -- about 25 years (and more) on from their career defining best work. Neither of...

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: The Road (Mute)

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: The Road (Mute)

The most difficult test for any film score is if it works in the absence of images, and even more so if it does when the listener hasn't seen the movie. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have had a long association (Bad Seeds, the booze-rock blues-rock Grinderman) and here on the score to the forthcoming film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's dark...

Songs: Songs (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

Songs: Songs (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

This young pop band out of Sydney come, not so much trailing influences but shoving them up ahead of them: variously they sound like nasal Dylan '65 doing early Velvets drone (Farmacy), the Bats jingle-jangle (Something to Believe In), the fuzzy end of the Clean (Oh No), more Velvets-in-Dunedin (Retreat) . . . And those are just the first...

THE BARGAIN BUY - David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger

THE BARGAIN BUY - David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger

David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger (EMI) While there's an easy case to make for Bowie's Low and Heroes albums to be in any Essential Elsewhere collection, Lodger from '79 -- his more difficult third album in "the Berlin trilogy" which he made with Brian Eno -- has always been overlooked or dismissed. Certainly it lacks that sudden...

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND; VANISHING POINT (Chrome Dreams/Triton DVD)

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND; VANISHING POINT (Chrome Dreams/Triton DVD)

Although this 90 minute film of the career of the Velvet Underground leaps in when Lou Reed met John Cale --as if nothing of consequence had happened in each of their lives prior to that -- what follows is an interesting (if much canvassed) doco about a band which changed the face of contemporary music. This chronological account is...

Lou Reed: Families (1979)

Lou Reed: Families (1979)

Lou Reed never strikes you as having a sentimental streak, but this song (from his album The Bells) is as nakedly autobiographical and pained as John Lennon's Mother. It is the sounds of a son who knows he has disappointed the family but equally realises there is no way back. Interesting too is the tone of regret and sadness at what has...

NICK CAVE, THE SEEDY MIDDLE YEARS: From Tender Prey to Henry's Dream

NICK CAVE, THE SEEDY MIDDLE YEARS: From Tender Prey to Henry's Dream

In the early Eighties the safe money would have been on Nick Cave -- then battling various demons and his elusive muse -- not making it much further. Yet here is Cave, now in his early 50s, dutifully going to the office every day to write songs, novels, screenplays and soundtracks, and curating arts festivals . . . And seeing his...

George and Queen: Teenagers and Grownups (Universal)

George and Queen: Teenagers and Grownups (Universal)

For their third album, this duo (now a band) out of Dunedin (now Auckland) here deliver a particularly interesting amalgam of radio-friendly pop (the single Hut 234, the delightfully driving power-pop of Fly Man) and alt.rock (most of the other 9 songs) onto which they throw strange and strangely appealing guitar shapes and rhythmic twists....

John Cale: Mercenaries (1980)

John Cale: Mercenaries (1980)

Born of its political era and John Cale's peculiarly damaged consciousness at the time, this menacing live recording captures an embittered spirit, a rare rage and a grim humour. As Mikal Gilmore noted in Rolling Stone at the time, the Sabotage/Live album this comes from is "without apology, and more importantly, without ideology,...

Lou Reed: Metal Machine Music (1975)

Lou Reed: Metal Machine Music (1975)

Metal Machine Music is the Lou Reed album that even many Lou fans haven't heard -- or did hear and said, "Never again". Many who bought this double album at the time (which now fetches absurd prices on-line) returned it because not only does Reed not sing on it, but it has no songs (there are four pieces, each around 16 minutes...

ANDY WARHOL'S LOOK: Glamour, Style, Fashion and Moron

ANDY WARHOL'S LOOK: Glamour, Style, Fashion and Moron

“People are always calling me a mirror and if a mirror looks into a mirror, what is there to see?” -- Andy Warhol. There's a scene in an Austin Powers movie in which the superspy and international man of mystery is in his London bachelor pad. Amid the iconography of the Swinging Sixties is a large multiple portrait...

David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

Rock critics and civilians are generally divided over David Bowie: people on the street seem to prefer the stabbing pop-rock of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane (with party favourite The Jean Genie) and singles like Rebel Rebel and Let's Dance. Critics – because they famously don't dance – gravitate towards the sonic...

THE SACRED TRIANGLE; BOWIE, IGGY AND LOU 1971-1973 (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

THE SACRED TRIANGLE; BOWIE, IGGY AND LOU 1971-1973 (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

It's hard to believe but in the same year as the Velvet Underground's debut album came out, David Bowie's new single was The Laughing Gnome, a gimmick song and another desperate step in trying to crack the charts. As this interesting doco makes clear, for many years Bowie was trying all kinds of tricks and tropes (from new clothes to new...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Velvet Underground; White Light White Heat/Velvet Underground and Nico

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Velvet Underground; White Light White Heat/Velvet Underground and Nico

Brian Eno once said that there would come a time when the Velvet Underground were discussed in the same breath as the Beatles with regard to their influence and importance. He said that when very few people in rock culture had really given serious consideration to this band out of New York which recalibrated the coordinates of rock music....

MOTHER OF ROCK: LILLIAN ROXON, a doco by PAUL CLARKE

MOTHER OF ROCK: LILLIAN ROXON, a doco by PAUL CLARKE

Australian writer Lillian Roxon (1932-73) was in the vanguard of feminism, a scene-maker in New York as she held court in Max's Kansas City with her pals and peers (Iggy, Alice Cooper, Andy Warhol), was a correspondent and columnist filing on everything from the mundane to the remarkable (Warhol's Factory, Janis Joplin, Hendrix) and was one the...

JOHN CALE INTERVIEWED (2005): Flipping the Velvet

JOHN CALE INTERVIEWED (2005): Flipping the Velvet

At the end of a digressive conversation with John Cale, I thank him for his time then add, "and I didn't even mention The Other Band". Cale -- Welsh, classically trained and fiercely intellectual -- lets go a baritone chuckle and says, "and thank you" -- then makes his escape, as if fearing inevitable questions about it may...

NICK CAVE, FROM OUTSIDER TO AUTEUR IN THE NINETIES: Let Love In to No More Shall We Part

NICK CAVE, FROM OUTSIDER TO AUTEUR IN THE NINETIES: Let Love In to No More Shall We Part

From the early Nineties, Nick Cave -- ever so slowly -- ceased to be a preoccupation of those who immersed themselves in the gloom of his raw and dirty blues-based music and became a respected, almost mainstream figure. You could mention him in most conversations and people would know who you meant. Songs like Straight To You,...

JIM DeROGATIS INTERVIEWED (2011): Nothing if not critical

JIM DeROGATIS INTERVIEWED (2011): Nothing if not critical

Rock critic, writer and most recently university lecturer Jim DeRogatis doesn't pull his punches, but keeps a sense of humour, about his music and its stars. With Gregg Kot, he has hosted Sound Opinions on Chicago Public Radio since '99 (“the world's only rock'n'roll talk show”) and they banter about fallen heroes,...

Boris: Attention Please (Sargent House)

Boris: Attention Please (Sargent House)

Witnessing the full firepower of this Japanese psychedelic drone-rock band at Sydney's Vivid Festival last year – earplugs supplied – was a revelation. When they were loud they were very, very loud but when guitarist Wata stepped up to bring her ethereal voice into play they were dreamily psychedelic and rather special in a...

Can, Tago Mago (1971)

Can, Tago Mago (1971)

Only a rare band could count among its admirers and proselytisers the young Johnny Rotten, David Bowie and Brian Eno, eccentric UK rocker Julian Cope, and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream. Oh, and various contemporary classical composers, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, and post-hippie rock fans. But then, Can from Germany were a...

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