The Velvet Underground

Reviews

The Velvet Underground Loaded (Alternate Album) LP

This month’s VELVETS bootleg/cash-in: A vinyl pressing of tracks from Rhino’s “Fully Loaded” reissue of the band’s final proper album. It’s a true “alternate” in the sense that it’s a track-by-track replication of Loaded made up of demos, early versions, and a couple “alternate mixes” (plus a bonus outtake of “I’m Sticking With You” because, why not?). Aside from simply having heard the hits too many times, my main complaint with Loaded is that it’s just a bit too neat and shiny, for a VU record anyway… so this LP is a pleasant surprise. The trio of “Head Held High” to “Lonesome Cowboy Bill” to “I Found a Reason” that opens side B is especially warm and intimate, performed with a relaxed looseness that draws me in despite knowing those songs back to front. Allegedly limited to 300 copies, but I doubt it…

The Velvet Underground Andy Warhol’s Factory Broadcast – New York City 1966 2xLP

VU is the greatest rock’n’roll band of all time and I cherish even their most unconventional boots like Screen Test or A Symphony of Sound but this is pretty f’n boring. Billed as a pre-first-LP rehearsal broadcast on the radio in NYC, this blatant cash-in presents a fly-on-the-wall snapshot of a shockingly sedated (not in the good way), meandering practice session. Who’d have thought Lou halfheartedly strumming his guitar for the better part of an hour would be so boring? Apparently not me since I bought it without a second thought. Oh well. Partially redeemed by a few live tracks from an actual show on side four.

The Velvet Underground VU LP

This is the great “lost” VELVET UNDERGROUND album, tapes of which have circulated since 1969. Finally, a major label has done something right, “seen the light,” and released this brilliant, clean classic. Many of these tunes were later redone by LOU REED when he went solo, but these original versions shut his down. Whether rockers, ballads, country…all are delivered with the VELVETS’ magic and verve. The only band that can make me cry.

The Velvet Underground Live ’68 LP

A new bootleg-quality release of a vintage VELVET UNDERGROUND performance in Cleveland. The VELVETS are undoubtedly my favorite group of all time, so I can’t be too objective. Suffice it to say that this record contains some real rarities—songs unreleased in any form—and some of Lou Reed’s most manic, dissonant, and nerve-wracking guitar work ever.