Thursday, September 24, 2015

Velvet Underground - White Light White Heat (1968)

And we're back!  I'm still away from my turntable, (If you could call it that.) but I have access to a dope as all hell setup for a short while and I would be remiss to not take advantage of spinning some serious shit.  

This week, I'm picking an American classic.  NYC's own, Velvet Underground with what is in my opinion the single greatest album they ever did, White Light/White Heat.  Sure, their first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico was outstanding, but I'm giving the edge to their sophomore release simply because they really came into their own out of the NYC grit of the era.  Why you ask?

White Light White Heat

So hear me out first.  You'll listen to that and think, "Woah, this is kinda out there." but if you really listen to it you'll come to realize the genius that was behind the Velvet Underground.  It's in their lyrics.  When you have a poet for a songwriter you get some deeply profound lyrics.  Fiona Apple anyone?  In any event, Lou Reed was way ahead of his time with his craft and skill of writing.  He literally brought an alternative message to punk music.  The Velvet Underground practically invented nihilist punk.

Their 2nd single brought it even harder...

I Heard Her Call My Name

You see, the thing about The Velvet Underground is that they weren't conceived as a mainstream group.  They were part of NYC's gritty underground culture of the 1970's.  Remember anything you may have heard about Lower East side punks and artists?  The Velvet Underground were their voices.  Before the British Punk invasion went full tilt, NYC version or anarchy was established in SoHo.  They touched on themes semi relevant to their time.  Anything from sexual identiy, (Lady Godiva's Operation) to the downright mental, (The Gift).  The gift being an exercise in what happens when you marry a poem to experimental rock.

The Gift

This record has been released many times over the years, but nothing stands up to the original mastered one.  There's such a beautiful mess of psychedelia and instrumental wizardry going on here, you'll have to find either an original or a remastered mono release of this album to get every ounce of pain out of it.  The Velvet Underground wasn't taken too seriously when they broke onto the scene, but through the years their brilliance became the hallmark of all things American punk rock.  They stood for old school anarchy and they were a driving force behind movements of expression and rights.  Run and find this album anywhere you can get it  

Next week, something new...  Something to celebrate the dying weather outside.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sirious/ly: Chris Cornell - Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart (2015)

For those keeping track here, the "Serious/ly" feature I do on this blog is little more than me listening to satellite radio and coming across a song or artist I love.  Sometimes it's retro, sometimes it's rare, but whenever it's new it's always one to watch.  There have been many of these posts over the past year, and hopefully you've discovered something different.  

In this outing, Chris Cornell, famously of Temple Of The Dog, Soundgarden, Audioslave, and for whatever reason the Zach Brown Band, apparently has a new single out. For those that haven't been paying attention, Chris is out with a new album this Friday the 18th.  Higher Truth.  Here's a pro tip: Alternative music on vinyl ain't cheap.  You try to find a Soundgarden LP and get back to me on how much of your paycheck is left.  Preorder this because you know it's legit.  Just listen:

Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart

So, as I alluded earlier this year has been better than expected for releases.  This month alone we're seeing new music from  Lana Del Ray, The Dead Weather, and now Chris Cornell.  Next week, I'll do a catch all post summing up most of it to this point.  Also, officially I've been doing this for a year now, crazy.   I wonder where we'll go for year #2?  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sirious/ly: alt-J - Hunger Of The Pine (2014)

Since I wasn't near my turntable this week, that doesn't mean that I'm not listening to good shit.  The lead single from alt-J's 2014 album, This Is All Yours is an exercise in chill.  Not too dissimilar from Washed Out in their style, but radically different in the way that alt-J handles electronic music.  This song is just grazing the tip of a very big iceberg with these guys.  If I can ever track this down on vinyl, this will be a HUGE pick for this blog.  Until then, I'm going to keep crate digging till I get my hands on this.  (Probably have to buy it in a DJ record store) Speaking of which, I highly recommend Gramophone Records in Chicago.  Man, the amount of Beastie Boy's records I could have and by all rights should have bought the day I was there is just staggering.  

Hunger Of The Pine

Perhaps I'll have a proper update this weekend.  Till then, keep spinning.