In honor of the 45th anniversary of ”The Velvet Underground & Nico,” Castle Face and Universal will be releasing not only the record’s 458th reissue (really), but also a covers compilation of the album. The covers compilation, one of six CDs in the limited edition box set, features a handful of Bay Area rockers. Although the set is not available until October 30th, you can listen to and download Ty Segall‘s manic rendition of “Femme Fatale.”
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
Robyn Hitchcock has always viewed the world about one-quarter off-kilter. Where he lives, it rains like a slow divorce and the sun is underground; other residents have arms of love and lightbulb heads, and the dead are just as desirable as the living. Some would say Hitchcock is touched in the head; others, that he’s touched with genius. One thing’s certain: if you listen to his music with an open mind and an open heart, you’ll find it touches you as well.
And we haven’t even gotten to his covers yet…
Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.
They’ve been called “the ABBA of bluegrass punk,” and their label’s beautifully written artist page says they’re “doing their best to keep bluegrass from tottering meekly into a dust-covered coffin.” They’re the Meat Purveyors, and while their name may suggest a Victorian butcher shop, one listen to their musicianship and you’ll know that butchering is the last thing on their mind.
It was just a little over a month ago that we first heard YACHT‘s electropop version of Brigitte Fontaine’s “Le Goudron.” It was everything we have come to expect from YACHT: dance-worthy, trippy, and surreal. With the duo’s rendition of The Velvet Underground & Nico’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” the band decides to go into an unexpected but welcomed subdued mode.
Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
When the third album by the Velvet Underground came out, the few people who had bought their last two albums and expected more of the same were stunned at what they heard. Lou Reed was determined not to lead a one-dimensional band, and with the poppier-minded Doug Yule taking over John Cale’s duties, they took a soft left turn and became a kinder, gentler quartet. Perhaps no cut better exemplified this change than side one’s closer, “Jesus.” Barely a year after the seventeen-minute cacophony of “Sister Ray,” Reed used just fifteen words to ask for help from above. The song’s delicacy may not hit as hard as a shot of “Heroin,” but its message goes deeper and stays a lot longer.
Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.
Heaven & Hell, Volume 1 was the first of three tributes to The Velvet Underground released by the Imaginary label. They regularly used tributes as a way to move product, averaging three a year and paying homage to cult artists like Syd Barrett, Captain Beefheart, and (unusually for 1992) Nick Drake. They were guaranteed sellers to tiny, rabid fanbases, and brought attention to the label’s own artists besides. But with H&HV1, they tapped into a richer vein than usual, and they landed one band that was ascloseasthis to superstardom.
New Jersey based Titus Andronicus is known for their near-mockery of emotion with their completely unreserved demeanor and lyrics. While at SXSW, the band was selling $2 mixtapes. The mixtape, which is comprised mostly of rare demos, is not only a necessity to any hardcore fan, but also to the cover fan. The band doesn’t pull any punches, covering everything from Weezer, Thin Lizzy, The Velvet Underground, and yes, the obnoxiously catchy jingle for Hot Pockets.