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Old 09-30-2008, 04:06 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Modern Lovers s/t is great, but it's not one of those albums I listen to front to back all the time. "Old World" is probably one of my favorite songs of all time, but overall the record doesn't have the consistency to make it an all-time fav.
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:20 PM   #22 (permalink)
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awesome list so far. nice to see props going towards talking heads.
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Old 10-01-2008, 07:36 PM   #23 (permalink)
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The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
1968




I don't remember where I read this, but some clever reviewer called VU&Nico their heroin album, and this their amphetamine album. The album sure as hell kicks off with a blast. “White Light/White Heat” is explosive, with bass that sounds like it's trying to tear through your speakers, piano playing that sounds like Jerry Lee Lewis on PCP, and ominous background noise that builds until the whole song devolves into a mass of noise. The song could have been recorded yesterday and it would sound just as intense, the fact that it was recorded in 1968 is just mind-blowing. This whole album is the sound of a band tearing itself apart, of carefully concentrated nihilism.

“The Gift” is wonderful, though it's really a song that loses its appeal after a few listens. The first couple times are the only ones that really matter though. The story told is dark, absurd, and clever, and is backed up by an extremely driving and repetitive rhythm with loose guitar improvisation pasted on top. It's basically Beckett told to kraut-rock. Before there was a such thing as kraut-rock, of course.

“Lady Godiva's Operation” begins as a dream and turns into a nightmare. To begin, delicate bass and guitar melodies float on top of a flowing sea of drone. The beauty quickly becomes dark and sinister however, and Cale's dreamy vocals are continuously interrupted by Reed's amelodic outbursts, and the song ends with our protagonist, Lady Godiva, dying from a botched lobotomy.

“Here She Comes Now” is a return to the general style of VU&Nico, and despite being tender and beautiful, is probably the least interesting song on the album. A good way to end the physical and mental assault of the first side however. Flipping over the record...

CHAOS! “I Heard Her Call My Name” clicks together and then falls apart just as quickly. Demonic feedback-laced guitar playing refuses to be contained within rhythmic structures, counterpoints Lou Reed's vocals, “I felt my mind split open!” followed by a blast of feedback and an utterly self-destructive guitar solo. This is punk, no wave, noise rock, and dada, this is a band gleefully tearing apart rock and roll to reveal its true potential. So many bands have emulated this, but how many have accurately captured that pure vibe, that reckless but intelligent and systematic self-destruction, which all culminates with “Sister Ray.”

“Sister Ray” is the sound of a song going nowhere. The lyrics are repetitive and in deliberate bad taste, the rhythm section barely evolves over the entire course of seventeen minutes, but there's so much raw energy driving the song that it continues to go and go without any sort of destination in mind. It's the Grateful Dead for nihilists, instead of listening to a song slowly evolve we listen to a song slowly devolve. From this song it becomes obvious why bands like Times New Viking deliberately use poor recording equipment—the lack of audio quality allows one instrument to overpower the others, and turn the whole song into an indistinguishable pulsating mass of writhing noise. Then as this temporary burst of energy wears off and the voice fades back into the background, the song magically reappears. Each voice carries with it its own distinct hiss and each contributes to the overall aura of feedback, essentially turning the old hierarchy of tone over timbre on its head. It's like listening to a choir of lunatics, most of whom stop singing their designated music and start to scream instead.

Here is a record that over the course of six songs changed the rules of music forever.
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:47 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I actually had a VU day today. Played all 4 in a row. No matter what, as much as I think that VU are one of the most important bands ever, for me Reed's vocals owe so much to Dylan and that makes me think that the world owes Dylan a debt a gratitude.

Great review (and thread just quietly. Just wish I could write in the same manner).
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:22 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ZZZ View Post
I actually had a VU day today. Played all 4 in a row. No matter what, as much as I think that VU are one of the most important bands ever, for me Reed's vocals owe so much to Dylan and that makes me think that the world owes Dylan a debt a gratitude.

Great review (and thread just quietly. Just wish I could write in the same manner).
Yeah! People always attribute speak-singing to Reed, but Dylan was doing it years before. Never understood that.

And, excellent review. White Light/White Heat is a great track-by-track album to review, since theres only six songs. Also my favorite Velvets record
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:03 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Slint - Spiderland
1991




It's hard to explain the appeal of Spiderland to someone who “doesn't get it.” What the hell, they might say, these cynical ones, it's just some guy talking over music that goes from soft to loud, soft to loud. Big whoop. They might even have the audacity to say that the pieces aren't musically interesting, that the chords sound detached from each other and don't create compelling tunes. Of course, the problem isn't that they don't get it, but that they assume there is something to get.

In fact, the only thing to get is nothing. And once you get nothing, you no longer have it. Nothing must be something to be understood. To understand nothing, something must come out of nothing. Something like Spiderland.

Spiderland is an object of massive appeal to the “record snob” because it is prototypical outsider music; it generates a creepy voyeuristic vibe and plays on futility, offering a series of rolling climaxes which bring nothing new, deliver no catharsis. In essence, it resonates with the void inside us. Those who are not completely jaded, or detached, or empty, who still have contorted belief structures jutting out of the void at obtuse angels, will resist this resonance. For those of us obsessed with staring into our own abyss the resonance is inevitable.

The aesthetics of Slint are not defeatist. They say we can move beyond, we can still provide singularities of style, here is the evidence. We respond in turn, by turning Slint into a template, and this is the sorry state we now find ourselves in. But we cannot blame Slint for post-rock, everything singular must be simulated until it is no longer so, this is the society which we live in, we are all complicit. Spiderland, then, is the ultimate narcissism, and the ultimate dissolution of the ego, and it sounds great. Great because it can lead you to every greater, dizzying heights, but not the heights of pleasure, not mental or physical orgasm, but to the pinnacles of self-pity, self-doubt, absurdity and anti-catharsis.

This review is deliberately pretentious because this record is deliberately pretentious. But pretension is not something to be feared! Only pretensions can keep music mentally titillating, before it simply becomes the beat to hump to. Music is quickly becoming more and more functional, but if we must allow this we must also force the functionality to serve on both fronts, cerebral and visceral! How can we achieve a state of post-tension without pretension? Slint extracts tension from pretension, and moves us ever closer, ever farther away, from the post.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:13 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I still have'nt got this SOAB in my collection. Are we getting some Zappa in here?
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:14 PM   #28 (permalink)
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of course
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:50 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardboard adolescent View Post
Slint - Spiderland



It's hard to explain the appeal of Spiderland to someone who “doesn't get it.” What the hell, they might say, these cynical ones, it's just some guy talking over music that goes from soft to loud, soft to loud. Big whoop. They might even have the audacity to say that the pieces aren't musically interesting, that the chords sound detached from each other and don't create compelling tunes. Of course, the problem isn't that they don't get it, but that they assume there is something to get.

In fact, the only thing to get is nothing. And once you get nothing, you no longer have it. Nothing must be something to be understood. To understand nothing, something must come out of nothing. Something like Spiderland.

Spiderland is an object of massive appeal to the “record snob” because it is prototypical outsider music; it generates a creepy voyeuristic vibe and plays on futility, offering a series of rolling climaxes which bring nothing new, deliver no catharsis. In essence, it resonates with the void inside us. Those who are not completely jaded, or detached, or empty, who still have contorted belief structures jutting out of the void at obtuse angels, will resist this resonance. For those of us obsessed with staring into our own abyss the resonance is inevitable.

The aesthetics of Slint are not defeatist. They say we can move beyond, we can still provide singularities of style, here is the evidence. We respond in turn, by turning Slint into a template, and this is the sorry state we now find ourselves in. But we cannot blame Slint for post-rock, everything singular must be simulated until it is no longer so, this is the society which we live in, we are all complicit. Spiderland, then, is the ultimate narcissism, and the ultimate dissolution of the ego, and it sounds great. Great because it can lead you to every greater, dizzying heights, but not the heights of pleasure, not mental or physical orgasm, but to the pinnacles of self-pity, self-doubt, absurdity and anti-catharsis.

This review is deliberately pretentious because this record is deliberately pretentious. But pretension is not something to be feared! Only pretensions can keep music mentally titillating, before it simply becomes the beat to hump to. Music is quickly becoming more and more functional, but if we must allow this we must also force the functionality to serve on both fronts, cerebral and visceral! How can we achieve a state of post-tension without pretension? Slint extracts tension from pretension, and moves us ever closer, ever farther away, from the post.


This is quickly becoming my favorite top album thread.

Spiderland is fucking terrifying. I picked up Slint's untitled 10" the other day, also great. No vocals but its the same intense feedbacky loudquietloud assault as Spiderland. I highly reccomend.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:53 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I love Tweez too, but for completely different reasons. It's not really on the same playing field, but still great for what it is.
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