Posts Tagged ‘Velvet Underground’

features, Gallery, music

Ten great vinyl only albums – The Beatles, Velvet Underground, The Cleaners From Venus and more

By Stefano on April 5th, 2013

Not long to wait now. Record Store Day is coming a week on Saturday and I’ll be spending that day hunting down  obscure 80s indie singles and long lost psych albums.

And to celebrate – well we have got in a tad early – here is a list of ten of the greatest albums that have are vinyl only and have never had a CD reissue.

Except a few of them have – but either on dodgy low quality bootlegs or in legit reissues that have never ever turned up in the UK.

Anyhow, the best way to hear them is buying the vinyl. Here’s our list. What have we missed?

Velvet Underground - Squeeze £20

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Picture 9 of 10

Squeeze was the album recorded in London by Doug Yule on his own with just Ian Paice from Deep Purple for assistance. Lou Reed had left the band after Loaded, Sterling Morrison was long gone too. Only Mo Tucker was notionally still in the band though she didn’t fancy the trip to England to record Squeeze as she had a young child to care for. Given that it is a Velvet’s album (in name at least) and that Lou Reed isn’t on it Squeeze is often held up as a musical disaster. I think this is largely by musical snobs and hard core Velvet fans who quite possibly haven’t bothered to listen to it. Although he wasn’t on board from the start Doug Yule actually played a very important role in the Velvets. He was a much more amenable bass player than Cale – and his vocals are all over the band’s third and fourth albums. I was quite shocked to discover the other day that my two favourite Velvet songs that aren’t on that peerless debut – Who Loves the Sun? and Candy Says are both sung by Yule. Musically Squeeze is a close cousin of Loaded and on several occasions Yule does uncannily sound like Reed, but there’s a bit more of Beatles influence than Loaded and the band goes deeper into 70s swamp rock than they had before. Suffice to say that had it been by another band it would be a very highly regarded mid 70s rarity. The one absolute undisputed highlight which should adorn any Velvet’s Greatest Hits is Friends, a gentle ballad that had it made the cut for the third album would be hailed as one of the band’s finest achievements. This really is the Velvets – and the Velvets at their best. The album’s closer, Louise, is also a very fine Beatley tune with a really great stomping piano finale. Then there’s the compact Crash, which sounds like it is a distant relative of Martha My Dear from the Fabs White album and She’ll Make You Cry which could be a cover of Merseybeat era Fabs classic. Also interesting is Wordless, which has more stomping piano and a very strong hook of a chorus – it would have made a great single. I also have a soft spot for the opener Little Jack which is one of the best steals of The Stones’ Sympathy whoo whoos ever. Never properly issued on CD - although it did come out as part of a six disc Velvets boxed set - it really deserves a re-run.

features, music

12 of the most disastrous second albums of all time – Stone Roses, Duffy and more

By Stefano on January 9th, 2013

Aaah the tricky second album syndrome, it catches a lot of bands on the hop doesn’t it? After all you have a decade or so to piece together the tunes for your first album, while the second is often flung together in a heartbeat after months of touring.

If you are smart you have saved a few great songs from your early days to tide you over. If not then you better hope that the substance induced writers block disappears and fast.

The tricky part is deciding do you simply try and replicate that first album and risk accusations that you haven’t moved on? Or take the band in a different direction and then risk alienating the fans who loved your early stuff. Either route is fraught with danger.

Here then are twelve apocryphal tales of bands whose second albums were in one way or another disastrous. Some of them, in fact many of them, are actually pretty good, but, poor reviews, a lack of hit singles and a general falling from fashion meant that they stalled, and in some instances killed, a band’s career.

So have a look through the list and tell me which ones I have missed in the comments.

If you enjoyed this check out the following

Under rated 90s British indie bands

Under rated 80s British indie bands

The best Psychedelic albums of 2012

12 The Thrills - Let's Bottle Bohemia

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Picture 1 of 12

With So Much For The City, the Irish band patented the sound of 2003, all jangly guitars and west coast harmonies. Much was expected of its follow up Let's Bottle Bohemia, but in spite of the first two tracks - Tell Me Something I Don't Know and Whatever Happened to Corey Haim? - this was a lot lighter on hummable tunes and The Thrills' audience disappeared. It is actually quite a good album, but suffers quite badly when compared with that incendiary debut - a maxim that applies to a great many of the second album flops.

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