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Our top 5 Velvet Underground songs

The Velvet Underground have inspired numerous arti..

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The Velvet Underground have inspired numerous artists since releasing their debut album over 50-years ago: Nick Cave, The Strokes, The Libertines, Fat White Family and many more have taken certain aspects from the legendary New York band to better their own music. Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker formed back in the 1960’s to create one of the greatest albums of all-time with the fairly random assistance of Nico.

Criminally underrated at the time, Lou and co sold minimal records which obviously resulted in the band not making much money at all. And While The Beatles and The Beach Boys were singings about your usual cliches, tiptoeing around lyrics to include drug references in their songs, Lou Reed was quite blatantly expressing his interests on taboo subjects such as heroin, sadomasochism and New Yorks seedy underbelly.

So, for no real reason, apart from the fact that I love the Velvets, lets take a look at their top 5 tunes (this is non-debatable).

FIVE

Oh, Sweet Nuthin’

After the band’s commercial failure, and after sacking his most creative partner John Cale following White Light/White Heat, Lou decided it was time to attempt to appeal to the masses with the bands last album (basically last album, don’t listen to squeeze), Loaded. The move didn’t quite pay off, but the record did produce some great songs such as Sweet Jane, and also showcased Reed’s ability to create catchy pop-songs.

The albums closing track, Oh, Sweet Nuthin’ is the Velvets’ own attempt at a classic Lynyrd Skynyrd like ballad. It features a delicate guitar solo at the end that combines brilliantly with the build up on the drums. This track is not your usual Velvets effort, but it portrays the bands musical ability despite the absence of Cale. And like on Candy Says, Doug Yule doesn’t do too bad at all by replacing Lou Reed on this one with his soft vocals.

This track just about managed to get the nod ahead of Candy Says and Hey Mr. Rain. The latter a song so admired by the Fat White Family they took the riff and altered it slightly to create the track Bomb Disneyland.

FOUR

Venus in Furs

The sound Reed and Cale created on this song still remains unique to any other this day. The Welshman’s haunting violin plays over Reeds stabbing guitar while Tucker applies her typical heavy tom drum-beat. The music couldn’t be better suited to Reed’s words about dark sexual fantasises regarding sadomasochism which is inspired by the book of the same name.

THREE

Pale Blue Eyes

One of The Velvet Undergrounds most popular songs is the ever so delicate Pale Blue Eyes, a song so light it could fade out at any second. Its vintage Lou Red, with that beautiful guitar and alluring melody.

Reed was always a fiend for purposely simplifying his lyrics, never demonstrated better than the tracks opening line “Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad”. The rest of the song demonstrate some of Reeds personal struggles with relationships, a subject talked about much more later on in the bands career. Pale Blue Eyes features on their self-titled third album, a record that may have also been an effort at shifting their junkie reputation.

TWO

I’m Waiting For The Man

Reed always expressed a desire at taking elements from his beat generation idols such as William S. Burroughs and turning it into music, which is portrayed perfectly on Im Waiting For The Man. This fast paced track had Reed echoing Bob Dylan with crooning vocals while he sings about picking up drugs in Harlem. The R&B rhythm guitar is unusually upbeat aided by the constant hit of the piano and snare drum. “So sick and dirty more dead than alive” Reed sings in what would go on to be a punk-esque classic.

ONE

Heroin

Moe Tucker said this was the bands greatest triumph and its hard to disagree. The Velvet Underground were one of first pioneers of punk rock, without really knowing about it. When the Sex Pistols sang about anarchy in the UK there was an audience for it. In late 1960’s New York the chances of getting on the radio with songs about heroin where slim to say the least.

One of the truly unique aspects of this legendary song is Lou Reed’s ability to musically give the listener a good a feel as any (you imagine) at following him on the dangerous journey he experiences. As Reed describes his blood beginning to flow, the drums and guitar quickly build up, perfectly combining with Reeds insight into injecting Heroin. The song continues to change pace and ends with intense screaming feedback that suits the songs subject perfectly.

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No1 Showcase: The Art Of David Hicks

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David Hicks is a photographer who is just as interested in the behind-the-scenes stories as he is in the stories themselves. A true photojournalist, Hicks aims to capture every aspect of waking life.

Whether that be everyday activities on the streets of Cuba to the passionate and dynamic tango culture in Buenos Aries, Hicks will be there to experience it and share it. He says of his tango collection: “The Tango, a now-popular dance between a man and a woman, started in its current form in the mid-1800s, after a massive migration to Argentina, mostly by men. Because men outnumbered women by quite some number, the only way for a man to get close to a woman was via a brothel or by dance. The men practiced together, as you’d have to be a great dancer to get a woman’s attention. So, this very sexual dance you see now was born out of the reality for men in those old days. Nowadays, you see it performed often, usually on the street corners of Buenos Aires, with live musicians or a pre-recorded soundtrack, and they do it for the tips!”

Follow David’s work down below:  HiXposure (@hixposure) / Twitter  HiXposure | Facebook HiXposure Photography (@hixposure) • Instagram photos and videos

Website: HiXPOSURE | Travel Photography

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No1 News: The Mad Game Embark On Their Latest Rage Against The Machine

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It can always be a struggle when you music possesses such a crucial and pertinent message and yet you’re blocked by the damning limitations of ‘going under the radar’ – electronic animated anarchists ‘The Mad Game’ know this all too well.

The band’s debut EP, ‘Player One’, is a righteous middle finger to what they describe as ‘The Mad Game’ – the absurdities in society that have been integrated as the status quo – after tangling with governments, security services and local mafia. Their message of outrage and vitriol is a potent one found across the EPs five tracks – a mere morsel of their true potential – and is certainly enough to make listeners pay attention.

The trio’s soundscape is an eclectic one: the righteous indignation of the best punk music married beautifully to the jarring and skittish landscapes of the best electronica. The lead track, ‘Game Over ‘, in particular makes a phenomenal first impression to the animated anarchists with members Sonu, Karla and Sonya giving their respective inputs to this chilling three-pronged attack. What these newcomers nail best is their sincerity.

It’s hard to take such a venomous assault from someone you don’t genuinely believe has lived through the horrors that they detail – The Mad Game give off no such illusion. What you hear is authentic and those unaware of the band’s craft will soon learn to such things. It makes for a truly gripping and inspiring experience.

This is not a project that anyone should overlook regardless of their tastes; thoughtful, well crafted and genuine music. Not something 2021 receives in surplus.

Follow The Mad Game below: Twitter: https://twitter.com/MadGameOfficial Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/madgameofficial/ Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/25Aqc6ubzXLDlNUw6qYV35 Bandcamp: https://madgameofficial.bandcamp.com/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUhBz3vBndOL6fV__qTn-qQ

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No1 Finds: Tunetables – A Stylish Solution To Music Storage

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“The Tunetables idea was borne,” says Rob Chappelhow, the man behind a range of ingenious new storage solutions, “out of a personal desire to have my music collection around me once again.”

That’s something all of us record-collector’s can empathise with. Now, I’ve banged on before about how, for many of us, digital streaming doesn’t cut it. Streaming services are great, but for a large number of us hard-core music fans, we want something we can hold in our sweaty hands, right? But, once you have all those lovely records, where do you put them?

Flat-pack shelving is fine, but it’s hardly inspiring. That’s where the Tunetables range comes into its own. More words from Rob Chappelhow, who explains that the idea came to him during a visit to  the Joe Strummer Archive exhibition in the basement of Fred Perry’s flagship store in Covent Garden – “Set out under an acrylic plinth was Strummer’s personal tape cassette collection…his musical heritage and inspiration perfectly showcased.”

It was totally spellbinding. I soon started to conceptualise how I could create my own version of this…a personal time capsule of life-affirming music. I wanted something that could be inherently useful, something that I would see and use every day, and that would be a talking point for like-minded music enthusiasts.”

And lo! Tunetables was born… What Chappelhow has done is to take brand new music-equipment flight-cases (the type we are well-used to seeing lugged around by roadies and musicians) and turn them into hand-crafted storage solutions for your CDs, tapes and vinyl. It’s a wonderful idea and, most importantly, they look great. As mentioned, each case is built by hand, and can be personalised with your own initials (or whatever you fancy). Storage ranges from 100 – 500 for CDs, 30 – 60 for tapes, and 75 for vinyl. That’s not a bad amount at all. I can see a lot of people going for this, from pro and semi-pro musicians to plain music-lovers such as myself. This is modern design with an old-school aesthetic. Check them out for yourself!

Check out Tunetables below: 

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