Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Velvet Underground Gymnasium
Family Underground Salt of the Sun CD
Metallica ...And Justice For All
Guided by Voices Bee Thousand
Stars of the Lid The Ballasted Orchestra

Alright, this just-discovered Gymnasium boot is ridiculous. If you're at all interested grab it now. It's probably the sharpest sounding VU boot I've ever heard, made sharper still by some vicious playing. This was from a show at a NYC club called the Gymnasium, some time in the spring of 1967, just a few months before the September recording of White Light/White Heat, and in fact the set includes what is purportedly the first ever live version of "Sister Ray," indeed about 19 minutes long and right in line with what they were about to lay down in the studio. (Was this version Side A of the Sweet Sister Ray 2LP? One song on here - "Guess I'm Falling In Love" - did already appear on the Peel Slowly and See box set.) You might've also heard that the new never-before-heard song "I'm Not A Young Man Anymore" is a good one, and indeed it is a great one, a 7-minute steamrolling pissed-off scorcher with a slashing semi-Eastern guitar riff by Morrison, great Lou vocal hook ("Heeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyy I'M NOT A YOUNG MAN ANYMORE!!"), nutso Lou guitar chords & leads that link the raveup in "European Son" to the raveout in "What Goes On," great Cale bass-playing (the way he flurries it up a little on the turnarounds, much like he did in "Waiting For My Man" underneath Lou singing "feeling dirty more dead than alive" etc), unbelievable. Apparently 100 vinyl copies were pressed up of this and sold out in a few minutes on eBay. And from Velvet Underground to Family Underground, first time I've heard this acclaimed current band from Denmark, their new CD Salt of the Sun on the Ikuisuus label in a nice double-fold-out digipak-thing. Powerful heavy psych-drone stuff, three long tracks in the 25 minute range. Powerful, yes, but I wonder if this is all they do - they inhabit a big valley but I don't know if they ever leave it, or if they can leave it, or if it matters either way.

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