Categories :

Similar artists

Albums

HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
One would be hard-pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground & Nico. While it reportedly took over a decade for the album's sales to crack six figures, glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set. While The Velvet Underground had as distinctive a sound as any band, what's most surprising about this album is its diversity. Here, the Velvets dipped their toes into dreamy pop ("Sunday Morning"), tough garage rock ("Waiting for the Man"), stripped-down R&B ("There She Goes Again"), and understated love songs ("I'll Be Your Mirror") when they weren't busy creating sounds without pop precedent. Lou Reed's lyrical exploration of drugs and kinky sex (then risky stuff in film and literature, let alone "teen music") always received the most press attention, but the music Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker played was as radical as the words they accompanied. The bracing discord of "European Son," the troubling beauty of "All Tomorrow's Parties," and the expressive dynamics of "Heroin" all remain as compelling as the day they were recorded. While the significance of Nico's contributions have been debated over the years, she meshes with the band's outlook in that she hardly sounds like a typical rock vocalist, and if Andy Warhol's presence as producer was primarily a matter of signing the checks, his notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record their material without compromise, which would have been impossible under most other circumstances. Few rock albums are as important as The Velvet Underground & Nico, and fewer still have lost so little of their power to surprise and intrigue more 50 years after first hitting the racks. © Mark Deming /TiVo
HI-RES$20.99
CD$17.99

Rock - Released March 12, 1967 | Polydor

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Polydor

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
CD$51.49

Pop - Released October 30, 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions Best New Reissue
After The Velvet Underground cut three albums for the jazz-oriented Verve label that earned them lots of notoriety but negligible sales, the group signed with industry powerhouse Atlantic Records in 1970; label head Ahmet Ertegun supposedly asked Lou Reed to avoid sex and drugs in his songs, and instead focus on making an album "loaded with hits." Loaded was the result, and with appropriate irony it turned out to be the first VU album that made any noticeable impact on commercial radio -- and also their swan song, with Reed leaving the group shortly before its release. With John Cale long gone from the band, Doug Yule highly prominent (he sings lead on four of the ten tracks), and Maureen Tucker absent on maternity leave, this is hardly a purist's Velvet Underground album. But while Lou Reed always wrote great rock & roll songs with killer hooks, on Loaded his tunes were at last given a polished but intelligent production that made them sound like the hits they should have been, and there's no arguing that "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll" are as joyously anthemic as anything he's ever recorded. And if this release generally maintains a tight focus on the sunny side of the VU's personality (or would that be Reed's personality?), "New Age" and "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" prove he had hardly abandoned his contemplative side, and "Train Around the Bend" is a subtle but revealing metaphor for his weariness with the music business. Sterling Morrison once said of Loaded, "It showed that we could have, all along, made truly commercial sounding records," but just as importantly, it proved they could do so without entirely abandoning their musical personality in the process. It's a pity that notion hadn't occurred to anyone a few years earlier. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$18.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2012 | Polydor

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
One would be hard-pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground & Nico. While it reportedly took over a decade for the album's sales to crack six figures, glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set. While The Velvet Underground had as distinctive a sound as any band, what's most surprising about this album is its diversity. Here, the Velvets dipped their toes into dreamy pop ("Sunday Morning"), tough garage rock ("Waiting for the Man"), stripped-down R&B ("There She Goes Again"), and understated love songs ("I'll Be Your Mirror") when they weren't busy creating sounds without pop precedent. Lou Reed's lyrical exploration of drugs and kinky sex (then risky stuff in film and literature, let alone "teen music") always received the most press attention, but the music Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker played was as radical as the words they accompanied. The bracing discord of "European Son," the troubling beauty of "All Tomorrow's Parties," and the expressive dynamics of "Heroin" all remain as compelling as the day they were recorded. While the significance of Nico's contributions have been debated over the years, she meshes with the band's outlook in that she hardly sounds like a typical rock vocalist, and if Andy Warhol's presence as producer was primarily a matter of signing the checks, his notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record their material without compromise, which would have been impossible under most other circumstances. Few rock albums are as important as The Velvet Underground & Nico, and fewer still have lost so little of their power to surprise and intrigue more 50 years after first hitting the racks. © Mark Deming /TiVo
HI-RES$20.99
CD$17.99

Rock - Released March 1, 1969 | MGM Records Inc.

Hi-Res
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Pop - Released October 30, 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

Hi-Res
After The Velvet Underground cut three albums for the jazz-oriented Verve label that earned them lots of notoriety but negligible sales, the group signed with industry powerhouse Atlantic Records in 1970; label head Ahmet Ertegun supposedly asked Lou Reed to avoid sex and drugs in his songs, and instead focus on making an album "loaded with hits." Loaded was the result, and with appropriate irony it turned out to be the first VU album that made any noticeable impact on commercial radio -- and also their swan song, with Reed leaving the group shortly before its release. With John Cale long gone from the band, Doug Yule highly prominent (he sings lead on four of the ten tracks), and Maureen Tucker absent on maternity leave, this is hardly a purist's Velvet Underground album. But while Lou Reed always wrote great rock & roll songs with killer hooks, on Loaded his tunes were at last given a polished but intelligent production that made them sound like the hits they should have been, and there's no arguing that "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll" are as joyously anthemic as anything he's ever recorded. And if this release generally maintains a tight focus on the sunny side of the VU's personality (or would that be Reed's personality?), "New Age" and "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" prove he had hardly abandoned his contemplative side, and "Train Around the Bend" is a subtle but revealing metaphor for his weariness with the music business. Sterling Morrison once said of Loaded, "It showed that we could have, all along, made truly commercial sounding records," but just as importantly, it proved they could do so without entirely abandoning their musical personality in the process. It's a pity that notion hadn't occurred to anyone a few years earlier. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$12.99

Rock - Released November 24, 2014 | MGM Records Inc.

Upon first release, the Velvet Underground's self-titled third album must have surprised their fans nearly as much as their first two albums shocked the few mainstream music fans who heard them. After testing the limits of how musically and thematically challenging rock could be on Velvet Underground & Nico and White Light/White Heat, this 1969 release sounded spare, quiet, and contemplative, as if the previous albums documented some manic, speed-fueled party and this was the subdued morning after. (The album's relative calm has often been attributed to the departure of the band's most committed avant-gardist, John Cale, in the fall of 1968; the arrival of new bassist Doug Yule; and the theft of the band's amplifiers shortly before they began recording.) But Lou Reed's lyrical exploration of the demimonde is as keen here as on any album he ever made, while displaying a warmth and compassion he sometimes denied his characters. "Candy Says," "Pale Blue Eyes," and "I'm Set Free" may be more muted in approach than what the band had done in the past, but "What Goes On" and "Beginning to See the Light" made it clear the VU still loved rock & roll, and "The Murder Mystery" (which mixes and matches four separate poetic narratives) is as brave and uncompromising as anything on White Light/White Heat. This album sounds less like the Velvet Underground than any of their studio albums, but it's as personal, honest, and moving as anything Lou Reed ever committed to tape. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$10.49

Rock - Released September 1, 1986 | Verve Reissues

After 18 years of having little or no idea of what to do with the Velvet Underground, sometime in 1985 it seems to have suddenly dawned on Verve Records that they had the back catalog of one of America's greatest and most influential rock bands languishing in their vaults, and they began to act accordingly; remastered (and budget-priced) versions of the group's first three albums were released, as well as VU, a superb collection of unreleased Velvet Underground tracks, most of which were recorded for a fourth Verve album that never saw the light of day. Commendably, the label went back to their tape archives a year later looking for more VU goodies, and Another View was the result. One thing that's obvious from the outset is the cream of the band's unreleased material had already been skimmed off for VU, and several of the tracks on Another View are rough demos for which the group never even recorded vocals ("Guess I'm Falling in Love," "Ride Into the Sun," and "I'm Gonna Move Right In" all have lyrics, but you don't hear 'em here). And while the non-bootleg emergence of "I Can't Stand It," "Foggy Notion," and "Temptation Inside Your Heart" made VU a major addition to the Velvet Underground's catalog, it's unclear how many fans were clamoring for an authorized release of second-string tunes like "Ferryboat Bill" and "Coney Island Steeplechase." But if Another View is marginalia, it's marginalia from a truly great band; the rough but rocking takes of "We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together" and "Rock & Roll" are great fun, and the two versions of "Hey Mr. Rain" are beautiful explorations of the band's psychedelic undercurrent. Another View isn't essential Velvet Underground, but it's still well worth a listen. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$38.49

Rock - Released March 12, 1967 | Polydor

One would be hard-pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground & Nico. While it reportedly took over a decade for the album's sales to crack six figures, glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set. While The Velvet Underground had as distinctive a sound as any band, what's most surprising about this album is its diversity. Here, the Velvets dipped their toes into dreamy pop ("Sunday Morning"), tough garage rock ("Waiting for the Man"), stripped-down R&B ("There She Goes Again"), and understated love songs ("I'll Be Your Mirror") when they weren't busy creating sounds without pop precedent. Lou Reed's lyrical exploration of drugs and kinky sex (then risky stuff in film and literature, let alone "teen music") always received the most press attention, but the music Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker played was as radical as the words they accompanied. The bracing discord of "European Son," the troubling beauty of "All Tomorrow's Parties," and the expressive dynamics of "Heroin" all remain as compelling as the day they were recorded. While the significance of Nico's contributions have been debated over the years, she meshes with the band's outlook in that she hardly sounds like a typical rock vocalist, and if Andy Warhol's presence as producer was primarily a matter of signing the checks, his notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record their material without compromise, which would have been impossible under most other circumstances. Few rock albums are as important as The Velvet Underground & Nico, and fewer still have lost so little of their power to surprise and intrigue more 50 years after first hitting the racks. © Mark Deming /TiVo
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Rock - Released January 30, 1968 | Verve

Hi-Res
HI-RES$59.49
CD$53.99

Rock - Released November 24, 2014 | MGM Records Inc.

Hi-Res
CD$11.49

Rock - Released January 1, 1988 | Island Mercury

The Velvet Underground were little more than a rumor when Lou Reed left the band in 1970, but by 1974, thanks to Reed's success as a solo artist, the Velvets had become a bona fide cult item, and that year Mercury Records released a two-record set compiled from tapes from shows in Dallas and San Francisco entitled 1969: Velvet Underground Live. The album featured a generous 104 minutes of music, and when Mercury reissued it on CD in 1988, rather than edit the material or release a two-CD set, they put out the album as two separate discs. While this seemed like a rather curious move, the album's sequence was such that it divided in half quite cleanly, and while any VU fan will want both volumes, they don't work half bad as individual albums. 1969: Velvet Underground Live, Vol. 1 rocks a bit harder than its counterpart; it opens with a grooving version of "Waiting for the Man," moves on to a rave-up take of "What Goes On" that features some of Lou Reed's finest rhythm guitar work, and closes out with passionate renditions of "Rock and Roll" and "Beginning to See the Light." And where there are a number of ballads on hand (most notably a lovely take of "Lisa Says" and versions of "Sweet Jane" and "New Age" considerably different from those on Loaded), they sound just as committed and compelling as the rockers. While the Doug Yule-era edition of the Velvet Underground often gets short shrift from aficionados, the performances on 1969: Velvet Underground Live, Vol. 1 prove this band still had plenty of fire, and was playing at the top of their game. The CD also adds a final bonus track, an unreleased version of "Heroin"; while the same song appears on Vol. 2, this recording is a different (and considerably more aggressive) performance. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$12.99

Pop - Released October 30, 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

After The Velvet Underground cut three albums for the jazz-oriented Verve label that earned them lots of notoriety but negligible sales, the group signed with industry powerhouse Atlantic Records in 1970; label head Ahmet Ertegun supposedly asked Lou Reed to avoid sex and drugs in his songs, and instead focus on making an album "loaded with hits." Loaded was the result, and with appropriate irony it turned out to be the first VU album that made any noticeable impact on commercial radio -- and also their swan song, with Reed leaving the group shortly before its release. With John Cale long gone from the band, Doug Yule highly prominent (he sings lead on four of the ten tracks), and Maureen Tucker absent on maternity leave, this is hardly a purist's Velvet Underground album. But while Lou Reed always wrote great rock & roll songs with killer hooks, on Loaded his tunes were at last given a polished but intelligent production that made them sound like the hits they should have been, and there's no arguing that "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll" are as joyously anthemic as anything he's ever recorded. And if this release generally maintains a tight focus on the sunny side of the VU's personality (or would that be Reed's personality?), "New Age" and "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" prove he had hardly abandoned his contemplative side, and "Train Around the Bend" is a subtle but revealing metaphor for his weariness with the music business. Sterling Morrison once said of Loaded, "It showed that we could have, all along, made truly commercial sounding records," but just as importantly, it proved they could do so without entirely abandoning their musical personality in the process. It's a pity that notion hadn't occurred to anyone a few years earlier. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$31.99

Rock - Released November 20, 2015 | Polydor

The Velvet Underground are arguably the most important American band of the second half of the '60s, but few seemed to think so at the time. The Velvets flew under the radar of public recognition through most of their career, and no one bothered to professionally record their live shows between 1966 and 1970. There have been plenty of authorized and illicit releases of Velvets live tapes (mostly audience recordings) since the early '70s, but one thing they had in common was compromised fidelity; in terms of audio, "pretty OK" is as good as they get, and for fans, listening for the music through the murk is a frustrating challenge. In November 1969, the Velvet Underground played a two-night stand at the Matrix, a club in San Francisco that had a four-track recording rig wired into its sound system; the four sets the band played were taped, and rough mixes of those shows were featured on the fine collection 1969: Velvet Underground Live, and they ranked with the very best VU live documents despite the hiss that hovered over the music. More than 40 years after that album was released, the original Matrix four-track masters have been remixed and remastered, and the four-disc box set The Complete Matrix Tapes marks the first time this material has been released in full. Though extensive excerpts from the new mixes appeared on the expanded 45th anniversary edition of the VU's self-titled third album, and many of these performances are familiar to folks who know 1969: VU Live well, this set's fidelity is a major selling point, even if you're not an audiophile. The Complete Matrix Tapes offers over four and a half hours of the Velvet Underground playing well and recorded with unobtrusive clarity, allowing the listener to hear the details of the performances and the ambience of the room as never before, and it's a remarkably exciting listen. As four sets appear in full, several songs are repeated (each disc includes takes of "Heroin," "Some Kinda Love," and "We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together"), but each performance has a personality of its own, and hearing how the band reshaped the longer numbers in repeated versions is a delight for fans into the minutia. (Lou Reed also changes up the lyrics on a few numbers here.) And while conventional wisdom has it that the post-John Cale edition of the band was less fiery and inventive, this lineup -- Reed on guitar and vocals, Sterling Morrison on guitar, Doug Yule on bass and organ, and Maureen Tucker on drums -- plays with strength, commitment, and a sense of adventure that ranks with their best and most purely enjoyable work. The bulk and repetition of The Complete Matrix Tapes will scare away a few casual observers, but anyone who wants to know how this band sounded on-stage on two good nights will find this to be a revelation; it's the best and best-sounding VU live release to date. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$44.99

Rock - Released November 24, 2014 | MGM Records Inc.

Upon first release, the Velvet Underground's self-titled third album must have surprised their fans nearly as much as their first two albums shocked the few mainstream music fans who heard them. After testing the limits of how musically and thematically challenging rock could be on Velvet Underground & Nico and White Light/White Heat, this 1969 release sounded spare, quiet, and contemplative, as if the previous albums documented some manic, speed-fueled party and this was the subdued morning after. (The album's relative calm has often been attributed to the departure of the band's most committed avant-gardist, John Cale, in the fall of 1968; the arrival of new bassist Doug Yule; and the theft of the band's amplifiers shortly before they began recording.) But Lou Reed's lyrical exploration of the demimonde is as keen here as on any album he ever made, while displaying a warmth and compassion he sometimes denied his characters. "Candy Says," "Pale Blue Eyes," and "I'm Set Free" may be more muted in approach than what the band had done in the past, but "What Goes On" and "Beginning to See the Light" made it clear the VU still loved rock & roll, and "The Murder Mystery" (which mixes and matches four separate poetic narratives) is as brave and uncompromising as anything on White Light/White Heat. This album sounds less like the Velvet Underground than any of their studio albums, but it's as personal, honest, and moving as anything Lou Reed ever committed to tape. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$12.99

Pop - Released January 19, 2016 | Rhino Atlantic

There's a certain amount of disagreement among Velvet Underground scholars regarding whether or not this album, recorded by Andy Warhol associate and longtime fan Brigid Polk on a portable cassette recorder on August 23, 1970, does in fact document Lou Reed's final appearance with the VU. If this wasn't his last stand with the group, it was certainly close to the end of the line, and while the performance is technically strong, it isn't especially inspired, with Reed sounding more than a bit weary. (At this point, the band was near the end of a three-month residency at Max's, doing recording sessions for Loaded during the day, a schedule that would tax most performers.) The absence of Maureen Tucker on drums (who was pregnant and sitting out the Max's shows) makes an even bigger difference; the replacement of her steady, tribal pulse in favor of Billy Yule's busy, sometimes sloppy style does these songs no favors. But there are a few lovely moments, including rare live performances of "After Hours" and "Sunday Morning," and Reed and Sterling Morrison lock guitars with their usual authority on "Waiting for the Man" and "Beginning to See the Light." The audio quality isn't great, but given the circumstances it's better than you might expect (it's OK by the standards of an early-'70s bootleg), though historical merit seems to be more the issue than high fidelity. And yes, that really is Jim Carroll ordering double Pernods and asking about the availability of Tuinal between songs. Fun for fans, but 1969: Velvet Underground Live is a much stronger document of this band's on-stage prowess. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$14.99

Rock - Released November 24, 2014 | MGM Records Inc.

Upon first release, the Velvet Underground's self-titled third album must have surprised their fans nearly as much as their first two albums shocked the few mainstream music fans who heard them. After testing the limits of how musically and thematically challenging rock could be on Velvet Underground & Nico and White Light/White Heat, this 1969 release sounded spare, quiet, and contemplative, as if the previous albums documented some manic, speed-fueled party and this was the subdued morning after. (The album's relative calm has often been attributed to the departure of the band's most committed avant-gardist, John Cale, in the fall of 1968; the arrival of new bassist Doug Yule; and the theft of the band's amplifiers shortly before they began recording.) But Lou Reed's lyrical exploration of the demimonde is as keen here as on any album he ever made, while displaying a warmth and compassion he sometimes denied his characters. "Candy Says," "Pale Blue Eyes," and "I'm Set Free" may be more muted in approach than what the band had done in the past, but "What Goes On" and "Beginning to See the Light" made it clear the VU still loved rock & roll, and "The Murder Mystery" (which mixes and matches four separate poetic narratives) is as brave and uncompromising as anything on White Light/White Heat. This album sounds less like the Velvet Underground than any of their studio albums, but it's as personal, honest, and moving as anything Lou Reed ever committed to tape. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$12.99
VU

Rock - Released February 1, 1985 | Universal Records

No one seems to know if the Velvet Underground were making an album or just cutting demos when they went into the studio in 1969 not long before their contract with MGM Records ran out -- even the members of the band didn't agree on the particulars years after the fact -- but when the tapes were rediscovered in Polygram's vaults in the early '80s, it led to the first major archival release from the Velvets since 1969: Velvet Underground Live, and one that was every bit as important. While many of the tunes on VU had circulated for years on bootlegs (sourced from rough-mix acetates reportedly belonging to Sterling Morrison), the album gave them their first authorized release, and in much improved fidelity. Some fans have grumbled (and not without reason) over the very '80s polish the new mixes gave the tunes, but this still sounds like the Velvet Underground, and in fine fettle at that. The 1969 recordings on VU rank with some of the most accessible but potent rock & roll the Velvet Underground ever recorded; if Loaded sometimes felt like a compromised version of the band, these tapes show how the Velvets could play nice in the studio without betraying their musical instincts in the least, and "I Can't Stand It," "Foggy Notion," and "One of These Days" are memorable, punchy rock tunes that also have a vital sense of adventure, perfectly befitting the band's history and outlook. VU also includes a few older archive recordings (including the lovely "Stephanie Says" with John Cale on viola, and the great R&B workout "Temptation Inside Your Heart") that have a different feel but still mesh gracefully with the scrappy 1969 tapes. VU was the first authorized look at what Velvet Underground fans have come to call "the Great Lost Album," and the more straightforward presentation of these recordings on the 2014 Super Deluxe edition of The Velvet Underground is probably truer to the original intent, but VU was assembled with real care, and it shows -- the sequence flatters the songs, and the music is a reminder that this band wasn't as alienating as many writers like to suggest. The Velvet Underground were fearless groundbreakers, but they could also play tough but joyous rock & roll that made people want to dance, and that side of the band stands proudly at front and center on VU. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$35.99

Rock - Released September 26, 1995 | Polydor

Does this five-CD box set feature an abundance of essential material? Certainly. It has all four of the studio albums released by the Lou Reed-led lineup, and a wealth of previously unreleased goodies. Is it an essential purchase? That depends on your level of fanaticism. Most serious Velvet fans have all four of the core studio albums already (although the third, self-titled LP is presented in its muffled, so-called "closet" mix), and will be most interested in the previously unavailable recordings, which do hold considerable fascination. The entire first disc is devoted to a drummer-less 1965 rehearsal tape in John Cale's loft, with radically different, almost folky run-throughs of most of the important songs from their classic debut, as well as a song that only made it onto Nico's first LP ("Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams"), and one which makes its first appearance anywhere (the Dylanesque "Prominent Men"). Other big bonuses include no less than seven outtakes from Loaded and other songs re-done by Reed on his early solo albums. And there are sundry other unreleased live and studio items, highlighted by a scorching live 1967 "Guess I'm Falling in Love" and the 1969 demo "Countess From Hong Kong." There are also highlights from VU and Another View, longer versions of Loaded's "Sweet Jane" and "New Age," and an 80-page booklet. The thing is, though, that virtually everyone who's interested in this material has already bought the four studio albums, sometimes several times over. A separate release of the two discs or so of truly new material would have been welcomed by the many fans who aren't interested in paying for a five-CD box of stuff when they already have well over half of it. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo

Artist

The Velvet Underground in the magazine