If you're searching for the perfect holiday gift for the post-punk completist or the music fan who has everything, never fear! We've compiled a roundup of some of the most impressive, comprehensive, and just straight up awesome slash interesting rock box sets to hit our stores this year. Many of these releases have never been on vinyl before. Some had been on vinyl long ago, back in the day, and were going for crazy prices on the resell circuit -- until these reissues dropped. From alternate takes to oral histories, here's why we think these box sets will make delightful gifts for the music lovers in your life.
This comprehensive box set features two 200-gram vinyl LPs plus two CDs, a booklet with song notes from the band, a lyric sheet, and two record sleeves -- the original proposed design and the iconic Skylarking design.
Lou Reed "never liked the Beatles.” In fact he strongly disliked them. “I thought they were garbage," said the Velvet Underground singer/writer with a BA in English who shared how he always had, "wanted to write the great American novel but I also loved rock and roll." All of these quotes (and more) come from a rarely heard March 1987 interview Reed, who died of liver disease in October 2013, conducted with journalist Joe Smith that was found in The Joe Smith Collection at the Library of Congress. Conducted almost exactly 28 years ago the interview was recently acquired by PBS who animated it and published it to YouTube earlier today as the latest installment in their ongoing Blank on Blank series - published under the title Lou Reed on Guns & Ammo | Blank on Blank. In the audio interview, in which Reed comes off as mostly grumpy and pretentious, he says that in addition to hating the Fab Four that he also hated some of his adoring fans - especially those who made the mistake of tracking him down to his "out of the wilds of nowhere" New Jersey home address at the time and trekking out to it in the hope of meeting their music hero. "I got out with my shotgun. This is hunting country out there. You better run" - he warns. Elsewhere in the audio interview, that as well being animated was also subtitled, Reed expresses his disgust of The Doors ("stupid") while maintaining that the goal of Velvet Underground was steadfastly to, "elevate the rock and roll song and take it where it hadn’t been taken before" - adding that no other group came close to the VU's level in his opinion ("The other stuff couldn’t come up to our ankles"). The animated interview is above while the full original audio interview is free via iTunes from the Joe Smith Library of Congress page - here where it was initially made free to the public last April, and where other interviews by Joe Smith include one with Paul McCartney and another with George Harrison who, it should be noted, do not talk shit on Lou Reed or the VU.
Upon hearing the incredible, engaging new single "Bag A Gear" from the Dublin, Ireland-based rapper Tommy KD (formerly known as Man & The Machine) on the topic of his former heroin habit that he is grateful to have finally kicked, I was reminded of the numerous songs tackling the topic of the highly addictive opiate.
I have put together a Top 20 Songs About Heroin list - some seemingly pro but most definitively con. These songs (with accompanying videos) are culled from different genres and different eras but all share views on the same topic - one that has destroyed way too many great musicians' careers and lives over the decades. Just as there are countless terms and nicknames for heroin (horse, smack, H, skag, junk, dirt, brown sugar, golden girl, hell dust, white nurse, thunder, etc. etc.) there are also seemingly endless songs about the drug. This subjective top twenty list could easily be extended into a Top 100 or Top 200 list, so feel free to post any songs on the subject of heroin that you think should have been included. Since I tried to keep it down to 20, I had to cut out duplicates by artists included and did not include such greats as "Ain't it Fun" by both The Dead Boys and Guns N' Roses.
New York City is still in mourning over the loss of one of its most beloved, longtime citizens: Lou Reed who sadly passed on Sunday at age 71. The Velvet Undergroundco-founder represented New York City more than most artists ever did and referenced it repeatedly in his work over the years. Sure New York City changed a lot since Reed sang about "waiting for my man" and walking "on the wild side" but so too did Reed himself who in more recent years would be seen with his wife Laurie Andersonwalking their small dog on the gentrified streets of lower Manhattan. In the interview clip above, from the 1990's documentary Blue In The Face, the influential singer/songwriter/guitarist talks about his affinity for the New York City and what it meant to him in comparison to other cities. Right is an impromptu piece of graffiti dedicated to the late artist, pictured in the East Village, that appeared within hours of the news of Reed's passing on Sunday.
For the past four decades Halloween in New York City has been a most distinctive, memorable annual event thanks the mega scale annual Halloween Parade in the Village that attracts hundreds of thousands of revelers every October 31st for the parade that anyone and everyone (provided they are in costume) can join in and travel uptown from Sixth Avenue and Spring in the Village at 7pm (that is when it starts but get there earlier). This year’s Parade will be extra special and will include a total of 53 bands playing a myriad of musical styles, hundreds of puppets, dozens of dancers of various styles, and incredible floats and costumes and art creations. The weather forecast for tomorrow, Halloween night, is mild with a chance of showers, but compared to this time last year that is no big deal. As you may recall last year the Parade had to be suffered an unprecedented last minute cancellation following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. As a result Last year the Parade was the first event cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Hence this year's Parade is a celebratory return Parade - one that will be honoring "NYC's superheroes" that the Parade organizers called: "the REAL ones — those folks who stepped up to help the city out of that disaster and the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center Transplant Team and Jeff Bratcher—longtime Parade volunteer—who donated a kidney to the Parade Director’s son; and all those who have volunteered to marshal and animate giant puppets throughout the Parade’s long history and kept this humble arts organization going!" Enter the line-up of the Parade on 6th Ave. from the East and South between Canal and Spring. See Parade map above and for more parade info click here.
Among the many concerts happening Halloween night is the Monsters Of Rap showcase at the Hammerstein Ballroom with Jadakiss, French Montana, Juelz Santana and many more including the late great Jam Master Jay's young son DJ Get Live who will be doing a special turntable tribute to his late great legendary father. The Hammerstein is located at 311 West 34th Street between 8th and 9th Aves. Tickets are $65 and available at TicketMaster.
The 71-year-old, influential rock songwriter/guitarist died earlier today (Oct 27, 2013) after undergoing a liver transplant just five months ago. In honor of the late great artist, we present a selection of videos including, of course, his work with the Velvet Underground, an interview from 1998 with Charlie Rose, and some live concert footage including from Paris in 1974.