The Complete Matrix Tapes - The Velvet Underground (Universal)

complete matrixIt seems totally ridiculous to tell you how important the Velvet Underground were. What do you think I am? The god damn professor of punk? I know there are some squares who blew in too late but if you haven’t made this particular scene by now, you won’t be reading this. Keep sucking on that caffeine free soy latte and tell me reading about music is so 20th Century.

I’m writing this review for those who want to know why they should fork out big bucks for this top shelf item, a box of four CDs. Those who drink out of jars and buy LPs ironically need not apply. For those people, it’s time to start feeding a new habit. Shave off that frigging beard. Go out and listen to these CDs, one through four. Take some drugs. Bad drugs.

Besides, I also know my friend Robert Brokenmouth has bought this for himself for Christmas. I’m sure he’ll be happily typing a 7000-word review full of rich historical detail. I’ll stick to colour commentary.

Forget about me explaining this stuff to you again. No newbie is gonna dive into a four CD set even if I give this a six bottle review. This is for freaks only. And – obviously - I’m one of those damn freaks.

The Velvet Underground are a lifestyle choice and not a good one. You know that John Waters saying about not fucking anyone who doesn’t have books? Straight up. I couldn’t fuck anyone who didn’t know who the Velvet Underground were. It’d be like interspecies romance.

You say to me: “I’ve got the 1969 double album”, I picked up the Quine tapes box. Two CD’s worth of this stuff was tagged on to the five disc version of the third album. Surely – you say to yourself – I’ve got all the live Velvet Underground at the Matrix stuff I’m ever going to need.

Okay. Eight previously unreleased songs. Add to that five songs that we’re only previously available on the cassette recorded Quine tape version. These four track desk tapes are quite a step up from that.

Yeah, you’ve heard that 37-minute version of “Sister Ray”. Listen on the desk tape and feel your spine tingle as the fuzz guitar hits at the 10-minute post. Of course, it was on the super deluxe edition… so if you bought that you might be a bit hesitant. This repackaging business is a bitch.

But let’s face it. This is the man you’ve been waiting for. He’s never early and he’s always late. Get over it, buddy. If you’ve got this far it’s time to admit it. You have a Velvet Underground problem. Me? I’ve got no problem with that. That Kanye West replacement therapy blows donkey dicks.

You know you want this. You were reaching for your credit card the minute you saw this. The only reason you are reading this is because you need to feel a little co-dependence from me. Knock yourself out but don’t ask my approval.

What do I like about this album? Intimacy. God. There are so few people in the audience you barely hear the sound of one hand clapping. But Lou is actually nice to them. He makes jokes. They play the songs you thought they’d left behind with Cale” “Black Angel’s Death Song”. “Venus in Furs”. Different verses in familiar songs. Wildly different takes of songs played in different ways in different sets. Doug Yule’s harmonies on “Waiting For My Man”.

Four CDs. Near enough five hours of Velvet Underground. You could listen to this for the rest of your life and never buy another disc. Until they do the 45th Anniversary edition of "Loaded"…

rollingrollingrollingrollingrolling Five bottles? Five Smack filled syringes. You heard me. Five Smack filled syringes.

Tags: live, lou reed, velvet underground, matrix, doug yule, john cale, mo tucker, sterling morrison

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