The Velvet Underground and Nico

Velvet-Underground-Nico-cover-NorthernettesIt’s Nico’s sultry, stark vocals (that I am often influenced by) and John Cale’s exquisite, experimental arrangements that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up whenever I listen to this album. It’s the tragic, dark undertones combined with intelligent sarcasm and humour that remind me how much of a lyrical genius Lou Reed was.

‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ is the tale of Reed watching Warhol watching intently at all the different walks of life that float in and out of his factory. It is also the track that captured me. It climbed inside my body, shook my head around, travelled through my veins and sent a shiver to my very core. The intensity of Reed’s ostrich guitar, Cale’s screechy viola and Nico’s deep vocals intertwine with each other making you feel uneasy, intimidated and extremely thoughtful. You either like it or you don’t. I think it is a work of art and a work of genius.

With themes touching on drug abuse, self destruction, self loathing, S&M and troubled Warhol superstars, the debut album from the Velvet Underground is an intense one, but nevertheless an absolute great. The album has had a major influence over my style of songwriting and vocal performance.  It pushed the boundaries of modern rock & roll and dared to be different.

The Velvet Underground and Nico were the epitome of 60s coolness.

Karen Dalton – It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best

karen dalton it's so hard to tell who's going to love you the best the northernettesShe was the Billie Holiday of the folk movement and the lost voice of a generation. Karen Dalton’s ‘It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best’ is in my opinion, her best album and one of the most beautiful, poignant and raw albums I have ever heard.

Her voice resonates through the album like a tragic love story – the fragility in her trembling vocals is completely captivating. It makes you want to pick her up, put your arms around her and tell her everything is going to be OK. But unfortunately she never did ‘get out of these blues alive’.

What is so striking about the album is its sparseness – with only her 12 string guitar, 5 string banjo and eery vocals, the depth and hurt it reveals is all consuming.

Karen Dalton had a talent for making existing songs sound like you had never heard them before. With the album consisting of covers written by already distinguished blues and folk songwriters, Dalton makes you feel like she is letting you in to the deepest realms of her mind. There’s no doubt she is – the raw emotion of the album is what makes it so harrowing yet so beautiful.

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