THE BLACK HEART OF LOU REED

Published August 20, 2004

The poet must find the medium to suit the times. In ancient Greece, Homer and his cohorts would sing their epic poems. In the Middle Ages, poems troubadours would go from town to town singing their stories with the aid of a lute. It was perhaps only in the 19th Century, when literacy rose and books came into wider circulation, that poets started writing primarily for the page.
When Bob Dylan plugged in, he may inadvertently have killed written poetry in the process. Suddenly, everyone with an interest in stringing words together took to playing the guitar. Leonard Cohen, with four volumes of poetry and two novels under his belt, made an album. John Lennon started writing serious lyrics. And at Syracuse University, New York, a student named Louis “Butch” Firbanks wanted to bring the sensitivities of the novel to rock music, or to write the Great American Novel in a record album, as he would later say. And so he did. The Velvet Underground and Nico, Transformer, Berlin and New York all stand among the finest works of the period, in any medium.
It´s not unlikely that some of the best poets of the 20th Century took to music. In Lou Reed´s latest work, The Raven, he resurrects another master, Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was at the time criticised for the violence in his books, but is now by many considered high art. Lou, who brought razorblades to rock, might be undergoing a similar rehabilitation.
Reed is mostly remembered for his Velvet Underground era, one of the most influential of rock bands, and his early 70´s songs, particularly from the David Bowie produced album Transformer. “Walk on the Wild Side” remains an anthem, and thanks to the film Trainspotting, Perfect Day became a radio staple. On the Zooropa tour, Bono duetted with Lou on a video screen on the song Satellite of Love from the same album, U2 later releasing the song as a B-side.
But Lou Reed underwent a creative renaissance about 15 years ago. Having succumbed, like so many, to the synthesiser in the 80´s, he returned to a more rock sound with one of his strongest albums ever, New York, in 1989. A year later, he recorded the album Songs for Drella with John Cale, his previous Velvets collaborator who was fired from the band after their second album. With very sparse instrumentation, mostly just piano and guitar, the pair almost manage to outdo their previous masterpieces together, as well as delivering a touching eulogy to the late Andy Warhol. In the song “I Believe,” Reed calls for the execution of Warhol´s assassin Valerie Solanas, with the words “I do believe I´d turn the switch myself. Solanas sprayed the bullets with silver as she thought he was a vampire. Warhol never fully recovered from the 1968 shooting, and died in 1987 following routine gall bladder surgery. The doctor who so botched the operation was reputedly Icelandic, but he doesn´t get a mention on the album. Lou Reed has recently been playing stunning versions of the song “Home” from the album in his shows, and we can only hope he will do so at Laugardalshöllin on the 20th of August.



Culture
Music
HOLY SHIT DOOMRIDERS ARE IN TOWN!

HOLY SHIT DOOMRIDERS ARE IN TOWN!

by

Hey guess what! Doomriders are back in town! And they’re playing Húrra tonight! This seminal metal band tore our faces off and shook our guts to the core when they burned down Grand Rokk eight years ago (with the help of I Adapt). That show certainly left a mark on a lot of people in Iceland’s metal scene (much like the 2004 Iðnó appearance by Doomriders stalwart Nate Newton’s other band, the mighty Converge), so much that noted hater Bogi Bjarnason is even excited for the show. This is what he told us: To wrap your weekend up on a high note,

Culture
Music
GY!BE, Deafheaven, Mudhoney AND MORE For ATP 2015

GY!BE, Deafheaven, Mudhoney AND MORE For ATP 2015

by

While some of you have barely gotten over Airwaves, the news just keep rolling in for next year’s SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVALS! So, imagine you’re at All Tomorrow’s Parties , the  sun is beaming down on your face as you close your eyes and hug your friends, laughing jovially at how lovely life is, while your ears are being made love to by Canadian post rock LEGENDS: Godspeed You! Black Emperor. YEAH! They will be joined by (drum roll please): Belle and Sebastian Run The Jewels Mudhoney Deafheaven Iceage Loop Chelsea Wolfe The Field White Hills Ghostigital Vision Fortune Younghusband Tall Firs

Culture
Music
Carcass Announced For Eistnaflug 2015

Carcass Announced For Eistnaflug 2015

by

Metal pioneers Carcass and heavy metal stalwarts Kvelertak were added today to Iceland’s annual Eistnaflug metal festival’s lineup. The festival is held each year in Neskaupsstaður, but announced that it’s upping its ante this year, inhabiting a bigger venue and with more tickets available. Carcass originated in Liverpool, England and have been playing since 1985 and are considered by many the founders of grindcore, as well as being credited with influencing the melodic death metal movement. Last year they released their sixth studio album, ‘Surgical Steel,’ which is their first in seventeen years. The complete lineup for Eistnaflug is as follows: Agent Fresco (IS)

Culture
Music
Markéta Irglová Plays in Harpa Concert Hall tonight

Markéta Irglová Plays in Harpa Concert Hall tonight

by

Academy Award winning musician Markéta Irglová will play at Harpa concert hall tonight as part the final step of her two-month tour around Europe and North America. Markéta first came to prominence as a seventeen year old in the Irish feature film ‘Once.’ The film ended up claiming the 2006 Academy Award for Best Original Song and Marketa subsequently toured for years with her co-star Glen Hansard under the banner of “The Swell Season”. In more recent times Iceland has become Markéta’s adopted home, and her new album ‘Remember’ was entirely written here. “I came to Iceland for the first time with

Culture
Music
Welcome To The New Year

Welcome To The New Year

by and

By the time this issue hits the streets, we will be halfway through the fourteenth edition of the Iceland Arwaves festival. At the day of publication, Friday November 7, Straumur will be hosting an off-venue show at the independent cinema Bíó Paradís, where Vorhees, Sin Fang and Unknown Mortal Orchestra will perform (in that order!) from 16:15-19:00. Later that same day, we will also be hosting an official Airwaves show at Gaukurinn (starting at 20:00) where, among others, Oyama, Strigaskór Nr. 42, Black Bananas and Fufanu will grace the stage. The off-venue in Bíó Paradís continues throughout the weekend during

Culture
Music
What’s That Pinging? It’s Sónar-Eistnaflug Announcements!

What’s That Pinging? It’s Sónar-Eistnaflug Announcements!

by

What’s the best thing to help with the post-festival blues? Some might say staying in bed with a ready supply of Parkodin and Coca-Cola; some might say jogging, water and some kind of paleolithic food regimen. I say: NO! The answer is more music festivals, of course. With that in mind, Sónar Reykjavík and Eistnaflug today unveiled more big names to joint their star-studded 2015 lineups. Sónar will see: TV On The Radio returning to Iceland for the first time since their memorable Airwaves show in 2003, joined by the languid disco-pop of Kindness, Swedish singer and rapper Elliphant, and British producer

Show Me More!