A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink, ALX, Love Crushed Velvet

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

I first encountered Love Crushed Velvet a couple of year ago when they were part of a Beatles on the Ukelele production in Brooklyn. One of the songs they covered was Back in the U.S.S.R.; afterwards lead singer ALX and I bonded over being among the few people in the room old enough to … Continue reading

Video: Metal Machine Music, pt. IV, Fireworks Ensemble

A couple of years ago I had the chance to hear Lou Reed’s epic Metal Machine Music performed live by an orchestra.

I realize the ideas of “Metal Machine Music” and “orchestra” may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but the result, the Fireworks Ensemble playing a score transcribed by Ulrich Krieger, is among the best concert experiences I have ever had.

The orchestral version was, like the original, challenging. Brutal, even, at times; some people walked out. There were moments when I was clenching my teeth and clutching my armrests at the same time, just trying to anchor myself and stay above water. For a while it felt a bit like I had stuck my entire head inside the Gom Jabbar.

Then I got used to it, and relaxed, and was able to appreciate the stark, spiky cathedral of sound they were building for us. Below is an excerpt from the show.

Fireworks Ensemble: Metal Machine Music, Part IV

Watch this video on YouTube

Rest in Peace, Mr. Reed. We shall miss you very much.

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