You would think by this time in the run of this series I would have covered every "seminal" band worth getting your '80s-college-radio-DJ hackles up about. And yet, here we are in 2017 and this is the first time we've discussed The Velvet Underground. Of course this makes a lot of sense, since all of the band's proper albums came out long before the era of KCMU DJs scribbling their opinions on album covers, but still! For a band who is probably mentioned on a sizable portion of those album covers, it seems a shame that so few of their own releases have come under this scrutiny.
Enter VU. This posthumous collection of previously unreleased material must have seemed like manna from heaven for many a college radio DJ upon its release - whether they were hungry for "new" music from a beloved band, or looking for the perfect opportunity to exercise their rapier wits. Despite the fact that this cover is missing a label or two, it still pretty much has everything: glowing adulation, sarcastic snarkery, tsk-ing reprimands, ironic tomfoolery, and either a mention of or appearance by Jonathan Poneman (anyone want to corroborate this one?).
Confirmed! Jonathan Poneman did in fact pen that very note. 🤘#dontcallhimponeman— Sub Pop Records (@subpop) June 30, 2017
"____! Halleluyah. ['She's My Best Fri]end' is awesome." [Most of this comment seems to be from a label that's entirely missing - you can see its gluey remnant to the left of the VU meter image.]
"Oh god! What a joy to see this album in H waiting for me to play it. Thank you Shirley, my life is now complete!!!"
"Who are these guys? Is Maureen Tucker a dude? No synth! Sounds like early Dream Syndicate. (I couldn't resist!)"
"You never can!"
"Let me explain, Jon. The VU's were the seminal punk band of the late 60's. Their influence spans all of the so-called 'New Music' groups, from R.E.M. to Lou Reed." [OK, at first I thought this person was just completely missing the joke, but by the end I realize they're doubling down on it. Well played.]
"Marsh, I think Poneman was kidding."
"Al, I think I was just kidding also."
"The name is Jonathan Poneman, [rest of label missing]"
"Sure wish some people would keep they're [sic] fuck'n fingers of [sic] the damned vinyl & respect these records. Quit thrashing them - Okay?"
"Jazz Butcher prototypes!"
"Love 'The [sic] Ocean.'"
I have covered Soul Asylum in this space a couple of times before, but it's been almost exactly four years since the last time. I have had four years to dig back into the earlier, and I presume cooler, albums by this long-running Minneapolis alt-rock mainstay (They still exist! They put out a new...