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I’m not sure about you, but I could think of better ways to pay tribute to the deceased Lou Reed than Macaulay Culkin’s pizza-themed re-recording of VU & Nico, as The Pizza Underground. To start with, Personal & the Pizzas already perfected that approach with their cheesy take on Ramones-style punk. Furthermore, the perfect tribute would have been The Velvet Underground and Nico by Castle Face and Friends that was released last year in cooperation with Universal, to mark the 45th anniversary of the iconic album. Not daunted by the perils of following such a project up however, Burger have just teamed up with Universal to deliver the equivalent full cover album of the Velvet’s second. Their White Light/White Heat is so far only available on cassette, but you can stream the entire thing online too. Most of the cuts are quite faithful, apart from Gap Dream’s synth-laden take on closing track “Sister Ray”. All in all it’s a very successful effort, and Lou doesn’t deserve any less.
It might seem like Burger have had a quiet autumn, with Gap Dream’s sophomore album being the only high-profile release. But after a little digging I found I’ve actually missed out on great records like the 2nd Goochi Boyz tape (remember I wrote about that almost exactly a year ago?), a couple psychedelic gems from Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel and Sitar Outreach Ministry, and of course the debut albums from Brooklyn’s Habibi and Holland’s Mozes & the Firstborn. Don’t be surprised if some of there turn up in my 2013 lists. On the comp side we’ve also seen the relese of the The Wiener Dog II tape, which I have ordered but not heard yet.
There are more great compilations coming soon, Castle Face have announced a third volume of the Group Flex flexidisc boxsets, and one you have to get for the holidays is Psych-Out Christmas. Looking at the tracklisting, it could have been curated by the Austin Psych-Fest folks (including contributions from Cosmonauts, Elephant Stone, The Fuzztones, Psychic Ills, Dead Meadow etc). But it actually comes from a label I’ve never heard of called Cleopatra, who seem to be an old goth imprint. Who cares, hear it on spotify.
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Finally, there’s the New Centre of the Universe #2 from Anti Fade. The first one was one of the central comps of 2012, and Anti Fade also have some other releases from this year that are worth writing about, so keep an eye out. But this new tape (this time it’s also available on CD!!) features local acts like The Stevens, Housewives, The Sulphur Lights, Gooch Palms, Sewers and some familiar names like Terrible Truths, Bits of Shit, Straight Arrows and Cobwebbs. Surprisingly there’s nothing from new sensations Cuntz, or Los Tones who released their debut 45 on Groovie this year. Perhaps the most notable discovery is The Fighting League who deliver a straight powerpop knockout of a track. Listening through their only release Tropical Paradise, there’s absolutely no telling where that brilliance came from. Get it straight from Anti Fade HQ.

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December 15, 2013

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