Music Review: John Cale, Fragments Of A Rainy Season

Published on December 9th, 2016 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Emily Carney


The biography supplied with this reissue of John Cale’s 1992 stripped-down live album, recorded at various venues, states: “Fragments gives us Cale at his most melodic and moving, a mellowed and certainly a soberer man in a Yamamoto jacket and a lopsided haircut running through a selection of his prettiest songs.” While there’s no doubt that Cale was soberer at that time (having cleaned up his act following the birth of his daughter in 1985), this reviewer will disagree slightly with the bio, only in that not all of the songs on this offering are prettier. It’s also possible that Cale has never truly sonically mellowed out.

Will John Cale Always Be Cool? Why, Yes.

Published on January 17th, 2013 in: Music, TV |

By Emily Carney


Last week on Thursday, January 10, John Cale played “I Wanna Talk 2 U” (from his new album, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood, which is a must-own) and The Velvet Underground’s casual BDSM classic, “Venus in Furs,” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. (I find it somewhat hilarious that “Venus in Furs” was requested by a popular late night US TV host who is loved by moms everywhere and all that, since it was spicy as hell for the late 1960s, but whatever.)

JOHN CALE IS FREAKIN’ 70 YEARS OLD—he will turn 71 in March—and still is a total badass. He was resplendent in a three-piece suit with a skinny tie, grey hair splattered with pink highlights, and looked at least 20 years younger (I guess being John Cale does that to you; it makes you age backwards). The live version of “I Wanna Talk 2 U” actually sounds better than the album version; I always liked the grittier, rawer textures of Cale’s live performances and this certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Of course, “Venus in Furs” sounded as terrifying monolithic and droning as ever. Cale played viola for this performance and it sounded as gothic (not Goth, but gothic—like church music) as it always did.

I’m pretty sure The Velvet Underground never got their moment on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson back in the day, so this will have to do . . . and it certainly was good to watch.

Best Of 2012: Emily Carney

Published on December 18th, 2012 in: Best Of Lists, Movies, Music, Retrovirus |

vince guaraldi very best

1. Music: The Very Best of Vince Guaraldi, The Very Best of Bill Evans, and The Bill Evans Trio, Moon Beams

In the last year, Concord Music Group re-released and compiled great jazz collections for those into mid-century modern jazz. The best offerings included Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts-infused classics and Bill Evans’ elegiac piano stylings. Moon Beams may be one of the saddest jazz records of all time, but it has some of the most elegant, beautiful piano chord progressions recorded in music history.


Music Review: John Cale, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood

Published on October 2nd, 2012 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, New Music Tuesday, Reviews |

By Emily Carney

shifty adventures cover

John Cale turned 70 in March; however, his music proves to be age-proof with his new album, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood. Don’t ask; I have no idea about the title, either. Cale does have typically inscrutable album titles.

Usually when musical artists of any sort turn 70, they do endless “farewell” or “greatest hits” tours, or they engage in embarrassing collaborations with a very 1990s-sounding Metallica (I’m looking at you, Lou Reed. Yeah, I said it). Cale is doing neither, refuses to give into age, and is turning out impressive original compositions that aren’t at all dated or misguided. He’s only gotten better and more experimental as he’s gotten older.


Theresa Andersson, Street Parade

Published on April 24th, 2012 in: Current Faves, Feminism, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Chelsea Spear

Theresa Andersson’s 2008 breakthrough album Hummingbird, Go! was no small accomplishment. Serving as a one-woman band, Andersson spun hummable, soulful tunes brimming with hard-won optimism. The straightforward production and elaborate arrangements became even more impressive once listeners knew that she’d performed all the instruments herself, using effects pedals to create loops. (The video for her song “Na Na Na,” in which she demonstrates her one-woman band setup, attracted 1.2 million views on YouTube.) How do you top a left-field critical and artistic success like this?

Bringin’ the Crazy, Part II: In Which John Cale Beheaded a Chicken

Published on January 30th, 2012 in: Issues, Music, Oh No You Didn't |

By Emily Carney

cale 1970s

It’s no secret that John Cale may have had some slight mental health issues during the mid-1970s. During this period in his esteemed career, Cale was suffering from a nasty cocaine and alcohol addiction. In 1975, he went through a particularly acrimonious divorce from his second wife, ex-GTO Cindy Wells, who infamously slept with dopey ex-Soft Machine singer Kevin Ayers during their tumultuous-at-best marriage.

John Cale, Extra Playful EP

Published on November 8th, 2011 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Emily Carney

john cale extra playful

Before the passing of Serge Gainsbourg in 1991, it was said that the French singer-songwriter-total badass didn’t need to die before he achieved immortality. John Cale—of the Velvet Underground and solo fame—is one of those artists as well (although John will hopefully be with us for a very long time).

John Cale was already a legend prior to turning 30; now, his legend has extended into myth. At age 69, he shows no signs of stopping with his new EP, appropriately titled Extra Playful. The man showed up to his Order of the British Empire award ceremony dressed like a dustbin man with rooster-red hair. What is not to love about Cale? Oh, yes, there is plenty to love, as this new selection of songs shows.

The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou, 1971 – 1973

Published on November 29th, 2010 in: Current Faves, DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Issues, Music, Three Of A Perfect Pair |

By Christian Lipski

In 1971, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed had careers that were in various states of stagnancy: Bowie’s a one-hit nonentity, Iggy’s a flaming wreck, and Lou’s a fading flower. Using testimony from eyewitnesses as well as music journalists, The Sacred Triangle aims to illustrate the bonds that tied together three of the most interesting entertainers the 1970s had to offer.

IAMX, Dogmatic Infidel Comedown OK

Published on May 11th, 2010 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Hanna

dogmatic cover

In general, remixes seem redundant to me because they never live up to what they purport to be: a completely new or different piece of music. Mostly I tell people that remixes sound like someone in the band can’t keep the time and is missing the beat over and over and over. But of course, like all generalizations, this is both too simple and too stupid a description of remixes to be completely true.

Remixes of the hilarious parody type can be surprisingly good, if they manage to combine two ideas. And then there are remixes that really do become a whole new piece of music. Dogmatic Infidel Comedown OK features remixes of IAMX’s Kingdom Of Welcome Addiction album and is remarkable in that it manages to do just that.

Top Five Music Scandals Which Never Actually Happened

Published on May 30th, 2009 in: Issues, Listicles, Music, Top Five Lists |

By Emily Carney

Author’s note: This piece is almost entirely fictionalized. Enjoy.

5. Midge Ure’s Backstage Throwdown With Bob Geldof, 1985

In the 1980s Midge Ure was best known as the lead singer of mope rockers Ultravox, while Bob Geldof was best known as the husband of Paula Yates and a guy who really, really liked money. He also did some philanthropist work. In 1985, both men mobilized their talents for the massive rock concert known as Live Aid.