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American Velvet: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground

(Rock Talk; US: 19 Apr 2010; UK: Import)

It’s never a good idea for any band to cover a Velvet Underground song, unless you have great musical chops and know a thing or two about covering classics.  If you’re a relatively unknown band, however, covering (or in this case, butchering) a classic song is really not a great way to gain a fanbase.  This compilation has a few highs (Frank Agnew’s deadpan delivery on “Here She Comes Now” and Mitch Easter’s static feedback on “The Black Angel’s Death Song”), but is mostly full of lows (the cheesy synths on Jane Wiedlin’s take on “Foggy Notion”, Michael Doman’s shrill wailing on “Sweet Jane”, and the drunken Scott Weiland-esque vocals on Temple of Ho’s “I’m Set Free”).  The press release says this compilation is for all Velvet Underground fans, but between all the hit and miss performances, it really seems like a tribute album for fans of the mediocre bands that comprise it.

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