Posts Tagged ‘Transformer’

Ezra Furman at Bowery Ballroom

Ezra Furman, currently on tour behind his latest release Transangelic Exodus, stopped by NYC’s Brooklyn Steel . Playing in front of a beautifully-designed set backdrop, Ezra played many cuts from the new record, such as the driving “Suck the Blood from My Wound” and anthemic single “Love You So Bad.” Ezra also played some older favorites like “My Zero,” and covered Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love.”

Furman, who has released solo albums as well as albums with his bands Ezra Furman and the Harpoons and Ezra Furman and the Boy-Friends, identifies as gender fluid. A musician himself, he seems the ideal writer for an exploration into the many iterations of Lou Reed’s persona.

Ezra Furman has also penned the most recent installment in the 33 1/3 book series, which focuses on Lou Reed‘s classic album “Transformer”. Here’s the book’s official synopsis:

Transformer, Lou Reed’s most enduringly popular album, is described with varying labels: it’s often called a glam rock album, a proto-punk album, a commercial breakthrough for Lou Reed, and an album about being gay. And yet, it doesn’t neatly fit into any of these descriptors. Buried underneath the radio-friendly exterior lie coded confessions of the subversive, wounded intelligence that gives this album its staying power as a work of art. Here Lou Reed managed to make a fun, accessible rock’n’roll record that is also a troubled meditation on the ambiguities-sexual, musical and otherwise-that defined his public persona and helped make him one of the most fascinating and influential figures in rock history. Through close listening and personal reflections, songwriter Ezra Furman explores Reed’s and Transformer‘s unstable identities, and the secrets the songs challenge us to uncover.

Ezra Furman will be in Austin next week for SXSW, Ezra is also part of Willie Nelson’s “Luck Reunion” fest at his ranch during SXSW.

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TRANSFORMER is a new series of shows promoted by the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. It’s name chosen in commemoration of Lou Reed, whose visionary approach to rock both in the Velvet Underground and on albums like Metal Machine Music, is reflected in the line-up of our inaugural event on 28th May 2017:
SWANS, THE FALL, THIS IS NOT THIS HEAT, ROYAL TRUX, LOOP, MUERAN HUMANOS
TRANSFORMER will mark the first Manchester show in over 30 years for THIS IS NOT THIS HEAT but the northern swan song for NY noise-rock titans SWANS, who released their final record The Glowing Man to glowing reviews this summer.

A live radio broadcast from Ultrasonic Recording Studios–first transmitted on New York’s WLIR FM–American Poet boasts excellent sound quality, frenetically high-tensile rock accompaniment from his then backing group The Tots, awesomely passionate versions of “Heroin”, “White Light” and “Rock and Roll” and an interview in which Lou Reed talks–with typical verbal economy–about Mick Ronson (“he’s naughty”), David Bowie (“empathy… [audience giggles]… no, not in that way”) and the Velvet Underground’s Doug Yule (“Dead, I hope”). Icy of demeanour, fiery of rock & roll heart, this is the Ziggy-esque leather-and-eyeliner Lou Reed, returning to home soil on the back of his recently released second solo album–the Bowie/Ronson produced (and influenced) Transformer.

This Solo concert of Lou Reed 1972 in New York, titled American Poet became a sought after bootleg ,quite possibly the best Lou Reed (unofficially released) live album of the lot. Unlike the excessive ‘Rock n Roll Animal’ and ‘Take No Prisoners’ ‘American Poet’ strips Lou’s sound down to reveal what lies at the heart of his music. The mixture of Velvet Underground and solo material here reveals Lou to be a first rate songwriter and his crisp and clear vocal style shows him to be a fine vocalist also.

The versions available here are all very strong. I particuarly love Lou’s slowed down version of ‘I’m Waiting For My Man’ and also ‘Berlin’. I’ve never heard ‘Berlin’ sound so good.

It was recorded in 1972 around the time of the release of ‘Transformer’ and was only available in bootleg form up to more recent years.
Shortly after his separation from the Velvet Underground and immediately after the completion of his second solo album “Transformer”. Contained in the middle of this CD is also a short radio interview with Lou Reed, which doesn’t disturb at all, but fits in very well. Lou Reed is at his best. Obviously he never plays a song twice in the same way, which makes his live albums very interesting. In my opinion each song on this CD is excellent, and I don’t want to highlight any one of them especially.

‘American Poet’ does perhaps lack some of the technical proficiency musically that can be found on Lou’s later live albums but it does reveal the core of his musical talent to a much greater degree.

Lou-Reed_1972

The day after Christmas, December of 1972: Lou Reed and band (The Tots) in Hempstead, NY, recording live for radio at Ultrasonic Recording Studio. Recorded just a month after the release of Transformer, the set finds Lou Reed pulling from the new record, riffing on five Velvets tracks and the penultimate “Berlin” – the track that would title his next release six months later.

Tracklist
White Light White Heat
Vicious
I’m Waiting For The Man
Walk It Talk It
Sweet Jane
Heroin
Satellite of Love
Walk On the Wild Side
I’m So Free
Berlin
Rock N Roll