Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Chris Stein)


Listen to Iggy Pop and Matt Sweeney take on the Velvet Underground’s ‘European Son’


In the annals of rock ‘n’ roll history, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop will be remembered as two of its foremost pioneers. Together, they parted rock into its various tangents with their Dr Frankenstein-like proto-everything designs. Iggy and his Stooges were pivotal in punk, while Reed and the Underground flooded the genre with avant-garde influences and helped to spawn indie long before the event. 

Iggy Pop would laud Lou Reed, saying: “I admired and looked up to Lou Reed.” And Reed would return the favour, heaping the following praise on The Stooges: “I have always loved Raw Power. I like the sound – the honest sound of young guys trying to break the barrier of stilted moulded sterile rock. And they did. Great guitar and wonderful vocals from Iggy. And inspiration for young men to this day.”

This kinship and the status they hold made Iggy Pop’s name in the tracklisting of the forthcoming Velvet Underground covers LP stand out like a sore cock at an orgy. That is not to say that the other names are not noteworthy, the album is a cracking piece of curation (that festival heads should be looking to follow), but Iggy and the Underground are two names that fit like a sonic glass slipper. 

With the help of guitarist Matt Sweeney, known for his work with the syllable-shy bands Skunk, Chavez and Zwan, they have crafted something that goes right back to the manic maelstrom of Raw Power that Reed loved so dearly. It might linger a bit close to musical mayhem for a Monday morning, but there is no doubting the method to this madness. If the Velvet Underground themselves struggled to rise from the underground in their day because they ‘weren’t for everyone’, then this cover is likewise destined to stay subterranean. 

The cover is one of many expected by artists in the coming weeks in honour of the pioneering indie icons as part of a compilation that the New York bands first label, Verve Records, are releasing. 

The exciting-sounding Verve Records compilation features the likes of Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe, Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett, St. Vincent, Fontaines D.C., Thurston Moore, Bobby Gillespie, Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen. 

The album will include new versions of all eleven tracks from The Velvet Underground and Nico, the Andy Warhol-produced album that is one of the most highly influential collection of songs ever made. It is due out on September 24th.

The Velvet Underground & Nico covers album tracklisting:

1. Michael Stipe – ‘Sunday Morning’
2. Matt Berninger – ‘I’m Waiting For the Man’
3. Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen – ‘Femme Fatale’
4. Andrew Bird & Lucius – ‘Venus In Furs’
5. Kurt Vile & The Violators – ‘Run Run Run’
6. St. Vincent & Thomas Barlett – ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’
7. Thurston Moore & Bobby Gillespie – ‘Heroin’
8. King Princess – ‘There She Goes Again’
9. Courtney Barnett – ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’
10. Fontaines D.C. – ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’
11. Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney – ‘European Son’