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Lou Reed’s Aural Assault ‘Metal Machine Music’ Gets Tribute Album From Members of Dinosaur Jr., Unrest, More

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Jem Aswad Executive Editor, Music Lou Reed was indisputably one of the most provocative musicians the rock world has known, releasing songs about heroin abuse and sadomasochism on his very first album (“The Velvet Underground and Nico”), utilizing piercing guitar feedback on many of his songs, and scoring a global hit single in 1973 that referenced oral sex (“Walk on the Wild Side”).

But arguably his single most provocative musical move was “Metal Machine Music,” a double-LP filled with nothing but deafening guitar feedback and effects that was released in 1975, at the peak of his commercial success.

Taken off the market after just three weeks, it was an unprecedented “career suicide” move that baffled and enraged fans and nearly cost him his record deal (RCA’s president exacted a promise from Reed that he would not do such a thing again, and he remained with the label for another couple of years).

However, with the gradual acceptance of noise and ambient music as an art form – to its credit, RCA briefly considered releasing the album on its classical wing, Red Seal – “Metal Machine Music” has aged well and become a landmark for those genres — and audience provocation — and has been the subject of at least one past tribute album (Alejandro Cohen’s “High Velocity” in 2013).

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