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In his day, Velvet Underground reached the limits of the unexplored, a band that quenched pop curiosity with avant-garde abrasion. Managed for a time by Andy Warhol, it was not very successful commercially, but the team – which included Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Moe Tucker – provided an early counter-narrative to the central culture of peace and of the 1960s., and proved to have a profound influence.
The band is remembered in “The Velvet Underground”, a new documentary directed by Todd Haynes, who has made unusual music films over the past two decades. This film is a deep dive into the New York demo that gave birth to the band, and also a reflection on the cinema and art of the day.
In this week’s Popcast, a discussion about how Velvet Underground was experienced in its day, how the band’s musical aesthetic matches the film’s visual aesthetic and the state of contemporary music documentaries.
Jon Pareles, lead New York Times music critic
AO Scott, the New York Times Chief Film Critic
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