The fact that all 10 numbers were recorded, in true live Velvets tradition, on a buncha crappy cassette tapes doesn‚t tarnish the Scenics‚ sonic patina — it only enhances their chances of making this the best VU tribute album ever... they also mine the less-obvious depths of Unca Lou‚s songbook to essay what are arguably some of his greatest songs.... Finally, it all culminates literally live in a basement with a twisted 10-minute Metal Machine Music -meets- Television version of " Sister Ray" that even John Cale never envisioned in his wildest nightmares. the Scenics don‚t ape the Velvets , they enhance them...”
Jeffrey Morgan’s sizzling platter of the week, Detroit Metro Times January 2/2008
(Jeffrey is also one of our favorite writers with CREEM magazine.)
“only a madman would dare to start picking his top 10 albums of 2008 in the first week of january, but this is one record tha‚s got me gnawing on my straitjacket’ . Recorded live in a number of trashy Toronto punk dives between 1977 and 1981, it‚s the first album of Velvet Underground covers I‚ve ever heard that actually manages to evoke the VU‚s classic cacophony of studio sound .... doesn‚t seek to duplicate the Velvets‚ sound so much as it uses that primal distortion as a jumping off point to differentiate themselves from the masters while remaining true to the source.
stunning in the same way that the Byrds playing Bob Dylan was so stellar. The Scenics used Lou Reed’s songs merely as a jumping-off point and quickly make them their own. This is a must for completist fans of Simply Saucer and other Canadian psych-punkers. 8/10”
Johnson Cummins The Montreal Mirror
John Goodman The Vancouver North Shore News Jan 25/08
“ The Scenics rock ferociously, and their genius and spirit burn through”
Ben Rayner‚s reasons to live . .
Jan 13, 2008
The Scenics, How Does It Feel to Be Loved: The Scenics Play the Velvet Underground : Speaking of noise, there‚s plenty more in which to delight on this archival curio collecting four years‚ worth of live Velvet Underground covers performed by first-wave Toronto punk band the Scenics between 1977 and 1981. The recordings – captured about town in such scenester haunts past as the Edge, Larry‚s Hideaway, the Cabana Room and the venerable Horseshoe Tavern – aren‚t exactly pristine, but the Scenics‚ irreverent, slightly woozy way with a Lou Reed tune, and gift for shrieking twin-guitar meltdowns, comes through just fine. Constant chatter in the background of some tunes contributes to the overall feeling of psychedelic dislocation the band brought to songs like “Here She Comes Now” and its take-no-prisoners assault on “Sister Ray”. A dandy little history lesson.
THE SCENICS - HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE LOVED
me rating 4/5 stars
Reviewed by: Mike Wood
Like Simply Saucer, The Scenics are a legendary Canadian band barely known in their own country, let alone elsewhere. Both bands built off of the abrasive drone of the Velvets, warping it into their own menacing hypnotic genius. "how does it feel to be loved" makes that debt explicit, but is more than just a set of Velvet Underground covers: it is also a reminder of and an introduction to the beast that was The Scenics.
Recorded in the late 1970‚s, these covers were taken from various live gigs around Ontario, and show the band inspired and cheeky. While the highlight is a ten-minute plus eviscerating of "Sister Ray," what the band does with songs like " I‚m Beginning to see the Light "and" Here She Comes Now" is what is remarkable. They manage to inject warmth into dark tracks, and sarcasm into Lou Reed‚s more hopeful tunes; in a way, they expose deeper meanings to the songs, while maintaining a seeming reverence for the original material. Pretty gutsy for 1977. While the Scenics naturally had a sped-up pub rock sound typical to the era, on their Velvets covers, show themselves to be smart and willing to take risks, even with the songs of legends. At a time when covers were an excuse for punk bands to tear down, The Scenics were rising above.
How Does it Feel to Be Loved
Sun Rating: 3 out of 5
If you remember the band, you were probably a fan of ‚70s Toronto punk. And if you recognize the title, you must dig The Velvet Underground too. Which makes you a prime candidate for this oddity -- 10 noisy, wiry and inspired VU covers the T.O. outfit taped at gigs and practices from 1977-81. If (like us) you‚d like to hear some originals, stay tuned for their next archival release.
Darryl Sterdan, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Edmonton Sun.
"How Does It Feel To Be Loved -The Scenics Play Velvet Underground"
Dream Tower DT01 ***
An impressive set of VU interpretations from this legendary Toronto new wave/no wave/punk band that existed from 1976 to 1982-- perhaps as important as Simply Saucer in the annals of the Canadian music underground. THE SCENICS were contemporaries of Pere Ubu, Television, the Talking Heads, etc., and this is the first in a series of releases and reissues of Scenics material. Recorded live in a number of trashy Toronto punk dives between 1977 and 1981, it‚s and album of Velvet Underground covers that actually manages to evoke the VU‚s classic cacophony of studio sound.
"Hard to believe that this is actually an essential record, but it is. The Scenics were a Canadian Punk band circa 76 and they recorded a lot of their shows. Over their five or so years as a band they covered 10 Velvets songs, and hearing these high intensity, innovative, sincere, lo-fi recordings is magnificient. There is more room in Velvets songs than you‚d imagine. This ends with an epic cacophonous ‘ Sister Ray ’, but it‚s the more subtle transgressions on songs like ‘ I‚ll be your mirror’ and ‘beginning to see the light’ that make this a must have."
Roctober (Chicago) issue #45
Daily Disc: February 12, 2008,
How Does it Feel to be Loved/ The Scenics
The Scenics were apparently heroes of the Toronto new wave/punk scene in the late 1970s. To inform us of this fact, they have released this collection of Velvet Underground covers recorded at mysterious, long-lost Toronto venues between 1976 and 1980. They do a decent job with the material, imbuing Lou Reed‚s songs with furious sound and alluring grit, though this could simply be a result of the primitive recording quality. Either way, it seems strange for a purportedly groundbreaking band -- especially one that, according to a quote from its press material, "had two of New Wave‚s most striking songwriters" -- to vouch for its legend with an album of another group‚s material. For those of us unfamiliar with the glories of late- ‚70s Toronto, this CD fails to make the case that the Scenics were ever anything other than a particularly creative cover band.
Michael Lawson, National Post
The Scenics How Does It Feel To Be Loved
By Liz Worth
Kicking off like a frayed electric shock, How Does It Feel To Be Loved quickly immerses the listener into a warm frenzy of fuzzy energy. First formed in 1976 by Andy Meyers (guitar/vocals/bass) and Ken Badger (guitar/vocals/bass), the Scenics were one of the most intrepidly inspired bands of the Toronto new wave/punk scene. Although their sheer originality wasn’t always easily embraced, the Scenics stuck it out for six years before disbanding in the early ’80s. They now return with a full-length collection of Velvet Underground covers recorded live between 1977 and 1981 in Toronto. At their inception, the Scenics were fuelled by the sense of rampant possibility that the oncoming new wave scene carried. Meyers credits this with the fact that there wasn’t enough media in place to provide new music 24/7 and as such, this album is rife with the inventive fervour that drove the Scenics. Although these are classic Velvet Underground songs, from “Waiting For My Man” to “Here She Comes Now”, the Scenics have made this into something that is all theirs. Jangly, inverted pop aesthetics and wild mood swings of feverish noise dominate these ten tracks, making How Does It Feel To Be Loved an abrasive wash of harmonious distortion.
What made you decide to release a covers album now?
Meyers: It is kind of funny, because our songs were one of the strong points of the band, but we did do a lot of Velvet Underground songs. The simple structure allowed for you to take it down almost anywhere you wanted. We didn’t really feel differently about the covers and our songs. They were some of our songs as well as far as we were concerned.
What state were these recordings in? Did you have to do a lot of mastering on them?
Meyers: They were remarkably good to start with. They were recorded live with a two-track. You can hear all the instruments, but you can also hear great atmosphere. There’s a real sense of being there, which is very direct and powerful.
Does the feeling of the Scenics being outsiders 30 years ago still apply to the band today?
Meyers: We were absorbing the same influences as everyone else, so at the time we were just being ourselves. We were responding to what we liked, who we liked, and being who we liked. And that’s all I’m really concerned about. We’re just continuing to be ourselves now at this point. (Independent
Tandem Corriere On The Beat
By Kerry Doole
THE SCENICS: We’ve often reported on the blossoming Toronto punk revival in this space. The latest original late ’70s era band to surf this wave to new notoriety are The Scenics. They’ve just released How Does It Feel To Be Loved: The Scenics Play The Velvet Underground (on Scratch). As the title indicates, it features the band’s live versions of VU material, recorded in various Toronto clubs between 1977 and 81. The sound is defiantly lo-fi and primitive, but this just adds to the cool loose vibe. There are, of course, dozens of tributes to the Velvets out there, as they’re one of the most influential groups in rock history. Few capture their spirit as well as this one though, right down to the anarchy of the closing “Sister Ray”, News that The Scenics are reuniting to play dates here in April is very welcome. Stay tuned.
Edmonton Journal Sat Mar 1 2008 Artist: The Scenics
Label: Dream Tower/Scratch
Review: Legend has it that the Scenics were one of Toronto‚s pre-eminent punk/new wave bands of the late ‚70s, but their collection of Velvet Underground reinterpretations does little to inform the listener of this fact. Poorly recorded material culled from live gigs and basement sessions dating between 1977 and 1981 will surely provide a slice of nostalgia for a small few. But for casual music fans who aren‚t “savvy” enough to understand the “sheer magnitude” of the band‚s impact on the Canadian music scene, How Does it Feel to be Loved will simply come across as an AM-radio-on-tape-cassette collection of bar band covers, complete with sparse claps and beer-soaked yelps from the audience. A few renditions do manage to hit the nail right on the head: a decidedly punkier Waiting for My Man, a swaggery, booze-and-pills version of Here She Comes Now; and a destructive rehash of VU‚s definitive noise epic, Sister Ray. However, you‚re ultimately left to wonder if this record wasn‚t essentially tailor-made for a specific group of aging Toronto hipsters. “You‚re over the hill right now and looking for love,” the Velvet sang on New Age. Sums it up nicely, if you ask me. Francois Marchand
May 08 EXCLAIM magazine
In the grand tradition of musicians covering their favourite bands comes a collection of live tracks recorded throughout Toronto between 1977 and 1981. How Does it Feel To Be Loved compiles five years of Hogtown’s Scenics unleashing various renditions of beloved Velvet Underground ditties in every hole-in-the-wall imaginable, from the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to the now-defunct Beverly Tavern, with even a few basement recordings. Interestingly, many of the songs, such as “Here She Comes Now“,New Age,” “Waiting For My Man” and “Sister Ray,” are slightly more upbeat and rockin’ than VU versions. They’re also tighter, performed by accomplished musicians, as opposed to the instrument carrying art scenesters that created them. The end result is surprisingly palatable to non-dedicated VU fans and proves the Scenics innovative in their own right, tweaking elements here and there, adding their own twist as true artists should. Factor n the low-fidelity recording techniques and How Does It Feel To Be Loved is impressive even three decades after its original recording. (Dream Tower)
The Scenics How Does It Feel To Be Loved
"Recorded live in Toronto 1977-1981: HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE LOVED - The Scenics play the Velvet Underground. If you‚re a fan of REM, Sonic Youth and the Feelies covers of VU, this is even better. Fans of Lou Reed, John Cale, Nico, Mo Tucker, Sterling Morrison, Andy Warhol (and Billy and Doug Yule) will love these versions.”
‘After having to choose between Teenage Head‚s show at Dundas Square and the Scenics, both scheduled for NXNE at 9pm on Thursday night, I decided to head out to see the Scenics at Rancho Relaxo... Having missed the Scenics last time they were in Toronto, I have to say I wished I hadn‚t! The show was full of intensity and they not only sounded great, but put on a great performance, too.’
Toronto journalist/poet Liz Worth’s blog
How Does It Feel to be Loved The Scenics Play The Velvet Underground
by Eddie Smith / Fazer Magazine
“Kicking off with a fuzz filled blistering version of ‘I’m Waiting For My Man” recorded at the Cabana Room in 1980, I’m swept back to a very vibrant Toronto scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The Scenics were an inspired band from this scene.At times difficult and often at odds with others from the scene musically they were alternately loved and hated by people. It may seem odd to release a CD of covers (albeit very good covers) of another influential band, but it gives you a feel for where The Scenics come from. It’s been said the only people who bought the first Velvet Underground album ended up musicians. For these guys it was true. Scenics gigs usually included Velvet Underground songs, and usually not the same cover you might have heard at their last gig. The band rarely played anything the same way twice, and material was often improvised. They were a strong band.
The tunes covered here are Velvet mainstays ( Sister Ray, I Heard Her Call My Name, New Age… ) the performances are all signature Scenics – rough raw and jangly.
Personally I only saw them a few times as I didn’t move into the city until ‘79 and used to made the trek in for gigs. The first time I saw them seems enshrined on this CD .In ‘78 they opened for the Troggs at the Horseshoe and ‘ Real Good Time ’ is here from that gig. Fuzz driven, distorted and raw it captures the night for me. These aren’t studio masterpieces – live music is raw and impromtuu. Live recordings should capture that urgency – and How Does It Feel to be Loved does indeed.
The press kit quotes Colin Brunton , producer of the Last Pogo as saying “They were the most creative, the most daring, the most original, and the most misunderstood – of all the bands in that scene.” and he’s told me they were his favourite band of the era. After listening to these 10 tracks I can understand his passion for them.
The Scenics are planning 2 more releases of their own music. This live CD is to warm you up to them. I’m warmed up and lookingforward to the next release. I also look forward to seeing them at the Dakota shortly. Rehearsals have started, and you can look forward to an evening of jangly, noisy, loud, fuzzy and eclectic sound... see you there!”
MUSIC QUICK SPINS HAIKU
Jan 24, 2008,
The Scenics How Does It Feel To Be Loved
First I was all “meh” Then “huh”,
followed by a “WHOA!”
And lastly “AHAAAAAAAAAAA.”
Vue Weekly, Edmonton