Why Beck is still cool

Why did most people start playing guitar in high school? Because it was fun, and the best Sunday afternoon thing to do with your friends. Beck (even though he turns 40 next year) is one musician who’s never forgotten—he’s spent this summer gathering pals to record cover versions of a full album in a single day, and then posting a daily track for the project, called Record Club, on his Web site.

Most recently, he brought together a group that includes actor Giovanni Ribisi, Nigel Godrich and the stunning young Icelandic musician Thorunn Magnusdottir. Together, they rocked through The Velvet Underground and Nico, released three years before Beck was born. (You remember: the one with the Warhol banana on the cover.) The video recordings of each song have a delightful DIY feel—be sure to check out “Venus in Furs” (they brought out a sitar and flute nicknamed “the Dying Goose” for it) and their mellowed-out, trippy version of “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” on which Magnusdottir out-Nico’s Nico.

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Why Beck is still cool