Sounds like: Pop music filtered through classical training and imbued with a confrontational spirit.
For fans of: Patti Smith, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Tony Conrad, Kevin Ayers, Scott Walker.
Latest release: Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood, an engaging album of sun-kissed pop, including a collaboration with uber-producer Danger Mouse and a surprising use of Auto-Tune.
Why you care: No matter what John Cale has done throughout his long career, the 70-year-old musician’s obituary will always open with the fact that in 1965 he helped found the Velvet Underground. Cale was only with the group through 1967, but his droning viola and adoration of feedback helped drive the band’s first two classic albums and provided the template for hundreds of acts that rose up in the quartet’s wake. Since then, Cale has kept up a steady and varied solo career with albums both brilliant (1973’s bluesy, immediate Paris 1919, his 1990 collaborations with Brian Eno and Lou Reed) and messy (1984’s Caribbean Sunset). He also has served as a well-regarded producer, coaxing to life the debut albums of the Stooges, Patti Smith, the Modern Lovers and Happy Mondays. For someone who could easily retire from the music world without anyone batting an eye, Cale is forging ahead and sounds as inspired as ever. As its title suggests, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is a playful collection of tunes that retains a sexy, glamlike spirit while coyly embracing some modern production techniques.
SEE IT: John Cale plays the Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., with Cass McCombs, on Tuesday, Dec. 4. 8 pm. $35 advance, $40 day of show. 21+.