It was a no-brainer to include Bettie Serveert on the soundtrack to I Shot Andy Warhol. The Dutch band cut a VU covers album, douses pretty pop melodies with strung-out drones and is fronted by Carol van Dyk, the twin sister Nico never knew. Still, the alt-rock survivors have never cast themselves as more than a band at peace with its experimental/traditional bipolarity. "Smack in the middle of ridiculous places," van Dyk snaps through her languid slur on "Smack." "Smack in the middle where I shouldn't have been." [Editor's note: A correction ran concerning this paragraph; please see end of article.]
After fifteen years, the band is still the definitive keeper of that code, even if fickle indiedom now prefers the shallow, emo end of the art-rock gene pool. And Bettie Serveert has tunes -- a vision even -- nearly mistakable for sexual politics, or at least a conscience that never turns sanctimonious. Maybe it's van Dyk's anti-diva guile, the mammoth drown-outs of Peter Visser's pedal board or bassist Herman Bunskoeke's unintentionally comic impersonation of Ron Jeremy. But Bettie Serveert has beautiful buzz -- from guitars, not glossies -- and delirious grooves that smolder and stretch toward the secret of rock & roll.
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Correction published 7/6/05: As originally published, this item mistakenly credited Bettie Serveert with having portrayed the Velvet Underground in I Shot Andy Warhol. In reality, Yo La Tengo did the honors, and Bettie Serveert was featured on the film's soundtrack. The above version reflects the corrected text.