Monday, 31 January 2011

Velvet Owl Turn Ons - January 2011

Here's the 10 tracks that have helped to steer the gig collective through the bleak month of January.

1) Sea of Bees 'Wizbot' - Californian Julie Ann Baenziger leads the charge into 2011 with a simple yet stunning single.

2) Everything Everything 'Photoshop Handsome' - A song on repeat play in the Velvet Owl kitchen.

3) The Vaccines 'Post Break-up Sex' - Screw the hype! This is a great pop song!

4) Metronomy 'She Wants' - Be warned. One listen of this track, and it will never leave your head.

5) Sleigh Bells 'Riot Rhythm' - A track that weirdly enough, makes me want to go clubbing. But once it has finished, that stupid thought goes right out of my head. 

6) I Am Kloot 'Northern Skies' - The stars of The Velvet Owl's first gig of 2011. In the words of TV AM's Richard Keys: 'They smashed it!'

7) New Order 'Thieves Like Us' - Reading Shadowplayers: The Rise and Fall of Factory Record by James Nice has led to a hankering for all things 80's Manchester.

8) British Sea Power 'Living is so Easy' - Taken from the first great album of 2011

9) Thin Lizzy 'Jailbreak' - Another great documentary on BBC4, which had several members of Velvet Owl trying to squeeze back into their leather trews.

10) Joan as Policewoman 'The Magic' - Velvet Owl favourite Joan Wasser returns with a new album in 2011.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

I am Kloot, The Duchess, York

Lets get the good stuff out of the way first.

1. I am Kloot were brilliant!
2. Johnny Bramwell is one of the most underrated songwriters of his generation.
3. The performance of Radiation was worth the ticket price alone.

Right. Onto the gripe. I love going to gigs. I love that feeling of excitement as the lights go down and the whoops and hollers of an anticipating crowd fill the air. I love that moment, when collectively, the crowd let out a cheer of recognition as the band launch into one of their all-time classics. And I love that sense of comradeship, as a thousand voices sing along with sheer abandon to a song that they have all taken to their hearts.  However, the gig-going experience has been cursed by those c%£ts (sorry, but I feel strongly about this), who throughout the show, can be heard chatting to their mates and not showing any consideration to the majority of the audience who are there to hear the band.

I'm not expecting hushed reverence. It's a gig for Christ's sake, not a piano recital. And I appreciate that these people have bought a ticket, and are entitled to talk to their friends if they want to - though surely that £20 they spent on a ticket would buy them a lot of blue WKD at the local Whetherspoons. However, when the band feel it necessary to say something - as Johnny Bramwell did last night - you would expect people to get the message. Fat chance. From the opening chords to Northern Skies to the last few bars of Same Shoes, last night's gig was unfortunately soundtracked by the incessant chatter of a handful of people who had a total lack of disregard for the band and the people who had paid to see them.

Live music should be about a shared experience and the crowd responding in unison to the band and their songs. For those people with short attention spans, they should sign up for yoga classes or ask their Dr for some of those pills they hand out to over excited kids. 

Friday, 21 January 2011

From the Ashes

2011 is already shaping up to be a good looking year for album releases. Next week the latest album from New Zealand band The Phoenix Foundation finally hits the UK shops. Named after a fictional organisation in the American TV show, Macgyver, the band look as if they are finally about to make the breakthrough into the UK that their music so thoroughly deserves. 

The Phoenix Foundation - Buffalo

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Surf's up

Anyone with a ticket for one of the forthcoming Gruff Rhys shows, should ensure they're at the venue early enough to catch support band, Y Niwl (Welsh for The Fog, apparently). The Welsh quartet turn out a fine line in surf-rocking instrumentals, which should have everyone frugging away with sheer abandon.  Their eponymously titled debut album was released last year, and the band aired some new material on Monday night's Marc Riley show on 6 Music. 

Here's a clip of them performing at last year's Green Man Festival

Friday, 14 January 2011

Bernard Matthews is Dead! Long live the Velvet Owl!

Velvet Owl are pleased to announce the launch of the Norwich arm of the gig collective. First up for the collective is Gruff Rhys, whose new album Hotel Shampoo is released in February.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The next album you need to buy……

… Bananas Foster by The Jigsaw Seen.

Now I have to declare bias here as I was given my copy by the guitarist the top fella that is Jonathan Lea. That said if The Edge (apparently not his real name?) were to send me the latest world saving opus by Dublin’s finest on a bed of rare psych and beat singles in a container using the rarest original northern 45’s as ballast I reckon I’d still think it was shite. Probably. And if I didn’t I wouldn’t be going public on it that is for sure.

So back to the Jigsaw Seen then, these lads have been peddling their own take on psychedelic pop perfection for some years and if you’re new to their party I’m sure you’re more than welcome just the same.
As a reader of this blog I’m assuming a certain love of music so if your collection includes the likes of Love , Jellyfish , The Zombies , The Left Banke , Tom Petty , The Move  etc. (and let’s be honest it should) then this album sits well alongside them.

This album is all things to all men from the opening drone of Bertha Brilliance (which set our dog Louie off on a mystical search behind the settee) through David Hart’s Name Of Song onto my fave off the album which is Melancholy Morning. A truly spectacular pop record with heavenly strings and great vocals it is currently getting played by ‘whispering’ Bob Harris on his radio show. If you buy the album for this song alone your money isn’t wasted.

Another album track getting radio plays is Where The Action Isn’t a real belting fuzz rocker with a killer riff. This is getting spins from the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer on his famous Rodney on the ROQ show which should be more than enough to convince.

All in all not a duff track on the album so get yourselves to your local independent record shop and buy it there or do the download thing from i-tunes but be warned if you download you ain’t gonna get the special extras. This album is packaged in the most delightful way as Mary Poppins once said and includes a recipe card for the dish the album is named after  , sticker , poster but best of all a scent sheet which makes the whole thing smell of bananas. Your kids will love it like mine and you can while away the hours trying to decide what your other favourite albums should smell like.

So as Martha and Charlie say – “The Jigsaw Seen Bananas Foster…….get on it”. You know they’re right - it’s in the genes.


Thursday, 6 January 2011

For the Birds

You can now follow the adventures of The Velvet Owl Gig Collective on Twitter @velvetowlgigcol

Nonsense and flannel in a 140 characters.