Sunday, 27 February 2011

Exclusive Velvet Owl Andy Bell Beady Eye album interview. Ahem

 Whilst bored at work reading the Saturday Telegraph Beady Eye album review I felt a little confused: this is nowhere near harsh enough.  Beady Eye?! 3 stars?  Only 2 stars less than a perfect-5-best-album-ever? Fucking tories. I have no intention of listening to 'Different Gear, Still Beatling' but know EXACTLY how it sounds. Vile. But the same 3/5 appears in the Guardian. Disgraceful. No doubt Q will give it a perfect 6.
Don't get me wrong- I was firmly in 'camp Oasis' up until about August 22nd 1997 (not strictly true as I believe Be Here Now is actually great; but thats another story) but that was then and this is now. You should have got rid of the others, (oh yeah, you did) swapped the Beatles albums for Xtrmntr and made a supergroup with the Chemical Brothers.  Too late- so now we are stuck with this drivel. And Kasabian.

So with the aid of white postage labels, pens and pencils here is my Viz Defacement album review.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Velvet Owl Turn Ons - February 2011

St Valentine has had us feeling all loved up at Velvet Owl Towers this month, and here's the songs that have been nibbling our ears and rubbing us over the top of our trousers.

Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes: confirmed to headline this year's Green Man Festival, the hairy cornflakes return with a new death metal direction and this cover of DM scenesters, Crematory's only US number one.

Shark Ridden Waters - Gruff Rhys:headliner for the Norwich Velvet Owl Gig Collective's first outing. Check out the review and accompanying comic-strip on the blog.

The Words That Maketh Murder - PJ Harvey: Polly Jean Harvey returns with a collection of songs that will no doubt see her riding high in many end of year best album polls.

I Don't Care if There's Cursing - Phosphorescent we make no bones for our love of country music here at Velvet Owl Towers, and this track from last year's Here's to Taking it Easy album has been on constant rotation on our stereo.

Long After Tonight is All Over - Jimmy Radcliffe a corking song form the Northern Soul scene and added to our February playlist as a way of banishing the images of the 'dance-off' in the utterly dreadful Soulboy film. I will never get those eighty minutes of my life back. Dedicated to blog contributor, Phil, who turned me onto Northern Soul during our stint at the Megastore.

L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. - Noah and the Whale: the snowdrops are out and spring is just around the corner. Surely that justifies a bit of whimsy.

Not Enough - J Mascis a voice that could break the hardest of hearts. Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis returns with a new acoustic album.

The Persuaders Theme - John Barry the greatest television theme tune ever! Fact! Dedicated to its composer, John Barry, who passed away this month.

Civilian - Wye Oak at the moment, we are listening to this song from Maryland's Wye Oak at least a dozen times a day. Their third album is due for release this spring.

Under Cover of Darkness - The Strokes a life-affirming new single from the planet's coolest band. Need  we say anymore.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Gruff Rhys, Norwich Arts Centre

After the better part of two decades penning slightly left-field but endlessly radio-friendly pop gems, it is fitting that the Norwich Owl's inaugural flight should be spent in the company of Gruff Rhys, chief Super Furry Animal and, latterly, solo artist of note.  And, while there are those among our seven strong party - well, me - who would like to live in a world where this gig is held at the city's 25,000 capacity football stadium, with hordes of ticketless fans turned away at the gate, it must be said that Gruff and the Arts Centre are well suited, both oozing class and the latter providing the acoustics to complement the former's silky croon.  The similarly committed are out in force tonight, as Gruff takes to the stage alone to perform "Rubble Rubble", one of the stand-out tracks from his "Hotel Shampoo" long-player, before being joined by backing band and support act Y Niwl to dip in and out of the three albums he has so far released away from the rest of SFA.  And it is a treat, with Gruff shifting between guitar, keyboard, gadgets and placards to bring the tunes to life, and engaging as only he can with between song banter that, as ever, takes a while to arrive at its' destination.  It's all in the timing. At the climax of a gig lasting in excess of 90 minutes, Rhys leaves us with "Skylon", his 15-minute epic of mid-air bomb disposal and, as the song unfolds in its own effortless, hook-filled manner, you sense that the whole room is happy to be on board for the duration.  It is spellbinding.  Pretty much like the evening itself, in fact.  And he still has bloody good hair.


Monday, 21 February 2011

George's Marvellous Medicine

Velvet Owl's Man at Work George Palathingal appears to have been burning the candle at both ends recently in a bid to add some sunshine to our dreary rain-soaked days. Apart from attending the Big Day Out and St Jerome's Laneway Festivals, George has been to check out Brit Award winner Plan B, MIA, Warpaint and the mighty Primal Scream. Click on the links below to read more.

Big Day Out Festival

St Jerome's Laneway Festival

Plan B


Primal Scream


Make sure you check out the blog later this week where we will have a review of the Gruff Rhys gig attended by the Norwich Velvet Owl Gig Collective and our February Turn Ons Playlist.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Cutting the Mustard

The Norwich Velvet Owl sets flight this month with a trip to see Super Furry Animal, Gruff Rhys. A review of the gig will be posted on the blog soon after. In the meantime, here's a cheeky little playlist that has been put together for your enjoyment by Norwich owl, Sammy.

Teeth of the Sea - Swear Blind the Alsations Melting

Mogwai - Mexican Grand Prix

The Besnard Lakes - Albatross

Holy Fuck - Lovely Allen

Why? - Eskimo Snow

Make sure you keep checking the blog as we'll be posting the Velvet Owl February turn ons fairly soon.

You can also follow the Velvet Owl Gig Collective on Twitter@velvetowlgigcol. Stuff and nonsense in 140 characters.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Leggy Mambo

Radiohead have announced that they will release the digital version of their new album King of Limbs this Saturday. The album will retail at £6 for the MP3 with vinyl and CD editions to follow on the 25th March.

Friday, 11 February 2011

NME Awards Tour, Leeds Academy

It's not long after the doors of the Academy are flung open, that 'Indie Landfill' hopefuls The Vaccines take to the stage as the opening act for this year's NME sponsored variety show. Unfortunately for the band, the early start has caught many ticket-holders unaware, and the venue is only half full as they start their thirty minute set.  The relatively small crowd appears to knock the band off their stride, and a sluggish performance is only livened up by current single 'Post Break-up Sex' and a rousing rendition of 'Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra). On a better day, I can imagine The Vaccines would provide good value for money, as many of their songs appear to be written with the live music experience in mind (lots of memorable shout along choruses and head banging guitar riffs), but aesthetically, the band don't really work. The three band members stage front (I couldn't really see the drummer as he was stuck behind his kit) look as if they have all stepped out of different bands (Talking Heads - lead guitar, Pavement - lead singer, Mudhoney - Bass) and therefore don't really look right.  I appreciate this is a small gripe, but bands such as The Strokes (coolest kids in school) and The Happy Mondays (thieving scallies) for example, have an identity that helps to perpetuate our idea of 'the band' and their 'all for one and one for all' attitude. This is something I don't get with The Vaccines. And that is a shame, as it is a great name for a band. 

Identity is something that Everything Everything take very seriously, and is evident as they take to the stage in matching grey boiler suits. Sticking to the funkier tracks from their debut album 'Man Alive' the band force the now sizable crowd to shake their skinny white asses with lively versions of QWERTY Finger, MY KZ, UR BF and Photoshop Handsome. Unashamedly arty, I cannot help but wonder had he still been alive, whether Anthony H. Wilson would have considered relaunching Factory Records and signing Everything Everything to be his house band ala A Certain Ratio. My enjoyment of the band was dampened a little, when a fellow Velvet Owl claimed the band reminded him of Take That, with the short, stumpy singer looking a little awkward in his jumpsuit next to his good looking bandmates (the Gary Barlow of artrock, anyone?).

By the time 'Dubstep Supergroup' Magnetic Man took to the stage behind a trestle table groaning under the weight of Apple Macs, the Academy was rammed. Looking around the venue, it was clear to see that the history and chemistry textbooks were being left in the school bags tonight, as the teenagers of Leeds were out in full force. From the opening squelchy bass chord, the kids waved their hands in the air like they just didn't care (that they had to get up for their milk round at 4.30am) and partied like it was 2045(pm). While the music - a mish mash of dance music genres taking in drum and bass, electro, hip hop, happy hardcore and rave - didn't appeal to my sensitive ears, I did enjoy the moment of being down with the cool kids and watching them lose themselves in the pleasure that live music can offer.

The sheer sensual onslaught that was Magnetic Man and the noticeably smaller crowd (those pints of gold tops won't get delivered by themselves you know) left headliners Crystal Castles feeling a little bit of an anti-climax. However, despite singer Alice Glass having broken her ankle at the previous night's show and therefore looking like a jack-booted Cinderella having fled the ball on the stroke of midnight, the duo put on a sterling show with 'Celestica' and 'Not in Love' still managing to keep those weary hands in the air.   

For less than £17 a ticket, the NME Awards Tour is still the best value for money around when it comes to the live music scene. And while some of these bands won't be gracing my ipod anytime soon, it was good to see and listen to what is floating the proverbial boat of our nation's youth.

Lets hope they never grow out of it.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

More Free Stuff

A brand new song from The Strokes available for free for 48 hours only. 

Click the link below for more details.

The Strokes - Under Cover of Darkness

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Free Sex and Money

Well not exactly, but probably the next best thing. Free music. Fleet Foxes offer us a little taster of their eagerly awaited second album by offering this beautiful track for absolutely nothing.  Click on the link below to download.

Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes