Sunday, 27 March 2011

Velvet Owl Turn Ons - March 2011

Winter is finally on its way out, so what better way to welcome the chance to shed the overcoat and don a cheeky little blouson than the Velvet Owl playlist for March. 

Yuck 'Georgia' - Formed from the ashes of Cajun Dance Band, Yuck are updating the shoegazing manifesto written by Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth in the early nineties.  This track comes from their debut album released earlier this year. Turn it up loud!

Elbow 'Lippy Kids' - The standout track from Elbow's new album.  Garvey's songwriting just gets better and better. 

Holy Ghost! 'Do It Again' - This track has us cutting a rug all over Velvet Owl Towers at the moment.  The latest signing to James Murphy's DFA label, Holy Ghost! make us want to party like it's 1989. 

Grinderman 'Palaces of Montezuma' - Nick Cave and his band of merry noiseniks in a mellow mood. Beautiful!

Jessica Lea Mayfield 'I'll Be The One You Want Someday' - Sounding like a leaner Lucinda Williams, this track is taken from Mayfield's Dan Auerbach produced debut album.

The Go Go's 'Our Lips Are Sealed' - A perfect pop song to herald the start of Spring.

Those Dancing Days 'Reaching Forward' - Sweden's finest purveyors of electro-pop return with a new album in 2011. Our schoolboy crush on lead singer Linnea Jonsson doesn't appear as if it will be dissipating anytime soon.

Iron and Wine 'One More Try' -We can't get enough of Sam Beam's new record at the moment, and are confident in predicting 'Tree by the River' will feature as a track on our end of year 'best of' compilation. This, however, is something altogether different. A cover of George Michael's power ballad 'One More Try' recorded for the AV Club.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Charlatans, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

I recently explained to a friend, that attending the NME tour in February felt like being a parent who had cut short a trip abroad only to return home to find 600 kids raving in my front room having responded to a Facebook invite from my home alone daughter.  Therefore, it was a blessed relief that the Velvet Owl's gig for March saw our feet planted firmly back on terra firma and without an ironic haircut in sight (apart from Tim's, but more of that later)

Tonight, Tim Burgess and guitarist Mark Collins take to the intimate stage of the Brudenell Social Club with very little fanfare. Not for them, a dimming of the house lights and an obscure Northern Soul tune soundtracking their anticipated entrance.  For tonight, this is a stripped back and laid bare version of The Charlatans.  Burgess on vocals, Collins on acoustic guitar and a tatty bed sheet as a backdrop.  For a band whose sound over the past twenty years has been driven by the swirling sound of the Hammond organ, this was a brave move.

However, following the reaction to opening song, Impossible, Tim, Mark and the 350 plus Charlatans fans packed into the venue, knew they were going to be in for a special night.  Warm and fuzzy versions of I'm Coming Home, A Man Needs to be Told and Just When You're Thinking Things Over  were standouts from the first half of the show, which was only let down by an understated reading of The Only One I Know (a song that so obviously needs the Hammond to make it work).

The introduction of drummer, Finnigan Kidd saw the band crank it up a notch or two, and start to become a little more playful with their back catalogue. The Britpop era North Country Boy was given a garage style makeover that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Nuggets compilation. While One to Another sounded like a song itching to have been covered by Johnny Cash as part of his American Recordings series.  The night was fittingly brought to an end with a beautiful version of Sproston Green (what else) and then the band were gone, leaving behind a happy and somewhat inebriated crowd. 

Oh yeah. Tim's hair? It was fucking shit! As always. But we wouldn't have it any other way, would we?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Glamour Of The Kill, Norwich Arts Centre - Update

Our metal correspondent responds...

I cannot decide whether Glamour of the Kill are being ironic or not. If so then they're brilliant. If not then they're a rather generic Party Metal troupe who know how to play one song. That being said, the one song they know how to play is excellent and they performed it with a technical finesse that would make Star Wars Kid cry and a consistency that would put Honda to shame.

It is my understanding that Mr Davey Death (vocals) sang different words every time they began to play “the song” again but I was too busy being drunk and dancing like an arse to pay attention to that. What I did pick up on though was an anthemic, beautifully piercing quality to his voice and an honesty in the performance that warmed the deepest cockles of even the more mature members of the Norwich VO's.

The closest one of our Owlets came to crossing paths with a rock starlet (Ben Brutal, GOTK's drummer) was in the toilets. We learned that there are no facilities back stage and the cubicle chosen by Brutal  had no toilet paper.

I guess to sum up I would say - I was punched in the face once, my knee was bashed into a bruised mess, I pushed a transvestite over and a good evening was had by all.

Ironic Score 6/5


Saturday, 12 March 2011

Glamour Of The Kill, Norwich Arts Centre

Surely part of the point of the Owl is to open our minds to new experiences, broaden our horizons and better acquaint ourselves with musical sub-genres not often found within the pages of NME or whatever The Mirror's pop music supplement is calling itself these days.  And we here in the Norwich wing of VO like to do things a little differently to the rest of the world (insert your own joke about siblings here). So it is that a clutch of us are heading to the Arts Centre to check out York's premier exponents of what my newspaper calls "anthemic metal", Glamour Of The Kill.  And,'s not pretty.
It must be said that this is not a world in which I feel comfortable.  Metal for me extends only about as far as AC/DC, and some metallers would probably do unspeakable things to my cat if I stood up amongst them and tried to place Australia's finest export in the same boat as the rubbish I am obliged to endure this evening.  The thing about AC/DC though is that, even though they do really only have one song, at least that song has a tune, and one you can whistle.  Every single time.  GOTK are so far removed from any concept of the tune it's laughable and, while they may argue that that's not really the point, well, to me, it is.  And while there must have been people living in LA in the mid-eighties who were reluctantly dragged along to a show by some new band called Guns N Roses only to have their heads pinned to the wall by the opening bars of "Welcome To The Jungle", there was never any threat of that happening here. 
So with so little happening on stage, the sparsely-populated crowd command all the attention, and quite a show they provide too.  They are bonkers, at one point lining up on separate sides of the floor before throwing themselves headlong into each other like some crazed Robot Wars-inspired line dance.  And the best thing?  If one of them goes to ground amidst the mayhem, the rest of the "throng" cease kicking the shit out of each other to help their fellow reveller to his feet.  It's strangely touching...
And so much more fun than the lumpen dirge being served up by our headliners.  So yes, my horizons have been suitably broadened.  Now can we have some more indie please?