Thursday, 28 April 2011

Velvet Owl Turn Ons - April 2011

As a staunch royalist (ahem), this month's Velvet Owl Turn On list is dedicated to Wills and Kate and is offered as an alternative playlist to get Dave (in his morning suit) and the President of Swaziland up onto the dancefloor at the evening do.

Beastie Boys - Make Some Noise - What better way of getting the party started than three fifty year old Buddhists making music for fourteen year old boys.  This is wack!

Metronomy - The Look - Guaranteed to get even the more dancefloor-phobic guests cutting a rug, this is one of the standout tracks from Metronomy's third album The English Riviera. 

The Jim Jones Revue - Dishonest John - Not sure whether wedding DJ Pat Sharpe will have this in his record box, but he is bound to be asked for it, as we all know Prince Phillip loves a bit of dirty rock n roll. 

Wild Beasts - Albatross - Princess Anne's second favourite band. Fact!

TV on the Radio - Will Do - By the time Sharpey drops this one, Dave will have shed the morning suit coat and have his Bullingdon Club tie wrapped around his head and have been told to 'calm down, dear' by the Queen.

Keren Ann - My Name is Trouble - Disappointed that the Fun Factory host is refusing to play any Three Degrees or the 12" version of Let's All Chant, Charlie will skulk off to the lav and listen to this on his Ipod. 

Trembling Bells - Goathland - In case you were wondering, these are Princess Anne's favourite band.

Cats eyes - Love you Anyway - Fergie (not the one off of Black Eyed Peas) will be using the fact that the dancefloor will be full during this song to sweep up all the disposable cameras to sell to the highest Fleet Street bidder.

By the time the Gregg's buffet comes out, we expect the party to be in full swing, but as our invite has yet to arrive, we will have to make do with watching the whole shebang on TV. All we need to decide is whether we go with Bowman or Schofield.

Until next time..

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Metronomy, The Hop, Wakefield

There are two bands headlining at The Hop this evening. Upstairs, Metronomy. Joe Mount's band of electro-lites out to promote their latest album.  Downstairs, Styckleback. Originally called Katan and then Bite the Mango, Styckleback are 'guaranteed to get your feet tapping and dancing in the aisles'. Needless to say, we head straight upstairs.

It's not even May, but Velvet Owl are tipping Metronomy's third album The English Riviera to be riding high in a number of Best of 2011 lists come Christmas.  So watching them perform above a Wakefield boozer on a balmy April evening, could well be our last chance to see them in more intimate surroundings before the less cooler kids catch on and declare them to be the saviours of electro. 

Taking to the tiny stage, the four-piece kick off with 'We Broke Free' before switching on their chest-lights to play 'My Heart Rate Rapid' which gets the already up for it crowd hooting and howling in delight.  From here on in, the band lock into an irresistable groove with songs such as 'Heartbreaker' 'The Look' and 'She Wants' forcing even the most uptight audience members to nod their head along in appreciation.  It is, however, 'Corinne' from the new album, with its playful drum sound and New Order-esque keyboards that gives the impression that Metronomy are primed and ready for the next level. 

I'm not quite sure what Styckleback's next level would be, but as we leave, their version of The Automatic's 'Monster' has the good people of Wakefield 'tapping their feet and dancing in the aisles' of the Hop's main bar. And it is this tune, and not, say, 'The Look' that I find myself humming all the way home.

Damn you, Styckleback!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Record Store Day – the plaster for the severed artery…..

Well this Saturday sees the third Record Store Day an annual event designed to make us all head back into the record shops we have so shamelessly turned our backs on. As an industry that so famously reacts rather than plans I can’t help but think the horse has bolted boys?

So how are they tempting us back into their beloved outlets? By releasing God knows how many ultra-limited edition instant rarities available only in the shops on Saturday. Simple really can’t think why they never thought of it earlier. Like about 10 years earlier when the writing first appeared on the wall maybe.

The problem I have with all this is it really is just a total reaction to shops closing but it is not stopping them closing throughout the year. Perhaps if the record companies had looked after these shops when they were still a viable proposition things might have panned out differently. But no a Faustian pact was made with the supermarkets and there was I’m afraid to say no going back on that one. I remember when we had our shop it was actually cheaper for us to buy cd’s from Tesco than to stock them direct from EMI or BMG so frankly a 7” limited edition of Layla is too little too late. If they want to help shops give them exclusives all year round and give them fair deals.

Now whilst I appreciate it must be nice for the shops to be guaranteed at least one bumper day a year we all know that most of these releases are gonna end up on e-bay like the Blur 45 did last year within an hour of the shops opening. The queues are gonna be full of dealers and their little cohorts getting all giddy ‘cos they bagged one of the Seeds 10” and though they know nothing of what the Seeds actually sound like they do know that they sell well and are collectable. Why don’t they just go and collect stamps or phone cards not music that actually means something to people and take their Thatcherite principles of first come first served with them?

Ultimately Record Store Day is a bit like Mother’s Day it’s nice to buy her a card and let her know she’s appreciated but would she not prefer it if you told her all year round? 

Monday, 4 April 2011

A French Kiss

In what we hope will become a regular feature on the Velvet Owl blog, our friend and fellow Green Man Festival quiz team member, Cedric Besnard, leads us through a selection of songs that are currently rocking the Parisian suburbs. 

Pains of Being Pure at Heart :  Heart In Your HeartbreakAn ideal song to herald the beginning of spring. With influences ranging from Ride to Field Mice, PoBPaH are here to bridge the gap between generations.

Lykke Li : I Follow Rivers: More spring-tastic tuneage!

Papercuts : Do What You Will: Addictive and haunting.

Bill Callahan : Baby's breath: The boss is back! Less sophisticated than anything off his previous album, but still beautiful!

 Summer Camp : Was it Worth it?: One of my highlights from last year. This song is the perfect croosover betweens the 80's and the 00's. I can't wait for the album.

The Cavalcade : For You: Another highlight from last year, from an album full of gorgeous songs.

Jens Lekman : And I Remembered Every Kiss: Another swedish entry amongst my current selection. Try to imagine a mix between Scott Walker, The Avalanches and Divine Comedy. Try indeed!

My Morning Jacket : One Big Holyday: Before the new album arrives, check out this huge song from one of the few bands around who are able to marry experimental and popular rock music.

Race Horses : Cake: Nearly one year after this release, I still don't understand why this song has not been a big hit.

Felt: Vasco de Gama:  A perfect pop song by one of the best kept secrets of English music.