Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Velvet Owl Single of the Week

Teenage - Veronica Falls

This song, the video and even the bloody band name remind us of those days lying in our bed on a Saturday morning hungover from a night on the Thunderbird, watching the Chart Show and hoping that this week's specialist chart would be 'Indie' just so we could get the chance to hear the new Jesus and Mary Chain single.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Blood Red Shoes/Wet Nuns - Norwich Arts Centre

The current inclement weather conditions prevented a third of Owl members from arriving at their work place today (they didn't try too hard, admittedly), so it comes as some surprise, as we arrive at the Arts Centre, to find not only both acts present and correct, but also a more than decent-sized crowd in attendance for Blood Red Shoes' pre-big-London-gig-warm-up show.  BRS, it turns out, are pretty big in East Anglia...

And an hour into their very polished, neat and tidy set, it's very difficult to see why.  They certainly put a shift in on the venue's tiny stage, and indeed prompt a couple of mini stage invasions as the show nears its climax.  But as the gig drags on, it becomes difficult to in any way fall for the songs of a band who seem to have listened to the Long Blondes a little too much when seeking inspiration.  And if you listen to that band's only album of a few years back at any time soon, you'll realise that it hasn't aged very well.  This is identikit indie of the most mediocre kind, and we're not having it.  The kids, predictably, lap it up.

So, pausing only briefly to bemoan the Arts Centre's new policy of making us pay to use their coat hangers (boo! Shame on you!), we'll turn our attention to tonight's support act.  Wet Nuns have been causing quite a stir in certain circles of late (Radio 1's indie correspondent Huw Stephens is a fan, as is Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, although a bit of Sheffield bias may be at play there), and the brand of death-blues the pair are purveying seem destined to take them to grander stages than this one.  While a duo playing any form of the blues puts one in mind of current stadium botherers the Black Keys, in truth tonight's sound is nowhere near as shiny as that being touted by the Ohio chart -toppers, with shades of Mudhoney, Black Sabbath and early Nirvana leaping out from a set of songs that are never less than diverting, and often genuinely thrilling.

And crucially, throughout the gig, Wet Nuns look as if they are having so much fun.  They laugh at each other's random between-song jokes about the snow, they roll around on the floor, they climb all over their kit, for seemingly no other reason than that it is there to be climbed on and, from beginning to riff-strewn end, they undoubtedly display a level of shambolism that would make messrs Malkmus and Dando incredibly proud.  But with songs like these, they must know that this is a formula that is winning.  This is quite a gig.  You will be hearing this band a lot in 2013.  Shit name though.


Friday, 25 January 2013

Something for the Weekend # 11

We've been big fans of Sweet Baboo here at VO towers ever since we caught a mesmerising performance by him at the Green Man Festival a couple of years ago, and we're expecting big things for him this year. Here's the first single Let's Go Swimming Wild from upcoming album Ships that is due for release on the Moshi Moshi label in the spring.  

Monday, 21 January 2013

Velvet Owl Single of the Week

Matthew E. White - Big Love

This track has been on permanent rotation at Velvet Owl towers ever since Uncut magazine named White's debut album Big Inner (released in the US in August 2012 and now finally out in the UK) their album of the month. Handclaps, funky piano, gospel singers and an infectious bassline are just a starter for ten in listing why this is so damn good.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Velvet Owl Single of the Week

Suede - Barriers

As release dates go, Monday 7th January 2013 will always be remembered as the day David Bowie (surprisingly) released his first new material in 10 years. Imagine, therefore, Brett Anderson's face that morning when he woke up to find TV channels, radio stations and social networking sites alight with the news of Bowie's return on the very same day that Suede were also releasing their first new material in a decade. Shame really, as 'Barriers' deserved a bigger fanfare than it actually received, as it's a fine return for Anderson and co. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Velvet Owl Single of the Week (2)

David Bowie - 'Where Are We Now'

While it would be rude not to have this beautiful return from the Thin White Duke as our second single of the week, we can't help but be reminded by the video of Vic and Bob's 'Marvin and Otis' sketch - 'watching the ships sail in and back out again...' 

Welcome back Mr Jones, it has been too long. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Velvet Owl Single of the Week

Goat - Let it Bleed

Fellow Owl and blog contributor, Sammy Merry, was waxing lyrical about Goat's debut album 'World Music' several months ago. So with the album featuring in a number of end of year best of lists, we thought it was worthwhile reminding you of how ruddy good they sound. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Velvet Owl Single of the Week (2)

Popstrangers - 'Heaven' 

All the best pop songs usually clock in at under three minutes and have an instantly hummable chorus that lodges itself into your brain and will only be teased out with a saucer of warm milk. New Zealanders Popstrangers tick all the boxes with their new single 'Heaven' taken from the soon to be released debut album 'Antipodes'. There's also a nice little nod to The Mighty Boosh in the video too. So everyone's a winner.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Velvet Owl Single of the Week

Allah-Las - 'Tell Me (What's on Your Mind)' 

Despite its late arrival in 2012's release schedule, the debut album by the L.A.four-piece the Allah-Las featured on a number of 'end of year best of' lists (including our very own). With their blend of four-part harmonies, jangly chords and obvious nods to the mid-sixties sounds of The Byrds and The Zombies, the band are a real tonic as we take our first tentative steps into 2013.