Be Kind, Rewind: Review of The Velveteens album, “Sun’s Up”

By Ted Jamison /// Staff Writer

Mission Statement:

When it comes to new music, we all have our go-to pitchforks, tumblrs, twitters, tinkers bing bong blah blah…my point is that it’s been done. Whatever your source, stay true – but this is an excavation. My goal: cassette tapes – pure, DIY archaeology.

This is The Velveteens’ first studio LP, and it is new, new, brand new! MJ MJ Records markets the group as “Garage, Pop, Rock, Twee,” but the band describes its genre as “girls n boys in the basement,” which I find much more fitting in its informality and lack of pretension – two qualities that The Velveteens push to the forefront in “Sun’s Up.” “Loneliness” is a slow burner featuring a prominent, throbbing bass line beneath lackadaisical, drunken guitar strumming. The title track, “Suns’s Up,” is the definite single-quite catchy, a clear winner. If you mixed the Brita-clear vocals from Alvvays and Tacocat and then kicked them down an octave, you would have the vocal melodies from The Velveteens.

A collection of garage jams with hints of beach vibes, the record shines with a refreshing sheen of playground sweat-soaked sincerity that is quite welcome in the jaded, dead-eyed, Burger Records-saturated world of lo-fi garage-pop.

The Label:

Micheal Jordan Micheal Jordan Records Records, or MJ MJ Records, is a cassette label based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Started by Andrew Todryk (you may know him from VACATION DAD) during what he describes as “a surly winter of unemployment,” MJ MJ was created “to help re-legitimize the cassette as a viable medium for contemporary music.” Why? Because it sounds better? Maybe. What is for certain is that MJ’s tapes certainly look cooler than any compact disk I have ever purchased, thanks to the label’s eye for design and help from graphic designer, Nico Stephou.

All releases are mastered in-house especially for pro-dubbed chrome tape.

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