LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…

Two albums and one EP in, CITY CALM DOWN’s accomplished songwriting has earned over 12 million streams on Spotify to date. Championed by Triple J in Australia – including a Like A Version that has generated almost half a million views on YouTube – the band’s ambitions have seen airplay on BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music plus press coverage from the likes of NME, Rolling Stone, Stereogum, Clash, Consequence Of Sound, Indie Shuffle, The Independent and many more.

City Calm Down

In the series that champions amazing new bands and claws into they psyche, singer Jack Bourke gives Velvet Sheep his Lucky 7…

1. The Smiths – ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’
One of the things I love about The Smiths is their complete disregard of others’ conceptions of who they were and Last Night … is a testament to that confidence and self-assuredness. This was one of the first songs by The Smiths that I remember hearing, which is perhaps why it made such an impression on me.

2. T Rex – ‘Cosmic Dancer’
“I danced myself right out the womb,” is such a vivid and absurd lyric. It makes you laugh while you swagger to the groove of the drums and it epitomises Bolan’s ability to marry the absurd with the philosophical. It’s little wonder this song above all others of Bolan’s has been covered by so many artists.

3. Midnight Oil – ‘Power and The Passion’
I have a vague memory of dancing to Midnight Oil in the backyard of one of the houses I grew up in. I was probably about 7 years old and I think the record was Diesel & Dust. My fascination with Midnight Oil simmered away until I was old enough to buy CDs. The reason I picked this song by Midnight Oil is because it is by far their most distinct and it shows why they are one of the most celebrated bands Australia has ever produced. There’s an irrepressible punk ethos to their lyrics but, unlike a lot of punk music, the musicianship is brilliant too.

4. The Chemical Brothers – ‘Let Forever Be’
This track is one of the reasons why Surrender is such a great record. It doesn’t feel out of place but it greatly distinguishes The Chemical Brothers from other electronic and dance artists. It also helps that Noel Gallagher is a beast on the vocals and they were able to get Michel Gondry to produce the clip for them.

 5. The Grateful Dead – ‘Box of Rain’
Listening to American Beauty by The Grateful Dead is one of my first musical memories. It’s an album I’ve continually returned to over the years, with every listen being more enjoyable than the last. Box of Rain is probably my favourite track on this record, but it’s a tough call. The rich harmonies never overwhelm the melody and the way the song moves between the relative minor and major keys helps give the song the most beautiful bittersweet feeling.

6. Lou Reed – ‘Perfect Day’
This might be my favourite song of all time. Maybe. Like Box of Rain by The Grateful Dead, it moves between keys which heightens the impact of the chorus when it finally lands. As much as this song hinges on Lou Reed’s vocal delivery and lyrics, Mick Ronson’s piano performance and subtle string arrangements are superb and the song wouldn’t be the triumph it is without Ronson’s contributions.

LUCKY 7:  Calm Down – ‘Stuck (On the Eastern)’
This was the first song written for the new record, but was the last to be finished because we decided to rewrite the chorus in the studio. Lyrically, it’s a metaphor about consumption and materialism. It feels like we’re currently at a juncture socially where perhaps we’re beginning to grasp the limitations of the materialist culture we live in. To that end, being stuck in traffic is a symptom of that culture and a daily reminder that things need to change.