Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles formed in 2007. After receiving a ukulele as a gift from her grandfather, Lucy began writing songs and formed a band to bring them to life. Joining Lucy were: Geoff Freeman (drums), Ashley Boman (accordion), Chris Graham (guitar), Jesse Schuster (bass), and Eamonn McLain (cello). They began playing shows around the Twin Cities and quickly went into the studio to make an album. Recorded at Albatross Studios in South Minneapolis by engineer Mike Wisti of the Rank Strangers, Orange Peels and Rattlesnakes is a debut full of hand claps, foot stomping folk songs, and Lucy's piercing and haunting whistle.
After releasing the album at a raucous sold out show at the Bedlam Theater and being picked as the Best New Band by Village Voice affiliate City Pages, Lucy and the band spent the next year touring around the country, building a fan base on the road and back at home. In 2009 they recorded their second record Special Party Time for Everybody. The album saw the band broadening their musical scope, stretching out their songs and expanding their instrumentation. Seven-minute songs bump up against saxophone solos and poppy piano riffs.
2010 brought the release of the Lapelles' third album Good of That—their second album in a row recorded at Terrarium Studio in Minneapolis. It opens with “Diabolical,” a ragged, rocking sea shanty, and features some of the band's most pop-focused songs (“Bula Bula,” “Not Keeping Company”) and some of Lucy's most personal and powerful lyrics (“St. Paul,” “Monsters”). The album was released to local acclaim and the band spent time on the road playing shows with bands including Trampled by Turtles and The Head and the Heart.
In the spring of 2011 the band emerged from a long winter with a handful of new songs. They decided to decamp to Brooklyn and record at Vacation Island Recording Studios with Matt Boynton (MGMT, Beirut). The resulting album HEAT is the band's most accomplished album to date, bringing together Lucy's lyrics—full of longing and isolation—with music that pounds and pulses—evoking the haze of a New York City summer. By the time the album was ready to be released in the spring of 2012, the band had a new lineup: Guitarist Matt Latterell stepped in to join Lucy, Geoff, Ashley, Eamonn and Jesse, and the new band debuted alongside bassist Liz Draper at a packed and triumphant release show for HEAT at First Avenue, followed by a year of touring the United States to solid audiences from Los Angeles to New York and everywhere in between.
2013 finds Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles steamrolling ahead on the heels of the success of HEAT, which was named “one of the breakout records of the year” by national tastemaker 89.3 The Current. The band's debut Daytrotter session was named one of Daytrotter's Best of 2012, and songs from HEAT have recently appeared on MTV and in feature ads for Target and Apple. Music videos for “Just A Kid,” “Undone,” and “Million Things” debuted on MTV and have received in excess of 65,000 views on their VEVO channel. The creative juices continue to flow too: Look for a massive new album to arrive in the spring of 2014.
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