“SONG FOR EWE”
with MIKI BERENYI of
PIROSHKA and LUSH
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is a bona fide indie rock legend as the vocalist/guitarist of iconic 4AD band Lush. Now in a new band called Piroshka, with former Moose guitarist KJ “Moose” McKillop, Modern English bassist Mick Conroy and former Elastica drummer Justin Welch, and a debut album called “Brickbat” out this Friday on the ace Bella Union label, we’re honoured to welcome to these pages, the incomparable Miki Berenyi!
Here’s the haunting, timeless and breathless lead single from “Brickbat”, “Everlastingly Yours”…
Piroshka is very much a family affair with deeply interwoven mutual history both personal and musical. Miki and “Moose” are partners and parents but of course were “shoegaze” contemporaries, while Elastica’s paths also crossed over with Lush in the height of the Britpop explosion, with Justin joining the reformed Lush when they came back together in 2015 after a long hiatus in the wake of former drummer Chris Acland’s tragic death, Miki’s parenthood and taking on a full-time regular job away from RnR. Meanwhile when Modern English ended Mick joined Moose and then also was bassplayer on what proved to be Lush’s final show, Manchester, November 2016. With these links comes an easy understanding and with much sometimes murky water under the bridge, there is a deep undercurrent of shared life experience from which to draw upon.
Named after the hero from the Hungarian version of the Little Red Riding Hood, there is cerebral nous belying the innocent naiive melodies. Meanwhile the album itself is named after the primitive word for a missile, which exposes the grit behind the rich pop euphoria. Lyrically it taps into the fear & loathing at the exposed roots of our divided socio-political society, the rolling news tableau of unfeeling brutality, and how that impinges on parenthood and the uncertain future the next generation are headed into. But hey, don’t get me wrong, there’s soaring hope here too, that most people are inherently good underneath the fake news sheen.
Of course with the album being on Bella Union, the circle remains unbroken, since their boss is Simon Raymonde and his former Cocteau Twins bandmate Robin Guthrie produced Lush’s debut album, while his current bandmate in the band Lost Horizons, Richie Thomas is a former member of Moose.
And while we’re on the woven branches of an indie family tree, Piroshka have also worked with a Velvet Sheep alumni and friend Terry Edwards (The Higsons, Blockheads, Near Jazz Experience, The Scapegoats etc) who wrote the expansive string arrangements on “Brickbat” but also coincidentally played brass on Lush’s final album.
Here’s the song that made me forever hold Lush and Miki’s potent vocals in my heart…
There’s one other aspect keeping this feature in the family, Miki has picked a tune by the awesome Lesley Rankine (a real VS hero), who has been chosen twice before on these pages in various incarnations, and of course has picked one herself…so without further ado, here’s Miki’s “song for ewe”…
“It’s almost impossible for me to pick a representative track by Lesley Rankine (aka Ruby) because she covers so much ground in her music. I first saw her perform in 1987, when she was the singer in a garage band called The Grizzelders. All I could do is stand there in stunned amazement and be blasted away by her voice and presence. She’s always been an astonishing performer.
I more often associate her with a harder, noisier edge, but I love this stripped-back track, where you get to hear the range and detail of her vocals. It’s tender and jazzy, but off-kilter and spacey, and the harmonies are lovely.
The whole effect is cocooning and intimate – a perfect envelope for the lyrics about pregnancy and motherhood, which I find both moving and fierce – the kick of love you feel when your baby moves inside you, and the courage you want to nurture in them so they can head out into the world and love their life.”
“Brickbat” is out on 15 February
Live dates as follows:
Friday 29th March – MANCHESTER – Soup Kitchen tickets
Saturday 30th March – GLASGOW – Stereo tickets
Sunday 31st March – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club tickets
Thursday 4th April – LONDON – Oslo tickets
Friday 5th April – CAMBRIDGE – Portland Arms tickets
Saturday 6th April – BRISTOL – Rough Trade tickets
More info on Piroshka here:
THANKS TO MIKI AND TO LIV WILLARS AT ONE BEAT PR
Here’s Lesley Rankine’s “song for ewe”…
and here’s one from Miki’s former Lush bandmate Emma Anderson…