“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. At the crossroads between an apocryphal past and an uncertain future comes a new pop prophet for our turbulent times. Today’s guest Gemma Rogers has a voice that is part shining beacon of inate mischief, part barely disguised Gothic heart. Her voice has a hi-fi technicolour appeal but with a rasping edge, like Al Wilson’s “Snake” you’ll take her into your heart, despite suspecting she’s capable of breaking it in the next instant.
At VS we’ve been championing Gemma since we first heard her as part of the band TWO with Alfie Jackson, back in late 2018. After running a second “song for ewe” by our new hero, Gemma’s song “Stop” came to the attention of impeccable arbiter of taste John Henderson, whose Tiny Global Productions is truly Velvet Sheep’s favourite label with their high watermark releases by The Nightingales, Band of Holy Joy, Blue Orchids, Jon Langford and more.
John included the song in his Lucky 7 for these pages, and having become friends with Gemma via social media, I put them in the touch. And the rest, as they sort of say, is history (in the making). Tiny Global duly signed Gemma, and her solo album “No Place Like Home” is recorded and out next March. Gemma’s continued her work with long term co-writers Alfie and Sean Genockey but also has collaborated with Spike of Spike & Debbie, Z Block Records fame, and has picked up a fan in label mate and eminence gris Stuart Moxham whose Young Marble Giants sparse prickly post punk has echoes in Gemma’s new music.
To say we are excited that Gemma’s about to release a record on Tiny Global is an understatement, especially as we’ve played a small part in the story so far. Of course it called for a new “song for ewe”! And a welcome back to somewhere Gemma will always find a home, Velvet Sheep…
But before that, here’s the joyful first taster from “No Place Like Home”…the mischievous “Good Day Bad Trip” in A CAPS PLEASE – VIDEO EXCLUSIVE FOR VELVET SHEEP!
With quintessentially British emergency operator samples and an insistent yet surprising hook, “Good Day Bad Trip” is an arresting affair, an intrinsic grower with Gemma’s voice striking a distinctive chord over an alt pop groove that strikes somewhere between the recognisable quaintness of Saint Etienne and the nose thumbing playground punk of the Slits.
For Gemma’s third appearance in this series I asked her to pick a current fav from her new label, Tiny Global Productions, and it’s a peach from a band we very much dig…without further ado, here’s Gemma’s new “song for ewe”…
“Band of Holy Joy – “This Is The Festival Scene” from their new album, “Dreams Take Flight”, I really like Johny’s voice in this track. It encapsulates an energy that’s hard to put your finger on but that feels ubiquitous right now.
The emergence and madness of life post virus.”
MANY THANKS TO GEMMA AND TO JOHN HENDERSON
You can download the free digital single “Good Day Bad Trip” with a deliciously trippy uke number “New World Order” on the Bandcamp link below – it’s a perfect intro to your new favourite artist. And keep your eyes peeled for a second single in September.