“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 founder member and spokesperson for Hey Colossus one of the finest rock & roll bands currently operating in this country IMO (and reputationally) one of the fiercest on the continent. From London and also the South West, and active in varying line ups since 2003 they are a hydra-headed six-piece with seismic sonic force, whose twelfth (count ’em) album “Four Bibles” is out now. Despite the often bleakly dark imagery and lyrical content of Hey Colossus, we are tickled pink to welcome to these pages, the erudite and tasteful chops of the totally aces Joe Thompson!
Check out “It’s A Low” to get the lie of the land…(a subtler moment among the maniacal madness)
Renowned for their self-assembled motley “pirate ship” backline of battle broken amps, that fuels their queasy fury and the three guitar assault that’s all drang and no sturm. More like storm, the kind that sinks the boat of Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner – think Slint “Good Morning, Captain” meets The Jesus Lizard “Seasick” and you’re some way close to the dangerous portent of Hey Colossus.
Like the crazed man they sing off running past and disappearing into oblivion over the precipice of the Thames, the music of Hey Colossus is a dark eddying morass that defies easy explanation. They’ve played in venues as diverse as a doctor’s waiting room in Salford, an industrial unit in Liege and a vast field next to a river in Portugal, the locations expanding as much as their reputation (Glasto coming soon too). Noted electronic producer Helm met the band at their first ever gig (not at the doc’s waiting room we assume) and in neatly elliptical fashion has got them onto his label ALTER for “Four Bibles”.
The album was recorded by Ben Turner at Space Wolf in Somerset and while it is as heavy as hell, there’s more room on the peripheries for greater sonic latitude worn lightly by Daniel O’Sullivan of This is not This Heat & The Grumbling Fur who provides piano, electronics and violin that reach in like tendrils among the tautness.
With an ever expanding musical palette and a yen for breathless envelope pushing, what record is Joe Thompson currently imbibing? Without further ado, this is Joe’s “song for ewe”…
“I went through a phase of obsessively watching all the Crate Digger series on YouTube, where Hip Hop Producers go through their record collections. Talking about going on mammoth vinyl hunting sessions into Brazil and Japan and throughout the world. It’s almost as good as having real friends.
I feel like I’m now a close buddy with the Gaslamp Killer, a long lost pal of Pete Rock. I learnt about Archie Whitewater from this series. If memory serves it was House Shoes who spoke of this record. Archie Whitewater is a band, not a person. They did one record. And this was on it. They were a slightly jazzy funky southern rock group with horns. An eight piece. I like bands with lots of people in.
I finally found this record recently, it’s been reissued. It’s really beautiful, and this song is a very high point. Dig in.”
THANKS TO JOE AND TO SEAN NEWSHAM AT MUTANTE
3rd June – BBC 6Music session, Marc Riley show. 7-9pm.
7th June – Portsmouth, Loft
8th June – Bristol, Triptych Festival
14th June – Nottingham, Maze
15th June – Huddersfield, Vinyl Tap (afternoon show, in record shop)
15th June – Leeds, Temple of Boom (evening show)
18th June – London, Rough Trade East
28th June – Glastonbury (Williams Green Stage)
12th July – Manchester, Soup Kitchen
13th July – Glasgow, Nice n Sleazy
19th July – Birmingham, Supersonic Festival