Helen Money photograph by Natalie Escobedo

“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 virtuoso cellist and composer who’s mastery of malevolent minimalism leads me to catatonic inertia, like a sorcerer’s spell or staring too long into a Bridget Riley op art monochrome. Alison Chesley records under the moniker Helen Money, and her mint compositions are bang on: precise, delicate, definite, with a new single called “Atomic” (title song of an album out on 20 March via Thrill Jockey Records) packing a big heft with a gentle touch and which recalls the brooding menace of the score that opens the last Fugazi album “The Argument”.

Alison has been prolific in the esoteric, expansive musical ilk we favour here, having recently transcribed and performed on Bob Mould’s Sunshine Rock album and worked with the likes of Jason Roeder (Sleep/Neurosis) and recent Velvet Sheep guest, Rachel Grimes (Rachel’s), while touring extensively with Mould, Russian Circles, Earth, Shellac, Sleep and MONO. In addition to the powerful and highly personal “Atomic”, Helen Money will tour the UK and Europe this May including a set at the Raw Power Festival in London alongside a line up which includes Enablers, Pye Corner Audio and fellow VS favs Grey Hairs. In the meantime we are delighted to welcome Alison to these pages to choose a song guaranteed to make your neck follicles stand up to be counted….

First up, check out “Atomic”…

Album artwork below…

“Atomic” was written at a difficult time of reflection and re-evaluation after the deaths of Chesley’s parents, which she explains thus: “After my parents passed away, we had to find new ways to be – with ourselves and each other. The whole process brought us closer together, strengthening the bonds between the three of us; between us and our friends; between us and my extended family. My sister and brother and I would often get together at my brother’s house in the Redwoods of Northern California. Being there with them, looking up at these giant trees that were there long before we were, looking up at the Milky Way, looking out at the Pacific Ocean – it just gave me a sense of perspective and how connected we all are to everything.”

Microscopic atoms in Earth’s huge expanse, via Helen Money, Chesley was able to hit reset and explore a new sense of identity and place in the big scheme of things. And the new album is one of both gravitas and grace.

But what obscure-ish track has Alison chosen? It’s from one of her recent musical partners in crime, so without further ado, here’s Helen Money’s restrained yet weighty “song for ewe”

Neurosis/Jarboe “Within”

“Minimal but intense, this track kills me every time hear it. Jason Roeder’s relentless and powerful drumming is why he is one of my favorite all-time drummers”



Catch Helen Money on UK & European tour May 2020
May 2 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega
May 3 – Goteborg, SE – Koloni
May 5 – Prague, CZ – Klub 007
May 7 – Gdansk, PL – Drizzly Grizzly
May 8 – Poznan, PL – Pawillon
May 9 – Hranice na Moravě, CZ – Karnola
May 10 – Kosice, SK – Tabačka Kulturfabrik
May 12 – Vienna, AT – Fluc
May 13 – Zurich, CH – Schallbeton
May 14 – Torino, IT – Blah Blah
May 15 – Lyon, FR – Le Sonic
May 17 – Lille, FR – La Malterie
May 20 – Glasgow, UK – Broadcast
May 22 – Newcastle, UK – Cluny
May 23 – 24 – London, UK – Raw Power Festival w/ Pye Corner Audio, Enablers + more

Pre-order “Atomic” by Helen Money here…

And if you like Helen Money, please check out these “songs for ewe” by her song choice Jarboe, plus regular collaborators Rachel Grimes, Earth and Bob Mould…

JARBOE – Song For Ewe



BOB MOULD – Song For Ewe & Interview