“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, it’s the return of absolute VS favs – The Nightingales and their intrepid, guitar lieutenant Jim Smith. Brand new Gales album “Four Against Fate” heads towards us apace (out next Friday on Tiny Global Productions), and it’s a truly exciting record, heightened by Jim’s self assured playing which combines some incredible tropes, including Spiral Stairs from “Slanted & Enchanted” era Pavement meets Craig Scanlan on “Slates” up to the “Ice Cream For Crow” Beefheart-esque playing on brand new single “Everything, Everywhere All Of The Time” for which drummer & agreeable eminence grise Fliss Kitson has used lockdown wisely to make a great remote video for (check it out below).

Given that the Gales in its current, longest serving and most fruitful line-up ever is a democratic affair and a happy ship, Jim also gets to let rip on vocals on “Neverender” alongside chief Gale Robert Lloyd and the aforementioned ne’er forgotten Fliss. On “Four Against Fate” there are highlights aplenty – “The End Began Somewhere” could have easily been on The Fall high watermark “This Nation’s Saving Grace” with its “Barmy”-esque perambulating rhythms, and in “Neverender” it’s the best non-Christmas Xmas song since John Cale’s “Child’s Christmas In Wales”. Believe me when I tell you this is a definite album of the year contender by a band that are both comfortable in their own bulldog skin and playing out of it. And so it’s brilliant to have them back on VS, so please take a bow Jim Smith!

Jim decided to go “strictly by the rules of something obscure i was digging that day” and for that we doff our collective cap, and without further ado, here’s Jim’s “song for ewe”…

“Heldon – Stand By

Heldon were a French band active mid-late seventies, led by guitarist Richard Pinhas. He was an interesting character, a philosophy teacher who studied under Gilles Deleuze he was also influenced by the albums Fripp and Eno made together around the same time.

This track from the last Heldon album in 1979 still sounds futuristic to me. I love the way it goes through different phases from doomy sludge rock to intricate electronic passages, somehow sounding improvised and tight at the same time.”


Please pre-order the new album “Four Against Fate” right hither…it’ll doubtless be the best thing you do today, and let’s face it, you’re not going out much at the moment, so you deserve a treat…


also check out the recent “song for ewe” chosen by Fliss Kitson…