“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 guests are the founders of the radical rock group UT which was born of the downtown NYC No Wave scene (ESG, Theoretical Girls, James White & The Blacks etc) and blew holes in and raspberries at the rigidity of rock & roll, fusing it with free jazz and experimentalism, swapping instruments, improvising and being creators of art as much as writers of songs. UT moved to London in the early 80s playing gigs with The Fall and The Birthday Party and putting out music on their own label Out including debut LP proper “Conviction” in 1986.

They also became firm Peel favs with three late 80s sessions and linked up with VS mate Paul Smith’s Blast First who released live comp album “Early Live Life” and “In Gut’s House” in ’88 which made the NME top 50 albums of the year. Album “Griller” followed with Steve Albini at the helm, helping them realise their febrile aggression and heart on sleeve intensity.

Disbanding in 1990 the band have been back together since 2010 and are in the process of reissuing their entire remastered catalogue on Out Records via Forte Distro (UK home of Thee Oh Sees etc), with “Conviction” up next including liner notes from uber fan, comedian’s comedian Stewart Lee and so time seemed right to get the cult trio in to choose a trio of “songs for ewe”. Welcome to Velvet Sheep: Nina Canal, Jacqui Ham and Sally Young of UT.

Here’s UT’s Peel session from 1988 to get you in the mood.

“Conviction” will get the reissue treatment on April 5th and as well as aforementioned Stewart Lee notes will also include lyrics, photos, and the CD will also add the previously unreleased 7” single “Ampheta Speak / While I Wait”, recorded for Charles Ball’s Lust/Unlust label in 1980. There’s some UK gigs coming up too, deets at the bottom of this post…!

Before we get into that, here’s the first in a series of 3 “songs for ewe” over the next few days on VS…and the intro from UT:

“These three songs are striking to us and very on the Ut wave length….all being variants of the blues and having a raw depth. The emotion is transmitted in poignant spare structure. The narrative captured in sound with the music meeting the words.

Here’s the first choice by Nina, Jacqui & Sally…

“TB Sheets” Van Morrison

“Fantastic raw and beautiful rhythm and blues poetry. A primary inspiration to us. How the instruments describe the experience, like the guitar after ‘I need a drink of water’ making the sound of a dripping tap and the harmonica’s piercing cries, almost painful to listen to.

“your little star struck innuendos
inadequacies and foreign bodies
and the sunlight shining through the crack in the window pane
numbs my brain”

Another two UT chosen “songs for ewe” to follow in the upcoming days…

Here’s the tour dates:

Paris – Sonic Protest festival – April 6

London – The Islington – April 18

Newport (Wales) – Le Public Space – April 20

….with more dates to be confirmed.

Other forthcoming reissues will include their studio albums “In Gut’s House” and “Griller”.

In the meantime, more info on “Conviction” here…