“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 was a member of C86 era proto-riot grrrl doyennes (not to mention Calvin Johnson/K Records favs) Talulah Gosh and their cuttingly fey offspring Heavenly whose song “Atta Girl” nearly got worn out on my taping of John Peel’s Festive Fifty circa ’93. Rob’s also been in Marine Research, Sportique, Tender Trap and more recently The Catenary Wires, all with his partner in crime and life Amelia Fletcher. His and Amelia’s latest band Swansea Sound also features Hue Williams of the Pooh Sticks on vox and Ian Button of the Night Mail on drums (who’ve just made a terrific record with Louis Philippe). When he’s not modelling new band and venue t-shirts to help fellow lockdown musicians with a few extra pence, he’s also taking photos of concrete acoustic mirrors in Dungeness. Could he be any more indie? No and thank goodness. He’s truly a man after my own heart.
Things are busy for Rob right now – Heavenly have just had a singles collection released on garage mainstays Damaged Goods called “A Bout De Heavenly”, and with Amelia he’s launched the brand new label Skep Wax (Skeps are upturned straw baskets under which bees form their naturally curvy honey comb BTW), partly to release the music of Swansea Sound including the pointed and witty reposte “I Sold My Soul on eBay” where the one physical copy was auctioned on said site. The winning bid from 39 was £592.00 and since it did way better than expected half of the proceeds went to https://saveourvenues.co.uk/#/
But we’re the winners today, as we’re chuffed to welcome to VS, the inspiring Rob Pursey!
“I Sold My Soul On eBay” has some inspired lyrics including this nugget:
“I sold my soul on eBay…
Bids were derisory.
I need some money. Don’t need a soul.
So monetising is my goal.”
Not only that but it spells out the kind of pittance it might muster should it be found on a streaming service, despite the amount of social media followers Rob and Amelia have, hence you won’t find it or any Skep Wax releases there.
The original eBay listing for the single physical 7″ spells the current issues for hamstrung musicians out further:
“I SOLD MY SOUL ON EBAY may appear on future compilations. It is also available as a digital download at www.swanseasound.bandcamp.com for £1. It is not available on streaming sites, where it would require at least 2500 plays for the label to earn £10 (the band would see half of this, if they were lucky).”
And with their raising money for Save Our Venues they admit they’d just like somewhere they can play one day (and I’d dearly love to come and see them too).
I asked Rob further about the formation of Skep Wax, to which he replied:
‘Me and Amelia have talked about doing this for years, but with lockdown we couldn’t pretend we were too busy any more. Skep Wax will release new material by Swansea Sound and The Catenary Wires to start with. And if that works out, we will start to look at doing other bands.’
Here’s a link to pre-order their brand new, first proper physical release on Skep Wax – available as a 7” via record shops, or digitally from here:
It’s also released in Japan on Formosa Punk and in the US on HHBTM. And in Wales on Lavender Sweep, as a cassingle (a word to induce a mini fist pump).
Literally – Indie Labels of the World Unite!
And on that note, it’s a super-connective hands-across-the-ocean pick for our feature, so without further ado, here’s Rob Pursey’s “song for ewe”!
“This is my choice. It’s BURN US DOWN by The Crystal Furs.
I met one of them recently in the chatroom at the Offbeat indie disco, which is in Sheffield. The Crystal Furs are in Portland Oregon – and I’m in Kent. But that’s the joy of lockdown discos! The Crystal Furs are a queer indie band and they make songs ‘about architecture, anxiety and lesbians’. I think they are great.”
THANKS SO MUCH ROB!
Get the new Swansea Sound release below:
More on Skep Wax here, including a release by The Drift…
And you can get that Heavenly retrospective from Damaged Goods Records here
Check out Amelia Fletcher’s “song for ewe” from a couple of years back: