“SONG FOR EWE”
with STEVEN CLARK AKA SCI-FI STEVEN of BIS & BATTERIES
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day.
Today it’s one third of punk/riot pop trio bis and the man behind the band who combine the wonk of DEVO with the zoink of Brainiac, Batteries. He’s got not one, not two, but you get the picture – three records available on this Saturday’s Record Store Day – a brace from Batteries including their new second album and one from bis: a split seven ahead of a new long player, and he’s here to choose a song for ewe that’s one of the seven inches that stirred me into writing the original Velvet Sheep xeroxed zine. Full of restless energetic zeal and zip it’s the man some call Sci-Fi Steven, big in Japan, soon to be bigger in Batteries (bigger than a 9v multi pack), Steven Clark!
If you haven’t been hit by a volt from the Batteries yet, here is a quick blast:
This Saturday in your local Record Store you can get the following beautiful Batteries/bis reckids:
“The Fall-In-Love Club” single, which is a jerky new wave, no-wave, Mexican wave of a single and live fav
and “The Finishing Line” LP where Steven cuts loose on a new album, full feet to the floor, backs to the wall, dark synths and shredding metallic guitar.
bis are making a new record, and touring again, which is all good news:
March 25 – Glasgow, King Tuts (with Yummy Fur)
March 27 – Aberdeen, Lemon Tree (with Bratakus)
May 27 – Manchester, Deaf Institute (with Big Zero)
May 28 – London, 100 Club (with Collapsed Lung)
June 10 – Reading, Sub 89 (with Big Zero)
June 11 – Long Division Festival, Wakefield
and ahead of that there’s an RSD release which is a split with a Reading band called Big Zero
Given that Steven was recently struck that most of the people at Glasgow club Sleazy’s dancing to Black Sabbath hadn’t been born the last time he sold records, the new bis song contains a cheeky sideswipe to the yoof of today, while still bottling the exuberance of their own.
I interviewed Steven way back as part of bis at the old Beggars’ Banquet and I enjoyed it very much. I’m pleased to still be in touch with the band, and last year when VS re-launched as a web blog/zine thang, I was chuffed that Manda Rin gave us her “song for ewe” choice…
and now the time is right and the choice is tight from Mr. Clark, and without further ado it’s over to Sci-Fi Steven for his “song for ewe”…
“Whilst anyone who’s ever heard early bis records will be unsurprised to know that we were massive Huggy Bear fans, this song “Single Bullets” from their first 7″ in 1992 will most likely surprise with its subtlety and hypnotic cyclical guitar riff showing there was always more to them than the cartoon riot grrrl image the UK press had them charged with.
It’s barely there yet says so much, even at 15 years old when it came out the nostalgia for a more innocent time resonated. Into town, buying records and clothes and then back on the bus. The sentiment was as much an influence on us as the music. This song features in a video fanzine called “Getting Close To Nothing” with Super-8 footage of Huggy Bear and Bikini Kill on tour. It looked so cool and we watched it over and over again. It still does.
Anyone who’s heard my Batteries records would probably have expected something more aggressive, and rightly so, but the odd mixture of hope and melancholy of “Single Bullets” always evokes a specific time and place for me.” – Steven Clark