“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. In amongst all the end of year round up shenanagins in 2020 I instituted a V.S. Xmas Song of the Year award mostly to give another accolade to the ace Nightingales (for their song “Neverender”) and you know what, it’s stuck, as it also means I can give more praise to my new favourite band Swansea Sound and get their own songwriter/bassist Rob Pursey (a pen pal who I recently met IRL at the first gig i’ve been to in two years cos of you know what) to choose a brand new Christmas themed “song for ewe”, or a “song for Yule” if you will.

Swansea Sound have put out an exceptional double a-sided seasonal single called “Happy Christmas To Me” b/w “Merry Christmas Darlings” on Snowflakes Christmas Singles and it’s a beauteous thing to behold. I’ll be playing both sides on the Christmas day episode of Velvet Sheep radio on www.repeater-radio.com but in the meantime you should get your lug holes around it to wish yourselves a meta merry Christmas as only the whipsmart lyrics of Swansea Sound invites…

Rob informs me that the 7” is now sold out in most places (it was fittingly on snow coloured vinyl) which on one hand is a shame, but ultimately it’s good for a band of great people. It’s possible there may be a couple left at Rough Trade…

https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/swansea-sound/merry-christmas-to-me-merry-christmas-darlings

However most fans can still get it as a bonus download track if they buy the album “Live At The Rum Puncheon” (the joint V.S. album of the year 2021 no less), which is avail on this Bandcamp link below…

I very much enjoyed watching the band’s second ever gig, and my first since Jan 2020 (which was Imperial Wax at the Social if you’re interested), in the very hospitable surroundings of Rough Trade East. After the gig, which was a ripsnorting blast through of an album of absolute indie purlers – absolutely feel good despite the heavy dose of 2021 reality subjects and satirical retorts, the band asked for video footage to help put together a new clip. Bit gutted to say I hadn’t recorded any to help the cause, but it had been such a long time of not seeing music out in the wild that I wanted to savour every minute (and also because when i’d seen Jon Spencer there a while back, he spotted a punter on their phone in the front row, lifted their chin to stare into his eyes and deliver a whole song in his face). I did do plenty of renta-crowd hollering as is my wont, and I have to confess I did well up with the call to arms of “Indies of the World” not only in its purity of DIY punk evangelism but also cos I couldn’t believe I was not only watching live music in public again with a bunch of kindred spirits but that I was watching a band that feels like a bunch of friends.

Anyhoo, this is one of two pics I did take for posterity.

And here’s the beautifully appointed 2021 meets Dickens cover of the Swansea Sound Christmas single. Ps. i once dressed up as Oliver at the Dickens festival in Rochester, so this also speaks to me. Think the actual physical copies had real gold or something on them, so if you missed out, you really did miss out. Next year Frankincense infused? I’m hoping it’ll be an annual Christmas single institution from Rob, Amelia, Huw and Ian…

Enough of my chit chat though, without further ado, here’s Rob’s “song for Yule”…

“Silent Night by THE ONLY ONES.

A lot of atheists love Christmas carols and I don’t mind singing along about magic stars and shepherds and the Baby Jesus. I could tell myself I am making a connection with carols’ origins – after all, they were sung at pagan New Year festivals long before Christianity rewrote them – but in reality I just go a bit soft in the head at this time of the year. So when I first heard this version of ‘Silent Night’ it really shocked me.

Somehow Peter Perrett had taken a religious song, stripped it of its religious connotations, but then re-filled it with a sense of suffering and a desire for peace that communicated more deeply to me than any hymn had ever managed. The guitars are lovely too, with a nearly-but-not-quite festive solo that comes back after the second verse and softens you up for another chorus – but then the whole thing fades out, leaving you with the distressing image of Perrett disappearing into the cold night, maybe never to return.”

THANKS AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ROB PURSEY AND SWANSEA SOUND

Do get the Swansea Sound album and extra bonus Xmas tracks here…

And in case you missed my waxing lyrical about the album, check it out here along with Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey’s favourite songs of the year, recently on these very pages…

SWANSEA SOUND – V.S. JOINT ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2021 & NEW “LUCKY 7”