Photo by Guy Nahum Lëvy

“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 is a new signing to the peerless Olympia punk label Kill Rock Stars, who I’ve been a fan of since first writing VS as a paper zine back in the 90s when memorably I got to meet and interview Slim Moon and chat to Mary Lou Lord round at Gary Walker from Wiiija’s place. Instrumental in the nascent riot grrrl scene KRS and their spearhead Bikini Kill and their UK peers Wiiija and Huggy Bear had as much to do with me starting the fanzine as seeing Nirvana on Top Of The Pops and buying the Jesus Lizard/Nirvana split. After some time away from the label, co-founder Moon is back in the fold and now in what is their 30th year in business there seems like a new reinvigorated light burning on the Pacific North West coast with a few new killer signings including Tamar Aphek. Although Aphek is  a fair bit younger than me, she has also been inspired by the likes of The Jesus Lizard it transpires and the “assymetric time signatures” of them and “Fugazi, Shellac, Sonic Youth, Blonde Redhead, Unwound, Slint, Elliott Smith’s Either/Or” (sounds like my record collection).

Aphek has already made a bit of a name for herself in the Israeli alternative scene, including as member of the bands Carusella and Shoshana, as creator of the “Besides That” music festival, in contributing to the musical soundtrack to the film “One Week And A Day,” which won the Gan Foundation Award at Cannes Film Festival. Now Aphek is about to release her first eponymous record and KRS debut “All Bets Are Off”, a concept record about “the cyclicality of moving from the dark side to the bright side of life”, which I think we’re all hoping for a dose of right now. So despite the chilliness of the new single “Russian Winter” it’s a warm VS welcome to Tamar Aphek! (check out the Farfisa solo it rules)

“All Bets Are Off” was self produced by Tamar, mostly recorded at the legendary Daptone Records studio with mixing by Daniel Schlett (War on Drugs, DIIV) and mastering by Greg Calbi (John Lennon, Bob Dylan, David Bowie) and it’s a densely textured affair, kind of Nina Simone meets MBV, or Sister Rosetta Tharp leading the Jesus & Mary Chain. It’s moody, menacing, brooding and beguiling, a fibrous Russian doll of bewitching layers. Distorted but never less than beautiful.

Here’s the gleefully 80s Telstar Records-esque artwork.

 

But what of Tamar’s “song choice” what music matters in her multiverse? Without further ado, this is Tamar Aphek’s “song for ewe”…

“The song of Brigitte Fontaine “Comme à la radio” (Like in the radio) inspired my musical style in many ways. In her boundless style, while breaking all musical rules, Fontaine succeeded to deliver her message that the source of music is life itself. The song is based on a critical dialogue between the official version of the establishment as delivered in the live newscast, like we hear in the radio, and life itself which is represented by the music.

The music tries to imitate the cacophony of the street’s noises such as traffic noises, sirens of an ambulance, cars, trucks passing by and so on. The vocals of the singer, together with the musical instruments, become an unusual and impossible harmonic symphony, although some of the sounds don’t make sense to the ear. I learned from Fontaine that vocals can serve as another musical instrument, which together with the other instruments succeed to deliver her cynical messages.”

THANKS TO TAMAR AND TO RACHEL SILVER AT SILVER PR

“All Bets Are Off” (Kill Rock Stars) is available on 29 January or pre-order here 

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To carry on the KRS tip check back on this “song for ewe” by Slim Moon…

SLIM MOON of KILL ROCK STARS – Song For Ewe

and from Aubery Hornor from Lithics…

AUBREY HORNOR from LITHICS – Song For Ewe