Forthcoming from The Vaselines

Are the Vaselines indie-pop’s answer to Vashtyi Bunyan?

Like the cult folk singer, they’re about to release their third album in a career that’s been hugely influential but with long, long gaps.

Entitled V For Vaselines, the album comes out on September 29 and the first track to do the rounds ‘One Lost Year’ can be streamed and downloaded above. The artwork seems to be Prefab Sprout means Marlon Brando meets Steve McQueen (you’re going to have to google all that if you don’t get the references).

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. High Tide Low Tide
2. The Lonely L.P.
3. Inky Lies
4. Crazy Lady
5. Single Spies
6. One Lost Year
7. Earth Is Speeding
8. False Heaven
9. Number One Crush
10. Last Half Hour

They have also announced three dates in Scotland and England to coincide with the album’s release:

29 September Caves, Edinburgh.
30 September Brudenell Social Club, Leeds.
1 October Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London.

Two new tracks from the New Pornographers’ new record!

(‘The return of’ needs resting)

New Pornographers will release their new album on August 25. It’s entitled Brill Bruisers and is the first album in four years by the North American indie supergroup.

So far two tracks have been made available as videos, which you can stream. At the top of the page (And probably playing already) is the title track (if two tracks appear to be playing, maybe it’s the Morrissey one down the page).

Meanwhile down below is ‘War On The East Coast’

The album’s tracklisting is as follows:

1. Brill Bruisers
2. Champions Of Red Wine
3. Fantasy Fools
4. War On The East Coast
5. Backstairs
6. Marching Orders
7. Another Drug Deal Of The Heart
8. Born With A Sound
9. Wide Eyes
10. Dancehall Domine
11. Spidyr
12. Hi-Rise
13. You Tell Me Where

The return of We Were Promised Jetpacks

Edinburgh’s We Were Promised Jetpacks are back with their third album, a new member and a forthcoming tour.

The album is called Unravelling and will be released this autumn, though no release date has been given. It was recorded in Glasgow at the (in)famous Chem19 Studios with Paul Savage who has previously worked with a number of 17 Seconds faves, including established and diverse Scottish acts such as Teenage Fanclub, King Creosote, Bwani Junction, The Twilight Sad, Franz Ferdinand and Mogwai. the first track to do the rounds, ‘Safety In Numbers’ can be streamed at the top of the page.

The band – Adam Thompson (Vocals / Guitar), Darren Lackie (Drums), Sean Smith (bass) and Michael Palmer (Guitar) are now joined by multi-instrumentalist Stuart McGachan.

The tour dates in the British Isles are as follows:

Sep 11 Cyprus Avenue, Cork

Sep 12 Limelight 2, Belfast

Sep 13 Nerve Centre, Londonderry

Sep 14 Whelan’s, Dublin

Sep 17, Garage, Aberdeen

Sep 18 Non-Zero’s, Dundee

Sep 19 Caves, Edinburgh

Sep 20 Deaf Institute, Manchester

Sep 21 Bermuda Triangle, Brighton

Oct 8 The Lexington, London

Album Review – Richard Thompson

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Richard Thompson -’Acoustic Classics.’ (Beeswing/Proper)

There are many who might describe themselves as ‘singer-songwriter-guitarists’ but in Richard Thompson’s case, it’s true: he excel at all of them. And while many of his generation may find their voices starting to fade, his remains as strong as ever.

And while this concept – studio-recorded versions of fourteen songs from his (outstanding) back catalogue might be money for old rope in the hands of many, in Mr. Thompson’s case, it shows that not only is he incredibly gifted, but even stripped down to just him and a guitar, they lose nothing. Having seen him live both solo and with a band, I can attest to just how well these songs can work stripped down.

His solo career stretches back to 1972, and this album contains a lot of classics – ‘From Galway To Graceland’ and ‘Vincent Black Lightning 1952′ as well as numbers from when he recorded with his then-wife Linda: ‘Wall Of Death,’ ‘Shoot Out The Lights’ and ‘I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight.’

It’s not a greatest hits album, but if you’ve never heard his music (for shame! for shame!), then this is a good place to start. If you know his music, this works very well as an album in its own right.

****

Acoustic Classics is out now on Beeswing/Proper

Travelling Band unveil third album

I have to confess that I’m rather surprised that apparently I haven’t featured Manchester’s The Travelling Band on 17 Seconds in the eight years the blog’s been running.

However, let me put that right immediately by telling you that their third album The Big Defreeze will be out on August 25th on Sideways Saloon/Republic of Music.

This is the first track to do the rounds from the album, entitled ‘Passing Ships’ and it is a fine introduction to their gorgeous, epic folk. You can stream it and download it from the top of the page.

They’re on tour from August (see the dates over at their website) and the album’s tracklisting is as follows:

1. Passing Ships
2. Garbo
3. 25 Hours
4. Quicksand
5. 78.8%
6. Making Eyes
7. Borrowed & Blue
8. Sticks & Stones
9. For all the Fallen
10. Pinholes
11. Hands Up

Bonus Disc (CD only)

1. Took My Soul
2. Pure Driven Chaos (Demo)
3. Race From the Start (Demo)
4. Quicksand (Demo)
5. Hands Up (Acoustic)
6. Passing Ships (Demo)

The return of Sleepmakeswaves

Last year, Australia’s Sleepmakeswaves issued a fantastic debut in the shape of …And So We Destroyed Everything (read my review here), which also made no.13 in my Top 50 albums of the year list.

Clearly not people to let the ground grow beneath their feet, they will release their second album Love Of Cartography on September 1 in the UK. And how can you not love a band who write love songs about delay pedals? (if you don’t understand this, you are probably reading the wrong blog).

You can stream the album below in its entirety via bandcamp:

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. Perfect Detonator
2. Traced In Constellations
3. Singularity
4. Emergent
5. Great Northern
6. The Stars Are Stigmata
7. A Little Spark
8. How We Built The Ocean
9. Something Like Avalanches
10. Your Time Will Come Again

Album Review – Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts -’Sunbathing Animal.’ (Rough Trade)

The follow-up to last year’s rather fine Light Up Gold (well, in the UK), the third album from Texans turned Brooklynites is an excellent exercise in leftfield guitar noise. Though they have been compared to many 90s alternative-rock acts, I would argue that Parquet Courts are actually the missing link between Television and Pavement. This is in the sense that there is the great guitar work of the former married with the great tunes about to descend into a wonderful shambles of the latter.

And it’s not just that – there’s an endearing rough edge to proceedings that also evokes the spirit and sound of 1970s acts like Swell Maps and Wire, suggesting that they might be their heirs (well, Wire are still going but you get the idea). ‘Bodies Made Of’ and ‘Vienna II’ being very much examples of this, although longer tracks like ‘She’s Rolling’ keep the ball, well, rolling for much longer.

Given that so much of what pretends to be indie these days is so far from the notion of what it should be about, there will be those who run screaming from this album. Their loss.For those who take the trouble to listen, this is a deeply rewarding and exciting record that shows a great record collection can still be the springboard for something fresh and exciting.

****

Sunbathing Animal is out now on Rough Trade

Stream Morrissey’s World Peace Is None Of Your Business

Well, it feels like it has been a long time coming. It’s certainly one of the most anticipated albums of 2014, and one of my most anticipated albums of the year.

Morrissey’s 10th album World Peace Is None Of Your Business is his first album in five years, since Years Of Refusal and it’s streaming a week ahead of its release, via NME. I’ll write a full review soon, but after my first listen, the reports that it may be one of his best solo works – even up there with Vauxhall & I – are not wrong.

See what you think, people. I’d love to know what you think, and if you like it – go and buy it!

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To stream the album in full head to nme.com

Album Review – David Gray

David Gray

David Gray -’Mutineers’ (iht Records)

Like Coldplay, it’s perhaps a little too easy to stereotype David Gray. Music for people who don’t buy much music and what they do is from motorway service stations, people who are permanently glued to Radio 2, who’d rather go to V Festival than Glastonbury…the list could go on.

And it’s unfair on the man himself. Not only that, as a late thirty-something (there! I’ve said it!) I think it’s rather an ageist stereotype. I don’t buy my music from motorway service stations, mind you.

The only problem is…this album is as dull as anything. Now, I enjoyed a number of songs off White Ladder, itself now fifteen years old. It didn’t change the world, but there were some good, solid songs. It is of course missing the point entirely to grumble that Gray’s music is not radical or confrontational. However, Mutineers makes White Ladder sound like a groundbreaking record by comparison.

It’s not entirely without merit. There’s a lovely arrangement on ‘Last Summer’ and ‘Birds Of the High Arctic’ is a really good song. But the absolute nadir is reached on ‘Snow in Vegas’ with it’s drawn-out, cliched lyrics.

I genuinely wanted to like this album. I wanted to be able to hold it up as an act of defiance to say that Gray had produced a good record, and that it was just snobbery that stopped people from liking it. Unfortunately, rather like the latest Coldplay album, it’s just boring.

**

Mutineers is out now on iht Records