Young Fathers – new song and album!

Young Fathers picture credit: Julia Noni

Long-term 17 Seconds favourites, Young Fathers, have announced their third album.

Entitled Cocoa Sugar, the album will be released on March 9 on Ninja Tune. Following on from ‘Lord’ which was released towards the end of last year, the band have released another track from the album ‘In My View.’

The band will be touring – dates can be found here on their website, including a date at Glasgow’s Barrowlands and theor biggest headline gig to date at London’s Roundhouse.

The album’s tracklisting is as follows:

1. See How

2. Fee Fi

3. In My View.

4. Turn

5. Lord

6. Tremolo.

7. Wow

8. Border Girl

9. Holy Ghost

10. Wire

11. Toy

12. Picking You

…and just for completeness sake:

U.S. Girls: New single, album, tour…

Meg Remy photographed by Colin Medley

Wow…4AD are continuing to keep my inbox very busy indeed. Long may they continue to do so…

Meg Remy, who goes under the name U.S. Girls, is shortly to release her sixth album, In A Poem Unlimited. Her second album for the label, and her sixth in all, she has also unveiled the third track to be released from the album ‘Pearly Gates.’

And wow, are those concepts intriguing. ‘Pearly Gates’ is about a woman attempting to seduce St. Peter in order to get into heaven, with mixed results.  is explained by its creator as follows: “Some years back a story was recounted to me about a man attempting to convince a woman to engage in unprotected sex by saying, ‘Don’t worry, I’m really good at pulling out.’ I thought this was a hilariously stupid thing to say and knew one day I would build a song around this line.”  

The other singles so far released from the album include ‘Velvet 4 Sale’ imagining a world where women take up arms against men…

…and the aforementioned ‘Mad As Hell’, which deals with pacifism.

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. Velvet 4 Sale
2. Rage Of Plastics
3. M.A.H.
4. Why Do I Lose My Voice When I Have Something To Say
5. Rosebud
6. Incidental Boogie
7. L-Over
8. Pearly Gates
9. Poem 
10. Traviata
11. Time

She will be touring later on this year, the European tour dates are as follows:

30 April – AMSTERDAM, Melkweg Theaterzaal
1 May – BRUSSELS, Les Nuits Botanique
3 May – BERLIN, Kantine
4 May – VLIELAND, Here Comes The Summer
6 May – COPENHAGEN, Hotel Cecil
8 May – COLOGNE, Gewoelbe
9 May – ZURICH, Rote Fabrik
10 May – BASEL, Kaserne
11 May – BOLOGNA, Locomotiv Club
14 May – PARIS, Point Ephemere
16 May – LONDON, Scala
17 May – BIRMINGHAM, The Hare and Hounds
18 May – MANCHESTER, Soup Kitchen

Track of the day #51: Justin Levinson

It’s cold in most of the northern hemisphere, and summer feels so far away. It might be a gamble to release a record that sounds so summery – but Justin Levinson has done that and released an absolute gem.

Having released his fourth album Yes Man in 2015, he has released the gorgeous ‘I’ll Make It In Hollywood.’ This is a single that deserves your attention. It’s sure as hell got mine.As in: I like the single, I’ve gone to investigate further.

According to the press release: “I really wanted to release a bright/ beachy summery track at the beginning of the year,” Justin explains. “Like the previous record, we kept a lot of the ’60s pop inspired sound… big vocal arrangements, wurly and mellotron. Though the song may appear to be about a fella who is quite confident he’s going to hit the big time in Hollywood, there is actually a bit of a subtle cynical undertone. I tried to tap into some of the hardship creatives go through in a lighthearted manner.”

Beach Boys meets the Carpenters? Could be. Or Ben olds if he’d been more in thrall to sixties baroque pop but kept his sense of sarcasm. It’s 1965-1975 distilled, beauty and cynicism at the same time, to produce a brilliant pop record that I can’t stop playing.

The Breeders return with new single, tour – and first album in ten years!

Breeders picture credit: Maria Gesualdi

2018 continues to be a great year for aging indie fans (and I definitely count myself in that). Following on from last year’s ‘Get In The Car’ single (which came in very high in the annual Festive Fifty) and tour, the band have indeed announced new single, album and tour.

So first up, that new single:  it’s the title track of their fifth album, All Nerve. You can buy or stream it here by following the link.

I finally saw the band in Glasgow last October – and very good they were, too. This time they’re coming to Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms, you can see tour dates here by following this link.

The album tracklisting is as follows:

  1. Nervous Mary
  2. 2. Wait in the Car
  3. All Nerve
  4. MetaGoth
  5. Spacewoman
  6. Walking with the Killer
  7. Howl at the Summit
  8. Archangel’s Thunderbird
  9. Dawn: Making an Effort
  10. Skinhead #2
  11. Blues at the Acropolis

Recording took place at Candyland, Dayton, Kentucky, with Mike Montgomery; Electrical Audio, Chicago, with Steve Albini and Greg Norman; and with Tom Rastikis at
Fernwood Studios, Dayton, Ohio. The artwork was done by Chris Bigg, who has worked with the Breeders since their first album, Pod.

All Nerve will be released on March 2nd on long-term label 4AD.


Happy New Year…and the return of Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand: photo credit Cara Robbins

Hello folks.

Happy New Year – it’s been quiet for a couple of weeks here, not only because of Christmas and New Year, but also because (fanfare please) I got married just before New Year.

Back to the matter in hand. Franz Ferdinand will release their fifth album, Always Ascending on February 9. It’s their first album since 2013’s Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. It was recorded at RAK Studios, London and Motorbass in Paris, with the help of French producere Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix, The Beastie Boys).

Two tracks have been unveiled so far – which you can see below:

The album tracklisting is as follows:

  1.  Always Ascending
  2. Lazy Boy
  3. Paper Cages
  4. Finally
  5. The Academy Award
  6. Lois Lane
  7. Huck And Jim
  8. Glimpse Of Love
  9. Feel The Love Go
  10. Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow

The album can be pre-ordered here and you can also get the details about their pretty massive actually world tour here. It’s really rather great to have them back…


Albums of the year 2016

No, this isn’t a misspelling.

Despite doing my annual Festive Fifty tracks at the end of last year, I never published my albums of the year list. For those that might care – and you’ve read this far – there were a handful of reasons for this.

Firstly, that I was trying to agree on an order. The final two choices I couldn’t quite make up my mind about. Secondly, there were a couple of albums I wanted to hear before I did the list that for one reason or another I hadn’t heard then. And as life changes, sometimes it’s just not possible to hear fifty albums well enough to rank them in order.

So, with that in mind, I’ve put together a top ten from last year, with a number that can be considered to have been worthy runners-up.

  1. David Bowie Blackstar
  2. Michael Kiwanuka Love And Hate
  3. K Fellowship (AKA Kate Bush) Before The Dawn
  4. Skepta Konichiwa
  5. Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
  6. Kano Made In the Manor
  7. PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project
  8. Mogwai Atomic
  9. Frank Ocean Blonde
  10. Beyoncé Lemonade

…and worthy runners-up (in no particular order)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree

Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker

Shirley Collins Lodestar

Dexys Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish And Country Soul

Kristin Hersh Wyatt At The Coyote Palace

Modern Studies Swell To Great 

Emma Pollock In Search Of Harperfield

Underworld Barbara, Barbara We Face A Shining Future

Scott Walker The Childhood Of A Leader

Wedding Present Going, Going…

Lest we forget…

2015 Bjork Vulnicura

2014 Lisa Gerrard Twilight Kingdom

2013 Dead Flowers Midnight At The Wheel Club 

2012 Grimes Genesis

2011 PJ Harvey Let England Shake

2010 DeLorean Subiza

2009 Broken Records Until The Earth Begins To Part

2008 Cave Singers Invitation Songs

2007 Burial Untrue

2006 Camera Obscura Let’s Get Out Of This Country


Christmas Posts 2017 part 9 – Pale Waves

I don’t know if this is a cheat or not – but as New Year’s Eve is part of the Christmas season, I’m going to include this. Whether this will proceed to throw the internet into another long debate about whether or not it should be considered Christmassy, in the way that people have got worked up over East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’ single or Die Hard…only time will tell.

Pale Waves are Heather Baron-Gracie (Lead Singer and guitarist), Hugo Silvani (guitar), Charlie Wood (bass) and Ciara Doran (drums). Having released a number of acclaimed tracks over the course of 2017 -‘There’s A Honey‘ made the 17 Seconds Festive Fifty (!) -their debut EP New Year’s Eve will be released on January 18 2018.

Also on the EP will be the equally fine, if not Christmassy ‘My Obsession.’


17 Seconds Festive Fifty 2017

  1. Young Fathers ‘Only God Knows.’
  2. Lana Del Rey ‘Love.’
  3. Stormzy ‘Big For Your Boots.’
  4. Meursault ‘Klopfgeist.’
  5. Deerhoof feat Jenn Wasner ‘I Will Spite Survive.’
  6. Dave ‘Question Time.’
  7. Breeders ‘Wait In The Car.’
  8. Siobhan Wilson ‘Whatever Helps.’
  9. Playing House ‘Jelly Legs.’
  10. Attic Choir ‘shHAarp.’
  11. National ‘The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness.’
  12. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds ‘Holy Mountain.’
  13. Jammz ‘Oh Please.’
  14. Meursault ‘I Will Kill Again.’
  15. Mogwai ‘Party In The Dark.’
  16. Belle & Sebastian ‘I’ll Be Your Pilot.’
  17. Wolf Alice ‘Yuk Foo.’
  18. Mark Lanegan ‘Nocturne.’
  19. Loyle Carner ‘No CD.’
  20. Go! Team ‘Semicircle Song.’
  21. Cigarettes After Sex ‘K.’
  22. Sparks ‘Edith Piaf (Said It Better).’
  23. U.S. Girls ‘Mad As Hell.’
  24. Future Islands ‘Ran.’
  25. Erasure ‘Love You To The Sky.’
  26. Mogwai ‘Coolverine.’
  27. LCD Soundsystem ‘Call The Police.’
  28. Arcade Fire ‘Everything Now.’
  29. Alvvays ‘In Undertow.’
  30. Ice Cube ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop.’
  31. Lana Del Rey featuring The Weeknd ‘Lust For Life.’
  32. Lorde ‘Green Light.’
  33. Gold Filter ‘Dust.’
  34. Chilly Gonzalez & Jarvis Cocker ‘Tearjerker.’
  35. LCD Soundsystem ‘American Dream.’
  36. Spook School ‘Less Than Perfect.’
  37. Parcels ‘Overnight.’
  38. Deerhoof featuring Awkwafina ‘Your Dystopic Creation Doesn’t Fear You.’
  39. Belle & Sebastian ‘We Were Beautiful.’
  40. Cigarettes After Sex ‘Each Time You Fall In Love.’
  41. London Grammar ‘Rooting For You.’
  42. Big Shaq ‘Man’s Not Hot.’
  43. Morrissey ‘Jacky’s Only Happy When She’s On the Stage.’
  44. Young Fathers ‘Lord.’
  45. Jesus & Mary Chain ‘Amputation.’
  46. Pale Honey ‘Why Do I Always Feel This Way?’
  47. Alvvays ‘Dreams Tonite.’
  48. Depeche Mode ‘Where The Revolution?’
  49. Pale Waves ‘There’s A Honey.’
  50. Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert ‘Bad And Boujee.’

Lest we forget

2016 Christine and the Queens ‘Tilted.’

2015 Courtney Barnett ‘Pedestrian At Best.’

2014 St. Vincent ‘Digital Witness.’

2013 Daft Punk ‘Get Lucky.’

2012 Grimes ‘Genesis.’ 

2011 Hiatus featuring Linton Kwesi Johnson ‘Insurrection.’

2010 eagleowl ‘No Conjunction.’

2009 Peter Parker ‘Swallow the Rockets.’

2008 Wedding Present ‘The Trouble With Men.’

2007 Emma Pollock ‘Adrenaline.’

2006 Long Blondes ‘Weekend Without Make-Up.’


Christmas Posts 2017 part 8 – Spook School


Having written about Spook School from their very early days (and indeed early tracks appeared in the annual 17 Seconds Festive 50 lists in years gone by), it’s good to see just how much progress they have made.

The band will release their new album – their third –Could It Be Different? on January  26 2018. In the meantime, this Friday (December 15) they will release a Christmas single ‘Someone To Share Christmas With.’

Bass player Anna Corey says: “This is a song about figuring out how you want to conduct your own relationships when it feels like the world is full of conflicting advice about the ‘best’ way to do it, whether that be monogamy, polyamory, or something else entirely. The refrain relates to the ideal of having one important person in your life with whom you’ll always spend your special occasions. Merry Christmas from The Spook School!”

…and as a taster for the new album, the rather gorgeous ‘Less Than Perfect’:

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. Still Alive
2. Best of Intentions
3. Less Than Perfect
4. Keep in Touch
5. Bad Year
6. Alright (Sometimes)
7. I Only Dance When I Want To
8. Hope She Loves You
9. While You Were Sleeping
10. Body
11. High School

Gig review: Mark Lanegan/Duke Garwood

Mark Lanegan/Duke Garwood

Edinburgh Liquid Rooms, December 4, 2017

Duke Garwood sounds like he should be from the southern states of America. As I comment to the soon to be Mrs. 17 Seconds, I assume (having heard a fair bit of his music) that he’s from one of the southern states. Actually: he’s actually English. But to hell with geographical and bibliographical concerns – his swampy, slow solo blues with his gravelly vocals is rather fine. And it serves as an apt opener for a headline set by his sometime collaborator Mark Lanegan.

Mark Lanegan couldn’t really be from anywhere else than the greater Seattle area. Four decades into his career, much has been written about those he knew no longer with us. But let us dwell on the present. Lanegan opens with ‘Death’s Head Tattoo’ – the opening track from new album Gargoyle before going straight into the equally fine ‘Gravedigger’s Song’ from 2012’s Blues Funeral album. That, young uns, is how to get your gig off to a fine start.

In the spirit of his last few albums, it’s a bluesy grunge sound with hints of southern gothic – that design on the front cover of the new record evokes decaying churches, and whilst simplistic, it’s just so apt. While both Gargoyle and Phantom Home showed that he’d perhaps (re-)connected with the 80’s college rock of his youth, it’s telling that live he’s less 80s sounding than the album. That voice, of course, is gravelly, yet warm, and it’s clear why he comes across as survivor.

Not least on standout tracks like ‘Emperor’ and the utterly brilliant ‘Nocturne,’ the latter one of the best songs he’s ever but his vocals to. Sure I could draw comparisons to other artists, musically and in terms of longevity, to say nothing of reeling off the long list of those he’s collaborated with- but why bother? He’s doing just fine as he is.