Album Review: Damon and Naomi

Damon and Naomi -’More Sad Hits’ (Re-issue) (20-20-20)

A year after Galaxie 500 dissolved, Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang returned to producer their producer Kramer’s studio and recorded this album chock-full of what have been described as psychedelic break-up songs.

When Galaxie 500 had disbanded, they weren’t even sure about continuing, and according to the sleevenotes to this re-issue, seemed to have enetered a stage of almost hibernation where they listened to Robert Wyatt’s Rock Bottom over and over again. Comrade Wyatt – and I use that phrase as warmly as possible – described this album on release as being “Like real water in a world of soda pop.” It’s so real, so pure…so different. Yes, of course you can hear aspects of Galaxie 500 in here, but if you’ve never heard Damon and Naomi before, don’t simply expect them to sound like Luna. This is some of the most beuatiful and fragile music you will ever hear. Belle and Sebastian and Low amongst others must have been taking notes.

But don’t simply pigeonhole this as hardcore indie or slowcore or whatever. This is an album that has widely, and rightly, become regarded as an underground classic. now it’s time for it to become as well-known as it deserves.

****1/2

More Sad Hits is out now on 20-20-20.

Damon and Naomi -’E.T.A.’ mp3 (more mp3s can be found here)

Damon and Naomi’s website

Album Review: The Old Romantic Killer Band

The Old Romantic Killer Band -’The Swan With Two Necks (Bad Sneakers)

TORKB sound like an interesting proposition on paper, a singer/guitarist with an obsession with American blues and British folk and a drummer fired up by heavy metal and 80s hardcore. Following on from two singles they unleash their debut album, which is nine tracks and twenty two minutes long.

The good news is that there is no messing around. The…well, not exactly bad news as such, but reality is that as with their single ‘You Don’t Know How To Love’ (not included here) I am still left with the feeling that there’s an awful lot of potential here which isn’t being realised. On the plus side, the tunes, drumming and guitars are great. However, whilst I wouldn’t want to encourage smoking, the singer needs to rough up his voice if he’s going to sing the blues and write lyrics that sound a little less cliched. Added to which, music like this should not be over-produced, and ideally, not produced but recorded by someone like Steve Albini.

I still think that one day TORKB are going to release an arse-kicker of a record. They need to work on things a bit more to do so, however.

**1/2

The Old Romantic Killer Band’s myspace

The Swan With Two Necks is out now on Bad Sneakers Records

Album Review: Nickel Eye

Nickel Eye – ‘The Time Of the Assassins’ (Ryko)

Nickel Eye is Nikolai (say Nickel Eye out loud, then cringe) Fraiture of The Strokes’ solo project. With the Strokes seemingly still on hiatus, he came to England and recorded an album of his own. Including guest appearances from Nick Zinner (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, talking of bands who we are due another album from) and Regina Spektor. So far, so good…

..Unfortunately, his backing band are South, who have well and truly jumped the shark. Added to which, most of the songs feel like badly recorded Strokes songs and Fraiture’s voice is completely lacking in charisma. The best track ‘Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye’ is of course, a Leonard Cohen cover. At least he didn’t opt to do ‘Hallelujah.’

It’s not an awful album, but it’s just utterly dull and boring.

**

The Time Of The Assassins is released on January 26 on Ryko.

Nickel Eye’s myspace

Time to reclaim them for us

They may have receievd a lot of flack over the years (a fair bit of which is almost certainly tall poppy syndrome), but I think it’s time for people to embrace the music of early Simple Minds. Rather like with Roxy Music, the early stuff was genuinely pioneering, and has dated much better than some of the later stuff. And controversial though this may be for some, I think they were far more pioneering in their early days than U2, with whom they were always compared. They didn’t want to be considered Jockrock and the song titles reflected an interest far more in tune with Warhol and European culture.

Take the two early tracks ‘I Travel’ and ‘Theme For Great Cities.’ To me they still sound utterly fresh now.

Simple Minds -’I Travel.’

Simple Minds -’Theme For Great Cities.’

This track hints at what was to come later…but also shows that several albums in, they hadn’t compromised.

Simple Minds -’The American.’

In 1982, they broke through commercially with the album New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) and attendant hits like ‘Promised you A Miracle.’ There were celebrity marriages for singer Jim Kerr (to both Chrissie Hynde and Patsy Kensit), a US no.1 single, and huge, massive gigs. An increasing bombasticness alientated old fans, but there were some utter gems later too:

This was the first time I ever saw Simple Minds’ music on TV, this made it into the UK charts in late 1986. Their manager of the time, Bruce Findlay, has said that this is a re-write of ‘I Travel.’

Simple Minds -’Ghostdancing.’

Please do yourselves a favour: listen to the early albums: Life In A Day, Reel To Reel Cacophony, Empires And Dance, Sons and Fascination, Sisters Feeling Call. You can almost certainly pick these up very cheaply. Simple Minds are still recording and touring. Their manager of the eighties, Bruce Findlay now manages Aberfeldy and reads this blog, too…

Simple Minds’ official website/Simple Minds myspace

A link to lots of Simple Minds videos on youTube

Two great losses

Hello folks…hope you had a good Christmas break. Had a fantastic, quiet christmas, just me, Mrs. 17 Seconds, and our two cats. I have receieved new albums (including the new Sigur Ros and Kaiser Chiefs and very first Stones LP, all on vinyl, like obviously), some Fall comps from the in-laws and lots of Alfred Hitchcock on DVD. (One day I am going to do a post related to Alfred Hitchcock on this blog).

The only sadness (other than parents and bother and sister-in-law being in other countries) was the loss over Christmas of two absolute legends in my eyes: Eartha Kitt and Harold Pinter.

I am eternally grateful that my Mum and Dad had a much more singularly original approach to what music they played my brother and I as kids. Eartha Kitt was my Mum’s favourite singer, who had absolutely appalled her parents as they didn’t get that Eartha Kitt was sending herself and other people up. I’ve written about Eartha Kitt here before, posting stuff for my Mum’s birthday. I’m convinced that artists as diverse as Diana Ross, Madonna and Amy Winehouse, amongst many, many others owe her a huge debt. (Listen to Kitt’s ‘Just An Old Fashioned Girl, then Madonna’s ‘Material Girl.’ Just saying).

The other loss is Harold Pinter. I’m not an authority on Pinter, but the work of his I have read was amazing. At sixteen, in the no man’s land between GCSEs and A-Levels, a very clued up english teacher got us to watch Death In Venice and read Pinter’s The Homecoming.* Pinteresque pauses entered my personal lixicon. A few years later my brother was in a production of The Caretaker. Who was this writer, with his pauses and sense of unease and dread that he created in people? When I found out that Nick Cave had called his earlier band The Birthday Party** this made Pinter even cooler.*** In fact, I played in a band at university called The Betrayal named after Pinter’s play.

I have been very disappointed by some of the idiots over at the BBC’s webpages who have failed to realise Pinter’s genius and slagging his politics. However, I do know that there are many people to whom Pinter was deeply important, politically and in terms of what he wrote, and if some folk are too ignorant to get that, then more fool them.

Both Pinter and Kitt got treated appallingly at times; Kitt was blacklisted for speaking out against the Vietnam War and couldn’t work in the US for over a decade (and this was well after McCarthy!), and Pinter was often outspoken against both British and american Foreign Policy, his acceptance speech for the Nobel prize forliterature offended many when the BBC did not show it in its’ entirety.

Rest in peace, both of you.

Eartha Kitt -’I want To Be Evil.’

Eartha Kitt -’Just An old Fashioned Millionaire.’

For Pinter’s sheer genius watch this clip from The Birthday Party, the interrogation scene. In which Josef K’s arrest seems like a mild understanding, and Harry Palmer was just having a joke played on him…

…and I wouldn’t trust Lenny as far as I could throw him…(from the Homecoming)

* I wasn’t very cool, then as now, in fact, I loved Polanski’s version of Macbeth as well.

** I am aware that this has been disputed and may also be to do with Cave misreading Dostoevsky.

*** Rock music definitely had an effect on what I read and my consequently ending up studying philosophy: The Cure and the Fall lead to me reading Camus and Sartre, for example. And reading The Naked Lunch was kind of an obvious next step. (Still haven’t finished the Catcher In The Rye, though)

Merry Xmas

…phew. Christmas is nearly here, the school term is over…and I’m feeling absolutely exhusted and still quite some way off goodwill to all men, especially if they have anything to do with the RIAA or the DMCA.

But, it has been a good year for me overall, sustained by getting a better job, the continued love and support of Mrs. 17 Seconds and family, friends and readers. 17 Seconds Records Ltd. is go, make friends at our myspace page if you haven’t already.

17SEC1 is already available as a download, Aberfeldy’s first single for two years ‘Claire.’ The 7″ is now supposed to be with us in January, not that I’m getting annoyed about this or anything…It was a proud moment hearing Riley Briggs talking about 17 Seconds Records from the stage at their two gigs on Monday and Tuesday; if you pop along to their myspace, where you can make friends if you haven;t already and hear their version of a Christmas classic. They were supported on Tuesday night in Edinburgh by the rather fabulous Gillyflowers who have already been recording with Riley Briggs from Aberfeldy producing and amazing it is too. Make friends with them, before some hip record company snaps them up.

17SEC2 is Ex Lion Tamer’s fantastic ‘Life Support Machine.’ Thank you to the 100+ who have downloaded this; if you haven’t please do – it’s a free Christmas track.

Ex Lion Tamer -’Life Support Machine.’ mp3

If of course, Christmas is getting too much for you, check out this track from Earth:

Earth -’Omens And Portents I: The Driver.’ mp3

It’s taken from this page whixh has lots of wonderful and not a little terrifying stuff from the likes of Om, Sunn o)), Burning Witch…and Boris collaborating with Merzbow. Two Japanese gods of noise collaborating together. Oh yes…

Have a good one, I’ll be back in the new year

XX

Rolling Stones post exile

I know it’s kinda accepted wisdom that the Stones ‘jumped the shark’ at some point in the seventies, but I still think there were moments of genius.

This is very good, very funky and extremely political. The title track of their 1983 album Undercover. Much better than ‘She was Hot.’ U2 were taking notes…

Rolling Stones -’Undercover Of The Night.’

There’s a link to another Stones song here ‘She’s So Cold.’ (what is the point of disabling the embedding if you can still see it?!?!) This is from Emotional Rescue.

The very first time I ever remember seeing a Stones song on TV (deprived childhood) was this on Top Of The Pops in 1986. Keep putting off buying Dirty Work, there’s something offputting about the sleeve…

Rolling Stones -’Harlem Shuffle.’

1994′s Voodoo Lounge seemed a return to form in some ways after the eighties excesses that marred Steel Wheels. Charlie Watts seems to look completely perplexed in the video! This was the first post-Bill Wyman album. (Actually I once met Bill Wyman; he did a signing in the bookshop where I weas working at the time, so I spent half an hour chatting to him about stuff.)

The Stones ended up sharing a writing credit with k.d.lang for this song, after one of the Stones kids commented on the similarity to lang’s song ‘Constant Craving.’ This is from 1997′s Bridges To Babylon. Not an amazing album – but better than many of their latter-day albums.

Rolling Stones – ‘Anybody Seen My Baby.’

Finally, when I met Bill Wyman, I couldn’t not ask him about this video. It sounded terrifying!

Rolling Stones -’It’s Only Rock’n’ Roll.’

Rolling Stones’ official website

17 Seconds’ Top 75 Albums of the Year

Lord knows this has been a very difficult list to compile, but thank you everyone for the love and support you have shown this week.

1. Cave Singers Invitation Songs
2. Santogold Santogold
3. Benga Diary Of An Afro Warrior
4. Jaguar Love Take Me To The Sea
5. Meursault Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues
6. The Bug London Zoo
7. The Cure 4:13 Dream
8. Shearwater Rook
9. Hanggai Introducing Hanngai
10. Fuck Buttons Street Horrrsing
11. Fleet Foxes Sun Giant
12. Escape Act Loosely Based On Fiction
13. Crystal Stilts Alight Of Night
14. Coldplay Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
15. Antony and the Johnsons Another World
16. Earth The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull
17. HK119 Fast, Cheap And Out Of Control
18. James Hey, Ma
19. Jamie Liddell Jim
20. Boris Smile
21. Melvins Nude With Boots
22. Neon Neon Stainless Style
23. Mogwai The Hawk Is Howling
24. Jason McNiff In My Time
25. Matmos Supreme Balloon
26. Presets Apocalypso
27. Spiritualized Songs in A & E
28. RTX JJ Got Live RaTX
29. Sunn o))) Domkirke
30. Times New Viking Rip It Off
31. Dark Captain Light Captain Miracle Kicker
32. Cat Power Jukebox
33. Beatglider Witches
34. Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend
35. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
36. Fucked Up The Chemistry Of Modern Life
37. Baby Dee Safe Inside The Day
38. Giant Sand Provisions
39. Lambchop OH (Ohio)
40. Ladyhawke Ladyhawke
41. Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid
42. Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
43. Yo Majesty Futuristically Speaking…Never Be Afraid
44. Mark Stewart Edit
45. Stereolab Chemical Chords
46. Sons and Daughters This Gift
47. British Sea Power Do You Like Rock Music?
48. Martina Topley-Bird The Blue Bird
49. Tricky Knowle West Boy
50. Residents The Bunny Boy
51. Dom DeLuca Birds Of Worry
52. Chris Bradley Voices
53. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Real Emotional Trash
54. Dengue Fever Venus On Earth
55. Errors It’s Not Something But It Is Like Whatever
56. Free Kitten Inherit
57. David Grubbs An Optimist Notes the Dust
58. Half Man Half Biscuit CSI: Ambleside
59. Hair Police Certainty Of Swarms
60. Rose Kemp Unholy Majesty
61. The Kills Midnight People
62. The Fall Imperial Wax Solvent
63. Lightspeed Champion Falling Off Lavender Bridge
64. William Parker Double Sunrise Over Neptune
65. Primal Scream Beautiful Future
66. Religious Knives Resin
67. Rosie Taylor Project This City Draws Maps
68. Magnetic Fields Distortion
69. Amplifico See Heart See Muscle
70. Cut Copy In Ghost Colours
71. Goldfrapp Seventh Tree
72. Sonic Youth J’accuse Ted Hughes
73. Blow Monkeys Devil’s Tavern
74. Long Blondes Couples
75. Roots Manuva Slime And Reason

Top 10 Re-Issues/Compilations

1. John Baker The John Baker Tapes (Trunk)
2. Various Artists From Dancehall To Grime (Soul Jazz)
3. Mogwai Young Team (Chemikal Underground)
4. Various Artists Dancehall The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture (Soul Jazz)
5. The Smiths The Sound Of The Smiths (Rhino)
6. Jay Reatard Matador Singles ’08 (Matador)
7. Yazoo In Your Room (Mute)
8. Hear, O Israel: A Prayer Ceremony In Jazz (Trunk)
9. Various Artists The First Chapters (XL)
10. Various Artists Give Me Love: Songs Of The Brokenhearted, Baghdad, 1925-1929
(Honest Jon’s)

So there we have it. I will update this list with various links (and um, check the comments bit as well. Just saying…)

And, as always, for anyone who thinks this blog is just indie indie indie…umm, there is perhaps a bigger proliferation of Jazz, Reggae, Hip Hop, Electronica and World/Global than ever before. So if you think it’s all indie…maybe YOU need to investigate more.

An announcement

*deep breath*

It’s been a hellish few days.

But I’ve been very touched by the support I’ve received from readers, friends, fellow bloggers and family. Most particularly my long-suffering wife.

I’m still trying to work out the future. But I wanted to say thanks (and watch this space).

In the words of Vigo from Ghostbusters 2 (above):

‘Death is but a door, time is but a window. I’ll be back.’

Crass -’Do They Owe Us A Living?’ mp3

Ex Lion Tamer -’Life Support Machine.’ mp3

the end

Ok folks, this is very sad, but after two and a half years I have decided to stop doing 17 Seconds.

I have received yet another takedown notice. Yet again, I have had my Festive Fifty post removed. For the record the Festive Fifty was:

1. The Wedding Present -’The Trouble With Men.’
2. MGMT -’Time To Pretend.’
3. The Bug -’Angry (featuring Tipper Irie).’
4. Aberfeldy -’Come on, Claire.’
5. Santogold -’My Superman.’
6. M.I.A. -’Paper Planes.’
7. Mogwai -’The Sun Smells Too Loud.’
8. The Kills -’Cheap And Cheerful.’
9. Dom DeLuca -’Birds Of Worry.’
10.Escape Act -’God Says.’
11.Hayman Watkins Trout And Lee -’Sly And The Family Stone.’
12.Jamie Lidell -’Another Day.’
13.Broken Records -’If The News Makes You Sad, Don’t Watch It.’
14.RTX -’You Should Shut Up.’
15.Brigyn -’Haleliwia.’
16.HK119 -’Mind.’
17.Madonna -’Give It 2 Me.’
18.Cave Singers -’Seeds Of Night.’
19.Broken Records -’Lies.’
20.Mr. Beasley -’Right As Rain.’
21.Breeders -’We’re Gonna Rise.’
22.Presets -’This Boy’s In Love.’
23.How To Swim -’Genesis P. and Me.’
24.Estelle featuring Kanye West -American Boy.’
25.Dizzee Rascal featuring Calvin Harris and Chrome -’Dance Wiv Me.’
26.Jaguar Love -’Highways Of Love.’
27.Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds -’Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!’
28.Coldplay -’Viva La Vida.’
29.Rustie -’Mic Of the Year.’
30.Neon Neon -’I Lust You.’
31.Vampire Weekend -’The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance.’
32.Buraka Som Sistema -’Kalemba.’
33.Hercules and Love Affair -’Blind.’
34.Duffy -’Mercy.’
35.Laura Cantrell -’Love Vigilantes.’
36.Ready Aim Fire -’So Fine.’
37.Cave Singers -’Dancing On Our Graves.’
38.Wiley -’Wearing My Rolex.’
39.Yo Majesty -’Club Action.’
40.Ting Tings -’That’s Not My Name.’
41.Sons & Daughters -’Darling.’
42.British Sea Power -’Waving Flags.’
43.Friendly Fires -’Paris.’
44.Cat Power -’Metal Heart.’
45.K-Salaam & Beatnik -’Babylon (Must Be Mad).’
46.Breeders -’German Demonstration.’
47.Broken Records -’Slow Parade.’
48.It Hugs Back -’Work Day.’
49.Bloc Party -’Mercury.’
50.Hot Chip -’Ready For The Floor.’

The mp3s I had posted were as follows, so far as I can recall:

Mogwai, Dom DeLuca, Escape Act, Hayman Watkins Trout and Lee, Cave Singers, Mr. Beasley, Nick Cave, Rustie, Ready Aim Fire, Cat Power, as far as I can tell. All of these mp3s had been made available as free downloads LEGALLY which I had specified next to each mp3. This clearly wasn’t enough.

Why people couldn’t have emailed me, I don’t know. This blog has been a labour of love. I have spent hours working on this at a time to help promote bands and write about the music I love. I have made it abundantly clear that I wanted people to buy the music that I wrote about. It is time that the RIAA and DMCA were disposed of. These represent nothing but money and have nothing to do with art or integrity. God help those responsible if i ever meet them.

Whoever ordered this post taken down: BURN IN HELL. I HAVE SPENT THE LAST TWO AND A HALF YEARS PROMOTING BANDS. YOU DO NOT EVEN HAVE THE COURAGE TO GET IN TOUCH VIA EMAIL, MUCH LESS FACE TO FACE. YOU ARE SICK, SICK SCUM.
I have sent this email to Blogger.
FOR CHRIST’S SAKE: IF YOU REMOVE THE POST HOW CAN I SEE WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS?

I HAVE MADE IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR: IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM EMAIL ME AND LET ME KNOW. YOU ARE VIOLATING MY INTELLECTUAL RIGHTS. ALL MP3S POSTED WERE AVAILABLE AS FREE DOWNLOADS.

DO NOT IGNORE THIS EMAIL. I WANT THE NAMES ADDRESSES AND EMAIL ADDRESSES OF THE PEOPLE WHO ASKED YOU TO DO THIS. HOW DARE YOU REMOVE THINGS CITING COPYRIGHT WHEN YOU DON’T TELL ME WHAT THE PROBLEM IS?

EVERY MP3 POSTED WAS AVAILABLE AS A FREE DOWNLOAD. YOU OWE ME A BIG APOLOGY. REINSTATE MY POSTS AND GIVE ME AN APOLOGY.

ED, 17 SECONDS