17 Seconds Records – an update

17-seconds-records

Yup, an occasional update about the record label that’s the sister to this blog (or something).

The second week in May will be an excellent opportunity for people to see 17 Seconds Records acts in Scotland.

On May 8, Aberfeldy and X-Lion Tamer (see below) play at Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh as part of Tigerfest.

May 9 sees Aberfeldy play as part of Beepfest in Glasgow at the School of Art, while on May 10 The Gillyflowers play at Cabaret Voltaire as part of Tigerfest on a bill that also includes The Stantons and Le Reno Amps.

And yes, I did say X-Lion tamer. the enigmatic Tony T has decided that in order to avoid confusion with an American act of the same name, he will now record as X-Lion Tamer.

tigerfest-edinburgh-poster

See you there!

Aberfeldy -’Love Is an Arrow.’ mp3

X-Lion Tamer -’Life Support Machine.’ mp3

Presenting…The Mighty Roars

As always, getting an awful lot of stuff in my inbox and cannot even manage to listen to half of it.

Sometimes, though, something catches my attention.

As in the case of The Mighty Roars.

banner-mighty

The Mighty Roars are a female fronted post-punk-pop three-piece from UK and Europe who will release the first single “Elvis Lives (and he drinks sake)” from their second album on One Little Indian records on June 1st. David (guitar) and Lara (bass) of the band met in Berlin in the summer of 2006 where David was working as a truck driver. Returning to London they met Martin (guitar) who had recently survived a near fatal house fire. (It says here).

This is a gem of a pop song, that, on a day when I’ve read about yet another Britpop compilation coming out, reminds me of Echobelly, Kenickie and Elastica at their very best. Subtle brass, is it pop, is it twee, is it indie…who cares! it’s a great song that makes you want to know more. and surely, that’s what matters.

The Mighty Roars -’Elvis Lives (And he Drinks Sake).’ mp3

And the video is brilliant. This is worth two and a half minutes of your life! directed by Lara…

The Mighty Roars -’Elvis Lives (And he Drinks Sake).’

…and this is an earlier single, ‘Sellotape.’

My Life, as told by The Cure

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This feature was nicked from the Vinyl Villain, who in turn nicked it from Sunset Over Slawit (click on the links to see what they did and with, ah, whom).

Basically, what you have to do is answer the questions using only song titles from your favourite band.

so I did!

1. Are you a male or female:

The Perfect Boy

2. Describe yourself:

Numb

3. How do you feel about yourself:

I’m A Cult Hero

4. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend:

It’s Not You

5. Describe your current boy/girl situation:

The Perfect Girl

6. Describe your current location:

Fascination Street

7. Describe where you want to be:

The Same Deep Water As You

8. Your best friend(s) is:

The Lovecats

9. Your favourite colour is:

Icing Sugar

10. You know that:

Boys Don’t Cry

11. If your life was a television show what would it be called:

Piggy in the mirror

12. What is life to you:

100 Years

13. What is the best advice you have to give:

Play for Today

While I’m about it, a happy belated fiftieth birthday to Robert Smith who was fifty on April 21.

The Cure -’10:15 Saturday Night.’ mp3

The return of Moby

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Funny to think that Moby’s been making records for around twenty years now. About ten years ago, his Play album really was ubiquitous, with every track licensed for a commercial somewhere that it almost suffered from over-exposure. But now (and the Vinyl Villain did a great post on this not so long ago) I’m remembering why I loved the album in the first place.

Anyway, the new album is called Wait for Me (click on that link for a track listing and the first track to start doing the rounds is an instrumental called ‘Shot in the Back Of the Head.’ It’s definitely Moby, with a shoegazing type edge.

Moby -’Shot in the Back Of the Head.’ mp3

…and it has a very cool video directed and animated by none other than David Lynch:

Moby -’Shot In the Back Of the Head.’


Shot In The Back Of The Head from Moby on Vimeo.

Moby’s website/Moby Myspace

Album Review: Broken Records

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Broken Records -’Until The Earth Begins To Part’ (4AD)

This debut album has certainly been anticipated for quite a while. In fact, as the band’s profile in Scotland has grown, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that this is the most anticipated debut by a scottish act since Glasvegas. I first saw them supporting Emma Pollock as long ago as August 2007, and subsequently saw them supporting both Idlewild and Sons & Daughters. As well as being supported by this blog, Song, By Toad has also championed them for a long time; indeed, they were the first band to do a session for him.

Over the course of 2008, the band released three limited 7″ singles (still a handful of these available at Avalanche Records in Edinburgh if you act very quickly). In 2009, 4AD records announced one of the biggest coups of their thirty year existence, that they had signed Broken Records, along with The Big Pink and Camera Obscura.

With this anticipation, there’s always the horrible possibility that things could go horribly wrong. But the seven piece from Edinburgh are quietly very self-assured and have delivered a debut that is every bit as good as we could have hoped for and more. As I type this, I’m listening to it for the fourth time since the album dropped on the doromat yesterday. It’s one of those albums that stands up to repeated playing in a very short space of time.

Trying to pigeonhole Broken Records is a waste of time, when what you should be doing is just listening to them. With seven of them they can produce music to make you dance, or music to make you cry. They have, bizarrely, been compared to how Nirvana might have sounded if they’d been formed in belarus instead of Seattle. This is way off the mark. Over the course of ten songs, all stand alone, and all making up a piece of this body of work, consistently sound like few acts I’ve ever heard.

Certainly the use of violin and ‘cello makes for aspects of what are still lazily called ‘folk’ and (shudder) ‘world’ in 2009, but the passion is raw and honest enough for punk. So don’t waste your time trying to work out what it fits under, instead, enjoy what is some of the most exciting and energising MUSIC to come your way for many a year.

Without a doubt, a very strong contender for album of the year.

*****

Broken Records website/ Broken Records myspace

Broken Records -’If Eilert Loevberg Wrote A Song It Would Sound Like This.’ mp3

Album Review: Doctors and Dealers

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Doctors and Dealers -’Lost Friends and Newfound Habits’ (Bluesong Records)

There’s footage from early 1980s comedy show Not The Nine O’Clock News, where there’s an affectionate parody of Kate Bush. And that’s kind of how I feel at times about the sophomore release from the one-woman Swedish band Sparrow, who records as Doctors & Dealers. It seems almost to be a homage, almost mickey-take of other artists like Regina Spektor or bands like the Cardigans or the Concretes.

It’s the 21st century equivalent of buying an album purely on the strength of one single and getting it home and discovering that, uh, actually, the single is the best thing about it. Opening track ‘On the dancefloor’ has reportedly been mentioned many blogs all over the world (including this one). The problem is that it’s by far the best thing on the album, which I eagerly awaited getting set by the promotions company.

Although it’s not a long album -fifteen songs in thirty six minutes, there are some good little bits across the album. James Huggins from Of Montreal duets on ‘The odds are on our side’ which will no doubt be taken by bloggers to their hearts across the world. My problem isn’t that this is a bad album, rather that I feel it’s a bit much to take in one sitting. It’s a little bit too cutesy all in one go. Not in the sense of that awful recent album by The Boy Least Likely To by a long way, but whilst I’m happy to listen to two or three tracks at a time, I find I cannot listen to the whole fifteen songs as one album

***

Lost Friends and Newfound Habits is out now on Bluesong Records.

Doctors and Dealers website/Doctors and Dealers myspace

Doctors and Dealers -’On the dancefloor.’ mp3

Doctors and Dealers -’The Odds Are On Our Side.’ mp3

Doctors and Dealers -’Sunday Morning.’

Doctors and Dealers -’He Went Down.’

Album Review: Cheval Sombre

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Cheval Sombre -’Cheval Sombre.’ (Double Feature Records)

A few weeks ago, along with a considerable amount of other stuff, an mp3 by Cheval Sombre entitled ‘Little Bit Of Heaven’ arrived in my inbox. It was fantastic, I played it lots, blogged about them, and eagerly took them up on the offer of the album. It has not disappointed one iota.

Though this is the debut for the New York City one man band, this album has had a fairly long genesis. Initial recordings that took place in NYC, were sent to Sonic Boom (once part of Spaceman 3, now Spectrum). Recording sessions with Boom took place over the next two years in both NYC and Rugby, England. This is absoute proof that working on an album over a long period of time can really bring rewards.

As well as the aforementioned Sonic Boom, the album also features contributions from Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham (once of Galaxie 500, and subsequently Luna). Given the help from these artists it would be easy to simply say ‘buy this album if you like Spaceman 3, Luna, Galaxie 500 and the related offshoots.’

But the reality is that there’s so much more to it than just being another album involving these artists. This is a fantastic debut album, when drone, psychedelia and, yes, American folk come together. Two of the songs ‘Troubled Mind’ and ‘I’ve Been All Around This World’ are traditional songs that have been arranged by cheval Sombre. There is also a cover of the Doors’ ‘Hyacinth House’ (originally on L.A. Woman) which shows that when people are talking about drone and psychedelia, Jim Morrison and his merry men should been cited more often as an obvious influence (step forward Wooden Shjips). A number of the songs have been issued on limited 7″s before in the UK, this release brings them together for the first time.

This is simply a blissful record that takes its’ influences and participants and ends up being even more than the sum of its’ parts. If there is any justice, this deserves to do well in end of year polls. It’s hard to believe that music fans who hear it wouldn’t fall in love with it.

****1/2

Cheval Sombre -’Little Bit Of Heaven.’ mp3

Cheval Sombre myspace

Cheval Sombre will be released on import on April 27 in the UK and released on April 28 in the US. It will be available on Amazon downloads. the ‘It’s A Shame/Little Bit Of Heaven’ download single is availbale on both eMusic and iTunes, though bizarrely, they both list the band as Chevral Sombre. Go figure…

The (continued) return of Maximo Park

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Maximo Park are getting ready to release their third album, Quicken The Heart. (see here for tracklisting) on May 11.

On the basis of what I’ve heard so far -and what I present here for you, it’s going to be another fantastic album from the boys from Newcastle. There is concern in the world (well, NME anyway) that people are tiring of boys with guitars, but I like to think there will always be space for those who can do it well. And that’s the thing with Maximo Park, they do an excellent take on spiky indie guitar rock, rather than trying to turn into a third rate Coldplay.

First up, the video for the single ‘The Kids Are Sick Again.’ (Oh aren’t they just…)

Meanwhile, these two tracks have been made available for free download:

Maximo Park -’Let’s get clinical.’ mp3

Maximo Park -’Wraithlike.’ mp3

Maximo Park website/Maximo Park myspace

As always, let me know what you think!

The Breeders – Kim Deal is still as cool as…

the-breeders

…Kim Deal.

And, like Susan Boyle, she sticks to her guns. This is the woman who credited herself as Mrs. John Murphy on the sleeve of Surfer Rosa, who used to dress as a secretary in sensible shoes at early Pixies gigs because it annoyed the punks, and who every so often gets The Breeders out for us.

Thier New EP, ‘Fate To Fatal’ is a four track release. there are limited versions around on vinyl to tie in with record Store day, but even my local indie store in Edinburgh couldn’t track it down. Whilst most of their stuff has come out on 4AD, this appears to be self-released, and they even appear to have changed their logo.

The Breeders -’Fate To Fatal.’ mp3

and here’s the video…

The breeders -’fate to fatal’

The Breeders website/The Breeders Myspace