Frightened Rabbit, anyone?

frightened-rabbit

It is St. Andrew’s Day today – the day of Scotland’s Patron Saint, so I thought I’d post a track by a very fine Scottish band.

Or rather, I’d post two ever so slightly different versions of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop.’

This has come out in both 2007 and 2008, so take your pick and see what you think…

Frightened Rabbit -’It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop [2007 version].’ mp3

Frightened Rabbit -’It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop [2008 version].’ mp3.

For a free track from their 2008 sophomore release, see here

Meanwhile, they released a fantastic new single two weeks ago, entitled ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land.’ This is taken from their forthcoming third album, due out in 2010:

Check out the video here:

the new album is entitled The Winter Of Mixed Drinks and is released on fatcat on March 1.

1.’Things’
2. ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’
3. ‘The Loneliness & The Scream’
4. ‘The Wrestle’
5. ‘Skip The Youth’
6. ‘Nothing Like You’
7. ‘Man/ Bag Of Sand’
8. ‘Foot Shooter’
9. ‘Not Miserable’
10. ‘Living In Colour’
11.‘Yes I Would’

17SEC11 out now!

wildhouse-sampler-cover

Yup, out now and available from all great download stores near you, our sixth release as 17 Seconds Records this year!

Our first signing to come from Dundee, Precise Running Order – The Wildhouse Sampler, is a five track digital EP. It collects two songs from each of the Wildhouse’s two albums released so far, Hyenas and Poet:Saint and another track ‘Ficca.’ The albums will be released digitally in 2010 on 17 Seconds, as well as their third album Jackson ’56.

The Wildhouse are Paul who sings and plays guitar, Peter who screams and plays guitar and Sheila who plays drums. Their manifesto is summed up as follows by the band themselves:

the-wildhouse-manifesto

Because there’s no such thing as a free lunch anymore, have a free mp3 ‘Ficca.’

The Wildhouse -’Ficca.’ mp3

Pop along and make friends at The Wildhouse’s myspace

Very nice piece here on the Wildhouse, by The Devil Has The Best Tuna; thanks also to ayetunes and Peenko for highlighting this!

Thank Fall it’s Christmas

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There’s actually a fair number of Fall-related Christmas songs, so let’s get cracking…(well, they’re almost seasonally-themed).

One of the first (sorta) was the track ‘No Xmas for John Quays’ (clever pun). There’s even less Xmas for Pharmacists than John Quays, as a Pharmacist very close to me is working both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Anyway, this early song has appeared in several forms, firstly on their debut Live At The Witch Trials and also both in an early Peel session from 1979, and a few years later on one of the many Fall live albums Fall In A Hole.

The Fall -’No Xmas for John Quays (Peel session).’ mp3

The Fall -’No Xmas for John Quays (live).’ mp3

This was an album track in 1991…on the album Shiftwork

The Fall -’Xmas With Simon.’ mp3

These two tracks come from a 1994 Peel session:

The Fall -’Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Peel session).’ mp3

The Fall -’Jingle Bell Rock (Peel session).’ mp3

This was an single in the earlier part of this decade…

The Fall ‘(We Wish You) A Protein Christmas.’ mp3

Christmas 2009 – let it begin!

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Christmas actually does look like this in Edinburgh

It’s been a fairly up and down year away from the blog (let’s just say there are a few people in my life who don’t even deserve coal in their Christmas stockings), but with Christmas fast approaching I’m determined to avoid thinking about them and even try and be a little less bah humbug.

As with the previous two years on the blog, I will be posting lots of Christmas stuff on the blog, as well as my end of year Festive fifty and Top albums (I think I’m just going to do a brief end of decade summary to avoid exhaustion). Another blogger who is also doing Christmas on the blogs is the lovely Tart, over at Love Shack, Baby, so in the very unlikely event that you haven’t been over there to say hello, please go and say hi!

Mrs. 17 Seconds has gone off on a girly weekend with old uni mates, so brother 17 Seconds and I are planning to cause all manner of mayhem, so that I can try and forget how much I am actually really missing her right now. The 17 Seconds Towers cats are already starting to mope (then again, they get abandonment issues if either of us is in the bathroom for five minutes).

So…enjoy the first track, I don’t seem to post many Danish bands here, but hope you like this:

Mew -’She Came Home For Christmas.’ mp3

Album Review: The Very Best

very-best-warm-heart-africa-cover

The Very Best -’Warm Heart Of Africa’ (Moshi Moshi)

The Very Best is a collaboration between producers Radioclit and singer Esau Mwamwaya, the latter hailing from Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe. Esau was based in Clacton, East London for several years, where he ran a shop on the same street at Radioclit’s studio.

This album has been three years in the making, and if it’s worth spending time on, then it’s worth doing properly and this is what they have done. Calling upon contributions from Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend and the noughties goddess that is M.I.A, (two people who have also shown that collaborations between minority and majority world do not have to leave people with egg on their faces) this is likely to be one of the most exciting and vibrant albums you will hear this year. The highlights include both M.I.A’s collboration ‘Raindance’, Koenig’s collaboration on the tiel track and album opener ‘Yalira.’

It takes influences that include traditional Malawi music, Tchopa, Manganje, Vimbuza and African reggae, and in their own words ‘everything from Ludacris to Phil Collins.’ OK, so no-one’s perfect, but even the mention of a slaphead Tory should not be allowed to get in the way of an album that truly points out what a bloody silly label ‘world’ music is, and that this music is global in so many ways. Even in the freezing Scottish November, as this album replays on my iPod, I want to dance and embrace life.

****1/2

Warm Heart Of Africa is out now

The Very Best featuring Ezra Koenig -’Warm Heart Of Africa.’ mp3

The Very Best -’Yalira.’ mp3

The Very Best featuring M.I.A. -’Rain Dance.’ mp3

For more legal mp3s by The Very Best click here

The return of The Futureheads

the-futureheads

The Futureheads, Sunderland’s finest, will return with their fourth album in 2010, as yet untitled.

To celebrate this, they are giving away a rather fine track, entitled ‘Struck Dumb’ and it’s available to download right here.

I’ve long had a soft spot for The Futureheads. Indeed, I remember going to see them a a small show in Edinburgh at the now -departed Venue. It was poorly attended, but they played like fury, and I was pleased to see them assault the charts over the next few years. Though they had major label problems (is that a tautology in the music world these days?!) they have long since put that behind them and are still kicking a spectacular amount of butt. The band will be playing a tiny Christmas show on December 14th at The Lexington on Pentonville Road, which has now sold out. They are in Manchester on December 18 at Moho live.

The Futureheads – ‘Struck Dumb.’ mp3

Other songs they have given away for free over the years include these…

The Futureheads -’A Picture Of Dorian Gray.’ mp3

The Futureheads -’Broke Up The Time.’ mp3

The Futureheads -’Crash.’ mp3

The Futureheads -’Let’s Dance.’ mp3

The Futureheads myspace

Presenting…Loch Lomond AND The Butchers & The Builders

song

First of all, many apologies to Matthew over at Song, By Toad for not writing this sooner, but I hope he will forgive me.

Song By Toad’s most recent releases have been on vinyl (lucky man), and these have included two 7″s singles by Meursault (I have no.s 99/500 of both!) and today’s special feature. This is a 12″ single, originally put out in America on Bladen County Records, in Portland, Oregon. It comprises two bands, Loch Lomond and The Builders & the Butchers. Each band do their own unique take on Americana. The orginal release was a couple of years ago, and now Matthew and Kate (or Mr. and Mrs. Toad, to give them their blog names) have re-issued it in the UK with new artwork on 12″ vinyl again, and this time with a free cd-r. Matthew actually gave me a copy of the original American 12″ (despite writing like Genghis Khan he is actually a thoroughly decent human being in person…sorry, did I blow your cover there?!) but I’m sure I’ll go and buy the release anyway.

These new editions are limited to 300, designed by Matthew and coloured in by him and his better three-quarters.

These two bands have produced really great songs on this sorta double EP (well, it’s a split single with four, rather fine tracks each).

Hear them, and go and support a fellow blogger cum record company owner.

Loch Lomond -’A Field Report.’ mp3

The Builders and The Butchers -’Vampire Lake.’ mp3

The resepctive myspaces for Loch Lomond and The Butchers and The Builders are here.

To buy it, click here. To buy the meursault 7″s start with Avalanche in Edinburgh.

Album Review – Julian Casablancas

julian-casablancas_phrazes-for-the-young

Julian Casablancas -’Phrazes For The Young’ (Rough Trade)

Oh, dear God.

I’m sorry, I have really tried. I approached with excitement and was bitterly disappointed. I listened without prejudice – again – and forgot the day job and the other solo projects from other members of the day job. Still nothing.

Well, it may be nearly Christmas, and Julian Casablancas has delivered an absolute turkey of an album. And I’m a vegetarian. This really is not wanted or needed in any possible way.

This album is limp, half-arsed and a waste of money (it’s back in the shop already, btw). As a wiseman reecently said ‘How the hell can you call a song 4 Chords of the Apocalypse and then give it no balls at all?’ Maybe it’s not fair to compare it to the work he has done with the Strokes, but the fact is, when they emerged with their debut (and even their underrated second LP) they felt like a necessary, vibrant exciting band. Now this just feels like a slapdash mix of experimentation as if he’s come up with something to do before the band regroup for a fourth album. This joins The Boy Least Likely To and Chris Cornell as one of the worst albums of the year.

I’ve bought every single Strokes single and album as they’ve come out (on vinyl, natch). This isn’t even worth keeping on the iPod.

*1/2

Julian Casablancas’s website is here if you wish to make your own mind up.

33 1/3 Part 26

belle-and-sebastian-if-youre-feeling-sinister-album-cover

Belle and Sebastian -’If You’re Feeling Sinister’ (Jeepster, 1996)

I once told a (perhaps understandably rather incredulous) member of Aberfeldy that Belle & Sebastian were one of the reasons I moved to Scotland. An overstatement? Well, not much of one, and it served as an important introduction for the band for me.

I hadn’t heard Tigermilk when this came out, towards the end of my first term at University. Not many copies of the 1,000 pressed had made it down to London, so when a friend at university played this for me, I was somewhat hooked. Thanks for that, Ben.

I recorded, and and took it home for the winter holidays. During that holidays I took my brother to his first gig (The Cure -quelle surprise), but the musical memory of this time is listening to this album almost on repeat. I’d heard twee-pop before in many guises, but coming at a time when the musical goliaths, for better or worse, were Britpop, The Spice Girls, and drum’n'bass, this was something totally different.

I fell hook, line and sinker for them.I’ve bought pretty much every single, EP and album as they have come out, even if it took me a while to see them live. On a visit to Scotland in 2000, I was briefly introduced to guitarist Stevie Jackson in Fopp on Byres Road, which is there to this day (the shop, not Stevie Jackson). A couple of years later I was even privileged to go round to his flat with a mutual friend 9thanks Sandy!), where he played me a track from the then-forthcoming Storytelling LP ‘Fuck this Shit.’ And awed as I was, I even managed not to make an idiot of myself. The only thing that disappointed me was that the stories on the sleeves of the back of the records weren’t true (!).

THe occasion when I did make an idiot of myself involved the drummer in a bar in Glasgow in 2004. Several pints down, having been introudced by the same mutual friend (and chatted up the woman who’d directed The Delgados’ ‘No Danger’ video) I took it upon myself to raise something with the drummer. ”ere, that track on your new album [‘Stay Loose’ from Dear Catastrophe Waitress], are you f**in’ takin’ the PISS out of Elvis Costello or what?’ Sorry mate. I gave up drinking a few years later.

This is just a gorgeous, gorgeous album. There others have been great, too, but this is the one for me. And is it any worse to move to another place for a band than a girl (or boy))?

Belle and Sebastian -’The Stars Of Track And Field.’ mp3

Belle and Sebastian -’Fox In the Snow.’ mp3

Belle & Sebastian

Album Review: Money Can’t Buy Music

money-cant-buy-music-lp-ls

Money Can’t Buy Music -’The Universe For Beginners.’ (Pony Proof)

Money Can’t Buy Music is a collaboration between Sweden’s Maja Mångård and Gordon McIntyre, probably best known as frontman of the legendary ballboy (yes, that is meant to be a lower case ‘b.’) Having been colaborating since 2005, they now release their debut album together.

And it’s an absolutely gorgeous album that showcases just what a strong pair of talents they both are. McIntyre’s vocals and songwriting are much in evidence here, but there’s a definitely separate approach in sound to that of the five ballboy albums. There’s a spirit of electronica running through the album that mixes well with the acoustic pop. it reminds this listener (in a good way) of Postal Service’s album Give Up, another album that saw two indie stalwarts broadening their indie palette with electronica.

McIntyre’s best lyrics often tell a story and represent a stream of consciousness that manages to be crafted and articulate at the same time, no mean feat for any human being. Highlights from the ballboy back catalogue have included ‘I Hate Scotland’ and ‘The sash my father wore’ (no, not the bigotry anthem, but an attack on it). Here in collaboration he adds to an already impressive back catalogue and ‘beautifulgirlssunnyledges’ with its’ character list – the ugly kid on the way to private school with his dad, the girl he’s observed reading books in the same cafe day after day, year after year from childhood onwards, is a definite highlight too.

Gorgeous, dreamy and beuatiful, this Scottish-Swedish collaboration is worth your time and your attention.

****

The Universe For Beginners is out now on Pony Proof

Money Can’t Buy Music -’Love Will Break Your Heart.’ mp3

Money Can’t Buy Music -’The Ghosts.’ mp3

Money Can’t Buy Music website/Money Can’t Buy Music myspace