…so that was the noughties!

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Tippi the cat wearily surveys the vinyl from her perch

There are pedantic sods out there who will say that the next decade doesn’t start until 2011…umm, too bad.

It’s been a busy decade with highs and lows, and soundtracked by some amazing stuff. Odd, considering that at the start of 2000, I was wondering whether I was being left behing as I failed to get into Nu-metal or garage. Thankfully, there’s been lots of brilliant stuff.

So…

Highs: Getting married; moving to Scotland; being my brother’s best man at his wedding; becoming an uncle; getting cats; finally getting to work in a record shop; the invention of the iPod; meeting wonderful new friends in Scotland; the critical re-evaluation of The Cure; starting a blog that’s allowed me to interview people and get free music and into gigs for free; getting a Masters Degree; becoming a fully qualified teacher; Edinburgh’s music scene flourishing; getting to DJ again; going to New York -twice!; seeing my brother’s career in comedy and acting take off; the resurgence of post-punk and its’ infleunce on contemporary indie; setting up my own record label; Obama’s election; Great TV in the form of Life On Mars, The Office, CSI; ‘world’ cinema playing in multiplexes; successfully giving up smoking and drinking; nights out in Edinburgh and Glasgow; The Wire magazine; American Hip Hop and R&B; Grime; Dubstep; Kate Bush finally releasing a new album; finally having my own car; getting to see the likes of the Pixies (twice!), Blondie, Television (Twice!), Dead Kennedys, Julian Cope, Elvis Costello, Nick Cave (also twice!), Morrissey (three times), U2, Lou Reed…

Lows: Death of our beloved Jake the cat; black dog; the NME’s decline for much of the decade; people who showed they could not be trusted; the loss of three music venues in Edinburgh (La Belle Angele, The Venue, The Liquid Rooms); Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Labour letting us down; George W. Bush’s administration impacting on life here; the BNP; Tommy Sheridan proving to be human after all; the frightening prospect of a Tory Victory in 2010; the continued existence of racism, homophobia and domestic violence (and fuckwits who label any attempt to challenge this as political correctness gone mad)…

There’s been so much music that it’s hard to rank it all – this is just a handful of what’s floated my boat this decade.

The Delgados -’No Danger.’ mp3

Gnarls Barkley -’Crazy.’ mp3

The Bug -’Angry.’ mp3

CSS – ‘Let’s Make Love and Listen To Death From Above.’ mp3

Franz Ferdinand -’Shopping For Blood.’ mp3

Beyonce -’Crazy In Love.’ mp3

LCD Soundsystem -’Losing My Edge.’ mp3

Burial -’Archangel.’ mp3

Santogold -’My Superman.’ mp3

Low – ‘California.’ mp3

>Usher -’Yeah.’ mp3

The Rapture – ‘House Of Jealous Lovers.’ mp3

Radio 4 -’Dance To the Underground.’ mp3

Interpol -’NYC.’ mp3

Missy Elliott -’Get UR Freak On.’ mp3

Estelle -’American Boy (featuring Kanye West).’ mp3

Skream -’Midnight Request Line.’ mp3

This is by no means a complete list; I’ve intentionally left out anything from this year. The list could also include M.I.A.; White Stripes; Strokes; Yeah Yeah Yeahs; The Libertines; Dizzee Dascal; Arctic Monkeys; Outkast; System Of A Down; Calexico; Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy; Kylie; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds… and many of the scottish bands I’ve championed – and those I have signed.

Happy New Year!

xx

Rowland S. Howard (1959-2009)

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Rowland S. Howard, former guitarist with Australian legends The Birthday Party, has died, aged fifty.

He joined the band in 1978, when they were known as The Boys Next Door and stayed until their split in 1983. (As has been documented numerous times elsewhere, lead singer Nick Cave and multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey went onto form Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds). Howard collaborated with Cave and Lydia Lunch amongst many others. He was also a member of both Crime and the City Solution and These Immortal Souls.

Though The Birthday Party achieved little commercial success in their time together, their influence has been unquestionably far reaching, with bands as diverse as The Horrors, LCD Soundsystem and My Bloody Valentine citing the band up as an influence. Certainly, their primal take on music remains utterly thrilling to this day, and albums like 1982′s Junkyard still sound like the could beat the likes of The Cramps and The Pop Group into retreat.

Howard had told an interviewer a few months ago that he was battling with liver cancer, and was hoping for a transplant.

For a detailed obituary, see here at The Age.

In tribute, 17 Seconds would like to extend sympathies to his family and friends and for your listening pleasure, two utterly thrilling Birthday Party tracks.

The Birthday Party -’Mutiny In Heaven.’ mp3

The Birthday Party -’Release the Bats.’ mp3

Getting ready for 2010 – Liars

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Liars will return with their fifth album in 2010, entitled Sisterworld. Released on Mute, the album has been completely recorded in the US, and there is a free track entitled ‘Scissors’ doing the rounds, which starts off sounding almost like Fleet Foxes, before going off in a completely different direction.

Though I cannot find a UK release date for this album as yet, the tracklisting is as follows:

Scissor
No Barrier Fun
Here Comes All The People
Drip
Scarecrows On A Killer Slant
I Still Can See An Outside World
Proud Evolution
Drop Dead
The Overachievers
Goodnight Everything
Too Much, Too Much

Click here for free mp3 of ‘Scissors.’ mp3

Liars’ website/Liars’ myspace

Getting ready for 2010 – The Soft Pack

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Formerly known as the Muslims, the Soft Pack have been steadily rising in profile over the last year or so, and are now getting ready to release their debut, self-titled on February 1, 2010.

The band’s rise seems to have been fairly quick -and no doubt, alas they will be derided in some quarters as a hipster band. They could well be this years The Shins -and I mean that as a compliment -whether or not they have something like the equivalent of being featured in Garden State to help them on their way. I sincerely hope they do well.

The band’s line-up has only come together this year, but they are now vocalist Matt Lamkin, guitarist Matty McLoughlin, David Lantzman on bass and drummer Brian Hill. They play a no-messing indie rock that gets slowly more and more addictive with every hearing. They’ve played with the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Breeders, which can have done their profile no harm whatsoever.

The tracklisting for the forthcoming album is:

1. C’mon
2. Down on Loving
3. Answer to Yourself
4. Move Along
5. Pull Out
6. More or Less
7. Tides of Time
8. Flammable
9. Mexico
10. Parasites

Check out these free downloads and let me know what you think!

The Soft Pack -’C'mon.’ mp3

The Soft Pack -’Answer to yourself.’ mp3

For more legal Soft Pack mp3s go here

The Soft Pack’s website/The Soft Pack’s myspace

The Soft Pack will be coming to the UK in February 2010; including dates in Scotland. Check the myspace for more details.

Getting ready for 2010 – Emma Pollock

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Back in 2007, it was a major coup for this blog to have one of its’ first interviews with Emma Pollock, founder member of the Delgados and the seminal Glasgow indie label Chemikal Underground (which notches up its’ fifteenth year in 2010). After the Delgados had split after five excellent studio albums in 2005, she released her debut solo album, Watch the Fireworks in 2007. That album came out on 4AD and came third in the 2007 17 Seconds albums of the year list. She also had several numbers in the 2007 Festive Fifty. She is now ‘returned to the heaving bosom of Chemikal Underground’ and her new album is entitled ‘The Law Of Large Numbers.’ It will be released on March 1, 2010.

The tracklisting for the new album is as follows:

Hug The Piano (And)
Hug The Harbour
I Could Be A Saint
Red Orange Green
Nine Lives
House On The Hill
Letters To Strangers
The Loop
Confessions
The Child In Me
Chemistry Will Find Me
Hug The Piano (Or)

It was recorded as the famous Chem 19 studios, with Paul Savage producing, the man behind some of the key Scottish albums of the last decade, including Watch The Fireworks, as well as being Mr. Pollock. This track has been made available as a free download:

Emma Pollock -’Hug the Harbour.’ mp3

This is a free, legal download of ‘Adrenaline’, the 17 Seconds festive Fifty no.1 in 2007:

Emma Pollock -’Adrenaline.’ mp3

Emma Pollock website/Emma Pollock myspace

The final Christmas-related track

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Hope everyone had an excellent Christmas and got what they wanted!

A lovely quiet day here in Edinburgh -and I sure as heck won’t be braving the sales today either.

Lots of lovely presents – including a very impressive haul of no less than 7 LPs (yes, vinyl!), Wii Fit Plus, lots of sugar-free goodies, Restless Natives – and the sight of Rage Against the Machine on Top Of The Pops. Result!

Meanwhile, Camera Obscura have made their Christmas single ‘The Blizzard’ available as a free download over Christmas so here you go:

Camera Obscura -’The Blizzard.’ mp3

(NB if the link doesn’t work, it’s cos they have taken it down by the time you read this. Go and buy it)

Be good XX

Merry Christmas folks

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Well, it’s Christmas Eve in Edinburgh already (and indeed, most of the world, I guess), so have a great time and I’ll be back here on Boxing Day or sometime soon after.

In the meantime, a final few Christmas numbers from me to you, and a very happy Christmas to all my readers from me, mrs. 17 Seconds and Tippi the cat.

Elastica -’I Want To be A King Of Orient Aah (Peel Session).’ mp3

Elastica -’All For Gloria (Peel session).’ mp3

Basement 5 -’Last White Christmas.’ mp3

Click here for a free Blondie mp3 of a well known Christmas carol!

And if you are still looking for more Christmas exotica, try Aye tunes, Peenko, Love Shack baby, and of course Steve at Teenage Kicks.

Be Careful What You Wish For…

…it may come true.

Way too much snow today when we woke up. So much for the BBC’s weather website. (I suppose I am guilty of seeing both the Beeb and the Guardian as being close to objective truth).

If you are on a quest for more Christmas-related music, check here and here on the NME blog.

I’m having difficulties accessing mediafire to post for Christmas tracks, so enjoy some videos for today:

Don’t Let It Snow

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No posts yesterday – what should have been a fairly starightforward drive of twenty miles became a hideous nightmare of car spinning, virtually zero visibility, freezing temperatures…and posting ‘Thank you dreaded black ice, thank you’ by Giant Sand would be too much like playing ‘Crash’ by the Primitives in the car. I am back safe in the warm and never want to go near a supermarket ever again. At least not until we’ve run out of food.

Tom Lehrer – ‘A Christmas Carol.’ mp3

RUN DMC -’Christmas In Hollis.’ mp3

Liz Phair -’Winter Wonderland.’ mp3

Sufjan Stevens -’It’s Christmas Time.’ mp3

Sonic Youth -’Santa Claus Doesn’t Cop Out On Dope.’ mp3

Bullette -’Blue Christmas.’ mp3

Hope Christmas cynicism has been abated by news of the Rage Victory…

In another galaxy, far far away this is kicking Simon Cowell into forever

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I’ve featured Fucked Up on here before now. They’ve done cover versions before (I have posted their EP which features covers of The Shop Assistants) and they have done a cover ‘Do they Know It’s Christmas?’ the Band Aid song that was a no.1 single in the UK (and many other countries) in 1994, 1989 and 2004. The song also features appearances by Yo La Tengo, RZA, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Bob Mould, Andrew WK, TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, comedian David Cross and Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene.

All proceeds from the single will be split between three charities: Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, DTES Power of Women Group and Sisters in Spirit.

Apparently this will be available on vinyl in February (sic). It is available to download from iTunes now. For whatever reason, it does not yet seem to be available on eMusic.