Happy New Year!

17-seconds-records-2009

So…farewell 2010.

2009 was the most unhappy year of my existence. As you may have read between the lines I was off sick, in total for ten months with depression. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even those whose behaviour over the years had lead to it.

But fast forward twelve months, I’ve been sorting my head out, and have started a new job that has been a hundred times better. Mrs. 17 Seconds and I are expecting our first child, the cat we adopted has gone from being terrified of its’ own shadow to being very affectionate, and I certainly know who my friends are. And I wouldn’t have got this far without Mrs. 17 Seconds and my wonderful family.

The blog continues into what is now nearly four and a half years. The label has been running for over two and a half, and this year we released four albums, two EPs and four singles. Our most recent release Heart Of the Land Soul Of the Sea by The Last Battle has become the most critically lauded in our (admittedly brief) history. Not only that but I DJed in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, helped promote Tigerfest and presented my own show on Fresh Air. I’ve continued to promote new music on the blog and via the radio show, so whilst I haven’t turned into John Peel yet (ha! in my dreams…) I’ve done my bit.

2011 is now just around the corner. I’m looking forward to discovering a whole heap of new music and rediscovering old stuff too.

This is not a party tune, but being as the album just came out in the UK (December 6, which meant it missed people’s end of year lists) and will be out in the US on January 11, it straddles (oh, very funny) both years.

Bardo Pond -’Don’t Know About You.’ mp3

NOOOOOO!

come-on-gang

Not what I wanted to read, especially as I have long believed them to be one of the great hopes for scottish music. SOB!!!!:

An Announcement

Dear friends, fans and family -

We are sorry to announce that Come On Gang! have, with a lot of thought, decided to call it a day. We have had a fantastic time over the past three years and we’re so proud of everything we’ve achieved. The split was a hard decision to reach but it was the right one.

We remain great friends and are certainly going to be keeping in touch and letting each other, and you, know about our future musical plans, of which we have high hopes.

We will be holding a final gig on the 12th February 2011, in Pilrig Church, Leith Walk. This will also be the launch of our album. It’s going to be a corker of a gig – a little bittersweet yes, but lots of fun as well. We’ll tell you all the details in the coming weeks.

So, for all of you who have come to see us play, listened to us on the radio, written a review of a gig, taken pictures, given us a wee push in the right direction, let us stay on your sofa, or helped build our lovely relationships within the creative family of Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond -

thankyou and goodnight.

Come On Gang!
xxx

Come On Gang! -’Fortune favours the brave.’ mp3 (no.20 in this year’s Festive Fifty)

Getting ready for 2011 Part 4 Elbow

elbow-build-a-rocket

Elbow will return with their fifth album Build A Rocket Boys! on March 7.

The follow-up to the massively successful The Seldom Seen Kid, the tracklisting is as follows:
‘Lippy Kids’
‘The Birds’
‘With Love’
‘Neat Little Rows’
‘Jesus Is A Rochdale Girl’
‘The Night Will Always Win’
‘High Ideals’
‘The River’
‘Open Arms’
‘The Birds (Reprise)’
‘Dear Friends’

This is the first track to see the light of day from the album, ‘Lippy Kids’ from where the album takes it’s name.

Let me know what you think…sounds awesome to these ears!

Happy Boxing Day

the-last-battle-lineup

Hello folks

hope you all had nice Christmasses/Solstices/Chanukah or whatever takes your fancy at this time of year.

Much fun had here – a nice quiet day, which with the planned arrival, may be the last quiet Christmas Day we have for many years.

Hopefully you’ve heard this by now, but if not, figured it was appropriate for today. The Last Battle’s ‘Once Upon A Boxing Day’, taken from their recent free EP Nature’s Glorious Rage

The entire EP can be downloaded for free here:

We have now sold out of the album Heart of the land soul of the sea, and are awaiting the second pressing. If you still haven’t got it and are wondering what to spend your eMusic or iTunes vouchers on, why not buy it on digital?

Well Christmas is almost here…

jr

…and now for something completely different.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Christmas posts, and if I’m still doing 17 Seconds next year, then hopefully I’ll do it again.

But today I want to share something different with you.

I read about this track in the latest issue of The Wire. It was apparently massive in South Africa this summer, and it’s the first thing I’ve heard since compiling my Festive Fifty that’s made me think ‘If I’d heard this then, it would have been in.’ I guess I need to spread my wings and check out more South African House. For What It’s Worth,

Anyway. JR’s ‘Show Dem.’

Fun – but then listen to the original version LOUD

JR -’Show Dem.’ mp3

Oh, I know next to nothing about this track – but it’s awesome! DJ Mujava ‘Township Funk.’

Christmas posts part 25

malcolm-middleton17b

Bloody exhausted.

Two more sleeps to Santa, so here’s a bit of a hotch potch of stuff, if you’re still interested.

First up, that How To Swim Christmas EP is now available:

Meanwhile, my friend JC at the Vinyl Villain did an excellent post on Monday that I thought you should check, if you haven’t already and Aye Tunes continues to be excellent for Christmas-related music. And there’s this over at NME. And this.

A few tracks that have appeared here over the years…just in case you’re interested or missed them in previous years:

Manic Street Preachers -’Christmas Ghost.’ mp3

Darlene Love -’Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).’ mp3

The Knife -’Christmas Reindeer.’ mp3

Tom Lehrer -’A Christmas Carol.’ mp3

Tom Waits -’Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis.’ mp3

XTC -’Thanks For Christmas.’ mp3

17 Seconds Top 50 albums of the year

delorean-subiza

1. Delorean Subiza
2. Flying Lotus Cosmogramma
3. Broken Records Let Me Come Home
4. Mogwai Special Moves
5. Kid Canaveral Shouting At Wildlife
6. Scottish Enlightenment St. Thomas
7. These New Puritans Hidden
8. Meursault All Creatures Will Make Merry
9. For A Minor Reflection Höldum í átt að óreiðu
10. Aberfeldy Somewhere To Jump From
11. Cold In Berlin Give Me Walls
12. LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening
13. Cee-Lo Green The Ladykiller
14. Neil Young Le Noise
15. d_r_radio Parts
16. Mitchell Museum The Peters Port Memorial Service
17. Yazoo Reconnected Live
18. The Fall Your Future, Our Clutter
19. Bruce Springsteen The Promise
20. Edwyn Collins Losing Sleep
21. MIA /\/\ /\ Y /\
22. The Drums The Drums
23. Panico Kick
24. iLikeTrains He Who Saw The Deep
25. Foals Total Life Forever
26. Elf Power Elf Power
27. Konono N°1 Assume Crash Position
28. The Savings & Loan Today I Need Light
29. John Legend & The Roots Wake Up!
30. Phantom Band The Wants
31. Yusuf Azak Turn On The Long Wire
32. Unwinding Hours The Unwinding Hours
33. Cold Seeds Cold Seeds
34. Seafieldroad There Are No Maps For This Part Of the City
35. Inspector Tapehead Duress Code
36. The Burns Unit Side Show
37. Antony & the Johnsons Swanlights
38. Felt Tips Living and Growing
39. Emma Pollock The Law Of Large Numbers
40. Vaselines Sex With An X
41. Futureheads The Chaos
42. Sparrow and the Workshop Crystals Fall
43. Charlotte Gainsbourg RM
44. Besnard Lakes The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
45. How To Swim Retina (or More Fun Than A Vat Of Love)
46. Super Adventure Club Avoid Zombies
47. Stanley Odd Oddio
48. Zephyrs Fool Of Regrets
49. Ariel Pink’s Haunted GraffitiBefore Today
50. Twin Shadow Forget

More commentary from me later on, and some mp3s, but digest this for now…

Christmas posts part 24

the-fall

Absolutely bloody exhuasted. The end of the week cannot come fast enough.

However, have just come back from seeing Aberfeldy for what is quite possibly the twelfth or thirteenth time, and as ever, they were excellent.

For another legendary band, much believed at 17 Seconds Towers, ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Fall:

The Fall -’Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ mp3

The Fall -”(We Wish you) A Protein Christmas.’ mp3

Albums of the year to follow very soon, I promise…

Christmas posts part 23

how-to-swim-christmas

I have already blogged about how awesome How To Swim’s latest album Retina is (check it out here) and an earlier Christmas song of theirs here. However, at the end of this week, How To Swim will be unleashing a free EP, entitled Santa Has All The Best Tunes, from which they have made the following available to download already:

How To Swim -’New Beginning.’ mp3

Rather excellent, IMHO.

Meanwhile, these are two very different Christmas tracks that you can buy, out now:

And you can buy both these songs on both eMusic and iTunes!

Captain Beefheart 1941-2010

captainbeefhearthismagicband

Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, has died at the age of 69. The cause of death is believed to be complications arising from multiple sclerosis.

Born in 1941 in Los Angeles, California, one of Van Vliet’s childhood friends was none other than Frank Zappa. They worked together off and on over the years, with Zappa producing Beefheart’s mindblowing Trout Mask Replica album, and Beefheart contributing vocals to ‘Willie The Pimp’ on Zappa’s Hot Rats album. In 1978 Zappa was the executive producer on Bat Chain Puller which remains unreleased to this day (though the album that surfaced was entitled Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), as Zappa was involved in a lawsuit with his manager, Herb Cohen (read more here). The name Beefheart, by the way, came from a mooted film project, Captain Beefheart Versus The Grunt People.

In 1965, Captain Beefheart joined what would be the first of many line-ups of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (indeed, the only album not to credit the Magic Band on the sleeve was 1972′s The Spotlight Kid). In 1967, the band’s debut Safe As Milk, was released, featuring guitar from a young 20-year old guitarist by the name of Ry Cooder. It remains one of the great debuts, that sets out his stall, without being as seemingly impenetrable on first listen as some of his other work. The second album Strictly Personal was released in 1968. However, some of the original material from these sessions that had lead to this album would be released as Mirror Man in 1971, before all saw the light of day in 1999 as The Mirror Man Sessions, nearly two decades after Beefheart had retired from the music business. Confusingly, The Mirror Man Sessions erroneously state that the session was recorded one night in Los Angeles 1965.

1969 saw the release of the aforementioned Trout Mask Replica, widely viewed over forty years after its’ release as being one of the most radical records ever made. Despite its’ high status, it wasn’t seminal, mainly because it’s not an album that could ever be copied. It holds its’ place in The Wire’s magazine’s list of the 100 Most Important Records Ever Made, it would be underestimating this record substantially to describe it as a mixture of Dada, unorthodox blues and free jazz, but it’ll do as a starting point.

The next three years saw the release of Lick My Decals Off, Baby in 1970 followed shortly by The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot. These albums may aapear to be less challenging than the ones that had gone before, but all have their highpoints. The mid seventies saw the release of two albums that Beefheart told his fans to get their money back on Unconditionally Guaranteed and Bluejeans And Moonbeams. Although Kate Bush has said of the latter album that he wrote songs like nobody else, the band found themselves labelled the Tragic Band, and they were soon without a label.

It was Virgin Records (then viewed as being an independent!) who gave Beefheart a home for his last three albums: Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) in 1978, Doc At the Radar Station in 1980 and Ice Cream For Crow in 1982. By this stage, Beefheart found himself lauded by the musicians had had appeared on both sides of the Atlantic in the wake of punk; both John Lydon in the UK and the likes of Devo, B52s and perhaps most obviously, Pere Ubu. Yet by this stage his art career was taking off, and he retired from music.

He became friends with PJ Harvey and John Peel was a staunch defender to the end of his own life, even playing a track a week from Trout Mask Replica at one point in the last decade. He was a true original, and one who will be missed by many who admired his approach to music and life.

If you feel the urge to go and buy Beefheart albums, then your first priority should be Safe As Milk and Trout Mask Replica, though they’re all worth owning; those mid-seventies albums seem to miss the essence of what made Beefheart special.

I posted a couple of tracks by Beefheart the other night; so here’s one of the bands who carried his torch of adventure on, Sonic Youth, covering his song ‘Electricity’:

Sonic Youth -’Electricity.’ mp3

Tributes have paid from many artists to the Captain here.