Album Review – Dead Wolf Club

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Dead Wolf Club -’Dead Wolf Club’ (Scene Not Herd)

Landing with the sonic equivalent of a sucker punch, it’s the debut album from Dead Wolf Club. Over the course of nine tracks, the band set out their stall extremely clearly and do not mess arounf.

It may clock in at barely more than half an hour, but what it might be considered to lack in quantity it more than makes up for in sheer quality. The spirit of At the Drive-In and Sonic Youth hangs over proceedings but with their own take on a post-punk, post-hardcore sound that is aware of its precedents and debts but moves on its own way very quickly.

Highlights to these ears are the tracks ‘Radar,’ ‘News at 10 and ‘Disappear.’ If you’re not into loud rock (in which case, what are you doing on this page?) this isn’t for you, but if you want to hear a band showing that rock can still sound fresh, get this on your stereo pronto.

****

Dead Wolf Club is released on Scene Not Herd on February 1.

Dead Wolf Club – ‘Radar’ by charmfactory

Interview – Post War Glamour Girls

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Blown away by their latest free track, I had to get in touch with Post War Glamour Girls to find out what they were all about. They were only too happy to help…

17 Seconds: Introduce yourselves please

J. Smith.:Hello, we are Post War Glamour Girls from Leeds, we are J.Smith (vocals/ guitar) Alice (bass/ vocals) J.Thorpe (guitar/ vocals) and Tight Clyde (drums/ vocals)

17 Seconds: How did the band come together?

J. Smith: I met Alice when I needed some Accordion recording for a track i was demo’ing which turned out to be the first ever PWGG song, She came and nailed it in one take and then we decided to start the band.

I met Tight Clyde in someones flat and we bonded by drumming Radiohead songs on our thighs with chopsticks and trying to guess what they were. Clyde pipped me with Talk Show Host, I think.

I met Thorpe on the first day of uni but steered clear of him because he had these weird blonde highlights in his hair and looked like he might be in a boy band. He joined the band about 9 months later, once the highlights had grown out, we let him in.

17 Seconds: Who do you see as your musical influences – and do you include Nick Cave amongst those?!

J. Smith: Yes Nick Cave does come up a lot, and I do admire his work greatly, but not as much as people might think, I love the 2 Grinderman albums and I have a fair few bad seeds albums, I love Your funeral… my trial and i’ve got a birthday party greatest hits as well, Once we get compared to someone I tend to stop listening to them for a little while as I get concerned we may start to emulate a sound that people assume of us, rather than moving forward on our own terms.

Also, between us recently…

Can, Portishead, Gavin Bryars, The Fall, PJ Harvey, Led Zepplin, Anna Calvi, Wild Beasts, Grizzly Bear, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Pixies, Neu!, The Art Of Noise.

Slides by Richard Harris is the best album in the world.

17 Seconds: What about influences outside of music on your work?

J. Smith: Stewart Lee. R.S. Lowry, Kurt Vonnegut.

I think what the above all have in common is that they hone in on something slightly surreal or a bit abstract within a very mundane or real situation, and I think thats what we try to do as a band, sonically and lyrically.

Aside from that loads of books, films, funny things you overhear people saying in the street and The Wire, we’ve written a song about Clay Davis.

17 Seconds: What can we expect from the live show?

J. Smith: We love playing live and I think it shows. We like to differentiate between the studio and live. In the studio we layer it up and spend a lot of time, getting noises together and stuff. Live we just plug in and rock AND roll, 2 guitars, bass and drums. OLD SKOOL!

in addition to that, I usually say ‘hello we’re post war glamour girls’ after 2 songs and make a mumbled slightly humorous, topical comment around 5 songs in. No one laughs because I mumble, is what i tell myself to get to sleep at night. J.Thorpe will usually wear a cardigan and then regret it, The sooner my glasses fall off, the better we’re playing OR the hotter the lights are. The bridge of my nose gets really sweaty.

17 Seconds: Do you have any strange tales from your live experiences?

J. Smith: we played with an ace band called sly and the family drone the other night and the frontman was in his underpants and kept spitting in a dog bowl and then drinking it. If we ever play with our good friend Thomas Truax as well, something weird will usually happen on his behalf.

Also, it’s not strange in a weird way, but I remember the first time these people called Jo and Simon came up to us after a gig and said they’d travelled to see us and I’ll always remember that as the first sort of ‘fans’ we had that weren’t mates of ours to begin with. Also when a guy called Mikey came up to us in London and said he’d come from Brighton to see us. It’s just really nice meeting sound people and I hope, if they remember us, we will always remember them.

17 Seconds: Are you working towards an album at the moment?

J. Smith: We have an e.p due out around may, which we’re currently recording, then another single in summer. Later on in the year we will probably start recording an album with the intention to release it in 2013. The plan is to not use any of the songs we’ve already released or plan to release, so hopefully it’ll all fit together as a solid brand new album for us and everyone else.

17 Seconds: What are your plans for the rest of 2012? Any festivals in the offing?

J. Smith: Yes, we’re playing a few festivals, but i can’t announce any of them yet. ssssh.

17 Seconds: Finally, any plans to come north of the border?

J. Smith: we are playing in Edinburgh on the 24th March at Henry’s Cellar Bar, if that’s of any use to you?

Oh no. Not again. And this time it’s really f*****g annoying.

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I have been writing 17 Seconds since July 2006. It’s a labour of love. I don’t get paid in monetary terms (though the freebies that get passed my way are much appreciated). I knew this when I started it.

So it is nothing short of anger making when mp3s are taken down without contacting me. On one memorable occasion, I was sent an mp3 by the UK PR representative, posted it with their permission and came back to find a complaint from the US and it had been taken down. It transpired that the US end of it didn’t know that permission had been gven and sent in the heavy artillery.

This evening, it transpires that the entirety of my files have been deleted from my account at Mediafire. Every single one. Including a number of files that were on there because they were there for promotional purposes for 17 Seconds Records. I have made it abundantly clear that I should be contacted if people are unhappy about me posting stuff.

It is ironic -considering that I get about thirty submissions a day, from newly formed bands to acts that have been going for years – that there are sections of the music industry that see blogs as a threat. I have never ever intended any music I post to be here as an alternative to buying music.

There are those blogs which post entire albums. This blog has only posted a handful of albums in six years that were entire- and these were albums long out of print. In one case it was Orange Juice’s classic You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever. JC at the Vinyl Villain was inspired to use it as an example to sell CD-Rs of the band’s music for charity -and this was with the backing of Edwyn Collins himself.

There are people who use the internet to distribute material that is harmful, that abuses, that seeks to demonise and put back the cause of humanity. This is simply a blog written by a thirty-something who is passionate about music and wants to share that.

Go after the real criminals. Be very wary of those organisations that seek to protect copyright ‘for a fee.’

Now: I don’t own the rights to these songs. I never claimed to. If you like them, go and supprot the artists involved. If you support draconian internet piracy laws, you are a waste of space. I post them simply to illustrate the point.

New Pornographers -’The Laws Have Changed.’ mp3

Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield -’What Have I Done To Deserve This?’ mp3

Chumbawumba with Credit To The Nation -’Enough Is Enough.’ mp3

Album Review – Daniel Pearson

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Daniel Pearson -’Satellites.’ (Saint in the City Records)

At some point in the last couple of years I reached saturation point with singer-songwriters. There may be those who would bault at the idea of a blogger using a phrase like ‘Unique Selling Point’ but the problem was that my inbox became full of perfectly nice records made by people of either sex that were not bad records but lacked an edge to make it something special.

However, it would appear that a youth spent listening to US Alternative rock has paid off, meaning that although he sounds English, he has more in common with the ‘alt. indie/folk/rock’ singer-songwriters as typified by Elliott Smith than, say, David Gray or the bland imitators who followed him.

As you might expect, it’s a reflective record, but thankfully pretty short on navel-gazing moments of the ‘woe is me’ variety. Although the opening notes of ‘masquerade’ suggest it might be yet another singer-songwriter record, from ‘Wishing Well’ onwards it is clear that Pearson is working from a much more diverse palette than many of his peers. Closing track ‘It’s Been A While’ starts as a gentle strum-a-long but builds into something much more.

It doesn’t re-write the rulebook, but there’s enough going on here to make it a cut above much of the competition, and hopefully he will continue to grow on suebsequent releases.

***

Satellites is out now on Saint In The City Records.

Album re-issue

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Megaphonic Thrift -’’Decay Decoy.’ (Club AC30)

There’s been a bit of a shift of late. Well, there frequently is in music, I suppose, but while people seem to be moaning the fact that rock and indie isn’t selling very well in Britain (all cyclical, believe me, I’ve seen it come and go and come again my 25 years of buying music), there is talk of a nineties revival being afoot. At the moment, rather than this meaning Britpop, Triphop, speed/uk garage, trance or -God forbid – happy hardcore – what is (currently) being revived is the ‘Alternative’ era of American rock. The debut by these Norweigian rockers was actually released in Norway a few years ago, first issued here a year ago, but this year is now having a wider release. They share a label with Ringo Deathstarr, which makes perfect sense.

There’s a feel of Pavement (circa Slanted and Enchanted) and Sonic Youth (Circa Daydream Nation) about this album. There’s also a hint of what I can only describe as gothic psychedelia (no, not like the Damned or Strawberry Switchblade, more like…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead), particuarly on tracks like ‘Sister Joan.’

It’s music to lose yourself in, in the best possible way. There’s tracks like ‘Candy Sin’ with its’ walls of feedback, interspersed with more reflective guitar work. Ultimately -irrespective of whether there’s a nineties revival or an about-turn of interest in guitar music in the UK, what matters is whether this album is actually any good or not.

..and this is still an excellent album.

****

Decay Decoy is re-released on 6th February on Club AC30.

Megaphonic Thrift -’Sister Joan.’ mp3

Megaphonic Thrift -’Candy Sin.’ mp3

Album Review – Lana Del Rey

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Lana Del Rey -’Born To Die’ (Polydor/Interscope)

..so here it comes. The most anticipated debut of 2012, from an act who was barely known six months ago. There probably is a school of thought that argues that given how well this record is likely to do, there’s no point in reviewing it. And some people will be sharpening the knives for the inevitable backlash. Hell, that was starting to happen before the unfortunate TV appearance a week or two ago.

Thing is, for whatever reason (probably to do with only having got 6Music at the start of the year, only reading NME periodically might well be factors), I first heard ‘Video Games’ on the radio. It didn’t blow me away at first – but now it has worked its’ charms on me.

Is it an innovative album that rewrites the rulebook? No – but nor is it an exercise in shameless nostalgia. Taken simply at face value, it is an album of hauntingly beautiful songs. And yes, she’s worked with collaborators on songs- so have most artists since the dawn of time.

The title track you probably know by now, as well as ‘Video Games’. There are other tracks worth seeking out here – after all in this day and age of downloads, there will be many who simply buy the songs they have heard rather than bothering with the entire album (a shame, but this may well be a generational thing). For my money, ‘National Anthem’ and ‘Blue Jeans’ are worth your time too.

Is she a persona as Lana Del Rey, rather than as Lizzie Grant? Perhaps. I’ve not watched the videos – and the more I hear other people talk about and dissect them, I feel like I want to just stick with the music. The album cover reminds me more of Desperate Housewives than anything else, and I don’t feel the urge to do more than just enjoy the sounds, rather than subject the record to huge amounts of over-analysis.

…and on the evidence here, that’s quite enough for me.

***1/2

Born To Die is released on Polydor/Interscope on January 30.

Mark Stewart vs. Primal Scream

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Some collaborations just look so god damn cool on paper (or in an email) that your interest is piqued before you have heard a note of the music, or a second of the video. And so it is here.

Mark Stewart – once of The Pop Group (creators of one of the most astonishing albums ever in Y) has collaborated with Primal Scream for a track ‘Autonomia.’ Written about the death of Carlo Giuliani, who was killed at the G8 demonstrations in Genoa in 2008, the song is the first single to be taken from Stewart’s forthcoming album The Politics Of Envy, due out at the end of March.

The video was directed by none other than Douglas Hart, who not only is a former member of the Jesus and Mary Chain – but he was the bass player in the band for their debut album Psychocandy when the drummer in the scream was none other than Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream (just in case you have been under a rock for the past quarter-century).

Autonomia from Future Noise Music on Vimeo.

The Politics Of Envy has a guest list to make the most reserved post-punk fan salivate with excitement: Kenneth Anger, Richard Hell, Keith Levene (Clash/PiL), Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Gina Birch (Raincoats), Tessa Pollitt (Slits), Douglas Hart,
Factory Floor, Youth, Daddy G (Massive Attack), and all of Primal Scream. Just a little bit cool then…

The tracklisting is as follows:
1. Vanity Kills
2. Autonomia
3. Gang War
4. Codex
5. Want
6. Gustav Says
7 .Baby Bourgeois
8. Method to the Madness
9. Apocalypse Hotel
10. Letter to Hermione (yes, the David Bowie song from the Space Oddity LP)
11. Stereotype

Competition Time!

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OK folks.

The HMV Picture House in Edinburgh is running a series of shows for the Next Big Thing Festival across the UK.

According to the press release: ‘The first show on Monday 6th February sees Field Music showcase their indie rock sound to Edinburgh coinciding with the release of their eagerly awaited fourth album, Plumb. Recently added to the bill is Glasgow electro pop favorites The Dykeenies. Having released their first album in 2005 and landing a spot of the NME Rock and Roll Riot Tour, the band have went from strength to strength. Joining them is fellow Glaswegians, Laki Mera, whose debut EP drew comparisons from artists such as Concteau Twins and Portishead and finally Edinburgh’s very own Bwani Junction. Frightened Rabbit headline a sold out second HMV Next Big Thing show and are supported by We Are Augustines and Fatherson on Friday 10th February.’

…and being lovely people they have given me a pair of tickets to the Field Music gig at the Edinburgh HMV Picture House on February 6.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer this question:

Q: What is the name of Field Music’s new album, to be released in February 2012?

Email answers to seventeensecondsblog@hotmail.co.uk by Friday February 3.

Field Music – A New Town by memphisindustries

The return of Midas Fall

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Having bigged up Midas Fall a couple of years ago
and rated their debut album Eleven, Return and Revert, it’s great to report that Midas Fall are to release a new EP.

Due out on February 6, the EP As Our Blood Separates features five songs; three new songs ‘BPD’ ‘As Our Blood Separates’ and ‘Carnival Song’ as well as a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt (very different from the original and the justly loved cover by Johnny Cash) and closes with a new remix of their song ‘Moviescreens’ which gained a cult following after being used in the soundtrack to the TV Series Lip Service. Elizabeth Heaton’s vocals still send a shiver down my spine…

Back in 2010 I described them as haunting and heartbreaking -and I continue to stand by that.

Midas Fall ‘BPD’ by Monotreme Records

Listen to their cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt here:

Stream the entire EP here

Does there have to be a reason?

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Utterly exhausted.

But…I thought I’d share this with you.

It’s the latest single from Irish band The Minutes, it’s called ‘Heartbreaker’ it’s barely more than 2 minutes long and I think it’s rather good. It’s taken from their album Marcata.

Turn it up loud.

I’ll see you soon…