EP feature – Ummagma

One of the fortunate things about writing a blog is that I get sent a *LOT* of new music – much more than I can possibly review. Once in a while something catches my attention, and is actually so good that I feel obliged to buy the thing myself to support the cause, rather than just simply adding it to the pile of review CDs.

So is the case with the LCD EP from Ummagma. I featured the Robin Guthrie remix of ‘Lama’ on the blog a couple of months ago but the whole EP is now available and it’s fantastic. Canadian singer Shauna McLarnan and multi-instrumentalist Alexander Kretov have produced an EP that stands as a body of work in itself, with two of their heroes, Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie and Curve’s Dean Garcia. It’s twenty-two minutes of prime shoegaze that’s worthy of your listening time. Hell, 2016 was the year of grime’s resurgence – but with this and new albums from the likes of Ride, Slowdive and the Jesus & Mary Chain, perhaps 2017 will go down as the year of shoegaze.

Check it out below…

 

And as a wee bonus…

 

A track for today #46: Ummagma

‘They’ say you should never meet your heroes.

Fortunately for Ummagma – singer Shauna McLarnan and multi-instrumentalist Alexander Kretov – were introduced by a mutual friend to Robin Guthrie, guitarist in the Cocteau Twins and co-founder of Bella Union label. The result was that Robin was so taken with the track ‘Lama’ that not only did he remix the track (which originally appeared on their 2012 album Anitigravity) but added his own parts to the mix. It’s the lead track on Ummagma’s forthcoming EP LCD.

The EP also features another legend from the dreampop-shoegazing world: Dean Garcia of Curve fame. Shauna McLarnan explains: ‘I grew up listening to Cocteau Twins, Curve, and so many bands from the 4AD and Creation labels, and then later introduced them to my husband [Alexander Kretov].. He learned of them late, having been born in the USSR. We feel incredibly honoured that Robin Guthrie and Dean Garcia have shaped several of our tracks as they personally envision them.”

Check out Lama below. It’s a particularly lovely, dreamy piece of work that begs to be played again and again.

17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2015: part 5

cocteau-twins

So far, the Christmas songs I have posted on the blog are still available to go and buy. Today’s offerings from the Cocteau Twins seem to be long out of print, for reasons I’m not sure of, both physically and digitally (I had to write that last year, and sadly, nothing has changed. I have checked on Amazon and iTunes again – still nothing, at least in the UK.

In 1993 the band released a single called Snow which featured two Christmas classics done in their own, unique style. It comprised ‘Frosty The Snowman’ and ‘Walking In A Winter Wonderland.’

So enjoy these, hopefully one day they will be available to buy again…perhaps on a re-issue of Four Calendar Cafe, which was the most recent album the Cocteau Twins had put out, a few months previously. And if the band would like to re-issue Milk and Kisses, their final album, on vinyl, that would be nice, too…

17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2014 part 7

cocteau-twins

Thus far, I’ve happily been able to point out on this blog that the songs I have posted are still available to go and buy. Unfortunately, tonight’s offerings from the Cocteau Twins seem to be long out of print, for reasons I’m not sure of, both physically and digitally.

In 1993 the band released a single called Snow which featured two Christmas classics done in their own, unique style. It comprised ‘Frosty The Snowman’ and ‘Walking In A Winter Wonderland.’

So enjoy these, hopefully one day they will be available to buy again…perhaps on a re-issue of Four Calendar Cafe, which was the most recent album the Cocteau Twins had put out, a few months previously.

Christmas posts 2013 part 4

Cocteau+Twins+-+Snow+-+5'+CD+SINGLE-45610

Today’s offering is a curio from the Cocteau Twins.

By 1993, after many years on 4AD the band had signed to Fontana, who at the time of this release had just released the band’s seventh album Four Calendar Cafe. The Snow EP comprises their covers of ‘Walking In A Winter Wonderland’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman.’

THe EP is long out of print, although you can pick up secondhand copies online; the songs also appear of the band’s singles and EPs collection Lullabies to Violaine

Christmas Posts 2011 #22

cocteau-twins

It is a source of disappointment that I never got to see the Cocteau Twins live.

I became a fan in my late teens; and have bought the vast majority of stuff that they have ever put out. They split up in 1998 during the recording of what was to have been their final album; and nearly reformed in 2005. They have of course, been involved in awesome music since calling it quits: Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie continue to run the Bella Union label, as well as both making music, Robin as Violet Indiana. Liz Fraser’s solo album may be yet to appear – but as well as her fine single ‘Moses,’ and two contributions to Lord of the Rings soundtracks, she also sang on tracks by Craig Armstrong -‘This Love’ and most famously, Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop.’

This was a very limited Christmas single in 1993.

Cocteau twins -‘Frosty The Snowman.’

Cocteau Twins -‘Walking In A Winter Wonderland.’ mp3

Christmas posts part 13

cocteau-twins

I know I post these every year…but what the heck, I love these two covers.

Originally released as a two-track single entitled Snow not long after their penultimate studio album Four Calendar Cafe, these two tracks attained the stuff of legend. I’m still kicking myself for not buying that single when I had the chance.

Ah well.

Cocteau Twins -‘Winter Wonderland.’ mp3

Cocteau Twins -‘Frosty The Snowman.’ mp3

And tomorrow, I will publish my annual Festive Fifty…

A Christmas Perennial (or two)

cocteau-twins

These two tracks were collectively released together as a single called ‘Snow’ in late 1993. I’ve been kicking myself for not buying it ever since, though you can now find both of them on the From Lullabies To Violaine comps.

Are they classic Cocteaus tracks??? Perhaps not in the sense of anything off Treasure or Heaven Or Las Vegas, my favourite two Cocteaus LPs, but still pretty good, nonetheless.

Cocteau Twins -‘Frosty the Snowman.’ mp3

Cocteau Twins -‘Winter Wonderland.’ mp3

A Peel-related rummage

A very quick post tonight, but three tracks I have copied from the vinyl to the iPod for my listening pleasure, which I thought I would share:

Cocteau Twins -‘From The Flagstones.’ mp3 (1983 festive Fifty no.16)

Cocteau Twins -‘Peppermint Pig.’ mp3 (1983 Festive Fifty no.28)

Pavement -‘Summer Babe (Winter Version).’ mp3 (1991 Festive Fifty no.34, 1992 Festive Fifty no.37)

Oh, does anyone have a Pavement track called 1762? please let me know if you do!

Still Keeping It Peel

Bizarre confession time…

Like many bloggers (and indeed many non-bloggers), I own an iPod. And like many iPod owning folks, the concept of the Playlist on it has replaced the idea of making compilation tapes for yourself. Face it, takes less time, can be changed, not constrained by the time limitations, though ‘Nanny In Manhattan’ by the Lilys was a song that completed many side ones of C90s because it was very short.

No, the confession is that I’m currently in the process of assembling Playlists for all of John Peel’s Festive Fifties from 1976 to 2004.

Hell, I never said I was cool. But I’m not the only the devotee of Peel out there. It’s time consuming, but fun listening back to it all, as they gradually grow.

Much of it I have on CD and therefore on the iPod. But I’m now utilising the wedding gift of the USB turntable that Mrs. 17 Seconds and I got last year to start filling some of those gaps. Quite a few don’t seem to be on either iTunes or emusic either…

…So why not share some of those songs with you?

Their debut single from 1985, and the first of many entries they would have, from one of the years the festive Fifty was more than fifty songs long.

That Petrol Emotion -‘Keen.’ mp3(1985 Festive Fifty no.70)

Question for people with too much time on their hands; In the 1984 Festive Fifty, two three track singles had all of their tracks in the Festive Fift. One was the Cocteau Twins ‘The Spangle Maker’ -most famous track ‘Pearly Dewdrops’ drops (and I’m posting the other two tracks here)….but what was the other?

Cocteau Twins -‘The Spangle Maker.’ mp3 (1984 Festive Fifty no.4)

Cocteau Twins -‘Pepper-tree.’ mp3 (1984 Festive Fifty no.49)

Finally, the Soup Dragons, like a fair few other bands, had entries in the Festive Fifty only when they weren’t commercially successive. IMHO, this is a hundred times better than their cover of ‘I’m Free.’

Soup Dragons -‘Hang Ten!’ (1986 Festive Fifty no.17)

Finally, if you need more Festive Fifty fixes, try Fades In Slowly and Teenage Kicks

Oh, and to anyone who’s sent me music and wonders why I haven’t commented on it…please hold on, I’ll get there in time!