Pavement guitarist Spiral Stairs (Scott Kannberg to his Mum, and presumably once the school register) will return with his second solo album as Spiral Stairs (in addition to the two he released under the name Preston School of Industry) on March 24.
Entitled Doris and the Daggers, the album features an impressive list of US indie stars: Matt Berninger of The National, Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew and Justin Peroff, Kelley Stoltz and Shudder To Think’s Adam Wade. Additionally, the video for the first track ‘Dance (Cry Wolf)’ features Grandaddy’s Jason Lyttle playing the part of Spiral Stairs.
The album tracklisting is as follows:
1. Dance (Cry Wolf)
3. Dundee Man
5. No Comparison
6. The Unconditional
7. Trams (Stole My Love)
8. Exiled Tonight
9. Angel Eyes
10. Doris and the Daggers
OK, so I didn’t watch the Golden Globes last night. But two things seem to have become clear. Firstly, that Meryl Streep is not happy about the thought of Donald Trump becoming President. Hell, if you’ve been anywhere near social media in the last 24 hours, you’ll have seen the memes. Secondly, that Donald Glover’s bigging up of US-rap trio Migos has had a pretty big effect. Having described their song ‘Bad and Boujee’ as ‘just fly. There’s no better song to have sex to’ the song has rocketed to no.1 in the US and is already making serious waves in the UK.
Glover has described them as being the Beatles of this generation – while this might sound like hyperbole, they’re pretty damn great. The NME has put together a helpful article and the song in question ‘Bad and Boujee’ is what I believe the younger people might call a banger.
Their second album Culture is released on January 27.
…so how’s your new year going?
London Grammar unveiled their first new music since 2013 on New Year’s Day, and this song ‘Rooting For You’ is utterly sublime and beautiful. It’s the aural equivalent of crystal spring water after way too much fizzy, sugar drink. Simple, pure and to the point. Umm, so to speak.
Presumably this is from their long-awaited second album, even if not this is a beautiful, refreshing track. It doesn’t seem to be on the charts, which is a damn shame. Maybe it’s just too damn good for the bloody charts, eh?
Having seemingly called it a day a couple of years ago (after what was an excellent ‘farewell’ gig at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall), Neil Pennycook and Meursault have returned, with a new EP, some videos and an album very soon…
At the end of last year, they returned with a new six-track EP, from which the title track ‘Simple Is Good’ made no.15 in my annual Festive 50 (and yes, my end of year albums list will appear, finally, very soon). Due to the general exhaustion around these parts, not a lot was getting written at that point (not helped by a poor internet connection) but the EP is very good indeed and the band have just unveiled a new video for the track ‘By Gaslight.’ The new album, scarily entitled I Will Kill Again is due in February. And it’s coming out on their old and always spiritual home Song, By Toad Records.
It’s fair to say that 2016 was a year many people would rather forget. So a very happy new year from 17 Seconds and hope that this year is good to you. One of my resolutions is to blog more often – health issues left me exhausted for much of the time.
My tribute to George Michael can be read over on God Is In The TV. Certainly much of the music he made provided an important part of my growing up.
Since he died on Christmas Day, ‘Careless Whisper’ and ‘Last Christmas’ are the songs that have benefited most in terms of sales boosts, but to me, this Wham! single from 1984 is the best thing he wrote and performed.
Of all the solo songs, I think this tops them all.
- Christine & the Queens ‘Tilted.’
- Michael Kiwanuka ‘Black Man In A White World.’
- Kano ‘T-Shirt Weather In The Manor.’
- Playing House ‘New Haircut.’
- Michael Kiwanuka ‘Cold Little Heart.’
- David Bowie ‘Lazarus.’
- PJ Harvey ‘The Wheel.’
- Skepta ‘Man.’
- Last Battle ‘The Sound Of Forgiveness.’
- Woodpigeon ‘Faithful.’
- Emma Pollock ‘Parks And Recreation.’
- Pictish Trail ‘Dead Connection.’
- Frank Ocean ‘Nikes.’
- Kid Canaveral ‘First We Take Dumbarton.’
- Meursault ‘Simple Is Good.’
- Of Montreal ‘It’s Different For Girls.’
- Pictish Trail ‘Far Gone (Don’t Leave).’
- Olivier Alary ‘Nollywood.’
- Kate Bush ‘And Dream Of Sheep (live).’
- Biffy Clyro ‘Animal Style.’
- Dinosaur Jr ‘Goin’ Down.’
- Playing House ‘Grapefruit.’
- Radiohead ‘Burn The Witch.’
- Field Music ‘The Noisy Days Are Over.’
- Florence + the Machine ‘Wish That You Were Here.’
- Kills ‘Whirling Eye.’
- Ben Watt ‘New Year Of Grace.’
- Wedding Present ‘Rachel.’
- Underworld ‘I Exhale.’
- M.I.A. ‘ Go Off.’
- Designer ‘Panda.’
- Dinosaur Jr. ‘Tiny.’
- Sia featuring Sean Paul ‘Cheap Thrills.’
- Beyoncé ‘Formation.’
- Olivier Alary ‘Yangtze.’
- Let’s Eat Grandma ‘ Shiitake Mushrooms.’
- Zayn ‘Pillowtalk.’
- Strokes ‘Oblivius.’
- XX ‘On Hold.’
- Alicia Keys ‘In Common.’
- Massive Attack ‘Ritual Spirit.’
- Bob Marley & the Wailers featuring LVUNDSCAPE & Boiler ‘Is This Love?’
- Rihanna featuring Drake ‘Work.’
- Deerhoof ‘Life is Suffering.’
- Lucy Roleff ‘Aspen.’
- De Rosa ‘Spectres.’
- Whitney ‘No Woman.’
- Stone Roses ‘Beautiful Thing.’
- Regina Spektor ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.’
- Swells ‘White Noise.’
It has been a quiteer year on the blog, what with study and being ill…I will try and do better next year!
Less we forget:
Lest we forget…
2015 Courtney Barnett ‘Pedestrian At Best.’
2014 St. Vincent ‘Digital Witness.’
2013 Daft Punk ‘Get Lucky.’
2012 Grimes ‘Genesis.’
2011 Hiatus featuring Linton Kwesi Johnson ‘Insurrection.’
2010 eagleowl ‘No Conjunction.’
2009 Peter Parker ‘Swallow The Rockets.’
2008 Wedding Present ‘The Trouble With Men.’
2007 Emma Pollock ‘Adrenaline.’
2006 Long Blondes ‘Weekend Without Make-up.’
I’m not religious – but I do enjoy a fair amount of what might be termed religious music. As well as choral works, singing Christmas carols is kinda fun, just as much musically part of Christmas to me as much of the music I have posted here over the last few weeks. And my absolute favourite Christmas carol of all is ‘Silent Night.’
There’s an article over on Wiki about how the song was first written and performed in Austria on Christmas Eve 1818, by a priest, Father Joseph Mohr, and Franz Xaver Gruber. Mohr had first written the words in 1816, which makes it 200 years old this year. (I idly wonder how much of the music I have featured on the blog over the last ten years will be listened to in 200 years’ time.) Written in German, the original version is Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht. According to Wiki, during the famous Christmas Day Truce in 1914, it was sung by both British and German troops simultaneously as it was one carol both sides knew.
It has been performed by many, many artists over the years. Sinead O’Connor, above, (who has apparently just turned fifty) recorded a version for the 1991 TV film The Ghosts Of Oxford Street.
The carol has reportedly been translated into over forty languages, and that includes Gaelic. Enya originally recorded a version in the late 1980s:
The quintessential Christmas record of the last twenty years is Low’s Christmas album. It could almost have been written with them in mind…
Meanwhile, Sufjan Stevens’ version is as ethereal as Low’s – but much more trippy…
Hmm, I didn’t intend to stop blogging for ten days, but went off on holiday, and was focused on that. Not least the fact that I saw my beloved Cure in both Manchester and London.
I have also been thinking about my end of year lists, both in terms of tracks (to be presented, as always as the Festive 50) and albums. Those will appear here shortly, but for now, on with the Christmas posts.
I have featured the Wedding Present many times here over the years, and rate them hugely as a band. That’s singer and Weddoes Mainman David Gedge who can be seen above. Their first contribution come from their 1992 single ‘No Christmas/Step Into Christmas.’ The story of this single and its place in Wedding Present history has been told many times so enjoy the music – can be found on the Hit Parade compilation.
In 2008, the year they topped the 17 Seconds Festive 50 chart with ‘The Trouble With Men’ the band released this gorgeous single.
And yes ‘Step Into Christmas’ is indeed the Elton John song. The Weddoes have done a number of great cover versions over the last thirty years, though it seems unfair to purely focus on these when David Gedge is such as amazing songwriter himself…but I give you this.
Given that she’s on target for her first UK no.1 album in nearly 30 years with Before The Dawn, and it is nearly December, it’s time to feature Kate Bush and her Christmas music.
‘December Will Be Magic Again’ was featured in her 1979 Christmas Special, and released as a standalone single the following year. As far as I can find, the only video for the song is this performance from the special, and no other promo was made.
In 1993, ‘Home For Christmas’ was a b-side to ‘Moments Of Pleasure’ taken from her then current album The Red Shoes.
The last decade has seen much more activity from Ms. Bush, including her Christmas-themed album 50 Words For Snow. You should have heard it already, but you can stream it below:
And just in case you haven’t heard it, from the new live album, her awesome new version of ‘And Dream Of Sheep’ (it’s not a Christmas track, but you can never have too much Kate Bush):
I have posted tonight’s music before, of course, but that shouldn’t be a sign that I don’t care. Rather: that I think it’s worth hearing again.
Siouxsie and the Banshees covered the traditional French Christmas carol ‘Il Est Né, Le Divin Enfant’ (trans: ‘ He Is Born, The Divine Child’ – read more on wiki) back in 1982. This video is from French TV, from when Robert Smith was in the band. The track was released as the b-side to the single ‘Melt!’ and can be found on the box set Downside Up.
Later on, in 2011, Talking Heads off shoot Tom Tom Club covered the track as well.