Swimmer One

Hi there,
first of all, sorry to anyone who tried to download the echo and the Bunnymen mp3s unsuccessfully. No idea what was happening there, but anyway…

Here are the first two lead tracks of the two eps (so far) by Edinburgh’s Swimmer One. they should have an album out sometime this year, and of you like this, they also have more music over at their MySpace and Website

Swimmer One-‘We Just Make Music For Ourselves.’ mp3

Swimmer One-‘Come On, Let’s Go!’ mp3

As always, if you like what you hear, please go and buy the singles, either from their website or your local shop (record shop that is, not greengrocer).

Underrated albums #3: Echo and the Bunnymen " What are You Going To Do With Your Life?"

In 1997, Echo and the Bunnymen reformed, having split up almost ten years previously.

OK, maybe I should qualify that. Singer Ian McCulloch had left for a solo career in 1988, and drummer Pete de Freitas had died in a motorbike accident in 1989. The following year, an album credited to Echo and The Bunnymen (featuring vocalist Noel Burke, drummer Damon Reece and Jake Brockman on keys, as well as Les Pattinson and Will Sergeant) called Reverberation had been released. Both Colin at And before The First Kiss and Mike at Manic Pop Thrills have posted tracks from this oddity in the Bunnymen cannon in the last few months.

In 1994, Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch reunited, as Electrafixion, before reuniing with Les to release Evergreen in 1997. Their first album in ten years as Echo and the Bunnymen, it was a huge success critically and commercially, and they were welcomed back with open arms.

Two years later, they released the follow up What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? This got some good reviews, a hit single (Rust reached no.23 in the UK), but somehow didn’t connect with people the way that its predecessor had. It has not been written out of history, in the same way that Reverberation has, but seems to have slipped below the radar.

This is a shame, for it’s a beautiful album, that as the iTunes review I checked a few minutes ago says, the sort of record post-punk bands should be making twenty years in. Not trading on past glories (you can imagine the record company wanting an album of ‘The Cutter’ and ‘The Killing Moon’ re-writes) nor trying to be trendy (an accusation that has been levelled at Evergreen, whihc I thinnk is a far inferior album). It is a reflective album, but no musical equivalent of an expanding waistlinie in middle-age here. It’s a comparatively short album in the CD age (clocking in at 38 minutes) that reflects and accepts its’ place.

It has been described as a McCulloch solo abum, somewhat unfairly. Pattinson plays on ‘Fools Like Us’ only (he was, perhaps understandably, more concerned with a legal battle for access to his kids). Perhaps the photos dwell on McCulloch a lot more than Segeant, but this is very much a Bunnymen record in sound. It also features the Fun Lovin’ Criminals -hang on, come back- whose contributions actually add a deft touch to ‘Get In The Car’ and ‘When It All Blows Over.’

Maybe this struck a chord, being released with just a few months to go til my first degree finished, and not entirely sure what was next. But this is an album I love. Sure it’s not as good as Ocean Rain, but this deserves to be seen as more than just a footnote in the Bunnymen’s nearly thirty year career.

Echo and the Bunnymen-‘What are You Going To Do With Your Life?’ mp3

Echo and the Bunnymen-‘Rust.’ mp3

I cannot see a listing for this on Amazon, but try your local record shop, and it is still available on iTunes.

Enjoy, these will be up for one week only.


for some reason, despite several attemots to relaod these, they are not coming up.

Will try and repost as soon as I can work out what the problem is.

Amplifico…more information please!!

I had intended to post a review of the gig I went to last night, which was Aberfeldy in Edinburgh. However, due to the fact that the soundchecking had taken ages along the line somewhere, the band were not on til late, which meant that I couldn’t see the whole gig, so not really fair to review it here. I have now seen them eight times over the last three years, whihc is more than I’ve seen any other band.

No, this post is about Amplifico the fabulous support band, who absolutely blew me away. My mate Dave, who I went with, reckons that Donna the lead singer has a touch of Kate Bush about her. KT Tunstall is apparently in awe of her voice-and she’s not the only one. Their set was an absolute joy from start to finish.

I’m kinda embarassed though, because I cannot write about Amplifico in as informed a way as I would like. I’m hoping they – or someone can get in touch with more information. They look very cool, and their bass player was supposedly playing his first gig with them last night, Wearing tails! and pulling it off. Their myspace says they are a three piece, though Scott seemed like very much part of the band.

I loved their sound and cannot wait to see them live again. I tried to buy some of their music today, but no-one seems to know if they’ve got anything out.

Anyway, here’s two mp3s from their MySpace. Check them out, and go and see them live, and make friends with them at their mySpace spot.

And please, someone let me know: What do they have out? Is Scott in the band? When is their debut album actually out, and on what label?

Amplifico-‘Red Song.’ mp3

Amplifico-‘Just To Pause This.’ mp3

Who’s afraid of Mark E.Smith?

*in Salford accent nuh nuh nuh, nuh nuh nuh*

er, sorry, lost myslef for a minute there. *blush*

Anyway…I was talking with a very big Fall fan the other day, who said he had heard that Mark E. Smith and Mouse On Mars had collaborated, but hadn’t heard the album Tromatic Reflexxions. a couple of years ago I bought his attention to their collaboration (as Mouse on Mars featuring Mark E. Smith) on the ‘Wipe That Sound’ 12″, and now, for the benefot of Gilmour and anyone else who may not have heard it, presenting four tracks from the Von Sudenfed album:

Von Sudenfed-‘Serious Brainskin.’ mp3

Von Sudenfed-‘Dearest Friends.’ mp3

Von Sudenfed-‘Fledermaus Can’t Get It.’ mp3

Von Sudenfed-‘That Sound Wiped.’ mp3

These tracks will be up for one week only. If you like what you hear, go and buy it here or at your local independent record shop.

Some Covers For Friday Part II

No reason for the picture above this post, other than that I stuck ‘Friday’ in Google Image and this was the picture I liked best off the first page.

Anyway, it’s the end of another long week, but I’m still alive, and still trying to organise wedding stuff with the soon-to-be Mrs. 17 Seconds.

Here are some covers for Friday. the first one I heard live a few months ago, but was brought to my attention by Liz over at the The Roaring Machine yesterday.

Camera Obscura-‘Super Trouper.’ mp3

Astrid Swan -‘When You Were Young.’ mp3

Le Tigre-‘I’m So Excited.’ mp3

Arcade Fire-‘Maps.’ mp3

CSS-‘One Way Or Another.’ mp3

Snow Patrol-‘Crazy In Love.’ mp3

Death Cab For Cutie-‘World Shut Your Mouth.’ mp3

Editors-‘French Disko.’ mp3

As always, if you like what you hear, support the artists. These links will be removed after a week.

Have a good one,


Abba On The Jukebox?

Many years ago, whilst driving alone at night I was listening to John Peel. And there was one of those moments, where you hear something that touches you.

And on the night in question, in 1996, April I think, it was this song by Trembling Blue Stars.

Trembling Blue Stars-‘Abba On The Jukebox.’ mp3

This is simply one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. I’m not an expert on twee-pop by any means (but try And Before The First Kiss or The Roaring Machine for people who undoubtedly are), but I know what I like and I love this.

A couple of years later I managed to pick up the album Her Handwriting
and there were a lots of brilliant songs just waiting for me there, including these two:

Trembling Blue Stars-‘A Single Kiss.’ mp3

Trembling Blue Stars-‘Do People Ever?’ mp3

Buy Her Handwriting here

And of course, how could I forget the masters of the Sad Song themselves? Sod post-modernism, camp and all the justifications, critiques and other rubbish that’s lobbed in their direction, Abba really understood POP.

Abba-‘The Visitors.’ mp3

Buy The Visitors here

Underrated albums #2: Scritti Politti " Anomie & Bonhomie"

What was I listening to in 1999? Umm, it seems so long ago, and somehow I can focus far better on the stuff from the earlier years of the decade. Though ever so occasionally, I give Bellatirix and daawn of the Replicants a spin, and it reminds me of the final undergraduate year, trying to get my own band off the ground and then staying on at uni to do my Masters.

One great album from that time is Scritti Politti’s Anomie and Bonhomie. At the time, this was their first album for eleven years, since Provision. The last time we had seen Green Gartside and co., it had been doing a fairly average (if we’re being honest) cover of the Beatles ‘She’s a Woman’ with Shabba Ranks in tow.

This album, however, combined a lot of what Green had clearly been listening to – Reggae, Nirvana , and lots of Hip Hop, and made an absolute gem of an album. It’s a confident album, without some of the sheen which almost engulfed Provision at times. It featured contributions from Mos Def, as shown on the single, ‘Tinseltown To the Boogiedown.’ Opener ‘Umm’ also managed to start off almost fluffy, before taking in rock -when had we ever heard Scritti rock before -and hip hop, all within the space of four minutes and fourteen seconds. Granted ‘First Goodbye’ shows off Green’s amazing voice but is a bit like Westlife-type ballad (who I wasn’t listening to in 1999, at least not out of choice). The voice is still supreme and you got the feeling that this was a record that he wanted to make.

It was great to see Green put out another labum last year, White Bread Black Beer, back on his original home of Rough Trade, touring for the first time in 26 years, and getting press coverage. Whilst 1982’s debut Songs To Remember has had a lot of publicity again in recent years, as the post-punk revival continues, this is my favourite Scritti album in many ways. Let these three tracks whet your appetite.

Scritti Politti-‘Umm.’ mp3

Scritti Politti-‘Tinseltown to the Boogiedown.’ mp3

Scritti Politti-‘The World You Understand (Is Over and Over and Over).’ mp3

Buy Anomie and Bonhomie here for less than a fiver.

Underrated albums #1: New Model Army "Thunder and Consolation"

A new series at 17 Seconds

History is full of those bands who are presented, by a sometimes revisionist music industry and journalism, as being little more than footnotes. Many bands may not often grace front covers or have their records played on mainstream radio, yet can fill massive gig venues, and, most crucially, have a loyal fan base that will stay with them for years (as opposed to, say, the teen market, which can turn on their heroes as quickly as each other in the playground).

One band who this definitely applies to is New Model Army. Sneered at, seemingly largely for failing to come from London and the fact that some of their followers may have worn clogs, New Model Army formed in 1980, around the nucleus of Justin Sullivan, who still leads the band today. their sound genuinely incorporated many diffrenet styles (as opposed to those who cliamed to whilst ripping off the same sources). Their debut album, Vengeance, was released in 1984. They signed to EMI for their second album No Rest For The Wicked, for which other ‘alternative’ bands attacked them, including Chumbawumba*. They made it onto ‘Top Of The Pops’ to play the album’s title track, (in)famously sporting t-shirts bearing the legend ‘Only Stupid Bastards Take Heroin’ with the word’bastards’ taped over. The following year’s The Ghost Of Cain, was their best yet, with a continuation of their fantatsic songs of urban life. Opener ‘The Hunt’ was later covered by Sepultura.

But it was 1989’s Thunder and Consolation that showed the group had hit new heights. As well as their post-punk sound, the album also featured the violin of Ed Elain Johnson, adding a folky approach. The pinnacle of the album is ‘Green and Grey’ which deals with the claustrophobia of the small northern towns in England, where unprovoked violence can erupt at any moment, those who escape it for the rbight lights of the city, and those they leave behind:

(Heaton/Sullivan) 1987

The time I think most clearly, the time I drift away
Is on the bus-ride that meanders up these valleys of green and grey
I get to think about what might have been and what may yet come true
And I get to pass a rainy mile thinking of you
And all the while, all the while, I still hear that call
To the land of gold and poison that beckons to us all
Nothing changes here very much, I guess you’d say it never will
The pubs are all full on Friday nights and things get started still
We spent hours last week with Billy boy, bleeding, yeah queuing in Casualty
Staring at those posters we used to laugh at:
Never Never Land, palm trees by the sea
Well there was no need for those guys to hurt him so bad
When all they had to do was knock him down
But no one asks to many questions like that since you left this town

Ch: And tomorrow brings another train
Another young brave steals away
But you’re the one I remember
From these valleys of green and the grey

You used to talk about winners and losers all the time – as if that was all there was
As if we were not of the same blood family, as if we live by different laws
Do you owe so much less to these rain swept hills than you owe to your good self?
Is it true that the world has always got to be something
That seems to happen somewhere else?
For God’s sake don’t you realise that I still hear that call
Do you think you’re so brave just to go running to that which beckons to us all?

Ch: No, not for one second did you look behind you
As you were walking away
Never once did you wish any of us well
Those who had chosen to stay
And if that’s what it takes to make it
In the place that you live today
Then I guess you’ll never read these letters that I send
From the valleys of the green and the grey

Published by Attack Attack Music/Warner Chappell Music Ltd

This album is, frankly, an underrated classic. New Model Army continue to record and tour, and have a very committed folllowing over the world, even if the music press in the UK either sneered or ignored them altogether. They have relased nine studio albums as well as live albums and compilations. Their webpage can fill in more info.

This album can be bought here. During a conversation with Joolz Denby in 2001 (-Justin Sullivan’s partner, who also has been responsible for the groups art work, as well as amassing a fantastic career of her own. See www.joolz-denby.co.uk for more information about her own very varied and fascinating career), she told me that Chumbawumba’s alice Nutter had, in fact, apologised to Justin in person for her earlier attacks. Chumbawumba later themselves signed to EMI.

Some Covers For Saturday

Hello again.

Had a few computer problems that are now fixed, so here are some covers for Saturday.

This year, as well as being the thirtieth anniversary of the first Sex Pistols and Clash albums (alright, smarty pants; so the Sex Pistols only released one album proper but you know what I meant), is also the anniversary of David Bowie’s most productive year, when he relased his own Low and Heroes, as well as his important contributions to Iggy Pop’s The Idiot and Lust For Life. However, that will have to be a post for a future, er, post. Here are three covers that should be heard, taken from a freebie CD with Uncut four years ago.
The Langley Schools Music Project take on ‘Space Oddity’ is chilling, in a nice sort of way, the Black Box Recorder version of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ is definitely made their own, and the associates ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ was famously released – as their debut single – mere months after Bowie’s original came out in 1979.

Associates-‘Boys Keep Swinging (David Bowie cover).’ mp3

Langley Schools Music Project-‘Space Oddity (David Bowie cover).’ mp3

Black Box Recorder -‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide (David Bowie cover).’ mp3

This was recorded live at the Reading Festival when the White Stripes had to pull out at short notice. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club do this fantastically.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club -‘The Hardest Button To Button (White Stripes cover).’ mp3

This cover was originally recorded, I believe for a compilation intended to promote peace in Northern ireland called Peace Together (and if anyone has mp3s of Therapy? doing ‘Invisible Sun’ and Pop Will Eat Itself doing ‘Games Without Frontiers’ please get in touch).

My Bloody Valentine -‘We Have All The Time In The World (Louis Armstrong cover).’ mp3

Finally, it was a hit, easily obtainable, but what a joy to hear!

Futureheads-‘The Hounds Of Love (Kate Bush cover).’ mp3

Okay, you know the drill. these will be up here for a week only. If you like what you hear, support the artists involved.