six from four

These six tracks were indeed all featured in John Peel’s Festive Fifty in the early eighties, but I’m not doing this as a John Peel post per se, just fancied sharing some great music wih you, as it makes it from the vinyl to the iPod.

Is there such a thing as the best best-of ever? The Jam’s Snap! must surely be a contender…

The Jam – ‘Going Underground.’ mp3

One of my many, many planned posts for the future is one Pete Wylie and the 7,000 faces of Wah!

Wah! Heat -‘Better Scream.’ mp3

It’s odd to think that goth was once tagged ‘positive punk’ in NME, and that the tag was only applied to music (there were certainly gothic sounding music long before that, as far back as Mozart’s Requiem, IMHO). So often it seems ot be used as a tag of insult or abuse, erroneously as far as I’m concerned. Certainly, many bands who came out of punk seemed to have a foot in the goth camp, to say nothing of a following.

The Damned’s Machine Gun Etiquette is where they started to get gothic, and where this track comes from, though The Black Album was surprise, surprise, even more so…

The Damned -Love Song.’ mp3

The curious-sounding ‘Hong Kong Garden’ with its’ wonderful eastern overtones was a great debut single, even if the lyrics seem a little close to novelty at times.* But it was on their albums that the dark heart of this particularly gorgeous and mesmerising creature lurked, as shown on these tracks from The Scream and Join Hands. Then two years later there was Juju

Siouxsie and the Banshees -‘Switch.’ mp3 (from The Scream)

Siouxsie and the Banshees -‘Jigsaw feeling.’ mp3

Siouxsie and the Banshees -‘Icon.’ mp3

Enjoy, folks…


* Oh come on: ‘Chicken Chou-mein and chop suey…Hong Kong Garden Takeaway.’

More Peel, Vicar?

Just a quick post today, before watching Doctor Who on Catch-up TV. Mrs. 17 Seconds is watching Britain’s next Top Model and I am taking the opportunity to root around for stuff I still need to complete those Peel playlists. So with my emusic subscription renewed, why not share a few of the slightly more obscure tracks I’ve located?

Bongwater -‘Nick Cave Dolls.’ mp3 (1991 Festive Fifty no.50)

Buffalo Tom -‘Tail Lights Fade.’ mp3 (1992 Festive Fifty no.45)

Field Mice -‘Missing the Moon.’ mp3 (1991 Festive Fifty no.45)

Mercury Rev -‘Car Wash Hair.’ mp3 (1991 Festive Fifty no.49)

Therapy? -‘Teethgrinder.’ mp3 (1992 Festive Fifty no.33 )

Tuscadero -‘Angel In A Half Shirt.’ mp3 (1994 Festive Fifty no.49)

And as always, as I promised him I wouldn’t put him out of business, check out Teenage Kicks for Steve’s excellent insight into it all!

See you soon, Ed

Gig review: Jamie Lidell

Jamie Lidell, Edinburgh Liquid Rooms, April 26, 2008

Two days before the release of his new LP Jim, Jamie Lidell bought his show to Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms. In the space of less than an hour, this absolute genius and his band unveiled a show that demonstrates why it is time for the public to come forward and take him to their hearts.

As with Jim, the set started with ‘Another Day.’ It feels like the gentlest call of arms you will ever hear on vinyl. However, live with the help of his band the song is reinvented. Particularly with the aid of his saxophonist who appears to be playing two saxophones at once (and yes, I was stone cold sober). Though the album was two days from being officially released (how much currency does that phrase still have in this age of internet leaks?), it was interesting to see and hear how different it was from the album versions.

He is clearly hugely excited to be touring with a band, though a different set-up from that which he recorded Jim with, and it’s clear just how much fun the band are having. Talking to him backstage a few hours earlier, though he was still shatered from the rpevious night’s gig in Glasgow, and concerned about his voice, there was no mistaking how much enthusiasm he has for this current project.

Nor should it be assumed, though, that he has forgotten his background in electronic music. There is an ‘electronic workout’ (where the band take off into the crowd as Lidell is left onstage alone, sampling his own voice and turning the atmosphere from seventies soul revue into a contemporary club setting. Staggering and amazing moth in terms of watching and hearing.

Whilst the album is respectful in its doffing of an aesthetic cap to soul giants like Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes and most of all, Stevie Wonder, live with his band, Jamie Lidell clearly demonstartes the funk in a way reminiscent of Parliament-Funkadelic. Impressive for anyone (but has been commented to the point of boredom, as a Caucasian Englishman, this feat is something else. Especially given that he sounds nothing like Jamiroquai or Simply Red).

Encoring with a version of ‘Multiply’ the title track of his break-through LP from 2005, the song is much quicker than on record, and yet just as effective. Jamie Lidell is an astonishing musician and performer. This is certainly the best gig I have been to this year, and if this really is the last Triptych, the organisers were wise to book him.


Jamie Lidell -‘Another Day.’ mp3

Jamie Lidell -‘Wait For Me.’ mp3

Keep it tuned to 17 Seconds

…not that I have figured out how to do podcasts yet…but I will

It’s been a busy 48 hours here at 17 Seconds towers. Trying to work my way through all the music I’ve been sent to review (hence the three reviews yesterday). Interviewing Jamie Lidell (lovely gent) – which will hopefully appear here soon, along with the long-promised Amplifico and Rosie Taylor Project interviews. Going to Jamie Lidell’s excellent gig at the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh (review will also appear here soon). Involved with choir competition with Mrs. 17 Seconds and friends (we’re through to the next round!) Trying to keep up with everything else that needs doing, including sleep. Oh, and preparing for school

So don’t abandon me, I will be back very soon.

Oh, and I got sent this mp3 from One Little Indian records, Alabama 3 covering Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. Enjoy!

Alabama 3 -‘Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover).’ mp3

Doing It For the Kids

A few months ago I got an email from a reader called Sandy Fyfe, who was putting together a compilation of bands to raise money for the Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow. His daughter Tallie Isabelle (named after the two Go-Betweens albums Tallulah and Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express) was ill there and he wanted to raise money to help others. She is now on the road to recovery.

It’s an impressive tracklisting of artists, including many favourites of 17 Seconds such as Ballboy, Wake The President (above), Ed Harcourt, De Rosa, Crash My Model Car…see this link for details of all 66 artists. There are a lot of scottish artists involved, so for those of my readers who like hearing about the scottish music scene, take a look.

For obvious reasons, I am not going to post music from it here (it’s a charity CD) but you can download all 66 tracks here for £6.49

The myspace site is here

Yorkhill Children’s Foundation

Album Review: Matthew Ryan

Matthew Ryan -‘Vs. the Silver State.’ (One Little Indian)

‘Vs. The Silver State is one of those albums that takes a while to grow on you, but it’s worth making the effort to pay attention to.

Having been sent this a couple of weeks ago, it’s now had quite a few plays and I’ve enjoyed listening to it more and more. The band (also including Brian Bequette, Doug Lancio, and Steve Latanation) conceived it as a pure Rock n Roll record. What that what constitute is anyone’s guess (as always, ask X people and you’ll get X=1 answers!), but I think they succeeded.

In a way, this reminds me a little of Ryan Adams’ Gold album from 2001. It’s rock’n’ roll, as understood by the Americans, who after all invented in the 1950s. It’s rootsy, and I guess in the UK might even be understood as ‘Americana’ with country-ish influences. We don’t look to this music for sonic innovation, but we do look to it for classic feaures. It’s a good, solid record with old-fashioned quality songwriting. Final track ‘Closing In’ is perhaps the standout track, with it’s beautiful, dreamy feel it makes a perfect coda to the album.


Matthew Ryan’s official website

Album Review: Alan Wilkis

Alan Wilkis -‘Babies Dream Big’ (Wilcassettes)

…in which the debate about what constitutes ‘pop’ and what constitutes ‘indie’ and ‘electronica’ gets ever more confused…

Alan Wilkis album, Babies Dream Big is the debut release from this Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist. Conceived and recorded mostly in his home studio over the course of a year, the album blends together the soul, R&B, classic rock, and electronic music of the 70’s and 80’s. On paper (and I’m quoting the above from his MySpace page) no doubt many ‘indie kids’ will be asking themselves: ‘Is this cool? Am I allowed to like this?’

Well, more bloody fool you if you’re having to ask yourself because this is a fantastic album. A whole array of influences that stretch from Van Halen to Johnny Cash, Hall and Oates to the hipper-than -thou electronica of Air, Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada, this album is gorgeous. Like the soundtrack to a summer that we’re still waiting for (perhaps fruitlessly, here in Scotland), this album has tunes, attitude, and a lot of fun. The joy of pop, the freewill of the honest music lover.

Why deny yourself the pleasure, of this infectious retro-pop? Surrender now.


Alan Wilkis -‘Milk and Cookies.’ mp3

Alan Wilkis’ mySpace is here with more tunes.

Album Review: Jason McNiff

Jason McNiff -‘In My Time’ (Snowstorm)

Jason McNiff has been described as one of the UK’s best-kept secrets-and I’m going to try and expose that secret. I was sent this CD a few weeks ago by his PR; I’ve played this several times and am absolutely loving it.

In My Time is a mixture of compilation of old stuff and new songs, and originally intended for release overseas but now released in the UK as well. Over the course of twelve songs and fifty minutes, he utterly wins you over with his songs, voice and guitar playing.

Born of Polish/Irish descent, he has released 3 albums on London-based independent labels. He follows in a line of troubadours from the British folk blues of people like Bert Jansch, Richard Thompson and Nick Drake to the great American singer songwriters like Bob Dylan, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Leonard Cohen. Listening to this compilation is to be utterly won over by his work.

McNiff has spent time travelling in Italy, which has hugely influenced songs on this album like ‘Pilgrim Soul’ ‘Hills Of Rome’ and a cover of the Italian folk song ‘Bella Ciao.’ This anti-fascist folk song was an anthem during the second world War, though he notes in his sleevenotes to the album that it has earlier origins as a work song of the rice pickers of northern Italy. Consider it a cousin of Leonard Cohen recording of ‘The Partisan.’ I learned ‘Bella Ciao’ from teaching English to Italian students; he learned it from touring with the Modena City Ramblers. As for the gorgeous ‘Woody’s Annie Hall’ and ‘Pilgrim Soul’ these songs should be considered classics.

Listening to this album also encouraged me to look through the vinyl, and pick ut Michelle Shocked’s classic debut The Texas Campfire Tapes. In his sleevenotes to that album in 1986, Pete Lawrence -the man who held the tape recorder- speaks of meeting a young woman who’s spending a lot of time travelling, who has’ a gift with words and a turn of phrase unmatched since early Dylan.’ In 2008, I feel this applied just as equally to Jason McNiff.

It is time for Jason McNiff to be picked up by the British public and for the critical acclaim to translate into sales and recognition.


Jason McNiff -‘Woody’s Annie Hall.’ mp3

Jason McNiff -‘Pilgrim Soul.’ mp3

As a bonus, this is from his website, is not on the album but I thought you should hear it anyway:

Jason McNiff -‘Nobody’s Son.’ mp3

Jason McNiff website/Jason McNiff MySpace

Peel Slowly and see…part 2

A mixed bag of stuff today, from eMusic, the record collection AND wondeful readers.

This was from 1992, the year when the Weddoes made twelve chart appearances in the UK. (That’s the official Top 40, not just the Festive Fifty)

Wedding Present -‘Sticky.’ mp3 (1992 Festive Fifty no.41)

As I continue with my massive task of collecting all the Festive Fifty stuff, I inevitably come across those bands I’d heard of but not heard. Until now…

Transglobal Underground -‘Sirius B.’ mp3 (1993 Festive Fifty no.49)

Transglobal Underground -‘Taal Zaman.’ mp3 (1994 Festive Fifty no.50)

yesterday I asked if anyone had it…within a very short space of time two readers pointed me in the direction of this track. Thank you!

Pavement -‘Circa 1762 (Peel session).’ mp3 (1992 Festive Fifty no.42)

And from one of the debut LPs of the decade (Slanted and Enchanted), a band like many other people I first heard courtesy of John Peel:

Pavement -‘Here.’ mp3 (1992 Festive Fifty no.10)

There is more coming. Much more. Watch this space. Tell your friends etc..

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!