The return of The Raveonettes


The Raveonettes are one of those bands that I realise I am guilty of taking for granted, and yet every time I hear them, I am reminded of just how great they are. I first read about them in NME, and thought they looked so cool I knew i just had to buy their first single , even though I had not heard a note of their music. I was only, ooh, 26, so, you know, quite impressionable…

Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, the Danish duo who make up the band, are preparing to release their fourth album In & Out Of Control on Vice Records in October. This is a great slice of dark, sugar coated pop. Comparisons have been made invoking Phil Spector’s production and shoegazing – and ‘they’ (whoever ‘they’ may be) are absolutely right.

The first track which they have made available to download is entitled ‘Suicide.’ This has been doing the rounds for a little while, but I’m still making my way through mountains of music, as ever, and I’ve just played it three times in a row. The title seems to fit in with the titles on the album, the tracklisting for which is as follows:

Gone Forever
Last Dance
Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)
Heart Of Stone
Oh, I Buried You Today
Breaking Into Cars
Break Up Girls!

Give this a listen and see what you think. And yes, I would like to know what you think, too…

The Raveonettes -‘Suicide.’ mp3

The Raveonettes on myspace

The next single from 17 Seconds Records…X-Lion Tamer


Yes, indeedy, folks. Not content with playing a special gig at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh on August 21 at 6PM as part of Rough Cut Nation, X-Lion Tamer is preparing to unleash a very special double release on the world on 17 Seconds Records.


Tony T’s second single ‘I Said Stop,’ the follow-up to March’s single ‘Neon Hearts’ will be released in the next couple of weeks on download. This will form part of the four-track Neon Hearts EP, which will be released on CD single, hopefully in the next week. ‘Neon Hearts’ is available to download on iTunes and eMusic.

As ever watch this space…but it’s streaming on our myspace page as of right now!

And if you haven’t picked up this free download shame on you!

X-Lion Tamer -‘Life Support Machine.’ mp3

X-Lion Tamer’s myspace

17 Seconds Records Myspace

Pop along, listen and make friends…

It’s that time of year again…


The Edinburgh Festival is in full swing, which means that venturing anywhere near the centre of town means that you are besieged by people begging you to come and see ‘the funniest show on the fringe!’ I have, on occasions, made remarks that I’m not going unless it’s an all-lesbian mime version of Macbeth.

Still, secretly, I do enjoy the fringe every year. I have caught some good acts so far this year – as well as the free Guardian podcast (currently doing very well on the iTunes podcast chart), I have also seen Seymour Mace, Miles Jupp, and would recommend that you catch Susan Calman, Daniel Shloss and no doubt others…

So, in case you aren’t in Edinburgh here is a veritable pot-pourri of scottish artists, many of whom have not been featured here before:

Astrid -‘High In The Morning.’ mp3

Young Fathers -‘Straight Back On It.’ mp3

Long Fin Killie -‘Hands and Lips.’ mp3

Exploited -‘Dead Cities.’ mp3

Colin MacIntyre -‘You’re A Star.’ mp3

Tango In The Attic -‘Jackanory.’ mp3

Be A Familiar -‘Pain In The Heart.’ mp3

Parka -‘Better Anyway.’ mp3

Hazey Janes -‘New York.’ mp3

Monica Queen -‘I’m Sorry Darling.’ mp3

As always, if you like what you hear, please support the artists. All these artists can be found on eMusic.

*this is not to show disrespect to gay folk of either gender, women, mime artists or Shakespeareans. OK?

Does there have to be a reason?


I was driving around Edinburgh tonight, doing various tasks for 17 Seconds Records. The soundtrack was The Cult’s Electric, which I feel has dated rather badly. Who advised them that a cover of ‘Born To Be Wild’ was a good idea?

Even more so when compared to this track of theirs from 1984, from their first album as the Cult, Dreamtime; sheer class.

On balance I think The Cult were better when drawing on their goth roots and less good when trying to be Led Zep.

The Cult -‘Spiritwalker.’ mp3

Top tracks of the year so far


It might change between now and the end of the year – and that’s my perogative, but for now, these are my top ten tracks of the year so far:

1. Peter Parker -‘Swallow The Rocket.’

2. The Big Pink -‘Velvet.’

3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs -‘Zero.’

4. Mono -‘Everlasting Light.’ mp3

5. St. Vincent -‘Actor Out Of Work.’ mp3

6. Telefon Tel Aviv -‘The Birds.’ mp3

7. Horace Andy & Ashley Beedle -‘Babylon You Lose.’ mp3

8. White -‘Build A Link.’ mp3

9. The Gothenburg Address -‘A Lesser Coming Home.’

10. The Horrors -‘Who Can Say?’

Hope you like it – and anyone who thinks it’s just white boys with guitars obviously isn’t paying attention…

17 Seconds Records is one year old!


Oh yes.

Following on from the third anniversary of the blog last month, 17 Seconds Records is now one year old. In that time we have signed five fantastic acts – Aberfeldy, X Lion Tamer, Escape Act, The Dirty Cuts and Chris Bradley.

This has all been possible with the help of my darling wife, my business partner Laurent, Scott’s frequent mailouts, my parents, Breadbin’s ace design, our five fantastic acts, Bruce Findlay for advice, Julia for her excellent artwork and videos, and anyone who bought the records, came to the shows, played the records, wrote about us etc..

There are a few live dates coming up…

15 Aug 2009 Aberfeldy @ Rowchester Music Festival Near Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Scotland
21 Aug 2009 X Lion Tamer @ National Portrait Gallery Edinburgh, Scotland
23 Aug 2009 Chris Bradley @ Electric Circus Edinburgh, Scotland
29 Aug 2009 The Dirty Cuts @ Stereo w/Casino Brag Glasgow, Scotland
12 Sep 2009 Chris Bradley @ Linkylea Festival Haddington, Scotland
23 Oct 2009 Aberfeldy @ Cupar Corn Exchange Cupar, Scotland

Make friends with us at myspace if you haven’t done so already.

Chris Bradley -‘Down I Go.’ mp3

X Lion Tamer -‘Life Support Machine.’ mp3

…so what would make the best all-time Welsh playlist?


I’ve done a fair bit on here about what would make the best all-time Scottish playlist, but what about other parts of the British Isles? Wales, for example.

These bands have gotta be contenders…

Melys -‘Chinese Whispers.’ mp3

Helen Love -‘Long Live the UK Music Scene.’ mp3

Darling Buds -‘Hit the Ground.’ mp3

Super Furry Animals -‘Inaugural Trams.’ mp3

Stereophonics -‘Local Boy In the Photograph.’ mp3 (I didn’t like much of the later stuff either, but this is a class track).

Manic Street Preachers -‘You Love Alone Is Not Enough.’ mp3

Texas Radio Band -‘Chwareon.’ mp3

Datblygu -‘Popeth.’ mp3

Obviously, there’s the Clouds, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Catatonia, Gruff Rhys solo, Future Of The Left…any other suggestions?

I want my NME


For many years, Wednesday morning meant one thing above all else: NME day. From about the age of fourteen, until some point in my late twenties, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest copy to read about about the bands I loved, and what bands I felt I should (be seen to be) listening to. Somewhere, round about 2004-5, I think, when I was working in Fopp and doing teacher training, I slowly began to be more influenced by the emerging mp3 blogs (before I started to write one), and The Wire – which covered far more radical music. Plus working in a record shop as a till monkey, I was actually getting to hear a fair amount of stuff coming out, and not all of it ‘indie.’ That word itself has been the subject of much discussion, as we shall see.

The New Musical Express, to give it the full title it has had since 1952, is still a cornerstone of popular music in the UK. I mean popular in the sense of ‘music of the masses, rather than as a disdainful looking down my nose. I once told someone, at the age of twenty, I think, that my ambitions were to get a PhD in Philosophy, to have my picture taken with Mickey Mouse at Disneyworld and to appear on the front cover of NME. I suppose I may yet achieve the first two. As for the third, it symbolised a lot to me then: ‘cool’ in terms of the outsider perspective – or so it seemed, music that went against the grain and the mainstream.

The NME has survived as a weekly music magazine when others failed. The early nineties saw the folding of both Record Mirror and Sounds. Melody Maker folded in 2000, after the unsuccessful attempt to style it as a sort of ‘indie’ Smash Hits. Melody Maker had started in 1926, so had lasted seventy years plus. NME started in 1952, so has racked up fifty-seven years and counting.

In the last two months it has been announced that the editor for the last seven years, Conor McNicholas has gone to edit the BBC Top Gear magazine and his place is to be taken by Krissi Murrison. This is a good thing in so many ways.

McNicholas seemed to be so obssessed with branding, not just in terms of spreading the NME as a brand but also getting the NME linked with other brands. Hair gels seemed to be a favourite. Once upon a time – the eighties and much of the nineties, the paper was synonymous with socialism, even if it was owned by IPC. This seems out of sync with the tie-ins the paper seemed to be linked with over the last decade. Another fault I would have to pick is that the paper seemed to be becoming more like Heat magazine, and becoming more concerened with what indie bands were doing in the tabloids (we don’t care!) rather than promoting up and coming bands. ‘Indie’ now seems to be a word in the public domain -good -0but far too often, with dull bands that just produce dull guitar music. ‘Indie’ was synonymous with independent, meaning outside of the mainstream and less bound by constraints.


The paper’s range of music being covered also seemed to be getting progressively (ironic, that) narrower, so that it seemed to be focusing on run-of-the-mill indie bands more and more, and less on more diverse music. This list of Front covers shows that in the eighties there were clearly more essays, more features on politics, and a wider spread of music. 1987 saw Terence Trent D’arby (them massive) on the front cover twice!

To be honest, sometimes the readers have been at fault – in 1995, Elton John, East 17 and Rod Stewart all got covers, Cue disgruntled readers. The NME tried to broaden its’ range a few years later, putting Missy Elliott, Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Destiny’s Child on the cover. the Godspeed cover was, infamously, the lowest selling issue ever. So soon, it got indier and indier, and more and more mainstream. The NME tour in January/February used to be synonymous with breaking new bands -Coldplay opened it in early 2000, and other bands who appeared included Franz Ferdinand, The Bluetones and The Coral. Then towards the last few years, it seemed that whiilst the tour still seemed like good value for money, the bands concerened were more established. It was typical of the paper, it didn’t want to take a risk.

I don’t know about you, but given that so many other music papers have gone in the last twenty years (see also Smash Hits, Select, Vox…) I hope that NME can stay the course. But I would like to see it cover a wider range of bands -the NME shouldn’t be just covering one type of music, like metal or dance magazines do. It would be good to see, y’know, the return of books and films being mentioned in there; more about other music and trying to encourage people to listen to other stuff. Sure I listen to a lot of indie, but as far as I’m concerned, this decade owes just as much to R’n’B and Hip-Hop as indie, if not more so. Reggae seems to feature far less, as does Hip-Hop.

With a female editor at the helm, maybe the paper will actually take a radical step forward and be what it should be: A paper about music, and the issues that connect with it. there have been occasional bold steps –the Beth Ditto cover for instance, but the paper should be doing more of these. More coverage of music outside the mainstream, and -dare I say it? – perhaps a few more black and female faces. Many would like to see that Ms Murrison has the vision to take the paper in a fresh direction, and not kertow to big-wig publishers and narrow-minded indie snobs.


Here’s hoping.

As it mentions the NME…

Sex Pistols -‘Anarchy In the UK.’ mp3

The Big Pink album


The Big Pink are set to release their debut album on September 14, entitled A Brief History Of Love, on 4AD.

And this is your chance to hear it four yourselves ahead of release!

The tracklisting is:

Here’s the tracklisting for A Brief History Of Love:
‘Crystal Visions’
‘Too Young To Love’
‘Love In Vain’
‘At War With The Sun’
‘Golden Pendulum’
‘A Brief History Of Love’
‘Countbackwards From Ten’

As always, please let me know what you think.

This is the next single, made available as a free download:

The Big Pink -‘Dominoes.’ mp3

The Big Pink website/The Big Pink Myspace