Presenting…Funeral Club


I’ve heard way, way too much indie by numbers of late, so I’m more than a little relieved to hear a record that makes me prick up my ears (yes, very funny) and want to listen to it again and again.

The record in question is Funeral Club‘s song ‘Whiskey and Clyde’ which is an excellent line in gothic. Think not so much hanging around Kensington Market hoping to be recruited for a Sisters of Mercy video, but the gothic of Nick Cave’s writing and music or David Lynch (I’m reading Cave’s The Death of Bunny Munro and watching the Twin Peaks Series 1 at the moment. There are few better ways to spend your time by yourself).

Formerly known as the Grizzly Owls, the band were formed by the husband and wife team of Joseph and Jenny Andreotti in 2006, and play with Raymond Richards and Bri Ana Drennon. Amongst their influences they list not only Nick Cave and the Gun Club but also the more ethereal goth sounds of the Cocteaus and Slowdive.

This track isn’t on their album The Year Of the Bloody Sevens, but they are making it available as a free download, so download this, and go and buy the album. I just have…

Funeral Club -‘Whiskey and Clyde.’ mp3

Like this? Try ‘Whatever has he done?’ and ‘The Arrival Of the First Woman.’

Album Review – M.I.A.


M.I.A. ‘ /\/\ /\ Y /\’ (XL)

Following on from 2005’s astounding debut Arular and 2007’s fantatsic Kala, Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam returns with an amazing third album.

The first thing to say is that anyone who was lulled into M.I.A.’s world by the awesome ‘Paper Planes’ single, built around the riff from the Clash’s ‘Straight To Hell’ should not expect this record to be comprised of similar sounding tracks. The first single to be released from the album ‘Born Free’, with its’ accompanying video which was pulled by YouTube for graphic violence remains one of the most starting and best tracks to be released so far this year. It’s a controversial video that’s very much in your face and it’s an astonishing song, built around the riff from Suicide’s ‘Ghostrider’ from their seminal 1977 debut. Suicide were too much for many of the punk audiences and this is typical of how several years into her career M.I.A. is on her own terms and still marching to her own tunes.

That’s not to say that M.I.A. is going to be away from the airwaves -‘XXXO’ is a tune that Lady GaGa or La Roux would kill for. The thng about M.I.A. is that she has the appeal and approach to genuinely distort and subvert the mainstream, perhaps in the way that Depeche Mode took the skewed take on the world of bands like Throbbing Gristle and into the top ten and the world’s stadia. You can, after all, surround the houses of parliament, or you can storm it by subversion.

There are certainly lyrics on here that will be deemed ‘NSFW’ (‘Not Safe For Work.’ Keep up). On ‘Steppin’ Up’ – a record that features a drill to, er, smashing effect M.I.A. informs us ‘You know who I am/I run this fucking club.’ Several times. This is an album that mixes hip-hop with electronica, as before, but with such a sonic ferocity that few albums could match this. Think the aforementioned Suicide debut or Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Million To Hold Us Back.

Lightning strikes for a third time on this album. M.I.A’s taking absolutely no prisoners and whilst I was unsure on my first listen I’m absolutely smitten on my third. Don’t be fooled by the magazine covers and chart positions, this lady has lost none of her firepower and I suspect if she’d ever appeared on a TV show with Russell Harty he would not dare have ignored her. Chances are, he can’t from the grave either…


M.I.A.’s website/M.I.A.’s myspace

Stream the album here

This isn’t the official video but you can hear the track in its’ glory here.

and if you still haven’t seen it, that controversial ‘Born Free’ video in full…

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

By the way, M.I.A.’s birthday is today (July 17). Happy Birthday!

Four years old!


‘C’mon! You must play with me before playing your records!’

So…17 Seconds (the blog) is four years old.

It’s been a wonderful journey so far, that’s seen me getting sent more music to review than I would have thought possible, getting on the guest list for lots of gigs, being written about, meeting lots of fantastic people, getting to DJ again…not to mention setting up a record label and interviewing people I have idolised, to being asked to present my own show on the radio.

Sure it’s had its’ downsides, but it’s been great, overall, so far. According to Matthew at Song, By Toad it’s the longest-running mp3 blog in Scotland so far. It’s been a helluva a journey at the same time -when I started the blog, Mrs. 17 Seconds had only just moved in (never mind getting married), we didn’t have the cats and the thought of radio shows, interviewing singers or promoting gigs was just fantasy. I didn’t have much of a clue how to go about it, but on a wing and a prayer I’ve got this far.

So thanks to everyone who’s supported me, particularly my parents, brother and sister in law, fellow bloggers, Laurent and Scott for helping me do the label and anyone whose encouraged me. Readers who left comments, bands who made me feel that coverage from me mattered. Especially when my world was falling down around my ears. Most of all to my lovely wife Mrs. 17 Seconds, with whom I celebrated three years of marriage yesterday.

There’s so many songs I could post right now- but if there’s just going to be one, it has to be this, the song that named my mission into the world of music on my terms:

The Cure -‘Seventen Seconds.’ mp3


2010…so far


Me on the decks at Pin Ups, Glasgow

It’s been a great start to the year, musically, and I’ve been trying to hear as much stuff as I possibly can. There’s been some wonderful stuff, some not so good stuff -and no doubt some stuff that I’ll rant about, and yet possibly even change my mind about.

So what’s floated my boat this year so far? Well, I’ve really, really loved the latest eagleowl EP Into The Fold, the closing track ‘No Conjunction’ is without a doubt my song of the year so far. I’ve also been knocked for six by Delorean’s latest album, Subiza, and the Call to Mind EP, all of which got five stars here.

Sure, the scots have had some excellent albums so far this year, what with the sophomore from Meursault, All Creatures Will Make Merry, and debuts from Kid Canaveral and Mitchell Museum. To say nothing of a slew of excellent releases from the likes of Burnt Island, The Scottish Enlightenment, Cancel the astronauts and Fear the Fives.

Further afield, I’ve been loving The Drums, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Dum Dum Girls and the Soft Pack, and the Futureheads have returned with what is clearly their best record since their debut. It’s not all been indie round these parts, though, as you’ll see when I post my review of the latest M.I.A. album, and releases from Konono No.1, Four Tet and Yeasayer have also kept their place around here. I was less than impressed by latest offerings from the likes of The New Pornographers and The National, though…

There’s still another six months left to go, of course, but it’s been great, so far…

Delorean -‘Stay Close.’ mp3

Dum Dum Girls -‘Jail La La.’ mp3

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti -‘Round and Round.’ mp3

Meursault -‘Crank resolutions.’ mp3

The Drums -‘Let’s Go Surfing.’ mp3

Soft Pack -‘C’mon.’ mp3

Yeasayer -‘O.N.E.’ mp3

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

Sugar Minott 1956-2010


Another day in 2010, another sad loss to the music world.

I wish I could write with some authority about Sugar Minott; the sad fact is that, tragically, I’m not best qualified to do so.

But his voice was astounding, so I’ll encourage you to listen to this, and this time, encourage any readers who can point me in the direction of good tributes on the web or recommend me to check out particualr songs and albums, that would be great.

This was his biggest hit in the UK, with a cover of a song originally done by Michael Jackson.

Sugar Minott -‘Good Thing Going.’ mp3

EP review – Cancel the astronauts


Cancel The Astronauts -‘Funny For A Girl EP’ (Riley Records)

Following on from last year’s rather fine ‘I am the President Of Your Fanclub And Last Night I Followed You Home’ the Edinburgh five-piece have returned five another five track EP. It’s a winner that shows how they have developed, and if you’ve been enjoying the recent debut album from Kid Canaveral, then I’m pretty sure you’ll love this too.

Is there something different about an EP to a single? Well, I still maintain that there is, or at least should be. Namely that a) you get more tunes for your money’s worth, and that more than one track therein should be on a par with the lead track. Ride’s first four EPs understood this…umm, twenty years ago now, and for their first eighteen months so did Oasis. Because what counts here is that every single track is excellent, and if I love ‘Funny For A Girl’ the most, then I also think that the sad but sublime ‘Standing Still’ and the closing ‘Listen’ are awesome as well.

Check it out for yourselves. Listen to the EP and then go and buy it. For just more a little more than the price of a cup of coffee this is a release you’ll want to play for a long time to come.


<a href="">Funny For A Girl by Cancel The Astronauts</a>

Cancel The Astronauts’ website/Cancel The Astronauts’ myspace

The band have generously given me two copies to give away, so email me at for the chance to win the EP on CD. Closing date is July 18.

Album Review – Mitchell Museum


Mitchell Museum -‘The Peter’s Port Memorial Service’ (Electra French)

Over the last year, this awesome Glasgow four-piece have steadily been making more and more of a name for themselves. And deservedly so. Singles like ‘Tiger’s Heartbeat,’ ‘Take The Tongue Out’ and the recent ‘Warning Bells’ have shown that this is a band who have a way with a song that shows that anthemic does not have to mean anaemic, bland or flag waving, but killer tunes that will hopefully find their place on festival stages and indie discos for many years to come. And if there’s any justice, maybe daytime radio as well…

This album has been picking up some love across the blogosphere, quite rightly, and I will happily add myself to the ever-growing list of the album’s admirers. It’s not just the three aforementioned singles that grab you, but the whole album, which, particularly importantly in this day and age of people cherry-picking a handful of tracks on download services, works as a whole. Opener ‘We Won Second Prize’ feels like an overture for the show that’s about to unfold.

Though they hail from Glasgow, they don’t evoke a particularly scottish sound, it’s more evocative of the likes of prime Arcade Fire or Mercury Rev. But these guys are no copyists, they are ploughing their own furrow and one I am more than to follow.


Mitchell Museum -‘Mission 1.’ mp3

The Peter’s Port Memorial Service is released tomorrow on Electra French.

Mitchell Museum website/Mitchell Museum myspace

‘Warning Bells’ – mitchell museum from mitchell museum on Vimeo.

Take the Tongue Out Video from mitchell museum on Vimeo.

Gig Review -TV21


TV21, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, July 9.

As has been well documented, TV21 were one of the post-punk bands out of Scotland in the early 1980s. They were part of a scottish post-punk scene that also included the Scars and the Prats, and most famously, Simple Minds. They formed in 1979 in Ayrshire and split in 1982, the day after they supported the Rolling Stones in Edinburgh at the Playhouse, leaving behind some brilliant singles, and an album, The Thin Red Line, now available as part of the compilation Snakes and Ladders. They reformed in October 2005 for a gig commemorating the legendary John Peel, and things have gone from there. The line-up remains the same, with the exception of drummer Simon McGlynn who joined for the 2005 gig.

I knew the name, of course, but clikced with TV21 more when they released their first album in 28 years (and their second album ever), Forever 22 last year. What is clear, as Cabaret Voltaire fills up nicely thank you, is that while there are people who have followed them since the early days, there are also people (younger than my 33 years in some cases) who have cottoned onto them. Despite the non-appearance of one of the scheduled support bands, TV21 tear into an extended set.

And it’s clear that they are enjoying themslves. The set comprises material from both albums, and the crowd are into it, though being Edinburgh, of course, we don’t quite let ourselves go as a crowd. Songs from the earlier era like ‘On the Run (Whose Gonna Get Me First?)’ and ‘Snakes and Ladders’ mix well with material from last year, not least the title track of ‘Forever 22.’ If you haven’t heard this song yet, think a more positive, if more wistful take on the subject matter of the ‘Boys of Summer.’

There’s been a big post-punk revival in recent years, which has had a major impact on the ‘indie scene’ (such as it is) over the last five years. What’s also clear is a case of plus ca change la meme chose with the despair at a Tory government of ‘What’s Going On?’ just as pertinent now as it was nearly three decades ago. But it’s worth noting that this is a band firing on all cylinders, and singer Norman Rodger with trusty foils Ally Palmer on guitar and Neil Baldwin on bass can work a crowd. I didn’t see them in 1979-1982 -and it really doesn’t matter. I’ve seen them in 2010 (twice -they played this venue two months ago as part of Tigerfest), and that’s something great to have witnessed.

They finish with the cool-as…rockabilly of ‘When Cole Was King’ (sic) and the sense is that here is a band who came back and still matter. Not least is the significance that they can finish with a new song rather than just trottin out the numbers of old. Catch them when you can.

Snakes and Ladders: Almost Complete 1980-1982 is out now on Rev-Ola and Forever 22 is out on Powbeat. Do yourself a favour and buy them both.

TV21 -‘On the Run.’ mp3



Southend-based four piece Redtrack have just released their new single ‘Perfectly Fine Intellectual’/’Imogen.’

Released on Label Fandango (who also brought us early releases from the likes of Broken Records and Cut Off Your Hands, amongst others), this storming track evokes the passion of Maximo Park, the sheer energy of the Futureheads and the excitement of Arctic Monkeys. Yet, there’s enough wonder here to make sure that the lads are not just another indie-by-numbers type of band. And it’s an excellent follow-up to last year’s ‘Poledancer.’

The band are Billy Wright (lead vocals,guitar), Phil Blake (bass), Mitch Silvey (guitar) and Andrew Perry (drums). They will release the first album ever on Label Fandango entitled Whole Town’s Heart on August 9.

Check these out -and remember to let me know what you think!

Redtrack -‘Perfectly Fine Intellectual.’

Redtrack -‘Imogen.’

Redtrack -‘Poledancer.’

Redtrack website/ Redtrack myspace

Very exciting news!


We are extremely excited that the Last Battle, who released their debut single ‘Ruins’ this week on 17 Seconds Records (17SEC19) will be supporting Withered Hand at the Electric Circus in Edinburgh on August 17.

Withered Hand’s debut album Good News was one of THE releases of last year; I interviewed Dan Willson in January and he’s a fantastic bloke. Interestingly, both bands have worked with Neil Pennycook of Meursault, whose profile continues to rise with slots at Glastonbury and T in the Park. If you haven’t got Meursault’s albums, you are letting yourself down, badly.

Last Battle -‘Black Waterfall.’ mp3

Last Battle -‘Ward 119.’ mp3

Meursault -‘Crank Resolutions.’ mp3

In other news, I’ve been offered my own radio show on Fresh Air radio, the local student radio station in Edinburgh.

very excited too…watch this space…