Cults is the Manhattan duo of Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin. Their latest video, for their gorgeous track ‘Go Outside’ involves one of the most notorious -and ultimately tragic – cults ever: Jonestown.

Needless to say, there are those who have reacted negatively to the video. But the director Isaiah Seret has said: ‘For this music video we didn’t want to put a spin on the footage or the peoples lives—instead we wanted to re-tell and humanize their story. In order to achieve this we used a combination of stock footage, visual effects and other tricks to embed the band into the historical footage. This was achieved through my collaboration with my visual effects supervisor Bill Gillman and my cinematographer Matthew Lloyd. Lastly, I am moved to say when we completed the video we were able to preview it for some of the survivors of the Jonestown Massacre, who expressed their appreciation of our focus on the lives of the People’s Temple members as opposed to exploiting the graphic images of the final tragedy.’

Let the video and music speak for itself. And remember: those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

Go Outside, by Cults from Boing Boing on Vimeo.

17 Seconds’ Fifth Birthday!


Yours truly DJing at PinUps in Glasgow, 2010.

Still here!

Yup, five years after my first tentative post, 17 Seconds is five years old.

In that time, I’ve been able to contribute articles to other publications (including Voucher Codes’ Most wanted, The List and Is This Music?). I’ve been able to DJ, been involved in gig promoting, interviewed mlots of artists and had my own show on Fresh Air, the local student radio station. Oh, and doing 17 Seconds Records. This has seen me put out quite a few singles, EPs and albums. The thrill of holding a 7″ single or album you have put out (or seeing it on download services), hearing it on the radio, reviewed…STILL hasn’t worn off.

So thanks everyone for their support so far. Comments always welcome.

Above all, love and big, big gratitude to my wonderful wife, Mrs. 17 Seconds, who I celebrated four years of marriage with yesterday.

The Cure -‘Seventeen Seconds.’ mp3



The West Country of England has given us some awesome music over the years: Electronic wonder courtesy of Aphex Twin; the three-pronged attack of Trip-Hop’s Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky; Muse’s mystical madness and the goddess that is PJ Harvey (Reef are best forgotten about).

Now, straight outta Shaftesbury, Dorset, come Achilles.

An instrumental act, this track ‘Worried Sick’ is their first release, following on from what appear to have been legendary live performances.

Comparisons have been made with the likes of Jagga Jazzist and Battles; there’s definitely a post-rock thing going on here.

I can’t find out much more about the band from their bandcamp, website or even the record company’s website, so, hell, I’ll just let the music speak for itself.

Belle and Sebastian Vs. Cold Cave…and Richard X


Next week* will see the release of a 12″ single from Belle and Sebastian, entitled ‘Come On Sister’ which is not getting a digital release.

Its tracklisting is as follows:
Come On Sister (Tony Doogan mix)
I Didn’t See It Coming (Richard X mix)
I Didn’t See It Coming (Cold Cave remix)
Blue Eyes of a Millionaire

Cold Cave’s remix of ‘I didn’t see it coming’ can be downloaded via Stereogum below.

Belle and Sebastian -‘I Didn’t See It Coming.’ mp3 (via Stereogum)

There’s also two videos available:

This first one, for ‘Come On Sister’ reminds me of the one for ‘I’m A Cuckoo’ (in a good way)

This animated video for ‘I Didn’t See It Coming’ (with the Richard X remix) is awesome, too:

* I should clarify: it’s out on Rough Trade on July 18 in the UK, and July 26 on Matador in the US.

Album review – Dropkick


Dropkick -‘Time Cuts The Ties.’ (Sound Asleeep Records)

If you are looking for radical musical innovation, then you have come to the wrong place. On the other hand, if you are looking for a comforting, warm collection of nicely crafted songs…step inside. Do. It’s a really cosy place.

This is a very enjoyable album. The band are clearly – but not uncomfortably – in thrall to the sound of the West Coast of America of the 1970s, and there are also echoes of fellow scots Cosmic Rough Riders and latter day (Grand Prix onwards) Teenage Fanclub. There are a number of great tracks on here – my personal favourites include the oepning trip of ‘Let Down Again’ Bad Line’ and Everything Changes’ and ‘Hold On.’

Given that the singer-songwriter world can be overcrowded in this day and age, there’s something reassuring about the way Dropkick quietly go about what they do. Maybe it is similar to stuff you have heard before – but once you’ve heard it, you’ll probably want to hear it again.


Time Cuts The Ties is out now on Sound Sleep Records.

Listen to the whole album at Last FM

Presenting…Sargasso Trio


Despite the name, Norwich’s Sargasso Trio are, in fact, a quartet. However, they did start off as a trio.

Hailing from Norwich, they are Ben Winn, Pete Murdoch, Emily Siddall and James Leeds. It’s the arrival of the latter that’s made them a quartet. According to the press release, the band members original found each other playing in a Samba band in deepest Norfolk. This might sound like something quirky that’s been made up….until you listen to their music and realise that this is actually the case. There’s something really rather wonderful and fresh about their sound that grabs you from the moment you hear it.

Next week will see the release of their sophomore album Get To Grips. Both this and their debut album Burnin’ Burnin’ Burnin’ can be streamed over at Soundcloud.

For now, enjoy the excellent single ‘Dinner’ with its’ really rather good video…

Presenting…Plastic Animals


I’ve been meaning to cover Plastic Animals for a while now.

Formed in Edinburgh in 2006, this year seems to have been something of a watershed (perhaps a bad word to use on a day when so much of Edinburgh has been flooded, but anyway) for the band, with a lot of gigging and recording going on, and a brand new five track EP released, entitled A Dark Spring.

I cannot find out much about the band, except there are three of them – Mario Cruzado, James Lynch and Dave Wark.

You can stream the EP below and download the rather excellent ‘It Fell Apart’ for free.


Update: here is video footage my friend Scott took of the band three months ago:

Plastic Animals – Recording from Scott Willis on Vimeo.

Album Review – Josh Ottum


Josh Ottum -‘Watch TV’ (Tapete Records)

The press release for this album speak of this being an album of contrasts. What it’s meant to convey is that Josh Ottum’s singer-songwriter approach mixed with his deliberately NOT guilty pleasure usage of using GarageBand for this record.

The thing is, that while he may not care whether people think it’s cool or not to use certain artificial sounds, I have no problem with it (though the guitar effect on ‘Fool In The Night’ is way over the top)…apart from it leaving the record sounding not very good. The songs are pleasant enough, certainly inoffensive, but nothing to write home about.

The sad thing is that Ottum has obviously worked hard on this album overseveral years, and it’s clearly important to him to investigate with the sounds that he finds exciting. Fair enough. There’s nothing really wrong with this record, but it’s not the exciting journey it would like to think it is.


Watch TV is released on Tapete Records on July 11.

Josh Ottum – Fool In The Night by Tapete Records

Album review – Scumbag Philosopher


Scumbag Philosopher -‘It Means Nothing So It Means Nothing’ (Words On Music)

OK…maybe this says more about me than the band (in fact, it definitely does) – but whilst I thought the first two tracks I heard off this album were ok, now it makes the most sense with in the context of the album. Hmm, anyway…

Whilst there were lots of bands who did stuff with the post-punk records of the late seventies and early over the last ten years, Scumbag Philosopher have realised that whilst Entertainment! by Gang Of Four is an excellent album, they can also have a hell of a lot of fun with The Fall-pre Brix Smith, Harvest-era Wire and more than a nodding acquaintance with the likes of The Cramps and Killing Joke. But whilst you can tell where their influences may lie – as with all the best bands, they have taken them and are running wild with them. And it’s bloody fantastic.

It’s infuriatingly catchy -‘Scumbag Philosopher! Scumbag Philosopher!’ You will be singing once you’ve heard it. Because you’ll go and buy it. There’s four band members here and not only are they playing as a group but they’re intensely individualistic players who draw you in.

And of course, there is the album’s main track ‘God Is Dead So I Listen To Radiohead.’ Not a swipe at Radiohead per se -some of the band ARE fans and I’m still happy to put my hand up to being one, too – but those who slavishly worship Nietzsche through their slavish devotion to Radiohead. And buying two copies of everything – one to play, one to keep. I cannot help wondering if the sort of Philosophy student I might have been just a little bit is being ripped -and I’m laughing at the joke with everyone else.

This album rocks like a bastard, frankly; and it’s got a very cool sense of anti-cool.

You know what to do…

It Means Nothing So It Is Nothing is out now on Words On Music.

Scumbag Philosopher -‘God Is Dead So I Listen To Radiohead.’ mp3