Album Review: Seamus Fogarty


Seamus Fogarty ‘God Damn You Mountain’ (Fence)

Googling Seamus Fogarty, not surprisingly, the Fence label comes up. According to the label site of the legendary Fife label ‘Seamus Fogarty hails from the west of Ireland and writes songs about mountains that steal t-shirts, women who look like dinosaurs and various other unfortunate incidents.’ That would be the perfect tart to a record review, but it’s already been used and I can’t pass it off as my own. Never mind. It does sound good.

Released as a vinyl LP (with CD inside, this makes perfect sense because this really is an album of two halves. Side A is like an audio collage (appropriately enough for a man who is an artist and has worked in installation, painting and installation). The final track on this side ‘Rita Jack’s Lament’ is particuarly, building up and then folding in on itself. IN the best possible way, it has to be heard to be believed. Side B on the other hand is much more sparse, Seamus’s voice as near as unaccompanied as it can be without actually being a capella with little more than banjo or guitar and a bit of percussion.

The album is a real charm, and if you can’t get half a hole, then you can certaonly have a record that is the sum of its part, two very impressive parts making up one very impressive hole.

Apparently, there are those folks who ‘don’t get’ Fence. Shame.


God Damn You Mountain is out now on Fence.

Rita Jack’s Lament from Seamus Fogarty on Vimeo.

Tom Jones: still not stopping at 70*


Ditching the leathers (though they worked well when he collaborated with New Model Army) and the medallions seems to have worked well for Tom Jones.

Just a couple of months after he collaborated with Jack White on a limited 7″ called ‘Evil’, Tom Jones’ latest album Spirit In The Room shows that he (or at least his advisors, but I suspect the man himself) still has his finger on the pulse.

In the late eighties he covered Prince’s ‘Kiss’ with the Art of Noise; the nineties saw him produce an album working with the then crop of stars (many of whom he seems to have outlasted), and now his latest album sees him covering Low Anthem’s ‘Charlie Darwin‘ and the title track of Tom Waits’ latest album Bad as Me which you can stream and download below.

Rather good, methinks…and I can’t see Cliff Richard doing this

*yeah, I know he’s 71, but it scans better, no?

Presenting…Jake Morley


Oh no. Another singer-songwriter-guitarist?

In this case he’s actually damn good, like a beacon of hope and potential in an overcrowded field of weeds.

…oh and he plays bass guitar with Luke Haines when the former Auteurs/Black Box Recorder man performs as The Luke Haines Power Trio. That put your snobbery aside, for a moment at least?

His style of guitar playing has been described as the admittedly rather unusual style of lap tapping, allowing him to tap, slap, and strum his guitar. On the single ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ not only this but the use of the choir was something I wasn’t expecting. And it absolutely rules. This is not your usual ten-a-penny singer-songwriter, thank God.

His new album is entitled Many Fish To Fry and it’s available on the rather unusually titled Sandwich Emporium record label.

And he’s coming to Scotland!

Jake Morley plays Glasgow Roxy on May 15 and Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s on May 16.

Album Review: Spiritualized


Spiritualized -‘Sweet heart, sweet light.’ (Double Six/Domino)

Ah, J. Spaceman. We have been expecting you. Again. And once more the latest album from Spiritualized does not disappoint.

It’s now twenty years since their debut Lazer Glided Melodies and fifteen since the draw-dropping Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, their seventh album shows Jason Pierce and his team continuing to brew up a heady mix of avant rock, jazz, gospel, soul and God knows what else. It’s marvellous.

Over the last two months, the single ‘Hey Jane’ (available at the bottom of this page) has delighted as a song and raised eyebrows with that video. It’s an album highlight, but the good news is that it’s not another ten facsimiles of that song. The themes of someone searching salvation and trying to find answers continue and the audio confection on display as ever is one that there is much enjoyment ahead to be had just listening to all and digesting each little bit.

The final two tracks ‘Life Is a Problem’ and ‘So Long You Pretty Thing’ take the album out on a high. There is so much soul-searching that goes on in music and most of it is pretty tiresome. But lyrically, musically, track by track and as a whole package, Spiritualized eneter their thrid decade as a band never less than compelling.


Sweet heart, sweet light is out on April 16 on Double Six/Domino.

New -well sorta, from New Order


Originally recorded for their third album, 1985’s Lowlife, New Order’s track ‘Elegia’ (recorded as an elegy to Ian Curtis, who committed suicide in 1980, whereupon the band became New Order -just in case you ddn’t know) is shortly to get a full release on vinyl.

‘Only’ five minutes in its edited form on Lowlife, American label Dope Jams are to issue the track on 12″ vinyl . You can stream the track below.

Thoughts? Part of me is glad that it is available as it might orginally have been intended on the format that most listeners would have picked it up on in 1985, though I wonder if it isn’t slightly better in its’ original version. In a way, it almost seems like ‘Your Silent Face part 2.’

..or is it simply that being more familiar with the Lowlife version I prefer it? Still reckon Lowlife is their best album after Technique.

Forthcoming from Song, By Toad


Song, By Toad Records, as run by Matthew Young and his lovely wife are gearing up for a very busy 2012.

First up at the end of this month is the new album from The Leg. Entitled An Eagle To Saturn, so far two tracks have been made available to download for free. The first is ‘Twitching Stick’ which can be downloaded from their awesome 2012 sampler at the bottom of the page (new stuff from Meursault, too! Yusss!!) and they have now made ‘Bake Yourself Silly’ available to download for free, too:

Not only that, but according to Matthew Toad’s blog there are mysterious things afoot for the launch night in Edinburgh in two weeks’ time: “Saturday 28th April we will be holding a very special launch night at a secret venue in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Due to the slightly dubious nature of the space itself we’ll be meeting in the pub beforehand – probably upstairs at The Wash bar, which is the closest by – between 7 and 8pm, and will then all walk up to the place together.”

Find out more here

Album Review: Ghosts

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Ghosts -‘The End’ (Pocket Records)

The debut album for the five-piece is unashamedly pop! Not in a dumbed down sense, but in the way that the likes of The Pet Shop Boys, Swimmer One or Saint Etienne make music that is pop, without that inferring teeny-bopper, or being somehow inferior to rock or indie.

There might be those who see album opener and current single ‘Ghosts’ as being dark-wave, but the album does have slightly less dark moments, like first single ‘Enough Time.’ It’s music that could get you on the dancefloor, yet simultaneously it’s thinking person’s music without having to imply pseud/beard-stroking etc..

It doesn’t necessarily rewrite the rule book, but this is a strong collection of songs, and so good to hear a record that is heartfelt and haunting without being worthy or self-indulgent.

The end? Hopefully the beginning…


The End is released on Pocket Records on April 15.

Presenting…Aggi Doom


Glasgow’s Aggi Doom are just fantastic. They describe themselves as being ‘dark wave’ – though as one or two others have observed, this may be to throw the unsuspecting off the scent…I am so smitten with their forthcoming ‘Bring Me The Head’/’Cakewalk’ single (due out on Soft Power on May 21) that I played said single five times in a row.

They are Claudia Nova, Scott Caruth, Hillary Van Scoy and Joan Sweeney. Although their facebook page descrbes our three heroines and hero as being ‘unsigned’ they have contributed a track called ‘The Loving Kind’ to a Creeping Bent compilation called Fluxing Up The Aesthetic, as well as the aforementioned Soft Power single.

They combine the best of The Raincoats with a nod to 60s garage rock and exude the sort of cool that The Slits’ older sisters might have had (actually, speaking of which, they did support Viv Albertine in Glasgow a few months ago). Yes, I could talk about c81 and c86 (I may have done that too often here on 17 Seconds in the last six years), but they are so very, very good. And there is so much more to them than this.

For now, check out this below:

…and I’d really love to know what you think.

Album Review: The Draymin


The Draymin -‘Should’ve Known Better’ (Townsend Records)

Rosyth five-piece The Draymin have been together for a number of years now, and it’s clear that getting here has been quite some labour of love. The five piece acknowledge their debt to 90s dance as much as the indie music of the same era.

There are some strong songs on this album – album opener ‘Heart Attack’ gets proceedings off to a fine start, and having played this album about half a dozen times before sitting down to write this review, ‘You Bring The Fire’ is another strong cut.

There are some good ideas going on here, but there is a risk of the band a) wearing their influences too much on their sleeves and b) despite the professed dance influences coming perilously close to the overly full bin that is ‘Indie-by-numbers.’ ‘Hold Your Position’ for example, sounds way too close to Kings Of Leon for comfort. Yes, KoL are very popular, but it doesn’t do anyone any favours to sound too similar at the expnse of their own sound.

At fifteen songs (and I do blame the CD era for this) the album also seems too long – paired down to a dozen or even ten it would come across as stronger. Not a bad start, but it would be good to hear The Draymin shine through over their record collections.


Should’ve Known Better is out now on Townsend Records

Happy Easter

Whatever your beliefs or be they none, these gospel recordings are uplifting and worth hearing!

Edwin Hawkins singers -O Happy Day’

You’ll Never Walk Alone is one of those somg that is both a tear-jerker and uplifting. If this song does not move you in some way, then tere’s no hope for you. FACT.
Originally written for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel in 1945, it has been a hit single, a football chant and a reminiscence song, but I have yet to hear a version top this:

Aretha Franklin -‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’

To describe this as Gospel would be wrong – but this excerpt of a Congolese Mass, sung in Latin, is brief but very effective, and became popularised after being featured in If… amongst other things.

Missa Luba -‘Sanctus’