Forthcoming from Mark Lanegan


Covers albums can be a hit or miss affair.

But the forthcoming, self-deprecatingly titled Imitations from Mark Lanegan really is a hit, and deserves to be.

In his own words ‘When I was a kid in the late sixties and early seventies, my parents and their friends would play the records of Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, music with string arrangements and men singing songs that sounded sad whether they were or not.

“At home my folks were also listening to country music — Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, George Jones and Vern Gosdin were some of our favourites.

“For a long time I’ve wanted to make a record that gave me the same feeling those old records did, using some of the same tunes I loved as a kid and some that I’ve loved as I have gotten older. This record is it. Imitations.’

Amongst the songs covered are ‘You Only Live Twice’ -originally by Nancy SInatra and Nick Cave’s Brompton Oratory (originally on Cave’s The Boatman’s Call album).

The album’s released on Heavenly on September 16, in the meantime, check out these two gorgeous tracks from it…

Album Review: Babyshambles


Babyshambles -‘Sequel To The Prequel.’ (Parlophone)

A few weeks ago, the first single from Babyshambles’ first album in six years ‘Nothing Comes To Nothing’ started doing the rounds. And the thought was: this is pretty damn good.

Unless you’ve been under a stone for the last decade or so, you’ll be aware of Pete Doherty. And the chances are that whether or not you’ve heard a note of his music (solo, as a member of The Libertines or Babyshambles or a collaboration), you’re aware of him as a character. Much like Courtney Love or Madonna or (well, the list could go on, couldn’t it) the music that made him famous has often got left behind.

And listening to Sequel To The Prequel, you feel that here again is a reason -well, a number of reasons, actually, why his musical career has lasted as long as it has. Because he is actually a great songwriter. But not only that, it’s an album made as a band, which is why it’s out as Babyshambles, rather than his own name. The aforementioned ‘Nothing’ is pretty damn good, as is ‘Maybelline’ and for my money, the dark closing track ‘Minefield’ is the finest thing here.

To hell with whatever you have read, forget the tabloids and enjoy the music.


Sequel To The Prequel is out on September 2 on Parlophone.

Album Review: Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand -‘Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action.’ (Domino)

Though it’s been four years since their third album Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, this album hasn’t been in the making all that time. In recent interviews, singer Alex Kapranos has spoken of his fristrations and how he almost called time on the band.

Thankfully for us, he didn’t. When the opening and title track ‘Right Action’ started doing the rounds a few months ago, it was clear that FF were all sounding rejuvenated and ready to get on with making great songs again. It is, after all, ten years ago since they dropped the phenomenal ‘Darts of Pleasure’ single and then six months later dropped a self-titled debut that proved they were worth the hype. Those of us who’d seen them live (several times in the case of this writer) knew our faith was justified.

It isn’t the best album in their catalogue – I think that’s still their debut. But tracks like ‘Love Illumination’ and ‘Brief Encounters’ show that the comeback single was no fluke, and whilst I’m still waiting for another Franz album to make my jaw drop, I’m reminded why I fell so hard for them a decade ago.


Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action is out now on Domino.

Stream the album in its entirety here

The long-awaited return of Prefab Sprout


Paddy McAloon and Prefab Sprout are set to return with their first album in…twelve years on October 7.

Entitled Crimson/Red, the album will be released on Icebreaker Records and the tracklisting for the album is as follows:

The Best Jewel Thief In The World
The List Of Impossible Things
Grief Built The Taj Mahal
Devil Came A Calling
The Dreamer
The Songs Of Danny Galway
The Old Magician

According to Uncut, Paddy McAloon plays all the instruments on the album. These videos are doing the rounds on YouTube. It would suggest that the new album is going to be very, very good indeed…

Forthcoming from Tears For Fears

Tears for Fears -

Amongst the many emails to arrive in the 17 Seconds inbox (which I would describe as resembling a warzone, were that metaphor possibly singularly inappropriate at the moment) was this: a press release concerning the thirtieth anniversary of Tears For Fears’ debut album, The Hurting, due out on October 21.

Now there’s no doubt that a certain cult film about ten years ago did much to raise the band’s profile – but some of us still loved the band from of old.

This was the album that gave us such awesome tracks as these…

The full tracklisting over the 3 CDs and DVD is as follows:


The Original Album

The Hurting
Mad World
Pale Shelter
Ideas As Opiates
Memories Fade
Suffer The Children
Watch Me Bleed
The Prisoner
Start Of The Breakdown


Singles, B-Sides, Mixes & Rarities

Suffer The Children (original 7″)
Pale Shelter (original 7″)
The Prisoner (original version)
Ideas As Opiates
Change (new version)
Suffer The Children (remix)
Pale Shelter (original 12″)
Mad World (world remix)
Change (extended version)
Pale Shelter (reissue 12″)
Suffer The Children (instrumental)
Change (7″ edit)
Wino (B-side)
The Conflict (B-side)
We Are Broken (B-side)
Suffer The Children (promo CD)


The BBC Sessions

Ideas As Opiates (Peel Session)
Suffer The Children (Peel Session)
The Prisoner (Peel Session)
The Hurting (Peel Session)
Memories Fade (Jensen Session)
The Prisoner (Jensen Session)
The Start Of The Breakdown (Jensen Session)
The Hurting (Jensen Session)
Start Of The Breakdown (Live)
Change (Jensen Session)


‘In My Mind’s Eye’ – Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1984.

Start Of The Breakdown
Mothers Talk
Pale Shelter
The Working Hour
The Prisoner
Ideas As Opiates
Mad World
We Are Broken
Head Over Heels
Suffer The Children
The Hurting
Memories Fade

M.I.A – not missing in action!


M.I.A. seems to have been ready to drop her fourth album, Matangi for ages. However, it looks like it will be released on November 3.

There’s been various rumours about her and the record company not seeing eye to eye on the release. Whatever the reasons, the bits of music that have filtered through are great. This is the latest track to do the rounds, which sanples both Carly Simon’s ‘Why’ and blur’s ‘Tender.’

I’ve posted this before, the single from earlier this year ‘Bring The Noize.’ At the time I wrote: ‘It’s incendiary, and rather like sticking your fingers in a plug. I was half asleep when I pressed play, it’s better than a shot of double espresso to the brain…’

Interview: Eliza Carthy


Ahead of her concert at Durham Cathedral tomorrow night, Eliza Carthy talks to 17 Seconds about teaching herself the violin, fitting in touring around half term and what folk music really means.

I catch up with Eliza Carthy on her mobile midway between gigs on her current tour. She’s currently on tour with Jim Moray [he’s celebrating 10 years in the business, she 21] and this year has released a compilation of material called Wayward Daughter. ‘It’s been good to revisit old material,’ she says, thoughtfully. ‘We’ve got four gigs left…including [the Greenbelt Festival at] Cheltenham racecourse. This week sees her playing at Durham Cathedral, which was, she reveals ‘a late addition to our tour.’ Despite hailing from Yorkshire, she surprisingly says that ‘Northern shows have been thin on the ground.’ These days as mother to two daughters she’s fitting in touring around half term, school holidays and weekends.

It’s been well-documented that she comes from a very musical family. Her father is Martin Carthy and her mother is Norma Waterson. They’re pretty much Britain’s first family of folk music, something she was aware of from an early age. ‘I always felt a part of the history of music in the family, she says. Not just in terms of this generation, either; she reveals that there are seven generations of music on her father’s side, while her mother comes from a travellers’ background with a deep-routed sense of musical tradition.

And the family friends and connections rubbed off on her. Amazingly -not least if you have ever studied the instrument – Eliza is actually a self-taught violinist. How did she manage this, I ask, in wonder?
‘I hung around people who were good at it,’ she explains. She was inspired by Nancy Kerr to play the violin, and the two of them produced two albums together while they were still in their teens. Chris Wood, who her father was mentoring in the mid to late eighties was another influence and the legendary Dave Swarbrick ‘was always around.’ She wasn’t averse to musical lessons -‘I studied classical piano up to grade six, she says, ‘and I absolutely loved that.’

Another family friend is Billy Bragg. ‘He’s been a friend of the family for a long time, ‘ Eliza says. If Bragg, coming from an background that owes as much to punk as to folk might seem an unlikely connection, this is way off the mark. ‘Because I wanted to be a songwriter, his approach to music wasn’t massively different.’

Well-versed in many folk traditions, one of her many collaborations was with Bragg and Wilco for two volumes of Mermaid Avenue which saw Bragg writing music to unrecorded Woody Guthrie songs. This leads me to ask her: what exactly does ‘folk’ music mean?

She’s considered in her response. ‘Nothing to do with acoustic guitars!’ she says (she doesn’t criticise any acts, and I don’t ask her to.) ‘I don’t know what it means…which makes it difficult for someone like me.’ She adds ‘ For me it’s about music being passed down; that’s traditional music.’ In an age where people are constantly trying to pigeonhole in order to understand she points out the absurdity of ‘music from these Islands being described as ‘world.’

After Durham Cathedral and Greenbelt, she’s not resting on her laurels. Her next big project is a tour with Tim Eriksen, which coincides with the October half term, and then she’s recording with her Dad again. Will she bring either Martin Carthy or Norma Waterson on stage for the Durham Cathedral gig, I ask?

I think she’s grinning down the ‘phone. ‘No involvement from parents!’ she tells me.

For Eliza Carthy tour dates, please check her website

Presenting…Falling Off Maps


Falling Off Maps have just released their debut single ‘Honest’, taken from their forthcoming album A Seaside Town In Winter. It’s like all debut singles should be: a manifesto, for what the band are about.

There’s a glorious understatedness about it, fragile without being pathetic, acoustic without being indie landfill, all of which is rather encouraging, and bodes rather well for their forthcoming album, due out on September 30. Moorish melancholia? I think we might have it. Not so much ‘Here Be Monsters’ as ‘Here Be Something Marvellous!’

Even better, though, is the ‘free single’ ‘Flowers By The Roadside.’ Perhaps too bleak to be released as a single (at least this early in their career), it really does whet the appetite for more from them.

Hopefully these two tracks speak loud enough for you to want to investigate further. There’s a whole story about their previous band, but just focus on the present, and what looks like a bright future.

Forthcoming from Alex Chilton


Big Star frontman Alex Chilton sadly passed away in 2010, but not before recording three awesome album with Big Star, producing The Cramps’ debut and paving the way for much of the indie/alternative music of the last thirty years. Seminal is probably an overused word (and I’m probably as guilty of that as the next blogger), but it really applies here.

October 14 sees the release of Electricity By Candlelight, a live album recorded at New York’s Knitting Factory in February 1997. According to the press release ‘The album is a really intimate affair, the power failed at the show early on and the club announced the gig was cancelled. Refunds were given out and the majority of folk started to leave. A few hardcore fans stayed behind, as did Chilton himself, he borrowed an acoustic guitar from an audience member and began to stum, what resulted was over an hour of etheral music, played in the darkness, thinking on his feet, interacting with his fans – lucky it was all caught by super fan Jeff Vargon who was in the crowd with his tape deck and mic!’

The tracklisting for the album is as follows:
‘Last Bouquet’
‘Step Right This Way’
‘Let’s Get Lost’
‘Raining In My Heart’
‘Lovesick Blues’
‘Girl From Ipanema’
‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’
‘Motel Blues’
‘Someone To Watch Over Me’
‘Footprints In The Snow’
‘Case Of You’
‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’
‘Surfer Girl’
‘Solar System’
‘I Walk The Line’
‘If I Had A Hammer’
‘You Can Bet Your Heart On Me’

The soundlcoud link below reveals that it’s raw and intimate on four of the songs offered to us as a sampler: ‘I Walk The Line,’ ‘Motel Blues,’ ‘Someone to watch over me’ and ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice?’

Album Review: Galleries


Galleries -‘No Miracles’ (self-released)

There’s no shortage of bands playing epic indie pop. Some get it it hideously wrong (hello, Kodaline). Others suggest that they have promise (hello, Swim Deep). And then there are bands like the fabulous Galleries from Glasgow who just nail it.

There’s a touch of both Sigur Ros’ Jonsi and Andrew Montgomery of Geneva about singer David McAdam’s vocals which soar and make you gasp. There’s a touch of the Sigur Ros shimmering guitar shredding, like on album opener ‘Wilderness Song’ but a willingness to go down an M83 route on ‘Young Wounds.’

Three and a half years ago, when their debut, free EP arrived, I wrote that ‘they are at that juncture where post-rock and shoegazing and indie rock meet.’ This album may have taken a number of years to come together, but they have built on the promise of that debut on their first album.

In a time of so-much indie landfill, Galleries truly have something to offer.

No Miracles is out now. Stream it below.