17 Seconds’ Top 50 albums of the year 2015


1. Bjork Vulnicura
2. Blur The Magic Whip
3. Belle and Sebastian Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
4. Julia Holter Have You In My Wilderness
5. Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
6. U.S. Girls Half Free
7. Midas Fall The Menagerie Inside
8. Laurie Cameron The Girl Who Cried For The Boy Who Cried Wolf
9. Bhi Bhiman Rhythm and Reason
10. Florence and the Machine How Big, How Blue How Beautiful
12. Mercury Rev The Light In You
13. Libertines Anthems For Doomed Youth
14. Chvrches Every Open Eye
15. Rezillos Zero
16. Micachu and the Shapes Good Bad Happy Sad
17. Decemberists What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
18. Benjamin Clementine At Least For Now
19. Dominic Waxing Lyrical Woodland Casual
20. Gengahr A Dream Outside
21. Go! Team The Scene Between
22. John Grant Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
23. Ezra Furman Perpetual Motion People
24. Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly
25. Low Ones And Sixes
26. Kurt Vile B’lieve I’m Going Down
27. Pale Honey Pale Honey
28. Richard Thompson Still
29. Sleater-Kinney No Cities To Love
30. New Order Music Complete
31. Twilight Sad Òran Mór Session
32. Young Fathers White Men Are Black Men Too
33. Winter Villains Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes
34. Joanna Newsom Divers
35. My Morning Jacket The Waterfall
36. Modest Mouse Strangers To Ourselves
37. Bob Dylan Shadows In The Night
38. Viet Cong Viet Cong
39. Soak Before We Forgot How To Dream
40. Villagers Darling Arithmetic
41. Beach House Depression Cherry
42. Adele 25
43. Waterboys Modern Blues
44. Neil Young & the Promise Of The Real The Monsanto Years
45. Yo La Tengo Stuff Like That There
46. Ryan Adams 1989
47. Grimes Art Angels
48. Killing Joke Pylon
49. Cee-Lo Green Heart Blanche
50. LA Priest Inji

Lest we forget
2014 Lisa Gerrard Twilight Kingdom
2013 Dead Flowers Midnight At The Wheel Club
2012 Grimes Genesis
2011 PJ Harvey Let England Shake
2010 DeLorean Subiza
2009 Broken Records Until The Earth Begins To Part
2008 Cave Singers Invitation Songs
2007 Burial Untrue
2006 Camera Obscura Let’s Get Out Of This Country

17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2015: part 12


There’s been no shortage of artists doing Christmas albums in the last few years, but perhaps the best new one to appear post-Christmas by Low has GOT to be Tinsel and Lights by Tracey Thorn.

Released in 2012, the album features her takes on ‘Maybe This Christmas’ by Ron Sexsmith, Joni Mitchell’s ‘River,’ The White Stripes’ ‘In The Cold, Cold Night’ and a duet with Green Gartside of Scritti Politti on a cover of Low’s ‘Taking Down The Tree’ from that aforementioned Christmas album.

This is a Thorn original, and it’s gorgeous, setting the tone for what is a wonderful record, sung by one of the best singers Britain has ever produced.

There is also this video where she talks about the making of the album:

You can stream the whole album – but if you love Tracey Thorn and Christmas music, you really should have bought this album by now:

17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2015: part 11


Hello from the greater Edinburgh area, where I seem to be fighting some hideous virus in the run-up to Christmas. Not much fun…

As I’ve mentioned numerous times on the blog, 1992 was the year the Wedding Present released a 7″ a month, the A-side an original, the b-side a cover. So for December 1992, the a-side was an original ‘No Christmas’ and the b-side was a cover of Elton John’s 1973 single ‘Step Into Christmas.’ These two tracks can still be found on the Hit Parade compilation, which pulled together all of the releases.

Not the only time the Wedding Present have alluded to Christmas, of course.

In 2008, they released the rather wonderful ‘Holly Jolly Hollywood’ single, and as far as I can tell, this is also still available.

Meanwhile, David Gedge and co. have announced that September 2, 2016 will see the release of the new Wedding Present album, entitled Going, Going…, for more details of which you can read here

17 Seconds Festive 50 2015

Courtney Barnett

1. Courtney Barnett ‘Pedestrian At Best.’
2. Florence and the machine ‘What Kind Of Man.’
3. Libertines ‘Gunga Din.’
4. Chvrches ‘Leave A Trace.’
5. Go! Team ‘The Scene Between.’
6. Blur ‘Go Out.’
7. Pale Honey ‘Youth.’
8. My Morning Jacket ‘Big Decisions.’
9. Weeknd ‘Earned It.’
10. Sleater-Kinney ‘Bury our Friends.’
11. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars ‘Uptown Funk.’
12. Women’s Hour ‘Dancing In The Dark.’
13. Chemical Brothers ‘Go.’
14. David Bowie ‘Black star.’
15. Julia Holter ‘Feel You.’
16. Kurt Vile ‘Pretty Pimpin’.’
17. Eagles Of Death Metal ‘Save A Prayer.’
18. Bjork ‘Stonemilker.’
19. Slow Riot ‘City Of Culture.’
20. Django Django ‘First Light.’
21. Midas Fall ‘Tramadol Baby.’
22. Mercury Rev ‘Central Park East.’
23. All We Are ‘Ebb/Flow.’
24. Pharrell Williams ‘Freedom.’
25. Zohara ‘Bass & drum.’
26. John Grant featuring Tracy Thorn ‘Disappointing.’
27. 1975 ‘Love Me.’
28. Low ‘What Part Of Me.’
29. Chvrches ‘Never Ending Circles.’
30. Kendrick Lamar ‘King Kunta.’
31. New Order ‘Restless.’
32. Lana Del Rey ‘High By The Beach.’
33. Wavves ‘Heavy Metal Detox.’
34. Jamie XX featuring Romy ‘Loud Places.’
35. Crystal Castles ‘Deicide.’
36. Sia ‘Alive.’
37. Adele ‘Hello.’
38. Foals ‘what Went Down.’
39. Sufjan Stevens ‘No Shadow In The Shade Of The Cross.’
40. Mercury Rev ‘Queen Of Swarms.’
41. Maccabees ‘Marks To Prove It.’
42. Sam Smith ‘The Writing’s On The Wall.’
43. Suede ‘Outsiders.’
44. Beirut ‘No No No.’
45. Skepta ‘Shut Down.’
46. Yo La Tengo ‘Friday I’m In Love.’
47. Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney ‘FourFiveSeconds.’
48. LA Priest ‘Learning To Love.’
49. FKA Twigs ‘Figure 8.’
50. Purity Ring ‘Begin Again.’

And if you haven’t heard (m)any of these songs, here’s a handily put together playlist which features all bar one of the songs (Woman’s Hour’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ which you can stream here)

Lest we forget…
2014 St. Vincent ‘Digital Witness.’
2013 Daft Punk ‘Get Lucky.’
2012 Grimes ‘Genesis.’
2011 Hiatus featuring Linton Kwesi Johnson ‘Insurrection.’
2010 eagleowl ‘No Conjunction.’
2009 Peter Parker ‘Swallow The Rockets.’
2008 Wedding Present ‘The Trouble With Men.’
2007 Emma Pollock ‘Adrenaline.’
2006 Long Blondes ‘Weekend Without Make-up.’

17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2015: Part 10


The Hives collaborated with Cyndi Lauper back in 2008 on the rather splendid, funny – and not a little bitter ‘ A Christmas Duel.’ You can read the Hives’ Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist explaining about how the duet came together over on Rolling Stone here in a feature from November 2008. According to Wiki, the only place where this was a proper hit was in The Hives’ native Sweden, but you can still buy the track over on iTunes. please note: that link applies only to iTunes’ British store.

Meanwhile, next year will see Cyndi Lauper release her twelfth studio album, Detour in May. According to her website, the album was recorded in Nashville and showcases her signature takes on classic country songs from the 1950’s and 60’s. The album will also feature appearances by some of country music’s “most celebrated artists” [quotation marks mine]. Detour will be Lauper’s first album for Sire Records and will be executive produced by legendary Sire founder Seymour Stein, the man who signed the Ramones and Madonna, amongst others.

The first track to do the rounds is Lauper’s cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Hard Candy Christmas,’ which originally appeared in the Parton film The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and was also covered by Tracey Thorn on her Christmas album Tinsel and Lights.

17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2015: part 9

Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten, one of the most significant English composers of the twentieth century.

It is one of my claims to fame that I did manage to see Jeff Buckley – just the once, at Glastonbury in 1995.

His version of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Corpus Christi Carol’ originally appeared on what was Buckley’s only complete studio album, 1994’s Grace. The version is post below comes from Meltdown in 1995, which was his last performance in the UK, and he died, tragically, in 1997.

Jeff Beck has also covered the track – which you can hear him perform in 2010 in Sweden:

According to Wiki:
‘Corpus Christi Carol is a Middle or Early Modern English hymn (or carol), first found by an apprentice grocer named Richard Hill in a manuscript written around 1504. The original writer of the carol remains anonymous. The earliest surviving record of the piece preserves only the lyrics and is untitled. It has survived in altered form in the folk tradition as the Christmas carol Down In Yon Forest.

The structure of the carol is six stanzas, each with rhyming couplets. The tense changes in the fourth stanza from past to present continuous.

One hypothesis about the meaning of the carol is that it is concerned with the legend of the Holy Grail. In Arthurian traditions of the Grail story, the Fisher King is the knight who is the Grail’s protector, and whose legs are perpetually wounded.[1] When he is wounded his kingdom suffers and becomes a wasteland. This would explain the reference to “an orchard brown”.[citation needed]

One recent interpretation is that it was composed about the execution of Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII, whose badge was a falcon.

Benjamin Britten used it in the fifth variation of A Boy was Born (Choral Variations For Mixed Voices), Opus 3, in 1933.

Singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley included his interpretation of Britten’s work on his debut 1994 album, Grace. About his version Buckley said, “The ‘Carol’ is a fairytale about a falcon who takes the beloved of the singer to an orchard. The singer goes looking for her and arrives at a chamber where his beloved lies next to a bleeding knight and a tomb with Christ’s body in it.”

English guitarist Jeff Beck performs his interpretation on his 2010 album, Emotion & Commotion. In the album liner notes, Beck states that Jeff Buckley inspired his cover of this piece: “When I heard Jeff Buckley’s album, the simplicity and the beauty of the way he sounded amazed me.”

17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2015: part 8

Mew 2

There are various theories about what Mew’s ‘She Came Home For Christmas’ is about. Some of them (listed on the video comments on YouTube) are slightly disturbing and not what I had taken from the song at all. Suffice to say it’s beautiful, sad and ultimately uplifting. It’s been released a number of times, and although was first released in the UK in 2002, its original release in their native Denmark was back in 1997.

17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2015: part 7


Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ remains the biggest-selling record ever in the UK not to go to no.1, kept off by Band Aid’s original ‘Do they Know It’s Christmas?’ in 1984.

It has been covered a few times, including by Jimmy Eat World…(available on iTunes)

The Manic Street Preachers…(available on iTunes)

…and All About Eve, on their Iceland album, and Kim Wilde on her Wilde Winter Songbook album.