17 Seconds is 7!

Ed 2011

Yours truly in 2011

Well, who would have thought it?

17 Seconds is seven years old. And whilst I’m not always able to write every day, it’s a pleasure to do it as it still gives me the chance to do two things I still really enjoy: going on about music and writing.

And that’s lead to me writing for several online publications, being able to interview bands, get sent a ridiculous amount of music, be a judge for the Glastonbury unsigned competition, present a show on the local student radio, put on shows…if someone had told me when I was twenty I’d get to do this, I would have been thrilled. But I still am.

I still struggle with technology, and wish I was more savvy with stuff. But thanks to those of you who read, link, comment or whatever. Particularly my wife, and my Parents, but many more of you.

So for today, here’s seven tracks I love. Enjoy…

The Fat Lady Sings -‘Drunkard Logic.’ mp3 LINK REMOVED

Captain Beefheart -‘Ice Cream For Crow.’ mp3 LINK REMOVED

Emmylou Harris -‘Cattle Call.’ mp3 LINK REMOVED

Arctic Monkeys -‘Leave Before The Lights Come On.’ mp3 LINK REMOVED

Gil Scott-Heron ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.’ mp3 LINK REMOVED

Junior Murvin -‘Police & Thieves.’ mp3 LINK REMOVED

Young Marble Giants -‘Final Day.’ mp3 LINK REMOVED

Presenting…Jen Bloom


What do I know about Jen Bloom?

That, according to her facebook, she is originally from New York State but now lives in LA.

That she has a voice to rival Madonna (and I mean that as a compliment).

That her music deserves to be heard and should have rival like Little Boots quaking in her, er, boots.

This is electro-pop as it deserves to be heard.

This is her latest track ‘Sonar.’

This is her cover of Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I bet you Look Good On The Dancefloor’ (their breakthrough single, back in 2005). This is available to download, and like all cover versions, completely reinvents the track, just as the Monkeys reinvented ‘Love Machine’ by Girls Aloud…

Finally this is an older track called ‘All I’m Dreaming Of’ (which is also available for download), and more remixes can be found over at her Soundcloud page

Record Store Day 2012


Tomorrow (Saturday April 21) marks the now annual Record Store Day. In a lot of ways, I think it’s fantastic -I like the fact that bands are putting things out onto vinyl, that vinyl is still being made and bought by people this far into the twenty-first century, and that while some of the big stores have gone, that there are still independents hanging in there, and in quite a few cases, flourishing.

But like a lot of things, I could make a few grumbles:

Firstly, that the real success is whether people are inspired to go and buy records, CDs or whatever in record shops on the 364 days of the year that aren’t Record Store Day. It’s going to be up to stores to encourage people to want to come back, but also up to customers who like the idea of actual, y’know, physical shops (as opposed to online retailers) to go and buy them.

Secondly, whilst it’s wonderful that stuff is being produced physically, if it’s made too expensive it will put people off (though to be honest, if someone wants to pay £150 for a vinyl boxset of Disturbed albums that’s their call). I was excited by the thought of The re-issued Cure albums, but at £25 a go for the first five albums on vinyl (which I already own)…sorry, but the mortgage needs paying, there’s food to be bought and us poor public sector workers aren’t all on massive incomes. Also if it gets flogged on ebay by greedy sods who are trying to make a fast buck – you are no better than ticket touts.

Thirdly, the music business has been its’ own worst enemy for years. The pricing of CDs when they first appeared in the 1980s was ludicrous: they were more than vinyl or cassettes, and at one point double. Ironically it is far more likely that a new release CD in 2012 will cost you less than it did it 1987. The thing was that it lead to people buying abroad if they could get it cheaper, and then online, with the result that the shops were priced out. Certainly, online retailers had their advantages -but the tax loopholes were closed in a classic horse gate bolted kind of move.

These moans aren’t new, and they will be doubtless be made elsewhere. The thing is: I still love record shops. It may be a romantic idea -and one that my thirteen month old soon may grow up to sneer at, but there’s far much more soul (hopefully literally!) in a bricks and mortar record shop than an online one. I tend to go into my local independent record store, Avalanche in Edinburgh, at least twice a week. It has to be said that seeing -and still seeing -releases that I have put out
in the window there gives me far more of a thrill than seeing them on iTunes ever could.

Independent Record stores -like good independent book shops-should have staff who know what they are on about. Sorry, but the ‘other customers who bought this also bought’ feature is not the same as a personal recommendation. Not when your taste stretch from Schubert to Slayer like mine do.

But bring it on. Great that five years down the line there are still record stores with open doors to celebrate, even if for some artists and their big record companies it will be another marketing ploy, without any of the artists needing to die (and invoke the scenario set out in The Smiths’ ‘Paint A Vulgar Picture’). Stuff needs to be happening right the way through the year. People making the effort to go to the shops (I realise easier in a big town or city than a small market town, where the chances are that since Woolworths went bust you can only buy what’s on offer in the supermarket). Record shops staff not being arsey, though the customer may not always be right.

Use them or lose them. My eye is on those Leonard Cohen and PiL 12″s, and the Arctic Monkeys and Belle & Sebastian 7″s…

From some of the special releases available for tomorrow:

PiL ‘Lollipop Opera’ taken from the ‘One Drop EP’:

Arctic Monkeys ‘R U Mine?’

Belle and Sebastian ‘Crash’ (Primitives cover)

As pants the heart for cool(ing) streams…

How did it take the record companies so long to figure out that they could let people hear the music in full (without those bloody adverts) without people not going and buying the records?

No doubt there is software that (illegally) allows people to rip it, but to be honest, I think what most people would liek is the chance to hear the record before it comes out without either a) wasting their money or b) picking up bugs or c)getting cease and desist notices.

Anyway, lots of great albums streaming around the net at the moment, starting with this, the new album from the Arctic Monkeys. It sounds like a return to form to these ears (not that Humbug was all that bad, really…). There is no doubt that the album cover looks rubbish (and let’s face it, it looked a bit stupid when Hard-Fi pulled the same ‘trick’ a few years back) -but don’t let that put you off the album.



If you’re so inclined there’s a guide from lead Monkey Alex Turner on the album right here on nme.com

You can also stream the following albums via nme.com at the moment:

Battles Gloss Drop

Death Cab For Cutie’s Codes and Keys

White Denim D

Antlers Burst Apart

Does there have to be a reason?

It’s been a stressful time, but family, friends, the cats, and most particularly Mrs. 17 Seconds are keeping me sane.

Have been having a bit of an Arctic Monkeys session this evening, and that’s done a fair bit to lift my spirits. Funny to think that when they first appeared, I dismissed them as Libertines copyists. I still think ‘Fake Tales From San Franciso’ is a a bit too close to ‘The Riverboat Song’ by Ocean Colour Scene for comfort (and that got rammed down all our throats a decade or so ago), but Alex Turner is an excellent lyricist and tunesmith. There’s supposed to be a new album later on this year, produced by Josh Homme, of Kyuss/Queens Of the Stone Age fame, no less.

Still think this is my favourite Arctic Monkeys song of all, in true indie style a ‘single between albums’ from 2006:

Arctic Monkeys -‘Leave Before The Lights Come On.’ mp3


Some Covers For Monday

The photo above is one of the stock photos on my computer. It may be July now, but in Scotland it is still raining and still cold. Grrr. Or should that read Brrr?

Anyway. Here are some cover versions for Monday. These tracks were originally recorded for Radio 1, Some on a compilation called Evening Session Priority Tunes and the rest are from a compilation called Radio 1’s Live Lounge.

Oh, and in case anyone wants to pick on the spelling of the Nirvana cover, that’s what it says on the sleeve…

Manic Street Preachers-‘Penny Royalty.’ mp3

China Drum-‘Wuthering Heights.’ mp3

Ash-‘Does Your Mother Know.’ mp3

Arctic Monkeys-‘Love Machine.’ mp3

The Automatic-‘Gold Digger.’ mp3

Boy Kill Boy-‘Maneater.’ mp3

Franz Ferdinand-‘What You Waiting For?’ mp3

If you like what you hear, track down the compilations, be it at your local independent record store, or buy on-line or at Amazon

As always, these will be up here for a week. Get them while you can.

Album Review: The Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys: ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’

So, I finished school, and went to the record shop to get the new Arctic Monkeys album (on Vinyl. Obviously). Even if I am thirty…

To be honest, I was not enamoured of Arctic Monkeys when they first came along. OK, it was cool how they had come of MySpace and were on Domino etc.. but ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ sounded to these ears like a Libertines rip-off. the first time I heard ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ I kept waiting for him to go into ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows.’

However, I am prepared to admit I was wrong. One day the aforementioned Sun’s lyrics filtered through, and I got what it was about. I did eventually buy the debut, and I have been looking forward to this sophomore album.

The web must be drowning in blogs and magazines and other people analysing it to shreds so I won’t here. But I find it more immediate on first listen than the debut. I like the way opener ‘Brianstorm’ doesn’t have a chorus but a slogan ‘See You Later, Innovator!’ The Monkeys are just as keen and sharp observers as, say, the Streets or The Specials of the world they are in. There are numerous potential singles on here – ‘Flourescent adolescent’ and ‘Only Ones Who Know,’ for example. But it also clocks in at under 45 minutes, which means that by the end of closer ‘505’ the album hasn’t overstayed it’s welcome.

Don’t believe the hype? I didn’t, but I’m still eating my words.


From Favourite Worst Nightmare:

Arctic Monkeys -‘Brianstorm.’ mp3

That great ‘inbetween debut and sophomore albums single (see also Blur, Oasis, Suede, oh sorry, showing my age again)

Arctic Monkeys -‘Leave Before The Lights Come On.’ mp3

And the song that changed my mind:

Arctic Monkeys -‘When The Sun Goes Down.’ mp3

Buy Favourite Worst Nightmare

Buy Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

Buy Leave Before The Lights Come On

As ever, if you like the songs, follow the links and support the artists. These links will be up for one week only. Enjoy!

Links removed April 30.