Ash to release first new album for eight years


Poor Ash. Rather like a few years ago when Suede announced a new album, only to have it overshadowed by the release of David Bowie’s first album in a decade, little could they have known that when they announced their new album, the news of Blur’s first studio album in 12 years would overshadow it.

The band’s sixth album is entitled Kablammo!. There is no release date or tracklisting for the album as yet, but it can be pre-ordered through PledgeMusic.

The first track to be heard from the album is ‘Cocoon’, which can also be bought online and can be streamed below:

They will also be on tour in June:

Dublin Whelans, June 7
Belfast Limelight, June 8
Edinburgh Liquid Room, June 9
London Scala, June 11
Manchester Sound Control, June 12
Wakefield Long Division Festival, June 12
Isle of Wight Festival, June 14

Some covers for Friday


Just what it says on the tin, folks. The plan is to get into doing these on a more regular basis, so I’m going to kick off with these:

Jesus and Mary Chain -‘Vegetable Man (Syd Barrett cover).’ mp3

Pop Will Eat Itself -‘Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel cover).’ mp3

Motorcycle Boy -‘His Latest Flame (Elvis cover).’ mp3

Ash -‘Does Your mother Know? (Abba cover).’ mp3

Buffalo Tom -‘Going Underground (The Jam cover).’ mp3

Now, these aren’t mp3s but I thought they might appeal…

Back in 1993, Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream was my favourite album of the year. The Big Pink recorded a version of it for the BBC just before Christmas which you can stream here:

The Big Pink – Mayonaise (The Smashing Pumpkins Cover) by ErnestimesBlog

I have been slowly won round to Lana Del Rey. Not because of the fact that I had a problem with the way that she looks, but more to do with the excessive hype, and yet ‘Video Games’ and other tracks have won me round. This is a version by a band called Silver Swans, who do an excellent take on it.

Over the last few days, I have become increasingly obsessed with Belgian-Australian artist Gotye (pronounced like Gautier) whose track ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ looks like it might be a huge hit. I hope so. This is a version by a band called Walk Off The Earth.

Walk off the Earth – Somebody that i used to know (Gotye Cover) by Arygo

There’s numerous covers of songs by Frightened Rabbit around, but this is a version of a Frabbits song, as perfomred by John Stotz. The song is originally from their second album The Midnight Organ Fight.

Another track from my inbox, this is a Steely Dan song, performed by The Darcys:

The Darcys – Josie by Arts & Crafts

…is that autumn on the way?


David Campbell Autumn Light On Edinburgh Castle.

It’s still August, but today I actually drove to work – in daylight -with the car heater on. It was pretty cold all day…

The festival is coming to an end…another record-breaking year…too many people around to enjoy it properly, at times…

…but finally got to see Shonen Knife…and Sebadoh…and another act added to the roster at 17 Seconds Records…watch this space.

Ash’s 1998 LP Nu-Clear Sounds is not a classic, and contains way too much filler. This track, however, is taken from it, and remains one of the best things they have ever done. It’s the perfect autumn song. Despite the sadness in the air, and the sense of change, or maybe because of it, autumn is probably my favourite time of year.

Ash -‘Folk Song.’ mp3

It’s Friday…so it’s covers time


Utterly exhausted here.

Sorry for lack of posts over the last few days -yesterday evening I burned my hand and was more concerned with trying to make sure I was actually going to be able to get into work today.

There will be more reviews appearing here over the weekend – but for now enjoy these…

Ash -‘Does Your Mother Know? (Abba cover).’ mp3

Black Box Recorder -‘Seasons In the Sun (Terry Jacks cover).’ mp3

Teenage Fanclub -‘Like A Virgin (Madonna cover).’ mp3

Placebo -‘Johnny & Mary (Robert Palmer cover).’ mp3

Manic Street Preachers -‘Suicide Is Painless (Theme From M*A*S*H)( M*A*S*H cover).’ mp3

Siouxsie & the Banshees -‘The Passenger (Iggy Pop cover).’ mp3

Mercury Rev -‘I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier (John Lennon cover).’ mp3

Flying Saucer Attack -‘Outdoor Miner (Wire cover).’ mp3

Primal Scream -‘Know Your Rights (Clash cover).’ mp3

Sonic Youth -‘Hot Wire My Heart (Crime cover).’ mp3

New Ash single – the uncut video in full!


Having put out a rather fine download single back in June, ‘White Rabbit, ‘ here is the video for Ash’s ‘True Love 1980.’

This is the new single, out on October 12, 2009. It is the first in twenty six singles they are doing, one for each of the alphabet, so this is T.

‘True Love 1980’ is an excellent tune that shows the electro-pop of the last year or so has clearly rubbed off on them, and there is an interesting twist at the end. Apparently not all music channels are showing the whole thing…

Ash -‘True Love 1980’

Ash’s official website/Ash Myspace

Oh, go on then!

Ash -‘White Rabbit’

Ash -‘White Rabbit.’ mp3

The return of Ash


Whilst I’ve habitually bought most of their albums since they came out, since, well, their debut LP proper, 1996’s 1977, and loved most of them, Ash have always been an excellent example of a singles band. Back in 2007, I was slightly panicked when it seemed that Ash were about to call it a day. It transpired, in my muddled state, that what the band were in fact doing was stopping doing conventional albums.

From September onwards, in a new approach to record releases, Ash will set out to deliver the ultimate singles collection – a year long series of fortnightly single releases, with limited edition collectors vinyl.

For the past year they have been in their New York HQ, Atomic Heart Studios, writing and recording a series of songs that will form the “A-Z series”. From September, every fortnight for the next twelve months, Ash will release a single on limited 7” vinyl and digital download. Starting with ‘A’ and running through the alphabet, all 26 songs will be released on Ash’s own Atomic Heart Records and will be available through shops and by subscription through the band’s website To start this off, they have made availbale as a free download from their website their new single ‘Return Of White Rabbit’ which will be available in a very limited edition 7″ on June 8.

So, will this beat the records previously held by Elvis Presley and the Wedding Present for most hits in a year? Will these be viewed as a marketing gimmick or the next logical step for the iTunes generation? Well, I still love Ash, and I’m rather fond of this track with its’ electro feel. Bring it on…

Ash -‘Return Of White Rabbit.’ mp3

Ash’s website/Ash’s myspace


It’s here. My favourite time of year. A time when everything seems to be changing.

It’s been a long weekend. Long, in the sense of ‘I’ve had mroe than just Saturday and Sunday off.’ Long in so many ways…

There’s a huge pile of CDs to be reviewed, Glasvegas’ debut didn’t get to no.1 and I’m frazzled. But hey…

Ash, one of Mrs. 17 Seconds’ favourite bands, released this track ten years ago on their Nu-Clear Sounds LP. To me, it sounds like autumn. It was never a single, at least in the UK, but hearing it again reminds me of how much has changed in that time, and how much is, thankfully, still the same.

Ash – Folk Song.’ mp3

Abba – a shameless attempt to drive up traffic

This post is born out of a few things I suppose.

Firstly, last week Mrs. 17 Seconds and I and our good friend ‘Diamond’ Dave went to see Mamma Mia! at the cinema. Resistance, as even Philip French of the Observer had warned, was indeed futile. It was fun. Sure it wasn’t Citizen Kane or Withnail and I, they’d crowbarred songs in at every opportunity and I can sing far better than Pierce Brosnan, but it was a laugh. Diamond and I were the only blokes in a very packed cinema. Say what you like about stereotypes, pigeonholes and generalisations, but remember that they may well be born out of demographics.

I mentioned this to two friends I met up with in Edinburgh yesterday, one of whom is a massive fan. I asked what he thought of Mamma Mia!, to which he replied that he didn’t think there’d been many good cover versions of Abba songs over the years and couldn’t face it. I know they have been massacred at way too many karaoke bars over the years, but there have been a few. I’ve selected two, one by Ash and Scotland’s very own Camera Obscura, and two great Abba songs: one which is in the film ‘The Winner Takes It All’ my favourite Abba song, and ‘The Visitors.’ ‘The Visitors’ was the title track of what would be their final studio LP, and deals with the treatment of dissidents in the then Soviet Union.

If there are any people sad enough to worry about liking Abba, I would make these points:
1. John Peel narrated a documentary and was a fan.
2. So was Kurt Cobain, who agreed to play Reading in 1992 because Bjorn Again were, and recorded Nevermind in a studios because it was a seventies sort of studio that Abba would have used.
3. ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and quite a few other songs are just as sad as Joy Division.
4. they were brilliant. period. Sod the claims about camp, kitsch blah blah sodding blah, they made great music. Like Sonic Youth, the Clash, Public Enemy etc..

Abba -‘The Winner Takes It All.’ mp3

Abba -‘The Visitors.’ mp3

And those covers…

Camera Obscura -‘Super Trouper.’ mp3

Ash -‘Does your Mother Know? (session).’ mp3

Cover versions from the 7"s…

…Just what it says on the tin. So as to keep up the covers posts but make sure I was posting stuff I hadn’t posted before, these are tracks I’ve ripped from the b-sides of 7″s in my collection.

First up, Eddy Grant was in the Equals in the late sixties, a mixed-race British reggae band when this was quite a radical concept. They reached no.1 with the song ‘Baby Come Back’ later taken back to no.1 in 1994 by Pato Banton and and the Campbell Brothers from those ‘Kings’ of the reggae cover version, UB40. One of the Equals’ other well-known songs ‘Police On My Back’ was covered by The Clash in the 1970s. Last year Grime or Grindie (Grime and Indie, DO keep up) Lethal Bizzle (above) covered the song, including a sample of the Clash’s version.

Lethal Bizzle -‘Police On My Back (Equals cover).’ mp3

‘What A Waster’ was the world’s introduction to the talents of Pete Doherty and the Libertines. Moldy peach Adam Green covered it on the b-sides of one of his solo singles ‘Emily.’ Pete Doherty returned the compliment by covering the Moldy Peaches‘ ‘Who’s Got The Crack?’

Adam Green -‘What a Waster (Libertines cover).’ mp3

This song was originally by X-Ray Spex, and Scottish indie-poppers Bis covered it on the b-side of their 1998 7″ ‘Action And Drama.’

Bis -‘Germ-Free Adolescents (X-Ray Spex cover).’ mp3

Atomic Kitten were or are a fairly irritating all-girl band in the early part of the decade, but the Sick Anchors saw the potential of this Andy McLusky (Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark) number and turned it into something quite heartbreaking.
The Sick Anchors were Aidan Moffat (of Arab Strap), Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai and Colin ‘Sheepy’ McPherson. This EP also included their version of The Fall’s Bill Is Dead.’

Sick Anchors -‘Whole Again (Atomic Kitten cover).’ mp3

In my humble opinion, Placebo‘s finest moment to date in their decade-plus long career is the single ‘The Bitter End.’ This was the b-side to the 7″ single , a cover of Boney M’s ‘Daddy Cool.’ Whatever that might sound like down on paper, it works really well, IMHO:

Placebo -‘Daddy Cool.’ mp3

The Wedding Present famously released 12 7″ singles, one a month in 1992. The August single was Boing! They all featured a cover version on the b-side, and that month’s was Isaac Hayes‘ Theme from Shaft.

Wedding Present – Theme From Shaft (Isaac Hayes cover).’ mp3

Ash have done some fine covers over the years, including their version of Abba’s ‘Does Your Mother Know?’ This song, a cover of John Lennon‘s ‘Give Me Some Truth’ was the third track on the 1995 7″ ‘Angel Interceptor.’

Ash -‘Give Me Some Truth (John Lennon cover).’ mp3

BONUS: Finally not an mp3 of any of the 7″s in my collection, but an m4a (will play in iTunes) of the Jesus and Mary Chain covering Syd Barrett’s Vegetable Man (THANK YOU, BEN!):

Jesus and Mary Chain – ‘Vegetable Man.’ mp3

A Song For September

I have done a few posts on albums I consider to be underrated classics. I have to be honest that I do not think Ash’s Nu-Clear Sounds is either, but there are a couple of great tracks on the album.

So, given that this is the great ‘lost’ Ash song as far as I am concerned, I give you:

Ash -‘Folk Song.’ mp3

And the lead-off single from the album:

Ash- ‘Jesus Says.’ mp3

You can probably pick up this album very cheaply from somewhere. And it’s worth it for these two tracks.

just to whet your appetite, I have come back this evening from interviewing none other than Emma Pollock, so keep your eye on this blog!

Not to mention interviews with Katie Sutherland, The Amateurs and Penny Century…