Record store day


I’d be exaggerating if I said that Cockburn Street and its’ record shops were the reason I moved to Edinburgh. Rather like my claim that belle & Sebastian made me want to move to Scotland – but both played their part. And I have certainly spent a fair amount of time in Avalanche Records on Cockburn Street. I was offered shifts in there – but I’d just started teacher training at that point, so I wound up working at Fopp -again -just down the street, then.

Record shops have suffered over the last ten years. Downloading of both the legal and illegal variety, rising rents, the advent of Amazon…it’s estimated that there are now about 300 record shops in the UK. Names like Our Price, Tower and Virgin are part of history just as so many independent record shops are. Fopp very nearly died a death -but is now part of the HMV family, along with (to the best of my knowledge) Waterstone’s.

Call me old fashioned, idealistic -many have – but a) I still like to hold a physical release (preferably on vinyl) over having something downloaded (though the idea of free mp3s with vinyl increasingly practised is an excellent thing); and b) I’d rather
buy it in an independent shop. When I set up the label (17 Seconds Records, in case this is the very first time you have found yourself here), it was great to see the releases listed on iTunes et al. But to walk up Cockburn St and see the Aberfeldy and Dirty Cuts 7″s in the windows of both Underground Solush’n and Avalanche made me feel like I’d achieved something. Going to London and getting it in Rough Trade felt amazing. As was getting releases in Mono in Glasgow and speaking to the godfather of the Scottish indie scene, Stephen McRobbie, also frontman of the Pastels. Was it a cure for A.I.D.S, an end to World Poverty or finding a way to save the world? No of course it wasn’t, but it was a dream come true for me.

Avalanche is still going -and giving a lot of support to Scottish acts and labels, under Kevin Buckle who’s run the shops for twenty years, yet even they are having to work out how they will survive in the future.

So please read Kevin Buckle’s post on the Radar Music Blog

And in honour of Avalanche, music made by those who’ve worked in the shop or had links with it over the years. Saturday is Record Store Day. Use them -or you’ll lose them.

Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes -‘Grand Hotel.’ mp3 (Andrew Tully and Margerita)

Shop Assistants -‘Big ‘E’ Power.’ mp3 (released on the Avalanche label, this track also featured Margerita)

X-Lion Tamer -‘Starsign (Teenage Fanclub cover).’ mp3(Tony Taylor worked at Avalanche while I worked at Fopp a couple of doors away. He became the second act to sign to us. This cover has never been commercially released. Enjoy).

10 from Scotland…aye, tunes!


Edinburgh’s meadows (above)

Having finally managed to sort out the pictures on here (Cheers, Diamond, you know who you are), after a frantic day I thought I’d celebrate with some scottish sounds.

And anyone who thinks it’s just white guys with jangly guitars should listen carefully…

As ever, let me know what you think!

Shamen -‘Jesus loves Amerika.’ mp3

Rustie -‘Mic Of the Year.’ mp3

Shop Assistants -‘Big ‘E’ Power.’ mp3

Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes -‘Grand Hotel.’ mp3

Wake The President -‘Remember Fun?’ mp3

A C Acoustics -‘I Messiah Am Jailer.’ mp3

Long Fin Killie -‘Hands and Lips.’ mp3

Half Cousin -‘The Diary Fire.’ mp3

Malcolm Middleton -‘Red Travellin’ Socks.’ mp3

Mother and the Addicts -‘All In The Mind.’ mp3

Great scottish bands #1: Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes

A legendary scottish band kick off this new series on 17 Seconds.

Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes were a legendary scottish band, that also had links with The Fizzbombs, Rote Kapelle, Meat Whiplash and the Shop Assistants. (Michael Kerr of Meat Whiplash who was the guitarist at one point, would leave to join the Darling Buds on tour in 1989). The original lineup was:

Andrew Tully (guitars/vocals), Angus McPake (bass), Fran Schoppler (vocals), Margarita Vasquez-Ponte (drums), Kevin McMahon (guitars), and Stuart Clarke (guitars). Their first single was ‘Splashing Along’ produced by Douglas Hart, then bassist in the Jesus and Mary Chain.

Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes – ‘Splashing Along.’ mp3

The band recorded a handful of singles, released a compilation of them entitled A Cabinet Of Curiosities. In 1990 they caused controversy with their single Grand Hotel, which referenced the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton in 1984 where the Conservative Party Conference was held that year. Andrew Tully described this as ‘a ‘fuck Thatcher and fuck the IRA for not killing her when they had the chance’ song.’ That year they released the album Nixon, a mini-set entitled Hold Me Now and then split.

Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes -‘Grand Hotel.’ mp3

The video for Grand Hotel:

Subsequently, Andrew Tully runs Avalanche records, a fantastic shop in Edinburgh. He’s still there, and DJs around town. [He recently told me a highly amusing anecdote involving a legendary Radio 1 DJ much written about on these pages and We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It] which I won’t repeat here for fear of being sued. According to him, Margarita is now an artist living in Spain. She also drummed for the reformed Shop Assistants on the ‘Here It Comes’ and ‘Big ‘E’ Power’ singles in 1990 -that’s the subject of another post on this blog.

Jesse garon and the Desperadoes on tweenet

A post on the band at the Merry Muses Of Caledonia blog

Fran Schoppler’s mySpace

Avalanche’s mySpace is here. Due to the fact that you cannot buy Jesse garon and the Desperadoes back catalogue in many places, here is a really great place to start.

Some indiepop videos

Well, having not posted many videos here for a while (other than the links to the two Benga videos last week, obviously!) I thought I would post some classic 80s eighties indiepop videos here.

First up, Edinburgh’s gone but not forgotten heroes, The Shop Assistants. BTW, if anyone knows where in Edinburgh this video was filmed, or can work it out, let me know. The other day Mrs. 17 Seconds and I were watching it closely to see if we could work it out but without success.

The Shop Assistants -I Don’t Want To Be Friends With You

I will do a post on the Primitives sometime very soon, having just got my hands on an excellent compilation of early stuff called Buzz Buzz Buzz, for the meantime, here is the video to Really Stupid.

The Primitives -Really Stupid

Hmm, might well have to do a post on the Darling Buds as well. Some people derided them as Primitives copyists (blonde girl singer and three blokes in black! Ooh! must be copying them! *withering sarcasm*) but I thought they were pretty great. The first time I saw this video I was eleven years old.

Darling Buds -It’s All Up To You

Does anyone know if Primal Scream did videos for any of their pre-Sonic Flower Groove singles? This is, however, a class song and (nicely) typical of many of the indie videos of the period.

Primal Scream -Gentle Tuesday

A fantastic song, controversial at the time given that the Grand Hotel in question was the one in Brighton where Margaret Thatcher and the conservatives were staying in 1984 when it was bombed. (‘Jesse Garon’ still runs a record shop in Edinburgh and is a thoroughly nice bloke).

Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes -Grand Hotel.

Meanwhile, will try and write up Amplifico and Wake The President interviews…