Finally, it’s (almost) here!


As an avid watcher of the Edinburgh music scene, I feel like I have been waiting for the debut album by Jesus H. Foxx perhaps even longer than the eagleowl one (though I believe that’s due soon).

Song, By Toad Records released their fine six track EP Matter back in 2009, and as Toad Supremo Matthew Young says, ‘their debut album has been, they have assured me, mere weeks away from completion. And two and a half years later, here it is.’

Out very, very soon (can’t see a release date but it’s soon), and entitled Endless Knocking, this is the first track to be made available as a free download, the rather fine ‘So Much Water.’

The album tracklisting, by the way is:

The Reins, Quick
So the Wind Won’t…
Permanent Defeat
Elegy For the Good
Half the Man You Were
This is Not a Rental Car
So Much Water
Twins (reprise)

A review will follow shortly. Oh, and it has the fine ‘cello sounds of Pete Harvey on not one, but two tracks. Matthew Toad told me that he ‘is trying to prise Pete’s solo album out of him.’ Come on, I’m waiting…

Retreat -definitely not a sign of weakness!


The Retreat Festival will take place in Edinburgh on August 28 and 29 this year.

Both Emily from Tracer Trails and Bart Owl of eagleowl fame have been in touch about this, it’s an awesome lineup with many acts I’ve featured here on 17 Seconds, such as Withered Hand (above), Wounded Knee, Meursault, Jesus H. Foxx and eagleowl. Whilst I won’t be able to attend it all (I’ve got tickets for Broken Records on the Saturday Night), I’m going to bust a gut to go and see at least some of it. I don’t want to rehash the press release, so I’ve cut and pasted it:

” Venerable DIY gig-putteronners Tracer Trails and The Gentle Invasion are thrilled to announce the third edition of Retreat!, a micro-festival celebrating Edinburgh’s contribution to the international pop underground.

Following on from previous years which have seen the festival occupy spaces in St John’s Church and the Bristo Hall, this year’s Retreat! will be a two-day event taking place in Pilrig St Paul’s Church Hall, on the boundary between Edinburgh and the City of Leith.

Retreat! was founded in 2008 to create space for Edinburgh acts amid the bustle of the festivals, and has evolved into a riotous A.G.M. for the capital’s independent pop scene.

In its inaugural year Retreat! encompassed nine events over three weeks; in 2009 it took the form of a giant celebratory all-dayer as part of the Forest Fringe. Retreat! 2010 is different again, a lost weekend when Edinburgh’s first XVI will perform in a deranged gala-day environment in which anything might happen and some things probably will.

Hosted by the incomparable Owen Curtis Williams (The Pineapple Chunks / drummer-about-town), and with stage design by Tessa Lynch, the only common thread in this vibrant melange is the organisers’ overwhelming respect for each act’s inimitable contribution to the international pop underground.

Retreat! stands for: –

• cheap cheap tickets
• all-ages admission
• the most extravagant staging and costumery no money can buy
• film screenings, record stalls, book stalls, and food!

Retreat! The Line-Up:-

7VWWVW (golden synth buzz and burr)
Benni Hemm Hemm (our icelandic friend and his big band)
Conquering Animal Sound (radio friendly unit shifters)
The Douglas Firs (snow-capped downbeat singalong)
eagleowl (fearsome slowcore foursome)
Enfant Bastard (brainless gameboy spraff)
FOUND (slick pop outfit)
Jesus H. Foxx (slacker-pop septet)
The Leg (dangerous panda-masked post-punk)
Meursault (tipped for the top)
Milk (sleazy glasgow supergroup)
Rob St John (resident ecologist)
Skeleton Bob (not a country band)
The Wee Rogue (sings the corries)
Withered Hand (badly lapsed antifolk)
Wounded Knee (loopy primitivist technocrat)”

Visit Retreat bandcamp page here for lots of excellent downloads.

Withered Hand -‘Religious Songs.’ mp3

Wounded Knee -‘Cold Enough To Snow.’ mp3

eagleowl -‘Morpheus.’ mp3

Jesus H. Foxx -‘Trying To Be Good.’ mp3

Jesus H. Foxx – taster for forthcoming album revealed


I know, I know…other blogs have already covered this, but as usual I’m wading through so much stuff.

Anyway, Jesus H. Foxx are working towards completing their first album, which should be out in October, on Song, By Toad Records. I’ve seen Jesus H. Foxx live no less than three times over the last six months, sharing the stage with the likes of Broken Records, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Withered Hand and White Heath. They totally rule. And this new song shows them developing even further. You should have already bought the ‘Tightt Ideas’ (sic) single and the Matter EP -and if you haven’t; what the bloody hell is wrong with you?

This is shaping up to be another excellent album from Song, By Toad Records. Bring it on…

Jesus H. Foxx -‘J & J.’ mp3

Jesus H. Foxx’s myspace

Gig review: Jesus H. Foxx/White Heath

Jesus H. Foxx/White Heath

Maggie’s Chambers, Edinburgh, April 21

Two of Edinburgh’s most excellent new(ish) bands on the same bill, free to get in…so why the bloody hell were there only about forty people here?

Well, well done to those who made it, because quite frankly, this was an excellent gig, and the rest of the city doesn’t know what it missed. White Heath blew me away with their debut EP last year. The five piece are now recording their debut album with Jim Sutherland (who was at the helm of Aberfeldy’s debut Young Forever), which should be released sometime later this year on Electric Honey. They sound charmingly powerful live, with a mix of guitar, violin, and a singing drummer, amongst other things. The four tracks from the EP all get an airing tonight -‘7:38am’ ‘Leviathan’ ‘When the Watchemn Leave Their Stations’ and ‘Election Day’ which made the 17 Seconds Festive Fifty last year. I’ve wiated a long while to see these guys and I was not disappointed.

Jesus H. Foxx are also working on their debut album, due to be released on Song, By Toad Records later this year. I saw them live supporting Broken Records at their Christmas show in December (obviously) (on a bill that also featured Withered Hand, now there’s a bill to tell the grandkids about), and this evening I fall for them even more.

To these ears, this fantastic seven piece with their two drummers, innumerable guitarists and lovely trumpet work from Tallah are like a fantastic marriage of Pavement and the Go-Betweens. With added trumpet, obviously. looking at my notes I see that I wrote that their song ‘Trying To be Good’ is like a marriage of Pavement’s ‘Type Slowly’ (yes, the one with that lyric) and the Go-Betweens ‘Draining the Pool for You.’ I mean this as a compliment, to show the paths they are follwoing and the new paths they arecarving out as a band. They finish with the very fine ‘I’m Half the Man You Were.’ I’ve enjoyed both the ‘Tightt Ideas’ (sic) single and the Matter EP, and on the evidence of tonight’s show, both bands are at the forefront of what Edinburgh has to offer.

Both bands will be appearing at Tigerfest: Jesus H. Foxx play with There Will Be Fireworks at The Electric Circus, Edinburgh on May 12; and White Heath are the latest band to join the bill, and will be appearing with X-Lion Tamer and The Wildhouse at the 17 Seconds Records night which takes place at the Roxy Art House on May 9.

Looking for more ideas for Christmas?


So, it’s six days to go to Christmas, and you’re still wondering what to get various family and friends for Christmas. The head of a banker on a plate? Tempting. The heads of David Cameron and Gordon Brown? Maybe, maybe. Simon Cowell’s soul? You can’t buy what doesn’t exist. Or was it sold for thirty pieces of silver many years ago?

Anyway…confessions of a justified snipper aside, why not bear in mind these great presents from the scottish music scene, as stocking fillers or whatever, depending on your budgets and generosity?

First up, Avalanche Records have put together a rather fine compilation that retails for just £5 of excellent scottish bands doing Christmas songs. It does include our very own X-Lion Tamer doing a song called ‘Little Drum Machine Boy’ (no, not the one that Beck was doing that still does the rounds on the internet). As Tony T said himself, it’s nice to be competing with the big boys. The tracklisting is as follows.

1. There Will Be Fireworks – In Excelsis Deo
2. The Savings & Loan – Christmastime in the Mountains
3. Rob St John – December & Whisky
4. Frightened Rabbit – It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop
5. Pictish Trail – But Once a Year
6. Eagleowl – Sleep the Winter
7. Withered Hand – It’s a Wonderful Lie
8. Meursault – Christmas in Kirkcaldy
9. Emily Scott – Holy
10. Money Can’t Buy music – Atoms
11. Saint Jude’s Infirmary – Xmas in New York
12. Broken Records – All So Tired
13. Ballboy – Shallow Footprints in the Snow
14. X-Lion Tamer – Little Drum Machine Boy
15. Zoey Van Goey – In Scotland it Never Snowed, In Canada it Did

If you can’t get to Edinburgh why not order it here?

The Withered Hand single has also been made available as a free download (if you give free downloads as a christmas present you are taking Presbyterianism to frightening levels) so why not check it out if you still haven’t?

Withered Hand -‘It’s A Wonderful Lie.’ mp3

Meanwhile, Meursault made one of last year’s best albums in Pissing On Bonfires/ Kissing With Tongues. This year has seen them release the excellent Nothing Broke EP and also two 7″ singles “William Henry Miller Pt.1” and er, “William Henry Miller Pt. 2” You can buy the 7″s individually for £3 or together for £5. These can be found at Avalanche or ordered direct from Song By Toad Records here

Meursault -‘William Henry Miller.’ Pt 1

…as indeed can the excellent six track EP Matter by Jesus H. Foxx, which I have frothed about many times and which includes this excellent track:

Jesus H. Foxx -‘I’m Half The Man You Were.’ mp3

I’m still kicking myself for not having managed to see eagleowl yet -they have just released a stunning single ‘Sleep the Winter’/’Laughter’ which I have played incessantly. Their debut EP For The Thoughts You Never Had appears to have sold out, though I have seen a copy in Avalanche. The 7″ is beautifully packaged and worth every penny of the £4 or so. See here or here.

eagleowl -‘Laughter.’ mp3

This year has seen amazing debuts from many Scottish bands, all of whom should be on your Christmas present list – or on the list of things you thought you’d get other people. This should include the self-titled albums from both The Gothenburg Address and There Will Be Fireworks.

There Will Be Fireworks -‘Foreign Thoughts.’ mp3

Chemikal Underground continue to amaze all as ever, with their debuts from The Phantom band Checkmate Savage and Lord Cut-Glass’ self-titled debut (AKA Alun Woodward from the Delgados)

Phantom Band -‘Folksong Oblivion.’ mp3

Lord Cut-Glass -‘Even Jesus Couldn’t Love You.’ mp3

And if you’re still searching for more ideas for the music fan in your life, check the Scottish BaMS list (of which i am proud to be one!) here on Peenko, where we were asked for our views on the best albums of 2009 or indeed my own best of year list.

Gig Review: Broken Records/Jesus H. Foxx/Withered Hand


Broken Records/Jesus H.Foxx/Withered Hand

Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh December 9, 2009

The last time I saw Broken Records at Cabaret Voltaire was August 2007. It was the first time I had encountered them, and they were there as the support act to Emma Pollock, then just about to release her debut solo album Watch The Fireworks. At first we gasped at how they could possibly manage to fit seven people on what is a tiny stage. Then we were blown away by the sound of a band later described by one monthly magazine (clue: it rhymes with ‘Poo’) as ‘what Nirvana would have sounded like if they’d formed in Belarus instead of Seattle. There are bands that have come along subsequently that have tried to persue similar terrain – check out the recent solo album by Wojtek Godzisz- but BR are perusing their own way through their musical life.

And the thing is, Broken Records have now got people from far and wide focusing on Edinburgh and realising that it has much to offer muscially as a city. Sure, history has seen Edinburgh giving the world Aberfeldy, Idlewild, the Fire Engines etc.. but Edinburgh now has a myriad of bands of many different styles kicking a serious amount of arse.*

And two of these bands are here in support tonight. To my shame, it’s the first time I have seen either of them, but it sure as heck will not be the last. First on are Withered Hand. Dan and assorted friends saw the release of their debut LP Good News this year on SL Records. Having released two EPS and the aforementioned album, it is clear that Dan has got into his stride and has written some amazing songs. ‘No Cigarettes’ ‘Religious Songs’ and special new Christmas song ‘It’s A Wonderful Lie’ (see link at the bottom) are fine, worthy additions to the scottish songbook of the decade.

Jesus H. Foxx are normally a seven piece, with two drummers. Tonight there’s just (ha!) the six of them. Their fine set open with ‘I’m Half The Man You Were’ from their fine EP Matter, released on Song, By Toad Records. Matthew from that fine blog and label joins Mrs. 17 Seconds and I and it’s clear he feels they’ve made a whole heap of progress since he first saw them. B-side to first 7″ ‘Tightt Ideas’ (sic) ‘This Is Not A Rental Car sounds particularly fine live, and they finish with ‘O Messy Life.’ Next year should see the release of their debut album. Put me down for a copy, folks.

By the time Broken Records come on, the place is heaving, and I suspect Cab Volt, as it’s known locally, could well have been sold out many times over. They open with ‘Nearly Home’ and it feels like the sound of heroes returning home. By the time they are onto their third song ‘If Eilert Loevborg Wrote A Song It Would Sound Like This’ I’m almost as sweaty as Jamie is on stage, and rueing that I want to dance like a Cosack and there’s just no bloody space. ‘Wolves’ is fantastically intense. They finish with early single and album closer ‘Slow Parade’ and I’m reminded not only that this is many people’s album of the year but just how amazing a live band Broken Records are. They work in different environments and adjust accordingly -this is a totally different vibe to their gig earlier this year at the Queen’s Hall.

Except…it’s not quite the end. Tallah from Jesus H.Foxx comes on to join the band for an endearingly shambolic run-through the festive fave ‘Fairytale Of New York’ and even with the two of them reading the lyrics off sheets, nothing removes the magic. They finish, and the crowd patiently makes its’ way up to street level to the sound of Tom Waits’ ‘Christmas Card from A Hooker In Minneapolis.’

Broken Records said that this will be their last gig for a while as they intend to work on their sophomore album, due for release in September next year. Take as long as it takes, guys. We’ll wait.

Withered hand -‘It’s A Wonderful Lie.’ mp3

Jesus H. Foxx -‘I’m Half The Man You Were.’ mp3

Broken Records -‘If The News Makes You Sad, Don’t Watch It.’ mp3

*Meursault, X-Lion Tamer, Chris Bradley, eagleowl, Blueflint, Lord Rochester…