Track of the day #57: The Twilight Sad

The Twilight Sad have recently signed to Rock Action, Mogwai’s own label. There are hints of new events happening, but first up, they have unveiled a new track, entitled ‘I/m Not Here [missing face].’ As you might expect, it’s rather fab. As I have noted elsewhere, the single sees the band marry the motoric of German progressive rock to the classical Piano work of Erik Satie. As the band’s Andy MacFarlane explains:

“I was attempting to play ‘Ogives’ by Erik Satie, but I’m really shit at the piano so it didn’t happen, but I came up with the music using those chord shapes. So from my perspective, it’s a bad cover version of that piece of music.” The tracks can be streamed below.


The band’s tourdates can be found here.

Track of the day #56 – Mogwai

Mogwai credit: Brian Sweeney

I pointed out last month that Mogwai have another soundtrack coming out. This is, as always a cause for rejoicing around 17 Seconds Towers. As of today, you can stream the second track to be unveiled from the album, entitled ‘We’re Not Done.’ This is taken from KIN: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Mogwai are no strangers to soundtracks, and the two tracks unveiled so far suggest that they continue to keep up their impressively high standards into their third decade. It is their first feature film soundtrack, though they have also given us scores for documentaries including Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, Before the Flood (co-written and performed with Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Gustavo Santaolalla) and Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise. They also provided the soundtrack for the acclaimed Canal+ French TV series Les Revenants.

According to the band’s website, ‘KIN, a pulse pounding crime thriller with a sci-fi twist, is the story of an unexpected hero destined for greatness. Chased by a vengeful criminal (James Franco) and a gang of otherworldly soldiers, a recently released ex-con (Jack Reynor) and his adopted teenage brother (Myles Truitt) are forced to go on the run with a weapon of mysterious origin as their only protection.’

…and, just in case you missed it, this is ‘Donuts’ the first track to be unveiled:




New from Mogwai


A new Mogwai release is always something to be welcomes around at 17 Seconds Towers. The only thing I could afford – and find -and somehow, I only realised this morning that a new track ‘Donuts’ has been released in the last week. It’s taken from the forthcoming film KIN.

Although Mogwai have released several other soundtracks before in their two decades plus, KIN marks the first time that they have soundtracked a feature film.

To find out what Mogwai are up to, you can read an interview with Mogwai mainman Stuart Braithwaite over on the NME website here.

The release date for the film hasn’t been announced yet, but the film is due out on August 31. The sci-fi/crime drama, directed by Jonathan and Josh Baker, stars Jack Reynor, Zoë Kravitz, Carrie Coon, Dennis Quaid and James Franco.


Getting ready for the new Mogwai album

Even into my forties, there’s still a number of bands for whom the release of a new album remains An. Event. Near the top of that list is Mogwai, who will release their ninth studio album Every Country’s Sun on September 1.

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. Coolverine
2. Party In The Dark
3. Brain Sweeties
4. Crossing The Road Material
5. aka 47
6. 20 Size
7. 1000 Foot Face
8. Don’t Believe The Fife
9. Battered At A Scramble
10. Old Poisons
11. Every Country’s Sun

So far, two videos have been unveiled by the band for the album ‘Coolverine’ and ‘Party In The Dark.’  Two very different songs, two very different videos – but as ever, unmistakeably Mogwai.


The band’s world tour begins next week, and concluded with a massive show in Glasgow in December:

19 August – Hostess Club All-Nighter, Chiba
8 September – Festival No.6, Portmeirion
10 October – Rockefeller, Oslo
11 October – Nobelberget, Stockholm
12 October – KB, Malmo
13 October – Vega, Copenhagen
14 October – Columbiahalle, Berlin
16 October – Docks, Hamburg
17 October – E-Werk, Koeln
18 October – Aeronef, Lille
20 October – AB Main Hall, Brussels
21 October – AB Main Hall, Brussels
22 October – Tivoli Vredenburg Ronda, Utrecht
23 October – Grand Rex, Paris
25 October – Riviera, Madrid
26 October – Reithalle @ Kaserne Basel, Basel
27 October – Fabrique, Milan
28 October – Atlantico, Rome
29 October – Estragon, Bologna
31 October – Roxy, Prague
1 November – Arena, Vienna
2 November – Täubchenthal, Leipzig
3 November – Backstage, Munich
18/19 November – Corona Capital Fest, Mexico
20 November – Observatory N. Park, San Diego
21 November – Belasco Theater, Los Angeles
22 November – Regency Ballroom, San Francisco
23 November – Roseland Theater, Portland
24 November – The Showbox, Seattle
25 November – Commodore Ballroom. Vancouver
28 November – Ogden Theatre, Denver
30 November – The Waiting Room, Omaha
1 December – First Avenue, Minneapolis
2 December – House of Blues, Chicago
3 December – Majestic Theatre, Detroit
5 December – Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
6 December – Corona Theatre, Montreal
7 December – Royale Nightclub, Boston
8 December – Terminal 5, New York
9 December – Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia
10 December – 9:30 Club, Washington
15 December – O2 Academy Brixton, London
16 December – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow




Album Review – Mogwai

Mogwai atomic

Mogwai -‘Atomic.’ (Rock Action)

The late, great John Peel used to say about his favourite band The Fall, that they were ‘always different, always the same.’ It’s something that could be said about Mogwai, too. ‘U-235’ was the first track to do the rounds ahead of the release of this album, and the minute the listener presses play, it is unmistakeably them. It may sound a little bit more ‘electronic’ than some of their work, but the soundscape of darkness and beauty, dread and possibility could not be anyone else. Yes there’s other post-rock bands out there, but no-one could do Mogwai like Mogwai do.

It’s not the first time Mogwai have leant themselves for soundtrack work – they have previously soundtracked both the French TV series Les Revenants (The Returned) and Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. In this case, this album is composed of reworked versions of the music recorded by the band for the soundtrack to director Mark Cousin’s documentary Atomic: Living In Dread and Promise. Though I should probably declare that I have yet to see the film – the strength of the work is that it appears to fill the brief, as described in the press release – ‘Constructed entirely of archive film, an impressionistic kaleidoscope of the horrors of our nuclear times – protest marches, Cold War sabre-rattling, Chernobyl and Fukishima – but also the sublime beauty of the atomic world, and how x-rays and MRI scans have improved human lives.’ I mentioned dread and possibility in the last paragraph – that’s exactly what this soundtrack does. Evocative, in a word. Right from the start of album opener ‘Ether’ up to the closing bars of ‘Fat Man.’

As with much of their music, each listen reveals something more of this album. It may not rate as their greatest achievement, but for those who are new to Mogwai, this is a good place to start. For those who have loved the band for decades, it adds a new chapter to what is already an impressive tale. Mogwai probably vie with Belle & Sebastian for greatest band in Scotland at the moment; both acts are now beginning their third decade of music, and neither show any signs of slowing down. For which lovers of great music across the planet should give thanks.


Atomic is out now on Rock Action

Forthcoming from Mogwai

Mogwai 2015 01 - credit Steve Gullick

Mogwai picture by Steve Gullick

A mere matter of months since the career-spanning Central Belters compilation, Mogwai have unveiled details of a new album.

Atomic will be released on April 1. The album is composed of reworked versions of the music recorded by the band for the soundtrack to director Mark Cousin’s acclaimed documentary Atomic: Living In Dread and Promise, which was first shown on BBC Four last summer. Constructed entirely of archive film, Atomic is an impressionistic kaleidoscope of the horrors of our nuclear times – protest marches, Cold War sabre-rattling, Chernobyl and Fukishima – but also the sublime beauty of the atomic world, and how x-rays and MRI scans have improved human lives.

Director Cousins says of the film: “I’m a child of the nuclear age, and in my teens I had nightmares about the bomb. But physics was my favourite subject in school, and I nearly studied it at university. Learning about the atomic world excited me. It was like abstract Star Wars.”

Meanwhile Mogwai leader Stuart Braithwaite says ‘The Atomic soundtrack is one of the most intense and fulfilling projects we’ve taken on as a band. Ever since we went to Hiroshima to play and visited the peace park this has been a subject very close to us. The end results, both the film score and the record are pieces I’m extremely proud of.’

It’s not the first time Mogwai have tackled soundtrack work, having been responsible for the scores to both French TV series Les Revenants (The Returned) and Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.

The tracklisting for Atomic is as follows:

1. Ether
3. Bitterness Centrifuge
4. U-235
5. Pripyat
6. Weak Force
7. Little Boy
8. Are You A Dancer?
9. Tzar
10. Fat man

The first track to be heard from the album ‘U-235’ can be streamed below:

Album Review – Mogwai

Mogwai - Central Belters art

Mogwai -‘Central Belters.’ (Rock Action)

According to legend round these parts of Scotland, when one Aidan Moffat told his Gran that his band was called Arab Strap, she responded by saying ‘But you’re from Falkirk! You should call yourselves Central Belt!’ One assumes that she didn’t know what an arab strap was (be careful where you google it, for most people it’s definitely NSFW). Obviously he didn’t take his Gran up on her suggestion, but a couple of decades later, erstwhile labelmates (on Glasgow’s legendary Chemikal Underground label) and collaborators Mogwai have given the title Central Belters to this exhaustive (but most definitely not exhausting) anthology of their first twenty years as a band.

The central belt refers to the middle of Scotland, the bit that includes Glasgow and Edinburgh. Central Belters is a massive 3-CD or 6LP vinyl set that stretches from early singles through albums and EPs up to last year’s Rave Tapes which became the first Mogwai album to reach the top 10 in the UK. Whilst most of Mogwai’s music is instrumental – but not all – the distinctiveness of their sound has ensured over the decades that their fanbase has grown and soundtracks the the experience of living in Scotland incredibly well. Not least the beauty of the place and the bleakness that descends.

Mogwai might seem to have specialised in the very quiet to the BLOODYFUCKINGHELLIJUSTJUMPEDOUTOFMYSKIN with their music (it’s not on here but the track ‘Like Herod’ from their debut Young Team is a prime example of this), but one of the very impressive things about this band is how they have continued to evolve and develop over the years. And whilst Mogwai fans might grumble about tracks they think should have made the cut (no ‘Ex-Cowboy’ or ‘Dial:Revenge’ guys?!), the album has been awesomely sequenced showing the many facets of the band. So there’s a chance to hear favourites again (I never get tired of ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ or ‘Stanley Kubrick’ for example), and also rediscover tracks again (I’d forgotten how good ‘Friend Of the Night’ and ‘Remurdered’ are). And it finishes with their 2001 single ‘My Father My King’ which is a twenty-minute long version of a Jewish prayer that rams the point home about how unusual and damn special they are.

At thirty four tracks and close on four hours, it’s a lot of Mogwai to ingest. Practicalities of the modern age may mean that not many will be able to deal it all in one listen (nothing to do with quality but those interruptions and irritations). It’s maybe Mogwai for connoisseurs rather than a simple ‘Introduction to…’ – though in this day and age of playlists rather CD-Rs or C90s perhaps that’s a moot point. But it is a wonderful collection, and proof of how utterly vital they remain.


Central Belters is released by Rock Action on October 23.

Forthcoming from Mogwai

Mogwai 2015 01 - credit Steve Gullick

Mogwai, photo by Steve Gullick

It’s now twenty years since Mogwai formed, and this October will see the release of a fantastic compilation by the seminal Glasgow post-rock band.

Entitled Central Belters (Central Belt refers top the middle of Scotland, the bit that includes Glasgow and Edinburgh), it’s a massive 3-CD or 6LP vinyl set that stretches from early singles through albums and EPs up to last year’s Rave Tapes.

The artwork and tracklisting can be seen below:

Mogwai - Central Belters art

CD 1
1) Summer
2) Helicon 1
4) Christmas Steps
5) I Know You Are But What Am I?
6) Hunted By A Freak
7) Stanley Kubrick
8) Take Me Somewhere Nice
9) 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
10) Mogwai Fear Satan

CD 2
1) Auto Rock
2) Travel Is Dangerous
3) Friend Of The Night
4) We’re No Here
5) I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
6) The Sun Smells Too Loud
7) Batcat
8) Mexican Grand Prix
9) Rano Pano
10) How To Be A Werewolf
11) Wizard Motor
12) Remurdered
13) The Lord Is Out Of Control
14) Teenage Exorcists

CD 3
1) Hugh Dallas
2) Half Time
3) Burn Girl Prom Queen
4) Devil Rides
5) Hassenheide
6) Tell Everybody That I Love Them
7) Earth Division
8) Wizard Motor
9) Hungry Face
10) D to E
11) My Father My King

There’s a new video for ‘Helicon 1’ (originally released as a single in 1997) directed by Craig Murray and shot on location in Okinawa, Kyoto and Osaka in Japan.

Stanley Odd on Scottish Independence

In less than two weeks’ time (September 18) Scotland will hold a referendum on Independence. Trying to get unbiased and balanced views from either side has become difficult in Scotland, and whatever happens on that date, you can bet your bottom dollar that the shouting, posturing and hand-wringing will not be over.

I’ve long championed Edinburgh Hip-hop act Stanley Odd on these pages (and you can read an interview with them here. They have recorded a new song (with an awesome take on the notion of a lyric video) entitled ‘Son I Voted Yes.

Stanley Odd will join an awesome lineup that includes the likes of 17 Seconds favourites including Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai and Frightened Rabbit at ‘A Night For Scotland’ which takes place at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on September 14. Tickets for that event have been selling like hot cakes, but it may be worth trying…

Stanley Odd are touring in November, too:

Sat 15th Nov – Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree
Fri 21st Nov – Edinburgh, Liquid Room
Tue 25th Nov – London, Barfly
Fri 28th Nov – Inverness, Ironworks
Sat 13th Dec – Glasgow, The Garage
Oh, and if anyone asks me why I haven’t featured a ‘no’ event or songs on here – I haven’t been sent any.

Album Review – Mogwai


Mogwai -‘Rave Tapes.’ (Rock Action)

This is Mogwai’s eighth studio album (not including soundtracks, compilations and remixes) and the impressive thing is that nearly twenty years into their career, Mogwai are still continuing to surprise listeners.

This time, there’s far more keyboards than ever before. If the only track you’ve heard so far is the one doing the rounds ‘Remurdered’ you’ll notice that there are keyboards on the track and these are far more prevalent than they have been on much of their back catalogue. In fact, it sounds like they’ve started listening to Kraftwerk and incorporating the Dusseldorf Kling Klang sound within,

In many ways, without going backwards, it’s one of the darkest sounding albums they’ve given us in perhaps a decade. Certainly titles like the aforementioned ‘Remurdered’ and ‘Simon Ferocious’ do hint at that. And yet the album starts off with ‘Heard About You Last Night’ which for the first fifty seconds is far more reminiscent of the likes of Brian Eno or Harold Budd, until the guitars kick in.

It may not be the most immediate or accessible work they’ve produced – but that’s probably no bad thing. What is clear is that Mogwai are continuing to operate at a very high level and have produced another excellent album.


Rave Tapes is released on Rock Action on January 20.