The return of the Pet Shop Boys


I’m not sure quite where it happened – I might be willing to suggest around the era of Highway 61 Revisited/Pet Sounds -that Rock and Pop seemed to get separated. The end result was that ‘rock’ was perceived as intelligent and serious, while ‘pop’ was considered lightweight, disposable and fluffy.

I beg to differ. And exhibit A for the defence are The Pet Shop Boys. It’s now thirty years since they formed -and they are due to release their eleventh album, Elysium, in September.

For those of you wondering if that isn’t, in fact, a Fields Of The Nephilim album -well, almost, Elizium, was Carl McCoy and co’s third album, back in 1991. I think, on the basis of this track ‘Invisible’ it is clear that the PSBs have not gone goth, but are continuing to produce intelligent pop – in no derogatory way whatsoever. This video was made in Los Angeles artist/film-maker Brian Bress and the album was recorded there, too. Don’t just listen, watch!

Oh no. Not again. And this time it’s really f*****g annoying.


I have been writing 17 Seconds since July 2006. It’s a labour of love. I don’t get paid in monetary terms (though the freebies that get passed my way are much appreciated). I knew this when I started it.

So it is nothing short of anger making when mp3s are taken down without contacting me. On one memorable occasion, I was sent an mp3 by the UK PR representative, posted it with their permission and came back to find a complaint from the US and it had been taken down. It transpired that the US end of it didn’t know that permission had been gven and sent in the heavy artillery.

This evening, it transpires that the entirety of my files have been deleted from my account at Mediafire. Every single one. Including a number of files that were on there because they were there for promotional purposes for 17 Seconds Records. I have made it abundantly clear that I should be contacted if people are unhappy about me posting stuff.

It is ironic -considering that I get about thirty submissions a day, from newly formed bands to acts that have been going for years – that there are sections of the music industry that see blogs as a threat. I have never ever intended any music I post to be here as an alternative to buying music.

There are those blogs which post entire albums. This blog has only posted a handful of albums in six years that were entire- and these were albums long out of print. In one case it was Orange Juice’s classic You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever. JC at the Vinyl Villain was inspired to use it as an example to sell CD-Rs of the band’s music for charity -and this was with the backing of Edwyn Collins himself.

There are people who use the internet to distribute material that is harmful, that abuses, that seeks to demonise and put back the cause of humanity. This is simply a blog written by a thirty-something who is passionate about music and wants to share that.

Go after the real criminals. Be very wary of those organisations that seek to protect copyright ‘for a fee.’

Now: I don’t own the rights to these songs. I never claimed to. If you like them, go and supprot the artists involved. If you support draconian internet piracy laws, you are a waste of space. I post them simply to illustrate the point.

New Pornographers -‘The Laws Have Changed.’ mp3

Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield -‘What Have I Done To Deserve This?’ mp3

Chumbawumba with Credit To The Nation -‘Enough Is Enough.’ mp3

Memories of eighties hits

I’m not quite sure what prompted me to look for this…but all of a sudden, I had to look for ‘Hey Matthew’ by Karel Fialka.

This was a hit in 1987…catchy, unusual and ever so slightly creepy. As an eleven year old I grasped a bit of what was being implied about watching violent TV, but not necessarily the bit that seems to be about politicians and blacklisting.

I recall him doing this on Top of The Pops, with him doing his bits in the studio and the video of Matthew. My Mum was heard to comment ‘It’s such a positive song, why does he have to keep glaring at the camera?’

All together now – ‘I see the A-Team the A-Team.’

Karel Fialka -‘Hey Matthew.’

This had been seen the previous year, again on Top Of the Pops. It was my Dad who grasped the story -see if you can. This was also slightly scary…but in a different way…

Stan Ridgway -‘Camouflage.’

…and bizarrely, this one was one we sang in the car, as a family. My brother and I found this slightly frightening as well…

Pet Shop Boys -‘It’s A Sin.’

Happy Birthday Dad!

In April it was my Mum, in May my darling Mrs. 17 Seconds and today it’s my dad’s Birthday. So happy birthday dad, here’s some for you.

My Da’s a legend, he’s encouraged music-making and writing and has alsways been very encouraging of this blog.

For car trips -Abba ‘The Winner Takes It All.’

…and Pet Shop Boys ‘It’s a sin’

For your university days Procul Harum ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’

…and Animals ‘House Of the Rising Sun’

And finally the track that got me into music originally: The Beatles’ ‘Hard Day’s Night’

Have a good ‘un, Da.


Some Covers For Friday Part VI

Well, it feels like ages since I’ve done a ‘proper’ covers only post. Let’s get going…

Sons & Daughters -‘Killer (Adamski/Seal cover).’ mp3

Pet Shop Boys -‘Always On My Mind (Elvis Presley cover).’ mp3

Yo La Tengo -‘Dreams (Fleetwood mac cover).’ mp3

Tralala -‘Never Understand (Jesus and Mary Chain cover).’ mp3

Slowdive -Some Velvet Morning (Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra cover).’ mp3

The Shins -‘We Will Become Silhouettes (Postal Service cover).’ mp3

BTW, two bits of info that may be of interest to you:

1) This afternoon I did a ‘phone interview with James Allan of Glasvegas fame (see below) and will write that up a.s.a.p.

2) This afternoon I received an email from Colin at And Before The First Kiss, asking if I would like to be involved with another mp3 blog he is assembling called Fun and Heartbreak. Well, obviously, yes! I haven;t yet posted over there, but I will.

Watch this space…

I’m one tired individual right now…

OK, very tired, still off work and about to head to bed.


Figured I’d post a few tracks, the sole theme here being -‘songs everyone should hear.’ The only link with the photo is that the Leaning Tower Of Pisa is somewhere i finally went last month, and I think everyone should go there.

So, first up…a small hit but one of the Pet Shop Boys’ best ever songs:

Pet Shop Boys -‘Being Boring.’ mp3

From their late eighties phase rather than their late seventies phase, but still sublime…

Wire -‘Kidney Bingos.’ mp3

From the best selling Jazz album ever, if I can’t persuade some of you that Jazz can be great, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree…

Miles Davis -‘So What.’ mp3

It starts off with feedback, it has a mental sax bit, it came outta the late seventies…Pere Ubu and a love song (of sorts)

Pere Ubu -‘Non-alighnment Pact.’ mp3

If this doesn’t bring a smile to your face, nothing will. (Though I wonder if They Might Be Giants are responsible for the very annoying band that are Barenaked Ladies.)

They Might Be Giants -‘Birdhouse In Your Soul.’ mp3

As ever, if you like the songs, support the artists involved.

And BTW, this is my 299th post. Will try and do something special for my 300th.

Home and dry

…ah. the week is oh so nearly in sight, there’s gigs to go to, and the first week back at work has actually been okay (so far. Touch wood).

Anyway, I decided that I would actually post four fairly upbeat and wonderful tracks.

Pet Shop Boys -‘Home and Dry.’ mp3

JC at The Vinyl Villain seemed a few weeks ago to feel that he had to justufy his love for the Pet Shop Boys. Absolutely not! Still wonderful, twenty years on.

The Rapture -‘Get Myself Into It.’ mp3

Is Pieces Of the People we love the fourth or third Rapture album, if we include The Mirror, Out of the Races…and Echoes? Oh well. Either way, this still makes me want to dance.

Amy Winehouse -‘Rehab.’ mp3

‘Have you heard Amy Winehouse’s new single?’ asked my brother’s flatmate six months ago. Personally I was aware of her, but thought her too ‘coffee-table.’ Then I heard this, and a few months later her album ended up being my second favourite album of the year (2006). You never can tell…

Ronettes -‘Be my Baby.’ mp3

The sheer wealth of emotions this song can make you feel is just unbelievable.

As always, if you like the tracks, buy them on Amazon, iTunes or your local record shop. These tracks will be posted for a week only. Enjoy!