Record Store Day? Like, whatever


So, today was Record Store Day. I bought my first single back in 1986 (The Housemartins’ ‘Caravan Of Love’ in case you’re interested), I dreamt for years of working in a record store (and did indeed work in several, a decade or so ago), and have collected vinyl for many years. Browsing through new or second-hand vinyl is one of my favourite pastimes. I even ran a label for a few years.

So was I up at the crack of dawn to queue for ages to spend huge wads of cash on limited releases for myself and/or to flog on ebay? No. I wasn’t. I didn’t even go in a record shop today. Not even for live bands.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the fact that vinyl’s been experiencing a resurgence, not that I ever stopped buying it. I think record shops should be supported, the format sustained. But the excess of records produced for this one day, that in many cases I suspect people wouldn’t want to buy 364 days of the year, available overpriced, and then punted for ridiculous sums online within hours…forget it.

There are, of course, Record Store Day specials I have bought in the past. Last year I bought Woman’s Hour’s fantastic cover of Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ on 12″ and it was great. I still play the thing a whole year later! But as been posted elsewhere, the aim of supporting the remaining record shops seems to have become an opportunity for the public to be fleeced.

I don’t have a problem with records being re-issued on vinyl. If it’s the format you like, and the original is more money than you have, then why not? The other day I looked online to see how much an original copy of Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut Piper At The Gates Of Dawn would be. Answer: over £100. I’m a public sector worker with a kid to bring up. That isn’t going to happen. But a repressing would suit just fine.

It can also be an opportunity for records to be pressed on vinyl that weren’t originally available on the format. Last year’s releases included Biffy Clyro’s Puzzle and the White Stripes’ Get Behind Me Satan. I already had all the other White Stripes albums on vinyl – but with a cost of £30 +…again, forget it. Why were these records not made available anyway?

And here’s the thing. There’s not a lot of pressing plants left, so why just press up stuff for one day? I buy vinyl throughout the year. An increasing number of people do. But if bands want to support record shops then there’s no point doing it for just one day. They need to be doing stuff throughout the year. And maybe encouraging people to buy direct from shops rather than from their own websites or massive online retailers.

Above all, I looked at the list this year and there was nothing I really wanted. Yes, I rather like the Primal Scream cover of S Express’ ‘Mantra For A State Of Mind’ below. I get only pressing a limited number – it’s not economic sense to press a huge amount that won’t sell. But for just one day a year? How into your vinyl are you really? And how much do you really care about supporting shops?

Mark Stewart vs. Primal Scream


Some collaborations just look so god damn cool on paper (or in an email) that your interest is piqued before you have heard a note of the music, or a second of the video. And so it is here.

Mark Stewart – once of The Pop Group (creators of one of the most astonishing albums ever in Y) has collaborated with Primal Scream for a track ‘Autonomia.’ Written about the death of Carlo Giuliani, who was killed at the G8 demonstrations in Genoa in 2008, the song is the first single to be taken from Stewart’s forthcoming album The Politics Of Envy, due out at the end of March.

The video was directed by none other than Douglas Hart, who not only is a former member of the Jesus and Mary Chain – but he was the bass player in the band for their debut album Psychocandy when the drummer in the scream was none other than Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream (just in case you have been under a rock for the past quarter-century).

Autonomia from Future Noise Music on Vimeo.

The Politics Of Envy has a guest list to make the most reserved post-punk fan salivate with excitement: Kenneth Anger, Richard Hell, Keith Levene (Clash/PiL), Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Gina Birch (Raincoats), Tessa Pollitt (Slits), Douglas Hart,
Factory Floor, Youth, Daddy G (Massive Attack), and all of Primal Scream. Just a little bit cool then…

The tracklisting is as follows:
1. Vanity Kills
2. Autonomia
3. Gang War
4. Codex
5. Want
6. Gustav Says
7 .Baby Bourgeois
8. Method to the Madness
9. Apocalypse Hotel
10. Letter to Hermione (yes, the David Bowie song from the Space Oddity LP)
11. Stereotype

17 Seconds Top re-issues and compilations of the year 2011


1. Raincoats Odyshape
2. Various Artists Bristol Reggae Explosion Volmes 1 & 2
3. Roy Harper Stormcock
4. Scritti Politti Absolute
5. Throwing Muses Anthology
6. Roy Harper Songs Of Love and Loss
7. Primal Scream Screamadelica
8. Queen A Night At The Opera
9. Paul McCartney McCartney II
10. Manic Street Preachers National Treasures -The Complete Singles

I have a dream that one year I will manage to produce all sorts of Specialist lists on here. This IS the specialist list for this year.

And as they’re pretty damn relevant, read my Roy Harper and Raincoats interviews too!

Find more The Raincoats songs at Myspace Music

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

A post for St. Andrew’s Day

November 30 marks St. Andrew’s Day, the Patron Saint of Scotland.

This isn’t a particularly big day in Scotland, but then St. David’s Day and St. George’s Day aren’t either. Which probably seems out to the Americans reading this, when you consider how important both Thanksgiving and the 4th of July are.

There’s much I love about Scotland, my adopted homeland since 2001. I didn’t just move here because I loved Belle and Sebastian or because of Fopp and Avalanche, though these were factors in my coming. Since moving here, I’ve interviewed Emma Pollock, had tea at Stevie Jackson from Belle and Sebastian’s house, worked with members of the Prats, X-Vectors and Wounded Knee, to say nothing of seeing many acts. Oh, and started my own indie label, done my own club night, begun this blog…and qualified as a teacher. It’s a place where many of my dreams have come true.

It’s not just about the music. There’s great literature, great films and a whole thriving culture. I don;t think I could live anywhere else. Sure the winter’s are severe, but you can’t have everything.

My favourite scottish band remain The Delgados, who are just brilliant. They split up in 2005, but are just life affirming. My favourite Delgados song is ‘No Danger’ which is from the album The Great Eastern, my favourite scottish album (it was recorded in New York State. Then again, Transformer by Lou Reed reminds me of New York but was recorded in London. Go figure…)

And an mp3 from the album, ‘American Trilogy.’

The Delgados -‘American Trilogy.’ mp3

Oh go on! Here’s the video too…

And some other great, classic scottish tracks…

Motorcycle Boy -‘Big Rock Candy Mountain (Velocity Dance Mix).’ mp3

Aztec Camera -‘Oblivious.’ mp3

Primal Scream -‘Velocity Girl.’ mp3

Jesus and Mary Chain -‘Upside Down.’ mp3

Camera Obscura -‘Eighties Fan.’ mp3

Yes, I know most of them are over twenty years old, but hey…

Much-sought after Peel and other stuff…

This post is dedicated to all the 17 Seconds readers who have helped me track down hard to come-by tracks that made the John Peel Festive Fifty. Thank you all muchly…

Antihero -‘Rolling Stones T-shirt.’ mp3 (2002 Festive fifty no.5)

Antihero – ‘Who’s looking out For Number 1?’ mp3 (2001 Festive Fifty no.38)

Antihero -‘You Got Nothing (session).’ mp3 (2002 Festive Fifty no.37)

Primal Scream -‘It Happens.’ mp3
(1985 Festive Fifty no.44, b-side of All Fall Down, whihc was not in itself a Festive Fifty entry)

Buba and the Shop assistants -‘Dreaming Backwards.’ mp3 (b-side of ‘Something to do’ 7″ -not a festive fifty entry)

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy -‘Little Boy Blue.’ mp3 (2000 Festive Fifty no.46)

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy -‘Little Boy Blue ii.’ mp3

There will be more requests no doubt, but for now, either Steve at Teenage Kicks or I would welcome Burning Love Jumpsuit ‘Cheerleader’ if anyone can let us have it (the full version, not the two minute bit that got played on the radio!)

STOP PRESS: now in possession of the full track. Many thanks to everyone who sent it in. You rule!

New Primal Scream track

This appears on the Primal Scream official website



Despite those annoying capital letters, I’m excited about the collaborations (especially Linda Thompson) and this free track they have made available to download.

To these ears, their ‘Street Fighting Man’. And they may even have reached a compromise between their dance and rock influences. Just, maybe…

Primal Scream -‘Urban Guerilla.’ mp3

And please leave feedback!

The 500th post

The Cure in 1980, circa Seventeen Seconds, their sophomore album which gave this blog its’ name.

Well, here we are, twenty-two months later, the five hundreth post.

Quite a few interviews done (and several still to be written up), a lot of music reviewed, a bit of ranting, and some nice words in the Guardian. It’s been a labour of love at times, but I’m grateful to the support I’ve had from readers, friends and family (not that these are necessarily mutually exclusive), and particularly the wonderful Mrs. 17 Seconds. She has waited patiently whilst I grappled with technology, for that five minute post that has turned into an hour, shared the frustration, and been as supportive as anyone could wish. When we met the Vinyl Villain in Glasgow a couple of months back, he quipped: ‘So what’s it like being married to an obsessive, then?’ to which she replied: ‘Well, everyone’s obssessive about something, aren’t they?.’ When I started this blog, we had yet to get cats…or even get married. Life, eh?

Some of my friends have asked if the blog’s raison d’etre is to publicise new scottish music. This is only part of it, but it’s definitely a part of it:

Bricolage -‘Our Fire’s Electric.’ mp3

I’ve also enjoyed posting weird and wonderful, well-known and painfully obscure covers, and this is probably unlikely to stop. Hell, I’ve heard a lot of stuff since I started this. But it’s also enabled me to focus on stuff I loved before, too:

The Slits -‘I Heard I Through The Grapevine.’ mp3

This seems to be the most-downloaded track from the blog:

Primal Scream – ‘Velocity Girl.’ mp3

Many thanks is due to fellow bloggers who have put in links to this site, mentioned me, left feedback and got me in the position that I seem to get several people reading this blog per day. Whilst I would love this to increase, it’s nice to know that just because only a handful of people leave responses, people are still reading it. There’s too many people to thank, but heck, you know who are you, and may you have a nice glow inside for the rest of the weekend.

Should I focus on just one type of music? Well, no, my record collection doesn’t and I don’t see why the blog should. I’m actually rather proud that the blog has featured stuff including classical, jazz, hip-hop, disco, death metal…oh, and a fair bit of scottish indie, too. I’ve done a lot of posts relating to stuff that John Peel championed, and by way of very humble tribute, I’ve tried to keep alive in my own small way a highlighting of new music, and unsigned acts. But I despise snobbery, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t mention bands that are established and successful.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. I’ve posted this before, but as it’s the song that gave this blog its’ name, it’s only fitting I should post it again. It’s lasted longer than the club night I ran of the same name.

The Cure -‘Seventeen Seconds.’ mp3

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…

Just to keep you posted…

Just in case anyone’s wondering where I’ve gone…I’m still here, still alive…just a little busy and not in Scotland for a couple of days.

But do yourselves a favour, or indeed two:

Firstly, Song, By Toad has excelled himself and had the fabulous Broken Records in for a session, so get yourselves over there now to Song, By Toad

Secondly, Steve over at Teenage Kicks has done excellent posts on the Shop Assistants and Motorcycle Boy, so if you enjoy your eighties indie and John Peel, get over there!

I spent much of yesterday on a train, reading Iain Banks’ The Steep Approach To Garbadale and listening to my iPod. This fantastic tracks started my journey:

Primal Scream -‘Velocity Girl.’ mp3

…though this is one of the few UK road tracks I know:

Richard Thompson -‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning.’ mp3