Christmas Posts 2012 #19


No, not son 17 Seconds, who’s a little bigger than that these days, but a very Happy Christmas from all of us here.

Enjoy these songs -and please, leave feedback!

The Fall -‘(We Wish You) A Protein Christmas.’ mp3

Sultans of Ping -‘Xmas Bubblegum Solution.’ mp3

Rilo Kiley -‘Xmas Cake.’ mp3

De Rosa -‘Under The Stairs (Xmas Reverie).’ mp3

James White -‘Xmas With Satan.’ mp3

Badly Drawn Boy -‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’

ILikeTrains -‘Last Christmas.’ mp3

Damned -‘There Ain’t No Sanity Claus.’ mp3

James Brown-‘Please Come Home For Christmas.’ mp3

XTC-‘Thanks For Christmas.’ mp3

Sonic Youth-‘Santa Doesn’t Cop Out On Dope.’ mp3

Yo La Tengo -‘It’s Christmas Time.’ mp3

Album Review: Sonic Youth


Sonic Youth -‘Smart Bar, Chicago 1985′ (Goofin’ Records)

Released on the band’s own label Goofin’ Records, in simple terms this is as it says, a live gig at Chicago’s Smart Bar. The thing is, it’s a fantastic snapshot of one of the most important bands of the last thirty years at an important part in their history.

Steve Shelley had just joined on drums, and the band had released their third studio album Bad Moon Rising and they were working towards what would be their fourth album, Evol. By comparison to the material they would put out on Geffen from 1990 onwards, this seems raw-but no less thrilling. It may start out with a slightly dodgy recording of ‘Hallowe’en’ -but it transpires this was due to someone not de-pressing pause when recording the gig. Once they do, it opens up to an album that matches the likes of the Stooges or Dinosaur Jr. for sheer volume and intensity.

And whilst the band had yet to make a commercial breakthrough (hint: there was a reason why this music was known as ‘alternative’ at this point in time), there are songs familiar to those who are familiar with the studio records of the time. So the legendary ‘Expressway To Yr Skull’ appears, as do astonishing versions of the likes of ‘Flower’, ‘Intro/Brave Men Run (In My Family)’ and a version of ‘Death Valley ’69’ that may not have Lydia Lunch but is oozing with power and presence.

With the news late last year that Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon have separated, there is, no doubt, going to be speculation about whether the band will be a going concern. Don’t focus on that, focus on an incendiary performance that grabs you by the balls and makes you yell for more. Despite what some reviews have suggested, this is not just an album for fans, but rather an album that gives an insight into what the band were about and where they were going.


Smart Bar, Chicago 1985 is released on Goofin’ Records on Noevmber 12.

The continuing adventures of Thurston Moore


Thurston Moore is 54 today. He is currently touring in support of his latest solo album, Demolished Thoughts, which is a very fine album indeed. And while many of us sit and wonder whether Sonic Youth will ever play together again, now that he and Kim Gordon have split up, he has formed a new band called Chelsea Light Moving. As well as our hero, the band consists of Keith Wood (guitar), Samara Lubelski (bass) and John Moloney (drums).

They have put out a new song today, which can be downloaded for free, entitled ‘Frank O’Hara Hit.’

Chelsea Light Moving -‘Frank O’Hara Hit.’ mp3

There’s a couple more free songs that they have made available for free download via the Matablog:

Chelsea Light Morning -‘Groovy and Linda.’ mp3

Chelsea Light Morning -‘Burroughs.’ mp3 (Of course it’s about the late William S, what did you expect?!)

More info over at the Matablog

Forthcoming from Lee Ranaldo


By the end of 2011, things were looking bleak for Sonic Youth. Not that they haven’t released some awesome music in thirty years of being together, but the news that Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore are splitting up has thrown the band’s future into doubt.

However, depressing as the thought that they may no longer record together is, the band’s members have been responsible for some mighty fine other projects over the years. Gordon as part of Free Kitten, Moore solo and in collaboration with others (to say nothing of running his fine Ecstatic Peace label)…and now the news that guitarist Lee Ranaldo is due to release his first ‘proper, song-orientated album’ (quote from the PR I was sent, quotation marks my own) on March 26 through Matador.

It’s called Between The Times And The Tides and features cameos from the Youth’s Steve Shelley and one-time Youth member Jim O’Rourke, and the original drummer Bob Bert. Not only that but Wilco’s Nels Cline features on every track on lead guitar. For indie fans of a certain vintage, as well as people who really know their stuff, this is something to really get excited about.


The first track to do the rounds is called ‘Off The Wall’ (no, not the Michael Jackson song – but if you haven’t ever heard ver Youth’s take on songs like Crime’s ‘Hotwire My Heart,’ The Carpenters’ ‘Yesterday Once More’ and Madonna’s ‘Into The Groove’ you are really depriving yourself unnecessarily), and it’s rather fine…

Lee Ranaldo-‘Off The Wall.’ mp3

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

Album review – Thurston Moore


Thurston Moore -‘Demolished Thoughts.’ (Matador)

So; another Sonic Youth-related album, a mere couple of months after the Youth’s soundtrack album Simon Werner A Disparu. Casual Youth fans may query whether this album is an improvisation-type thing or a more conventional album. People seem to get thrown by Thurston and co’s unconventionality. But it’s why I have loved them for more than twenty years.

See the impressive thing about this album – or one of them, anyway – is how Moore manages to take the singer-songwriter template and somehow transform it, puttylike, in his own hands. The result is that a) the genre does not feel tired and b) even minus the feedback, it is distinctively Thurston Moore.

Whilst there were certainly great moments on his last solo album, Trees Outside The Academy, this album is more focused and serves as a reminder to fans new and old why Moore is the master. A track like ‘Circulation’ is a key example; beautifully arranged, melodic and yet it is easy to see how as part of Sonic Youth’s catalogue the electric guitars would lick in. Meanwhile, on ”Orchard Street’ it is as if feedback has been scored for Orchestra…

Porudced by Beck, this album fits in nicely alongside recenet albums by both J macis and Kurt Vile (Us fans will get the chance to see the latter and Moore touring together this summer). Not because they are leftfield singer-songwriters (not labels you’d apply to Moore or Mascis!), but because they are albums that show there is new ground to be covered in this genre.

A welcome addition to moore’s already very impressive catalogue.


Demolished Thoughts is released on Matador on May 23.

Thurston Moore -‘Benediction.’ mp3

Thurston Moore -‘Circulation.’ mp3

Some covers for Saturday


Last Friday’s covers seeemd to go down well, so I thought I’d post some more.

First up, two from The Breeders. ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ is taken from their debut album Pod, and originally appeared on The Beatles’ The Beatles (AKA The White Album). The second was by the Who, and appeared on the Breeders’ Safari EP. Some people have wondered if this was in reference to the fact that Kim Deal’s then other band The Pixies were about to call it a day.

The Breeders -‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun (The Beatles cover).’ mp3

The Breeders -‘So Sad About Us (The Who cover).’ mp3

Sticking with a 4AD related act, Belly’s cover of ‘Trust In Me’ appeared on the single of ‘Feed The Tree.’ The song originally appeared in The Jungle Book, and Siouxsie and the Banshees also did a version on their cover versions album Through The Looking Glass.

Belly -‘Trust In Me.’ mp3

A final 4AD track for today; both the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Automatic and the Pixies’ Trompe Le Monde are underrated albums in those bands’ respective and highly respectable back catalogues. ‘Head On’ by the Mary Chain was covered by the Pixies on their final (so far) studio album in 1991:

Pixies -‘Head On (Jesus and Mary Chain cover).’ mp3

Speaking of underrated albums…I still have a soft spot for Neil Young’s underrated 1982 synthesizer opus Trans. So do Sonic Youth, it would appear…

Sonic Youth -‘Computer Age (Neil Young cover).’ mp3

The Cardigans covered a number of Black Sabbath songs in their own style. Here they take on an Ozzy Osbourne solo track:

Cardigans -‘Mr. Crowley (live).’ mp3

Speaking of bands covering bands that seem to be polar opposites…

Shop Assistants -‘Ace Of Spades (Motorhead cover, John Peel session).’ mp3

Dinosaur Jr’s take on the Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’ has a very sudden ending; to the extent that for years I was convinced I had only ever heard incomplete versions…Duh!!

Dinosaur Jr -‘Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover).’ mp3

I’ve not posted a lot of Elton John or the Beastie Boys in five years of doing this blog, so why not kill two birds with one stone?

Beastie Boys -‘Benny and the jets (Elton John cover).’ mp3

…and finally, just for good measure:

X-Lion Tamer -‘Starsign (teenage fanclub cover).’ mp3

The return of Thurston Moore…solo artist


Thurston Moore is set to release a new solo album (his fourth or fifth, depending on who you ask, apparently!) entitled Demolished Thoughts in May.

It’s been produced by Beck (yup, Beck Hansen) and the word is that it actually has more in common with reecnt releases by the likes of Kurt Vile and J Mascis that I’ve been raving about over here at 17 Seconds, than some of the music(s) typically associated with Sonic Youth.

No tracklist available yet that I can find, but see what you think of this. If I had a radio show at the moment I would definitely be playing this:

Thurston Moore -‘Benediction.’ mp3

Album Review – Sonic Youth


Sonic Youth -‘Simon Werner A Disparu’ (SYR)

The latest album from Sonic Youth is released on their own SYR label and forms the soundtrack to the French film Simon Werner A Disparu (AKA Lights Out). Their releases on the SYR label (as opposed to their releases on Blast First, Geffen or Matador) have often been portrayed to be hard, impenetrable releases, designed to appeal only to a select hardcore of fans.

Which is slightly unfair. Granted, Goodbye 20th Century was as far away from Goo or Dirty as you can get, but Sonic Youth have always had their fingers in a number of pies in their now thirty year existence. They may have had hits, but they’ve also had a foot rooted firmly in the avant garde as well. This release is an entirely instrumental album, which provides the soundtrack. While not as out there as Goodbye 20th Century, it features sublime moments and exercises in feedback. It also features the reappearance of erstwhile collaborator and bassist Jim O’Rourke on thet closing track ‘Theme D’Alice.’

This is actually a really good example of Sonic Youth’s music and how they work as a band. It may not be the best starting point for tackling their (pretty massive) back catalogue but if you feel the urge to investiagte their more off the beaten track releases away from the major labels, this is as fine a place as any to start.


Simon Werner A Disparu is out now on SYR

Christmas posts part 21


For today, some slightly more avant-garde/off-beat type offerings for you.

As an antidote to anodyne Christmas offerings, I wandered into town with the Cure’s Faith on my headphones. Which was perfect, until the batteries ran out. Life without an iPod (waiting to have it fixed AGAIN) can be very frustrating.

Sonic Youth -‘Santa Doesn’t Cop Out On Dope.’ mp3

William S. Burroughs & Kurt Cobain ‘Quiet Waters.’ mp3

Basement 5 -‘Last White Christmas.’ mp3

Daniel Johnston -‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.’ mp3

Can -‘Silent Night.’ mp3

memo to self: DO NOT go into town on the last saturday before Christmas…