Album Review – The Motorcycle Boy

A street photograph of a Harlem Motorcycle Gang, photographed in New York City, USA for Queen magazine, 1959.

The Motorcycle Boy – ‘Scarlet.’ (Forgotten Astronaut Records)

There’s no shortage of records that we have had to wait an aeon for. Through my teenage years, it was The Stone Roses’ Second Coming which took five years to follow-up their self-titled debut, and then as I got older it was the dozen years that went by before Kate Bush finally released Aerial, the follow-up to 1993’s The Red Shoes.

But there are, also, those records that sit in the vaults, while rumours circulate, and bootlegs may issue forth. So let’s take a brief step back…In 1985, contemporaries of the Jesus & Mary Chain, Meat Whiplash, took their name from a Fire Engines b-side and released their one and only single ‘Don’t Slip Up‘ on the legendary Creation record label. Meanwhile, over in Edinburgh, there was a band called The Shop Assistants, who were fronted by one Alex Taylor. After the band released their only album, Will Anything Happen she left to join up with the members of Meat Whiplash and guitarist David Scott and The Motorcycle Boy was born.

Of course, this should have been the start of something brilliant. In a way, it did start brilliantly. The band debuted with a cracking single ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain‘ which made the Peel Festive Fifty and saw them get an NME cover. They signed to Chrysalis, but sadly, momentum got lost, and while a couple of singles were released in 1989, the album that got recorded was never released…until now. But with an interest in indie guitar pop always bubbling away under the surface, the band haven’t been forgotten, and the release of the album has certainly piqued the interest of many.

So what does the record actually sound like? Album opener ‘Hey Mama’ is dancey, and dallies with the sounds that were emerging out of the dance scene, involves sequencers and keyboards. ‘Valentine’ is that underrated point where shoegazing meets c-86, and ‘World Falls Into Place’ is that gorgeous sixties influence that had such an influence over many of the 80s indie bands (while we’re at it, I genuinely think the first c-86 record may well have been The Byrds version of ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’). Oh, and if you’ve never heard it before, ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ is here, too. It should have been filling up indie dancefloors for the last thirty years, and hopefully it now will do, too. Historically, it belongs with a whole host of bands that decimated the charts like Primal Scream and the aforementioned Mary Chain, the cult heroes The Pastels and the criminally underrated Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes.

It’s great, too, that the last two tracks on the album are an unreleased single ‘Sweet Dreams Pretty Baby’ and ‘Days Like These.’ If you look up the band’s releases on Discogs or Wiki you can see that there are other versions and recordings that could have filled an entire second disc. In the meantime, celebrate the fact that this release has finally seen the light of day, and check out the other bands on the family tree.


Scarlet is released on Forgotten Astronaut Records on October 25.

Does there have to be a reason?

I’ve just returned from a trip to London, and inevitably, there was a bit of record buying. For the first time in many years, I’ve actually started buying CDs again – you can pick up some great stuff in charity shops for as little as a pound – and often a lot less. Why would I buy CDs when I prefer vinyl or I could stream it? Firstly, because there are albums you can pick up for the price of half a coffee that will cost fifty times that on vinyl (and I do have other commitments apart from expanding my music collection). Secondly, because not every album ever made is on streaming services and thirdly, because I don’t have a car that stream music either. Today I have been rediscovering David Holmes’ This Films Crap Lets Slash The Seats (sic).

Of course, I also picked up some vinyl, and while I can’t believe it’s seven years since this came out, I was thrilled to finally own Bobby Womack’s final studio album, The Bravest Man In The Universe on vinyl. Enjoy!

Presenting…Emma Russack & Lachlan Denton

So…we’re into autumn here, and in Scotland that means that it’s getting cold, wetter than normal, and more significantly, grey.

But what better than a (musical) ray of sunshine from one of 17 Seconds’ favourite cities in the world, Melbourne, Australia? Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton will release their third album together on October 19, entitled Take The Reigns, and the three tracks here on their Bandcamp are absolutely fabulous. That gorgeous Aussie accent reminds me of Frente! and Courtney Barnett.

I knew absolutely nothing about them (though you can read an interview here) and the music speaks absolutely perfectly for itself. Give these three tracks a listen, I’m off to beg for an advance copy of the album! If you’re pushed for time ‘Catch’ is the highlight.

Finally…from Motorcycle Boy


A mere thirty years after it was recorded, Motorcycle Boy’s one and only album, Scarlet, will be released on October 25.

This is grounds for celebration, and to mark that, why not enjoy the band’s debut single from 1987 ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain.’

The tracklisting can be found here and the album can be bought here, though you might also like to support your local independent record store.

New from Leonard Cohen

Let’s face it, way too many great musicians died during the past decade, and the year ain’t over yet. Hell, in 2016, everytime someone started trending on twitter, it became way too easy to fear the worst. One of the most missed around 17 Seconds Towers is the Canadian legend Leonard Cohen.

However, a posthumous album is on its way on November 22. Entitled Thanks For The Memories, it’s been developed by his son Adam, and sees him completing the musical sketches that he left behind for his final album, You Want It Darker.

The album tracklisting is as follows:

  1. Happens To The Heart
  2. Moving On
  3. The Heart Of Santiago
  4. Thanks For The Dance
  5. It’s Torn
  6. The Goal
  7. Puppets
  8. The Hills
  9. Listen To The Hummingbird

The first track to be made available ‘The Goal’ is scarcely more than a minute long (i.e. it’s even shorter than ‘Velocity Girl’ or ‘Final Day’ but it’s amazing.

As a bonus, here’s the maestro doing ‘Take This Waltz’ from London (circa 2008, I think), it’s stunning.

PREMIERE: Blessed Is Ruby

A few days ago, this arrived in my inbox, and ‘would I like to premiere it?’ Well, it is rather lovely, so how could I say no?!

Oli Rose is the creator of Blessed Is Ruby. After graduating from Westminster University, Oli was discovered, picked up and mentored by the legendary producer Cameron McVey (Massive Attack, Portishead, Neneh Cherry) straight out of university, and then subsequently being taken under the wing of prolific A&R man Felix Howard (Amy Winehouse, Sia).

Blessed Is Ruby is the story of a 22-year-old woman who, after losing her father, is on a mission to find a spiritual connection with him in order to truly move forward with her life. After a lot of soul searching, Ruby gains the confidence and self-belief to start moving forward on her own path and, slowly finds her way to great successes as an intelligence officer, and interrogator, for the SIU (Secret Intelligence Agency) – an independent organisation that recruits spies for the most sensitive of missions. Ruby slowly becomes a master in her field and, one day, when a mission entitled ‘Protect Mount Ekel’ lands on her desk, her life truly changes. This is the soundtrack to her story.

‘Blessed’ is really a rather lovely track, that feels kinda spiritual, and even this agnostic feels kinda blessed listening to it. It’s released on Here And Now Recordings on Friday September 20.

I’m back…again!

It’s been a stressful few days, as the blog seemed to disappear without trace.

I got passed from pillar to post, and was eventually helped by a wonderful person online. Problems with migrating hosts, apparently.


Anyway, this calls for something very loud and celebratory, and the Peel session version of PJ Harvey’s ‘Victory’ (which would later appear on her debut album, Dry, hits the spot very nicely indeed.

Presenting…The Heartland Roots Band

Leicester’s Heartland Roots Band have been going for a few years now, but their new single, the rather lovely and very catchy ‘Breaking Away’ is the first release by a record company, Animal Farm.

The country-rock band are (fanfare please): Callum Bishop (lead guitar), Adie Causier (guitars, keyboards, mandolin, dobro, vocals), Anna Causier (keyboards, percussion,whistles, saxophone), Richard Daniels (bass, vocals), Samantha Hobson (lead vocals, guitar) and Steve Ward (drums).

The single has just been released and the video – with a sense of humour – can be streamed below. It’s a fantastic introduction to the band, who have got some excellent tunes (and will hopefully play Scotland at some point in the future).

They previously released the album Here And Now album in 2017 and the Back For More EP in 2018. You can stream them via Spotify or Deezer.

Presenting…Disciples Of Verity

I must admit Disciples of Verity were a new name to me, as were the majority of the band, but lead singer Corey Glover is Living Color’s lead vocalist, which boded well. The rest of the band are ex-God Forbid drummer Corey Pierce, bassist George Pond (ex-Negative Sky), and guitarists Mark Monjoy (Sekond Skyn) and Danny Puma (Negative Sky), will release their debut record Pragmatic Sanction this winter.

The band has teamed up with guitarist Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, ex-Nevermore) for their new single “Worthy”, which you can hear below. I went in not sure whether I was going to like this, it was exactly what I needed to hear. This totally blows away the cobwebs and kicks a lot of arses into gear. On the evidence of this, bring on the album!

For best results play very loud indeed.

Gig review – Jarvis Cocker

JARV IS simply the new vehicle which Jarvis Cocker has assembled in order to play his best known songs from his back catalogue. He delivers a set that draws on the almost the entirety of Different Class, and the big hitters from Pulp albums His ‘n’ Hers, This Is Hardcore and We Love Life. It’s a set purely based on giving the audience what they want and it’s as if time has stood still. We don’t get any new songs, just the greatest hits set that we all come to hear and sing along to for a blast of easy nostalgia.”

Relax, folks. Those one hundred words bear no resemblance to JARV IS’ performance at the Edinburgh International Festival. Instead, the performance served as a reminder how, even at the height of Britpop – now a quarter of a century ago – Jarvis Cocker was always his own man, and always a compelling performer. Balancing himself on two boxes at the front of the stage, he may have given any health and services bods watching a heart attack, but the rest of us were in for a compelling performance.

‘Good Evening!’ he greeted us. ‘Are you prepared to take Leith of your senses?’ Well, we were – and it wasn’t the last time during the evening he would make a daft joke that he pulled off perfectly. During a performance of JARV IS’ sole release to date, the single ‘Must I Evolve?’ the pontification about becoming a father features a line about ‘dragging my knuckles…while listening to Frankie Knuckles’ and…well, maybe you had to be there, but it worked perfectly.

A greatest hits set this was not, but there were nods to his work across the decades. The title track of his second album ‘Further Complications’ gets an airing, and perhaps more surprisingly, he performs ‘Mary’ from the Relaxed Muscle project. So disconnected was this from his work with Pulp that this barely appears even on his Wikipedia page, but it fits in perfectly with the evening.

New material can always be risky, but it is clear that JARV IS are playing to a room full of Jarvis fans who clearly have more than a passing knowledge of his work. So we get some fantastic new songs that I hope will see the light of day on an official release soon. ‘Swanky Modes’ and ‘When Julie Rules The World’ are great but the highlight is ‘House Music’ about a man who doesn’t want to leave his house but stay there and listen to house music.

‘Would it be okay if we sought political asylum here? I’m not even kidding,’ he tells us. It’s apt that one of his most celebrated solo songs is the apt and very bitter ‘Running The World’ which even gets a singalong going, no mean feat for a song that features the ‘c’ word in its chorus. The encores give us a Pulp rarity –His’n’Hers’ (from a 1994 EP) and a spectacular finish with ‘Elvis Has Left the Building.’

We have not heard the last of him…