A song for the day of the Scottish Referendum

At the time of writing I have still never been sent any tunes calling for a ‘no’ vote in the Scottish Referendum.

One tune I have been sent is from White Heath (who I have featured on the blog many times in the past) and their interpretation of Dougie MacLean’s ‘Caledonia’. You can stream it below:

In their own words ‘We proudly present our version of a modern classic of Scottish song; Caledonia. In response to the Referendum we wanted to add our voices to the outpouring of support for the Yes campaign, not only from artists and musicians, but from the grassroots. Caledonia is a song which captures where we are personally as a group of musicians; it is familiar to us, part of a shared recent history, but it also captures the mood of a people, and the spirit of their convictions. The sentiments and the musical landscape at play are part of the national character. We wanted to shine light on the bent of some of the Dougie MacLean’s gorgeously dark words, often skipped over by the rousing chorus and capture the raw and spontaneous energy that is manifesting itself in Scotland right now as people wake up to the incredible opportunity that lies before them. A people discovering politics again. Four nations and an island separately and together finding voice. A timely and honest self-examination, in which we find our body politic rotting, reminding us of the transience of our limbs, and therefore the importance of the legacy we leave etched before us; the vitality of seizing moments to realise seismic change. Our faults, our strengths, our possibilities. ‘Our multiform’ as Hugh MacDiarmid put it. Caledonia is not Scotland. It is an imagined time, an imagined place. It is a longing and love for someone and something that could be, given time, graft and will.’

The return of …White Heath


I’ve given a reasonable amount of coverage to Edinburgh’s White Heath over the years, or so I like to think.

Following on from the release of their debut album last year, Take No Thought For Tomorrow, they are now back with a new free single, entitled ‘In A Glasshouse.’ The band have never been a stranger to producing epic music, but they have clearly stepped up a further gear with release of this new track. It clocks in at over eight and a half minutes and goes some considerable place in that time.

Apologies for not plugging their Edinburgh gig from the other day, but here are four more English and Scottish dates they are playing in the next month:

March 31st – Manchester – Jackson’s Pit
April 6th – Liverpool – Zanzibar
April 7th – London – Bull and Gate
April 14th – Glasgow – Nice n Sleazy’s

Album Review – White Heath


White Heath -‘Take No Thought For Tomorrow’ (Electric Honey)

White Heath first made their presence felt two years ago, with the excellent The Sea Wall EP. It was an excellent release -self-released at that – which suggested that White Heath were capable of big things. And they have more than delivered with this, their debut album.

Opening track ‘Maker’ shows hints of jazz and classical as it builds towards its finish. There’s also hints of an epic classical feel on the closing ‘So.’ Fantatsic bookenders for the album -and if one of these boys ends up scoring soundtracks at any point, i wouldn’t be surprised.

Although all four songs that made up their debut release appear here, they appear much more self-confident and mature. Listening back to the EP now (which I still do) those versions seem much less sure of themselves by comparison. First single ‘GG’ is also much improved on earlier versions that circulated.

Given the gorgeous instrumentation, and awesome use of both strings and brass, I daresay some lazy fools will draw comparisons with another Edinburgh band now onto their sophomore album. Fools! This album is astonishing, full stop. But it is all the more amazing when you consider that it is a debut. Given that some of the bands whose careers have started with Electric Honey have gone onto achieve great things (keep up! Biffy, Belle and Sebastian and Snow Patrol), it would be a travesty on this evidence White Heath did not follow suit.


Take No thought For Tomorrow is released physically on June 4 on Electric Honey.

GG’ is available as a free download.

Election Day by Jim Sutherland

7 38am by Jim Sutherland

When The Watchmen Leave Their Stations by Jim Sutherland

Past The Satellites, Into The Fray by Jim Sutherland

Forthcoming from White Heath…


I’ve long championed White Heath on this blog, having loved thier early EP The Sea Wall, had them on my show on Fresh Air and put them on at Tigerfest last year. So I’m really pleased to be able to report that their debut album will be available from June 4.

Entitled Take No Thought For Tomorrow, the album was produced by Jim Sutherland, who helmed Aberfeldy’s Young Forever, amongst others. Released on Electric Honey (who gave us early releases from Belle and Sebastian, Biffy Clyro and Snow Patrol) the album features nine tracks:

Election Day
7:38 AM
Sunday In Fragments
When The Watchmen Leave Their Stations
Past the Satellites, Into The Fray

‘GG’ is available as a free download.

You can also stream the following tracks:

Election Day by Jim Sutherland

7 38am by Jim Sutherland

When The Watchmen Leave Their Stations by Jim Sutherland

Past The Satellites, Into The Fray by Jim Sutherland

I’ll publish a review soon…

Getting ready…


…for my last Fresh Air radio show.

It’s been fun, and I’m hoping to make a return to the station come October when they broadcast again.

This week I will have live music from X-Lion Tamer, ‘gone but not forgotten’ is Orange Juice, and there’ll be another cover version of the week. Also a final track from the album of the month by Aberfeldy and my little brother’s going to put in an apperaance as well.

I’ve loved playing a whole host of new(ish) scottish bands and this week will be no exception, including the likes of Ming Ming and the Ching Chings, She’s Hit, and Midas Fall.

White Heath -‘Election Day (Live for 17 Seconds).’ mp3

X-Lion Tamer -‘Starsign (Vic Galloway session).’ mp3

Gig Review: Mitchell Museum/White Heath

Mitchell Museum/White Heath, Electric Circus, Edinburgh; August 12, 2010

Last summer, two fine Scottish bands were bought to my attention, whose work I have featured regularly here on 17 Seconds and who I hope to continue to do so. They are (like the heading at the top didn’t give it away!) White Heath and Mitchell Museum. White Heath are currently recording their debut with Jim Sutherland for release late this year or early next year; Mitchell Museum’s debut the Peters Port Memorial Service is out now.

This is the third time I have seen White Heath in the last six months and it is clear that they have grown considerably I confidence. Of all the albums I am looking forward to being released over the next six months, this is undoubtedly one of the top. Their audience is growing too (and if they’d like to shut up between songs, some of them, that’d be nice too!) It’s a year since their debut EP appeared and the songs have continued to evolve too. Songs from the EP like ‘Election Day’ and ‘7:38’ sit comfortably alongside new songs like ‘Gigi’ and the closing ‘Blue.’

Mitchell Museum‘s profile has also grown over the last year, and last month they were on the front cover of Scotland’s The Skinny magazine, which is a sign of making inroads on the music scene. They start with album opener ‘We Won 2nd Prize.’ They do a good gig, I just wish that singer Cammy didn’t seem so nervous. I realise that it’s easier to play the keyboards from behind them than in front (for fairly obvious reasons!) but he is a man with the mark of a natural frontman. Relax, bro.

You can also tell a lot about a band by the songs they cover – I sincerely hope that I will be able to get my hands on at least an mp3 of their cover of M.I.A.’s ‘paper Planes’ because it’s a fine reworking. It sits well with the songs from their debut such as the title track and singles like ‘Take The Tongue Out’ ‘Tigers Heartbeat’ and ‘Warning Bells.’

Immaterial that these guys are from Scotland (or Siberia, for all i care), they have produced some excellent stuff and I look forward to watching them continue to grow. Sometime soon, then, guys?

Mitchell Museum -‘Mission 1.’ mp3

White Heath -‘Gigi (17 seconds session).’ mp3

17 Seconds Radio show: an update


In the process of putting together this week’s radio show, which will feature another interview and also a live session with an artist yet to be confirmed!

Music will include new up and coming scottish bands, such as Call To Mind, Cancel the Astronauts and Veronica Falls, as well as a ‘gone but not forgotten’ Scottish band, a cover version of the week and another track from the album of the month, Aberfeldy’s Somewhere To Jump From.

There will be a posting of the entire show, but for now, enjoy the two session tracks from White Heath…

White Heath -‘Election Day (17 Seconds Radio session).’ mp3

White Heath -‘Gigi (17 Seconds Radio session).’ mp3

UPDATE: This week’s session guests are confirmed: It’s the Last Battle!

Gig review: Jesus H. Foxx/White Heath

Jesus H. Foxx/White Heath

Maggie’s Chambers, Edinburgh, April 21

Two of Edinburgh’s most excellent new(ish) bands on the same bill, free to get in…so why the bloody hell were there only about forty people here?

Well, well done to those who made it, because quite frankly, this was an excellent gig, and the rest of the city doesn’t know what it missed. White Heath blew me away with their debut EP last year. The five piece are now recording their debut album with Jim Sutherland (who was at the helm of Aberfeldy’s debut Young Forever), which should be released sometime later this year on Electric Honey. They sound charmingly powerful live, with a mix of guitar, violin, and a singing drummer, amongst other things. The four tracks from the EP all get an airing tonight -‘7:38am’ ‘Leviathan’ ‘When the Watchemn Leave Their Stations’ and ‘Election Day’ which made the 17 Seconds Festive Fifty last year. I’ve wiated a long while to see these guys and I was not disappointed.

Jesus H. Foxx are also working on their debut album, due to be released on Song, By Toad Records later this year. I saw them live supporting Broken Records at their Christmas show in December (obviously) (on a bill that also featured Withered Hand, now there’s a bill to tell the grandkids about), and this evening I fall for them even more.

To these ears, this fantastic seven piece with their two drummers, innumerable guitarists and lovely trumpet work from Tallah are like a fantastic marriage of Pavement and the Go-Betweens. With added trumpet, obviously. looking at my notes I see that I wrote that their song ‘Trying To be Good’ is like a marriage of Pavement’s ‘Type Slowly’ (yes, the one with that lyric) and the Go-Betweens ‘Draining the Pool for You.’ I mean this as a compliment, to show the paths they are follwoing and the new paths they arecarving out as a band. They finish with the very fine ‘I’m Half the Man You Were.’ I’ve enjoyed both the ‘Tightt Ideas’ (sic) single and the Matter EP, and on the evidence of tonight’s show, both bands are at the forefront of what Edinburgh has to offer.

Both bands will be appearing at Tigerfest: Jesus H. Foxx play with There Will Be Fireworks at The Electric Circus, Edinburgh on May 12; and White Heath are the latest band to join the bill, and will be appearing with X-Lion Tamer and The Wildhouse at the 17 Seconds Records night which takes place at the Roxy Art House on May 9.