Yes, I’m still here!


It has gone uncharacteristically quiet on the 17 Seconds front. Not because I stopped caring or writing, but simply because I went away on holiday for a few weeks. Australia, since you ask – and it was bloody fantastic.

So there will be more music reviews and whatnot to follow, in the meantime, check out the review I wrote of Wire’s most recent album Nocturnal Koreans, which was printed over at Is This Music?

The return of Wire

Wire 2015

The next few months look busy for some of the acts who first came to prominence during the post-punk era – and who refused to join the heritage circuit. Wire, who released their debut Pink Flag in 1977, will shortly release their 13th album, entitled Wire. The line up is now Colin Newman (vocals, guitar); Robert Grey (drums); Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), and former It Hugs Back guitarist Matthew Simms, who joined the band in 2012.

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. Blogging
2. Shifting
3. Burning Bridges
4. In Manchester
5. High
6. Sleep-Walking
7. Joust & Jostle
8. Swallow
9. Split Your Ends
10. Octopus
11. Harpooned

You can stream ‘Joust & Jostle’ below:

Album review – Wire


Wire -‘Red Barked Tree’ (Pink Flag)

So, not only are Gang Of Four back with a new album, so are Wire!

…except, while Content is Gang Of Four’s first album in sixteen years, Wire may have gone on hiatus over the years, but they have been back together since the mid-eighties in some form or another. And sure, Wire are probably best remembered for their opening salvo, the trilogy of albums that was Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154, they have continued to produce great singles and albums. If at the very least you haven’t heard songs like ‘Kidney Bingos’ and ‘Ear drum buzz’ then shame on you, frankly.

Album opener ‘Please Take’ is deceptive, sounding slight at first until you realise that -like say, Scritti Politti’s ‘The Word Girl’- it is a hugely angry song. ‘Please take your knife out of my back/and when you do, please don’t twist it.’ There is definitely a je ne sais quoi Wire sound, and even if this album lacks the oddness associated with their earlier work, the ‘Wire sound’ is here in spades. Pinpointing what it is is the trouble -yet whether it’s the dreamy guitars of ‘Adapt’ or the lyrical matter of factness of ‘Please Take’ or the controlled feedback of ‘Two Minutes’ -it’s definitely a Wire album. And that’s a very good thing.

Sure this album doesn’t explore weird terrain in the way that their early work did, and I’m not entirely sure how many new fans it will win them. But as someone who loves their work, it’s a fine album, and good to have it.


Red Barked Tree is out now on Pink Flag

Wire -‘Adapt.’ mp3

Keepingitpeel day


John Peel and his wife, Sheila, affectionately known as ‘the Pig.’

OK folks, a veritable pot-pourri for you today, in honour of the great John Peel:

First up, Wire’s 2002 session for the programme

Wire -‘Spent (Peel session).’ mp3

Wire -‘I Don’t Understand (Peel session).’ mp3

Wire -‘First Fast (Peel session).’ mp3

Wire -‘99.9 (Peel session).’ mp3

…and one or two other bits and pieces that turned up in the programme.

Like Six By Seven covering Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ – in German, obviously.

Six By Seven -‘Heldon (Peel session).’ mp3

And the Shop Assistants covering Motorhead:

Shop Assistants -‘Ace Of Spades (Peel session).’ mp3

While Blur and Pulp recorded sessions for Peel, and he championed the Bluetones too, and even Suede got an entry (‘The Drowners,’ natch) the biggest stars of Britpop -Oasis, duh -only scored an entry in the hallowed Festive fifty courtesy of Cat Power:

Cat Power -‘Wonderwall (Peel session).’ mp3

Finally, two very long session tracks that I’ve posted before but I think are worth posting again:

Godspeed You Black Emperor -‘Hungover As The Queen in Maida Vale (Peel session).’ mp3

Orb -‘Loving You (Peel session).’ mp3

I would also recommend that you read my friend Steve’s blog, Teenage Kicks, which covers the Festive Fifty in awesome detail, and as well as Football and music who started this ball rolling (thank you!), my friend Jim over at The Vinyl Villain has also been flying the flag for today for some weeks past. Including posting another, earlier Wire session that they recorded for Mr. Peel.

Peel Session: Wire

This Wire session was the fifth and final one that they recorded for John Peel’s show, in 2002. You can read more details about it here


I Don’t Understand

1st Fast

99.9 (2002 Festive Fifty no.34)

Wire’s official website is here.

You should get yourself some Wire stuff, starting with the first three seminal albums Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154.

Thanks to David for sending me these tracks, I will be having a Belle and Sebastian fest very, very soon. 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.


If I had to pick a favourite era for music, it would be 1977-1982.

Of course, I was too young to know what it meant at the time, but it’s the era that I have spent time tracking down the most sounds from.

There was just so much great stuff: The original UK punks finally getting the chance to make records, Roots reggae from Jamaica, the beginning of Hip-Hop, Bowie’s Berlin period, the beginning of indie, Post-punk, New Wave, No Wave, Disco, New Romantics (before it got silly), Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’, Siouxsie, the arrival of Madonna, Michael Jackson’s Off The Walland Thriller.

OK, so i’m sure people could write long lists about all the crap they had to live through musically, socially and personally and they’d be right too.

But -and it’s hard to do it justice -my view of six great tracks from the period.

Human League -‘Being Boiled.’ mp3

Scritti politti -‘Skank Bloc Bologna.’ mp3

James Chance -‘Contort Yourself.’ mp3

The Cramps -‘Human Fly.’ mp3

Wire -‘Three girl Rhumba.’ mp3

The Fall -‘Bingo Master’s Breakout!’ mp3

as always, if you like what you hear, support the artists involved!