The Cure vs. Ride

Robert Smith - the cure

It’s now 25 years since Ride released their debut album, Nowhere. To these ears, the shoegazing legends were at their finest on their debut album, and their first four EPs.

November 6 will see the album re-issued, and Robert Smith of The Cure has remixed the album’s closing track ‘Vapour Trail.’ Although it’s not on the forthcoming re-issue, it can be downloaded as a two-track single via iTunes. There are two versions – a longer version that comes in at nearly seven and a half minutes…

…and a shorter one at five minutes.

Robert Smith and The Cure have been busy of late. Whilst rumours of a sequel to 4:13 Dream continue to circulate, the band have announced they will tour the US in 2016 (see their website for details). Support comes from 17 Seconds favourites The Twilight Sad, who earlier this year featured Robert Smith’s cover of their song ‘There’s A Girl In The Corner’ as the b-side to their single ‘It Never Was The Same.’ You can hear that here.

And if anyone doubted The Cure’s legacy, it’s telling that in recent months, both Natalie Imbruglia (on her album Male) and Yo La Tengo (on their album Stuff Like That There) have covered ‘Friday I’m In Love.’ You can hear them by clicking on the links. Maybe I should do a post dedicated to cover versions of The Cure…

* note: the original release of the album on cassette and LP had ‘Vapour Trail’ as the closing track. The CD added three tracks from the Fall EP, the lead track on the EP being ‘Dreams Burn Down’ which was on the album. Just to add to the confusion, some versions of the album on CD also add all four tracks of the subsequent Today Forever EP. However, as far as I am concerned, the original album is eight tracks long, and closes with ‘Vapour Trail.’

Album Review: Yo La Tengo


Yo La Tengo -‘Fade.’ (Matador)

I’ve been waiting for this album, as a fan, and I wasn’t disappointed. See, Yo La Tengo have now been around for decades rather than years, but every album still feels like a big deal. They may not play stadia or appear in gossip magazines, but the number of those in the know continues to grow with each album. This, by the way, is their thirteenth studio album.*

Listening to this for about the second or third time before writing this review, I tried to work out where Yo La Tengo fit in -if they need to – on the musical landscape of the last fifty years or so. Like Sonic Youth and Low -and I think they are musically the missing link between the two bands- they’re out of leftfield, uncompromising and yet a mesmerising act.

There’s not a whole heap of guitar abuse on this album, excpt for the final track ‘Before We Run.’ It’s an album comparable to many that they have produced, though the one that I find myself comparing it to most is 2003’s Summer Sun. That album finished with a faithful but heartfelt cover of Big STar’s ‘Take Care’ and I think there’s something of both Summer Sun‘s Sadness, and the Third/Sister Lovers Big Star album. Most strongly can this be felt on ‘Cornelia and Jane.’

So Yo La Tengo do it again. Like The Fall, always the same, always different. Like Wilco, they are trying to break your heart. And like Yo La Tengo, utterly distinctive and brilliant.

Fade is released on Matador on January 14.

Stream Fade over at Pitchfork.

*depending on who you ask and what you read. I’ve also read that this is their twelfth and their fourteenth, and even as a fan I’m not sure.

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

The return of Yo La Tengo


Yo La Tengo have announced that they will release their thirteenth studio album, Fade, on January 14. The first track to do the rounds is the gorgeous clsoing track ‘Before We Run’ which you can watch below:

The full tracklisting is as follows:

1. Ohm
2. Is That Enough
3. Well You Better
4. Paddle Forward
5. Stupid Things
6. I’ll Be Around
7. Cornelia and Jane
8. Two Trains
9. The Point of It
10. Before We Run

They will also be playing a handful of dates in the British Isles as part of a European tour:

March 20 2013 London – Barbican
March 21 – UK, Manchester – The Ritz
March 22 – UK, Glasgow – O2 ABC
March 23 – Ireland, Dublin – Vicar Street

Gig review – Yo La Tengo


Yo La Tengo – Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, June 6

This is the first night in the UK of Yo La Tengo’s Re-inventing The Wheel tour. The aim of these shows is that each show is show of two halves with no support act where anything goes-and the wheel has the final say. The wheel is spun, giving endless possibilities of what they might play in the first half, followed by a Yo La Tengo show in the second.

What struck me the last time I saw Yo La tengo live (Usher Hall in 2005, with Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, if anyone’s interested), was that they have a great collective sense of humour between the three members, Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew. They crack jokes about what we might expect, and get a member of the audience on stage to spin the wheel. Will we get them performing the entire sit-com sketch (which hasn’t happened yet, on this tour, apparently) or…

We get Dump! Dump is the side project which James McNew has performed with over the years. The set starts with ‘Slow Down’ which is one of the more mellow numbers in this part of the set. While I’m not the authority on Yo La Tengo who can tell you everythign about each track…it doens’t matter. I’m just swept away, along with everyone else in the audience. My perosnal highlight is the re-working of Prince’s ‘The Beautiful Ones,’ originally on Purple Rain. Dump did, in fact, release an entire album of Prince covers, appropriately (if baitingly) entitled That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice?.

The second set is Yo La tengo – but being Yo La Tengo, it’s not just the same songs that they play every night. What is brought home is that Messrs. McNew and Kaplan are most definitely up there on a par with the likes of J Mascis and Thurston Moore in terms of the guitar-awesomeness stakes. After twenty minutes of ear drum buzz wonderfulness, thy take the pace right down and give us a frail and gorgeous ‘Tears Are In Your Eyes’ with Georgia on lead vocals.

YLT have always given the world a mixture of feedback madness and understood the beauty of the sugar-coated pop song. It’s great to hear ‘Beanbag Chair’ with Ira on piano (am I the only person who thinks this is like Ben Folds Five? In a good way, obviously!) and to hear the two worlds coming together in the song that got me into them in the first place, ‘Sugarcube.’ I leave with my ears ringing…

This was the first gig I’d been to since the birth of my son nearly three months ago, and it was an awesome ‘welcome back’ into the gig-going world. Long may Yo La Tengo flourish.

Yo La Tengo -‘Beanbag Chair.’ mp3

In another galaxy, far far away this is kicking Simon Cowell into forever


I’ve featured Fucked Up on here before now. They’ve done cover versions before (I have posted their EP which features covers of The Shop Assistants) and they have done a cover ‘Do they Know It’s Christmas?’ the Band Aid song that was a no.1 single in the UK (and many other countries) in 1994, 1989 and 2004. The song also features appearances by Yo La Tengo, RZA, Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Bob Mould, Andrew WK, TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, comedian David Cross and Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene.

All proceeds from the single will be split between three charities: Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, DTES Power of Women Group and Sisters in Spirit.

Apparently this will be available on vinyl in February (sic). It is available to download from iTunes now. For whatever reason, it does not yet seem to be available on eMusic.

New Yo La Tengo song!



Yup, there is a new Yo La Tengo album on the way. And no, it’s not the Condo F*cks but as Yo La Tengo. The album is entitled Popular Songs and should be out in early September. Read about it here

The first release from the album is a rather fine song called ‘Periodically Double or Triple’ which changes rather impressively midway through it.

Yo La Tengo -‘Periodically Double Or Triple.’ mp3

Yo La Tengo website/Yo La Tengo myspace

Album Review: Condo Fucks


Condo Fucks -‘Fuckbook’ (Matador)

There have been many boring stickers on albums over the years. Prices, parental advisory stickers (‘what’s the point in wasting money on music that won’t upset your parents?’ as Bart Simpson once quipped), and the info that it includes the recent hit single that the album shares its’ name with. Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Lose The Plot, sorry, Use Your Illusion I and II boasted the information that ‘This album contains langauge that some people may find offensive. They can f@?! [sic] off and buy something from the new Age section.’ The Condo Fucks’ album boasts the information that ‘This is not the new Yo La Tengo album.’


What it is, though, is a hugely enjoyable romp through a selection of songs written by the likes of Slade (‘Gudbuy T’Jane’), The Beach Boys (‘Shut Down’) and the Kinks (‘This Is Where I Belong’) in a sixties garage punk stylee. It shows that perhaps there is a line that links the sixties surf sound to the sixties garage punk sound at the time. Produced by Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange and mixed by Bob Clearmountain (at least, that’s what the sleeve says), this legendary Connecticut band whose back catalogue is extremely hard to get hold of tear through eleven songs in thirty minutes.

It’s loud, it’s raw, it’s fun and doesn’t matter remotely that it’s not particularly original. The name of the band may stop them getting much daytime airplay, though I suspect their world will continue to spin on its’ axis.

Oh, and it sounds nothing like a Yo La Tengo record I’ve ever heard, either.


Condo Fucks -‘What’cha Gonna Do About it?’ mp3

Fuckbook is released on March 23 on Matador.

I think I smell a rat…


After last year’s painfully cool cluster of releases on the Matador-4AD-Beggars Banquet group (Cave Singers, Mogwai, Times New Viking, Fucked Up, Stephen Malkmus, Jay Reatard, Cat Power, Stereolab etc..), and the news that they have signed Sonic Youth, I have kept an eye on the Matador site. One band caught my eye…The Condo Fucks.

“Legendary New London, CT trio the Condo Fucks returned to the stage last March after a long absence from the Tri-State Area’s concert circuit. A secretive Hoboken rehearsal was recorded and is being released March 24, 2009 by Matador as the LP/CD, Fuckbook. Eschewing such Condo Fucks originals as ?Fuckin? Gary Sandy? and ?Let?s Get Rid Of New Haven?, the trio ? Georgia Condo (drums), Kid Condo (guitar), and James McNew (bass) ? instead tear through covers of The Small Faces, Richard Hell, Beach Boys, Electric Eels, Troggs, Flaming Groovies and Slade classics in the style that previously won them so much acclaim from the Nutmeg State?s music journalists and radio programmers all those years ago. In the go-go 1990s, the Condo Fucks released 4 titles on the Matador label (see right), some of which were prominently advertised on the inner sleeve of Yo La Tengo?s I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. Sadly, these titles are long out of print and we are unable to provide the media with copies. With Fuckbook, a full tour of major Connecticut nightspots is planned upon release. Also though the band are somewhat ?old-school? about the modern social networking phenomena, there?s an unofficial MySpace page launching very soon. ”

The name rang a bell and I smelt a rat…the same rat I smelt when I’d read the names on the sleeve of Yo La tengo’s I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One LP, about these seminal bands who’d released records on Matador.

So I googled it …and Wiki came up…and it transpires it’s Yo La Tengo! Perverse buggers. The references to Hoboken should have alerted me.

Their album as the Condo Fucks, entitled Fuck Book, will be released on either March 10 or 24 (the website says both, rather unhelpfully). This is from it. This probably won’t be getting much play on daytime Radio 1…oh hang on, they’ve been going for twenty years and I suspect they’re not bothered about it in the slightest.

I rather like this…

Condo Fucks -‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It?’

Some Covers For Friday Part VI

Well, it feels like ages since I’ve done a ‘proper’ covers only post. Let’s get going…

Sons & Daughters -‘Killer (Adamski/Seal cover).’ mp3

Pet Shop Boys -‘Always On My Mind (Elvis Presley cover).’ mp3

Yo La Tengo -‘Dreams (Fleetwood mac cover).’ mp3

Tralala -‘Never Understand (Jesus and Mary Chain cover).’ mp3

Slowdive -Some Velvet Morning (Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra cover).’ mp3

The Shins -‘We Will Become Silhouettes (Postal Service cover).’ mp3

BTW, two bits of info that may be of interest to you:

1) This afternoon I did a ‘phone interview with James Allan of Glasvegas fame (see below) and will write that up a.s.a.p.

2) This afternoon I received an email from Colin at And Before The First Kiss, asking if I would like to be involved with another mp3 blog he is assembling called Fun and Heartbreak. Well, obviously, yes! I haven;t yet posted over there, but I will.

Watch this space…