Saturday, December 30, 2006

Need party music for tomorrow night?

Two things I must share with you if you are compiling a CD-R (or whatever) for a party tomorrow night and you want something that not everyone has heard.

I'm not quite sure how it happened - probably another Blogger- but i found myself listening to Norweigian trio Datarock for the first time today. I knew they had made the NME's Top fifty albums of the year list but these tracks really made me pick up my ears:

Meanwhile, nosing around, I looked at Headphone Sex and became immediately smitten by the two tracks posted here posted on Mika. So much so I went out and bought the 12" of Relax Take It Easy. Do yourself a favour and buy this. My friend Jared thinks it sounds like 'I Just Died In Your Arms' by Cutting Crew. He's right -in a good way.

Buy Mika's Take It Easy on Amazon

It was twenty years ago today...

..that I bought my first ever 7" single 'Caravan of Love' by the Housemartins. Aged 10, I walked into WHSmith and started what has been twenty-year love affair with these little bits of vinyl. I've just given it the first spin in a few years but there's something about it that provides me with a warm glow after all these years. It's still pleasing that sales of vinyl singles have grown over the last few years, after all over a decade in the doldrums. Whilst it is probably too much to hope that they will be re-introduced in Woolworths, HMV in London and Edinburgh stock 'em in racks again (instead of shoe boxes).
As for the Housemartins...well, this line-up included Paul Heaton the singer (who would go on to form The Beautiful South), Stan Cullimore the guitarist (who would write books for children), bass player Norman Cook (better known as Fatboy Slim, amongst many, many names) and drummer Hugh Whitaker would play in The Sevants with future Auteurs/Black Box Recorder man, Luke Haines. This was their only No.1 hit, and it gives a glow like a cup of Hot Chocolate. Mmm...
This band are warmly remembered - and they should not be forgotten.
Start with their 'best-of' Now That's What I Call Quite Good, which also has some of the most amusing sleeve-notes I have ever read.
Watch the video here on YouTube

Friday, December 29, 2006

New LPs for 2007

One of my new year's resolutions every single year is to try and buy less music. Hmm. Of course, this usually works OK in January when I'm skint but after a while starts to fall by the wayside very quickly. If you're passionate about music, then you find the money!

It's going to be harder already, because this is what 2007 is promising us already: (NB Any release dates are UK)

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) 'Myth Takes' According to their website, this is out on March 4 (I make that a Sunday). Find out more here

The Shins 'Wincing the Night Away' Out on January 29. Find out more here

Bloc Party 'A Weekend In the City' Out February 5. US-based folks might want to read this

Kasier Chiefs Second as yet untitled album due out February 26.

The Good, the Bad and The Queen Debut album out January 22. Find out more here

The View 'Hats Off To The Buskers' debut album due out January 22.

The Noisettes 'What's the Time Mr. Wolf' debut out February 5, according to NME, but no mention of this on their website...

The Klaxons 'Myths Of The Near Future' debut LP out January 29.

Meanwhile, the Cooper Temple Clause are meant to have an album out sometime next year, and I hope Jamie T will, but still waiting...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Top 10 LPs of 2006

OK, given that I was asked ages ago for mine by Sweeping The Nation, here we go:

1. Camera Obscura 'Let's Get Out Of This Country'
2. Amy Winehouse 'Back To Black'
3. My Latest Novel 'Wolves'
4. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan 'Ballad Of The Broken Seas'
5. Cat Power 'The Greatest'
6. Morrissey 'Ringleader of the Tormentors'
7. The Pipettes 'We Are The Pipettes'
8. Hot Chip 'The Warning'
9. The Fratellis 'Costello Music'
10. Belle & Sebastian 'The Life Pursuit'

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Amy Winehouse, who I had obviously heard of, but who had barely registered on my radar at all until the last few months. Guess it shows just how wrong you can be. A lot of good music from Scotland (Camera Obscura, My Latest Novel, Isobel Campbell, the Fratellis and Belle and Sebastian).

Honourable mentions would go to Aberfeldy (Whatever Turns You On), and Scritti Politti (White Bread, Black Beer). Disappointment of the year would probably be 'At War With The Mystics by The Flaming Lips. They still kick ass live, but just didn't connect with me on that record. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs album dipped a bit in the middle too...

Let the yelling commence...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Boxing Day...

James Brown 1933-2006
Hello all,

well, hope everyone had a good Christmas (or whatever you choose to celebrate). I certainly did; amongst my presents were The Complete John Peel Sessions 1978-2004 by The Fall from my girlfriend (I shall be digesting it today; after hearing their take on 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing' from the 1994 Peel session, she asked me ever so nicely and politely, if firmly, if I could appreciate it on Boxing Day (she's working).

As I am sure most people are aware, James Brown died on Christmas Day aged 73. I'm proud to say that I got to see him once - he played at the Edinburgh Live8 gig in July 2005, and he was amazing, even for that brief appearance. I'm not an authority on James Brown, and there are many thousands of people out there far more qualified to talk about him than I, but for his huge contribution to music, I salute you. If you haven't got any of his music, then shame on you, but go here and start filling those gaps in your music collection. You really, really need tracks like 'I Feel Good' and 'Sex Machine' in your record collection. Given that this usually leads to stuff being issued posthumously, let's see if we can get the inevitable re-issue to No.1. Mind you, given that as of January 1, 2007 the singles chart effectively becomes a songs chart, perhaps we don't even need to wait for this, and can just go ahead and do the job ourselves...

The NME have been amzingly active and have put this tribute up to James Brown, including links to some YouTube appearances. Click here (BTW if anyone does come across any great tributes on the net, please leave a message for me and I will post the links).

Speaking of January charts, now is the time when bands, or rather their record labels, take advantage of the traditional post-Christmas dip in sales to launch new bands given that a) there is less competition from established acts (OK I know the Strokes put out their third album on January 2 in 2006, but that's fairly unusual). One of the acts who will be taking advantage of this are Good Shoes, who released their debut single on Christmas Day (are there many record shops (as opposed to download services) open in the UK on Christmas Day). This can be heard by following this link where you can hear three tracks streamed in their entirety and see the video.

The Cooper Temple Clause have also got a new single out, on January 8 on physical format, but available to download from iTunes now, and can be heard on their website.

I'm looking forward to 2007 - I will post a list of albums that are due out soon (not because I am a pawn of the music industry - though if people want me to review music/gigs for free I'm up for it) but because it's stuff I'm interested in too.

Finally, I recently mentioned the Jock 'n' Roll poll of best ever Scottish singles; they have produced a Top 150 for Christmas, and are still taking votes, so go and vote if you haven't done already and check it out here!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my readers and fellow bloggers! I will be back on December 26...If you are on a late-hunt for Christmas music, scan some of the recommended blogs, especially Another Form Of Relief and I am fuel, You Are Friends.
love and hugs Edxx

Friday, December 22, 2006

Best of 2006

OK guys - thought it might be good to post links to some of the best tracks of 2006...

First up, one of the albums I bought in the last few days is Amy Winehouse's Back To Black. It truly is worth hearing, and so different from the first album in 2003. You can go to Fingertips to download Rehab, but do yourself a favour and buy the album. It's already proving very pleasantly addictive...more 60's/70's classic soul than the jazzier sound of her debut...

Next up, over at Pitchfork they have The Rapture's Get Myself Into It here.

Though there hasn't been anything like the sheer amount of hysteria as there was when Echoes came out a couple of years back, new album Pieces of the people we love is still worth a place on your Turntable/iPod/CD player.

The wonderful SubPop is always worth a look...especially as the media page
has music from CSS and The Shins (cannot wait for new Shins album). I know I have posted links to these several times but when they are as good as this...

Finally Insound can provide mp3s for The Gossip and The Scanners, amongst others.

As always, if you like what you hear, please support the artist involved, by going to Amazon or any record shop and buying their music!

As of a couple of hours ago, I am now on holiday for the next few weeks. Hopefully I will have a bit more time to devote t0 the blog... : )

Merry Christmas to all my readers

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What the heck...?

tried to post a video over an hour ago. grr...if it's not Blogger it's YouTube...

watch this space...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Festive Fifty 2006

OK, obviously, this is not a John Peel-endorsed one, but in honour of the great man (and because I was not going to have time to listen to everything I have downloaded/bought this year) this is my personal festive 50. Feedback and comments welcome.

1. Long Blondes 'Weekend Without Make-Up'
2. Primal Scream 'Country Girl'
3. My Latest Novel 'When We Were Wolves'
4. The Gossip 'Standing In The Way Of Control'
5. Morrissey 'You Have Killed Me'
6. X-Vectors 'Now Is The Winter Of Our Discoteque' (winner of the 17seconds award for best title)
7. Nelly Furtado 'Maneater'
8. CSS 'Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above'
9. Corinne Bailey Rae 'Put Your Records On'
10. Muse 'Starlight'
11. Aberfeldy 'Whatever Turns You On'
12. Camera Obscura 'Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken'
13. The Shins 'Phantom Limb'
14. Love Is All 'Make Out. Fall Out. Make Up.'
15. Luke Haines 'Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop.'
16. Peter Bjorn & John 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.'
17. Junior Boys 'In The Morning'
18. The Fratellis 'Chelsea Dagger'
19. The Organ 'Brother'
20. Muse 'Supermassive Black Hole'
21. Neil's Children 'Another Day'
22. Amy Winehouse 'Rehab'
23. Yo La Tengo 'Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind'
24. Arctic Monkeys 'Leave before The lights Come On'
25. Peter Bjorn & John 'Young Folks'
26. Snow Patrol 'Chasing Cars'
27. Camera Obscura 'Let's Get Out Of This Country'
28. The View 'Superstar Tradesman'
29. Gruff Rhys 'Candylion'
30. The Spinto Band 'Oh Mandy'
31. The Futureheads 'Skip To The End'
32. Arctic Monkeys 'When The Sun Goes Down'
33. Albert Hammond Jr 'Back to the 101'
34. The Rapture 'Get Myself Into It'
35. Yo La Tengo 'Beanbag Chair'
36. Scanners 'Low life'
37. The Feeling 'I Love It When you Call'
38. The Delays 'Valentine
39. Rogers Sisters 'Never Learn To Cry'
40. Aberfeldy 'Hynotised'
41. Scritti Politti 'The Boom Boom Bap'
42. The Pipettes 'Pull Shapes'
43. The Upper Room 'Black And White World'
44. Hot Chip 'Never Learn To Cry'
45. Belle and Sebastian 'The Blues Are Still Blue'
46. Long Blondes 'Once and Never Again'
47. Mogwai 'Friend Of The Night'
48. Morrissey 'The Youngest Was The Most Loved'
49. The Raconteurs 'Steady As She Goes'
50. Dirty Pretty Things 'Bang Bang You're Dead'

Looking at the above list, I'm reminded thatit's been another fantastic year for music (at the beginning of 2000, I almost gave up on music altogether as I just felt that I couldn't connect with most of what was out there). There's a lot of wonderful stuff out there, and it's a very close call for some of these. It's also amazing to think how much good stuff Rough Trade are putting out too.

I'm also reminded that not working in a record shop any more, it's also quite hard to hear everything that comes out. But hey.

Let the rows commence. Feel free to disagree- but leave a message and let me know what YOU think is the track of the year,

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Other projects...

It's unbelievably busy at Christmastime, so I'm gonna make this quick...

first of all, one of my other musical projects, Johnny Caramel, an electronica act, have now got a myspace page, so go along and give us a listen here

additionally, I am also in the process of trying to work out how to rank my singles and albums of the year. I have bought a fair few this year, and am going to struggle to listen to every single little bit in the next couple of weeks. I am probably going to do a 'Festive 50' of my personal favourite tracks of the year -but I would be interested to know what has rocked your world, musically at least!

Additionally, on a related topic, I got an email from Simon at Sweeping the Nation who says:

"Last year, we at Sweeping The Nation ran a UK Blogger Albums Of 2005 poll - results at It seemed popular so we're giving it another go - if you want to participate, send us what you reckon to be the ten best albums in order that were given a full UK release in 2006 (no Special Edition reissues, compilations or imports) and on New Year's Day we'll post the collated list.

Sweeping The Nation

I am hugely enjoying writing 17 seconds, but due to the Blogger Updates etc.. I currently have no idea of how many people are reading the blog, so unless I get sufficient emails/replies to posts, it will be likely to be all about me for this year, at least!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sorry for laughing

There are all sorts of signs that you're getting older, 'senior moments' as they are now dubbed. As well as forgetting things, the other sign is that you hear youself sounding like your parents, or even your own teachers. Like a few kids I blew up for laughing today. Hey. I've waited a long time to find a way of dealing with the pent-up bitterness that builds up as youthful idealism turns sour. 'Here's a man who was hung on the expectation of plenty,' as the Porter observes in Shakespeare's Macbeth.
Anyway, Josef K have put out an album called Entomology, which ties up their back catalogue (2004 Scritti Politti, 2005 Orange Juice, 2006 Josef K...who's next for 2007 from the original mighty post-punkers? Fire Engines or Scars, I would hope.). This is slightly different from the version that poped up on Rough Trade 's Indie-Pop 1 compilation a couple of years back, with a slightly 'dub' feel.

That's courtesy of the Domino record company's US site (yup, legal!), where I also picked up this rather fantastic remix of the Junior Boys' The Equalizer, remixed by Morgan Geist

As always, if you like what you hear, even if these are legal downloads sourced from a site, please support the artists involved, either by buying from Amazon or from iTunes or from your local independent shop.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Soothing sounds

Now I'm getting the hang of this! Trying to unwind and flicking through the stuff I have uploaded to my Ipod has reminded me that I really need to post this track to the blog, because as the second single of the former Pavement frontman's eponymous debut in 2001, it was a sign that Stephen Malkmus could go on to do great things. This was one of my favourite songs of 2001, the year I moved to Scotland. I never forgot this, but I feel like I have re-discovered it again over the last week or so...

Stephen Malkmus -'Jenny and the Ess-Dog.' mp3

Smitten? Thought you might be...

from that Eponymous debut:

Stephen Malkmus -'The Hook.' mp3

from 2003's Pig Lib

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks -'(Do Not Feed The Oyster.' mp3

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks -'Us.' mp3

and from last year's Face The Truth:

Stephen Malkmus -'Baby C'mon.' mp3

As always, if you like the stuff, please support the artist involved, either by buying at Amazon or on iTunes or at your local record shop.

All three albums are worth owning, though I love the first the most perhaps. And obviously, check out Pavement and Pavement guitarist Spiral Stairs' band Preston school Of Industry. Maybe that might just be another post... : )

Ok-let's try again

Well, I'm almost certain I have figured out what the hell I'm doing : )
It's been a long day at the chalkface, but I think it's time there was some music on the blog.
First up, Cold War Kids I know these guys have been all over the blogs recently, but this track is just kinda cool, so here goes:
If you like what you hear, try here for more Cold War Kids stuff on their own website.
As always, go here to buy stuff or your local record shop.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas time already? Bah humbug!

Hmm. Not only am I trying to find enthusiasm for teaching the subject, but it seems the blogs have gone Christmas mad already.

Seriously, there are lots of wonderful posts on the subject, with links to some weird and wonderful music.

Alas, due to problems with the supposedly new and improved blogger, it is currently impossible to do links to other blogs. Grrr... When I get this fixed, I will update this - or if anyone can leave some advice, that would be great (CTRL+SHIFT +A is not working).

Anyway, may I point you in the direction of Something Old, Something New ( and Pogoagogo ( and Everbody cares, Everybody understands ( which have a lot of great stuff, that I am still trying to digest, amongst it all the new sufjan Stevens album, which consists of 5 CDs, but the bits I have heard sound great. apparently, he is well underway with the next few stages of his mission to do an album for all of his fifty states.

Hope all well with all my readers, wherever you may be...