Monday, December 31, 2007

Getting excited for 2008 Part 3

Alan McGee has called these guys the best band out of Liverpool since the Bunnymen/Wah! era, and he is absolutely right. These guys are, amazingly, unsigned (maybe it's time the record companies were just pushed aside, as when you consider who is signed and who isn't, it makes less sense than ever).

They have three tracks on their MySpace to downlaod, so here they are.

The Grants -'I Am The One.' mp3

The Grants -'I don't Care.' mp3

The Grants -'Nothing To Lose.' mp3

Pop along to their MySpace, make friends with them and spread the word.

Getting excited for 2008 Part 2

Amongst new stuff due for 2008 are the new albums from Sons & Daughters and British Sea Power

Sons and Daughters have a new album on the way called This Gift, which is promising to be very good indeed, if these two tracks are anything to go by. I keep reading different dates for the release of This Gift, but no doubt will have a review of this on here as soon as we can...

Sons and Daughters -'Gilt Complex.' mp3

Sons and Daughters -'Darling.' mp3

Meanwhile, British Sea Power may have delivered one of the other first classics of the new year in THIS single, taken from their third album Do You Like Rock Music?. With the football World Cup on the way, expect to hear this a LOT. Just as long as BSP don't end up going the way of the Lightning Seeds...

British Sea Power -'Waving Flags.' mp3

Hope you have a good New Year's Eve, if that's your thing...

Gig review: Aberfeldy/Donna Maciocia

Gig review: Aberfeldy/Donna Maciocia

Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms, December 21 2007

Support act tonight is Donna Maciocia from Amplifico, who plays a solo set on her own, with support from assorted members of the Feldy (the other Amplifico members are in Australia and Canada, apparently). I was wowed by Amplifico the last time I saw them (which was also supporting Aberfeldy) but tonight Donna leaves me delightfully stunned. Songs like 'You Could Be My Muse' 'This stuff Cuts Like Thorns' and 'Baby Baby' are just gorgeous. As is her cover of Bjork's Who Is It? (from Medulla). For 'The comedy stops Here' she is joined by Chris and Vicky from Aberfeldy. Aberfedly's Murray joins on sleigh bells for her cover of 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' which beats Mariah Carey's version hands down. and I bet Mariah can't play the ukelele either, nor loop her voice at the end for the coda. I can't wait for Amplifico's album, due out in March.

Aberfeldy are on fire tonight. It's the ninth time I've seen them and they are amazing. Both tonight and the previous night are sell out gigs, and deservedly so. They are greeted warmly when they come on, and open with two new songs, 'In Denial' and 'Malcolm,' the latter which features a delightful array of fish puns (yes, you did read that right). These two songs have a country feel to them. As well as the fish puns, part of the fun lies in spotting the songs that are referenced (I count Crosby Stills Nash and Young's 'Our House', the Velvet Underground's 'I'm Waiting For My Man,' The Beatles' 'Nowhere Man' and Dylan's 'Mr. Tambourine Man.'). Donna comes onstage to join them on xylophone for a countryish take on 'A Friend Like You.' We get 'Uptight' and '1970s' from Do Whatever Turns You On, perhaps the most underrated album of the decade, and 'Love Is An Arrow.' We then get three new songs 'Rock 'n' Roll' 'Talk Me Round' and 'Somewhere To Jump From.' It's testament to just how great Aberfeldy are now that they can play three new songs in a row and the crowd still love them, as playing new stuff - which by definition most people won't have heard, and thus takes people outside their comfort zones - can be hugely risky. 'Something I Must Tell You' and 'Do Whatever Turns You On' remind us of just what pearls the back catalogue contains, as if we could be foolish enough to forget. Next single 'Claire' (Rough Trade mshould be kicking themselves for letting Aberfeldy go) is followed by gorgeous versions of 'Hypnotised' and debut single 'Vegetarian Restaurant' and the sixth new song 'Wendys When I'm Wasted.' They finish with a storming version of 'Heliopolis By Night' complete with the Radio GaGa-style handclaps.

I worked out that this is the 26th gig I've been to this year, including instores, and frankly, by far and away the best gig I've seen this year. There's lots of new releases I'm looking forward to in 2008, including Foals, Sons & daughters and British Sea Power. But at the top of that list is the third album from Aberfeldy.


Aberfeldy's MySpace is here

Amplifico's MySpace is here

Seeing as it's still (just about) the season of goodwill...

...and I was asked to re-post some of the last songs I'd done in my Christmas posts, here we go:

Stars -'Fairytale Of New York.' mp3
Pipettes -'White Christmas.' mp3
Teenage Fanclub -'Christmas Eve.' mp3
Dandy Warhols -'Little Drummer Boy.' mp3
Beck -'The Little Drum Machine Boy.' mp3
Liz Phair -'Winter Wonderland.' mp3
Holly Golightly -'Christmas Tree On Fire.' mp3
Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians of The British Empire -'Christmas 1979.' mp3
Ten Thousand Dollar Tattoo -'My First Santa.' mp3
Eels -'Christmas Is going To The Dogs.' mp3
Eels -'Everything's Gonna Be Cool this Christmas.' mp3
Weezer -'Christmas Celebration.' mp3
Weezer -'The Christmas Song.' mp3

Friday, December 28, 2007

Getting excited for 2008

Christmas is over, and it's time to look ahead to what's going to be big. I can no more rub a crystal ball than anyone else can (well, except the people who have crystal balls, I suppose), but there's things bubbling away that suggest 2008 could be just as good as 2007.

Bands like Foals. I'd heard bits and pieces over 2007, and they'd kinda joined the list of bands that I knew i ought to get round to writing about very soon, if only other things didn't keep getting in th way. Anyway, these guys dropped out of university at Oxford after a year (no idea where in Oxford) and set about making some extremely exciting danceable stuff. And their forthcoming album Antidotes is getting people just as excited about what is getting left off as getting put on it.

Give these a listen and see what you think...

Foals -'Brazil Is Here.' mp3

Foals -'Hummer.' mp3

Foals -'Mathletics.' mp3

Foals -'Balloons.' mp3

Foals' MySpace is here and their official website is here

Let me know what you think...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

17 Seconds' Top 75 Albums of the Year

Well, after humming and hawing about the order, what to include and not, and panicking about all the records on other people's lists that I just hadn't got round to hearing, to hell with it, here is the 17 Seconds' Top 75 albums of the year 2007.

For what it's worth, here goes:

1. Burial Untrue
2. Penny Century Between One Hundred Lies
3. Emma Pollock Watch The Fireworks
4. iLIKETRAINS Elegies To Lessons Learnt
5. Malcolm Middleton A Brighter Beat
6. Wiley Playtime Is Over
7. Arcade Fire Neon Bible
8. Dizzee Rascal Maths + English
9. Commander Keen My Tascam Dreams
10.Radiohead In Rainbows
11.Ringo Death Starr Ringo Death Starr
12.M.I.A. Kala
13.!!! Myth Takes
14.Shins Wincing The Night Away
15.The Good, The Bad And The Queen The Good, The Bad And The Queen
16.Wilco Sky Blue Sky
17.Morning Bride Lea Valley Delta Blues
18.Timbaland Timbaland Presents: Shock Value
19.Battles Mirrors
20.Von Sudenfed Tromatic Reflexxions
22.PJ Harvey White Chalk
23.Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst Nightmare
24.Wounded Knee Wounded Knee
25.The National Boxer
26.LCD Soundsystem Sound Of Silver
27.Super Furry Animals Hey Venus!
28.New Pornographers Challengers
29.King Creosote Bombshell
30.Electrelane No Shouts, No Calls
31.Kaiser Chiefs Yours Truly, Angry Mob
32.BMX Bandits Bee Stings
33.Bloc Party A Weekend In The City
34.Babyshambles Shotter's Nation
35.Bat For Lashes Fur And Gold
36.The Coral Roots And Echoes
37.New Young Pony Club Fantastic Playground
38.Twilight Sad Fourteen Summers And Fifteen Winters
39.Amateurs Hongu Kongu
40.Biffy Clyro Puzzle
41.Feist The Reminder
42.Kate Nash Made Of Bricks
43.Klaxons Myths Of the Near Future
44.Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Baby 81
45.Fall Out Boy Infinity On High
46.Idlewild Make Another World
47.Bjork Volta
48.Manic Street Preachers Send Away The Tigers
49.Air Pocket Symphony
50.Angels Of Light We Are Him
51.My Teenage Stride Ears Like Golden Bats
52.Port-Royal Afraid To Dance
53.1990s Cookies
54.Boy Omega Hope On The Horizon
55.Robert Wyatt Comicopera
56.Ash Twilight Of The Innocents
57.Dinosaur Jr. Beyond
58.Shitdisco Kingdom Of Fear
59.Swimmer One The Regional Variations
60.Brett Anderson Brett Anderson
61.Maximo Park Our Earthly Pleasures
62.Descent This Violent Reality
63.The Fall Reformation Post-TLC
64.Editors An End Has A Start
65.The View Hats Off To The Buskers
66.Rufus Wainwright Release The Stars
67.Tracey Thorn Out Of The Woods
68.Thurston Moore Trees Outside The Academy
69.Thrushes Sun Come Undone
70.Siouxsie Mantaray
71.Go! Team Proof Of Youth
72.Simian Mobile Disco Attack Decay Sustain Release
73.The Royal We The Royal We
74.Mark Ronson Version
75.To Rococo Rot ABC123

A late Christmas Present

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. Mrs. 17 Seconds and I did, and we received some great presents, as well as giving them, and they weren't all music either!

However, did receive a new mp3 from the Futureheads on Christmas Day, called 'Crash', (no, not The Primitives song!) so thought I would share this with you all:

The Futureheads -'Crash.' mp3

I posted this a few months ago, this was the free mp3 they gave away a few months ago:

Futureheads -'Broke Up The Time.' mp3

Really looking forward to the new album when it comes out.

Also, although I have removed the links to the Christmas stuff I posted, I did receive one request to re-post the Wedding Present tracks, so here you go:

Wedding Present - 'No Christmas.' mp3

Wedding Present -'Step Into Christmas.' mp3

Hope you're all well, wherever you may be...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Songs For Christmas XXII

This is the final Christmas songs post for this year, I don't know how many people are going to drop by here still looking for Christmas numbers, but anyway.

I would have done a couple of other posts but I have spent the last two days camped outside the post office to pick up parcels that the Postie couldn't deliver, only to get home and discover that in the meantime, the postie has put more red notes through the door to say that he/she (though 99% of posties I have ever come across are male) couldn't deliver parcels because no-one was in. This is not much of an exaggeration...

Anyway, here are the three final songs for Christmas. Glad so many of you have enjoyed these, this is all over for the next twelve months.

Stars -'Fairytale Of New York.' mp3

[Pogues cover. Yes, the Pogues' original is the best Christmas tune ever, and in the UK charts for the thousandth time, but posting it is just too obvious)

Pipettes -'White Christmas.' mp3

Teenage Fanclub -'Christmas Eve.' mp3

Merry Christmas to you all. The long-intended Aberfeldy review (the best gig of the year BTW) and my Top 75 albums will follow soon...


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gig review: Emma Pollock/Wake The President

Gig review: Emma Pollock/Wake The President

Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire, December 18, 2007

I have mentioned many times just how much I love Emma Pollock's work. Having topped the second ever 17 Seconds' Festive Fifty with 'Adrenaline', I went with Mrs. 17 Seconds and sister-in-law to see her for my fourth time this year, and the third time in this very venue.

Previous support acts to Emma Pollock this year have included Broken Records and Katie Sutherland. I don't know whether she personally picks them or not, but Wake The President are winners too, who like the two afore-mentioned acts I intend to feature again here at 17 Seconds. From their opener 'I Should Be So Happy' it is clear that here are a band who channel the spirit of the Fire Engines, early Orange Juice and most strongly of all, Josef K. Acknowledging this, their penultimate song tonight is a faithful and affectionate cover of Josef K's 'It's Kinda Funny.' They have released two 7" singles on Electric Honey (the record label in Glasgow run by Stow College that most famously put out Belle & Sebastian's debut, Tigermilk, back in 1996) - 'Sorrows For Clothes/Mail Alice' and 'Remember Fun?' all of which get an airing tonight -and which they have said they are happy for me to post here. Other songs played include 'Professor' 'You Can't Change This Boy' and 'Security Place' the latter which is dedicated to Malcolm Middleton. By the end of their short set, it's clear that this is a band we will be hearing more from in 2008.

One of Emma Pollock's many endearing features is that she doesn't take herself seriously, and instead of throwing a rock star strop when there is an immediate technical hitch, laughs and tells to do what we were doing a moment before. The show starts properly with 'If Silence Means That Much To You.' She thanks us for coming out and confesses that she hates shopping, especially when that place is Braehead [a very soulless shopping mall on the west side of Glasgow]. We get 'Acid Test' and 'New land' which has taken on a delicious country twang live. This is the third time she has played Cabaret Voltaire this year, but actually the first since Watch the Fireworks was released, so now the songs are better known, and played by her fans. Many of those her tonight were Delgados fans, but the only reference she makes to her time in Scotland's greatest ever band is saying that it's been much easier touring with this band than 'that other lot!'

Having played the album repeatedly, these songs are now firmly lodged in my brain, and over the course of the evening we get all eleven songs, plus 'Jesus On The Cross' the track she collaborated with Louise Welsh for the Roddy Woomble-assembled Ballads Of The Book. 'Adrenaline' still literally gets the, um, adrenaline, running, from the moment that keyboard riff kicks in and 'Limbs' still melts this old heart no matter how many times I've heard it played live this year. The e-bowed guitaron album closer 'The Optimist' is one of the finest, most atmospheric moments I have experiences this year. After an encore of 'You'll Come Around' it's out into the night. Thanks for soundtracking my year, Ms. Pollock, and another fantastic gig.

Emma Pollock -'Adrenaline.' mp3

Songs For Christmas XXI

It is mental out there, way too many people, still too much to do, and I haven't even written a single Christmas card. Here are five more in the ongoing series...

First up, the Dandy Warhols' cover of 'Little Drummer Boy.' I heard this on Peel in Christmas 1994, and it was actually the first time I had ever heard (of) them.

Dandy Warhols -'Little Drummer Boy.' mp3

...So what else could possibly follow it but...this?

Beck -'The Little Drum Machine Boy.' mp3

I came across this Liz Phair track across the 'net, though I don't know much about it:

Liz Phair -'Winter Wonderland.' mp3

This track came out last year:

Holly Golightly -'Christmas Tree On Fire.' mp3

...and finally, this track is from this year's album of the same name (also released as a 7" if you act quickly) (NB: this track does feature swear words, just in case you are in the presence of those unable to 'cope' with that sort of thing).

Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians Of The British Empire -'Christmas 1979.' mp3

Three more Christmas posts to come...XX

Oh, and if you live in the UK, and haven't yet bought a copy of the Malcolm Middleton single, please DO so!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Songs For Christmas XX

Well, term finished today, and I'm pretty brain dead. To say nothing of going Christmas Shopping, and finding the streets of Edinburgh full, and I kept running into kids I teach...however, I did finally manage to get a vinyl copy of Malcolm Middleton's 'We're All Going To Die.' (Fopp in Edinburgh still have copies, if a) you want one and b) you are in a position to get there).

I was also very flattered yesterday to get an email from a reader, Ryan, in California, who said it would really make his month if I featured his song on one of my Christmas posts.

Well, why not, seeing as his band Ten Thousand Dollar Tattoo (and that link leads to his MySpace) are pretty damn good, and I'm up for featuring new stuff:

Ten Thousand Dollar Tattoo -'My First Santa.' mp3

And a few other goodies that might appeal...

First up, the Eels (picture of singer E above):

Eels -'Christmas Is Going To The Dogs.' mp3

Eels -'Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas.' mp3

and also Weezer...

Weezer -'Christmas Celebration.' mp3

Weezer -'The Christmas song.' mp3

Four more posts to go for Christmas...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Songs For Christmas XIX

Well, I've very nearly caught up on the Christmas posts, term finishes tomorrow (and not a moment too soon), and I'm off to see Aberfeldy tonight (review, along with that of the Emma Pollock gig the other night) to follow very soon.

I'm going to dedicate this post to my brother, Miles; I don't know if you've got these tracks, our kid, but I know you love Ben folds' music, so these are for you...

Ben Folds -'Lonely Christmas Eve.' mp3

Ben Folds -'Bizarre Christmas Incident.' mp3

And I might even decide on the final running order for my albums of the year. Yes, Arcade Fire are in there, but the order is proving troublesome...

Songs For Christmas XVIII

A Chemikal Underground special for you today!

First up, this is from the now-disbanded (sob!) Aereogramme:

Aereogramme -'Asthma Came Home For Christmas.' mp3

and two absolute classics from Mogwai (above):

Mogwai -'Xmas Steps.' mp3

Mogwai -'Christmas Song.' mp3

More to come... : ))

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Songs For Christmas XVII

I know, it's the first day this month I haven't posted, the internet was down yesterday.

Anyway, as anyone who has been anywhere near this blog in the last six weeks should be aware, yesterday was the release of Malcolm Middleton's bid for the Christmas No.1with 'We're All Going To Die.' So, here's an acoustic version of the track:

Malcolm Middleton -'We're All Going To Die (Acoustic).' mp3

Malcolm's old band, Arab Strap, are winding down their website, a year after their last gig, and here's a Christmassyish track from their website, a live version of 'To All A Good Night.'

Arab Strap -'To All A Good Night (live).' mp3

And there's a couple of other tracks from Malcom's website that I've linked to for your pleasure here...

Malcolm Middleton -'Burst Noel (Damien Shackleton version).' mp3

Malcolm Middleton -'Cheer Down (Damien Shackleton).' mp3

Ok, so a different style of Chrsitmas post from some of the others, but this deals with the here and now...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Songs For Christmas XVI

These tracks will be officially released tomorrow, so here's a sneak preview...

Frightened Rabbit -'It's Christmas So We'll Stop.' mp3

Paul Vickers and The Leg -'I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.' mp3

More to come this space...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Songs For Christmas XV

Here's three for today. Hope you are enjoying these, whoever you may be...

Louis Armstrong -'Cool Yule.' mp3

Magnet -'Let It Snow.' mp3

Scissors For Lefty -'Christmas Intentions.' mp3

And yep, there's more to come...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Songs For Christmas XIV

Two very different tracks for you today.

I'm not aware of many Hip-Hop Christmas tracks (note: I didn't say there weren't many, I said I wasn't aware of many, which is something else entirely). This one dates from about 1986 or 1987, I think, as a kid at school stuck it on a tape for me (as in when I was at school, not the kids I teach, who are probably now only vaguely aware of either cassettes or Run DMC). Anyway, this is Run DMC's Christmas in Hollis:

Run DMC -'Christmas in Hollis.' mp3

As to whether this track is a Christmas one...well, it was a Christmas no.1 for East 17 and it sounded vaguely Christmassy, and maps have stuck this out as a free download. Only became aware of this today, but I rather like it.

Maps -'Stay Another Day.' mp3

There will be more Christmas stuff on here, for those of you interested in that sort of stuff, and when I finally work them out, my albums of the year. I got taken to task earlier for not including Arcade Fire in my Festive Fifty. Is it some kind of unwritten rule amongst mp3 bloggers that we have to praise them above all other bands?! Oh well, see you soon...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Songs For Christmas XIII

Here are today's contributions.

These two tracks, originally from their limited 1993 single Snow, are the Cocteau Twins' takes on two Christmas Classics. They have already been hosted over at I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, but I thought I would share them here too:

Cocteau Twins -'Frosty the Snowman.' mp3

Cocteau Twins -'Walking In A Winter Wonderland.' mp3

...and because it's nearly Christmas, why not the Jackson 5's take on Frosty, too?

Jackson 5 -'Frosty the Snowman.' mp3

And, as ever, there will be more tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rob St John

For once, some music that is nothing to do with Christmas.

Rob St John is an edinburgh-based musician who has just released his debut EP and it's gorgeous and sublime.

There are three songs on it, which can be heard at his MySpace site, along with other tracks. This is the title track, which is just beautiful. It can be bought at Avalanche records in Edinburgh and Glasgow and should soon be available at Rough Trade in London. It's a limited edition of 100, so act quickly.

Don't just take my word for it -check it out! Beautiful melodies to lose yourself in (and quite possibly find yourself, too).

Rob St. John 'Tipping In.' mp3

Songs For Christmas XII

Well, it's now the twelfth, so I'm already halfway through my Christmas posts. Here are three more to share with you.

All About Eve -'Last Christmas.' mp3

XTC -'Thanks for Christmas.' mp3

Yo La Tengo -'It's Christmas Time.' mp3

Hope you are still enjoying these, people are still downloading them, so I guess somebody is!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Songs For Christmas XI

There's obviously more Christmas stuff out this year than I had realised, though the UK singles chart is full of old product. Anyway, Japanese-New York band Asobi Seksu have just issued a cover of the Ramones' Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight), so I thought I would post that, along with the Ramones' original, and aanother version done by Joey Ramone later on.

Ramones -'Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight).' mp3

Joey Ramone -'Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight).' mp3

Asobi Seksu -'Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight).' mp3

Enjoy folks. And don't forget to drop by tomorrow for more...


Monday, December 10, 2007

Songs For Christmas X

Hello again.

School holidays just cannot come soon enough. The kids are bouncing off the walls and dragging myself out of bed is getting harder. Nine days to go, not that I'm counting, or anything...

oh yes, songs for Christmas:

First up, today, legendary Japanese 3-piece band Shonen Knife:

Shonen Knife -'Space Christmas.' mp3

And a Fall song, not yet featured over at I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (which is an excellent blog, btw, if you haven't checked it out:)

The Fall -'(We Wish You) A Protein Christmas.' mp3 RE-POSTED BY POPULAR REQUEST 19/12/07

More to come... : )

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Songs For Christmas IX

(Flaming Lips)

Here is today's instalment. Just a quick post (though I have already had my Mum on the 'phone worrying that I'm spending so much time blogging that I can't be talking to mrs. 17 seconds enough). Don't worry, I am!

Flaming Lips - 'A Change At Christmas (Say It Ain't So).' mp3

Flaming Lips -'Christmas At the Zoo.' mp3

Arcade Fire -'The Christmas Song.' mp3

Arcade Fire - 'Jinglebell Rock.' mp3

as ever, more to follow tomorrow...


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Songs For Christmas VIII

The Manic Street Preachers

so, for a change, here's one new song this year. The Manic Street Preachers have made this available to those on their mailing list...and so why not share it?

Manic Street Preachers -'Christmas Ghost.' mp3

I don't know much about the origin of the tune Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), but I have three versions of it, by U2 (who are the first band I heard do it), Death Cab For Cutie, and Scotland's own Arab Strap:

U2 -'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).' mp3

Death Cab For Cutie -'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).' mp3

Arab Strap -'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).' mp3

Enjoy. There will, naturally, be more tomorrow... : ))


Friday, December 07, 2007

17 Seconds' Festive Fifty 2007

So, here it is, the 2007 17 Seconds' Festive Fifty.

These are my favourite new tracks to be heard this year. They didn't have to be singles or even have been commercially released this year, indeed there are some tracks that are b-sides, album only tracks, and mp3s only, and even a demo and an unsigned band. But they couldn't have been from previous years (which is why The Shins' Phantom Limb isn't here, it was an mp3 last year, made it into my inaugural Festive Fifty, and therefore isn't here). Just stuff IMHO that has made my musical year. It's not easy trying to narrow it down, but this is the definitive list. I haven't posted all the tracks here before, and I have put links to a few, but I hope you enjoy it. Let the debating start here

1. Emma Pollock -‘Adrenaline.’
2. Battles -‘Atlas.’
3. Justice -‘D.A.N.C.E.’
4. Ringo Death Starr - ‘Some Kind Of Sad.’
5. Malcolm Middleton - ‘A Brighter Beat.’
6. Penny Century - ‘Nothing Burns Like Bridges.’
7. Rihanna - ‘Umbrella’
8. Bloc Party - ‘Flux’
9. Camera Obscura - ‘Super Trouper’
10. Sons and Daughters ‘Gilt Complex’
11. Idlewild - ‘No Emotion’
12. Emma Pollock - ‘Acid Test’
13. Kate Nash -‘Caroline’s A Victim.’
14. Dizzee Rascal feat. Lily Allen -’Wanna Be.’
15. Wiley -’Bow E3.’
16. Malcolm Middleton - ‘We’re All Going To Die.’
17. Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake- ‘Give It To Me.’
18. Kate Nash -’Foundations.’
19. Wiley -’50/50.’
20. Sister Vanilla -‘Can’t Stop The Rock.'
21. Editors - ‘ Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors.’
22. Arctic Monkeys -‘Brianstorm.’
23. Dizzee Rascal - ‘Flex.’
24. Klaxons -‘Golden Skans.’
25. Bloc Party - ‘The Prayer.’
26. Electrelane -‘To The East’
27. Black Kids -‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance with You.’
28. Paul Hartnoll featuring Robert Smith-‘Please.’
29. Futureheads -‘Broke Up The Time.’
30. Charlatans -’You Cross My Path.’
31. Scottish Enlightenment -‘Eyes.’
32. Emma Pollock - ‘Paper and Glue.’
33. Burial -’Archangel.’
34. Cooper Temple Clause -’Waiting Game.’
35. Siouxsie - ‘Here Comes That Day.’
36.Timbaland, D.O.E. & Keri Hilson -‘The Way I Are
37. White Stripes - ‘Icky Thump.’
38.Maximo Park -’Our Velocity.’
39. M.I.A. ‘Bamboo Banger.’
40. Tiny Dancers -‘I Will Wait For You.’
41. Emma Pollock -’Limbs’
42. Arctic Monkeys -’Fluorescent Adolescent.’
43. Jack Penate -’Second, Minute Or Hour’
44. New Young Pony Club - ‘ Ice Cream.’
45. Manic Street Preachers - ‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough.’
46. Wilco -’Impossible Germany’
47. Wu-Tang Clan - The Heart Gently Weeps
48. Snow Patrol - ‘Signal Fire.’
49. Fall Out Boy -’This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race.’
50. Kanye West - ‘Stronger.’

Songs For Christmas VII

(The Wedding Present's David Gedge)

And here are today's seasonal pickings, courtesy of the USB turntable, and many years spent hanging around record shops...

First up, the Wedding Present. As has been well documented over the years, back in 1992, the Wedding Present released one 7" a month, in a limited edition of 10,000. They all made the UK Top 30, and the A-side was a weddoes composition, the b-side a cover. Amongst the songs that made the b-sides over the course of that year were the Go-Betweens' 'Cattle and Cane,' Isaac Hayes' 'Theme From Shaft,' and Bow Wow Wow's 'Go Wild In The Country.' For their Christmas single, it was inevitable that there would be a Christmas cover, and so it was that The wedding Present ended up covering Elton John.

Wedding Present -'No Christmas.'mp3

Wedding Present -'Step Into Christmas (Elton John cover).' mp3

A few days ago, one of my older students, who has long chatted with me about music revealed that he had bought a couple of White Stripes' 7" singles, at £30, including this one, billed as 'Merry Christmas From The White Stripes.' 'Ah yes, I said, ' I bought that one when it first came out.' 'I bet it only cost you a pound!' he said, slightly agonised. Well, no, £3, if memory serves. It's not particularly Christmassy, but I guess it came out for Christmas. The b-side features Jack White reading from Luke's Gospel about the coming of The Magi (The Three Wise Men) and then Meg attempting to sing Silent Night. It's more of a curio than essential listening, so here is the a-side:

White Stripes -'Candy Cane Girl.' mp3

I first heard this track, 'Christmas Wrapping' at some point in the late 90s. It had been a no.45 hit in the UK in December 82, the only time the band ever charted in the UK. the drummer was Billy Ficca who had been in Television. I still think it sounds like Blondie -in a good way. It's now been on several Christmas compilations over the years, and I eventually found a copy for myself in a charity shop in 2003, on 12" (also found an LP version of Songs The Lord Taught Us by The Cramps there that very day, too(I'm easily pleased). This is the 12" version, Enjoy!

Waitresses -'Christmas Wrapping (Long Version).' mp3

And there will be more tomorrow...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Songs For Christmas VI

...and here are today's treats:

Belle and Sebastian -'Christmas Time Is Here 1.' mp3

Belle and Sebastian -'O Come, O Come Emmanuel.' mp3

more tomorrow. BTW, if you are enjoying these, please leave feedback!


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gig review: Manic Street Preachers/Cherry Ghost

Gig review: Manic Street Preachers/Cherry Ghost

Edinburgh Corn Exchange, December 3, 2007

If there's such a thing as the 'indie-survivor', then the two bands from the nineties who truly survived, against the odds, are The Charlatans and The Manic Street Preachers. The latter literally talked up a 'Live Fast Die Young Stay Beautiful' type manifesto when they first burst onto the scene, but like the Charlies, they are still making records, still keeping many fans, and still a big live draw.

Which is more than I think is ever going to be said for Cherry Ghost. This is the sixth time I have seen the Manics live over the last ten years, and support acts have included Catatonia (long before Cerys did Celebrity), The Delays, Ian Brown and The Departure. All acts I enjoyed, but Cherry Ghost are just bland. There's nothing to love or hate about them, they're just this year's Athlete.

With over thirty Top Forty Hits to their name, the Manics have no shortage of crowd pleasers up their collective sleeves. It might seem a gamble to start off with 'Motorcycle Emptiness,' but they've certainly done it before when I've seen them. The cynical might argue that it's because no-one knows the new stuff, but that's not true either. When they launch into 'Your Love alone Is Not Enough' it may be missing the vocals of Nina Peerson, but the crowd to their best to compensate. This year's Send Away The Tigers genuinely is the return to form that's been waited for for ten years.

As well as the line-up of Bradfield, Wire and Moore, they are joined by another guitarist and a multi-instrumentalist, who adds particularly effective saxophone to 'Ocean Spray' and 'Kevin Carter.' The former is one of their most heart-wrenching songs, and a reminder that when they put out their greatest hits album five years ago (and two studio albums ago, if anyone's counting) that there were many great songs that had to get left off. The same could be said for other songs like 'Roses In the Hospital Bed' which makes an appearance early on tonight. It's also good to hear '1985' from Lifeblood, which seems to have become the runt of their back catalogue, but still had some gorgeous songs.

The band have a soft spot for Edinburgh, where Nicky Wire informs us was the first place they ever flew to (and for once, they don't bitch about a certain Edinburgh record shop which refused to stock their early records), before they launch into 'You Love Us.' We also get 'Slash 'n Burn' and a teasing bit of The Cult's She Sells Sanctuary.

One of the highlights of the set is a solo version from James of 'Theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)', which is stripped down to just voice and acoustic guitar, before he gives us 'The Everlasting.'

Dammit, just how many great songs have the Manics got in their back catalogue? Loads, it would seem, and as they finish with 'A Design for Life' the passion remains. The feather boas may have quietly disappeared, Richey's ghost still lingers (and they dedicate 'Yes' to him) but as a live draw, on this form, I'll be going to catch the Manic Street Preachers for some time to come.


Manic Street Preachers -'Theme From MASH Suicide Is Painless.' mp3

Manic Street Preachers -'Your Love Alone Is Not Enough.' mp3

Songs For Christmas V

Hello folks, here is today's instalment.

First of all, another instalment from Scandinavia. This song is great, and it deserves to become one of those perennials, IMHO:

Mew -'She Came Home For Christmas.' mp3

The Christmas album (the concept, as opposed to just Low's album) seems to be much bigger in the US than it is over here in Scotland and the rest of the UK. I haven't heard the whole album, but this was released by Brian Wilson a couple of years ago, as a 7" single too:

Brian Wilson -'What I Really Want For Christmas.' mp3

And a Brian Wilson-related song from over forty years ago...

Beach Boys -'Little Saint Nick.' mp3

And don't forget to drop by here tomorrow, there'll be more treats. Heading in the direction of the USB turntable armed with White Stripes, Waitresses and Wedding Present...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Songs For Christmas IV

And this is today's record. This time it's more Scandinavian stuff, from Denmark's Raveonettes. Hope you are enjoying these festive sounds.

If you are out to find more exciting Christmas songs, you should make sure that you visit The Festive Fifty and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, two excellent mp3 blogs written by Steve, who frequently leaves comments here and posts some great stuff.

The Raveonettes -'The Christmas Song.' mp3

See you soon...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Songs For Christmas III

Just a quick one today, your song for today is a comparative 'newie' a download-only song by the Knife.

The Knife -'Christmas Reindeer.' mp3

Hope you're well...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Interview: Malcolm Middleton

Current promotional poster for the tour (below)

Interview: Malcolm Middleton

I think it started a few weeks ago, for me at any rate, when I got an email from Mike over at Manic Pop Thrills. Mike had got a campaign going to get Malcolm Middleton's latest single 'We're all Going To Die' to that most hallowed of chart positions in the UK, the Christmas No.1.

It seemed a gargantuan task. how could a handful of scottish bloggers take on the might of record execs? But with Mike's pieces on the matter, a post or two from me on it, and perhaps more effectively, the support of DJs like Steve Lamacq and Radio 1 DJs like Colin Murray, Scott Mills and Edith Bowman has seen considerable progress for the campaign. By the end of November, the odds on it being the Christmas No.1 had been shortened from 1000-1 (the longest odds William Hill had ever given on a Christmas No.1) to 12-1, the fourth favourite.

I was extremely flattered when I found a quote from me on his official website:
" Also important is the fact that the song will be up against X-Factor winners, whoever they will be, and so this is also about the battle for good against evil, socialism versus capitalism, the scottish cult indie musician versus a global terror perpetuated by Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell."

But has it got out of control? Could it perhaps backfire? Mlacolm has never had a UK Top 40 single before, but could it get ridiculous? I gave Malcolm a ring on Friday morning to find out how it's going and his plans for 2008.

" Things seem to have gotten out of hand, that it's snowballed,' he says, somewhat puzzled at all the attention this far into his career that he's suddenly had over the last month. 'But it would be great to have an impact. I'm just worried that it's going to do more harm than good."

He's delighted to have made the daytime playlist at Radio One. Over a decade after Grunge and Britpop challenged the perception in the UK of what could get played at Radio One during the day, artists like Malcolm Middleton were traditionally the preserve of the evening specialist shows, like the Evening Session and the late, great John Peel.

Of course, the release of the single crowns of what has been a very busy year for him. Having moved from long-time record label Chemikal Underground to Fulltime Hobby to issue his third solo album A Brighter Beat, he's received some fantastic reviews across the blogs and the print media. Not that this translates into huge record sales.

'I'm cynical of how the media works,' he says, not unreasonably. 'I get good reviews but that's where it ends.' After all, a single of the week in NME is no more a guarantee of a 'hit' record than a handful of bloggers praising the record. Ultimately, the general public have to actually go and buy it.

I ask how he feels 2007 has gone. 'I think it's gone okay. To me, A Brighter Beat's the best thing I've ever done. Part of me worries [that the campaign to get the single to no.1] could do more harm than good. I'm not used to being part of the mainstream.' I ask him if he thinks the campaign has been good for sales of the album. 'To be honest,' he says, 'I think the album's success is more down to word of mouth.'

Not wanting to focus on current developments, I ask what he's up to next year. He's certainly not going to be letting the grass grow beneath his feet. In February, Fulltime Hobby will issue a new mini-album by him called Sleight Of Heart. The album, which he describes as acoustic, will feature six new songs written by him, and three cover versions: Jackson C. Frank's 'Just Like Anything,' King Creosote's 'Margeurita Red,' and Madonna's 'Stay,' originally from her Like A Virgin LP.

Both in Arab Strap and solo, he's chosen some interesting cover versions, and this blog got a lot of interest when it featured Arab Strap's covers of AC/DC's 'You Shook Me All Night Long' and Van Halen's 'Why Can't This Be Love?' Both of these songs were classics in the Heavy Metal genre, but done by Arab Strap they were utterly re-invented; stripped of their bluster, there were songs beneath the pyrotechnics and bluster. 'It was easier doing cover versions in Arab Strap,' Malcolm says. 'Solo, you mustn't do karaoke versions.'

Speaking of Arab Strap, it was a year ago that the decade long partnership of Malcolm and Aidan Moffat as Arab Strap came to a very amicable end as they went their own separate ways. Have they been in touch recently? 'Oh yeah, Aidan's still a mate.' What does he think of A Brighter Beat? 'It's a bit over-produced for him!' Perhaps surprisingly, though, he hasn't spoken to Aidan about the current campaign for the single, as he's too embarassed about it.

Still, whilst he doesn't think the single's going to go Top 40, he seems to be touched by the attention he's receiving and thanks me for the coverage. He deserves it; but let us hope that whether the single reaches no.1 or 101 that it will bring him to a wider portion of the listening public.

Malcolm Middleton -'Stay Close Sit Tight.' mp3

The single 'We're All Going To Die' will be available on iTunes from December 10. It will be available from other download services from December 17, and on limited 7" vinyl. To be eligible for the chart, you will need to buy it on December 17 onwards.

Malcolm Middleton's official website is here and his mySpace is here

Songs For Christmas II

Two very different Christmas songs for your listening pleasure today:

First up, the Godfather of Soul himself, who passed away on Christmas Day last year:

James Brown - 'Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto.' mp3

...And a cover of a Christmas classic from when I was a kid. I believe that for many years, this Wham! song was the biggest selling record in the UK not to go to No.1 (Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' held the spot at the time.) Funnily enough, this was also covered by the Manic Street Preachers in the late 90s, too...

Jimmy Eat World -'Last Christmas (Wham! cover).' mp3

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Songs For Christmas

OK, folks, as promised, the 17 Seconds Christmas Spectacular!

The aim is to post Christmas tracks every day between now and Christmas, as well as other stuff.

So to start it all off today, Low's 'Just Like Christmas' and two cover versions of it.


Low -'Just Like Christmas.' mp3

Aberdeen City -'Just Like Christmas.' mp3

Snow Patrol -'Just Like Christmas.' mp3