Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Album Review: Damon and Naomi

Damon and Naomi -'More Sad Hits' (Re-issue) (20-20-20)

A year after Galaxie 500 dissolved, Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang returned to producer their producer Kramer’s studio and recorded this album chock-full of what have been described as psychedelic break-up songs.

When Galaxie 500 had disbanded, they weren't even sure about continuing, and according to the sleevenotes to this re-issue, seemed to have enetered a stage of almost hibernation where they listened to Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom over and over again. Comrade Wyatt - and I use that phrase as warmly as possible - described this album on release as being “Like real water in a world of soda pop.” It's so real, so pure...so different. Yes, of course you can hear aspects of Galaxie 500 in here, but if you've never heard Damon and Naomi before, don't simply expect them to sound like Luna. This is some of the most beuatiful and fragile music you will ever hear. Belle and Sebastian and Low amongst others must have been taking notes.

But don't simply pigeonhole this as hardcore indie or slowcore or whatever. This is an album that has widely, and rightly, become regarded as an underground classic. now it's time for it to become as well-known as it deserves.


More Sad Hits is out now on 20-20-20.

Damon and Naomi -'E.T.A.' mp3 (more mp3s can be found here)

Damon and Naomi's website

Monday, December 29, 2008

Album Review: The Old Romantic Killer Band

The Old Romantic Killer Band -'The Swan With Two Necks (Bad Sneakers)

TORKB sound like an interesting proposition on paper, a singer/guitarist with an obsession with American blues and British folk and a drummer fired up by heavy metal and 80s hardcore. Following on from two singles they unleash their debut album, which is nine tracks and twenty two minutes long.

The good news is that there is no messing around. The...well, not exactly bad news as such, but reality is that as with their single 'You Don't Know How To Love' (not included here) I am still left with the feeling that there's an awful lot of potential here which isn't being realised. On the plus side, the tunes, drumming and guitars are great. However, whilst I wouldn't want to encourage smoking, the singer needs to rough up his voice if he's going to sing the blues and write lyrics that sound a little less cliched. Added to which, music like this should not be over-produced, and ideally, not produced but recorded by someone like Steve Albini.

I still think that one day TORKB are going to release an arse-kicker of a record. They need to work on things a bit more to do so, however.


The Old Romantic Killer Band's myspace

The Swan With Two Necks is out now on Bad Sneakers Records

Album Review: Nickel Eye

Nickel Eye - 'The Time Of the Assassins' (Ryko)

Nickel Eye is Nikolai (say Nickel Eye out loud, then cringe) Fraiture of The Strokes' solo project. With the Strokes seemingly still on hiatus, he came to England and recorded an album of his own. Including guest appearances from Nick Zinner (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, talking of bands who we are due another album from) and Regina Spektor. So far, so good...

..Unfortunately, his backing band are South, who have well and truly jumped the shark. Added to which, most of the songs feel like badly recorded Strokes songs and Fraiture's voice is completely lacking in charisma. The best track 'Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye' is of course, a Leonard Cohen cover. At least he didn't opt to do 'Hallelujah.'

It's not an awful album, but it's just utterly dull and boring.


The Time Of The Assassins is released on January 26 on Ryko.

Nickel Eye's myspace

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Time to reclaim them for us

They may have receievd a lot of flack over the years (a fair bit of which is almost certainly tall poppy syndrome), but I think it's time for people to embrace the music of early Simple Minds. Rather like with Roxy Music, the early stuff was genuinely pioneering, and has dated much better than some of the later stuff. And controversial though this may be for some, I think they were far more pioneering in their early days than U2, with whom they were always compared. They didn't want to be considered Jockrock and the song titles reflected an interest far more in tune with Warhol and European culture.

Take the two early tracks 'I Travel' and 'Theme For Great Cities.' To me they still sound utterly fresh now.

Simple Minds -'I Travel.'

Simple Minds -'Theme For Great Cities.'

This track hints at what was to come later...but also shows that several albums in, they hadn't compromised.

Simple Minds -'The American.'

In 1982, they broke through commercially with the album New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) and attendant hits like 'Promised you A Miracle.' There were celebrity marriages for singer Jim Kerr (to both Chrissie Hynde and Patsy Kensit), a US no.1 single, and huge, massive gigs. An increasing bombasticness alientated old fans, but there were some utter gems later too:

This was the first time I ever saw Simple Minds' music on TV, this made it into the UK charts in late 1986. Their manager of the time, Bruce Findlay, has said that this is a re-write of 'I Travel.'

Simple Minds -'Ghostdancing.'

Please do yourselves a favour: listen to the early albums: Life In A Day, Reel To Reel Cacophony, Empires And Dance, Sons and Fascination, Sisters Feeling Call. You can almost certainly pick these up very cheaply. Simple Minds are still recording and touring. Their manager of the eighties, Bruce Findlay now manages Aberfeldy and reads this blog, too...

Simple Minds' official website/Simple Minds myspace

A link to lots of Simple Minds videos on youTube

Two great losses

Hello folks...hope you had a good Christmas break. Had a fantastic, quiet christmas, just me, Mrs. 17 Seconds, and our two cats. I have receieved new albums (including the new Sigur Ros and Kaiser Chiefs and very first Stones LP, all on vinyl, like obviously), some Fall comps from the in-laws and lots of Alfred Hitchcock on DVD. (One day I am going to do a post related to Alfred Hitchcock on this blog).

The only sadness (other than parents and bother and sister-in-law being in other countries) was the loss over Christmas of two absolute legends in my eyes: Eartha Kitt and Harold Pinter.

I am eternally grateful that my Mum and Dad had a much more singularly original approach to what music they played my brother and I as kids. Eartha Kitt was my Mum's favourite singer, who had absolutely appalled her parents as they didn't get that Eartha Kitt was sending herself and other people up. I've written about Eartha Kitt here before, posting stuff for my Mum's birthday. I'm convinced that artists as diverse as Diana Ross, Madonna and Amy Winehouse, amongst many, many others owe her a huge debt. (Listen to Kitt's 'Just An Old Fashioned Girl, then Madonna's 'Material Girl.' Just saying).

The other loss is Harold Pinter. I'm not an authority on Pinter, but the work of his I have read was amazing. At sixteen, in the no man's land between GCSEs and A-Levels, a very clued up english teacher got us to watch Death In Venice and read Pinter's The Homecoming.* Pinteresque pauses entered my personal lixicon. A few years later my brother was in a production of The Caretaker. Who was this writer, with his pauses and sense of unease and dread that he created in people? When I found out that Nick Cave had called his earlier band The Birthday Party** this made Pinter even cooler.*** In fact, I played in a band at university called The Betrayal named after Pinter's play.

I have been very disappointed by some of the idiots over at the BBC's webpages who have failed to realise Pinter's genius and slagging his politics. However, I do know that there are many people to whom Pinter was deeply important, politically and in terms of what he wrote, and if some folk are too ignorant to get that, then more fool them.

Both Pinter and Kitt got treated appallingly at times; Kitt was blacklisted for speaking out against the Vietnam War and couldn't work in the US for over a decade (and this was well after McCarthy!), and Pinter was often outspoken against both British and american Foreign Policy, his acceptance speech for the Nobel prize forliterature offended many when the BBC did not show it in its' entirety.

Rest in peace, both of you.

Eartha Kitt -'I want To Be Evil.'

Eartha Kitt -'Just An old Fashioned Millionaire.'

For Pinter's sheer genius watch this clip from The Birthday Party, the interrogation scene. In which Josef K's arrest seems like a mild understanding, and Harry Palmer was just having a joke played on him...

...and I wouldn't trust Lenny as far as I could throw him...(from the Homecoming)

* I wasn't very cool, then as now, in fact, I loved Polanski's version of Macbeth as well.

** I am aware that this has been disputed and may also be to do with Cave misreading Dostoevsky.

*** Rock music definitely had an effect on what I read and my consequently ending up studying philosophy: The Cure and the Fall lead to me reading Camus and Sartre, for example. And reading The Naked Lunch was kind of an obvious next step. (Still haven't finished the Catcher In The Rye, though)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Xmas

...phew. Christmas is nearly here, the school term is over...and I'm feeling absolutely exhusted and still quite some way off goodwill to all men, especially if they have anything to do with the RIAA or the DMCA.

But, it has been a good year for me overall, sustained by getting a better job, the continued love and support of Mrs. 17 Seconds and family, friends and readers. 17 Seconds Records Ltd. is go, make friends at our myspace page if you haven't already.

17SEC1 is already available as a download, Aberfeldy's first single for two years 'Claire.' The 7" is now supposed to be with us in January, not that I'm getting annoyed about this or anything...It was a proud moment hearing Riley Briggs talking about 17 Seconds Records from the stage at their two gigs on Monday and Tuesday; if you pop along to their myspace, where you can make friends if you haven;t already and hear their version of a Christmas classic. They were supported on Tuesday night in Edinburgh by the rather fabulous Gillyflowers who have already been recording with Riley Briggs from Aberfeldy producing and amazing it is too. Make friends with them, before some hip record company snaps them up.

17SEC2 is Ex Lion Tamer's fantastic 'Life Support Machine.' Thank you to the 100+ who have downloaded this; if you haven't please do - it's a free Christmas track.

Ex Lion Tamer -'Life Support Machine.' mp3

If of course, Christmas is getting too much for you, check out this track from Earth:

Earth -'Omens And Portents I: The Driver.' mp3

It's taken from this page whixh has lots of wonderful and not a little terrifying stuff from the likes of Om, Sunn o)), Burning Witch...and Boris collaborating with Merzbow. Two Japanese gods of noise collaborating together. Oh yes...

Have a good one, I'll be back in the new year


Monday, December 22, 2008

Rolling Stones post exile

I know it's kinda accepted wisdom that the Stones 'jumped the shark' at some point in the seventies, but I still think there were moments of genius.

This is very good, very funky and extremely political. The title track of their 1983 album Undercover. Much better than 'She was Hot.' U2 were taking notes...

Rolling Stones -'Undercover Of The Night.'

There's a link to another Stones song here 'She's So Cold.' (what is the point of disabling the embedding if you can still see it?!?!) This is from Emotional Rescue.

The very first time I ever remember seeing a Stones song on TV (deprived childhood) was this on Top Of The Pops in 1986. Keep putting off buying Dirty Work, there's something offputting about the sleeve...

Rolling Stones -'Harlem Shuffle.'

1994's Voodoo Lounge seemed a return to form in some ways after the eighties excesses that marred Steel Wheels. Charlie Watts seems to look completely perplexed in the video! This was the first post-Bill Wyman album. (Actually I once met Bill Wyman; he did a signing in the bookshop where I weas working at the time, so I spent half an hour chatting to him about stuff.)

The Stones ended up sharing a writing credit with k.d.lang for this song, after one of the Stones kids commented on the similarity to lang's song 'Constant Craving.' This is from 1997's Bridges To Babylon. Not an amazing album - but better than many of their latter-day albums.

Rolling Stones - 'Anybody Seen My Baby.'

Finally, when I met Bill Wyman, I couldn't not ask him about this video. It sounded terrifying!

Rolling Stones -'It's Only Rock'n' Roll.'

Rolling Stones' official website

Saturday, December 20, 2008

17 Seconds' Top 75 Albums of the Year

Lord knows this has been a very difficult list to compile, but thank you everyone for the love and support you have shown this week.

1. Cave Singers Invitation Songs
2. Santogold Santogold
3. Benga Diary Of An Afro Warrior
4. Jaguar Love Take Me To The Sea
5. Meursault Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues
6. The Bug London Zoo
7. The Cure 4:13 Dream
8. Shearwater Rook
9. Hanggai Introducing Hanngai
10. Fuck Buttons Street Horrrsing
11. Fleet Foxes Sun Giant
12. Escape Act Loosely Based On Fiction
13. Crystal Stilts Alight Of Night
14. Coldplay Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
15. Antony and the Johnsons Another World
16. Earth The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull
17. HK119 Fast, Cheap And Out Of Control
18. James Hey, Ma
19. Jamie Liddell Jim
20. Boris Smile
21. Melvins Nude With Boots
22. Neon Neon Stainless Style
23. Mogwai The Hawk Is Howling
24. Jason McNiff In My Time
25. Matmos Supreme Balloon
26. Presets Apocalypso
27. Spiritualized Songs in A & E
28. RTX JJ Got Live RaTX
29. Sunn o))) Domkirke
30. Times New Viking Rip It Off
31. Dark Captain Light Captain Miracle Kicker
32. Cat Power Jukebox
33. Beatglider Witches
34. Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend
35. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
36. Fucked Up The Chemistry Of Modern Life
37. Baby Dee Safe Inside The Day
38. Giant Sand Provisions
39. Lambchop OH (Ohio)
40. Ladyhawke Ladyhawke
41. Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid
42. Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
43. Yo Majesty Futuristically Speaking...Never Be Afraid
44. Mark Stewart Edit
45. Stereolab Chemical Chords
46. Sons and Daughters This Gift
47. British Sea Power Do You Like Rock Music?
48. Martina Topley-Bird The Blue Bird
49. Tricky Knowle West Boy
50. Residents The Bunny Boy
51. Dom DeLuca Birds Of Worry
52. Chris Bradley Voices
53. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Real Emotional Trash
54. Dengue Fever Venus On Earth
55. Errors It's Not Something But It Is Like Whatever
56. Free Kitten Inherit
57. David Grubbs An Optimist Notes the Dust
58. Half Man Half Biscuit CSI: Ambleside
59. Hair Police Certainty Of Swarms
60. Rose Kemp Unholy Majesty
61. The Kills Midnight People
62. The Fall Imperial Wax Solvent
63. Lightspeed Champion Falling Off Lavender Bridge
64. William Parker Double Sunrise Over Neptune
65. Primal Scream Beautiful Future
66. Religious Knives Resin
67. Rosie Taylor Project This City Draws Maps
68. Magnetic Fields Distortion
69. Amplifico See Heart See Muscle
70. Cut Copy In Ghost Colours
71. Goldfrapp Seventh Tree
72. Sonic Youth J'accuse Ted Hughes
73. Blow Monkeys Devil's Tavern
74. Long Blondes Couples
75. Roots Manuva Slime And Reason

Top 10 Re-Issues/Compilations

1. John Baker The John Baker Tapes (Trunk)
2. Various Artists From Dancehall To Grime (Soul Jazz)
3. Mogwai Young Team (Chemikal Underground)
4. Various Artists Dancehall The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture (Soul Jazz)
5. The Smiths The Sound Of The Smiths (Rhino)
6. Jay Reatard Matador Singles '08 (Matador)
7. Yazoo In Your Room (Mute)
8. Hear, O Israel: A Prayer Ceremony In Jazz (Trunk)
9. Various Artists The First Chapters (XL)
10. Various Artists Give Me Love: Songs Of The Brokenhearted, Baghdad, 1925-1929
(Honest Jon's)

So there we have it. I will update this list with various links (and um, check the comments bit as well. Just saying...)

And, as always, for anyone who thinks this blog is just indie indie indie...umm, there is perhaps a bigger proliferation of Jazz, Reggae, Hip Hop, Electronica and World/Global than ever before. So if you think it's all indie...maybe YOU need to investigate more.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An announcement

*deep breath*

It's been a hellish few days.

But I've been very touched by the support I've received from readers, friends, fellow bloggers and family. Most particularly my long-suffering wife.

I'm still trying to work out the future. But I wanted to say thanks (and watch this space).

In the words of Vigo from Ghostbusters 2 (above):

'Death is but a door, time is but a window. I'll be back.'

Crass -'Do They Owe Us A Living?' mp3

Ex Lion Tamer -'Life Support Machine.' mp3

Monday, December 15, 2008

the end

Ok folks, this is very sad, but after two and a half years I have decided to stop doing 17 Seconds.

I have received yet another takedown notice. Yet again, I have had my Festive Fifty post removed. For the record the Festive Fifty was:

1. The Wedding Present -'The Trouble With Men.'
2. MGMT -'Time To Pretend.'
3. The Bug -'Angry (featuring Tipper Irie).'
4. Aberfeldy -'Come on, Claire.'
5. Santogold -'My Superman.'
6. M.I.A. -'Paper Planes.'
7. Mogwai -'The Sun Smells Too Loud.'
8. The Kills -'Cheap And Cheerful.'
9. Dom DeLuca -'Birds Of Worry.'
10.Escape Act -'God Says.'
11.Hayman Watkins Trout And Lee -'Sly And The Family Stone.'
12.Jamie Lidell -'Another Day.'
13.Broken Records -'If The News Makes You Sad, Don't Watch It.'
14.RTX -'You Should Shut Up.'
15.Brigyn -'Haleliwia.'
16.HK119 -'Mind.'
17.Madonna -'Give It 2 Me.'
18.Cave Singers -'Seeds Of Night.'
19.Broken Records -'Lies.'
20.Mr. Beasley -'Right As Rain.'
21.Breeders -'We're Gonna Rise.'
22.Presets -'This Boy's In Love.'
23.How To Swim -'Genesis P. and Me.'
24.Estelle featuring Kanye West -American Boy.'
25.Dizzee Rascal featuring Calvin Harris and Chrome -'Dance Wiv Me.'
26.Jaguar Love -'Highways Of Love.'
27.Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds -'Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!'
28.Coldplay -'Viva La Vida.'
29.Rustie -'Mic Of the Year.'
30.Neon Neon -'I Lust You.'
31.Vampire Weekend -'The Kids Don't Stand A Chance.'
32.Buraka Som Sistema -'Kalemba.'
33.Hercules and Love Affair -'Blind.'
34.Duffy -'Mercy.'
35.Laura Cantrell -'Love Vigilantes.'
36.Ready Aim Fire -'So Fine.'
37.Cave Singers -'Dancing On Our Graves.'
38.Wiley -'Wearing My Rolex.'
39.Yo Majesty -'Club Action.'
40.Ting Tings -'That's Not My Name.'
41.Sons & Daughters -'Darling.'
42.British Sea Power -'Waving Flags.'
43.Friendly Fires -'Paris.'
44.Cat Power -'Metal Heart.'
45.K-Salaam & Beatnik -'Babylon (Must Be Mad).'
46.Breeders -'German Demonstration.'
47.Broken Records -'Slow Parade.'
48.It Hugs Back -'Work Day.'
49.Bloc Party -'Mercury.'
50.Hot Chip -'Ready For The Floor.'

The mp3s I had posted were as follows, so far as I can recall:

Mogwai, Dom DeLuca, Escape Act, Hayman Watkins Trout and Lee, Cave Singers, Mr. Beasley, Nick Cave, Rustie, Ready Aim Fire, Cat Power, as far as I can tell. All of these mp3s had been made available as free downloads LEGALLY which I had specified next to each mp3. This clearly wasn't enough.

Why people couldn't have emailed me, I don't know. This blog has been a labour of love. I have spent hours working on this at a time to help promote bands and write about the music I love. I have made it abundantly clear that I wanted people to buy the music that I wrote about. It is time that the RIAA and DMCA were disposed of. These represent nothing but money and have nothing to do with art or integrity. God help those responsible if i ever meet them.

I have sent this email to Blogger.





Christmas no.2?

OK, the likelihood of stopping Alexandra Burke being Christmas no.1 is alas, something I do not have the power to do, unfortunately, but it looks like Jeff Buckley could have a massive smash, with a song that's not even physically released.

See the promo video here.

And yes, it's a Leonard Cohen song. There is, apparently, a facebook group of people committed to buying the song as performed by Jeff Buckley, so let's see what people can achieve. BTW anyone know what happened to Brigyn and their fantastic version in Welsh?

And, seeing as he wrote it: Leonard Cohen's version:

And Rufus Wainwright's version:

And because I'd feel guilty not including it, and because it was supposedly an influence on the way Jeff Buckley did it, John Cale's version:

Go and take on X-Factor. Nothing against Alexandra Burke, but because Simon Cowell is nearly as a big a threat to music as the DMCA and the RIAA!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Countdown to Christmas #15

I have covered more reggae and Hip-Hop on 17 Seconds as the years have gone by, I promise to try and do much better on this front in years to come.

So, Christmas tracks from two pioneers today, Run DMC and Kurtis Blow.

Run DMC -'Christmas In Hollis.' mp3

Kurtis Blow -'Christmas Rappin.' mp3

And please, if you like these tracks support the artists involved!

Countdown to Christmas #14

This post does contain tracks I have posted before, but I thought might be worth hearing again. These tracks were freebies, in 2006 and 2007 respectively, so I hope their record dompanies are not going to suddenly become uncooperative.

Sweden's The Knife are a brother and sister act who do a rather fantastic act in electronica; this is no exception.

The Knife -'Christmas Reindeer.' mp3

Meanwhile, the Manic Street Preachers are possibly the biggest act ever to come out of Wales (Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones not withstanding). This year, long-lost bandmate Richey Edwards was pronounced officially dead. Wherever you are Richey, in this life or the next, I genuinely hope that you have found peace.

Manic Street Preachers -'Christmas Ghost.' mp3

If you follow this link, you will see James Dean Bradfield doing a solo version of 'Last Christmas' on YouTube. You can buy a version of the Manic Street Preachers covering this from iTunes from the album Lipstick Traces.

Please note: These tracks were released as free downloads in 2006 and 2007 respectively. 17 Seconds does not promote stealing music, rather it encourages people to hear about music, and to go and investigate it, rather than not knowing about it. Neither of these two tracks are available in the UK on iTunes at the moment, therefore I do not believe I can in any way be guilty of copyright infringement. If you are from the DMCA, the RIAA or some similar organisation, policing the net in a manner akin to a totalitarian regime, please go and shoot yourself. If you are just here to hear music, nice to see you, hope you are well and Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gig review: The Wedding Present

Gig Review: The Wedding Present/Sally Crewe and the Sudden Moves

Edinburgh Liquid Rooms, December 12, 2008

Last year I was quite impressed when arriving at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh for my gig of the year, Aberfeldy, to find that the man on the door was none other than Paul Vickers of Dawn Of The Replicants. This year, on arriving at the Liquid Rooms, the person selling the tees, CDs and bags is none other than Weddoes frontman David Gedge! He's a lovely chap, and I'll forgive him for the stuff the Weddoes didn't play tonight.

Support band tonight is Sally Crewe and the Sudden Moves, who are about to release their third album. I hadn't heard them before, but this Austin, Texas three piece will be investigated by me more properly as soon as. They play a wonderful take on angular, post-punk music that makes me think that the revival of this genre that has been reactivated this deacde may not be over yet, with hints of The Wedding Present and Pavement. They play their set in record time, and come on to finish with a cover of Roxy Music's 'Love Is The Drug' which they manage to make their own. Sally Crewe resembles a young Tina Weymouth and before their set is over I'm vowing to buy their music.

The Wedding Present returned after seven years in 2004, and this is the third time I have seen them since they reformed. They are on fine form tonight. Taking to the stage for an energetic set, they tear straight into 'Kennedy.' Exhausted as I am -it's been a strange, long week -the band make a blissful noise for the next seventy five minutes (no encore, obviously, they still don't do those). Even if they don;t play latest album El Rey's best track 'The Trouble With Men' they do play tracks like 'Don't Take Me Home Til I Am Drunk' and 'What I Like Most About Him Is His Girlfriend.' They do also play some killer tracks from their back catalogue 'Interstate 5' 'Crawl' and my favourite ever song of theirs 'My Favourite Dress.'

It is rumoured that, following on from the twentieth anniversary last year of their George Best album that the band will do one for Bizarro. Whether this happens or not, I'm determined to see the Wedding Present every chance I get.

Note: you might want to read the comments page. Just saying...

Countdown to Christmas #13

OK, very brief post: I know I have already featured the Wedding Present this year, but I have just come back from seeing them at the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh, and as Mrs. 17 Seconds said, they were even better than last time.

...and I met David Gedge! The man himself was selling the tees at the merch stall, and I managed to not make too much of an idiot of myself, I think, and told him that this blog had nominated 'The Trouble With Men' as the top of the Festive Fifty. He also said that Watusi may get re-issued next year, as he himself has burned CD-Rs of it for fans.

Anyway, the Weddoes' 1992 Christmas single:

Wedding Present -'No Christmas.' mp3

Wedding Present -'Step Into Christmas.' mp3

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This is getting beyond a joke...

...the other day, I painstakingly wrote out my Festive Fifty for 2008.

After much deliberation, I finalised it, posted it, and added some mp3s. One artist, Dom De Luca, even sent out a mass email to say how pleased he was, which made me feel like I was doing some good.

Then I got this email this morning from Blogger:

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.

The notice that we received from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the record companies it represents, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at http://www.chillingeffects.org. We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Please note that it may take Chilling Effects up to several weeks to post the notice online at the link provided.

The IFPI is a trade association that represents over 1,400 major and independent record companies in the US and internationally who create, manufacture and distribute sound recordings (the "IFPI Represented Companies").

The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. We are in the process of removing from our servers the links that allegedly infringe upon the copyrights of others. If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. See http://www.educause.edu/Browse/645?PARENT_ID=254 for more information about the DMCA, and see http://www.google.com/dmca.html for the process that Blogger requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.

Blogger can reinstate these posts upon receipt of a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and 3) of the DMCA. For more information about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample counter notification, see http://www.google.com/dmca.html#counter.

Please note that repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel. If you have any other questions about this notification, please let us know.


The Blogger Team

Affected URLs:


To say I am angry would be an understatement. I emailed Blogger, and as yet have not received the apology nor explanation I demanded. (I am pushing my luck on the first one but it's the principle of the thing).

Let me say this once and for all: Blogging is not stealing, it is promoting music. There is a disclaimer on the blog which states pretty clearly that if people don't want to post stuff, then to email me and I will remove it. But when an act of flattery, I would have thought, is treated like this, it makes me wonder why I bother.

Blogger as I have said before, are cowards for not standing up to these authorities. Do people really believe that reputable Bloggers will not remove mp3 links when asked? And seeing as half the music industry is desperate to get featured on blogs, it seems a bit rich to undermine what can and cannot be printed. That's called CENSORSHIP.


And any musician who seeks to silence blogs doesn't deserve to sell records. You are no better than Daily Mail reading scum. May your kids be taken permanently into care, your partners take every penny you have and you burn in hell for eternity.

Rant over.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #12

Danish band Mew first came onto my radar six years ago, when they first released their Christmas song 'She Came Home For Christmas.' I've seen them live, supporting Elbow, round about the time of the latter touring to support Leaders Of The Free World, and yet on record they've never really grabbed me as much as they have with 'She Came Home For Christmas.'

It's beautiful, it's European...and it's even a little bit prog. As heartfelt as 'O Caroline' by Matching Mole, even...

Mew -'She Came Home For Christmas.' mp3


The second act to be signed to 17 Seconds Records
is Ex Lion Tamer. His first single for us will be a song called 'Neon Hearts' and very good it is, too.

However, before that, as an early Christmas present, he would like to share this fantastic song with you, that evokes Kraftwerk and Postal Service, along with much of the fine eighties electric pop that influenced him. It's called 'Life Support Machine.'

Ex Lion Tamer -'Life Support Machine.' mp3

Make friends with Ex Lion Tamer at his myspace, and if you haven't popped by to the 17 Seconds website or myspace, do so!

Feedback welcome, as ever...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #11

Is this one of the creepiest videos ever?

Low -'Santa's Coming Over.'

Boy am I glad I teach secondary (high school for American and Canadian readers).

Meanwhile, seeing as I am trying to tidy up some lose ends with this post, here is another Christmas Fall song:

The Fall -'Xmas with Simon.' mp3

Looking for the remix call 'Christmastide' which I do not own, and is not on either emusic or iTunes...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #10

Was reminded of this track the other day when reading the excellent Ghost Of Electricity blog.
This was a Top 30 hit for Kate Bush in 1980, a very successful year for her when she released the wonderful Never For Ever album, which had hits with Army Dreamers, Breathing and Babooshka (which in itself could probably be a Christmas related post, in terms of the Russian legend, though the Kate Bush song itself deals more with the notion of a husband who no longer sees his wife as young, while she is increasingly paranoid). She also contributed backing vocals to Peter Gabreil's eponymous third album (or should that read third eponymous album?), most noticeably on 'Games Without Frontiers.'

I don't know if there was an official video for this single in 1980 (not all songs did get videos made then, remember this is the year before MTV launched in the US and the best part of a decade before it launched in Europe), but this performance from YouTube is pretty great nonetheless.

Kate Bush -'December Will Be Magic Again.' mp3

How different would music have turned out without this track?

Kraftwerk -'Trans Europe Express.'

I know this might be heresy, but I'm starting to wonder if Kraftwerk might actually have been more important than the Sex Pistols...Don't get me wrong, the Pistols changed a hell of a lot in the music industry, but to listen to Kraftwerk is like seeing a prediction for the next thirty years of music. Without this song...imagine how post-punk, hiphop, pretty much anything from the dance scene from Aphex Twin to trance would have turned out so differently. Like an omelette without eggs...

Perhaps Public Image Ltd. were ultimately more important than the Sex Pistols? Discuss. I don't know how much of an influence Kraftwerk had on PIL, but I think they must have seeped through in some way.

P.I.L. -'Death Disco.'

BTW...(final thought before stumbling off to bed)...is this 80s cheese or a seminal track?

Ultravox -'Vienna.'

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #9

Well, y'know, it's been at least a week since I posted any Fall stuff here (!), so this is a special Saturday post.

The first track here was first heard on their second John Peel session, broadcast on December 6, 1978 (thirty years ago!!). 'No Xmas For John Quays' is a somewhat amusing gag (for goodness sake, say it out aloud), and the track was later recorded for their debut LP, Live At The Witch Trials. I present both versions for you here.

Fast forward, umm sixteen years, and yours truly is glued to John Peel, taping the shows when possible (and often struggling to stay awake until it's over). The Christmas shows that year were great (why did I not keep them intact?!?!), and the Fall's eighteenth Peel session, broadcast on December 17, 1994 contained covers of both 'Jingle Bell Rock' and 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing.'

In December 2003 they released a four track EP entitled 'We Wish You A Protein Christmas.' I always wanted to buy it, but as it was usually retailing for about a fiver, it seemed a lot for a new single. Now of course, I kick myself. Ah well...

The Fall -'No Christmas For John Quays (Peel session 1978).' mp3

The Fall -'No Christmas For John Quays.' mp3

The Fall -'Jingle Bell Rock (Peel session 1994).' mp3

The Fall -'Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Peel session 1994).' mp3

The Fall -'(We Wish You) A Protein Christmas.' mp3

Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. There are obviously loads of blogs out there doing Christmas related stuff, two of my favourites are I Correct Myself, I Mean All The Time and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday. The latter is also written by Steve who writes my favourite mp3 blog of all, Teenage Kicks
. The I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday blog has been highlighted in the Guardian. Congratulations, Steve!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #9

I was kinda surprised when putting this post together to discover that a) I hadn't actually posted this last year during the big Christmas-fest I had and b) that whilst I had mentioned Elastica's name on the site I had never posted any Elastica on the blog in what is nearly two and a half years of existence. For shame, for shame...

Anyway, these tracks were recorded for a John Peel session in December 1994. I did actually manage to tape these off the radio, though these mp3s have come to me by other, ah, means...er, anyway two 'carols' from Elastica:

Elastica -'All For Gloria (Peel session).' mp3

Elastica -'I Wanna Be A King Of Orient Aah (Peel session).' mp3

More tomorrow, folks...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #8

There is an argument that this evening's track, the opening one on Low's Christmas LP, is the best Christmas track to appear over the last ten years.

I haven't been blown away by Low's latest single 'Santa's Coming Over' though I like the b-side 'The Coming Of Jah.' Mormons from Minnesota covering reggae? Don't knock it...

Low -'Just Like Christmas.' mp3

And, I know I posted this last year, but what the hell...

Aberdeen City -'Just Like Christmas (Low cover).' mp3

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #7

OK, I have to admit I had barely heard of this record until last year, when one reader wrote in to ask if I had it. Investigating it, I cannot believe this band slipped through the net.

I didn't have the track, I eventually tracked it down and I post it here for you:

Basement 5 -'Last White Christmas.' mp3

basement 5 on Wiki/myspace

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #6

The Wedding Present are no stranger to doing Christmas songs, and they have just released a rather ace Christmas song called 'Jolly Holly Wood.' It's rather fab, IMHO: GO AND BUY IT!

Back in 1992, as has been well documented, the Weddoes recorded and released a 7" a month. The a-side featured one of their original songs and a cover version on the b-side. For that final release, they covered Elton John's 'Step Into Christmas.'

The Wedding Present -'No Christmas.'

The Wedding Present -'Step Into Christmas.'

Monday, December 01, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #5

[The end of term cannot come fast enough...I love teaching but whoever came up with the idea of marking St. Andrew's Day by getting the kids to wear football strips needs dealing with. Hyper all bloody day.]

...Sorry, just one of my occasional moans about teaching.

Anyway, you're here for music not my insights into the state of education, really, aren't you?

Ron Sexsmith -'Something To Hold Onto (At Christmas).' mp3

Be good. x

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #4

Hello again.

It's offensively cold here.

Yesterday Mrs. 17 Seconds and I briefly went Christmas shopping. I will never understand the concept of retail therapy. Way too many people - who kept getting in my personal space.

This seemed appropriate...

Housewives On Prozac -'I Broke My Arm Christmas Shopping At The Mall.' mp3

2008 Festive Fifty and albums...advance warning

Just to let you know folks, as well as the Christmas posts I've been doing over the last few weeks, I will be posting my annual Festive Fifty and lists of all the best albums of the year, including this year - for the first time -another list for re-issues and compilations. I'm still trying to finalise both lists, as well as worrying about all the albums I haven't heard this year. But as I have heard over 160 new albums this year, hopefully the list will be pretty comprehensive, as comprehensive as one person's list can be.

Two things I want to say now:

1. Glasvegas are not featuring.

You heard. I've thought long and heard about this, and have decided that as they refused to comment on the mp3 debacle back in October that I won't feature them. I haven't been able to bring myself to listen to them since then, anyway. Is this being childish? Um, no, I think their behaviour, smacking as it does of the outsider kid who suddenly negelcts all they're old friends once they're accepted, is unacceptable. So if you can't deal with this, umm, too bad.

And if you think that a professional magazine wouldn't do this...GET REAL!

There's a wonderful article here which I was consulted on.

2. Aberfeldy won't be featuring either.

This is for completely different reasons - as I have helped put the record out, I think it would be a little biased to do so. Obviously I think the 'Claire' single is fantastic, but it might seem like favouritism, and as a teacher, that's something I try to avoid.

Obviously, I am not for one moment suggesting that anyone else follows suit. It would be great if anyone chose to include the Aberfeldy single in their list!

2007's Festive Fifty topping entry:

Emma Pollock -'Adrenaline.' mp3

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A post for St. Andrew's Day

November 30 marks St. Andrew's Day, the Patron Saint of Scotland.

This isn't a particularly big day in Scotland, but then St. David's Day and St. George's Day aren't either. Which probably seems out to the Americans reading this, when you consider how important both Thanksgiving and the 4th of July are.

There's much I love about Scotland, my adopted homeland since 2001. I didn't just move here because I loved Belle and Sebastian or because of Fopp and Avalanche, though these were factors in my coming. Since moving here, I've interviewed Emma Pollock, had tea at Stevie Jackson from Belle and Sebastian's house, worked with members of the Prats, X-Vectors and Wounded Knee, to say nothing of seeing many acts. Oh, and started my own indie label, done my own club night, begun this blog...and qualified as a teacher. It's a place where many of my dreams have come true.

It's not just about the music. There's great literature, great films and a whole thriving culture. I don;t think I could live anywhere else. Sure the winter's are severe, but you can't have everything.

My favourite scottish band remain The Delgados, who are just brilliant. They split up in 2005, but are just life affirming. My favourite Delgados song is 'No Danger' which is from the album The Great Eastern, my favourite scottish album (it was recorded in New York State. Then again, Transformer by Lou Reed reminds me of New York but was recorded in London. Go figure...)

And an mp3 from the album, 'American Trilogy.'

The Delgados -'American Trilogy.' mp3

Oh go on! Here's the video too...

And some other great, classic scottish tracks...

Motorcycle Boy -'Big Rock Candy Mountain (Velocity Dance Mix).' mp3

Aztec Camera -'Oblivious.' mp3

Primal Scream -'Velocity Girl.' mp3

Jesus and Mary Chain -'Upside Down.' mp3

Camera Obscura -'Eighties Fan.' mp3

Yes, I know most of them are over twenty years old, but hey...

Another great review for the Aberfeldy single

Ok, so I keep going on about this, but was pretty excited to arrive back at 17 Seconds Towers yesterday to find a fanzine waiting for me, the third issue of Twee As Fuck.

Our first single release 'Claire' by Aberfeldy has featured in their 'Seven 7"s we can't get enough of.' The review written by Erik Sandberg reads:

'Whilst the Major sector flounders, the Independents seem to flourish as is evident in this debut single from 17 Seconds Records. Quite simply, this is bliss: Neil Young backed by Joy Zipper at their poppiest. Edinburgh is the new Glasgow, it would appear.'

Oh yes, oh yay!

This is not the single version, but an earlier version as can be downloaded from the SXSW website.

Aberfeldy -'Come On, Claire.' mp3

Like it? We do, too. Support us, and more importantly, support Aberfeldy by buying the single download from one of these download stores.

And, obviously, we will let you know when it's available to purchase on 7". Can't wait for that...

OK, I'm off to try and continue googling record stores I think might stock the Aberfeldy release when we finally have it. whist listening to Crystal Stilts...

Countdown to Christmas Post #3

Some videos for you today...

The Killers have made two Christmas singles (not sure if they're doing one this year) which have been great fun. As to whether these will join the great lexicon of chrsitmas songs, only time will tell, but I kind of hope so.

As these tracks were released to raise money for charity, I'm not posting the mp3s but enjoy the videos and then go and buy the tracks.

This was released in 2006, and features Toni Halliday on vocals, yes she of Curve fame...

The Killers with Toni Halliday -'A Great Big Sled'

The Killers -'Don't Shoot Me Santa'

This was last year's Christmas single...
(WARNING: Brandon Flowers is wearing a hideous jumper in this video)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Countdown to Christmas Post #2

Cristina Monet, quite feasibly, in another world, could have been as big as Madonna.

Her wonderfully, dry style makes 'Child Psychology' by Black Box Recorder look amateurish by comparison.

Her contribution to the ZE Christmas Album is a wonderful tale of how, actually, Christmas isn't always wonderful. It sits along such other gems as 'Christmas Wrapping' by the Waitresses (which idiot thought it would be a good idea to let the Spice Girls cover that song?) and 'Christmas With Satan' by James White...which I might post another time.
Cristina -'Things Fall Apart.' mp3

And, ok, it's not Christmassy, but in another world it would have had the same impact as 'Like A Virgin':

Cristina -'What's a Girl To Do?' mp3

Cristina fan site

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Prodigy Track

One of the biggest let-downs of the decade has got to be The Prodigy's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned LP. But on the strength of this free track they've released, hopefully they're back firing on all cylinders.

I'm not going to say that this is the best thing they've ever done - but it's pretty much the best thing I've heard them do in over a decade. This is the title track from their new album, the tracklisting and more info can be found here.

The Prodigy -'Invaders Must Die.' mp3

Comments welcome please...

Countdown to Christmas Post #1

It's that time of year again. Amongst other things on this site will follow much by way of Christmas related stuff, including some anti-Christmas stuff.

Just in case anyone is worried, as God is my witness, I promise not to post any painfully awful and/or obvious stuff. So there will be no Mud, Slade, Shakin' Stevens, Mariah Carey, Boney M etc.. If you want it, I'm sure you can find it elsewhere.

Mogwai have done two (or three, depending on yur point of view) songs with Christmas in the title. 'Xmas Steps', all eleven and a bit minutes of it, was released in 1998, as the lead track on the 'No Education =No Future (Fuck The Curfew) EP.' It made no.2 in John Peel's Festive Fifty that year. It was released in slightly shorter form as 'Christmas Steps' on the following year's Come On Die Young LP. Later on in 1999, the Mogwai EP contained the 'Christmas Song.'

To what extent are these Christmassy? After all the original 'Xmas Steps' came out in July. But they feature the word 'Christmas' in them, so that'll do for me.

Mogwai -'Xmas Steps.' mp3

Mogwai -'Christmas Steps.' mp3

Mogwai -'Christmas Songs.' mp3

(and yes, these were featured by both me last year and Teenage Kicks/I Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day. Three will be other stuff that wasn't. Promise)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Peel, anybody?

Well, it has been a little while, so why not one of my Peel posts?

By the way, before I get stuck into this, can people please go and vote over at Teenage Kicks so Steve can work out everyone's favourite Peel sessions. My list is likely to include The Cure, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, The Fall, Half Man Half Biscuit and the Breeders. Possibly...

First up, I know very little about this song, but its' title sums it up quite well, I think:

Robert Lloyd and the New Four Seasons -'Something Nice.' mp3 (1988 Festive Fifty no.21)

Madness fell flat on their face trying to cover 'The ''Sweetest Girl'' '; they didn't try this to the best of my knowledge:

Scritti Politti -'Asylums In Jerusalem.' mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.18)

From the same year, 1982, Aztec Camera's only other Festive Fifty entry:

Aztec Camera -'Pillar To Post.' mp3 ((1982 Festive Fifty no.24)

Peel often felt frustrated that the Festive Fifty didn't include stuff he'd been championing; I hope this pleased him, a rare Hip-Hop entry:

De La Soul -'Eye Know.' mp3 (1989 Festive Fifty no.34)

This was a classic case of a band that Peel had supported some time before finally breaking through, both to the 'proper' top 40 and the Festive Fifty:

The Farm -'Groovy Train.' mp3 (1990 Festive Fifty no.47)

These four tracks from the Wedding Present's Watusi album, still unavailable in the UK it appears, all made the Festive Fifty in 1994.

Wedding Present -'Spangle.' mp3(1994 Festive Fifty no.39)

Wedding Present -'So Long, Baby.' mp3 (1994 Festive Fifty no.37)

Wedding Present -'Click Click.' mp3 (1994 Festive Fifty no.30)

Wedding Present -'Swimming Pools Movie Stars.' mp3 (1994 Festive Fifty no.15)

Finally, it wouldn't be the Festive Fifty without an entry from The Fall. I spent ages trying to work out why I couldn't track this down, then realised that the actual version was in with my LPs and that the CD version seemed to call it Bremen Nacht Alternative. Thank god for the USB turntable.

The Fall -'Bremen Nacht.' mp3 (1988 Festive Fifty no.16)

Now...can anyone help me complete the following tracks, please?

From 1982:

Serious Drinking -'Love On The Terraces.' (1982 Festive Fifty no.38) [Gratefully received thank you!]

From 1983:

Redskins -'Lean On Me.' (1983 Festive Fifty no.30) [Gratefull received, thank you!]
Tools You Can Trust -'Waking and Shopping.' (1983 Festive Fifty no.34) [Gratefully received thank you!]
S.P.K. -'Metal Dance.' (1983 Festive Fifty no.39) [Gratefully received thank you!]

From 1988:

Overlord X -'14 Days In May.' (1988 Festive Fifty no.28) [Gratefully received, thank you!]
Loop -'Collision.' (1988 Festive Fifty no. 41) [Gratefully received, thank you!]

From 1989:
Inspiral Carpets -'So This Is How It Feels (Peel session version).' mp3 (1989 Festive Fifty no.35)
Inspiral Carpets -''She Comes In The Fall (Peel session version).' mp3 (1989 Festive Fifty no.50)

Thanks if anyone can help!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Some more Smiths related stuff...

Isn't YouTube fab? This is a clip of Sandie Smith singing The Smiths song 'Jeane.'

The Smiths and Sandie Shaw on a programme called 'Charlie's Bus' (don't remember it, but I would have been around eight at the time. Probably watching Saturday Morning Superstore or something).

Also this link is
Sandie Shaw & The Smiths doing Hand In Glove on Top Of the Pops in 1984. [embedding disabled by request, you'll just have to go to the link]

Pretty cool, the Smiths working with Sandie Shaw. No-one could top that, could they? Until this...

And of course, Bryan Ferry's 1987 single, The Right Stuff which a) featured Johnny Marr on guitar and b) was based on The Smiths' 'Money Changes Everything.'

Album Review: The Smiths

The Smiths -'The Sound Of The Smiths' (Warners)

Another year, another Smiths compilation? Well, of course, that does depend on which edition of this album you get. The selling point of this album, and surely the attraction to many of us is Disc 2, with many rarities (though still no 'Work Is A Four Letter Word').

Rather than dwelling on yet another Smiths compilation, let us focus on the music instead. For a band that were together for five years, with a recording career of four, The Smiths had a highly productive work-rate where the bar was set almost impossibly high for anyone to follow. Morrissey and Marr surely rate up there with Lennon and McCartney or Jagger and Richards as a songwriting team. They recorded so many classic songs that it's hard just to focus on one or two...but if you're a certain age and you haven't heard these songs, what the hell have you been doing? 'How Soon Is Now?' remains my favourite. With its' middle-eight:

'There's a club if you'd like to go,
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go and you dance on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home, and you cry,
And You Want To Die.'

'Songs That Saved Your Life (referencing a track 'Rubber Ring', which is not included here) was the name of a book about the Smiths' music, and the reality is that their music did just that. As a miserable teenager, wondering if I'd ever get a girlfriend, this song spoke volumes to me. Years later, it soundtracked the mid-twenties slump as my relationships soured badly, and it still soundtracked break-up misery. 'Meat Is Murder' was definitely a factor in me becoming vegetarian, and apparently one of the most influential things on many people becoming vegetarian over the last twenty-five years. I was marginally displeased when one school friend wrote 'Sixteen, clumsy and shy' inside my Christmas card one year, though it was probably very accurate. The night I freaked out listening to 'Suffer Little Chidlren' and that image of Myra Hindley (shudder) filled my head. The girl I fancied who I got into The Smiths, if even just a little bit (we're still very good friends).

...and these are just my own stories. How many other people spent their teenage years clutching their Smiths records, living through them? Even repeated readings of Adrian Mole hadn't prepared us for how sodding awful teenage life would be. Marr made it seem like you could be a guitar hero without being a prat, Morrissey that beiong a rock god was not all about being full of testosterone. The fact is, it's not just about adolescence remembered, these songs are classic from any era. And yes there was misery (sometimes too much, 'That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore' is the sort of thing that gave The Smiths' detractors everything they needed on one seven inch single). But there was humour, dry observation, wit, and that music. When I heard The Queen Is Dead aged fourteen, it was pretty much a road to damascus moment. It wasn't always easy getting hold of The Smiths' music in the early nineties, with the collapse of Rough Trade; the studio albums were only avilable on expensive import from the US. Quite how four studio albums as strong as theirs were allowed to go unavailable is a mystery.

The music remains timeless. The second disc reminds us of tracks that perhaps fell a little down the list of how good they were - but I've loved listening to 'Jeane' 'Please Please Please Let me Get What I Want' and 'Oscillate Wildly' again.

So, we've heard these songs before. But why not once again?


Listening posts:




Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is it time to rethink my views on prog?

Soft Machine, above.

For many years, I've been fairly opposed to the whole concept, never mind the music, of progressive rock. Many years ago, a friend's dad played me Pictures At An Exhibition by Emerson Lake and Palmer, and it put me right off. (And I do like classical music).

Added to which, as someone who felt that punk was what had led to his beloved indie scene, it was a feeling that progressive rock's sole function was to be so damn hideous that punk had to happen. With the exception of Pink Floyd -' They're not prog, they're good!' I snapped at someone one time - I saw the early seventies as a wasteland, with a few notable exceptions -Bowie, Roxy, Nico, Reed etc.. and American soul and funk. I bought a Yes best of a few months ago, it ended up being returned fairly quickly. I love much of Peter Gabriel's solo stuff, yet find much of the Genesis stuff hideously self-indulgent. I have of course since discovered Richard Thompson and John Martyn. I don't see them as prog, but they have helped me realise that there was great music there in the first part of the seventies. I'd always loved Kraftwerk; in the last few months Can, Faust, Neu, Amon Duul II and Harmonia have shown that Germany was producing weird and wonderful stuff, and in the case of these, it influenced some of the more open-minded punks. (See here for more about that Johnny Rotten show on Capital Radio. Not a Stooges or Dolls track in sight).

Perhaps it's time to be a little less blinkered. I suppose Steve at Teenage Kicks must take the credit for pointing me in the direction of both of these tracks, they are fabulous. I've posted them before but I figure these are definitely worth hearing again.

Matching Mole -'O Caroline.' mp3

Roy Harper -'When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease.' mp3 (both cropped up here, no less!)

And these two tracks are pretty cool, too:

Soft Machine -'I Should Have Known.' mp3

Kevin Ayers -'Oh! Wot A Dream.' mp3

Sad songs say so much...2

Haven't posted much here this week. It's been kinda busy, and isn't showing sign of letting up. How the heck did Tony Wilson manage to run a label and work in TV? No marking, I suppose.

Anyway, some songs for a cold winter's day...

Johnny Cash -'Hurt.' (No there's nothing wrong with me, just something in my eye...)

afterword: Johnny Cash's wife June Carter Cash, seen here in the video, died shortly before him in 2003. Someone said that 'she'd gone to get the house ready for him.' I'm sure some would criticise that statement as sexism, but to me it makes my eyes almost as misty as watching the video.

The Cure -'Charlotte Sometimes.'

Who would have thought a pop video could be so sad and creepy? I remember watching that video with my dad and the hairs on his arm literally standing on end. Also worth reading Penelope Farmer's book Charlotte Sometimes which inspired the song. Charlotte Sometimes is my favourite song by my favourite ever band, and second only to this...

Joy Division -'Atmosphere.'

My favourite ever song. Apparently the surviving members of the band hated this video but I love it. The bit when the synths ocme in sounds like the sound water would make if you could tape it forming on water (actually, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what Martin Hannett would have recorded). The bit where this is played in 24 Hour Party People is a misty-eyed moment as well...

David Bowie -'Life On Mars?'

For many years, this was my favourite song and it's still up there as one of my favourites. I'm sure I heard Flaming Lips do a cover of that on John Peel's show in about 1993. If anyone can help, please let me know...

Billie Holiday -'Strange Fruit.'

I was amazed but delighted to find footage for Strange Fruit. It's a beautiful but harrowing song. Covered by many people including Robert Wyatt, Tori Amos, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and also by Nina Simone, who had to give up performing it as everytime she did, she broke down. There's ingenious (IMHO) use of this in Ae Fond Kiss, a film that looks at sectarianism in Glasgow in the twenty-first century.

So...I'll finish with a clip of Nina Simone, talking about how important it is to her as an artist to reflect the times. I found myself thinking it was a shame she hadn't lived to see Barack Obama elected to be President of the US, but there's millions of Americans who would have loved to have seen that.