Monday, March 31, 2008

Where is the goddamn plumber?

Grinding my teeth waiting for someone to turn up. If I had teeth like Goldie's, maybe I'd get results quicker (or even looked like him in The world is not Enough).

Felt like posting tracks relating to current frustration, then decided to post three very different nineties tracks.

Hope you're well...

Goldie -'Inner city Life.' mp3

Boo Radleys -'Lazarus (12" version).' mp3

Sultans of Ping FC -'Where's Me Jumper?' mp3

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Some Covers For Sunday I

Well, yesterday's covers post seemed to have been a hit and I thought I'd repost some tracks I'd been asked to, as well as a few I haven't posted here before.

Belle and Sebastian -'Final Day (Young Marble Giants).' mp3

Jeff Buckley -'Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover).' mp3

Breeders -'Happiness Is A Warm Gun (The Beatles cover).' mp3

CSS - 'One Way Or Another (Blondie cover).' mp3

Pop Will Eat Itself -'Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel cover).' mp3

Sia -'I Go To Sleep (The Kinks cover).' mp3

Raincoats -'Lola (The Kinks cover).' mp3

Slits -'I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Marvin Gaye cover).'

Schneider TM -'The Light 3000 (cover of The Smiths There Is A Light That Never Goes Out).' mp3

This Mortal Coil -'Song To the Siren (Tim Buckley cover).' mp3

For what it's worth, I genuinely hold The Slits, Schneider TM, The Raincoats, This Mortal Coil and Jeff Buckley to be amongst the finest cover versions ever done. In the unlikely event of any list of best ever cover versions NOT including these, I think I would have to have a word. They reinvent the songs concerned, and that's what a cover version should do.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bluesgrass from East London

...Indeed, just as it says, bluessgrass from east London. Featuring darren hayman, once of Hefner with Dave Watkins on Banjo, Dan Mayfield on Violin, and Dave Tattersall on guitar are Hayman, Watkins, Trout and Lee.

Darren Hayman is still obsessed with girls' shoes, although he doesn't seem to be writing Hymns to things he loves, at the moment at any rate.

Their debut single is free for download below, but despite the name, it bears nothing to do with the legends of funk and soul that were Sly and the Family Stone. Don;t let that put you off; this has shaken up my top tracks of 2008 list quite severely after three plays in the last half an hour alone. A five star song.

Hayman, Watkins, Trout & Lee -' Sly and the Family Stone.' mp3

Their mini-ste can be found here while their mySpace is here

Some Covers For Saturday Part V

It has been a while since I posted any covers here, but I've always enjoyed posti ng weird and wonderful why not?

BTW, very pleased to see just how many hits this blog is getting. Don't forget to tell your friends and help me keep the traffic up.

Dump -'Raspberry Beret.' mp3 (Prince cover)

Xiu Xiu -''Ceremony (New Order cover).' mp3

Wilco -'Something In The air (Thunderclap Newman cover).' mp3

Voxtrot -'Love Vigilantes (New Order cover).' mp3

Thin Lizzy -'Whisky In The Jar (Irish Folk song).' mp3

Polyphonic Spree -'Wig In A Box (From Hedwig and the Angry Inch.' mp3

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy -'Puff the Magic Dragon (Peter, Paul and Mary cover).' mp3

LCD Soundsystem -'No Love Lost (Joy Division cover).' mp3

Low -'Nowhere man (The beatles cover.' mp3

Canasta -'The model (Kraftwerk cover).' mp3

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Primitives

Fronted by Tracey Tracey and Paul Court, and an ever changing lineup of a rhythm section, the Primitives from Coventry were one of the acts associated with the C86 movement who actually went on to break the Top 40 and appear in Smash Hits and Top Of The Pops. Though their sound fitted well alongside the likes of The Shop Assistants and Talulah Gosh, their sound also bore the trademarks of The Buzzcocks and Blondie. Their own label, Lazy, put out three singles before they re-issed the first 'Thru The Flowers' signed to RCA and released 'Crash' the song with which they are most associated. These were their first three singles:

Primitives -'Thru The Flowers.' mp3

Primitives -'Really Stupid.' mp3

Primitives -'Stop Killing Me.' mp3

Still trying to find a vinyl copy of Galore...

Primitives' fan website here and another one here

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Interview - Wake The President

It's not often that we get phonecalls from Rock Stars at 17 Seconds Towers. That said, I won't forget the day I pulled over to take a call from Emma Pollock. But I was also impressed that once his bar shift was over, Wake The President guitarist Bjorn rang me at home to chat to 17 Seconds about their new single, their name and the DIY aesthetic in 2008.

Wake The President are Bjorn on guitar, his twin Eric is the singer, with Mark on bass and Scott on drums. (Their mySpace site says, rather cryptically:Guitar Eddie The Bear Markus Corrigan Schott Sieczkowski. Then again, it also lists Johnny Hates Jazz as an influence). Signed to Glasgow's Electric Honey records, in 2007 they released two singles 'Sorrows For Clothes' and 'Remember Fun?' April will see the release of their third single 'You Can't Change That Boy' which has been made single of the week on both Radio 2's Stuart Maconie's show and on XFM Scotland.

So how did your name came about?
There's no meaning behind it, we were just name juggling.

How did the band come together?
Eric and I have been kicking about in bands since we were fourteen or fifteen. Mark and Scott changed it: I worked with Scott and met Mark through a friend.

Who do you see as your influences?
We always get lazy comparisons like The Smiths and Belle and Sebastian. Our influences include stuff like you highlighted, like Josef K and The Fire Engines. We're independent in the way we go about things, we take the DIY approach and work closely with the record company.

Who do you see as your contemporaries in Glasgow and Scotland? Do you consider yourselves part of a scene?
We've never felt we fit in. There's lots of wee pockets going [in Glasgow] but we're not part of anything.

Tell us about your new single, 'You Can't Change That Boy.'
It's record of the week on Radio 2, on Stuart Maconie's show. It was coming out on Electric Honey, but it's now coming out on a German label called Aufgeladen und Bereit to save money. The album will be coming out on Electric Honey.

What are your touring and festivals plans?
Everything's scheduled for this year, and we're getting tour supports etc.. We are looking at doing a few festivals but I'm not saying what until they're announced.

Would you ever move to London to further the band?
I don't see the point in going anywhere. Glasgow is no different from any other city. There are some really great bands, but the city isn't terribly inspiring. The new single was written on holiday.

Does the word 'indie' mean anything in 2008?
Coldplay, Travis, Razorlight...completely! Indie started out as a DIY aesthetic, you pressed up records and sent them out. We are doing this ourselves, putting out records...we cut out the middle man.

What are your plans for your debut album?
There are names kicking about. The producer, Paul Savage [former Delgados drummer, co-founder of Chemikal Undeground and husband of Emma Pollock] is currently working with Franz Ferdinand. We've been working on it at Chem 19 (The legendary scottish studios). Emma had us there and asked us to support her.

Who would you most like to work with?
We're collaborating with Jeff from Unkle Bob, who's a good pianist, on the album, and Gemma, an old friend, who's a singer. I'd like to work with Tony Dougan as a producer.

Are you actively seeking a bug record deal?
If offered a deal, we know who we'd sign with. It has to be the right deal for us. We've all got day jobs -I'm a part-time bar-man- so it has to be the right deal for us.

'You Can't Change That Boy' is out on April 7 on Aufgelanden & Bereit. Their debut album is scheduled for October.
Make friends with Wake The President here

Here's the video a friend made for their debut single 'Sorrows For Clothes.'

Wake The President -'Sorrows For Clothes.' mp3

Wake The President -'Remember Fun?' mp3

Some indiepop videos

Well, having not posted many videos here for a while (other than the links to the two Benga videos last week, obviously!) I thought I would post some classic 80s eighties indiepop videos here.

First up, Edinburgh's gone but not forgotten heroes, The Shop Assistants. BTW, if anyone knows where in Edinburgh this video was filmed, or can work it out, let me know. The other day Mrs. 17 Seconds and I were watching it closely to see if we could work it out but without success.

The Shop Assistants -I Don't Want To Be Friends With You

I will do a post on the Primitives sometime very soon, having just got my hands on an excellent compilation of early stuff called Buzz Buzz Buzz, for the meantime, here is the video to Really Stupid.

The Primitives -Really Stupid

Hmm, might well have to do a post on the Darling Buds as well. Some people derided them as Primitives copyists (blonde girl singer and three blokes in black! Ooh! must be copying them! *withering sarcasm*) but I thought they were pretty great. The first time I saw this video I was eleven years old.

Darling Buds -It's All Up To You

Does anyone know if Primal Scream did videos for any of their pre-Sonic Flower Groove singles? This is, however, a class song and (nicely) typical of many of the indie videos of the period.

Primal Scream -Gentle Tuesday

A fantastic song, controversial at the time given that the Grand Hotel in question was the one in Brighton where Margaret Thatcher and the conservatives were staying in 1984 when it was bombed. ('Jesse Garon' still runs a record shop in Edinburgh and is a thoroughly nice bloke).

Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes -Grand Hotel.

Meanwhile, will try and write up Amplifico and Wake The President interviews...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Just to keep you posted...

Just in case anyone's wondering where I've gone...I'm still here, still alive...just a little busy and not in Scotland for a couple of days.

But do yourselves a favour, or indeed two:

Firstly, Song, By Toad has excelled himself and had the fabulous Broken Records in for a session, so get yourselves over there now to Song, By Toad

Secondly, Steve over at Teenage Kicks has done excellent posts on the Shop Assistants and Motorcycle Boy, so if you enjoy your eighties indie and John Peel, get over there!

I spent much of yesterday on a train, reading Iain Banks' The Steep Approach To Garbadale and listening to my iPod. This fantastic tracks started my journey:

Primal Scream -'Velocity Girl.' mp3

...though this is one of the few UK road tracks I know:

Richard Thompson -'1952 Vincent Black Lightning.' mp3

Saturday, March 22, 2008

God Bless The Wire magazine

Baby Dee

Reaching your thirties can have strange affects on your music taste. Some people give up seeking out new music altogther. Some people were born fairly conservative anyway and it makes no difference. Some stay interested in music but seem to move towards a safer middle ground. However, while I increasingly find some magazines getting safer, or too focused on the past, reading The Wire magazine has introduced me to artists I might never have heard, unless stumbling across them in the blogosphere by chance.

One of these is Brooklyn's Religious Knives. This four piece take noise and drone and make a sound like psychedelic dervishes (I'm guessing here, but...). I hear echoes of Nico and The Doors, but I also hear something fresh. This is music that pushes the boundaries, taking the listener someplace else, and I sense they never stand still in any sense.

Meanwhile, Baby Dee has one of the most astounding voices I have ever heard, think Jeff Buckley, think Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons. Currently on a European tour that, alas, doesn't take in Scotland, this fifty-something from Ohio, who was once apparently the musical director for a Catholic Church in the Bronx before becoming a hermaphrodite in the circus at Coney Island (if iTunes is to be believed). Some stuff just has to be heard to be believed, and this is what this aging indie kid requires.

Religious Knives -'The Streets.' mp3

Religious Knives -'Luck.' mp3

Baby Dee -'Safe Inside The Day.' mp3

Religious Knives' website/MySpace

Baby Dee Website/MySpace

Album Review: Fuck Buttons

Fuck Buttons -'Street Horrrsing.' (ATP)

Some people might seem designed to commit commercial suicide. Such people might include Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power. After all, will major record chains stock a record with that name? And what about the supermarkets?

Fortunately, most people who will enjoy this sort of music won't be the sort of people who buy their music from major record chains or supermarkets. If you can look beyond the name, you'll hear one of the best albums to be released this year so far (up there, for me, with Benga). Signed to the ATP label (All Tomorrow's Parties -well, it wasn't going to be a major, was it?), their record company label website states that " Initially the group was born as an outlet for their nihilistic-noise tendencies but quickly, the two Fuck Buttons realised they could harness the use of noise as a tool to immerse and evoke. No longer afraid of melody or rhythm, the group started fusing all these elements to the point when drone becomes melody becomes rhythm." And therein lies the wonderful side of this record. Sometimes evoking Four Tet, sometimes My Bloody Valentine, Sometimes Wolf Eyes, and sometimes all three of those acts at the same time, FB really do take noise to a place where it becomes beautiful, and this is an album to lose yourself in, as much to find yourself in. Whether you consider this avant-garde or commercial, that's by the by. This is a record that needs and deserves to be heard, appreciated, enjoyed and lived with for a very long time.

I have tried hard not to issue many Five Star reviews to albums in the eighteen months plus I've been writing this blog. But the sheer amazement on hearing this album means it gets it hands down. Utterly astounding.


Fuck Buttons -'Sweet Love For Planet Earth.' mp3

Fuck Buttons -'Ribs Out.' mp3

PLEASE NOTE: As always, if you like what you hear, please support the artists by buying the album, going to shows, telling friends etc..

Fuck Buttons Website/MySpace

Friday, March 21, 2008

Disco needs you -Chic and Donna Summer

In their 1992 40th birthday issue, NME commented that Chic's single 'Good Times' had an effect on artists as diverse as Public Enemy and Queen. That would have been claim enough for any band, but given just how fantatsic the tracks are, it may also be something of an understatement. The Smiths' Johnny Marr claimed them as a major influence, and Orange Juice were initially derided for having the cheek to say that they wanted to mix Chic with The Velvet Underground. (Considering how influential Orange juice continue to be today, I think we know who had the last laugh). Formed by guitarist Bernard Edwards and bassist Nile Rodgers in 1976, Chic are arguably just as influential as Kraftwerk on Hip-Hop and Dance culture over the last thirty years.

In terms of Hip-Hop and the Public Enemy influence, the first Hip-Hop track, The Sugarhill Gang's 'Rapper's Delight' used Good Times as its' basis (as did Coolio in 1995 on '1-2-3-4 (Sumpin' New)'). Whatever you make of Queen, their biggest selling single worldwide was not 'Bohemian Rhapsody' but 'Another One Bites The Dust' which showed that Chic was a huge influence on bass player John Deacon. As Hip-Hop culture evolved and Grandmaster Flash's 'Adventures Of Flash On The Wheels Of Steel' set the tone for cut and paste hip-hop, 'Good Times' featured prominently there too. As did 'Rapture' by Blondie, which is as much a tribute to Chic (who would go on to produce Debbie Harry's solo debut Koo Koo) as the rappers and DJ's namechecked in the song.

And after the band split in the early eighties, the production skills of Edwards and Rodgers were in demand by many. They had wisely turned down the chance to produce Aretha Franklin's disco album, but they worked with Diana Ross producing hits like 'Upside Down' and 'I'm Coming Out', produced David Bowie's Let's Dance, Duran Duran's Notorious and perhaps most famously, Madonna's Like A Virgin. Even allowing for Madoona's utter determination to get to the top, it's quite unlikely that she would have done it without their help.

Of course, Disco came from other areas too. Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love' was produced by Germany's Giorgio Moroder. Released in 1977, this track can still slay dancefloors today, more than thirty years after its release, and its' influence can be tracked in many areas. Put it this way, without 'I Feel Love,' New Order's Blue Monday would have sounded hugely different (and might not have got beyond that rough demo sound that you hear in 24 Hour Party People).

Not everyone loved Disco, especially people who were uncomfortable with the blacks and gays associated with the scene. A 'Disco Demolition Night' got wildly out of control, and the 'Disco Sucks' phrase was common amongst rock fans by the late seventies. Interestingly, about this time in the UK, Wah! Frontman Pete Wylie coined the phrase 'Rockist' which sneered at those obssessed with Rock.

Punk and Disco's relationship was uneasy. Some punks sneered at it, but there were points where it mixed, most famously Blondie's 'Heart Of Glass.' The No-Wavers in New York incorporated it into their sound -for example, James Chance knowing that it would annoy hardcore punk fans. The Dead Kennedy's Jello Biafra, however, likened Disco to the Cabaret music of Weimar Germany, for its escapism and apathy towards government policy.

But maybe records don't always need to be overtly political to get their point across. Sometimes actions really do speak louder than words.

Chic -'Good Times 12".' mp3

Chic -'Le Freak 12".' mp3

Chic -'I Want Your Love 12".' mp3

Donna Summer -'I Feel Love 12".' mp3 (Thanks to Davy H at the Ghost Of Electricity)

POSTSCRIPT: In view of what I had written about, I felt it only right to include this track too:

Grandmaster Flash -'Adventures Of Flash On The Wheels Of Steel.' mp3

Chic at Wikipedia

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Album Review: Benga

Benga -'Diary Of An Afro Warrior.' (Ammunition Promotions Ltd)

Whilst UK garage didn't do much for me, the atmospherics of Dubstep have produced some of the most bass heavy and genuinely Urban sounding and feeling music since Massive Attack's Mezzanine album in 1998. As with many genres, hardcore purists (for which read: elitists who can't bear anyone else daring to listen to it) may debate about where the scene is going, but last year's sophomore from the ultra-enigmatic Burial Untrue showed that there was some mighty music being made. I compared it to being the offspring of Massive Attack and Mogwai, in the way it was just so other.

Four months later, and the debut from Benga may well be the next massive album to emerge from Dubstep, and people who have loved the Burial and Skream albums may find much to enjoy here. Second track 'Night' (credited to Benga and Coki) was the first Dubstep track to be playlisted by daytime Radio 1 in the UK. But it's more upbeat than Untrue without being more commercial. What it does share though, is the sense that here is an album from a particular dance genre that works as an album rather than selected 12"s that have been cobbled together and rewards with each and every listen. As with any genre, Dubstep has not arrived in a vacuum; there are hints of electro on 'Someone 20' and drum 'n' bass on 'Light Bulb.'

In an interview in this month's issue of The Wire, Benga suggests that is a dancefloor album, which certainly would enable anyone to appreciate it with the right sort of volume. He seems at pains to be developing his sound and keeping fresh. As with Burial (sorry to keep going back to that album, but I'm still reeling from the sheer amazement of it all these months later) there are few vocals. The album doesn't need them.

This would be an impressive album by anyone's standards, and any genre's, but the fact that this is Benga's debut is all the more impressive.


Benga and Coki -'Night.' mp3

Benga -'E Trips.' mp3

See the video to 'Night' by Benga and Coki here at YouTube

See the video to 'Crunked Up' by Benga here at YouTube

Benga's myspace is here

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

8X8-some reggae for Wednesday

Reggae is one of those genres that I can't help wishing I knew far more about than I actually do. I've enough sense to realise that Bob Marley is far from the whole story, and that even within reggae there are sub-genres: Dancehall, Roots, Lovers Rock and Dub, to pick a few. Then of course, there's the influence it's had on rock for many years, be it Paul McCartney writing 'Ob-bla-di' (from the White Album), The Clash covering Junior Murvin's 'Police and Thieves' or 'Willie Williams' 'Armagideon Time.' 2-Tone. Massive Attack. The music of both The Slits and the Au Pairs, and certainly the early work of Public Image Ltd. too without reggae's influence would be like an omlette without an egg. The Strokes' second album Room On Fire had a reggae influence, though not to the extent that the Police plundered the genre. Frequently. (Elvis Costello once remarked that 'someone should tell Sting to stop singing in that ridiculous Jamaican accent').

Anyway, there have been other bloggers, such as Davy H and Steve who have been trying to get more reggae in the blogosphere. It's not a genre I feel qualified to write about in deep analysis, but there's some great stuff I hope people will like.

First up, that knowing dig at those folks who don't really understand it at all:

Althea and Donna -'Uptown Top Ranking.' mp3 (possible the greatest one hit wonder EVER).

To these ears, grime and dubstep are descended from reggae, if not being part of it. This track was covered by Lethal Bizzle a few months back. This multiracial band were lead by Eddy Grant who had a lot of solo success subsequently:

The Equals -'Police On My Back.' mp3

The original of one of those aforementioned Clash covers:

Junior Murvin -'Police And Thieves.' mp3

Last year, Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood released an album he had compiled of reggae entitled Johnny Greenwood Is the Controller. Here are two tracks from it:

Derrick Harriott -'Let Me Down Easy.' mp3

Scotty -'Clean Race.' mp3

This track was featured last month over at Teenage Kicks. It's just too good not to spread the word:

Susan Cadogan -'Hurts So Good.' mp3

It was wearingly inevitable that this would end up being used to advertise medicine, but it's still a cracking song:

Gregory Isaacs -'Night Nurse.' mp3

Finally, whether this is 'reggae' or not can no doubt be debated by those far more knowledgeable about the genre, but it's a beautiful, gorgeous song:

Jimmy Cliff -'Many Rivers To Cross.' mp3

For great compilations, try anything that Trojan have put out, and Don Letts' compilation of the tracks he played to the punks at London's Roxy in 1977 Dreads Meets Punk Rockers Uptown is fabulous. I recently got Lee 'Scratch' Perry's Arkology which is a place for excellent dub.

Like I say, I am not an authority, so I humble offer these as eight great tracks.


PS Just found a site offering some excellent choice cuts here

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

(They were John Peel's favourite band, you know!)

'There are apparently some people out there who don't like The Fall. I spurn them with my toe.' John Peel

I'm two days away from the school term finishing. I'm currently more upbeat and optimistic about both my working life and my profession than I have been for a long time. The blog is apparently still being read by people, and I'm also getting a lot of people contacting me about featuring bands (I haven't stopped doing this, you understand, but it reached the stage where I had thirty band wanting to be friends with me on MySpace and I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt). I'm still trying to wake people up to older stuff too.

Anyway, here's three tracks from the legendary Mark E. Smith, one with last year's collaboration with Mouse On Mars as Von Sudenfed, one a collaboration with the Inspiral Carpets (and his second Festive Fifty no.1) and a classic from The Fall:

Von Sudenfed -'That Sound Wiped.' mp3

Inspiral Carpets featuring Mark E. Smith -'I Want You.' mp3

The Fall -'Spoilt Victorian Child.' mp3

If you have never bought a Fall album, shame on you, I recommend This Nation's Saving Grace for a studio album, and 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong as an introductory compilation. In the words of Mr. Smith himself 'Noteboks Out, Plagiarists!'

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Vaselines

The Vaselines were one of Kurt Cobain's favourite bands...yeah, we know.

But it'd be nice to think that this fab scots indie band, whose music sounds so endearlingly shambolic that they make that other Cobain favourite, The Raincoats, sound almost shiny by comparison, would still be loved today even if Cobain hadn't been a fan.

Though they were shortlived, their songs are just great, very scots, very sleazy and about sex. In the immortal words of Eugene Kelly:
'The Vaselines were born out of the bored and very sick minds of Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee. They were later joined by Eugene's brother Charles on drums and James Seenan on bass. We only wanted to have some fun. We were friends of Stephan from "The Pastels" and he introduced us to Sandy McClean with whom he had set up a label "53rd & 3rd." Stephan took us under his wing and produced our first two singles as we had no studio experience whatsoever. The first single was the first time we had ever been in a studio. We were camp and pretended to be sleazy and we were very drunk. Vaselines rehearsals involved meeting in the pub and talking about. James would often turn up and realise his bass was locked in a bar we used to drink in. Charlie turned up once without drum sticks and then constructed some from bamboo sticks, two nails and lots of tape. We soldiered on until 53rd & 3rd went bust. The band split the week the album was eventually released with help from Rough Trade. We were bored, had no money and sick of it. We hoped someone would get the joke. They did and we live on.'

Oh to have been young and living in Scotland in the eighties. Oh well, you eventually get to meet most of the great and the good if you hand around the central belt long enough...

My reader 'La Squadra Italiana' had requested some Vaselines, so why not? And maybe I'll someday do a post on Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee's post-vaselines music...

Vaselines -'Dying For It.' mp3

Vaselines -'Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam.' mp3

Vaselines -'Son Of A Gun.' mp3

Vaselines -'Rory Rides Me Raw.' mp3

There is a Vaselines homepage here and a wikipedia entry here

There is a fan page devoted to Eugene Kelly here, while Eugene Kelly's MySpace page and Frances McKee's myspace page can be reached by clicking on those links.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Presenting...Neon Neon

OK, so this wasn't a band I was emailed about, but having heard about the collaboration it's currently a contender for track of the year. The band in question is Neon Neon and the song is 'I Lust You.'

Neon Neon is a collaboration between Gruff Rhys (of Super Furry Animals fame) and Boon Bip and is a fantastic electro collaboration (anyone who thinks that it's all white boys with white guitars round here is mistaken. Honest.) It also reminds me of that other contender for song of the year 'Time To Pretend' by MGMT (before you embarass yourself, that's NOT pronounced Management), which has only just come out in the UK (yes, we're slow like that). MySpace have a page where you can stream the entirety of the album right here.

The album is called Stainless Style and according to the MySpace page 'is themed around the life of John Delorean and features Spank Rock, Yo Majesty and Fat Lip.' Stainless Style of course, as the DeLorean was a stainless steel car.

And yes, that John DeLorean, maker of the DeLorean sports car as seen in the Back To The Future series. (I was utterly appalled to discover that some of my students had not heard of this film the other day. I was at least partially reassured that their classmates were appalled too). Oddly enough, the car was produced in Northern Ireland (read more about the story here

Anyway, go and buy these albums, Neon Neon's Stainless Style and MGMT's Oracular Spectacular.

Neon Neon -'I Lust You.' mp3

Neon Neon -'Steel Your Girl.' mp3

MGMT -'Time To Pretend.' mp3


It's kinda funny (to quote Josef K), sometimes I seem to be more impressed with the side projects than the main band. Firstly, much as i like Death Cab For Cutie it was the Postal Service who really impressed me. And whilst I like what bits I have heard of Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, it's this side project (brought to my attention by the same man who notified me about Oh! Custer) which is floating my boat.

I know I started a post the other day about there being something in the water in Sweden...well this just kinda confirms it for me. Gorgeous Swedish indie-pop.

Give these a listen and see what you think. As ever, please leave feedback for the new bands (and not just the stuff I post from twenty years ago!)

Springfactory -'No More.' mp3

Springfactory -'Stingy Friday Afternoon.' mp3

Springfactory -'Get Out Of Bed.' mp3

Springfactory website/Springfactory MySpace

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Album Review: Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros

Frank Carillo and the Bandoleros -'Someday' (Jezebel)

To my shame, I hadn't heard of Frank Carillo before being sent this album. And I really mean that.

Frank Carillo has played with many people in the music business over the last thirty five years, and supported even more (the press release reads more like a CV!) But even if this was the first and only record he ever made, this fourteen-track collection of songs is absolutely stunning. Carillo plays an excellent bluesy, rootsy type of Americana that is astonishingly easy to love. Right from the opening track 'Roll The Bones' this is a man who can write songs and grab your attention very quickly. Several tracks have been played more than once as I set about reviewing this record which turned out to be no chore, but a delight.

Carillo talks about travelling and the girls he's met on the way. His voice is a mixture of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, if the latter could actually sing (c'mon, that Emperor has been stark naked forever). The urpright bass of Karl Allweier is also something that adds hugely to this record.

So, no, not the sort of record I tend to listen to often, but if you let that put you off, you're missing out on a gorgeous treat. To good to remain a secret.


Someday is out on Jezebel records on March 17.

Frank Carillo and the Bandeleros -'Roll the Bones.' mp3

Frank Carillo's website is here

Presenting...The Winchell Riots

Another mp3 I got sent a few days ago, and many thanks to Phil for getting in touch to send me the mp3 and a copy of the EP.

The Winchell Riots were formed from the ashes of Fell City Girl and are an Oxford-based four piece who have clearly been kicking up dust, as it were in that town. They have supported iLikeTrains and Kraftwerk/Neu founding member Michael Rother. Their press release says that they mix up Bjork, Sigur Ros and Death Cab For Cutie which produces a sound that manages to both both epic, rocky and ethereal, quite often at the same time. No mean feat. their name comes from a chapter in a Philip Roth novel 'The Plot Against America.'

The EP will be released on April 28 on Andrew The Great Records. It's a limited edition of 300, so get your act together now and pre-order it. They are playing ten shows in England throughout April, and hopefully will make it north of the broder sometime soon. On the strength of this EP, see them while you can still see the whites of their eyes.

The Winchell Riots -'Histories.' mp3

And here's the video too...

The Winchell Riots: Histories from adam deeves on Vimeo.

And please, please, please...leave feedback!

Presenting...The Dawn Chorus

Hi there.

Apologies to anyone who's been looking here and wondering where the posts have been this week...there's been way too much work to do, and there've been a lot of CDs dropping on the mat at 17 Seconds Towers and emails and mp3s...I'm working on it. Promise. So there will be a fair few posts over the next few days.

Anyway, one band I've been meaning to post on for the last few days are the fantastic English five piece The Dawn Chorus. Hailing from the English south coast, they have released three 'well-received' (as they say) EPs and are now set to release their debut album The Big Adventure soon. I think this will appeal to fans of bands like British Sea Power and Brakes (or BrakesBrakesBrakes for US readers) and the comparisons with Wilco and Bright Eyes are also quite accurate too.

For their early stuff investigate Downloads here, from their web page, and for two tracks off their latest single try these:

The Dawn Chorus -'The Hope will Kill Us.' mp3

The Dawn Chorus -'Heart Of Hearts.' mp3

The band are playing live in the next few months, check their mySpace for details (and maybe they'll get further north than London. Please!!

As always, please let me know what you think

The Dawn Chorus website/The Dawn Chorus MySpace

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Breeders' new track

Well, just in case you hadn't heard, The Breeders' fourth album Mountain Battles is out in April, and the first single off it 'We're Gonna Rise/German Demonstration' is available to buy as a download now (try emusic or iTunes).

4ad have also helpfully made a track available as a download from the album, I know this is all over the blogs but just in case you hadn't heard it, this is 'Bang On.'

Breeders -'Bang On.' mp3

The Breeders have a new website called 'Breeders' Digest' (groan!) here for tour dates and the like.

Meanwhile, I did an interview with Wake The President yesterday and am due to interview Amplifico in the next week or so, so watch this space...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Presenting...Oh! Custer

There must be something in the water over there in Sweden. Or something. Anyway, the favourite mainland European country in the blogosphere has come up trumps with another band, Oh! Custer.

Again, this was a band I'd been emailed about (to anyone who thinks I've ignored their emails, I haven't, but there's only one of me and this isn't the day job). This is gorgeous indie-pop with both jangling guitars and a gorgeous shimmering of shoegazing, or dream pop, as the North Americans call it.

I'm not going to reel off a list of other bands that they sound like, just beg you to judge these three excellent tracks on their own merits and go and buy the album States. Hell, I'm desperate to hear it.

Oh! Custer -'States.' mp3

Oh! Custer - 'Your Name.' mp3

Oh! Custer -'Post.' mp3

Then pop along here to make friends with them. Sorry there's no photo I can't seem to get them off their mySpace.

Hot Damn!

See, it is worth getting in touch with blogs to see if they'll feature you! less than 24 hours ago, I received feedback from a reader saying there was band she wanted me to hear -and here they are: the Box Social.

Hailing from Madiscon, Wisconsin (gotta be honest, never got further west in America than Noo Joisey, Oi Vee Bay Bee) they produce great, literate three chord rock 'n' roll, think REM (when they're rocking, not trying to get on Acoustic comps), Weezer, The get the picture. These two tracks are from their album Get Going which came out last year and I am desperate to hear. These are simply fab tunes, and I think you ought to hear them. Big T makes me want to play air guitar in a way I haven't since 'The Middle' by Jimmy Eat World.

See what you make of these -and please, as ever, leave feedback!

Box Social -'Big T.' mp3

Box Social -'Hot Damn.' mp3

Then pop along here and make friends with them: myspace

Album Review: Day One

Day One -'Probably Art' (One Little Indian)

Their press release describes Day One as 'Britain's favourite urban storytellers.' Um, well I would have thought that was The Streets, but there you go. Vocalist Phelim Byrne and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Hardwidge have been collaborating since the mid-90s. They seem to believe that they echo the old school sound of De La Soul and Massive Attack, but to these ears, I'm afraid it just sounds like a load of rehashed ideas.

Yes, their music has appeared in Skins, Trigger Happy TV, Cruel Intentions and Six Feet Under. But I've given this album a couple of listens to try and give it the benefit of the doubt, and I have to say that it's not bad, but it feels deeply average. The lyrics of 'Cosmopolita' seem worthy, reeling off people who come from mixed backgrounds which is cool, but the rhymes are cringeworthy, and that's not cool. The two closing tracks 'Who Owns The Rain?' and 'Time To Go' redeem the album slightly, but it feels like a fairly average album that needs more of an edge, instead of having them smoothed off.


Day One's Myspace is here

Monday, March 10, 2008

A sort of afterthought...

Due to the comments in the last post below, I thought I would investigate the David Gedge and Emma Pollock(above) collaboration and Propaganda and Josef K.

As it turns out, 'Ears' by Mr. Gedge and Ms. Pollock appeared on the first Cinerama album Va Va Voom in 1998, while Propaganda's cover of 'Sorry For Laughing' appeared on their album A Secret Wish in 1985.

Both these tracks can be found at eMusic which is well worth a subscription to.

Just a brief post tonight, far too much stuff to do, as ever... : ))

Cinerama with Emma Pollock -'Ears.' mp3

Propaganda -'Sorry For Laughing.' mp3

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Album Review: Paul Haig

Paul Haig -' Go Out Tonight.' (Rhythm Of Life)

Nearly thirty years since he first rose to prominence in Josef K, Paul Haig releases his tenth solo album. Mining the electonica that has characterised much of his solo career, this album -as it's title suggests - focuses on what happens when you go out, in a world of violence, CCTV and crowded nightclubs. That isn't to suggest that the album is full of urban paranoia, like a scottish take on Grime, for example, but rather that lurking belief the deceptively simple electronics lurks and beats a darker, more watchful heart than might be suggested by a casual listen.

If you think that Haig has well and truly long abandoned the choppy guitar riffs that characterised his work with Josef K, the sound now known as post-punk, there are still hints of that here, on opener 'Troublemaker' and first single 'Hippy Dippy Pharmaceutically Trippy'. The electronica may not be startlingly original, but apart from 'Fantasize' it doesn't descend into aural wallpaper.

Thirty years into his musical career, though, Paul Haig ably demonstrates that he still has plenty to say, both musically and lyrically, and that he deserves to be remembered for more than Josef K.


Go Out Tonight will be released on Rhythm of Life on April 14 2008

From Go Out Tonight:

Paul Haig -'Troublemaker.' mp3

Paul Haig -'Hippy Dippy Pharmaceutically Trippy.' mp3

Paul Haig -'Gone In A Moment.' mp3

Some earlier Paul Haig tracks:

Paul Haig -'Justice.' mp3

Paul Haig -'In The World.' mp3

Paul Haig -'Heaven Sent.' mp3

Paul Haig -'Big Blue World.' mp3

...and a Josef K classic:

Josef K - 'Sorry For Laughing.' mp3


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Album Review: Amplifico

Amplifico - 'See Heart See Muscle' (MDM Creations)

It's a great pleasure to have the amplifico debut album in my hand. Having seen Donna Maciocia support Aberfeldy last year and blogged enthusiastically about them here, I can only imagine how great it feels for them, given that the album was partly funded by individual donation and a webathon fundraiser gig.

And 'See Heart See Muscle' does not disappoint. Following on from a series of self-released EPs, See Heart See Muscle commits to vinyl (well, CD and download) a dozen songs which have amazed live.

So, people keep comparing her to KT Tunstall (well, they're both female and from Fife, Scotland, but it kind of stops there) and I wish these comparisons would stop because a) it's lazy and b) it's not terribly accurate. Donna's got a gorgeous smokey voice and a unique style of keyboard playing that means there aren't many to compare these songs to. 'Yeah you Can be My Muse' and 'Baby Baby' blew me away from the stage and they continue to do so here. With bandmates Ross Kilgour and Dave Brunton, this album shows that the waiting was worth it and the promise delivered.


See Heart See Muscle is out now

Amplifico -'Red Song.' mp3

See here for more music:

Friday, March 07, 2008

Album Review: Rosie Taylor Project

Rosie Taylor Project -'This City Draws Maps.' (Bad Sneakers Records)

This album isn't released for over a month, but I've been impressed enough with this that I feel I have to share with you just how great it is. This is a beautiful dreamy eight track album that drwas upon the promise of last summer's debut single 'Black and White Films' and opens with their contribution to the In The City compilation 'The Sun On My Right.'

I could sit here reeling off names that you might link with this, but let's just say that it's not just another twee-pop band, and I'm starting to feel so strongly about this band and this album that I think it might deflect attention that I would rather was on them, frankly. There is so much more here on offer. The next single 'A Good Cafe On George Street' which hopefully will get the sales and airplay it so definitely deserves. Album closer 'The Water's Edge' which has a brief trumpet intro that could melt your heart at a thousand paces - and that's before the vocals kick in. These tracks are so simple, so beautiful...and yet so affecting.

I've played this several times this week already, and I love it more with every listen. When it's released, I'm sure you will to. Believe me, it will be worth the wait. A contender for one of the best albums of 2008.


Bad Sneakers' webpage is here

Rosie Taylor Project's MySpace is here

I know I've posted it here before but it's such a great track:

Rosie Taylor Project -'The Sun On My Right.' mp3

If you want to hear more, head to the MySpace...and leave me feedback!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Album Review: Charlatans

Album review: The Charlatans 'You Cross My Path'

A few years back, watching the Charlatans at T in the Park, I turned round to my mate and said ' You know, I bet they'll even outlast Blur.' As it happens, this is true. Veterans of both Baggy and Britpop, while some of their contemporaries have even reformed (Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets), the Charlatans have survived a well-documented hell of a lot since the release of their first single 'indian Rope' back in 1990.

And now their tenth album You Cross My Path joins us. Alan McGee is telling anyone who'll listen (that's still quite a lot of us, actually) that it's their best since 1997's Telling Stories. It comes as the first album on the elephant's graveyard, sorry, long-running indie label that is Cooking Vinyl, and until it is released in May is available FREE via XFM (see link below).

Right. Phew. statutory reference to survivor/longevity status and the download availability out of the way. So, is the album actually any good? Well, I don't know that I would go so far as to agree with Alan McGee, but then my favourite album is 2001's Wonderland. But it is another excellent collection of songs and it stands well against many of their other releases, and certainly heads high above both Between Ten and 11th and Us and Us Only. Opener 'Oh! Vanity' periodically threatens to go into Abba's Arrival mixed with Big Country but holds it together well. The title track still sounds great (and indeed made the 17 Seconds Festive Fifty last year).

The tunes work well together, and whilst they don't break any new ground, this should still bring a smile to the faces of their fans, though I wonder if some of the tracks will work better live. The production is a little lightweight, compared to some earlier albums, but it mercifully is not too slick. As more acts go down the download route, why not judge for yourselves?


Download the Charlatans' new album for free here

It will be released on Cooking Vinyl in May.

The Charlatans' official site is here

Their Myspace is here

UPDATE: March 8: Anyone who thinks this move is commercial suicide might be interested to read this

Monday, March 03, 2008

Felicity (oh oh oh oh oh!)

In honour of JC and his mammouth Orange Juice post over at The Vinyl Villain I humbly urge you to check it out and offer the Wedding Present cover of Felicity, which first appeared in a Peel session in 1986, along with James Kirk's re-recording of his own song, which appeared on his 2003 album You Can Make It If You Boogie.

The Wedding Present -Felicity (Orange Juice cover).' mp3

James Kirk -'Felicity.' mp3


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Presenting...Mike Seed

I received an email from Simon at Spoilt Victorian Child today. It was good to hear from him a) because although I've never met him, he comes across as a nice bloke, b) His now retired blog Spoilt Victorian Child was one of the reasons I started this venture over eighteen months ago and c) Because he runs a record label, also called Spoilt Victorian Child which amongst other things has released the debut EP by 17 Seconds favourites Ringo Deathstarr.

Now Simon is preparing to release the eighth album by Mike Seed. It's called Aether Blues, and these two promo tracks take folk music to a very dark, gloriously lo-fi and fantastic place indeed:

Mike Seed -'A Flock Of Wrong.' mp3

Mike Seed -'Knives, Forks, Spoons.' mp3

If you like what you here please leave feedback, and go here to buy his albums very reasonably indeed, and download other mp3s including the fabulous 'Grantchester Meadows' (no, not the Pink Floyd track from Ummagumma, though it goes fabulously weird at the end in a Barrett-esque way).

As soon as I have heard the album, I will post the review up here, (and the Rosie Taylor LP which has arrived, a full month ahead of release, at 17 Seconds' towers...)