Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Listening Club - 15th January 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope you're all doing fine. Indeed, it's good to be back after a very enjoyable extended break, with a wide-open year ahead indeed, even if staying in and peering out the window clutching a glass of wine seems to be the current order of the season, although coats and boots will be reached for soon, as we head off to Haarlem later this week to break our 2017 gig-duck in the company of Einsturzende Neubauten. Set the bar high, I say...

Last week we shook off the debris of 2016 in fine style with this year's #festivevortex, which as always did everyone proud, a mighty selection of tunes - many thanks to everyone that contributed, and double plus thanks to the man @JimMcCauley for assembing and hosting the shebang. Glorious stuff, for sure.

Back to the regularly scheduled, way back in the mists of time @101retstum was left holding the frisbaton, and here he is with the first intro of the year...

"I've no idea how long it is since my last pick on LC. I'm pretty sure it's well over a year. In all that time do I expect the ghost of Lana Del Rey to have disappeared, taking the cries of "Oh Gareth!" with it? Of course not! No matter, it's actually quite liberating.

My choice today is from following a similar instinct to the one that brought on LDR - a sudden impulse telling me that this was the right thing to pick and stuff it if it goes badly.  Musically it's very different though.

I think this happens a lot with artists. A new artist explodes onto the scene with a new and exciting album that receives critical acclaim for exploring new ground, yada yada yada. Then the second album comes along, and everyone finds it a bit disappointing because they were expecting more of the same, and while it has its similarities it's not really what they wanted, and it may have lost some of the production values because it was rushed out as a successor to the first amazing album, etc.

This is one of those second albums. And like a lot of such second albums it's actually better than the first. Partly because the first is over-hyped and played and re-hashed to death, and partly because the drop in production values somehow make it more authentic, and partly because it just manages to be different while still following the same basic format of its predecessor. I find it makes good listening for when I'm trying to be creative, but obviously that could be just me.

If you want a drink to go with this I'd suggest a strong real ale. If you want cake I'd suggest a local speciality. If you have a pipe to wave around while listening, that might help too, regardless of whether it actually has tobacco in it.

I hope you enjoy these 40 minutes, but just in case I will be opening a sweep on how long it takes for me to get an Oh Gareth. But only just in case."

Okaydoke. Direct download is here (right-click-save-as) and the spoiler-ridden HearThis stream is below:

See you at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Listening Club – 8th January 2017

Hello, welcome back and a happy new year to you all. @JimMcCauley here, giving @kleptones a well-earned seasonal break as we ease our way into 2017. It's a grey old day here in Bath, but I've neatly sidestepped it, sitting inside with a freshly-registered version of Reaper so I can put together…

Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself. So, the last time we were assembled, @mrhig stepped up to the plate and delivered an early festive treat in the form of the Crash Test Dummies' 'Jingle All The Way', which certainly provoked opinions. Thanks to Matt for the pick and for launching the frisbaton at @101retsum, who'll be doing the do next week.

Because now it's finally time for 2016's #FestiveVortex! I'm still awaiting the last few stragglers (refreshes mail again) as I type this, but so far it's big and fucking excellent and you'd better tape Sherlock because we're not getting out of here much before 10PM, and anyway Sherlock's gone way off the boil lately.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a track or two (or three, although I'll likely trim those in the final edit); I'll post up the tracklist later.

Download is here, and the HearThis thingy (which will spoiler the shit out of everything if you click through to it) is just below.

See you at 8PM (GMT)!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Listening Club - 18th December 2016

Greetings folks,

Hope all is fine and good with you all. A positive mood prevails here in Amsterdam, but that's because we're off on holiday soon, and very much looking forward to getting away from the grey and grim for a while. Speaking of which, looks like due to calendar issues we're going to postpone the #festivevortex until the 8th January, and the right honerable @JimMcCauley will be helming that, so you've got plenty of time to get your favourites of 2016 lined up. Also, although we didn't actually discuss it, I'm presuming that we're going to be closed for business for the next two Sundays (Xmas Day and New Year's Day), so whoever gets the frisbaton tonight will have until 15th Jan to get their pick sorted...

Last week @xpollen8 jumped bravely into the fray with his debut pick of Carrie Newcomer's "Visions And Dreams" which split opinions fairly down the middle, I think, as befitting the duality of the album title. Many thanks to him for the pick and for sailing the frisb across to @mrhig who's here with a typically seasonal intro...

"You passed me the frisbaton in the lead up to Christmas. You absolute fools.

I’m a sucker for a good Christmas album. Or even a crap Christmas album, if it has enough novelty value. I own two Barry Manilow Christmas albums. Last week I picked up a Mariachi Christmas album on vinyl for a pound in a local record shop (it’s great, but it’s not this week’s pick).

It’s getting to the point where allowing myself to listen to Christmas albums from the first of December onwards each year is not early enough to be able to fit in all our Christmas albums. Next year I might start at Thanksgiving like the Americans seem to (actually a lot of Americans I know start on Christmas festivities once Halloween is over).

You’ve got to listen to Christmas music when putting up the tree and decorations (the Charlie Brown Christmas album by the Vince Guaraldi Trio for me) and when wrapping last-minute presents on Christmas Eve (Low’s Christmas album and Slow Club’s “Christmas Thanks For Nothing” for this… but the latter is too short for Listening Club and the former too obvious/well-known).

There are great recent holiday records by (amongst others) Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Nick Lowe, and Tracey Thorn (with a loose definition of “recent”… look, they can only be listened to at Christmas time so time works differently with holiday records). I’m also a big fan of more inclusive festive fare that throws in a few Hannukah-related ditties and perhaps nods to some other countries/faiths and their celebrations. After all I’m no Christian myself (atheist co-opting a ubiquitous British holiday for my own purposes here).

But this week’s pick is one of the earliest Christmas albums I own (in terms of my own personal chronology in acquiring them, not year of release necessarily) and a perennial favourite. It should be instantly recognisable to those that know the band or artist, and I’m more than aware it won’t be to everyone’s tastes. I’d ask that you give it a chance but this is Listening Club, and the first rule of Listening Club is to give everything a chance. Turn and face the strange, as it were (no, AFAIK Bowie never did a Christmas record). I think there’s some very fun and novel approaches to classics here, and quite a bit of variation.

Drinking suggestion: eggnog, mulled wine, hot buttered rum or a nice glass of port. 

Turn the (normal) lights down low. Turn on all the Christmas lights and decorations. Set the tree to “epilepsy” setting and imagine you’re in Los Angeles, by way of Winnipeg…"

Right. Direct download is here, and the spoiler-laden HearThis stream is below:

See you at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Listening Club - 11th December 2016

Greetings folks,

Hope all is fine with you folks - Feeling a little discombobulated here, as I mentioned earlier on twitter, the job that brought me here to Amsterdam three and a half years ago has ended, which is a pity in a few ways, and a relief in a few others, as is always the case. Still, given the way that this year has gone for many, it's definitely a perfect time to be putting past grumbles and downers to one side, and looking to the future... *raises glass to you all*

Last week chez #LC, @samsmitter was in the chair, sailing us back to his youthful times with his pick of Elvis Costello's sophomore album "This Year's Model", which still sounds mighty fine to these ears. Many thanks to Sam for the pick and for sailing the frisbee across to @xpollen8, who is here with his debut introduction...

"This has been a shit week in a shit year, so I'm setting my sights back a few comforting years to when today was unimaginable.

This is an artist whose style isn't one I normally dig. But her turn of phrase and tunesmithery pack a real punch, so maybe she'll win you over, too.

She's still a DIY touring *machine* even decades after this debut. The lady deserves more attention than she receives.

Teaser: I snapped the cover portrait."

Okaydoke. Direct download is here (right-click, save as), and the spoiler-filled HearThis stream is...

See you 8pm GMT.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Listening Club - 4th December 2016

Greetings folks,

Hope all is good in your hoods, Amsterdam's in rare sunny day mode, which is welcome, if chilly, especially as the kinderlings of the city await the arrival of Sinterklass tomorrow, although I'm hoping he's recovered from his weekend drinking, as we saw him looking rather three-sheets-to-the-wind in a bar last night...

Last week, @Har_Shone was in the chair presenting her high-body-count debut pick of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' classic "Murder Ballads" which went down rather well indeed. Thanks to Harriet for the pick, and for sailing the frisb like a pro across to that @samsmitter, who's here with this week's intro...

"My favourite ever album? For me its a bit like the pop charts, and the number one spot changes at least once a month. This album held the prestigious title of My Favourite Album Ever for at least 6 months, a Mull-Of-Kintyre style run at the prestigious 16-18 formative age. The artist is one of those you either really like or you really don't - if you like him, this is far and away his best album in my opinion, and if you don't, sorry! - its only 36 minutes long. This is one from the glory days before some idiot told him he could sing, and he started recording albums with string quartets. Just a great band, swirling organ, and great songs. Hope you enjoy it."

Righty-ho. Direct download is here, and the spoiler-laden HearThis stream is below:

See you at 8pm GMT.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Listening Club - 27th November 2016

Hey folks,

Still grey and grim all around, but pushing on seems to be the order of the day as the political dust settles all around us. Don't forget we still have a bit of a quandary as to when the #festivevortex takes place (for the uninitiated, that's when we all pick a couple of our favourite tracks of this year, throw them into a mix and have a little party during xmas downtime). As I'm going to be away this year, the mighty @JimMcCauley has agreed to helm the operation, but we still need to agree on a date, as xmas day falls around the weekend. Ideas welcome, although I figure Jim should have the final decision, as he's the one that's going to be putting the effort in! Let us know on the tweets, folks...

Last week, whilst myself and @nessiest were away being jazzed to within an inch of our lives, the very same @JimMcCauley was in the chair, boogieing folks with his pick of Sasha's "Invol2ver", which seemed to go down most satisfactorily indeed. Thanks hugely to himself for the pick, and for flipping the frisbaton across to @Har_Shone, who is here with her debut pick introduction....

"I suppose I should apologise because I had an album all picked out that I was convinced a) you’d all probably like and b) most of you wouldn’t have heard of and then it suddenly struck me, ‘why don’t I pick one of my favourite albums of all time which is notoriously divisive instead’. So that’s what I’ve done. Sorry.

My Aunt and Uncle are my music guru Yoda-esque favourites and they recommended this album to me when I was about 14 and I pretty much hated it because, well, its a bit weird and I was very young. Then, when I was about 19, I revisited it and discovered, maybe I’m a bit weird and I loved it! Enjoy!"

Righty-ho. Direct download is here, and the spoiler-heavy HearThis stream is below.

See you at 8pm BST!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Listening Club - 20th November 2016

Greetings folks,

Everything grey, wet and grim right now, fortunate though to have a cracking weekend of music to keep us positive and on-point; Mark Pritchard was in most excellent DJ form on Friday night, starting with ambient, folk, post-rock and dub, building to a ragga and jungle climax that stretched the leg muscles considerably. Last night we had a whole different bag of totalitarian boogie at the premiere of Laibach's "Liberation Day" documentary of their visit to play in North Korea, with a cracking set from the band themselves after. And today tapping this out early so we can scoot out for a good lunch and then an 8 hour set from The Necks and their friends, celebrating the band's 30th Anniversary. Get it whilst it's there folks!

Last week @wojsvenwoj was in an understandably fiery mood, stoking the flames with his pick of "Avengers" by, erm, Avengers, which sounded highly zeitgeisty, despite being nearly 40 years old. Thanks to Woj for the pick, and for sailing the frisb across to @JimMcCauley, who's here with the pre-match...

"I don't think I've picked a DJ mix album before, so let's see about that tonight. No crazy turntablism, just some mad Ableton skills and a bunch of great tunes; I think I'm mainly picking this one, over a whole bunch of other albums by the same artist that I could have chosen, because of the stunning remix around the 40 minute mark.

"Basically: this year, eh? It's put me right in the mood to just get mashed up and dance all night, and I'd be very happy indeed if this album dropped around 2AM. Enjoy!"

Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the potentially-spoiler-ridden HearThis stream is....

See you at 8pm GMT!