Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Listening Club - 19th February 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope you're all doing good. Spring seems to have (temporarily?) sprung early here in Amsterdam, bringing a week of mostly sunny weather to surprise the local flora and fauna and cheer the residents. So much for groundhogs, eh? Hoping it's still warm in two weeks time, as I'll be off for a weekend away, therefore looking for a volunteer to run tings on Sunday 5th March - Let me know if you can assist, please...

Furthermore, last week the very observant @TheJayarr pointed out that we're fast approaching the fifth birthday of this lil' ensemble activity (doesn't time fly? corblimey gosh, etc) so, after discussion last week, a celebratory vortex party for Sunday 19th March has been agreed, and @saucer has kindly agreed to do the assembly work, which is grand. As for the subject of the vortex? I'm not 100% sure after last week's discussions, but I think something along the lines of "favourite #LC tunes" or similar? whatsayyou? Also looking for suggestions for a catchy name?

Also last week, in regular #LC land, @SimonLandmine was in the chair for his debut pick, which turned out to be Justin Sullivan (of New Model Army) & Friends live album "Tales Of The Road", which went down very well indeed. Many thanks to Simon for his pick, and for sailing the clogbaton over to Wales, where @holette is waiting with this week's introduction...

"It seems to be quite hard to be an interesting indie guitar band judging by how much predictable, twee or annoyingly shouty stuff there is out there.  I think this band manage to pull off the indie guitar thing with a modern, melodic sound that’s wistful without being fey. I guess it’s a bit Americana and as close as I get to liking country in a gentle country rock kind of way.  The shiny trumpet melodies really add to the arrangements especially on the track which was one of my favourite singles of last year.

The vocals might not be to everyone’s taste, but I like that frail, Neil Young sort of voice. The singer also plays drums and singing drummers are cool.

This is the band's debut album, although a couple of band members have been in better known bands. It's short, bittersweet, and I'm already looking forward to what they might do next.

Drinking club: I'd advise cracking open something crisp and cold and thinking about BBQ weather."

Rightyho. Directendownloaden is hier und der HearThis streamenmitbastardspoileren is below:

See you at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Listening Club - 12th February 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope you're all doing good and fine. Here in Amsterdam, like most of its European vicinity, the place is looking mighty white for a change, as a long weekend of frosty weather hits us, the first half-decent snow since I arrived here way back in January 2013, when it started snowing pretty much as I got off the plane and didn't stop for a week. It's quite nice to live in a picture postcard from time to time, really...

Last week @RougeForever was in the chair and put her foot hard on the cheerful-emo pedal with her pick of Rilo Kiley's "More Adventurous". Many thanks to Liz for the pick, and for sailing the frisbaton across to newcomer @SimonLandmine who's here with his debut introduction....

"Firstly, thank you for the warm welcome. I hope that's still the case at about 9pm this evening!

Picking a single album to listen to was a hard one, as, like many of you, I suspect, my CD collection is easier to measure in yards than numbers. And, as an inveterate compilation-maker (now DJ sets and compilation CDs for friends rather than mix-tapes - but the habit remains), picking an entire album rather than dipping in and selecting tracks by a number of artists ... well, yes.

I wanted to pick something that was representative of my taste, but that wasn't going to be one that everyone was already completely familiar with. Hopefully, that's what you've got. This one is a side project from a better known act, and a live album, as they've not put too much down in the studio. More an album for drinks around tables under dimmed light than for the raging maelstrom of the pit or the flashing strobes of the dancefloor. Some sadness, some anger, some peace.

I'll stop writing now, as otherwise I'll give too much away, I fear. I hope that you enjoy it, and maybe it acts as a gateway to their other work. Take care out there."

Okaydoke, direct download is here, and the spoiler-happer HearThis stream is...

See you at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Listening Club - 5th February 2017

Evening all,

Now then, actually quite a positive week gone by, at least in terms of masses of people far and wide saying "Oh no you don't, matey" to a certain orange-topped lunatic, all very gratifying to see. Still in hibernatory mode here in Amsterdam, but getting busy with plans for trips and gigs, so feeling good about the months to come for a change...

Last week it was I, @kleptones, in the chair, bending the rules slightly to bring you all 33 songs discussed in Dorian Lynskey's fine tome "33 Revolutions Per Minute - A History Of Protest Songs", which went down very well indeed, not surprising though given the outstanding quality of those tunes. As she spotted it rather sharpish, the frisbaton was sailed across to @RougeForever, who is here, now, yes, with this week's introduction...

"It's been a pretty hard month, out there in the big world.  It was a pretty hard week for @mrhig and I last week - so our little family has battened down the hatches, clung to the lifeboat of each other and started pedalling for shore.   It's times like this we all have to be super kind to ourselves - so we have been sleeping more, I've been cooking more and yesterday we spent a few happy hours chatting and relaxing over boardgames with lovely friends.

It's times like this I need music to comfort and cheer up.  And this record is one of those from me.  It's a sort of indie pop record from the early part of the decade by a band who have since split.  These pop songs take me away to where they were written and I think about the lives about the people mentioned in the songs.  It's not altogether cheerful (two tracks were written about Elliot Smith) but it's cheerful music for sad people.  

I hope wherever you are and whether it's the personal or the political that has got you down this little record manages to lift your spirits some.

SOLIDARITY to your house from mine."

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

See you at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Listening Club - 29th January 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope you're as well as can be expected, given the shit storm of the last seven days. Trying hard here to enjoy a mellow hungover Sunday as per the normal, but we no longer live in the normal, it seems...

Last week @JimMcCauley was in the chair, and blasted the collective lugholes with his pick of the eponymous album from Nevermen, aka Mike Patton, Doseone and Tunde Adebimpe. Many thanks to Jim for the pick and for sailing the frisbaton across to me, @kleptones. So here's the intro...

Okay, so this one does bend the rules slightly, but as it is a collection of music picked by an individual, I reckon it does qualify, but rather than existing in audio form, this is a collection of music from a book that I very much enjoyed reading a year or two ago.

I've left the order of the songs pretty much as it exists in the book, and included every one, but have moved a couple around as it made better listening sense. Still, there's two hours of fine music here, a lot of songs that people will know, a few you probably won't, and one that surprisingly moved me to tears on hearing it again for the first time in a while. 

I hope you'll stick with it, understand and enjoy the selections, and I'll leave you with the three quotations that are printed at the start of the book:

"There are two approaches to music. One is, “Man, I’m a musician and I got nothin’ to do with politics. Just let me do my own thing.” And the other is that music’s going to save the world…. I think that music’s somewhere in between." - Joan Baez

"As bad as it may sound, I’d rather listen to a good song on the side of segregation than a bad song on the side of integration." - Phil Ochs

"What art gains from contemporary events is always a fascinating problem and a problem that is not easy to solve." - Oscar Wilde

Download is here, and the spoiler-ridden HearThis stream is here:

Hope to see you at 8pm GMT.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Listening Club - 22nd January 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope all is fine and well with you all. Still enjoying the hibernation period here in Amsterdam, which is remaining resolutely snow-free despite some major sub-zero temperatures, much to the annoyance of the local canal-skating brigade, who are, yes, skating on thin ice quite literally.

In happy peaceful #LC land, @101retstum kicked off the year in unexpected style with his pick of Mike Oldfield's "Hergest Ridge", which, also quite unexpectedly went down rather well indeed with the assembled. The start of a year of surprises? We shall see, as the frisbaton is passed across to @JimMcCauley, who has this to say by way of introduction...

"Contrary to what you may imagine, I didn't spend all of 2016 listening to the Hamilton cast recording. Just, you know, most of it. Tonight's pick, though, is an album from last year that managed to make a significant dent in my Hamilton time.

A supergroup deal quite a few years in the making, it features one of my all-time favourite artists, seeing him at an accessibility high point that he seems to hit every ten years or so, something probably to do with collaborating with two other musicians on a fairly equal footing. Together they make interesting sounds that never quite tip into bad noise territory, combined with disjointed, properly surreal lyrics; the sort of jumbled, profound nonsense that you sometimes catch yourself thinking just when you're on the cusp of sleep. I really ought to look them up and see if they make any more sense written down, but somehow I doubt it.


Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the "hey, spoilers!" HearThis stream is below:

See you at 8pm GMT!

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)!