Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Listening Club - 29th December 2013

Compliments of the season to you all, hope that you're having a satisfactory holiday session. Nothing to complain about here; despite stormy weather attempts to keep me off UK shores, I made it back in time for Xmas (eventually), followed several days later by my luggage (sigh), just in time to add a few kilos, both in luggage and in person before the return journey earlier today. Such, indeed, is the way of things...

Last week, after a little back-and-forth, @ohmyliver sent us the righteousness that was Glen Brown & King Tubby's "Termination Dub" a cracking Blood And Fire selection of classic era dub sounds, which sent the assembled into a sweetly contemplative state, as you'd expect. Thanks to Oli for the pick, and for flipping the frisbee to @cdrose_writer who will pick up the game next week...

For now, behold and observe, the 2nd annual and most excellent #festivevortex. Yep, the daddy vortex to all the other lil' vorticies est arrive! ("Festive Vortex" being the name given round these parts to the period betwixt Xmas Day and NYE, during which, for most, not much is achieved save the consumption of leftover turkey, nibbling on assorted sweet things and the watching of dodgy films).

Anyhoo, we have 28 tunes that, by your own collective good grace, are considered worthy of being referred to as the finest of the year, so, in time honoured tradition, crack open a bottle of something heady, pin back your lugholes and listen to this lot...

Direct download mp3 is here, and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the track titles, you have been warned) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Listening Club - 22nd December 2013

Ho Ho Ho etc,

Happy solstice, folks. Winter crashlands upon us all and Amsterdam's skies celebrate by opening up for 48hrs of serious rain. Glad I'm not out Xmas shopping, for sure. I'm tucked up inside doing end-of-year file backups, blasting dubious Italian Prog Rock and waiting for the pork loin in the oven to reach a state of ultimate deliciousness. Nothing much overly festive there, but whatever you're up to over the next week or two, here's hoping you have a most jolly and excellent time doing it!

(One thing you will be up to, hem hem hem, will of course be the #festivevortex next Sunday, so if you haven't already, mail me your one or two most favourite tunes of 2013 for the pot, okay?)

Last Sunday, it was me in the chair, which was a fine opportunity to offer up John Wizards eponymous debut album, one of the finest of the year, imho, and glad I was to see it get a positive reception. As I pat myself on the back, I'll hand over to the right honorable @ohmyliver, who now realises that this old "pick an album" lark isn't quite as easy as it seems...

"Yes. I have to say that I found this exceptionally hard. 

I turned down Psychic TV's pseudo compilation 'Jack The Tab' because the one track that makes me cringe (the track with sex noises in it) goes on for almost 6 minutes, and I think it's innovation exceeds it's quality. I turned down Gram Parson's Grievous Angel/GP double header combo, because if you don't like country it takes at least 3 listens to get his voice. I'd turned down Denim's "Back in Denim" because I don't like the Osmonds track, and the ballad sounds too like Primal Scream. I turned down Laurie Anderson's Big Science, because 'O Superman' stops my daughter from crying, and well, that's too useful to be overplayed.  I turned down Chain and The Gang's first album, because as a whole it's patchy, and doesn't match their live performance.  I turned down Hatcha's mighty practice hours early dubstep mix because it's over an hour long and goes a bit Redstripe and council estate skunk at about 3 am headspace. 

And finally settiled on "Heart of the Congos" by The Congos because that's quite simply the finest 'putting the baby to bed album' I've got.  I just hope the religiousness of it washes over her though. And then double checked on the list of albums, and of course, it's been done. 

So I chose an album (sort of) that I've been listening to a fair amount recently, and that I like. One discovered during a sleep deprived nappy change, but that helps."

There you go... Direct download is here, and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the track titles, you have been warned)  is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!


Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Listening Club - 15th December 2013

Happy Sunday to you all,

Hope all is calm and bright where you are, all is peaceful here in the 'Dam, save for the gentle whirring of hard drives, as recovery software chews its way through a 2TB drive that recently quit on me. Looking like I'll get 90%+ of the stuff back, which is gratifying. However, I'll be spending the next day rooting for its performance soccer-mom style until everything is safely copied off. First world problems, yeh?

#festivevortex reminder time - we need your two favourite tunes of 2013, for our traditional knees-up hoe-down on Sunday 29th December, so get 'em in as soon as you can. I'll be flying back to Amsterdam on the Sunday after a few days in the UK over xmas, so the earlier you can get your picks in, the happier I will be!

Last week @matthewesdigs was in the hot seat for the first time, and treated us all to The Dirty Projectors "Bitte Orca", a fine platter and a very positive reception indeed. Thanks to Matt for the pick, and for sending the frisbee on a slightly roundabout route back to my good self. So, here I am...

"It's quite an odd time of year to pick a Listening Club album, as the music media starts to fill itself up with year end Top 10s, 50s, 100s and inevitably I discover a whole mountain of recent music that has until now passed me by and is now winking salubriously at me from my monitors. As usual, I'll most likely not be done with 2013's music until well into 2014, at which point the whole delicious cycle will begin again. 

Because jeez, it's been a good year for music. Some years feel extra special, and this is one of them. Whether comebacks from established artists, continued excellence or fine debuts, this year has delivered in spades, for me anyway.

So here's one of those fine debuts that will probably be featuring in quite a few of the aforementioned end-of-year lists. Because of that it's difficult to say any more without giving the game away, but it's no surprise this album got pounced on by the media this year. A great back-story and an opportunity to throw some lesser-heard styles into the public eye is a combination that no self-respecting muso journo can resist. And with good reason. If a debut album is a declaration of intent, I can't wait to see how these guys develop over the next few years, especially after seeing them play here in Amsterdam a while ago and sound considerably different to what's on the album. A great situation to be in!

Anyway, enough attempt at mystique? Good. Break out the cocktails and let's have it!"

Direct download is here, and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the track titles, you have been warned)  is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Listening Club - 8th December 2013

Yo yo,

Hope all is fine, and my my, that new winter sweater really suits you. Yes it does. I'm feeling astonishingly ahead of the pack, tapping this out on a Friday, but as I'll be spending most of the weekend away in the wilds of the Dutch mountains, getting ahead of the game is the name of the game. Ahem.

Last week, woo, how could you forget, was the #breakupvortex and what a heart-twisting experience that was. Some seriously excellent choices, and much restorative alcohol consumed along the way to ease the pain. Thanks again to all who chipped in a track, if you missed it, scroll down and give it a play, it's well worth it.

Weekly reminder too for the #festivevortex too, get your end-of-year choices made soon folks...

Yonder back in time, you might recall, the right honourable @matthewesdigs was left clutching the frisbee for his debut selection, and here he is with the intro...

"I was introduced to this band when reading an article about Bjork in which she mentioned them as her favourite band. As a person who collects random pieces of ancient and dangerous lighting equipment I was always going to be curious. 

I had absolutely no idea who this band were or what they sounded like and at first I was foxed by lead singers vocal style. His voice certainly is expressive, and he has range alright - but vocally it's not instantly accessible music.  But you get used to the voice, and you even start to like it, and then you pick up on the lyrics - which are brilliant - and you start to sing along (badly), and why not when you have a song which includes the word arbitrary about ten times, lets face it the word 'arbitrary' isn't used nearly enough in the modern pop vernacular.  

I would try to pigeonhole this band as NY art rockers; but there is much more to them than that - yes the songs are lively and there is a sense or urgency and there is rock, but there is a folky side to this album and there are classical and choral elements, and even a nod to the dreaded world music (sorry Holette). So its more than art rock really.

I hope you enjoy this record, and if you do its one of nine albums so there is plenty more where this comes from."

Reety-ho. Direct download is here, and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the track titles, you have been warned)  is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Listening Club - 1st December 2013

Greetings,

Hope everything is tickety-boo for you all. Slight change of pace here for me this weekend, as it's been IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), so I've been popcorn-munching, beer-guzzling (hooray for alcoholic cinemas!) and watching some rather excellent factual films. One that I can heartily recommend and should appeal to all #LC-ers, especially at this time of year is "Jingle Bell Rocks!" (trailer here) which digs into the world of the Christmas music junkie! If you get a chance to see, go for it - a real seasonal feel-good treat.

Back on planet #LC, Lo! last Sunday @pamac66 came down from the mountain and delivered unto us all the Ten Commandment themed "X" by Kristeen Young, which was the cause for much comment, debate and good humour thanks to its (alleged) close similarity to several other well known female piano-bashing singer-songwritery types. A fine pick, tho, so many thanks to Paul for that, and for flipping the frisbee across to @matthewesdigs for his debut #LC pick...

...which we will return to next week, for this week it's #vortex time again, and after a suggestion from @rougeforever it's a #breakupvortex... thanks to all who picked a tune, we have 18 rather excellent and varied ruminations on failed romance, or not. Not the easiest vortex to describe this one, so get the gin & ciggies out, dim the lights and off we will go...

Google Drive download is here (replaygain is set if you have it on your player (iTunes doesn't, I know), otherwise volume will vary, apologies!), and the (volume levelled) Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the track titles, you have been warned)  is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!




Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Listening Club - 24th November 2013

Howdy!

24/11 already? Jeez. Where does the time go? Everything is super festive here, which would draw annoyance from some wait-till-December English quarters, but as the Dutch have separated the two main winter holidays (Santa day, St.Nicholas Eve, is 5th Dec - that's when the presents happen - then the day of lil' Jesus is as you'd expect) they've managed to legitimately stretch the festivities about as far as they can go... can't really blame 'em, I mean, you'd do similar I'm sure if you could.

Anyhoo, back in #lc land it's #vortex time again next week, slightly later than it should be due to my poor calendar reading... but thanks to @rougeforever's suggestion it's a #breakupvortex! So dig deep into your minds for the tunes that struck the deepest chord with you during those dark times. Email links or mp3s to me (eric at kleptones dot com) and get ready with the gin and kleenex next Sunday...

Also, as I mentioned on twitter this week, a well-in-advance heads up for the return of the big one - the original #vortex, yea verily the #xmasvortex will be back on Sunday 29th December, helping you through the tedious post-xmas, pre-NYE time of turkey sandwiches and crap telly. For the benefit of new folks, what we need from you is two of your favourite tunes released during this year (that's 2013, remember?). They'll all get thrown into the randomizer, then we'll make merry and enjoy the results buffet. Tunes to me, as above!)

Phew. Last week, that @rougeforever was in the selector's chair also, and treated us to a bona fide indie classic, Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over The Sea". Known by some, not by others, but roundly appreciated. Many thanks to her for the pick and for flipping the frisbee across to @pamac66 for this week. And here he is...

"Thanks to @rougeforever for choosing me to host this weeks Listening Club. Great album last week and I'm so excited to be seeing Jeff Mangum and Co. at The Roundhouse next year :-)

But back to this week, here's an album by an artist I know absolutely nothing about. I discovered her last week whilst doing a bit of research into her record producer (who also plays on this album). I took a look at her Wikipedia entry and found it only consists of a one line biography and a list of 6 albums released since 1997.

Now, I know that you Listening Clubbers are a knowledgable lot and will probably know who this artist is as soon as the first track starts - she could be a hugely well known for all I know but just passed me by.

This particular album was released in 2004. The first track includes guest vocals by someone you should all know instantly (incidentally, a version of this track sung solely by the artist herself is included as a bonus - track 12). This album also comes with it's own credits (track 11) so I don't even have to reveal all at the end.

Enjoy."

Okaydoke! Dropbox download is here, and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the track titles, you have been warned)  is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!


Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Listening Club - 17th November 2013

Greetings to you all,

Well, well, here we are again - hope your week has been as good as all-things-considered possible, not bad here in A-dam, getting chillier by the day, but today's arrival of Sinterklass in Amsterdam is making the place seem rather festive already (just don't mention Zwarte Piet, mmkay?). Has been a good week for gigs also, with Fuck Buttons aural assault on Wednesday and John Wizards chirpy afro-bop on Saturday both sounding mighty fine. Tonight I shall be AWOL also, off to see the good Captain Caveman & His Bad Seeds... so hup ho, on with the show...

Last week @cakehugga was in the chair, and treated us to Imani Coppola's "The Glass Wall", which hit home with quite a few of you - big thanks to her for the pick and for sailing the frisbee down to @rougeforever, who is here with the pre-match...

"I pondered for a while about this week's choice.   We all do, don't we?   In the end I went with something that a lot of you may know - and some of you probably will know quite well.  This band have influenced a lot of the artists I really like, and I first picked up this album (in a very cool record shop in Portland, I think) from a Portland band who I really like (and who namechecked this band in an interview).   To be honest. there are a couple of songs on this record I like a little less...but there are several which blow most songwriting out of the water.  If you could bottle my psyche it would be in this record.  

It's another of those bands who are really just a front for the main singer/songwriter guy - and following the release of a couple of records he stopped making music or touring.  I've never seen this band live - I'm not sure I could without weeping for a month, such is the legendary status I've given them in my mind.

Oh - and by the way - I've noticed in the conversion to MP3 I have accidentally made the track quiet. TURN IT UP!"

Splendid! Dropbox direct mp3 download is here (right click save as), and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the track titles, you have been warned)  is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

The clocks have changed everywhere  now I think, so hopefully the time of clock confusion is over, and hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Listening Club - 10th November 2013

Hello hello hello,

Hope you're all doing fine... we've been blessed with a rare sunny autumn day here in A'dam, so I'm being all minimal on the intro to get this done, then off for a stroll around the park while the goodness lasts!

Last week, yes indeed, @petemaskreplica made his debut selection, and sent everyone back to a murky, funky period of history with his choice of Miles Davis' 1972 classic "On The Corner". Certainly did the trick for most of you, I reckon. Many thanks to Pete for the pick, and for skipping the frisbee across to @cakehugga for this week's choice. And here she is...

"So a lot has happened since I lost my beautiful wife @Jayesofine in August. It has been an incredibly difficult 3 months to get through. I have only got through it with the love and support of my friends, family and my twitter peeps. 

I narrowed my choice of listening club down to 5 albums and played them all repeatedly this week. This album stood out as being “the one”. 

The album came out last year and blew my mind. I have been following the career of this very talented musician and singer since both she and I were teenagers. I was lucky enough to see her perform live in a dingy little venue in Manchester when I was 20 and her live performance did not disappoint. I remember a lot of wigs and glittery eyeshadow as well as her enthusiastic use of the electric violin which caused a hole in the ceiling (yes, the venue was that small). 

It is a mystery to me why she is not more well- known. I have chosen this album over her extensive back catalogue (although if you like what you hear tonight I would recommend checking it out), as I feel that her work has improved with practice. 

This album covers a range of musical styles and genres and includes pop hooks, rock, soul, bicycle bells, intelligent lyrics, bonkers lyrics and some amazing dub step drops. All I ask is that you listen to it with an open mind and enjoy the musical ride."

OK, Dropbox download is here, and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the track titles, you have been warned)  is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

The clocks have changed everywhere  now I think, so hopefully the time of clock confusion is over, and hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Listening Club - 3rd November 2013

Hey there,

Another week zooms by and we're back again. Amsterdam is doing the trad stormy-then-sunny routine, which keeps you on your toes if you want to get anywhere without being drowned, hailstoned or brained by falling branches and/or chunks of quality 17th century masonry. After last Sunday's weekendus-interruptus and a week of bastard-throat-infection, I've been taking it easy, but also bearing in mind a great run of gigs coming up for me in the next couple of weeks (including Nick Cave, Fuck Buttons, Lee Ranaldo, John Wizards), conservation of energy right now is definitely a good thing.

Last week the #scaryasfuckvortex was in full effect, and woo-hah, did it ever live up to its name. Big thanks to all who contributed a track, and all who listened in. Some seriously unsettling moments, for sure! If you missed it, roll back a week and check it out - tracklist has been added in the comments for the curious...

And casting minds further back, two weeks gone, @petemaskreplica was left holding the frisbee, and lo, here he is with his debut selection...

"So, after two weeks of indecision, I went with the album I'd first thought of. How many others have done that?

What people will make of this record I'm not sure. I suspect it's the kind of thing you'll love or hate. It's definitely one of the artist's more controversial releases - when it came out it was pretty much universally panned by the critics. It's a groundbreaking album, a good 20 years ahead of its time. It's also damn funky. I love it and I hope you do too!"

Boffo. Direct mp3 download is here (right click save as), and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the track titles, you have been warned)  is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

The clocks have changed in Europe now, don't forget, so hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Listening Club - 27th October 2013

Hello to you all,

Phew yes well, was expected to be gently nursing a hangover and chilling today, stitching together the #scaryvortex and sipping a brandy, but my current paymasters decided to up the ante considerably and drag me into a crisis situation. A few braincells less and a few paracetamol later, I'm back and working on said #vortex, with a little more haste than I would like, but, hey... life's rich tapestry and all that. LV's cracking DJ set last night makes it all worthwhile.

Anyhoo, last week, the redoubtable @JimMcCauley succeeded in blowing his remaining street cred with his selection of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine's "Worry Bomb". Some liked. Some hated. The ultimate marmite band? Thanks to Jim for the pick, either way, and for flipping the frisbee to @petemaskreplica. But first...

Yes, it's the #scaryvortex, or #scaryasfuckvortex if you're so inclined. Thanks to all who chipped in selections, we have 14 tracks here, every single one guaranteed to incite differing levels of fear, from a subtle nagging disquiet to outright hide-behind-the-sofa insanity. So... cushions and stiff drinks at the ready? here we go...

Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

The clocks changed in Europe last night, so hope to see you tonight at 8pm GMT!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Listening Club - 20th October 2013

Greetings to you all,

Another early typing session for me, racking up the #LC business on a Saturday early evening before I head out into the crazier than usual Amsterdam streets. It's ADE this week (that's Amsterdam Dance Event, if you didn't know), which means tons of networking muso types flashing laminates left, right and centre, and world-famous DJs lurking everywhere you look. Last night twas was bobbing till daybreak to a most excellent soundtrack (including Rustie, Martyn and Jackmaster, if you're interested), and will be doing the same again tonight (getting down to disco with Kon and Maurice Fulton), so lets get this tapped out whilst there's still braincells in rotation, eh?

Timely announcement time, next week is #vortex week, so, being close to that Halloween thing, rather than asking you for token cheesy seasonal selections, behold the #scaryasfuckvortex! That's right, what we want from you this time is the scariest tune you can think of - the one that really, really freaks you out. And not just because it's shite, m'kay? Get your choices in ASAP, and join in next week with a seriously stiff drink at hand and a pillow to hide behind for the results!

Last week, indeedy, @emmaprice rocked and rolled everyone with "Diary Of A Soul Fiend" by Saint Jude. Bit of a split response, but on the whole positive I think, which is grand. Many thanks to Emma for the pick, and for digging up the vampirical @jimmccauley to get back in the (coffin-shaped) chair this week. And here he is...

"It's just musical sensationalism. You do something big on the stage and a thousand geezers sort of go, "Ah!"

This may well be my favourite band, and it’s one that I took a while to warm to. They’re a little divisive. They released two great albums while pulling in ever-increasing crowds with blinding live shows, then a difficult third and something of a them-by-numbers fourth, by which time they were struggling a bit and fewer people we showing up at gigs. This, their fifth, is given a boost by the addition of a new band member and sounds rather different to their earlier albums; bigger and a little older and wiser, but still shot through with dark humour and wordplay that makes my writing gland tingle. It doesn't quite have the raw energy of the first two albums, but it has enough great tunes to make it worth digging out every now and then.

I reckon there’s a good chance of some of you recognising the lead singer’s distinctive tones straight away and being all, oh, fucking hell, it’s them. They have that effect on some. But that’s all part of the fun. It’s a bit of an exercise in indie pop contrarianism, but it’s also me wearing my heart on my sleeve and playing a band I love rather than a safe choice. So: enjoy! Or don’t! I won’t mind.

Hooray!"

Awesomesauce. Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Listening Club - 13th October 2013

Greetings to you all!

Hope the week has been good to you - here the battle of the seasons continues as per usual, currently well into a solid day of rain, but as the week's gigs have taken me from Fleetwood Mac via Psychic Ills to The Mountain Goats, I'm not complaining too much... even if I have misplaced a couple of brollies already. Hum ho...

Back in #LC-ville, @akx was back in the hotseat, and went for a supreme trickshot, delivering Venetian Snares' classical / drill'n'bass crossover extravaganza "Rossz Csillag Alatt Sz├╝letett" (Hungarian for "Born Under a Bad Star", apparently). Despite the intensity, a thumbs-up from the #LC massive... those who survived, anyways. Thanks to @akx for the pick, and for thrusting the frisbee across to @emmaprice,  here she is with this week's intro...

"Greetings fellow Listening Clubbers.

I first discovered this band when I saw them supporting at the Academy in Islington back in 2010. It was one of those incredible moments where the support band totally blows the headliners off stage. Before they'd even left the stage we'd found out when their next gig was and made plans to see them again. Over the next 18 months or so we saw them play a variety of venues across London culminating with a storming set at Victoria Park back in 2011

This is their debut album and it's definitely been one of those albums where you tell your friends about the awesome new band you've found and how they must listen and tell you their reaction. So I thought I'd share it with Listening Club and see what you thought. One final note I absolutely love this album but have to say it really comes into its own when being performed live."

Okaydoke. Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Listening Club - 6th October 2013

Hello hello,

Indian summer in full effect here in A-dam, 20+ degrees and sunny in October? Yes please. Hope you're getting some of the same wherever you are... It's a stressful day for many, as Glastonbury tickets go on sale, and a small corner of the internet tries hard not to buckle under the strain of 120,000 tickets being sold in under 90 minutes. Jeebs, that's some throughput, for sure...

Back in #LC land, we vortexed it up last week well and truly with the #floorfillersvortex, which turned out to be a mighty cross between a wedding disco, a mid-90s indie dance night and a rave - major thanks to all who contributed a tune! Casting minds further back we see @akx holding the frisbee again, and here he is with the intro...

"My turn again? Not that I mind...

This time I actually didn't have a choice ready and it took me quite some deliberating to get to this pick. I considered lavishing Norwegian space disco upon the club, or German winter melancholia, or American technical avant-garde black metal (yes, that's a thing), before realizing that the Club needed to hear Canadian... well, this.

I'll be curious to see if (or well, inevitably how) this might split opinions.

Hugs from the increasingly cold, autumny reaches of Finland,

@akx"

Okaydoke. Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow @listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!


Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Listening Club - 29th September 2013

Greetings one and all,

Hope you're all good - a little frayed at the edges here, on account of being up till sunrise enjoying Amsterdam's Nuite Blanche, a rather haphazard journey through the centre of the city (including the Red Light District) taking in pop-up galleries, exhibitions, clubs and a lunatic selection of performance art and audience-participation stuff. Amongst other things, I now know what a hammer banging in a nail tastes like, and have been ordained as a Priest. Not bad for an evenings work, must say.

Last week, as you may recall, @mutster101 stepped up for his debut selection and delivered lunacy of the highest order with Martyn Bennett's "Grit", a truly singular and much missed talent indeed. Thanks to him for the pick and for frisbeeing across to @akx for the next selection...

But we have to interrupt that selection to bring you this month's #vortex! Behold, the #floorfillersvortex - 68 minutes, 18 tracks and... well, blimey. Get your disco boots on, crack open a Babycham and get a load of this lot... It's all rather speedily mixed together by yours truly... apologies if I've snipped off your favourite bit of a tune, but as @samsmitter said when I suggested a different mix of his selection, that's the "DJ's Prerogative"!

Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!


Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Listening Club - 22nd September 2013

Greetings, hope you're all doing well.

Enjoying some fragments of an Indian Summer here in A-dam, which is most pleasant indeed, I must say. Still enough stormy showers to make me start reaching for the winter cookbook, so now that there's a hearty stew bubbling away on the stove, off we go...

...To a bit of indecision, unfortunately - I'd be announcing next week's #vortex around now, but we seem to be stuck in a bit of nonplussedness - Three suggestions for a vortex have popped up from your good selves: Floor-Fillers, Kryptonite tunes (i.e. most hated) and Guilty Pleasures, but none seem to have taken root within the consensus and I'm reluctant to force one through, so hoping that a decision can be reached during this week's session, otherwise it might be worth letting it lie until a good idea comes along? Comments, suggestions welcome as always...

Anyhoo, last week @morecheerful stepped up to the plate for her debut, and delivered unto you all the soulful twang of Valerie June's "Pushin' Against A Stone" which definitely satisfied a good number of you. Big thanks to @morecheerful for the pick, and for nominating another debutant, @mutster101 for this week. And here he is with the intro...

"The prospect of choosing an album was a terrifying one at first, but not long after last weekend's listen I had three albums going around my head as potential choices. And then it turned out there was a very obvious choice that was none of them.

To describe this album in the most pretentious way possible, let's say that it's a musical Large Hadron Collider that takes two seemingly disparate genres and smashes them together so that we can study the results. The results will almost certainly be controversial, and I'll be amazed if you like every single one. That said, there are a variety of results to choose from and I'm hopeful that there is something for everyone.  So let's don our white coats and safety goggles and scrutinise what has been created for us."

Reet! Direct download is here (right click save as, it's one long mp3), Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Listening Club - 15th September 2013

Greetings to you all,

Hope you've had an agreeable week - Summer is fading here in The Dam, slowly being replaced by The Big Grey, although the sun is out this morning, so I shall be taking advantage of that - I have a visiting parent, so for a change the weekend is filled with looking at olde worlde interior and exterior architecture as part of Heritage Weekend (think it's the same across Europe), so apologies in advance if this pops out a little late in the day...

Last week, @eastvanhalen hit home with what is probably the most well known #lc selection to date, although as she herself observed, one that probably few of us have ever listened from start to finish; Stevie Wonder's "Songs In The Key Of Life". Truly a masterpiece and a half. Thanks to her for the pick, and for flipping the frisbee back across the Atlantic to @morecheerful for her debut pick. And here she is with the intro...

"I had two very definite ideas for this week's album, having been idly wondering what I'd choose if the frisbee came my way. So naturally I've not chosen either.

This is an album that I've been listening to steadily all summer. It's a new album, but traditional in style, I think. I'm not sure how people will react to it, as when I saw the artist play earlier in the year half the audience had left by the third or fourth number. I think that the album is more mellow than the performance I saw but I'll be interested to know whether that's because I'm coming to it knowing what I'm getting. Happy listening!"

Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Listening Club - 8th September 2013

Howdy folks,

Hope all is going good! I'm on rather a hectic zoomy weekend, plans being foiled and changed all over the place - all good though, a big weekend of gigs has emerged... Eleanor Friedberger on Friday, Chic and Blondes last night, so I'm a happy bunny, but soon off on another mission, so on with the show...

Last week, @mrhig took us to melodrama central with his pick of "Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel", familiar to some, surprising to others - no complaints from this quarter that's for sure - big thanks to him for the pick, and for zipping the frisbee across to Vancouver and @eastvanhalen...

"Hello, all you lovely people. I've been driving myself dizzy considering the half dozen albums that have vied for contention this week; I'd have been thrilled to play any of them, but as is often my wont I decided to go with the strong sentimental choice. I will admit to being anxious about my selection.

What makes this selection feel so risky is that it is so safe. Every one of you will have heard of this record. Every one of you will have heard songs from this record. It's near-universally regarded as one of the greatest albums of American music. Volumes have been written about it (of which I've resolutely read not a word before composing this). It's also a double album (and EP!), so if you're not impressed you'll have a lot of listening to be unimpressed with.

But before this summer I had never actually sat down and listened to this record beginning to end, and I suspect that might be true of some of you, especially the younger members of the cohort. When I did hear it I was smitten. I've been listening to it all summer, and it's made me happy, and so I want to listen to it with all of you at summer's end.

This record is a very personal chronicle of the turmoil of the artist's world -- pain writ politically through social injustice, especially racism and poverty, and personally through misunderstanding and heartbreak -- but what makes it eternally beautiful is his belief, shining throughout, of the redemptive power of love.

And so with that in mind, I dedicate my selection this week to our beloved @cakehugga, in memory of her beautiful @jayesofine, and to D., my one and only love."

Excellent! Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Listening Club - 1st September 2013

Howdy folks,

Hope all is well and good with you all. Here in Amsterdam the summer is still performing well above par, even if the evenings are drawing in a little too soon, dammit. Plenty of stuff keeping me occupied as usual, this weekend being Uitmarkt, the supposed start of the "cultural season" - must say, I didn't notice the last one finish - but a good opportunity for me to nose about in some of the slightly more refined areas of Amsterdam life, enjoying bits and pieces of theatre, dance, classical music, even a bit of opera. Not bad at all, I must say...

Last week, back over yonder, it was the "covers you think are better than the originals" vortex and my word, I don't think we've ever had such a diverse array of shizzle to present. Hard tunes done mellow, serious songs done stupid, crap tunes done better, really something for everyone and anyone. Thanks to all contributors for chipping in, was a lot of fun! Suggestions for next month's vortex please?

Back to the week previous to the week previous, @mrhig emerged clutching the frisbee for his debut selection, so over to him for the intro...

"I decided to take advantage of last week's cover versions vortex and continue the theme with an entire album of covers! In the grand tradition of Listening Club (as with the first entry I could find on this blog), my first ever Listening Club choice is a compilation, in this case gathered from three or four albums by one artist. 

The songs you will find here were originally in a different language. It's well worth tracking down the original artist if you hadn't heard of them before; the brilliance of their music shines through even if (like me) you can't understand most of the words. Here, however, we are dealing with English translations; regardless, I think the original charm is quite intact.

Both of the artists (the writer and singer of the original songs, and the artist covering them) have been particularly influential to a certain breed of musicians - the theatrical, the dark, the flamboyant, those that don't fit the standard mould. Get ready for a few waltzes, maybe the odd tango - don't forget a pretentious drink, maybe some absinthe - and prepare yourself for an odyssey of carousing, intoxication, a preoccupation with death and perhaps an STI or two!"

Fantastische!... Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Listening Club - 25th August 2013

Hey there,

Hope you're all doing fine. It's been a rainy, humid weekend in Amsterdam (and in England too from the looks of the Reading / Leeds mudfest reports), but that hasn't stopped the party train from chugging along - an ace night at Magneet Festival for me, and not too much of a sore head today, which is always a bonus. Onwards...

Last week, as you should remember, @akx pushed out some seriously sunny vibes with his choice of The New Radicals "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too", which pleasantly surprised quite a few of the assembled, me included. Many thanks to Aarni for the pick, and for sending the frisbee out to @mrhig for next week's selection, but first... (cue drumroll...)

It's the "Covers That You Think Are Better Than The Originals" Vortex! Judging by the online pontificating seen this week it's proved to be a far tougher choice than any of the vortexes (vorticies?) so far. Still, a good many of you reached a decision, so we now have 18 seriously wide-ranging selections for you - so many bases covered here, you will not believe your ears!

(Note - I haven't levelled out the volume of the tracks, so be warned - volume levels WILL vary - I have set the volume levels on the actual MP3s using Replay Gain so if your player supports that, make sure it's turned on, otherwise keep your hand on the dial, OK?)

So... Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!




Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Listening Club - 18th August 2013

Howdy doody folks,

Another early typing session for me, getting this out of the way before I take advantage of a gloriously sunny Saturday with a stack of plans, including an afternoon classical concert in a disused munitions factory, a Japanese dinner, an evening of drinking and experimental electronics, finishing off with the last big night at the soon-closed Korsakoff club. Tomorrow I would like to sleep in, so better get this out of the way, yes?

Don't forget NEXT WEEK is the "covers-you-think-are-better-than-the-originals" vortex, or #cytabttovortex for short - must say I've changed my mind a dozen times today already for my pick, but gotta make a choice, as have you lot, so please mail 'em in!

Last week, @thejayarr stepped up to the plate and hit us with The Handsome Furs' "Sound Kapital" from 2011, which did the trick for many of you. Thanks to him for the ace selection, and for flipping the frisbee east to @akx. And here he is...

"Right, so. This band is pretty much very much an one hit wonder (you'll probably recognize the single when you hear it), which is one of the reasons I want to share the rest of the album with you lot.

I can't remember the exact reason why -- well, other than the tune being catchy alright -- but this is, like I mentioned on Twitter, actually the first album I spent my own money on. I must've been, what, ten or eleven?

But anyway, spending that hard-earned money was a good choice if you ask me, for the album's full of good songs. At least in my opinion.

So, er, I hope you enjoy it!"

Okaydokie, Direct download is here (tracklist for afters here), Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!


Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Listening Club - 11th August 2013

Hey there,

Hope you're all doing well - Amsterdam is looking fine and dandy at the moment, although seems to have gone a rather Prince crazy, as the little purple one has dropped a couple of last minute shows at the Paradiso tonight, leading to some pretty chaotic scenes as folks scrabble for tickets. Did I get lucky? No, sadly not... but have still had a fine weekend nonetheless, tasting and supping artisinal treats at the Kimchi Farm Festival, and making the most of Amsterdam's scuzziest, most random alternative club Korsakoff before it closes down next weekend. So yes, another happy hangover Sunday...

Last week, @emmaprice stepped up to the plate under difficult circumstances, but musical serendipity triumphed and her pick of The Avalanches "Since I Left You" gave us the opportunity to dance away the shock and sadness that followed @jayesofine's tragic accident last Saturday. A finer tribute I'd be hard pushed to find. Many, many thanks to Emma for the selection, and for spinning the frisbee across to @thejayarr, who is here with the pre-match...

"This is one I've had in the chamber for ages now so while other albums were fleetingly considered, this was a pretty straightforward pick.

About a year ago I was listening to an episode of the All Songs Considered podcast and heard a band that was really great, but had something familiar about them. Upon looking them up I realised that one of the two leads of the group was also in another band that I had just started listening to and had been enjoying. That was enough for me to buy the album, which turned out to be one of my favourites of 2012.

It turned out that the second lead of this low-key supergroup had previously been in a fairly well-known band that I recognised but had never listened to. While I still haven’t actually got round to checking out that band, I noticed that he had another project, where he recorded three albums with his wife and a drum machine, which I felt strangely compelled to seek out. I'm glad I did, because they turned out to be three albums of awesome synthy electro rock, one of which we’ll be listening to tonight.

As always, I've no idea how well this will go down. I think it’s got something for everyone though."

Okaydokie, Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Don't forget the next vortex is in two weeks - theme is "Cover versions that are better than the originals". Get your selections in!

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Listening Club - 4th August 2013

Hello to you all.

Well, I really hoped this would never be something I'd be writing as an intro, but sadly, as many of you already know, our most esteemed and awesome #lc compatriot @jayesofine was killed yesterday in a cycling accident in Manchester. Jaye was part of this thing from the very beginning, and her excellent selections, boundless enthusiasm, wicked sense of humour and huge personality will be very much missed indeed. Although I never got the opportunity to meet her in person, she was, without a doubt, one of the people I've met through twitter that I had the most love and respect for - I'm truly gobsmacked that she's gone. My deepest love and sympathy goes out to @cakehugga and all their family and friends at this impossible time.

However, the show must go on, and Jaye would be the first one to insist on that, I think.

Last week we #videovortex-ed ourselves square eyed and much fun was had by all. As always, huge thanks for the selections - a great range of stuff. The tracklist has been added to the comments of last week's post if you want to see who picked what. Next month's vortex theme also got decided, and it will be "Cover versions that are better than the originals"!!! So get your thinking caps on...

Way back in time, I zipped the frisbee over to @emmaprice for her debut selection and here she is with the intro...

"So I'm a bit nervous about my first catch of the frisbee. I've spent a while thinking about albums I thought you'd all enjoy or be intrigued by. One of the things I love about #listeningclub is the unexpected discoveries I've made so I thought I'd give you one of mine.

You know the feeling when you meet someone special and realise you both have music in common deep down somewhere primal. There follows many conversations about bands, gigs and lending of albums (and maybe the odd mix tape) There's a need to share the joy that music brings with someone you know will appreciate it. You keep remembering things you want to tell them and hear their reaction to. You discover bands and songs you'd never have found on your own but which leave their mark on you.

This is how I discovered my album. It sums up for me the voyage of discovery I went on in my early 20's & reminds me of a time in my life where round every corner there was something new to be excited by.

Plus it never fails to get me dancing round the room. So I'll be cracking open a fresh pair of glow sticks and turning the volume up. I expect most of you will have heard this already but either way, Share and enjoy."

Okay, Direct download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles, you have been warned!) is here!

Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Hope to see you tonight at 8pm BST/EST (GMT+1)!