Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Listening Club: 25th June 2017

Evening all! @kleptones – along with other #listeningclub chums – is away at CorbynFest 2017 this weekend, so once again it's @JimMcCauley at your service, observing my annual ritual of not going to Glastonbury despite it being only a 40 minute drive away. Looks like they're having a nice day of it there, despite some pretty horrid drizzle this morning; me, I've been doing some washing and ranking the most powerful video game characters of all time. Gots to earn a living.

So, let's see, last week it was @saucer in the hot seat, taking us back to Old London Town with the Small Faces' "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake", which put some pretty big grins on the assembled faces, all told. Deep joy. Thanks to Murray for the pick, and for hoofing the frisball at @SimonLandmine, who has the luxury of an extra week to agonise over his pick.

Because yes, it's the #FirstGigVortex! 15 tracks inspired by our first live music experiences, possibly when we were a bit too young to know better. It's splendidly eclectic and poptastic collection, folks; I'd expect nothing else from us.

Direct download's here, and the spoilerific HearThis stream's below:

See you at 8PM! BST!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Listening Club - 18th June 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope you're doing well and good, which in this particular section of the sphere probably involves a cool, possibly alcoholic, drink under some sort of outdoor shade. Yes indeed, Monsieur Le Heatwave has come to visit, broiling us all in 30°C temperatures. All very lovely, and personally pleasing as it means Glastonbury is looking like being far less of a mudbath than in previous years - there are some showers forecast, but it's been dry as a bone there for weeks, so in these temperatures they're probably going to be welcomed by both the punters and the parched countryside alike...

Next Sunday, whilst I cavort on Worthy Farm, @JimMcCauley will be running the #firstgigvortex, so we call upon you all to dig out prime examples of your first gig experience and pass them on to himself, please and thankyou!

Last week, @akx was in the chair, fruitlooping everyone with his pick of Asa-Chang & Junray's "Jun Ray Song Chang". Many thanks to him for the pick, and for sailing the frisbo across to @saucer, who's here with this week's pre-match...

"I once had a musical friend named Peter who DJ'd at the club where I worked. He played records between the live sets. Peter was also the manager at a record store named after two albums (one by Skip Spence, one by Roy Harper). 

Above the record store was an apartment where Peter lived along with his girlfriend Linda. Linda turned me on to Vladimir Nabokov. Her brother did sound for NNB and, after I left Minneapolis, went on to play bass with them. I spent a lot of time in Peter's apartment listening to records from Wire, Paul McCartney, Public Image, and The Only Ones. 

Sometimes I would drive Peter and Linda around town and they'd navigate. I'd say, "Straight?" They'd say, "Forward, never straight."

Peter introduced me to countless fantastic albums. One of those was tonight's selection.

This album is very much of its time but still sounds fresh to me. If you listen on headphones, or especially then, you might have some time-travel production-esthetics adaptation in store. 

Drinking club members: something vintage. 

I can't wait to hear how this hits your ears if you haven't heard it, or your history with the album if you have."

Right then. Direct download is here, and the HearBeSpoilers stream is below:

See you at 8pm BST!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Listening Club - 11th June 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope you're good. No need to comment much on the political turmoil that has hit the UK this week, sure you're all aware that things are currently more chaotic than ever in Blighty. Who knows how this is going to play out, but personally hoping that long-term damage is kept to a minimum before the tide finally turns... and that that tide turns sooner rather than later.

Last week @samsmitter came up with the fine idea of a #myfirstgigvortex, which, appealing to the majority like the absolute boy, is now slotted in for Sunday 25th June. The man @JimMcCauley will be running it, as I'll be away in a (hopefully not too soggy) field down near Pilton. So, what we need from you before then are audio mementos of your first concert experiences, whatever they may have been. Should be quite an eye-opener this one...

Also last week, @cakehugga was in the chair, boggling the faithful with some oddball Mancunian psych courtesy of The Sisters Of Transistors' "At The Ferranti Institute". Many thanks to her for the pick, and for sailing the frisb across to the ever-punning @akx, who's here with this week's intro...

"I'm still terrible at writing anything thoughtful for these blurbs, so I'll keep it short.

You might have heard the opening track somewhere, but the band has otherwise kinda flown under the radar (at least in these parts?), so you probably haven't heard the rest.

Fun fact: While trying to narrow down my shortlist of choices to, well, this one, I came across a Discogs review that describes some of the tracks as "circus on acid" and "freaky festival". So there's that.

#drinkingclub: sake or umeshu might be too obvious"

Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the HearBeSpoilers stream is below:

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1).

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The Listening Club - 4th June 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope you're all doing as well as can be, as per. We're feeling culturally fulfilled here following a couple of days down in Maastricht, enjoying fine weather and artistic delights courtesy of Stanley Donwood and Raymond Pettibon. A very chill and enjoyable time indeed. Speaking of excursions, don't forget I'm off to Glastonbury in three weeks time, so looking for a temporary custodian here for Sunday 25th June. Let me know if you can help!

In the land of #LC, last week @wojsvenwoj was in the chair, dazzling the assembled with a pick of "Love Waves" by Veda Hille, which went down rather well indeed. Many thanks to him for the pick and for flipping the frisb across to @CakeHugga, who is here with this week's intro...

"So the last few weeks have been a little crazy to say the least. The Manchester bomb (where 22 innocent people were killed and 116 injured) after attending a gig at the Manchester Arena has played large on my psyche.

I first moved to Manchester 20 years ago as a fresh-faced student - excited for the possibilities of this city and for myself.

Music was always a draw for me – I lived for gigs and live music and found plenty of venues (big and small) in this city. I loved the buzz, the meeting of like-minded people, the shared beautiful experiences.

One of my fears after the bomb is that people will be scared to go to gigs and there will be a generation of kids who don’t get to experience the highs of a crowd of hundreds or thousands all singing along at the top of their voices, the shared magical energy.

I wanted to choose an album this week by a band I’ve seen live in Manchester as this city has given me so many fantastic gig memories. It was hard to whittle the bands down to a shortlist. I’d almost decided on another album when I remembered this band and the fabulous experience of seeing them live.

They are undoubtedly musically talented but I really remember the visual beauty of the gig – 4 of them wearing what I can only describe as space age kimonos. I have never experienced anything quite like this gig and it shines bright in my memory.

This band have eclectic influences, their sound veering between 70s horror soundtrack to upbeat sing-a-long choruses.

This is a band formed in Manchester and I hope that the youngsters of Manchester (and everywhere else) don’t give into those who want to stop us living bold, bright, lives full of shared experiences and connections with others.

I hope it will lead to toe tapping, head nodding and slipper shuffling wherever you are listening. 


Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the stream-of-spoilers is below:

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1).

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Listening Club - 28th May 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope you're all doing as well as can be expected. Here in Amstersam we're recovering from a scorching weekend, with a weather blip giving us a glorious few days, topping out at 34°C yesterday, Needless to say barbecues and cold beers have been the order of the days, along with a couple of gigs, one mighty fine one from Jim Jones and his new band The Righteous Mind, and one not so fine one from Kamixlo (backing track, wall of fog & going "wawawa" into a mic synth = must try harder). All very well and groovy.

Last week, @MrHig was in the chair, fucking with conventions and minds with his collision of Taylor Swift's "1989" and Ryan Adams' cover of the same, along with a guest appearence by Screaming Females, which caused the expected range of emotional responses. Thanks to Matt for the experience, and for flipping the frisb across the pond to @wojsvenwoj, who is right here with this week's intro...

"Even when not sitting in the captain's chair, I'm always thinking about what album to pick -- as I'm sure most of you do as well. I've ascertained from reading these little introductory vignettes that selecting favorites - artists, albums, genres -- seems to be something shied away from. I can understand that and have doen the same myself. That's not to say what I've selected previously are not albums I'm invested in or that my self-worth is tied up in your reactions to them but I've not felt like putting something I'm really attached to out there I guess. Maybe just wanted to ease into it? Who knows, really.

In any case, figured it was time to shift that paradigm (sorry) so here is the latest record by one of my favorite artists. I don't seem to have as much time for listening as I used to so even though the album has been out for a year, I'm still learning it. It has a strange pace but I think it fits the mood of where she is in her artistic life, straddling the line between writing pop music and works for theatre, as well as her personal life. And this is a fairly personal album. I hope you enjoy it."

Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the old HearBeSpoilers stream is below.

See you 8pm BST (GMT+1)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Listening Club - 21st May 2017

Morning folks,

Rather an early hour for me to be tapping this out, but providing the day's weather turns out nice, there's a pleasant day of lounging in the Vondelpark listening to oddball world music to be had, so better discharge my responsibilities and get this up and out before the beer starts to flow, eh?

Last week @RougeForever was in the chair, jigging and reeling the assembled with her pick of DeVotchKa's "How It Ends" before sailing the frisbaton across to the other side of the sofa, landing in the lap of @MrHig, who has this to say by way of introduction...

"I always said to myself that I wouldn’t be one of those Listening Clubbers that gets cheeky and breaks the rules. To the extent that there are rules. I might have made up the rules myself. In any case, I’ve only gone and done it. Sorry. I hope you’ll be able to forgive me.

What is the history of music, or of popular music? As time winds inexorably down are you one of those who believes music gets worse and worse with each new generation? That the best music is behind us and that today can’t hold a candle to the tunes of twenty or thirty years back? Is it your belief that music peaked in the decade of your birth, maybe the decade after, when you properly got into music? Or perhaps it’s a few decades back from before you were born. But not too far back, right? I mean no-one’s out here rating the thirties or fourties. Unless you’re a particular fan of Charlestons.

Does it depress you that the music of today, the chart landfill, may well be held up as a shining example of all mankind and music had to offer in a few short decades time? Is Ed Sheeran going to be considered the Dylan of his day?

I don’t think there’s anything to fear about modern day music. Even modern day pop music. Even modern day, mainstream pop music. Even CHART music. There’re gems everywhere if you look close enough.

We won’t be looking at Ed Sheeran.

It may not always be easy to tell what is going to last, what will stand the test of time. Maybe if you can look at the bare bones of a song - see a song reduced to lumps of clay and refashioned again along the same lines, but different - you can tell whether there was anything there to begin with.


Right then. Direct download is here, and the old HearThis stream is below:

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1)

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Listening Club - 14th May 2017

Hey there folks,

Hope you're all doing fine. Amsterdam has a case of the late April showers and (equally late) blossom "snow" clogging the streets and causing many sneezes, but inbetween those there's fun to be had as usual. Meanwhile the rest of Europe reels from the shock of Eurovision being won by a regular-looking guy standing still on a stage singing a nice song in his own language. No shooting flames, no dancing violinists, no gorillas. Whatever is the world coming to, eh?

Last week chez #LC, @101retstum was in the chair, stoking the 90s revival flames with his pick of Chumbawamba's "Swingin' With Raymond", which sent some toes tapping and others reaching for the earplugs. The kind of reaction I'm sure the band would approve of. Thanks to Gareth for the pick, and for flipping the frisb across to @RougeForever, who's here, now, yes, with this week's introduction...

"It's been a great weekend for international music and for international music lovers.  Fantastic to see how Eurovision brings us all together, absolutely unified around one key idea... the wrong song won.

This album, from 2004 (just the 13 years ago then?) contains much of the best of the European ideal - multi-lingualism, multi-culturalism and of course, a sousaphone.  There are no borders here, just beautiful music which scales the peaks of joy and plumbs the depths of despair in just under an hour.

Many of you will have heard these songs before.   A couple of years after release some of them were used on one of those cool indie films that people love as much for the score and soundtrack as the film itself.  And the title track has been used in one of those big console games.  So yeah, it's not just me that likes this. 

We saw this band play this live - and they were amazing.  This gig also featured the best shout of support from the audience ever - at one point a guy just shouted SOUSAPHONE!!!!  To this day I often feel like shouting that at bands during breaks between songs. 

Anyway, I just fancied listening to this record again, and when I came downstairs yesterday and Matt was streaming one of the songs it cemented my decision.  

Drinking recommendation?  Biere, du vin, ginebra, aperol - celebrate diversity!"

Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the HearBeSpoilers stream is below:

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1)

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Listening Club - 7th May 2017

Salutations folks,

Hope you're doing okay, here in Amsterdam things are ticking over nicely as the weather tries to start the gentle switch from spring to summer, the country celebrates it's annual Liberation Day allowing us to catch a free show from Bombino (great) and Alpha Blondy (bit cheesy but slick) and minds turn to planning festival fun and frolics to come (don't forget I'm away end of June for Glastonbury as per the usual)...

Last week chez #LC, @cdrose_writer was in the chair, conjuring up The Memory Band's fine "A Fair Field", which seemed to be over far too quickly for the assembled enjoyers, but welcome nonetheless. Many thanks to Chris for the pick, and for sailing the frisb across to @101retstum, who has this to say, by way of introduction...

"For some reason, this time when I received the frisbaton I knew almost straight away what album I wanted to share. Unfortunately it turned out I didn't own it any more. Such things are easily rectified although it was something of an eyeopener seeing how much the original pressings are going for on Amazon marketplace... but anyway I digress.

The band that we are about to hear are difficult to describe without giving away who they are. Part folk, part "other", they were unique enough at the time to catch my attention and that of a number of my friends, putting this band among the few that I saw play live in the fair city of Hull.

The album is very much a game of two halves, and intentionally so. Released well into the age of CDs, this is more of an LP where there should be a gap in the middle where you get up and turn the record over. In fact, the original pressing was a double CD, presumably to emphasis the partition and imitate this nostalgic act.

For a drinking companion you're probably going to want a strong folky cider, drunk from the bottle, along with several cigarettes if you're that way inclined."

Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the HearBeSpoilers stream is below:

See you 8pm BST (GMT+1) for playback.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Listening Club - 30th April 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope you're all doing fine. Here in Amsterdam, King's Day passed relatively gently, more due to the freezing temperatures than anything else. At least it stayed dry. Of course, now that's out the way the sun's back out with a vengeance, so the day has been spent scraping the off-season grime from the outer half of the windows, and welcoming light back into the house. Typical Sunday behaviour for a change...

Last week @samsmitter was in the chair, taking us back to the world of budget CD samplers with his pick of "This Is Charly R&B", which resulted in much bopping from the assembled. Thanks to Sam for the pick, and for flipping the frisb across to @cdrose_writer, who is here with this week's introduction...

"I’m always going to love a record which includes a bibliography, especially if it’s a bibliography which includes such choice tomes as Michael Drayton’s 1612 ‘Poly-Olbion,’ the poet Geoffrey Hill’s ‘Mercian Hymns’ and Rachel Hewitt’s recent book about the history of the Ordnance Survey and map-making.

This is a record for this time of year, when (here in the UK at least), we’ve spent the week being battered by an arctic blast of hail, yet can also see the days lasting well into the evening.   It contains an oblique reference to a classic piece of 70s tv folk horror, a quotation from an early English poem, and one ‘Trad arr.’  It is a very English record, and I hope global Listening Clubbers don’t find it parochial.  I need a reason to love England right now.  This record, at least, gives me one.

Drinking recommendation:  a strong ale, cloudy cider or some ridiculous home-made wine."

Okaydoke. Direct download here, and the HearThisWithSpoilers stream is below:

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1)

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Listening Club - 23rd April 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope all is well in your zones. Not doing too bad here in Amsterdam, nursing a small birthday hangover from yesterday, saving the big one for Kings Day later in the week, naturally, even though the awesome early spring weather has decided to crap out just as the local party season gets going, but hey, we'll make the most of it as we always do. Hip-flasks at the ready...

Last week I was away indulging in some fine brews in Bruges (and chancing upon a highly impressive show by Lubomyr Melnyk along the way) so that man @JimMcCauley was here running things, many thanks to him for hosting @EastVanHalen's pick of Prince's last album "Hit N Run Phase 2", which went down very well with the assembled, or at least so it seemed from Bruges... Many thanks to Steph for the pick, and for sailing the frisbee back across the ocean to @SamSmitter, who is here with this week's pre-match...

"These days I often bore my children with stories of the dim distant days before pretty much all music was freely available at all times on any number of devices. Back in the day, I tell them, I would even sometimes buy music based purely on its low price. As with most things, this was almost always a mistake, evidenced to this day by a good box full of obscure-for-a-good-reason vinyl including bargain bucket gems like Cola Boy's difficult second 12 inch single. The one major exception to this was the magnificent tradition of the label sampler album. These were usually albums full of great and surprising tracks costing something like £1.99. My pick today is an early sampler CD, one that I wore out, and that was my first introduction to many legendary artists. Still giving good value today. I hope you enjoy it! Sam x "

Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the HearBeSpoilers stream is below:

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1) for playback!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Listening Club – 16th April 2017

And a very happy Easter to you all, if that's your thing. @JimMcCauley at your service, while @kleptones is off on his travels. I'm celebrating Zombie Jesus Day by sitting here writing about wireless gaming headsets, which are a lot more interesting than you might imagine. Yes.

Last week @saucer blew us all away with his choice of Horse Lords' 3rd album, Interventions, which proved to be an unexpectedly beautiful noise that prompted a few instant purchases and at least one LP order. Good work, there. So thanks to Murray for the pick, and for sailing the old frisbaton at @EastVanHalen, who's been away for a while. No, not in that sense. At least as far as I know. Anyway, here she is with this week's pick.

"Hola to the Listening Club massive! It's been far too long.

"I've been taking a boo at what's happened in LC Land during my time away, and thinking about all the artists we've lost over that time. When I think about what this artist finally left us with I feel impossibly sad. No grand valedictory like Bowie. Not something that stands with his greatest work. But this album feels to me like the work of an artist who was trying to struggle out of isolation into the world again. The first track, especially, breaks my heart because it points to what more he might have been -- a voice joined to others in struggle, in an increasingly perilous world.

"Rest in power."

So then we are having. Direct download is here, and the HearThis stream (which will spoil the fuck out of shit if you click through, so don't do that) is just down there.

See you at 8PM BST!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Listening Club - 9th April 2017

Hey there,

Hope all is fine with you all. Yet again the weather here in Amsterdam defies expectations, currently being a glorious 20 degrees of sunball, so I think a little perch on the stoop or maybe a stroll in the park is in order once this has been tapped out. Don't forget I'm away next weekend, still looking for a volunteer to run things in my absence - if you can help, please let me know!

Last week @nessiest was in the chair, rocking out in a trippy way with her pick of "La AraƱa Es La Vida" by Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds, which was very well received by the assembled. Many thanks to her for the pick and for sailing the frisbaton across the seas to @saucer, who has this to say by way of introduction...

"@nessiest Thank you? The frisbatonmatron is always a bit like the red pill.

But, and actually, there's very little better in my life than a reason to go exploring and shopping for music. And whatever else this planet is, if the only damn good thing that came out of it was sound art (and it's not... but even if it were), what an absolutely amazing and wondrous place.

(Just the music released in the past couple of weeks. Wow. Y'all know this. I forgot, apparently, this is how it goes, stuck head down as I've been in work and in politics-bullshit-obsession for too long.)

So, thank you @nessiest. And given that all y'all are still reading I suppose I should say a word about my pick.

I usually aim for dark corners of the musical labyrinth but this time not. This band has justly received exposure from all the usual suspects and has earned a huge/devoted following over the past five years. What I love about this recent piece is its essential musicality and its gestalt. Perfect qualities for our listening club format, I hope. To my ears, it's also their best (as in fascinating yet visceral) album.

I think it's quite funny that classifies this as "Rock."

Volume & good stereo separation (e.g. headphones) recommended. 

Hope you like it."

Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the HearThis stream is below...

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1)

Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Listening Club - 2nd April 2017


Hope you're all good and well. Weather continues to be rather lush here in Amsterdam, with the local press doing lots of "hottest day since records began" articles, which is a little disturbing on the old global warming front, but nice on the sitting-outside-with-a-beer front. Speaking of which, yet again I have to mention I'm going to be away, this time on Easter weekend, so if anyone can help out and run this thing on Chocolate Jesus Day I'd be very grateful, please let me know!

Last week @har_shone was in the chair flipping the genres with her pick of Mexrrissey's "No Manchester" set, which went down rather well, even tolerated by the Moz-disliking section of the listening community, which is pretty good going. Thanks to Harriet for the pick, and for flipping the frisbo across to wor @nessiest, who is (literally) right here with this week's intro...

"Flashback to June 2014: a dingy venue off a narrow street on Amsterdam's seedier side. None of the summer evening light reached the stage or the 31 diehard fans plus clueless me. What I witnessed that evening was witchcraft, I'm sure. The exertion of will over an audience no matter how small the number, or maybe because of, Voodoo. It's the best word I have for it. Two hours later we emerged, sweat-soaked, minds transformed. 32 die-hard fans.

Don't worry, distilled into recorded form this should be quite safe. Dim the lights, get a drink with dark undercurrents. Keep your dancing shoes near just in case."

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

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1)!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Listening Club - 26th March 2017

Hey there,

Doing OK? Hope so. Amsterdam is still looking unseasonably fine, which is bringing everyone out to sip their beers in the sunlight a little earlier than they expected (seriously, last year spring weather didn't arrive till early May, leading to the grimmest Kings Day I've experienced thus far...). Here, chez V&E, more sping cleaning is occurring, as the bath of glorious sunlight reveals yet more grot to be removed. Smiling and cranking the tunes whilst doing it, natch....

Last week, oh how we celebrated our 5th birthday with a wonderful #birthdayvortex. Fascinating to hear which tunes turned folks ears on the mostest, for sure, but an all round super-varied selection indeed. Thanks again to everyone for chipping in their favourites!

Back to regularly-scheduled programming, @har_shone was left with the frisbaton, and following a bout of jet-setting, has this to day by way of introduction...

"Those who know me will know that I am deeply enamoured with and worshipful of a certain Mancunian singer-songwriter / awful human curmudgeon. His voice and lyrics were the beginning of my process of falling in love with music and I still circle back to his oeuvre no matter what wonderful musical tangents life takes me on (and there have been many!).

So, this album is basically a really fun, strange, and surprisingly up-beat, take on something I love. I found the album last year and went through the cycle of ‘oh hell no’, ‘oh, ok, maybe’ and eventually ‘yes please’. 

I remain deeply worried that this album is specifically designed to make me and only me happy and you will all hate it. If you DO hate it, always remember that If You Don’t Like Me, Then Don’t Look At Me."

Okaydoke. A short play this week, as there were some duplicate live tracks on the end we've agreed to trim off, but have added a bonus tune, still it wraps around half an hour. Direct download is here, and the HearThisWithSpoilers link is below...

See you in a bit!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Listening Club - 19th March 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope all is well and good in your hoods. Yes'm it has indeed been five years since this here little shebang kicked off, and looking back over the list of music that has come our way over that time (here and here), I'm pretty damn impressed, to say the least. I must extend the hugest of thank you's to everyone who has come to listen, pick albums and vortex tunes, and contribute to the wounderful cassoulet of conversation, it's really been a truckload of fun.

But first, of course, we must give thanks to @akx for last week's selection of Nmesh's "Dream Sequins", which truly spaced everyone out completely, and for sailing the frisbaton across to @Har_Shone, who will be around next week with a pick, but now...

Yes, it's the #birthdayvortex! 28 seriously varied selections, mostly chosen by your good selves from the past five years of tunes, with the odd random "party-starter" thrown in for good measure. Thanks as always to everyone who flipped in a track or more!

Direct download is here, and the HearThis stream is below:

Get the bubbly chilling, and we'll see you at 8pm GMT...

Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Listening Club - 12th March 2017

Greetings folks,

Hope all is fine with you, spring has seriously sprung here in Amsterdam, the sun is shining, buds are budding, windows are being flung open for the first time in months and brooms and vacuums are doing their thing as winter grot is seasonably removed from its temporary resting place. All kinda fine really, although hoping its not the calm before the storm here as there's a General Election on Wednesday, and there's one very unpleasant person looming in the shadows looking to take a hefty slice of the governmental pie. Crossing my fingers firmly that the Dutch see sense and that doesn't happen, which is all I can do really...

Thanks to @JimMcCauley for remembering to run tings last week, and don't forget it's our 5th birthday party this time-ish next week, for which we will have a #birthdayvortex, so please send me your highlight tunes from the last five years of this gathering, and / or any other #LC related or (for that matter) birthday related audio goodness sometime this week please!

So, last week whilst I was knee deep in plum porter,
@emmaprice was in the chair, folking for her life with her pick of Mawkin's "The Ties That Bind", which seemed to go down rather well it seems. Thanks to Emma for the pick and for flipping the wotsitatron across to @akx, and lo, here he is....

"So I stumbled upon this album via Spotify's Discover Weekly playlists (which are steadily getting better, it seems!), and after the song (whichever it was) that was featured finished, I had to hear more... and listening to the whole album, I pretty much immediately knew I'd have to let #listeningclub hear (or experience) it.

Even if you're familiar with the genre (which I won't disclose directly, but you'll know it if you know it), I still bet you might not be familiar with the album itself. It might be kind of long at around 80 minutes, but I assure you, the trip's worth it. Quoting a particularly glowing review of the album: "You will travel everywhere and nowhere, just let the synthetic neon light guide you."

Looking forward to seeing the reactions, which I'm sure will be varied.

#drinkingclub: yes, sure, why not."

Okaydoke. Direct download is here (right-click-save-as), and the spoilerstream is below:

See you at 8pm GMT...

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Listening Club - 5 March 2017

Oh, hi! Didn't see you there. Yeah, I'm writing some stuff about this pro gaming keyboard and its amazingly short actuation distance. Got to pay the bills, isn't it. No, not much more to do today, then I can get in a few hours of the new Zelda before Listening Club. What's that? Did I? Oh shit, I did, didn't I. Balls.

Hello everyone! @JimMcCauley here, covering for @kleptones while he's off inhaling the fog on the Tyne and queuing up to get into a pub, which I totally didn't forget all about. And while I'm not forgetting things, remember that in two weeks it's our fifth birthday vortex, so get thinking about what's tickled your fancy over the last five years.

Last week @wojsvenwoj kept us all guessing for the duration of his pick, which took us through basically all the genres before being revealed as "Left Foot Dance Of The Yi" by Shanren. A fine pick, indeed, so thanks to Woj for his choice, and for bunging whatever the hell we're calling it this week at @emmaprice, who’s here with a clutch of .WMA files because apparently they were out of wax cylinders.

"Evening all,

"Hope you've had a lovely weekend, I've been off visiting the Oxford dodo with @andershanson so am nicely cultured up for the next few weeks.

"I discovered tonight's artists last year when they were the support act for a band I saw down in Brighton. Sometimes a support band can completely take you by surprise as you stand there pint in hand waiting for the main event. Within the first track (also the first track on the album) you could see the crowd starting to respond. I bought the album in the interval and it's been on regular play since then.

"Since then I've seen them play a couple more times in venues large and small & I can safely say that I adore this album but my word it's even better live.

"Don't think we'll be finding any new genres for @akx's T-shirt tonight & I know this is a genre that may not appeal to some.

"This puts me in mind of a festival on the village green, as the sun goes down and the evening comes alive.

"Drinking club is most definitely a fine cider or beverages suitable for a balmy night outside dancing under the stars.

"p.s #drinkingclub song is track 2."

And there we have it. Download is here, and the HearThis stream is just down there (click through to have everything spoilered rotten).

See you at 8PM! (GMT!)

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Listening Club - 26th February 2017

Howdy folks,

Gentling away our hangovers here in rainy Amsterdam following a couple of days of intense musical activity, courtesy of the city's Sonic Acts festival on Friday, and Osunlade's Yoruba Soul Orchestra on Saturday. Many beats and beers indeed, and so now to chill...

Don't forget I'm away next weekend, so looking for someone to manage these activities, and there's gonna be a 5th birthday vortex on 19th March, giving you plenty of time to refersh your memories and pick out some of your favourites from the last five years...

Last week we had @holette in the comfy chair, sending us smoothly sailing away with her pick of Whitney's "Light Upon The Lake", which went down very well indeed with the assembled. Thanks to her for the selection, and for sailing the frisb across the pond to @wojsvenwoj, who's here with this week's intro...

"Several years ago, a musician friend who runs a bar/performance venue in town booked this band. Not sure how he found them or how much he knew about them beforehand but when they were soundchecking, he was blown away and immediately took to Facebook and e-mail to make sure people didn't miss this show. I had nothing going on that evening so I went over and was rewarded with a superb night of music as this band melded the folk music of their home with rock and reggae and, apparently, whatever other things caught their fancy. I don't really know much about them other than that which would give too much away so, without further adieu, here is their latest record, released a couple years ago. 


Okaydoke. Direct download is here, and the spoiler-ready HearThis stream is below:

See you at 8pm GMT!

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)!