Sunday, 30 December 2012

Listening Club - 30th December 2012

Greetings, and compliments of the vortex to you!

Feeling rather good here having had a few days of fine wine, good food and a stack of this year's films (infinitely preferably to watching godawful Xmas TV), now springing back into action to assemble the first ever Listening Club Festive Vortex playlist!

The Festive Vortex, if you're wondering, refers to the few days between Xmas Day and New Year's Eve when nothing really happens. Like right now. No better setting for a playlist crammed with picks from this years's LC selectors favourite tunes of 2012!

So here you go without further ado... 27 tunes, randomly ordered, all killer, no filler. You're in for a treat, I promise!

(Fingers crossed I haven't cocked anything up, apologies in advance if I have!)

Download via Dropbox here (direct download mirror here if it's slow), or stream it on Mixcloud if the wind is blowing in the right direction here!

Get the beers in, and I'll see you in the twit-tubes at 8pm. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin!

And Happy New Year to you all - See you in 2013!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Listening Club - 23rd December 2012

Greetings and happy holiday season to you all.

I don't normally link up to anything else other than LC stuff on here, but felt I needed a little dose of, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest Xmas records of all time to set the scene. A few bars of the above and a glass of wine and, hey! Instant pre-xmas relaxation mode. Jolly good indeed...

Don't forget next Sunday it's our first ever "Festive Vortex" megamix - favourite tunes of the year as chosen by #Listeningclub selectors, shaken up and distributed to ease your holiday minds. Still a little bit of time left to pick tunes if you haven't already, and big thanks to all who have!

So, last week @dingster sent the assembled LC squad back to the early nineties to shake a plaid tailfeather to Blind Melon's eponymous debut album, triggering quite a range of opinions and discussion, as you'd expect. All in the best possible taste, mind, so big thanks to @dingster for the pick, and for selecting the rather busy but no less willing @eastvanhalen to make the final LC choice of 2012. Over to her for the intro...

"Hey there, all you lovely people. This has been a week of one clusterfuck after another, and I have been damn near ready to lose my mind. So when I stopped having conniptions about work long enough to think about what would be a good record for this week I discarded my original ideas - interesting local pop, more music my friends made, some good screaming punk - for something that would be a good antidote to all of the seasonal stress. 

Naturally, that meant some ass-shaking funk.

This became my go-to summer record after my boyfriend gave it to me as one of my birthday presents this year. He's a working sax player, and the artist, also a sax player, is a great favourite of his. When he was about 13, the artist came to town to play a club gig, and D., too young to get into the show, decided to skip school and wait by the load-in door with his sax and a Sharpie in the hope he could get his case signed. He waited forever in this really sketchy alley, and had just about given up hope when the tour bus pulled up. Finally approached by his idol, he was so petrified that he just stood there holding the Sharpie and the case, unable to say a word. The artist looked at him for a while, and then he said: "Son, you got to tell me what you want because I can't read your mind!"

One awesome record, one awesome motto. Enjoy."

Grab it via Dropbox here, or streaming via mixcloud here!

Start time as always is 8pm GMT. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Listening Club - 16th December 2012

Hello there,

Okay, we're running a little late this week, so yadda yadda brr cold eek nearly Xmas yadda yadda where has the year gone? etc etc. Still time to submit your end of year favourites for the Festive Vortex playlist if you haven't already, and huge thanks to those of you that have - It's looking mighty fine!

Last week, as any fule kno (except me, who was in absentia), @thejayarr rocked the assembled LC faithful with Mando Diao's "Bring 'Em In", and everyone seemed rather pleased to be the recipients of such rockage. Merci to him for the pick, and for propelling @dingster back into the spotlight this week. Over to him for the intro...

“This week has been somewhat stressful, work being particularly busy to the point that I hadn’t even thought about this until yesterday. Panic ensued. I quickly went through the few choices I had mentally picked last Sunday after being tossed the Frisbee from @thejayarr but none really stood out. Given it is also the penultimate LC of 2012 I felt I needed to bring out the big guns.

Alas, it appeared my holsters were empty.

Until I looked at what I had been listening to this week at work. Over and over and over again. And suddenly this all became very easy.

I think this is possibly one of my favourite albums of the era, and a friend and I have covered this bands cover of another bands cover many times over (sadly not on this album) as it is, quite simply, awesome.

Anyway. Enough from me. Hope you are all feeling festive. This time next week I will have just turned 32 so will likely be nursing a sore head. Merry Christmas you lot, thanks for making the past year very interesting in terms of music.”

Verily, and all that. Grab it via Dropbox, or streaming via mixcloud here!

Start time as always is 8pm GMT. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Listening Club - 9th December 2012

Lo to you all.

Well, barely a week into December and already the whole internet is falling over itself to declaim their top happenings of the year. If you can't be bothered to flick through the huge number of lists, as always Metacritic are combining everything into one chart-of-charts, which is always worth a look.

Here at #listeningclub, as a combined end-of-year chart, christmas-party-playlist and excuse-for-a-week-off, I've asked each of this years selectors to pick a couple of their favourite tracks from 2012 each, which we'll shuffle up and distribute in the time-honoured fashion on Sunday 30th December (and possibly also Sunday 23rd December if we get an overload of tracks). Looking forward to it? Indeedy, me too!

Jumping back in time, last week @pamac66 broke his LC duck with the selection of Daniel Johnson's "Lost And Found", which hit the right unhinged spots with pretty much everyone. A good call indeed and thanks to Paul also for picking @thejayarr to make this week's choice. Over to him for the preamble...

"This was a tough choice. Like, really tough. It took a long time to whittle down my options from six albums to a final two, which left me with a torturous decision between a band that I’ve only very recently found but have recorded one of my favourite tracks of 2012, and one that I’ve been listening to religiously for years. I can’t begin to think how many times I’ve heard this record over the last week while trying to pick something, but luckily it’s not an album that ever gets old for me, which probably tells you which one I went with in the end.

I actually first heard this band when they supported Dirty Pretty Things at my student union. Don’t let that put you off, though – they absolutely blew the headliners out of the water. Unfortunately, that is to date the only time I’ve been able to see them live, as they haven’t played in the UK for a few years now. As I understand it, they’re “big on the continent” but somehow never managed to pick up much of a following on this side of the channel.

I won’t claim this record is going to change anybody’s life or anything like that. But it’s loud, it’s fun, and it rattles along nicely. Enjoy!"

Righty ho - Grab it via Mediafire, or streaming via mixcloud here!

Start time is 8pm GMT. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Listening Club - 2nd December 2012

Well well, happy to say that I'm typing this a day early, on the flight out to Dusseldorf for a DJ set and also to catch up with the newly relocated @monkeytypes. I'll be glad I did this now, as I'm most likely to be waking up tomorrow with a sore head and a mission to get myself back to the UK!

(Unfortunately due to a "me not hitting the right button" error, the above didn't get posted yesterday - best laid plans and all that, eh? And yes, I do now indeed have a very sore head...)

Anyhoo, last week @jimmccauley took us out to regions unknown with The Porcupine Tree's "The Incident", which was appreciated by many, if not all, and led to the inevitable discussion of the merits of early Genesis (surely the Godwin's Law of any prog rock discussion). Jim also plucked the admiring @pamac66 to make this weeks choice, so over to him for the pre-match....

"A big thanks to @JimMcCauley for a) bringing some Porcupine Tree to our Sunday evenings and b) picking me to host this week's extravaganza - crikey!

When Listening Club started, I (like most of you, I'm sure) started to think about which album I would choose if I had the opportunity to host. I came up with, what I thought was, the perfect choice. A week later I thought of something better.

Now that the time has come, I've got 5 albums in mind. So Monday morning I started listening to them again to whittle it down to one - not easy. I quickly managed to get it down to two. One is an album of German electro-pop, the other by a well respected and gifted singer/songwriter - both very different.

It's now Wednesday lunchtime and I'm sitting in a pub in Highgate still pondering over my choices. I've got a pint in one hand and a coin in the other. Heads - electro-pop, tails - the singer/songwriter. It's the only way.

And the winner is …"

The winner is downloadable either on Mediafire, or Dropbox, or streaming via mixcloud here!

Start time is 8pm GMT. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Right, I'm off to order a mountain of Thai takeaway! See you at eight....

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Listening Club - 25th November 2012

Greetings and slight bleurgh,

Listening club intro this week is a little wobbly, as the pub lunch I had yesterday has spent the last 24 hours waging war with my insides, so last night's plans went out the window, and the purchased Sunday feast stays inside the fridge, as I consume a light broth and await the settling of the insides whilst typing this out at a 90 degree angle to usual. Que sera and all that. At least it's not raining.

Last week, in happier, weller times (as opposed to Weller Times, the mod periodical), @samsmitter finally broke Listening Club's reggae duck with his selection of The Congos' legendary Lee Perry produced "Heart Of The Congos", which worked a treat with all concerned. A fine, fine choice, as was Sam's pick of the snoozing @JimMcCauley to step up to the plate this week. And here he is...

"Well, this was unexpected.

Honestly. There I was on Sunday night in a somewhat relaxed state after the evening’s roots fun, watching a bit of telly but not really taking much in, and I had a quick look at Twitter only to discover I’d been nominated to pick this week’s LP.

Actual panic. Possibly exacerbated by my relaxed state. You know what I’m saying.

After a bit of shortlisting and auditioning a couple of possibilities, this one came to mind on Tuesday evening just as I thought I was going to pick something that sits at a sort of halfway point between shoegazing and Britpop. Maybe another time.

Instead you get something more recent. I’ll level with you. It’s a concept album. It has guitars. It's a bit, ahem, prog. 

Still with me? Good! It’s the work of a band I’ve been aware of for a while and who definitely have their moments, but this is the first thing of theirs that has properly grabbed me. It’ll doubtless garner comparisons to other bands, especially the long track that forms the centrepiece of the album, but it carries it off well without ever being too pastichey. 


(A handy note: the main body of this album consists of tracks 1-14, about 55 minutes. There are another four tracks afterwards, but they’re more in the way of bonus tracks. Feel free to skip them if you’ve had enough.)"

Verily, there you go... Download is here (UPDATED DROPBOX link - Mediafire police killed the first one) or you can takes your chances with the increasingly infuriating Mixcloud here.

Start time is 8pm GMT. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Hoping I'll be seeing you at eight!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Listening Club - 18th November 2012

Hello there!

Brr. The inevitable changing of the seasons is taking it's toll on the London landscape, necessitating the perusal of one's scarf and glove collection, as the sound of the last few fireworks (seriously, it's been two weeks since bonfire night and you're still letting them off?) is replaced with the distant yodel of hawkers selling three-for-a-quid rolls of wrapping paper and santa hats. All of this can only mean one thing, which is that I have nothing more interesting to say in this intro other than attempts to wax lyrical about the bleedin' obvious. Rumbled again, eh?

However, I can certainly be more enthusiastic about last week's LC selection from @Holette, which took us on one of our rare excursions into the dim and distant past, for a spin of Dennis Wilson's 1977 album "Pacific Ocean Blue", hailed as a classic and with good reason. Barring the occasional slip into Pub Rock Boogie Woogie 10pm BBC2 territory, its woozy grooves and harmonies soothed the LC faithful to fine effect. Thanks to @Holette for the pick, and for flipping the seasalt-encrusted LC frisbee across to @samsmitter for this week's selection. Over to Sam...

"Right kids, Sunday is Listening Club day, and today we are going to Sunday School for some righteous Biblical education. This one falls into the following categories:

1) a classic album that in my most humble opinion should be more well known than it is

2) a “genre” album that transcends its genre and is one of the best albums ever (again, in my humble opinion)

3) a “genre” that has not been feature in Listening Club before (unless I missed that week due to family commitments or some such)

4) an album that may well be known to some but I hope will be new to some 

You might want to roll a Camberwell Carrot for this one. I won’t be, as I don’t really “know a guy” any more. But I sort of wish I did when I listen to this album.

And – as always – turn it up load and crank up the bass. Hope you enjoy it."

Download is here (Dropbox link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here.

Start time is 8pm GMT. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

See you at eight!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Listening Club - 11th November 2012

Hello to you all,

I'm nursing a hangover of impressive proportions today, following the first London Kleptonite last night, which went down really rather well indeed. Everything a little behind schedule now, though, so will nip the intro waffle in the bud and get on with the important things...

Last week @CakeHugga blew quite a few minds with Princess Superstar's concept-tastic "My Machine", and has flipped the glitter-speckled LC frisbee across to @holette for this week's selection. Over to her for the intro...

"This has been namechecked by musos of taste and influence as one of those classic culty albums. A TV documentary about this artist first intrigued me to want to hear the album properly and I’ve been meaning to listen to it for ages. Thought it would be good to hear it for the first time with fellow Listening Clubbers...

Also, it’s November, it’s dark, it’s damp and I think we could all use a little more sunshine in our lives right now. So, pull up a deckchair, fix yourself a cocktail, and maybe put a knotted hankerchief on your head (British Listening Club contingent only, obvs.).

And if it’s shit we can all blame Bobby Gillespie."

Okily dokily. Download is here (mediafire link), or you can stream it via Mixcloud here (might blow the surprise though - damn you Mixcloud!)

Start time is 8pm GMT. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Listening Club - 4th November 2012

Greetings from E17!

Yup, finally, after several months of much looking, trying and failing (interrupted by an American sojourn), I've moved home, this morning waking up for the first time in Walthamstow. Always fun to have a new neighbourhood to investigate, which I shall be doing once I've extracted myself from Box City and taken care of today's LC business...

...which of course starts with a recap of last week, in which @dingster hit us hard with Amon Tobin's side project Two Fingers' new album "Stunt Rhythms". The general thumbs up was given, although many (m'self included) had reservations about the guest rappers performances, which seemed to interrupt the flow somewhat. Still, a worthwhile listen, so thanks to @dingster for the pick, and for skimming the LC frisbee across to @cakehugga for this week's choice. And here she is...

"My listening club choice this week was an obvious one for me, as it is one of my favourite albums by one of my all-time favourite artists.

A shared love of this artist was a bonding moment early in my relationship with @Jayesofine, she had the back catalogue, I’d seen her perform live… Our love was clearly meant to be!!!!  Early on in our relationship we saw the artist perform this album at the Roadhouse in Manchester. It‘s a tiny but fab venue but full marks to the artist for managing at least 5 costume changes in a venue slightly bigger than your average living room. My favourite outfit was the dominatrix with whip or possibly the Elvis cape...  She knows how to work a crowd…

This album is a concept album – no, stick with me, it’s not prog rock… but it does tell a story in amongst some blinding songs. There’s a confidence, some amazing beats and interesting concepts… Mostly it just makes me want to swagger around the flat singing along. It’s an album that takes you on a journey.

The artist is a talented lyricist and rapper/ vocalist and this album crosses musical boundaries (bit of hip hop, bit of dance, bit of rocking out). I just hope that some other listening clubbers like this album even a tiny bit as much as I do…

P.S. This week is the second week that my Nan has been in intensive care – she is a fighter but is now very ill. I would like to dedicate this album to my Nan Betty."

Download is here (direct Dropbox link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here.

Start time is 8pm GMT. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

See you at eight - if I'm lucky I'll have my studio speakers wired in by then...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Listening Club - 28th October 2012

Good hello to you all,

Unlike last week's brief musing on the ol' elasticity of time, this week I can say with certainty that a particularly big chunk of time has now passed, as we here in jolly old Britain make the transition from British Summer Time back to plain old Grey-and-Miserable Time (see what I did there?), so those of you from outside these shores should check the changes in timezones and plan accordingly. We'd hate for you to be out of sync with the rest of us, y'know.

Last week, as you should recall, we bade farewell (from these shores, anyway) to @MonkeyTypes, as he paused packing his life up into boxes to supply us all with a suitably Teutonic soundtrack (given his new locale), Einst├╝rzende Neubauten's "Tabula Rasa" from 1993, which rattled everyone's cages with the er... sound of rattling cages. Fine work from Blixa & Co, and very much appreciated. Thanks to @MonkeyTypes for the pick, and for skimming the LC frisbee (we really should make some of these as a merch item, don't you think?) across to @dingster for this week's selection. And here he is...

"Well Kev, thanks for the frisbee. Quite an act to follow given the enormity of the audio assault we had delivered to our aural receptors last Sunday.

This has obviously put ridiculous pressure on me to find a suitable follow up. I won't go in to the "usual panicked music listening on Monday morning trying to find a suitable shortlist that would hopefully be whittled down by Friday and then ultimately changed on Sunday anyway just before we mail Eric with the blurb you are currently reading" process. Wait a second...

Anyway, I actually spent a good deal of the week going back over past choices, hoping to find a glaring hole that had yet to be filled sonically. Obviously this proved to be fruitless from one perspective but exceptionally enjoyable as well. I'm not saying we've covered it all, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say we've had a very wide range of musical styles on a Sunday evening.

So, I should probably quit rambling, thank Eric for actually starting this and actually get on with what I want to say about the choice (thanks Eric!).

This is a fairly recent second studio album from a duo whose first offering was not quite what I was expecting, nor was I particularly impressed with it considering the calibre of those involved.

However, a few weeks ago a friend sent me a YouTube link featuring track 6 from this album as the new album preview track. And it piqued my interest a bit. Well, actually more than a bit, because it was nothing like the first album.

I've probably only listened to this a few times all the way through which is why I think this could be a fun one to share. I'm sure there are going to be people who HATE this with a passion, and I apologise for that in advance. But hopefully it will speak to a few of you. It is also weighs in at just over an houR, none of this 35 minute nonsense...

Anyhoo. Enough waffle. Let me just go find my riot shield and we'll get this show on the road."

There you go. Download is here (Dropbox link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here.

Start time, as I noted above, is 8pm GMT. Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Check your zones, and see you at eight!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Listening Club - 21st October 2012

Hello to you all,

Sometimes it feels like a lifetime has passed since I last did an LC intro, sometimes the opposite - this week most definitely feels like the latter, a reflection possibly of my current Groundhog Day-esque existence trying to sort out a new home. Hopefully by this time next week I'll be in the endgame, but for now, LC provides a shining jewel in a grey situation, so big up y'all!

Last week I wasn't around, as @rebeldiamond7 tiptoed back into the spotlight to deliver Band Of Skulls' "Sweet Sour". Her initial trepidation proved unnecessary, as everyone embraced it with open arms. Big thanks to her for the selection, and to pick the soon-to-be-departing @MonkeyTypes to pause his packing and give us one more choice from this side of the pond. Over to him for the pre-match...

"There is never a bad time to be passed the Listening Club frisbee but this week was probably not the most ideal one for me to be in the hot seat. As you listen to this week's choice I will probably be running around doing last minute packing, losing my passport and suddenly remembering something vital that it's too late to do anything about. Then I'll be disappearing into the night before jetting off to Germany, where I start a new job on Monday.

I had chosen something entirely different to what you're going to hear. I was even in the process of uploading it when I suddenly had second doubts. Making another selection wasn't too difficult. This album has been lurking in the back of my mind and nearly made an appearance last time I got to choose. It harks back to my Industrial days and given my current circumstances, it felt appropriate.

It's a diverse album and at times has the feel of a soundtrack.In places it's surprisingly gentle but this is merely the foreplay leading up to the grand finale of tracks 7 and 8. So, as ever, sit back and turn it up loud.

I'm now going to stop typing and send this off before I have any further doubts. Plus I have a leaving party to attend in less than an hour."

Download is here (Direct Dropbox link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here.

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Listening Club - 14th October 2012

Hello to you all!

Back to normality here after a particularly frenzied Bootie London on Friday, which brought out a fine selection of familiar faces (including a mini-LC meetup), most of whom I didn't get time to say more than a fleeting "hello" to as usual... pleased with the turn out and the response though, and I definitely needed to cut loose a bit after yet another week of slog, trying to find a new home without having to sign off rights to my eternal soul. Big city living, huh?

Anyhoo, cast your minds back to last week, when @Jayesofine delivered unto us all Whitey's "Canned Laughter", which, tweet-for-tweet, saw one of the funniest LC experiences to date. Not sure if the planets just happened to be perfectly aligned, or Whitey's oddball clash of perky melodies and bedsit ennui tickled our collective funny-bones, but that was a right hoot. Thanks to Jaye for the pick, and, after a serious period of deliberation, selecting @RebelDiamond7 for this week's choice. Over to her for the preamble...

"It is with some trepidation that I am holding in my sweaty grasp the listening club Frisbee...

It seems my last choice of Foxy Shazam was not loved or dare I say even liked by all – not the point of Listening Club I know; but still, my love for Foxy is so deep that I dragged the weight of this load around like a bag of bricks... I jest of course, but I’m sure we all would like others to enjoy / respect / appreciate what we love as much as we do. Like introducing a new pal to a group of friends and wanting them to find this new addition to the group as witty and loveable as we find them. That’s basically it in a nutshell I think. But with that in mind (and I don’t need to say this but...) don’t hold back! Say what you think – it’s great to have an evening tweeting about such a diverse selection of music whilst most of the nation is sat in front of their TV’s watching puppets and victims - like a musical version of The Running Man.

So here is my latest sacrificial offering up to the Listening Club alter. I’ve said it before but I reckon compared to many of you Listening Clubbers I’m pretty mainstream / vanilla if you will ... in my music taste – ahem... (Although that said, I did learn about red and black handkerchiefs last week thanks to @Jayesofine...)  I like guitars, drums, interesting lyrics and unique voices. Lyrics often feed that into my art which is very music related so I hold onto them quite tightly.

So to the band; they are a band! A three piece – I always think that looks good on stage. I adore them. I’ve seen them live a few times and they just get better and better. They are just so flipping intense, vital and tight. They totes get me going. Proper guitar porn, with some slick and greasy riffs.
So for your delectable pleasure on the menu this evening we have some nice big, sweaty, bluesy rock dishes and some less bombastic but nonetheless tantalising, softer ones. Personally, I like the big greasy fat ones the best ;)

Lyrically I think there are some corkers but I’ll let you decide that...

I do hope you enjoy at least one track on here. I particularly favour 1, 2 and 4. But 7 is pretty hot stuff too. Hell who am I kidding! I love them all!"

Okay, there you go. Download is here (WeTransfer link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here (in a playlist this time, so just click the green "Play All" button and it should work!)

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Listening Club - 7th October 2012

Greetings to you all!

A crisp sunny day here in London, so I think an afternoon of fine lunching and city strolling is in order. Days like this I rather miss Hove seafront, which on a clear, windless day is a mighty fine place to promenade, however, in reality, a windless day down there is about as likely as somebody picking "The Dream Of The Blue Turtles" for #LC, so the bulk of the fun usually comes from watching parents trying to stop their toddlers being elevated by the elements and swept off by their mittens into the middle distance. Ah, the beauty of the rose-tinted imagination, eh?

Back on planet #LC, last week @FaberFedor chose to stretch the non-existent Rules Of The Club in a most excellent way, by picking episode 1 of Tim Baker's "Digital Debris" podcast, which was all very Hell-themed indeed. The longest #LC to date, but pretty much everyone went the distance and were considerably rewarded. A great mix, thanks to @FaberFedor for the pick, and for flipping the #LC frisbee across to @JayeSoFine for this week's choice...

"Here we go again…

OK, before we go any further if you can’t stand miserablist thought provoking lyrics walk away from this Listening Club NOW! If you’re of the disposition that Morrissey* makes you suicidal then I don’t want to be the one to send you over the edge, we don’t need ‘Listening Club Suicide Pact’ plastered all over the tabloids, do we now…

So, this Listening Club is the first album that I’m bringing to the twitter/download/Mixcloud table that people should get/have heard straight off or at least in my head everyone should’ve heard of this artist and be fully signed up to the ??????? is a genius fan club. To me this is the equivalent of choosing Radiohead’s OK Computer**, surely you know it?  But maybe you’ll not, you never really know who’s heard of what on the internet these days.

I’ve been following the tribulations of this guys career almost since the beginning thanks to a track slipped into a 2 Many DJ’s mix around 2003/4 to which I instantly became hooked. For a few brief years he was the cool kids name to drop, producing some amazing remixes for Kylie, Chromeo and Soulwax but thanks to a leaked second album and a supposed hissy fit with his record label he appeared to disappear.

In 2010 he returned with tonight’s album, and I have to say initially I was a bit disappointed after the grinding dirtiness of the first two albums. With hind sight I think that this is probably his best and shows far more subtlety and restraint as well as showing off his song writing skills, musicianship and production skills. I think this album has similarities to the Dan Deacon album as well as similarities with all the albums I’ve bought to Listening Club, Andrew Weatherall, Leslie Winner, Bonaparte in so much as it’s just one person who made this album.***

One person who does everything, writes the music, the words, records the music, makes it gleam, mixes it to perfection and then designs the graphics too. I just find that level of involvement and drive inspirational.

What also beggars belief about this artist is that up until recently no record label would touch him, every cool label it would appear has turned him down at some point which is insanity! The advantage of this is that he’s released his entire back catalogue as well as his amazing new album on Bandcamp.

Anyway, I’ll stop my gushing and see you at 8pm Sunday for the usual random tweets, factual inaccuracies and thinly veiled innuendo…


*This album is not by nor in anyway related to the works of Morrissey, he was the first most popularist miserablist I could think of.

**A vastly over rated group.

***may be factually incorrect as there is so little info about him."

Okay, there you have it. Download is here (direct Dropbox link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here, if the gods are merciful!

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Listening Club - 30th September 2012

Hello All!

Apologies for the lateness of this weeks post. One thing leading to another last night ended up with me on completely the opposite side of the (rather huge) city, waking up on a very unfamiliar sofa with a dead phone. As you do. Only popped out for a swift half of ale, too... heh. I blame the full moon. Gosh, London is a daunting place when you have no access to a map - god knows how I used to manage without GPS. Anyway, a jolly good time was had by all, and I'm back now, so on with the show...

Last week, as you should be well aware, @EastVanHalen stepped up to the plate and delivered us an excellent blast of Vancouver Punk history in the shape of The Pointed Sticks retrospective compilation "Waiting For The Real Thing", which got everyone good and sweaty. Many thanks to her for sharing an excellent slice of her formative musical experiences, and for picking @faberfedor to slide into the driving seat for this week. Over to him for the intro...

"The first time I was selected to choose the evening's audial libations, I was ready; I had already decided which album I was going to choose. Truth be told, I also had a selection on the off-chance I was selected a second time. I was set.

Then @eastvanhalen chose me after playing an awesome selection of Vancouver Punk from the 80s. How the hell am I supposed to follow that? My second selection, another of my all-time fave albums, just wouldn't stand up to the Pointed Sticks.  So I start flipping through my iTunes library and I came up with 13 albums I think you guys should hear. But I can only choose one, so I spent the week listening to them all. After much deliberation, I chose this one. Why? A couple of years ago, I was reading in my living room when this came on the stereo.  After a short time, I laid the book down, "watched" the stereo and just listened. It was a great afternoon.

So, for this week's Listening Club selection, I give you another of my all-time faves. 

(And I don't want to hear Jaye complaining that it's too short!)

(Note to self: don't choose @eastvanhalen for next week's hotseat!)"

Okaydokay. Download is here (Mediafire link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here, if the gods are merciful!

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Listening Club - 23rd September 2012

Hello from rainy London.

Yup, back from the colonies, and still a little bit shell-shocked from a rather excellent couple of weeks away, although my faith in humanity has been considerably restored by the great folks that I got to play to and spend time with whilst over there (if you're unaware, I was here, amongst other things).

And despite the seemingly endless procession of quality conversation, food and ale, I still managed to find time to report back chez LC (just!), delivering you all Negativland's seminal 1987 album "Escape From Noise". As I mentioned last week, an album that had a considerable effect on my teenage psyche, and still an all time favourite, so I was chuffed to see that it rattled your collective cages pleasurably:

None more so than this week's selector @EastVanHalen, so over to her for the pre-match...

"So this is what happens when I (a) get out of bed before noon and (b) open my yap on the Twitter machine: I have to get all you fine people a record to listen to. After my initial panicked oh-god-I'm-out-of-my-league brain-search for something suitably impressive I shook myself out of it and decided on something simple and obvious: by way of introduction, I would like you to hear the band that introduced me to independent music.

I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and the only bit of weirdness in my unexceptional suburban childhood arrived in the form of the best babysitter in Burnaby, the excellent Louise. My folks thought they were paying Louise to get my sister and me to brush our teeth and go to bed on time, but she saw herself more as a mischief-making governess and set about giving us a proper subcultural education. She raised us on the Stooges and Bowie, the New York Dolls and the MC5 and Queen. The first record I bought was "A Night at the Opera," inspired by Louise's habit of fashioning a Queen "Q" out of paper and placing it round her navel while sunbathing to make a sort of reverse brand. I was awestruck.

In 1978, when I was 12, as a Christmas present she brought each of us a copy of a 45. It was the first time I'd ever seen a local independent record. It hadn't occurred to me that all this fascinating music could actually be happening in some place other than New York or London and I resolved to find it when I could.

By the time I was old enough to underage-bluff my way into my first local show in 1981 this band had been signed by a famous English indie label - a Very Big Thing in our west coast colonial outpost - suffered a studio disaster and the rejection of their (frankly unlistenable) recording, returned to Vancouver semi-defeated, recorded some tracks locally, and broken up. For my part, I kept showing up for gigs, worked for a tiny local label, and, Vancouver being a very small city, eventually came to know everyone who'd been in this band.

Some years back their old recordings were noticed by some people in Tokyo, and they were convinced to reunite and play some songs in Japan, and then in Vancouver and Toronto and New York. I finally saw them play for the first time in 2005, and it was a different kind of fun than I'd imagined as a kid, but every bit as wonderful.

A couple of local labels have gathered together their studio work in compilations. This is my edited version of the one I think is most listenable, and it begins with the A and B-sides of that single. This is as personal a choice as I could have made, and I don't know if it will be to everyone's taste, but if you have any love for youthfully bittersweet power pop then you might have some love for this. Enjoy."

Fascinating stuff, for sure. Looking forward to this! Download is here (Mediafire link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here, if the gods are merciful!

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Spread the word!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Listening Club - 16th September 2012

Greetings from Portland, Oregon!

Well, not strictly, as I type this I'm still in San Francisco, getting this sorted well ahead of time, as I know not what craziness awaits me in PDX. Hopefully it will involve more good breakfasts, much conversation, and lots of tasting of micro-brewery produce. It's most likely to be rather hectic though, as I'll be checking out all the joys that XOXO Festival has to offer over the weekend after my sets on Thursday and Friday...

So, last week yes? Another splendid selection, this time from @jayesofine, of Bonaparte's "Sorry, We're Open". A band unknown to pretty much all who heard, and, in my opinion anyway, one of the finest picks we've had. Actually the last two selections have both been pretty awesome, but the #LC baton has now been passed back to me, so despite being 5371 miles away from (most of) my music collection, thanks to LogMeIn, here I am to fuck shit up again...

"Oooookay. I'm going against the grain of relatively new albums that most folks (myself included) have been picking, with something from a long, long while ago, and an album that I can honestly say completely turned my world upside down when I first heard it, still ranks high in my all-time favourites list, and at the time contributed considerably to my nascent understanding of what is, and what could be considered music. (Scared yet? Don't be... you can trust me!)

Add to that the fact that at the time of typing I'm residing in this ensemble's home state, and that the subject matter of at least one of the tracks is pertinent to LC peculiarities, and well, it was a shoo-in.

For exposure to this record in the first place, it comes as no surprise that I have to thank John Peel, who gleefully dropped several of these tracks amongst his indie selections of the time. It truly tickled my earbuds, so the next time I was in London (nearest home of decent record shops), I headed straight for Oxford Street HMV (being too young to know of the more savvy indie shops) to see if they had it. I delightedly plucked the only copy in stock from the racks (can still picture this in my mind, as you may be able to tell), scurried home, dropped the needle on side one, and well... as I said, life, and my perception thereof, was never quite the same again. 

I guess that's a common story, but this is not a common album, oh, lordy, no.

I could wax more lyrical ("really?"), but I'll save it for the playback, which I will try my best to attend, despite, as mentioned above, being in the middle of XOXO festival in Portland. Who knows, I might even be able to blag some speakers and convince a few folks there to share the experience with us. We'll see...

A couple of you may know this album already, although if you do, I'll bet you haven't listened to it from top to tail for quite a while. Like all the greatest recordings it bears repeated listening, revealing more and more secrets every time.

So dim the lights, turn it up a bit, crack open a bottle of something good and strong, and settle in for a very unique ride indeed..."

There you go! Download is here (Mediafire link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here, if the bloody thing works!

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Spread the word, and as with last week, I shall endeavour to be joining you at 8pm BST to guide you!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Listening Club - 9th September 2012

Greetings from San Francisco!

Boy, does this feel rather odd. Different day, different city, different timezone. But in between sorting out my set for Bootie tonight, and stuffing my face full of deliciousnesses at any opportunity (I mean come on, this is a country that encourages you to eat steak for breakfast), there's time to see what's cooking in the Listening Club kitchen... (gag shamelessly borrowed from every daytime TV link person, ever).

So, casting my mind back to last week, @JimMcCauley managed a rare occurrence. Not only did he find himself back in the hot seat ridiculously quickly, but he offered up a new album that he himself hadn't even played yet. And what's more it went down so well with the LC massive that it resulted in gig tickets being bought pretty much immediately after. So, yea verily thanks to Jim for his excellent pick of the new Dan Deacon album, "America".

Jim selected the newly wedded @Jayesofine for this week's selection, so over to Jaye...

"Umm, I don’t really have a story to tell you about my next Listening Club selection. The main thing I need to point out is that Peaches put me on to him/them. (In a tweet, I don’t actually know Peaches).  Also, a bonkers and eye catching album cover along with a good poster campaign in Berlin helped draw me to this album.

Rewind to 3 weeks ago and I would have told any person that wasn’t a member of Listening Club what my next 2 albums were gonna be and how much I was looking forward to my next possible chance to drop them on the lovely Listening Clubbers (I hasten to add that conversations with non-listening club members about Listening Club choices are actually only happening in my head).

Forward 1 week to 2 weeks ago (this is getting confusing) and I’ve heard this album for the first time, within a few days I’ve tracked down all the back catalogue and since then, apart from Dan Deacon (huge thanks Jim!), The Orb & Lee Scratch Perry and the LCD Soundsystem Gigumentary I haven’t stopped listening to this and the previous 2 studio albums!

This album,…… ……I just really love it, the dynamics, the lyrics, the theatrics, the hooks, the looks, the costumes, I MUST SEE THIS BAND LIVE!!! Oooooh, they’re only playing in Germany. :(

Please enjoy this week’s Listening Club… (said and gestured in the style of Dave Lee Travis introducing another load of toot on a 1976 Top Of The Pops)."

So there you have it. Download is here (direct Dropbox link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here!

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Spread the word, and if there's any justice and I'm not snoring off a hangover, I shall endeavour to be joining you at 8pm BST!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Listening Club - 2nd September 2012

Hello there, hope you're all doing well.

A little more relaxed in the intro this week, following last week's (justified) pre-carnival hyped mood. My only pressing need today is to pop out and purchase some decent horseradish sauce, along with sharing this week's LC joy with you all, of course... Steve Marriott would be proud.

But O my brothers and sisters, what a turn of events occured whilst I was off carnivalizing. Not only did @faberfedor 's pick last week of Charlotte Martin's "Test-Drive Songs" go down rather well, but in a bit of subconscious tit-for-tat, he picked his own selector, @JimMcCauley to go back in the hot seat this week. Nothing in the rules to say he can't, of course, because we don't actually have any rules, so onwards we go - heeeeere's Jim....

"Isn’t it lovely that my previous stint proved so popular that I’m back behind the big Listening Club desk so quickly! Yes.

This time I’m taking us back to the Listening Club old skool, in that I haven’t heard this week’s LP yet and we all get to experience it for the first time together. I own a couple of the artist's albums, particularly liked the first of them, wasn’t grabbed so much by the second, and then didn’t really pay attention for a while. I’d initially thought of choosing the first album, but then I discovered a brand new offering and couldn’t resist.

As I understand it, they've moved on a bit since their earlier work and I’ve not much idea of what they sound like now; probably in a similar ballpark but more refined and less completely hatstand, if what the briefest clip I checked out (just to make sure, you know) is anything to go by.

Annoyingly it’s reviewed rather well and I’d quite like to listen to it now and I’m worried that some of you will have already bought it, but rules is rules. I hope we enjoy it!"

So there you have it - a Listening Club first, in which everyone, selector included, will be hearing the album for the first time. Big advance thanks to Jim for managing to wait for the rest of us to be around for the inaugural listen!

Download is here (direct mediafire link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here!

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Spread the word, and see you in the pipes at 8! 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Listening Club - 26th August 2012

Hello, hello, hello, what's all this then?

Another speedily typed intro, that's what. Yup, it's August bank holiday weekend, the weather forecast is reasonable, so that means Carnival. Lashings of rum, red stripe, chicken, rice, peas and patties served on a bed of steaming soundsystems. Looking forward, yes I am... and Carnival's 7pm curfew means there might be a chance I'll make Listening Club tonight, although what state I'll be in if I do is open to debate... so we'll see about that, yeh?

Last week, as you may recall, @JimMcCauley was in the hot seat, and his weapon of choice was The Penelopes "Never Live Another Yesterday". Response was divided in classic LC Stylee, although I think everyone agreed on the excellence of the mythical "Track Six", which definitely perked up the ears of the faithful (mine included)...

So thanks to Jim for the selection and for nominating @faberfedor for this week's choice. Over to him...

"Hello, dear Members of the Club,

I would love to tell you how I spent the week worrying over which album I should select for your listening pleasure, choosing this one then discarding it for another, worrying if I should pick something hip-hoppy or something rock-n-roll, etc. Truth be told, I knew this day would come (insert maniacal laughter) and I've had this one picked out for quite some time.

I heard this album somewhere years ago and went looking to buy it: Amazon, CD Baby, you name it. The only place I could find it was on iTunes which meant violating my personal oath of never buying anything from iTunes, but it was worth it. 

This has become one of my favorite albums. You can listen to it in the background or give it your full attention; it works both ways (mostly). I find the music to be...interesting, in the best sense of the word. I like the writing as well.

The Artist is not well-known on this side of the pond; although there was a minor hit a few years back. I'm not sure if The Artist has made a splash on your side yet.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you all think of my selection.  See you on Sunday!"

Download is here (direct mediafire link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here!

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Spread the word! 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Listening Club - 19th August 2012

Yo ho ho, everyone.

Summertime's finally here in London kiddies, which means people have stopped moaning about the lack of decent weather and started moaning about the heat and humidity overload instead. So it's par for the course, really.

This time last week, as u know, I was stood in Hyde Park, drinking weak overpriced lager and enjoying New Order (typically shambolic), The Specials (typically energizing) and Blur (surprisingly slick). All well and good, and from the looks of things, vastly superior to the B and C-list smorgasbord that was the Olympic Closing Ceremony. As Chris TT pointed out in his blog post, whatever cultural and creative doors were driven open by the imagination of the Opening Ceremony, were well and truly slammed shut by the narrow-mindedness of the Closing. So, and slow, it goes.

Meanwhile, back in Listening Club land, @cakehugga hit a pre-wedding home run with her choice of Ugly Duckling's "Moving At Breakneck Speed", which not only went down a treat, but seems to have garnered more post-LC-replays than any album so far (well, judging by the tweets, anyway). Hooray! and thanks to her for the pick, and also for nominating @JimMcCauley for this week's selection. Over to him...

"Unlike the last time I was in charge, for this go in the big Listening Club chair I knew exactly what I was going to choose from the get-go. There’s not much of a story to this one. I find new music these days pretty much exclusively from what people mention online. For a while I found quite a bit through 6Music, while I was working in an office that had 6Music on all day (except for that weird few days when we switched to NME Radio. Imagine Steve Sutherland stamping on a human face, forever. That’s what NME Radio is like), which I can thank for things like Sleigh Bells and Public Service Broadcasting and also for kicking off my ongoing thing for discovering stuff I idiotically overlooked in my 20s (Hooray for Lush and The Sundays and Dubstar! Not so much for Curve, I’m afraid), but now it’s mostly about the social media. Luckily I follow enough people with decent taste for this to be a fairly reliable process.

So then. This lot cropped up in my Facebooks a few weeks ago and looked interesting, and so I grabbed their latest album, and I rather like it. Hopefully you missed that bit where I bigged them up on Twitter. With luck they won’t have suddenly become really famous in the few days since I typed this, and you won’t suss their identity inside a couple of bars. With a little more luck you'll rather liket it, too.

See you on the Twitters at 8!"

Download is here (direct dropbox link) or you can listen via Mixcloud here!

Start time, as always, is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Search #listeningclub to see what's going on, and follow@listeningclub for the admin.

Spread the word!