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.

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