Sunday, 28 April 2013

Listening Club - 28th April 2013

Salutations listereenos.

Hope all is good in your necks of the wood. Life is considerably better here, partially because of the more consistent appearance of that ol' fiery ball in the sky, but moreso because of the appearance of a couple of vibrating wood, rubber and plastic boxes in the homestead. Yep, that's right, the boy's got his speakers back, and my word is it a grand thing. A full delivery of vibrating air particles makes Eric a very happy boy, thus allowing me to prime myself for the upcoming Dutch celebrations. Yep, the biggest holiday on the Netherlander calendar, Queen's Day, is on Tuesday, given a major boost as the current Queen is abdicating, and her son is taking over. The whole city is slowly turning orange in preparation, so all I can do is stock my fridge, perch on my stoop with a beer, and watch the madness unfold. Should be interesting, to say the least...

Back in LC-land, @EastVanHalen smacked a puck of power pop straight into the back of the net with her choice of The New Pornographers "Twin Cinema". A fine choice, and well appreciated by the faithful. Thanks to her for the pick, and for sending that puck yonder to @SamSmitter for this week's pick - over to Sam for the pre-match...

"I had to chuckle recently when I heard a teenager say they wished they had been around in the eighties, “because of all the awesome music”. When I was a teenager in the eighties, my friends and I took the view that we were living through a kind of musical Dark Ages, and – aside from the odd bit of shoegazing to the Smiths or Jesus & Mary Chain, or pretending not to feel intimidated at Public Enemy concerts – we mainly listened to music from previous eras. The 1960s and 1970s both seemed like distant golden ages to us ... the equivalent of being nostalgic for 2003 today. Maybe it is an illusion, but it seemed like music moved more quickly in those days, with whole eras and subcultures coming and going in the time that the average modern artist takes between albums.

Anyway, my choice this week is nostalgia for nostalgia ... a compilation I bought during the eighties of music from an earlier decade. Originally only available as a cassette, which you had to send off for (there may even have been coupons involved), it has since been released on CD and other formats. Its one of those albums that I bought at the age of 16, listened to approximately 5 billion times, such that every note and every flaw is etched into my memory forever. Most of the artists and some of the songs will be familiar, one or two a little more obscure. I hope you enjoy it ..."

Splendid stuff. Dropbox download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles) is here.

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

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

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Listening Club - 21st April 2013

Hi to you all,

All is in flux this week for me, as I'm back in the UK for the weekend, moving out of my place in London, dumping a fair chunk of my stuff into storage, and prepping the rest to be zoomed over to A'dam tomorrow, where I will join it in the evening! The first half of that now done, I can relax for a moment, crack a beer and get around to typing this out before packing resumes... phew.

So last week it was me with the frisbee, and I'm chuffed that my selection of Eels latest album "Wonderful, Glorious" went down rather well. I'll allow myself a quick pat myself on the back before looking over yonder to Vancouver, where @eastvanhalen is ready to go...

"Hello, all you Listening Club lovelies. When I was doing the required hair-tearing over this week's entry, I couldn't help but keep coming back to the fact that after a particularly difficult winter it is finally beautiful, triumphant spring, and so the poignant rainy day jazz and pissed-off punk I had thought of playing were set aside in favour of some big, smart, open-the-windows power pop.

This is genrally considered to be a Vancouver band, and this record was released on a local indie label. Its members, though, live all over hell's half acre at this point; many of them are indiividually famous and you have doubtless heard of at least a couple of them even if this band isn't known to you. Though they're local I have only managed to see them once, in Las Vegas of all places. But that's a story to be told whenever I get around to playing the band that caused the story to happen...

In the meantime, please enjoy some power/indie pop fun. For me, the best part of this record is Track 8, one of those perfect, heart-from-your-chest pop tracks that I can play half a dozen times in a row and love more each time. Curious to know what you all think of it."

Rightyho! Dropbox download is here, Mixcloud stream (which may well reveal the track titles) is here.

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

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

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Listening Club - 14th April 2013

Greets and groetjes to you all.

Well it looks like spring has finally sprung here - the windows are open, the birds are chirping, the radio is on, and the only thing missing is the sounds and aromas of sputtering bacon in the breakfast pan. Bacon, bacon, bacon, so hard to find in the Netherlands. Ham? No problem - 150 varieties in the average supermarket from processed pink to priciest parma. Bacon though? Nee. Nee, nee, nee, nee and a weird look for even suggesting it. Why would you want to cook your own ham slices, they cry? We have already saved you the bother! Seriously, this is weird, like waking up one morning and finding out suddenly no-one knows what underpants are. Some kind of demented sociological experiment? Who knows, but after this is typed out I'm off into town on a mission. Next week: Sausages. ("But sir, why would you want to cook your own sausages?" etc...)

Anyways, back to the matter at hand, last week @monkeytypes sent us back to a dank, patchouli and armpit-scented section of the 1990s with his pick of Senser's "Stacked Up". Many thanks to him for the pick and for flipping the frisbee over to... er, me. So, um, over to me:

"Ooh, look, mum, I'm in italics! Now, I always seem to get picked for LC when there's some sort of restriction at work. Last time, if you recall, I was off on my travels and patched myself in via some friendly wifi from the parking lot next to XOXO in Portland. This time, though the wifi and location are fine, I've had only my laptop, one lil' external drive of tunes and a teeny portable speaker for the last couple of months (situation being resolved next weekend, I'm delighted to say), so my listening has been rather limited and tinny...

So, not being able to dig back, I've decided to keep to the here and now - I auditioned quite a few possible new releases, but most of them left me wanting, then this landed in the playlist and a warm fuzzy glow emerged from my tiny speakers. 

I bought the first ever single from this artist after seeing the (rather ace) video on MTV's "120 Minutes". It was a great tune, but had "one hit wonder" carved through it like so many similar acts of the era cluttering up the 99p new release bins I frequented. 

However, rarely for an act in this day and age, they've kept plugging away (this is the 10th studio album) and (imho) have just got better and better, finessing an instantly-identifiable sound and vibe, and growing quite a mighty, if subtle, fanbase (e.g. A couple of years ago I was in a car with four other random friends and a compilation by this artist came on the stereo - everyone astonished each other by singing along to pretty much every track... "Oh, you know this too, huh?").

So this is the new one. Sounds familiar, but lyrically, surprisingly upbeat, and for me, while adapting to a baconless life in a new country, "new, yet familiar and surprisingly upbeat" is a damn good thing to find.

So here it is. Hope you like."

Dropbox download is here, Mixcloud stream is here.

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

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

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Listening Club - 7th April 2013

Howdy folks,

Hope all is fine with you lot - sun is shining here in The Dam, and I have a new, slightly more permanent abode with a zoomy net connection, so there's no reason for me to be complaining right now. Doubly happy as I'm listening back to last week's #EasterVortex! What an excellent selection of tunes... major thanks to you all for chipping in. Another one around the Summer solstice then? @pamac66 had the fine idea of all live recordings to coincide with the festival season, so I think we'll go with that... plenty of advance notice with this one!

Back to our regularly scheduled programming, @monkeytypes was left clutching the frisbee the other week, so over to him for this week's intro...

"It probably goes without saying that this was not my first choice. In fact it was while listening to what I was sure I was going to go with that this popped into my head. It's a very special album for me. In many ways it opened my eyes to new styles of music, as well as being the soundtrack to a very happy summer or two, where they seemed to play every free festival in London. I first heard them when they opened, if memory serves me correctly, on a triple bill with Sheep On Drugs and Nitzer Ebb. By the time they finished their set with an amazing Public Enemy cover, I wasn't quite sure what I'd heard but knew I had to get hold of the album.

Naturally it was an absolute rip snorter. The first half of the album is an in your face tour de force, reaching a peak on track 5. So much so that unable to follow it,  the band appear to start the album again and go off on a couple of tangents before catching their breathe and hitting another peak on track 11. It's a fantastic mix and mash-up of styles, great production and as for the vocals... Well, you'll see what I mean. Some of the tracks still make me grin like a loon even now.

This one has to be heard loud. When the opener kicks in, you should be joining in with the maniacal laughter and hopefully, like me, be bouncing around the room with sheer joy while throwing some shapes."

There ya go. Download is here (dropbox direct), and Mixcloud here!

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

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