Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Listening Club - 29th June 2014

Happy Glastonbury, everybody! @JimMcCauley at the controls again, while @kleptones does his thing on Worthy Farm. I'm not there because if you live in Bath it's like visiting the Roman Baths or Jane Austen's house; you just never get round to doing it. I did however get to see Jurassic 5 in Bristol the other night; sadly we didn't see much of previous #listeningclub pick, Ugly Duckling, thanks to dodgy stage monitors. After a few game attempts they had to give up; bit of a disappointment but J5 made up for it by being on top form.

Last week @EastVanHalen caught the frisbee and treated us to, I think, our second jazz excursion, in the form of "The Definitive Thelonious Monk". Quite possibly the Ken Burns Jazz Collection edition, and it definitely hit the Sunday night spot. Thanks to @EastVanHalen for the pick, and for flinging the frisbee at @pamac66.

Who of course gets an extra week to think about his pick, because tonight it's the second annual #LiveVortex! 16 live corkers for your delectation, and naturally it's an excellently diverse mix of tunes; maybe a little more laid back than last year's, but with a good few opportunities to get up and dance. Thanks to everyone who contributed a track!

Direct download link is here, and the Mixcloud stream of inevitable track title spoilers is here.

See you at 8pm (GMT+1)!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Listening Club - 22nd June 2014

Happy midsummer folks!

Hope that the sun is poking out wherever you are and brightening up the place. It's doing good here in Amsterdam, although the forecast for next weekend's Glastonbury is looking a little rainy (quelle surprise), so the pile of waterproofs, boots, sunglasses, sunblock etc is steadily growing in the corner of the room as you'd expect. Many thanks to @JimMcCauley for agreeing to caretaker-manage the place next week whilst I'm away, and compile the 2nd annual #livevortex - Yep, one top-quality live recording please from each of you to whip into a mighty experience. Sure Jim will announce where to send stuff via the Twitter account in due course, so keep an eye out there...

Last week @mutster101 was in the hot seat throwing the cat amongst the pigeons with his selection of Lana Del Ray's "Born To Die". The Paradise Edition no less, which resulted in quite a fine range of discourse from the lot of you. Thanks to @mutster101 for the pick and for flipping the frisbee across to @EastVanHalen who is here with the pre-match...

"Hello everybody:

This is a compilation of recordings by one of the great American jazz musicians, a great "have you heard this?" gift that was my first encounter with him. I liked him straight away. He's joyful, fresh, and exuberant, and he really swings.

It's also the record I've been listening to obsessively for weeks, pulled from the stack for more attention after I picked up a biography of the artist on a recent trip to my favourite bookstore, San Francisco's City Lights.

I was surprised to read how derisively music critics treated him for the first ten or more years of his career, only to later praise as innovative the qualities they had mocked. Even by his supporters he was often woefully misread. 

Most of the songs here are his compositions, and they're played by some genuinely mind-boggling bands. Of the lot, I think my favourite is the sixth track, which has given me a persistent but delightful earworm.

Hope you enjoy."

Okaydoke! Download is here and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the song titles, you have been warned)  is here!

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

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Listening Club - 15th June 2014

Hey there!

Well, settling into a summer groove quite nicely here - festivals and outdoor events popping up left right and centre, so between those, prepping for Glastonbury and stopping to watch the locals quality international kickabout performance, there's more than enough entertainment to go round right now. Can't complain, really...

Chez #lc, thanks to @JimMcCauley for volunteering to host the #vortex in two weeks time whilst I'm away, now all we need is a theme... thinking caps on folks!

Last week, @emmaprice was in the chair, and soothed troubled souls with her pick of Mary Margaret O'Hara's sole album "Miss America". Big thanks to her for the selection, and for flipping the frisbee across to @mutster101, who is here with the pre-match...

"OK, this is either going to go really well or really badly.

When I got the frisbee again last week it seemed like only the day before that I'd last had it, but it turns out that was nearly three months.

Over the course of the week I had three or four possible picks, and I thought I'd settled on one of them. As I was reviewing my options browsing through iTunes, this album elbowed its way in and said "Pick me! Pick me! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Please!"

I considered its points, I decided that I actually quite liked the idea, even though it was not a typical LC pick, I got cold feet and nearly went back to one of my other choices, and then thought stuff it.

Ordinarily, I don't think I (or anyone else) would pick something like this for LC. It's a bit too mainstream and a bit too recent and a bit too well known. I'd be surprised if no other LCers had this album. However, since I have just had a week off and the weather has been mostly fantastic, I'm feeling quite summery, and this is (to me at least) very summery music. For best results it should be listened to while lying on grass and staring up at blue sky.

I was obsessed with this album last summer. I'd finally given in to the sneaky marketing ploy of buying the album again with an extra disc full of new stuff and did not regret the decision. And I listened to it a lot, lying on grass where possible.

I know that not everyone will see the summery side to this, and I know that some people will listen and think "What? Really?", and I also would not be entirely surprised if the summery weather has buggered off by 8pm tonight, but you know what? Sod it. Let's just go with it, yeah?"

Right Then! Download is here and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the song titles, you have been warned)  is here!

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

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Listening Club - 8th June 2014


Customary wishes of fine and dandyness to you all. A'dam has been blessed with a mini-heatwave this weekend, so a little swealtering and procuring of iced drinks has been the order of the days. Quick doff of the cap to Kid Congo (only man on the planet to have been in The Cramps, The Gun Club & The Bad Seeds) who delivered a storming set of rockin' goodness with his band The Pink Monkey Birds on Thursday. Seriously, catch these folks if you see 'em listed anywhere near you - sleazed out psychedelic rock'n'roll madness and a half - well recommended!

Back in #lc land, last week @mrhig aimed at the gutter, yet kept one eye on the stars with his pick of Tom Waits' "Rain Dogs". A rightly acclaimed record - thanks to him for the pick and for nominating @emmaprice for this week's selection - and here she is...

"This is a bit of an unusual one from me this week. I'd had a couple of albums in mind for when the frisbee next came my way but I'd been to-ing and fro-ing about them for a while.

In the end I've gone for something entirely different as when I was frisbeed last week I hadn't even heard this album and I've now been living with it for most of this week. I'm not sure it's going to tickle the palette of all my Listening Club colleagues but then that's surely the point of Listening Club, discovering things you might not have heard otherwise. When I discovered this album in a dusty rack of £1 cd's the other week I knew I had to have it as my musical guru had been telling me about it for years.

I'll hand over to @doctorx34 to explain “Like catching tears in a glass, this album is a unquantifiable ragtag of pure unfettered passion and emotion. At turns twitchy, beguiling and beautiful it remains one of the most forgotten gems that ever was. Released in 1988 to much fanfare, the artist at the heart of it became disillusioned with the recording process and the music business and dained sadly never to grace us with her recording presence ever again. But what she left in legacy is a true one off, an surpassed gem, a game changer and a moment of true hysterical joy and pleasure. Prepare to have your heart stolen and broken”

Think this is a bottle of Pastis, a comfy sofa and chats until the wee small hours kind of album. Though I'm always open to #drinkingclub suggestions."

Download is here and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the song titles, you have been warned)  is here!

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

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Listening Club - 1st June 2014

Pinch and a punch to you all,

June already? Crikers. Feeling good here, if a little tender following yesterday's festival season kickoff at Het Lente Kabinet, quite a no frills affair, very much seemed like the majority of the budget had gone on the performers rather than the production, which is an interesting approach, even if a few more signposts would have helped - there's no point giving names to stages if you can't tell which one is which, is there? - Theo Parrish, DJ EZ and, yes, the mighty Addison Groove (click for a clip!) won the day for me, a fine day's bopping for sure.

Speaking of festivals, major advance warning that I'm going to be at Glastonbury come the end of the month, so am looking for a replacement compiler & host for the June #vortex - let me know if you fancy helping out!

Last week, I managed to avoid a small measure of embarrassment by nipping off to see Prince (who was spectacular, natch) whilst the rest of you chuckled at my pick for the #firstLPvortex. Well, what can I say, blame it on the folly of youth (probably the only time I'd do that...) - at least I was honest :-D Happily the rest of you had considerably better taste at early ages, so provided a fine cross section of youthful desire. Thanks to all for chipping in!

Back to our regularly scheduled programming, @mrhig is back in the hot seat, so here he is with this week's pre-match...

"It could be any city, but I've always thought of it as New York.

All it takes is a change in the weather for the worse, for you to lose your sense of direction, for street signs to be unhelpfully nowhere to be seen, and you could find yourself among them, living their lives. They burn bright, like mayflies, because no future means living life to the full. And that means dance and drink and trouble.

This is the quintessential United States experience; the American dream. The melting pot, in the flesh. They haven't made it yet; they shuffled through Ellis Island and were immediately shoved and cramped into the dark places, the back alleys, the lower east sides, the tenements. Life is cheap but so, so vibrant.

Everyone is out to get something. No-one is to be trusted, least of all authority figures.

Do you think you could cope with this life, knowing there was no way out of it, that you couldn't go back to your comfy brownstone after the end of just one day, that this was it, from now on forward? Are you really cut out for this life?

Maybe better to watch from a distance. Dream that this could be you if you just quit that job, that you could blaze like they do. Watch from a passing train, glimpse it only briefly."

Well then... Download is here and the Mixcloud stream (which may reveal the song titles, you have been warned)  is here!

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