Sunday, 27 March 2016

The Listening Club - 27th March 2016

Greetings folks,

Busy as bees here in Amsterdam, enjoying the holiday weekend with a duo of gigs, some off-kilter electronics last night that weirded us out completely (although redeemed by a cracking live set from Ital Tek) and tonight off to a sold-out Paradiso to see @nessiest's countrymen Fat Freddy's Drop. Also managed to flip out a new mixtape myself (plug, plug), so much to do, on with the show...

Last week, hey it was me, @kleptones in the chair, doing that weirding thing with The Residents Commercial Album, which did what it said on the tin for sure. Thanks for enduring the strange folks, folks, and all hail @emmaprice, who caught the frisbee with aplomb and will be here next week with her selection.

But first... Yes, it's the spectacularly seasonal, all-encompassing #springeastervortex! 18 fine selections representative of this time of year. Thanks for all the picks!

Direct download is here, and the HearThis stream is:

Don't forget the EuroClocks have changed so see you at 8pm BST (GMT +1)

Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Listening Club - 20th March 2016

Greetings folks,

Happy official first-day-of-spring-in-this-part-of-the-world to you. Typically, after last week's blurt of sunny weather, Amsterdam responds to the "official first day" with typical grey blah. Still, one more cozy weekend in with good food and films is no problem, and there's a calendar filling up with fun for the coming months to look forward to, so no complaints, as ever.

Also it's time to don the metaphorical party hat once again and sing Happy Birthday to the good ship #LC, who turned 4 on Friday. Thanks to everyone for chipping in their album picks over the years, it's really been a hell of a lot of fun. And vortex picks too! (Speaking of which, there's another one next week, if you can bear the thought after the #cringerapvortex, so topic suggestions please!)

Last week, @cakehugga was in the chair, nu raving us into submission with her pick of Is Tropical's "Native To" from 2011. Many thanks to her for the pick, and for flipping the frisbee back to me! So...

"...Here we go again. 

Looking back over my previous picks, I seem to flip-flop between new things that have been dazzling my ears recently and older things from the left-of-center region that have left a very permanent scar on my musical psyche for one reason or another. As the last thing I picked was very new, yep, it's time to go back into history again...

Discovering this band way back when I was a teeny-tiny-thing was a pretty standard affair - seeing a video or two on a well-respected music programme of the time that tickled my curiosity, then chancing upon the corresponding album during one of my occasional visits to that London to dig through the multitudinous racks of sounds that would never make it anywhere near my small-town upbringing. 

All of which would be pretty much by-the-book if the band and album in question hadn't been so damn strange. 

The videos (which were still rather a rare commodity at the time, hence, I guess, how they managed to get them broadcast on the fuddy-duddy BBC) were grainy, low budget affairs filled with home-made sets, costumes and masks, and the music had an equivalent feel, although considerably more intentional, as if the band had decided against a more produced sound to go for something deliberately more feral and basic. On top of that there was the actual concept of the album (yes! a concept! but fear ye not, tis not a prog-style narrative), which seemed both absurd yet highly logical at the same time, and of course, a cracking bit of cover art, all of which led to an immediate purchase, and one rather boggled young mind when I got it home and put the thing on. 

The kind of artistic ideas and freedoms this bunch have made their career stock-in-trade seem a hell of a lot more commonplace and easier to achieve now than they were way back when, it's true to say. Also I must admit that I'm not a huge fan, a fair amount of their work is so far out there that I don't think anyone understands it apart from them, and I'm sure that's pointedly deliberate, but as I commented the other week on @wojsvenwoj's pick: I'm glad they exist. At the time, this record truly expanded my youthful ideas of what you could get away with, on an album, or anywhere.

I should note that I haven't listened to this from start to finish for many, many, many years either, so it'll be interesting to see if I still like it.... And interesting to see if you do, too, of course. And if you don't, well, don't worry; none of it is that long."

Right. Direct download is here, and the HearThis stream is...

Hope to see you at 8pm GMT...

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Listening Club - 13th March 2016

Hey folks,

Hope you're good. Sun in blazing in thru the windows here in AMS, due to an unseasonably clear few days that has led to a flurry of outdoors activity, the digging out of sunglasses, and a customary spring cleaning session following the reveal of the winter's grot buildup. All as expected and all the better for it, I'd say.

Back in #lc land, last week @wojsvenwoj took us all for a quick lap around the strange world of The Book Of Knots' "Garden Of Fainting Stars", which went down well with quite a few of you. Many thanks to Woj for the pick, and for flipping the firsbee across to @cakehugga, and here she is with this week's intro...

"Hello Listening Clubbers,

So this week I’ve been through the usual process of narrowing my choice to 4 albums, then remembering something else I love, changing my mind and finally choosing something completely different.

Eventually I thought of this album and it made me smile. I have been thinking a lot about the past and the future recently. In the last year I’ve ended up using a walking stick for 3 months after a broken bone which took a while to heal, had abdominal surgery and moved house twice. On the plus side I got a permanent job in a brilliant school, fell in love with a lovely widower, bought a house and got engaged.

Music for me has always been a way to express what I’m going through. At the moment I am able to look forward again and I am drawn to positive upbeat music. This album makes me smile, dance and sing along.

I hope it will brighten up your Sunday night and maybe get you moving."

Okaydoke - direct download is here, and the HearThis stream is...

Hope to see you at 8!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Listening Club - 6th March 2016

Greetings all,

Pissing down here, and has been for some time, but despite the grot, me and @nessiest are off to Groningen for a couple of days to see the Bowie exhibition, formerly of the V&A in London, and, well, potter around a different town for a day or two, hence the early tappings...

Last week, despite attempts to erase it from the collective consciousness, it was the #cringerapvortex and well, let's never speak of it again. Such things should never be brought into existence again.

Back, thank the gods, on regular turf, thanks to @wojsvenwoj for coming thru with his pick a few days early due to the above trip, so here he is with the intro....

"In the post-apocalypse ushered in by the #CringRapVortex, I was thinking about the introduction that @cdrose_writer penned for Yorkston/Thorne/Khan's "Everything Sacred" and, at the risk of sounding corporate, the key take-away for me was comfort. And I started thinking about some of the records that I find most comforting, reminding me of good times and cozy listening. For various reasons, most of them did not seem like good candidates -- although I hasten to point out that turning the collective attention of the Listening Club to albums and artists I hold near and dear to my heart was not one of those reasons...

One band, in particular, kept coming up as I perused the collection. Formed in 1999 and active through most of the century's first decade, they are a favorite of mine who, as it turned out, I first saw perform live about in early March in 2004. The planets were aligning and one of their albums seemed like a natural choice! So, of course, I elected to go with something else, though it didn't fall far from the vine.

This week's record is by a band that could be characterized as a supergroup of sorts, I suppose. Two members are from the aforementoned favorite band. One was a long-time, though not founding, member of a legendary and influential band. The fourth is producer and engineer of some repute. This is their third record, closing a loose trilogy of sorts though these are not concept records. It's a bit heavy, a bit cinematic, and a bit epic. Dense and dark but, for me at least, a rewarding listen. And it's a good record to play guest appearance bingo with too!

Hope you enjoy..."

Direct download is here or the HearThis stream is...

See you at 8pm GMT!