Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Listening Club - 29th May 2016

Evening all,

Hope all is satisfactory with regard to your existences. Quiet weekend here in Amsterdam, after the gig frenzy of last weekend, we're taking it easy, doing a little gardening and what have you, and enjoying the sun when it decides to give us the benefit of its undivided attention. So all par for the course, as you'd expect.

Back in #LC land last week, @mrhig was in the chair, and had everyone reaching for the kleenex by the sounds of things with his pick of Antony & The Johnsons "I Am A Bird Now". A classic, to be sure. Many thanks to Matt for the pic and for skipping the frisbee north to @cakehugga, who's here with this week's intro...

"Hello Listening Clubbers, today’s choice is one that has been in the back of my mind as a potential pick a few times but has always been nudged out by another choice.

The album is in an 80s style and pays tribute to the life story of a powerful man who rose from rags to riches to disgrace. I love the guest artists, 80s vibe and catchy choruses. I’ve had this album for years and still love it.

Hope the “emotioniest” songs on it are as good as Chas n Dave!! Put on your 80s sunglasses and enjoy :)"

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

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

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Listening Club - 22nd May 2016

Hey there,

Hope all is good and well with you all. In the midst of a gigorama weekend here in Amsterdam, as I mentioned, seeing LV on Friday, and Radiohead & Holly Herndon last night, all flipping great. Tonight off to conclude the weekend with Plaid and The Southbank Gamelan Players, which should be equally wunderbar, I hope.

Note that next week, being end of the month, could be a vortex - however, as we seem to be struggling a bit for decent original themes, I think it best that we make the vortexes optional from now on - if someone's got a good idea, please shout it out and we'll see if it floats, but if not, we'll carry on with regular picks. Seem fair? I hope so.

Last week @RougeForever folked us with her pick of Eliza Carthy's "Neptune", which hit the Sunday spot with most folks. Many thanks to Liz for the pick and for flipping the frisbee across the room to @MrHig, who is, natch, here with this week's intro...

"Are any of us the culmination of all our potential at birth? How about upon reaching adulthood? All we ever do is change, and that's a necessary thing, something to be welcomed, even celebrated. Even to someone like me who is deathly afraid of change of any sort. I see who I am now, conceptually at least, as the best version of myself. It's a pleasant ideal anyway. Looking back at yourself a few years back, a decade back, a few decades back… cringing should be the natural impulse. Just as you're never the pinnacle of what you can be, and looking back at yourself in a few years time, you'll probably recoil in awkwardness at who you are now.

I had a few possible options for my pick this time. I had an initial thought, dismissed it, dithered between two other options (those of you who saw my Twitter poll about Americana Folk and Baroque Pop will now know what that was about, if it wasn't clear at the time), before, eventually, returning to my first instinct.

Because, not to put to fine a point on it, when I was trying to choose between the other options I could feel something wasn't right and it wasn't the way things were meant to be. The real choice - the only option, really - was staring me in the face the whole time.

So this week's pick is about metamorphosis, about transformation, about improvement, about realisation, about being the best version of yourself, about being true to who you've always known you are, instinctually.

It's also Baroque Pop (with a bit of soul thrown in). Sorry about that."

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

Hope to see you at 8pm BST (GMT+1)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Listening Club - 15th May 2016

Hello folks,

Hope you're fine. Amsterdam weather has jumped back to cold grot, but that's not bothering us too much as we're having an easy weekend gently sorting plans for Glastonbury and taking deep breaths before next weekend's chunk of gigorama (LV, Radiohead, Plaid with Gamelan Orchestra and Psychic TV, since you ask).

Last week that @JimMcCauley was in the chair and hit a home run with his choice of Manu Chao's "Clandestino", making for some groovy sunday sofa shuffling times. Many thanks to Jim for the pick and also for sailing the frisbee across to @RougeForever, who has this to tell you:

"I've picked a folk album.  Deal with it."

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

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1)

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Listening Club - 8th May 2016

Greetings folks and may the eighth be with you. Or something.

Well then, I do wonder sometimes that my hellos here always seem to be followed by some sort of weather report (*does jazz bass fingers*), but hello-o sunshine! Last week was a gloomy kings day, frost and hailstorms, this week: break out the electric fan and fetch the iced coffee. Keeps you on your toes anyway, whilst you wait for the new Radiohead album to arrive. Or not, as the case may be, as it seems to have arrived prematurely as I type.

Last week @nessiest was in the chair, and smoothed out the week's end with Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeroes new album "PersonA", which met with approval all round I think. Many thanks to Ness for the pick and for flipping the frisbee a whole five feet across to @JimMcCauley, who was sitting on our sofa at the time. He's not now, but sent this in, by way of introduction...

"Tempting though it is to subject you all to my current obsession tonight, at two hours and twenty minutes the whole of Hamilton would be pushing things just a little bit, and as a lyrically and musically dense sung-through hip-hopera (I've genuinely seen it described as that, which raised a smile) it defies editing down to best-of selection; very few of the songs make much sense out of context. 

Instead, then, here's an older obsession of mine. Staying in a very cool and groovy little Amsterdam guest house back in 2000, I needed some music to go with a box of psilocybe mexicana, so I found a record store on the Leidsestraat and picked up a couple of CDs: Underworld's 'Everything, Everything', and this album, the two of them providing an excellent soundtrack for a few hours of realisation of the interconnectedness of everything, and observing the grain of the wooden floor rearranging itself into lines of intricate runic glyphs.

I'd heard bits of it before at work, usually accompanied by 'What the hell is this?' comments; the sort of reaction that immediately makes me mentally file something  as worth checking out in full, and it was definitely worth it in this case. It's an artist who's a very big deal in plenty of non-English-speaking countries, but more of a cult thing around these parts. Possibly a bit Guardianista, and definitely one from the world music section. I'm not sorry. Enjoy!"

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

See you at 8pm BST (GMT+1)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Listening Club - 1st May 2016

Hey folks,

Hope you're all doing fine. Happy mayday, international Dawn Chorus day, International workers day, labour day or whatever else takes your fancy. - tapping this out a day ahead of usual, as tomorrow I'll be nipping across the Netherlands to see the Bosch 500 exhibition, accompanied by @nessiest and a visiting @JimMcCauley.

Last week, @saucer was in the chair, and sent us on a bizzare new-retro trip courtesy of "Heim Und Garten" by Mängelexemplar, which hit that oblique 80s Germanic spot rather efficiently. Thanks to him for the pick, and for flipping the frisbee back here to @nessiest, who's ready with the intro...

"2016 has been a bitter harvest. 

After a reflective weekend I set out on Monday to find stuff from artists  busy making, creating, inspiring, making music to look forward to. I found three albums, all relatively new, all of which could easily have been my pick. This is one of them.

I knew nothing about the artist before hearing this week's pick. It has a gentle pace, pays tribute to influences with grace and humour, and it grabbed me and held my attention. It's probably the most introspective of my three standout listens from this week. Maybe 2016 might turn out to be a decent vintage after all."

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

Hope to see you at 8pm GMT (BST+1) for the playback!