Listen up!

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

listening club
(Image of “Paper Record Player” by Simon Elvins – details here)

A couple of months ago I spontaneously decided to set up an album listening club on Twitter, borne out of that good ol’ simple desire to spread and share interesting music. Admittedly, there have been a spate of similar things appearing in the last year, mainly either “listening together in a room”, or “listening online at an allotted time”, but they all either decided on their music by a vote, or stuck to pretty straightforward (although classic) choices.

That’s all very well and good luck to ’em, but what interests me more is that “personal choice” – those albums you discover that fit your needs of the time so perfectly you’re left wondering about the powers of synchronicity as your heart fills to the brim with joy, and those albums that boggle your mind so much that you dive online immediately to find out more about the people behind them, and what drove them to create such a thing and unleash it on the public.

Also it should come as no great shock to you that we here at Kleptones Inc. are very much big fans of the “long-play”. Albums, mixes, whatever… the ability to take a listener off on a satisfying journey is rarely something that can be accomplished in three or four minutes, as has been proven time and time again over, ohh, the last few hundred years or so.

So to empower the participants, and to increase that random “personal choice” factor, the only rule established has been that whoever selected an album for listening would pick their favourite tweeter from the playback, and the baton would then be passed to that tweeter to make the next selection. Simple as.

And it’s worked rather well – a fine troop of listeners has emerged, and the selections so far have ranged from lesser known albums by established bands, a raft of new (or “new to us”) artists from far and wide, and obscurities from the flip-side of previous decades. Not everything has been to everyone’s taste obviously, and there have already been several WTF moments, but that’s that way it should be, really. However, it’s only just getting started we think, and the boundaries are only just beginning to be pushed, which is why the time has come to let you all know about it, and invite you to come join in the fun. We need your input!

Timezone corroboration obviously is a bit tricky, but the agreed time of 8pm BST (GMT+1) each Sunday is working well (although apologies to the Aussies, can’t stretch that far sadly), however the albums generally stay up for a little while after, and there always seems to be a few folks tweeting their catch-up listen in the following days. We realise there’s no way that everyone is going to be around every week, but, like your favourite radio show, Listening Club will be there, should you be in the mood.

So yea verily, get your tweet on and come join us by following @listeningclub on twitter, where all the info is passed out and questions answered (album info gets posted on a separate blog here). It’ll be great to have you along, and find out what album you’re going to pick…

Ad endum, per astra…

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

A few additionals to the below!

First off, thanks for all the feedback, here, on facebook, on twitter, and around the blogs – very very much appreciated – please keep going – if you like what you hear, let people know – mates, radio DJs, promoters, whoever – every single bit helps, and we will be eternally grateful to you for doing so!

OK, Del Boy moment over, the full-length mix MP3s are now up on the download page, so if you like your Uptime/Downtime action uninteruppted, or simply want to drop them onto smooth-playing CDs for your gramophone, now you have the option.

We’re laying off the torrents for the moment, as the bandwidth seems to be holding up (although the speed isn’t the best, so sorry for keeping you waiting). We’ll see how things go…

Also, as you may have noticed below, we’ve put a fair chunk of the back catalogue up on SoundCloud, so you can now embed album players in your own pages – sweet! We’ll be adding some more trinkets on there soon, so keep an eye if you’re a cloud type of person.

Finally, the album tracks are almost nearly up on, though we’ve been having some grief with their uploader – hopefully that will be sorted very, very soon.

That’s it for now – Pip pip!


Thursday, June 5th, 2008

I keep a folder on my desktop named “Look-In” into which, until recently, were placed any random new tunes that seemed appropriate for that week’s radio show. Now that the show is no more, the drag and drop reflex has remained, and I’m still dropping tunes into the folder.

So rather than occasionally assemble them into a Look-In style mix, I thought it would be good to post up the links to (mostly) the blogs from whence they came, so you can check them out individually. (This also gives me a chance to plug some of the excellent music blogs that keep my headphones humming happily during the day :)

First up is an acoustic stompy shouter from Jaguar Love, “Bats Over The Pacific Ocean”. You can find it over at Fluxblog, who claim (far more eloquently and knowledgably than m’self) it sounds like a couple of bands I’ve not yet heard. It’s a good first-thing-in-the-morning track tho, and it’s Got Glockenspiel, which is always a major plus point in my book.

Next into instrumental atmos land with Balmorhea‘s “San Solomon” (find it at Shake Your Fist), which has me swooning in the first thirty seconds with an inspired combination of family pool (or is it beach?)-side fun sound effects combined with a beautifully dignified chord change. Great piano dynamics gently tail the track off into the distance, leaving you (or me, anyway) with the kind of gentle grin you get after watching “Life Is Sweet” or something similar.

Also on the same post at Shake Your Fist is an interesting groover from The Pinker Tones, who hail from Barcelona and have already garnered some Latin Music awards – The tune “Worker Bees” (find it here) from their new album “Wild Animals”, doesn’t sound that Latino to me, more of a mid-paced summery 90s funker with a taste of easy listening and some tech twists – reminding me of Towa Tei, who did all of the above with aplomb. If you’re put off by the initial falsetto, keep going, it’s worth perservering…

A far tastier falsetto comes from Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater on “Rooks” (find it at Side One Track One along with a live review and pics). This is from their new album of the same name, which is being heavily pushed online at the moment and for good reason, as it’s an Indie Blog Delight – The backing is played rather over-straight, but the simplicity makes a fine plateau for the luxurious melody and lyrics to spread out over the top like champagne marmite, putting millions of humdrum indie crooners to shame (The vocal swoops at the end immediately bring to mind the late great Billy MacKenzie). I shall be off to grab the full album at first opportunity for sure.

Another gentle groover comes from Nobody Presents Blank Blue, “All The Shallow Deep” (find it at Pasta Prima, although I forget where I grabbed it). The vocal isn’t over magnifico, but the backing gets plus points for the flicking back and forth of it’s time signature, and the floating psych guitars towards the end.

Last up, from Norway, is Ulver’s “Christmas” (find it at Paper Thin Walls) which again ups the swoon quotient (can you tell my current taste/mood yet?) with some strings that sound ripped straight from No-Man‘s “Days In The Trees” before bulldozing into some attention-grabbing heavy-duty indie-progging (3x hyphen bonus :). Freakishly, Wikipedia claims that this lot started out as a “folk-influenced death metal outfit”, but now seem to have ended up as Of Montreal’s really scary older brothers. Who knows? Another one for the “find out more” list though.

That’s it for now – there’ll surely be some more of these in a couple of weeks (although, reading back, I might reign in the verbosity a bit!), but in the meantime, don’t forget that if the links run dry, you can probably catch a cached listen to any of the above at Hype Machine. In the meantime, comments and recommendations always welcome.

The big wheel spins, the hair thins, people forget…

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Just been watching the considerably above average Amazing Journey – The Story Of The Who – In the midst of which are several clips of an absolutely storming early 80s live take of the excellent Eminence Front with Townshend absolutely ripping up the solo and snarling out the vocals like I’ve never seen elsewhereƂ – it is one of my favourite ‘Oo tracks, for sure, but the version on this doc is volcanic.

There’s several versions of the tune online, even from the same tour – but naturally, not the one featured in Amazing Journey. If anyone knows where the full version of the clip can be found, drop me a line or leave me a comment – I’d be very grateful.