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Last.fm Weekly Charts, featuring Nick Harper

6 Nov 2020, 12:00am to 13 Nov 2020, 12:00am

1Avatar for Nick HarperNick Harper39 scrobbles
2Avatar for ElbowElbow15
3Avatar for Scissor SistersScissor Sisters8
4Avatar for The Divine ComedyThe Divine Comedy7
5Avatar for Yann TiersenYann Tiersen7
6Avatar for Kate BushKate Bush6
7Avatar for Primal ScreamPrimal Scream6
8Avatar for The JamThe Jam5
9Avatar for Belle & SebastianBelle & Sebastian4
10Avatar for BlurBlur4

Nice to see Nick Harper at the top of the charts again. He brought out a new album last week called Phantastes. It was a crowd-funded album and I was on the vinyl and digital download tier. I forget what the price was, but whatever it was, it was totally worth it to support one of my all time favourite recording artists! Nick has a small but very loyal fanbase, so you bump into friendly faces at all the gigs. In fact, Nick’s itself is a friendly face, so friendly in fact that he was good enough to let me interview him for my Acoustic Guitar IO podcast!

Podcast Episode with Nick Harper

The album is superb. It shows Nick’s real growth as an artist. He’s not one to repeat himself and this is a real departure from what he’s done before. It really rewards repeated listens and on good headphones. It’s quite a bassy album, much more so than any of his others, no doubt partly because he’s playing on a baritone electric, the Airline one that sold as part of the crowd-funding campaign.

The album isn’t up on the streaming sites yet, nor is it available on the crowd-funding page, so I’m not sure how you would get it. I guess it’s a perk for us funders for the time being to have access to it! Seems a bit daft not to have it on sale though?

Weekly Last.FM Charts, Featuring Clint Mansell

Week of 23 October – 30 October 2020

RankAvatarArtist nameScrobbles
1Avatar for Clint MansellClint Mansell52 scrobbles
2Avatar for Roy HarperRoy Harper23
3Avatar for John MartynJohn Martyn8
4Avatar for QueenQueen8
5Avatar for Tim BuckleyTim Buckley6
6Avatar for Fairport ConventionFairport Convention5
7Avatar for Richard ThompsonRichard Thompson5
8Avatar for John CaleJohn Cale4
9Avatar for Kevin AyersKevin Ayers4
10Avatar for Scott WalkerScott Walker4

I listened to an episode of the Soundtracking podcast with Edith Bowman, episode 217 with Ben Wheatley, director of the new Rebecca movie that just hit Neflix. Clint Mansell did the score for the movie and so I listened to it a few times while doing knowledge work at home. It’s really good.

Ilizarov Frame

I actually met Clint once at a gig at the Glasgow Barrowlands. It was when I was recovering from my climbing accident and I’d gone to see PWEI. Given the state of my leg, the Barrowlands bouncers sent me to the artists’ entrance to avoid the crowds and I met Clint on the stairs. He asked the obvious question: ‘what happened to your leg?’. I can’t remember if I told him the truth or not. In those days I used to make up different stories because I was so tired of the question. Well, I was 19 and probably stoned, so…

Last.fm Weekly Charts, Featuring Roy Harper

Artists charts on Last.fm for the week of 2–9 October.

RankAvatarArtist nameScrobbles
1Avatar for The TheThe The48 scrobbles
2Avatar for Larkin PoeLarkin Poe45
3Avatar for The CharlatansThe Charlatans11
4Avatar for Roy HarperRoy Harper7
5Avatar for Anouar BrahemAnouar Brahem3
6Avatar for AquariumAquarium3
7Avatar for Sufjan StevensSufjan Stevens3
8Avatar for Eric LugoschEric Lugosch2
9Avatar for elbowelbow1

Okay, so by now you know I’m a huge The The fan. I’ve featured them twice before I think and I still can’t get enough of this band.

Larkin Poe

Larkin Poe though, they’re new! I first heard them on Spotify I think, one of those algorithm jobs, and they nailed it! One song in, I’d bought tickets to see them – since been cancelled, obvs. I put them on again this week and still love them. I need to get to know them a bit better.

The Charlatans

I had Some Friendly back in my army days. According to lead singer Tim Burgess’s Twitter feed, it was the 30th anniversary of the album one day this week, so I listened to it on my dog walk. It does sound very much of its time and has a kind of ‘anyone can do this’ punk vibe to it. I really enjoyed listening to it again.

Roy Harper

I had a reminder come up that I saw Roy Harper on this day in 1994 at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh. That prompted me to fire on Whatever Happened to Jugula on my dog walk and I loved it! Jimmy Page’s guitar on Hangman is particularly good, so that’s what I’m going to leave you with for this week’s listen.

Weekly Last.fm Charts, featuring The The

Week 25 September – 2 October 2020

Weekly Last.fm Charts

I just spent some time going through my old Last.fm chart posts and updating them to blocks for WordPress 5. It got me listening to lots again and has inspired me to start doing it again. It’s really fun to look back through these charts and get a feel for what was going on in my life through the music I was listening to.

I did it for a while on my Steemit blog but it never really took. I like this way better, using Steempress to put it on my Hive blog but keeping it on my own blog as the primary source.

The The

Since I wrote my review of Long Shadows, High Hopes: the Life and Times of Matt Johnson and The The, I’ve been listening to The The a lot. It’s good because the band is probably not accurately reflected in my all-time weightings on Last.fm as I listened to them all the time before I started scrobbling.

I’m not sure why, but I didn’t listen to NakedSelf when it was released, nor since really, right up until a couple of weeks ago. I had a morning in bed with the book on my Kindle and I listened to it on my AirPods as I read about each track in the book. It was an amazing experience and I’ve been listening to NakedSelf a lot since then.

Strangeways, Here We Come

This Smiths album came up on my radar because of Tim’s Listening Party on Twitter. I’d never taken part in the listening parties, although I knew that he’d done The The at least a couple of times. I started following the Twitter account and this came up straight away.

This is the only Smiths album I ever bought. I got it after hearing it at the army apprentices’ college in Harrogate when John Hall played it one time. John’s nickname was Manc, so you can guess where he’s from, right? And yes, I was called Jock, obviously.

I’ve always loved the album, but listening to it with a live Twitter party going on added a whole new level of appreciation. Totally fun.

I’ve come to wish you an unhappy birthday, because you’re evil and you liked, and if you should die I may feel slightly sad, but I won’t cry.

Unhappy Birthday

Fuck!

The Others

To be honest, I’m not sure what the others are, with the exception of Bajofondo. I found them while browsing Tim’s Listening Party archives and fired it on simply because the album cover drew me right in.

I mean come on, right?

I think the rest of the bands will have been Spotify algorithms carrying on with that style as I do know Gotan Project (I saw them in Luxembourg one time as it happens!).

RankAvatarArtist nameOptionsScrobbles
1Avatar for The TheThe The36 scrobbles
2Avatar for The SmithsThe Smiths20
3Avatar for BajofondoBajofondo18
4Avatar for Astor PiazzollaAstor Piazzolla2
5Avatar for AterciopeladosAterciopeladosMore1
6Avatar for Gotan ProjectGotan Project1
7Avatar for Jorge DrexlerJorge Drexler1
8Avatar for Kevin JohansenKevin Johansen1
9Avatar for Serú GiránSerú Girán1

That tremolo guitar. Love it!

Sounds like classic The The. I hope Matt Johnson brings out another album soon. I’d love to hear what these mad COVID times inspire him to write.

Weekly Last.fm Charts, featuring Lou Reed

I used to post my weekly artist charts on vox.com when that was a thing and it was kinda fun. I thought I’d start doing it on my Steemit blog and see if we can get some others doing something similar as a way of finding new music.

I’ve been on last.fm since 2007 and scrobbling pretty much everything I listen to ever since. I love having data like that to hand and seeing my listening trends. It’s a cool platform for discovering new music too, by searching through users who listen to the same stuff and finding out what else they listen to.

So, here are my top 5 artists for this week.

  1. Lou Reed
  2. David Grisman
  3. Pierre Bensusan
  4. Van Morrison
  5. Courtney Barnett

I’ve been a fan of Lou Reed’s going back to about 1986 when I got my first CD player. The first CD I ever bought was New York and I played that album to death. From there I went back the way, getting into the Velvet Underground and absolutely loved it. I’m not sure why it took me so long to find this music, but better late than never. I also really enjoyed Magic and Loss and I’ve enjoyed playing it at work this week.

I don’t know David Grisman’s music all that well. I put on a Tony Rice album at work on Spotify and it used the autoplay thing when the album finished, so a bunch of songs of Dawg’s must’ve been on the algorithm. I’ve seen videos of him interviewed and playing and I know that he’s a phenomenal musician. I really ought to listen to him more often.

Ah, Pierre Bensusan. His music has got me through some really tough times. When my mum was in hospice care, I listened to Altiplanos and Intuite A LOT. The compositions Hymn 11 and The Alchemist are astoundingly beautiful. Hymn 11 was composed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in the USA and it’s haunting. I’ve seen Pierre play many many times and been to workshops. He’s one of the most musical people I’ve ever met.

I’ve never been much of a fan of Van Morrison’s, but after I played a show this week I got talking to one of the front-of-house staff at the venue about music and she said I really ought to listen to Astral Weeks and Moondance, so I did. They didn’t jump out at me, but I was at work so only really half listening. I should give them another go.

The same girl talked about Courtney Barnett. I had listened to her before, particularly her album with Kurt Vile, so I put that on at work and enjoyed it.

So, that was my week. If you’d like to follow me on last.fm, hit me up and we’ll share some music.

My profile at last.fm

Happy listening!

Originally posted on Steemit / Hive

Weekly Last.fm Charts, w/e 8 July 2012

last.fm 20120716

This was a good week. Paul Heaton released a new album: Paul Heaton Presents… The 8th and it’s an absolute belter. I’ve been a fan of his since the beginning, through the Housemartins to the Beautiful South and into his solo career. I got to see him at King Tut’s last year and it was phenomenal! Anyway, the new album is like nothing he’s ever done before. It’s a concept album with a story running through it, a story which, unless you’re made of stone, will give you goosebumps at the end. Brilliant!

Nick Harper at Corrie Hall

Nick Harper next. He’s another artist I’ve been a fan of since the beginning. I saw him a few times at Roy Harper gigs (Nick’s dad, in case you were wondering!), but it wasn’t until I moved to Arran that I got to see him playing solo. I’m very happy to be able to say that he’s coming back this year, to the same venue! I cannot wait!

And on to Jonathan Coulton. What a busy music week this has been! Of course I’d Jonathan Coulton. What self-respecting nerd hasn’t? But it had never quite clicked. I had Thing-a-Week 1 but never really listened to it more than once through. Then came The Incomparable podcast, episode 98.

We tackle the works of Jonathan Coulton as our Geek Music Appreciation series continues. Join guest host Lex Friedman as he and our panelists build a JoCo playlist and discuss why Coulton has so much geek appeal. But just because Lex is guest-hosting doesn’t mean that Jason Snell won’t make a dramatic appearance at the end, so keep listening!

I spent the weekend listening to JoCo, after creating a Spotify playlist of all the songs mentioned on the podcast: JoCo incomparable playlist and spent that Sunday morning learning to play You Ruined Everything. In fact, serendipity intervened in that when Merlin Mann posted a link on his Tumblr to a video of JoCo playing that song.

[Merlin’s Post]

It’s the first new song I’ve learned in a long time and it was a whole lot of fun. I’m inspired to learn a couple more for my next gig. Not many Arran residents will be familiar with his woe I would guess!

And Merlin is to thank also for the introduction to Peter Holsapple & Chris Starney. I’d never heard of them until he posted an audio clip on his Tumblr:

[Merlin’s Post]

I will definitely be following this band / these artists some more!

It’s interesting to note that last.fm is now listing TV shows and movies that I watch on the AppleTV. I finally finished Season 1 of the Wire and it finally started to reel me in. I only persevered because so many respectful people said I should, but it ain’t no House!

Weekly Last.fm Charts w/e 14 July 2012

last.fm charts

This week I learned of Peter Holsapple & Chris Stammey when Merlin Mann posted a song of theirs on his blog or weblog: Kung Fu Grippe. Very good they are indeed and I’m grateful to MM for the discovery.

But Paul Heaton. Paul beautiful Heaton. His new album is out: Paul Heaton Presents the 8th … and it’s a belter. I’ve listened to it a few times, including once on headphones and it needs more of my attention. The premise is a guy who goes to jail and then gets out and what happens to him. It’s a thing of beauty and I’ve not been so struck on first listen to an album since Kate Bush’s Arial. So good!

Weekly Last.fm Charts

Wow, I’ve not done one of these since 2007! Looks like I’ve lost the knack of posting the data. What’s up with that tiny little screenshot? Pffft.

I don’t listen to as much music as I used to, mainly because of the number of podcasts I listen to each week. It’s still very important to me though.

It has been a big week for The The. I’ve posted some of my favourites in a previous last.fm charts post:

The The post

Recording Gear

My recording studio is PC based. The components were specially chosen to make as silent a system as I could.

The equipment is as follows:

Computer

  • AMD64 3500+ Winchester
  • Asus A8N SLI Premium Motherboard
  • Antec SLK3000B
  • AcoustiPack BQE3700 Kit
  • Nexus NX4090 Ultra Quiet PSU
  • Mushkin XP4000 (DDR500) RAM (991482) 2 x 1GB
  • nVidia GeForce 6600
  • 3 x Nexus 120mm Case Fans
  • Scythe Ninja cooler

AV gear

  • RME Hammerfall HDSP9632 soundcard
  • MindPrint Di-Port (2 x preamps, DA<>AD converter)
  • StudioProjects B3 LD condenser microphone
  • 2 Marshall MXL 603S SD condenser microphones
  • Adobe Audition 2
  • Sony TRV22 miniDV cam

I basically went for gear that will do me for many years to come without needing much in the way of upgrades. For those looking for help in setting up a digital audio workstation, I’d recommend the forums at homerecording.com and silentpcreview.com

Guild DV4

Guild DV4

This is the first guitar I’ve bought on eBay and I’m pleased to say it went as smoothly as could be hoped. I was the only bidder, I guess as Guild guitars are more expensive in Europe and perhaps not so desirable. Anyhow, I’m really pleased with it and feel I got quite a bargain. The guitar has a spruce top with solid mahogany back and sides and a hand-rubbed (i.e. matte) finish. It’s brand new and without a ding or scratch anywhere. Of course as it’s new it hasn’t started to open up yet, so I’m expecting great things from it. The reason for buying this was so that I’d have a nice, trustworthy solid-wood guitar for busking and travelling; something plain and simple, but loud enough to be heard out on the streets. And d’you know, I think that’s exactly what I’ve got!! It came with an original hardshell case so this will be my guitar for jamming with my mate back home in Scotland. — he also has a Guild, a DV6 which I believe is a more deluxe version of my DV4.


Recordings

Here are some recordings I’ve done on this guitar. I record using condenser microphones. Here’s a page showing the gear I used: Recording Gear

Islay Ranters Reel

Islay Ranters Reel

Trainstop Blues

Trainstop Blues

Lola, the Kinks

Lola, the Kinks

Quicksand, David Bowie

Quicksand, David Bowie

Gallery