take me home


Where did our love go?

November 28th

A good night at HDIF Presents at Jamm last night, and a bizarre night too. At 7.30pm, right about when the doors should have been opening, we had two bands left to soundcheck...and only then did we discover that there wasn't a hi-hat anywhere in the building. I ended up grabbing a cab with Matt from the Puncture Repair Kit, and meeting a man with a hi-hat on a street corner in Camberwell. Not your usual street corner assignation in SE5, one suspects. When we brought it into the venue, at 8.30pm, we were greeted with a round of applause. And then the night could begin. And although I was fretting about everything running late, it was a tremendous night - a real musical journey, from the delicate noise of Lost Left, who turned in an astonishing performance for their debut gig, to the cheery yet coolly ambitious indie folk of The Puncture Repair Kit, rather like The Decemberists playing at being Arcade Fire, to the drop dead gorgeous and utterly lovable jangle pop of Electrophonvintage, over way way too soon at a mere 20 minutes, to the banjo-picking, accordion-hugging, loose-limbed alt-folk magnificence of The Madrigals. It felt like a night that was happening in secret, and every band was very different, but shared some kind of spirit. I was very pleased to be there.

November 21st:

A lovely review of October Brixton HDIF on Pennyblack music.

At Pennyblackmusic rarely, rarely do we review club nights but this month we have gone against the grain as our attention has been drawn to one that seems particularly interesting. London-based club How Does It Feel To Be Loved has caught our eye because of its promising if not a little unusual mix of indie-pop and soul playlists, as well as its impressive list of guest DJs.

Turning a corner I catch my first glimpse of the Canterbury Arms, a lit-up pub on the corner of Canterbury Crescent out of which I hear the low murmur of music. This is the second home of How Does It Feel to Be Loved, the popular yet still well-hidden indie pop and 60's soul club night, the first being the centrally placed Phoenix Club in Cavendish Square; an underground bar which has an air of the cosmopolitan and sophistication hardly foreign to that area. Tonight’s bar – or should I say pub - is, however, a little different.

At first it seems an unlikely home for a club night - the venue reminds of the birthday parties I used to attend when I was a child; in dimly lit halls with naff décor and a little too much space to dance – but I soon realise that this is its charm. It gives the night its character; it’s quaint and the sparkling fairy-lights circling the ceiling give it a certain home-made feel. It has a sense of exclusivity to it, everything seems to have been thought out and cared for; from its hand-crafted membership cards and badges to the stamp on my hand as I walk in which tell me in well-thought out letters that I am ‘LOVED’.

There is a feel of quality behind the night and all these things seem to promise me that it is going to be good. It gives me a sense of excitement and high anticipation, and it is no doubt that this attention to detail, this love and affection that has attracted the impressive line of guest DJs to have spun in its midst. These have included the 80's twee-punk legend Amelia Fletcher of Talulah Gosh fame, Phil Wilson of the June Brides, Dan Treacy of the Televison Personalities and Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian.

Tonight DJing is Kris from A Smile And A Ribbon. They are a Swedish sextette which include a saxophonist and a flautist amongst their indie-pop ranks. They have an almost child-like sound to them derived from their main influences of 1950's and 60's girl bands and 90’s twee. Having released their debut album, ‘The Boy I Wish I Never Met’ last year they have since been touring in the UK.

Unsurprisingly Kris’ set mirrors his band’s influences; playing an intriguing mix ranging from the Lucksmiths (their track, ‘Danielle Steel’, he tells me is the one he is most excited about playing) to examplary 60's pop such as the likes of the Easybeats’ ‘Friday On My Mind’. The rest of his set compiles of everything in between; Felt, Belle and Sebastian, Dolly Mixture to the Crystalettes, Bobby Womack and the Beach Boys. Speaking to him that evening he explains his excitement at playing the night; "I have never been before but its definitely lived up to everything I’d heard about it." His absence before this possibly owes to the fact that he lives in Sweden, where he runs his own club night in Malmo called Don't Die On My Doorstep, of which he claims HDIF to be an influence, alongside his performing in the band. Since then he has said of his set at HDIF that "I still think it's the best set I've done so far!"

The set certainly got all toes-tapping on the dance floor. And they continued to tap all night to the endless train of fantastic tracks being played by the in-house djs that followed Kris. The chosen indie and soul songs of the week being: 'Together Forever In Love' by Go Sailor and "Shake" by Otis Redding.

How Does It Feel To Be Loved fulfilled everything that I hoped it would be; it was refreshing and fun and its personal touches went a very long way to making it stand out from the crowd. It certainly felt wonderful to be ‘LOVED’.


November 19th:

Saturday night was a bit of a weird one for me, as I was suffering quite badly from the flu, and didn't quite feel there for the first part of the night. But I got my second wind about 1am, and it felt like the night really took off from there. My highlights:

* "You Set The Scene" by Love. I know HDIF's working just right when I can spot little pockets of people around the room absolutely losing it - and such was the case with this hands-down classic.
* "Lean Lanky Daddy" by Little Ann. Hip-swinging, hand-clapping, shoe-shuffling girl group brilliance!
* "Postcards From Italy" by Beruit. Been a while since we've played this, but it really flew.
* "Egyptian Shimmy" by The Tammys. Slinky girl group fabulousness.
* "The Sporting Life" by The Decemberists. Again been a while we've played this - well over a year - but it went down a storm.
* "September Gurls" by Big Star. Oh the jangle! "Is this Teenage Fanclub?" one person asked. Well...almost.
* "Dirty Dream 2" by B&S. Final song of the night. I don't think I've seen such euphoric chaos on the dancefloor as there was for this. I just stood and watched, grinning. Phew - we'd made it!

November 10th:

Last Friday's vinyl special was lots of fun. My highlights:

* All seven minutes of "Missing The Moon" by The Field Mice. I've played this early doors before, but never at 1am, at the height of the dancing. It sounded glorious.
* "I Try To Find" by Los Brincos. Fabulous post-Beatles beat pop from the Spanish sixties foursome. I love the fact that the band look like Cats On Fire on the sleeve of the seven inch!
* "Add It Up" by Violent Femmes. Haven't played this for ages. I danced and danced.
* "Gimme Some Lovin" by Lulu. Superb version of the Spencer Davis Group classic.
* "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" by St Etienne. Played directly after "Missing The Moon"!
* "Mickey's Monkey" by Martha Reeves And The Vandellas.
* "Still Ill" followed by "The Queen Is Dead"!

October 20th:

What can we say about Saturday? It was a fun night but a little chaotic to begin with. We sold out very early - before 11pm - leaving a big queue outside the venue (apologies if you weren't able to get in!). And some over enthusiastic guys managed to yank cables from the back of the mixer, cutting out the sound for ten minutes early doors. But after 11pm, things started to settle down and it was HDIF as normal. Phew! Billy turned in a brilliant set of northern soul, and then it was me. My highlights:

* "Levi Stubbs Tears" by Billy Bragg as the first song of my post midnight set. Had to be done.
* Three new Butcher Boy songs! In their fully mastered sparkling glory. "Carve A Pattern" at about 10.20pm, then "A Better Ghost" and "Clockwork" after midnight. They sounded glorious and it was wonderful to see everyone dancing to them.
* "Peanut Duck" by Marsha Gee. Fantastic, piano-driven soul dancer.
* "Summer Fun' by The Barracudas. Surf pop smash from 1981 - glorious.
* "See See Rider" by LaVern Baker - From 1962, a swinging jazzy soul version of the mod classic.
* "Red Sleeping Beauty" by McCarthy. Played early doors, sounded wonderful
* "Cupid" by Sam Cooke. A live version from a Sam Cooke performance at the Harlem Square Club in 1963. A slightly looser, more upbeat version of the soul classic.
* "Safety Net" and "Really Stupid" - Just wonderful to hear them nice and loud in a club!
* Plus all of those B&S songs of course! My favourite segue being "Frankly Mr Shankly"/"What She Said"/"Don't Leave The Light On Baby"

September 22nd:

My highlights from Saturday night at the Phoenix:

* David Feck's set. An excellent mixture of garage rock, indie pop and soul. We'll definitely be having him back.
* "It Must Be Love" by Labi Siffre. The 1972 original of the song later made famous by Madness. Such a gorgeous gorgeous song, what sounds like a ukulele intro giving way to Labi's sweet voice. It was wonderful to see a packed dancefloor singing along with this.
* "I Need All The Friends I Can Get" by Camera Obscura. First HDIF airing for this, just sounded gorgeous.
* "The End Of Our Road" by Gladys Knight And The Pips. Just one of many songs played in tribute to the genius of the late, great Norman Whitfield. "Drive My Car" by Marvin Gaye sounded great too.
* "Big Rock Candy Mountain" by Motorcycle Boy. Buzzsaw pop heaven!
* "Happy Street" and "High Heel Sneakers" by Stevie Wonder. Back when Stevie was Little Stevie and played a mean harmonica.
* "So Tough" by Mother And The Addicts. A request to mark the disbanding of this group. A new one on me, but sounded fantastic.
* "I Haven't Got The Nerve" by The Left Banke. An irresistible dancer from The Left Banke.

September 8th:

Thanks to everyone who came to HDIF in Brixton on Friday night. It was an incredible night, for so many reasons - probably my favourite HDIF of the year so far. The weather that night was shocking - torrential downpours at some points - and I couldn't get a cab to the venue for love nor money. I finally got there on the dot of 9pm, and we managed to get the doors open about twenty minutes later, and then me and Alex sat on the front desk, chatting, looking out every so often at the monsoon-like weather, while "Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express" played in the background. I was convinced that no-one was going to venture out in this weather, but every so often the doors would fling open and little groups of sodden people would stumble in, all smiles and soggy hair, like - phew! - they'd made it through the storm. "Is it raining?" I'd ask. "Do you mind if we just carry on listening to the Go-Betweens?" Eventually I got up to play some records, and went through my seven inch singles box, pulling out some low key classics for early doors - "98.6" by Keith, "Northern Sky" by Nick Drake, "Three Quarters Blind Eyes" by Plush - and all felt well. I always say how much I love the first hour and a bit at the Canterbury, when it's just filling up and it feels more like the best pub in the world rather than a club night, tables of people nursing pints and talking over the week with me playing the part of the jukebox in the corner (blasting out my favourite song...), but it's true.

Liz and Ryan from the School put in an excellent set - I'll post their set list at the end of this - then it was my turn. I knew exactly what I was going to do for the first half before, because there was a special occasion to mark. Ed, a Team Tooting associate and HDIF regular since 2004 or so, was getting married the next day, and I'd said I'd play 30 mins of songs to send him on his way. The idea was that when he heard the last song of this mini set - we'd agreed on "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" - he and best man Tim would head off, ending one chapter and getting ready to start another. Here's what I played:

Chapel Of Love - "Goin' to the chapel and we're gonna get married."
William It Was Really Nothing - "Would you like to marry me? And if you like you can buy the ring."
You Never Can Tell - "It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well."
The State I'm In - "He stood up with a sailor friend/Made it known upon my sister's wedding day."
Wouldn't It Be Nice - "We could be married/And then we'd be happy."
Disco 2000 - "I never knew that you'd get married/I would be living down here on my own."
Jackson - "We got married in a fever."
Band Of Gold - Probably shouldn't have played this, but it's the first song I think of when someone mentions weddings! "Now that you're gone/All that is left is this band of gold."
It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) - "I feel fine...!"

And of course Ed and Tim and their friends went crazy for this half hour, and everyone else in the room joined in with them, picking up on the excitement somehow. The reaction to "Disco 200", in particular - probably because I only ever play Pulp on a special occasion - was amazing. It seemed to introduce a feeing of euphoria to the club that lasted for the rest of the night. Or maybe it just put me in a good mood. I don't know - but from where I was standing, it looked like there was lots and lots of happy chaos in the room.

And the mountain! How can I forget the mountain?! One of the things I loved about the back room at the Canterbury when we first started there was that it was a room full of character and eccentricity - the illuminated New York skyline, the fairground mirrors, the football shirts in frames, the green flock wallpaper. All that went a few years ago, but over the last couple of months those eccentricities have started to creep back. The night we couldn't do in July was a private family party at the Canterbury and they've left up the decorations from that - so there's spangly music notes and the like hanging from the ceiling, disco frenzy banners behind the stage, and a disco dancing man in a white suit on one of the walls. That was last month's additions. This month, a gigantic picture of a mountain has appeared right behind where I DJ. Why a mountain? Lord above knows. But it looks fantastic - totally out of place, but utterly right. So when someone asked me to play "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", how could I refuse?

My highlights:
"Hearts & Crosses" by Heavenly - Rapidly turning into my favourite Heavenly song. The pumping organ, the pure pop rush, totally dancable, magical.
"One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" by someone or other - Haven't played this soul classic at the club since 2003 I don't think. So long that I've no idea who it's by - there's just the song title on the compilation I made back then. But it's an amazing, amazing song - and when it kicks in, one of those songs you just have to dance to.
"Painting And Kissing" by Hefner - No stranger to HDIF, this song, but we've never had this reaction to it before - the entire dancefloor singing the keyboard part at the end. I let the song fade out to silence and everyone just carried on going!
"Runaway" by Del Shannon - I had something else cued up when I noticed this on the same home made comp. It was the perfect song for right then - just sounded malevolent, magnificent, totally unhinged, like pop from another planet.
"T-Shirt Weather" - glorious!
"I Could Be In Heaven" by The Flatmates - a packed dancefloor for this one!
"A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours" followed by "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
"Alone Again Or" followed by "There's Too Much Love In The World"

I better stop before I list the whole bloody set. Liz and Ryan, take it away...!

Francoise Hardy - Et Meme
El Perro Del Mar - Somebody's Baby
Tompaulin - My Life at the Movies
Mockingbird Wish Me Luck - New Beginnings
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - This Love is Fcking Right
Essex Green - I Don't Know Why (You Stay)
Speedmarket Avenue - Way Better Now
The Wave Pictures - I Love You Like a Madman
Hefner - Hello Kitten
Aztec Camera - Walk Out to Winter
Jens Lekman - Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names - Seems to Be on My Mind
Saturday Looks Good to Me - Til the World Stops Spinning
The Concretes - You Can't Hurry Love
Lauren Laverne & Mint Royale - Don't Falter
Velocette - Get Yourself Together
St Etienne - You're in a Bad Way
The Cardigans - Sick and Tired
The Vaselines - Son of a Gun
Heavenly - C is the Heavenly Option
Jacqueline Taieb - 7 Heures Du Matin
The Beatlettes - Only Seventeen
The Ronettes - Baby I Love You
The Shangri-Las - Sophisticated Boom Boom
The Velvelettes - Really Sayin' Something
Martha Reeves & the Vandellas - (Your Love is Like a) Heatwave
Shirley Ellis - The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)
Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep Mountain High
Lee Hazelwood - These Boots Are Made for Walking
Modern Lovers - Roadrunner

June 23rd:

Thanks to everyone who came to HDIF on Saturday. It started a little shakily, when we discovered that the left vinyl deck was playing in stereo while the right one was playing in mono (and at half the volume). Our guest Jon Slade DJs exclusively from vinyl, and he battled gamely with the dodgy decks before abandoning the right hand one entirely, and playing singles just on the left hand deck, expertly changing them over with only a little gap between tunes. It sounds a little ramshackle, but it was actually loads of fun - a throwback to the early days of DJ nights, when the DJ would only have one deck, and an MC would fill in between the songs. I mentioned this to Jon at the time, to which he replied: "OK, do you want to MC?" Um...thankfully we didn't have a mic, otherwise...I don't even want to think about what might have happened if we had a mic! Then it was me. My highlights:
* "Sod Off" by The Very Most. I've decided, in a fit of enthusiasm, to declare this HDIF's Single Of The Year (so far!). It's the first single I've heard for a long time that has the same punch as "Young Folks" or "Hey Lloyd" - even though it doesn't have much of a singalong chorus. This was the second time I've played "Sod Off" at HDIF and it went down a storm both times.
* "Going Up The Country" by Canned Heat. If you're wondering what we're doing playing a bunch of beardy long hairs at HDIF, then go back and remind yourself of this infectious pop gem of a single - which your local trainspotter will tell you has pretty much the same driving bassline as northern soul classic "I'm Coming Home In The Morning" (by Lou Pride). Ahem. Sorry, I'll get my anorak...
* "Your Fur" by teamAWESOME! - I've decided, in a fit of enthusiasm, to declare this HDIF's Single Of The Week (no contest!). I'd love this band for their name alone, but this song - a crazed mixture of Bright Eyes, Architecture In Helsinki and Black Kids - is irresistible.
* "Hey Lover" by Aislers Set. I still can't believe this isn't a long lost Shangri-Las classic.
* "Waiting For The Moon To Rise" by B&S. 2.45am - time to take the night to the bridge (as it were). What party classic do I choose to transport us to said water-spanning structure? This dreamy cut from "Fold Your Hands Child...", which has the dancefloor floating (kind of) for a magical three minutes or so.
* "Hold Onto My Baby" by The Cavaliers. My new favourite northern soul song. I'll be playing this footstomper again!

May 19th:

Thanks to everyone who came to HDIF on Saturday. A fantastic night, with an excellent guest set from Helen Love's Bubblegum Killers DJs. My highlights...
* "Sinnerman" by Nina Simone. All ten minutes of it. I've been wanting to do this for ages and ages, and right after "Holland 1945", the highpoint of our Neutral Milk Hotel tribute, seemed like the right time. An amazing, amazing song, so minimal yet charged with a spiritual fervour and an unstoppable momentum, a song that's closer to dance music than any of the indie pop or soul songs we usually play at the club. I knew this may well stop people in their tracks and sure enough the dancefloor was stunned for a moment. But what I loved was spotting little pockets of people getting caught up by the unearthly gospel charge of the song, throwing their hands to the heavens shouting "power!", dancing like fury. And I danced and I danced myself, even though I knew that this was probably my most self-indulgent HDIF moment of all time (even more so than the 12 minute live version of "What Goes On" that we played a few years back!). But then I also knew that the equally as redemptive power of "Sleep The Clock Around" was only a few minutes away...
* "I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar" by Jonathan Richman. Afterwards a guy came up and said "I've never heard that song outside of my bedroom. I can't believe you played that!" Played after seeing JoJo live at the Shepherd's Bush Empire last week.
* "Black And White Thunderbird" by The Delicates. A gorgeous rock'n'roll song, with the sweetest, lightest female vocals. I'm only slightly obsessed by it at the moment.
* "Sod Off" by The Very Most. From Boise, Idaho, comes this Factory-worshipping dancefloor smash.
* "Pink Frost" by The Chills. Played early doors, sounded fantastic.
* Plus, of course, all of "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea", over the course of the evening. With "Ghost" and "Untitled" played together being my favourite bit.

Talking of highlights, here's what the Bubblegum Killers played...

Flatmates - I Could Be In Heaven
Heavenly – Nous ne sommes pas des anges
Angelica – Teenage Girl Crush
Teen anthems – Welsh bands suck
The Pooh Sticks – I know someone who knows someone who knows Alan McGee quite well
The Buzzcocks – What do I get
The Undertones – Get over you
The Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop
Bay City Rollers – Saturday Night
Hello – New York Groove
Town Bike – I love Dougie from McFly
The Primitives - Crash
Kenickie – Come Out 2nite
The Indelicates – Our daughters will never be free
Tullycraft – 8 great ways
The Judy’s – All the pretty girls
Lucksmiths – Adolescent song of mindless devotion
The Parcels – Jessica’s Pancakes
Belle & Sebastian – Another sunny day
The Polyphonic Spree – Running Away
AGSFB – Samantha Secret Agent
The Pipettes – I like a boy in uniform (school uniform)
The School – Let it slip
Camera Obscura – Let’s get out of the country
American Breed – Bend me shape me
Nevada Sound – Gimme gimme good lovin’
Real McCoy – Round The Gum Tree
Freshmen – Let’s Dance
Angel – My boyfriend’s back
The Shangri-Las – Give him a great big kiss
The Shirelles – But will you love me tomorrow?
Hefner – Hello Kitten
Camper van Beethoven – Take the skinheads bowling
Tullycraft – Georgette plays a goth
Tallulah Gosh – Tallulah Gosh
Blondie – Sunday Girl (French version)
The Ramones – Do you wanna dance?
Super Love – Cardiff City Superstars (Wembley mix)

May 12th

There was huge excitement in the Butcher Boy camp this week, as the band made their US television debut. Their song, "I Know Who You Could Be", was played over the whole of the closing scene of episode 14 of the CBS show "Moonlight", starring Sofia Myles. You can see the scene here http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0NEFe4vduK0, and there's a free download of the song on the band's myspace page here http://www.myspace.com/butcherboymusic - and, of course it would be remiss of me not to mention that the song is available on the band's debut album, "Profit In Your Poetry", which you can buy direct from HDIF here - http://www.howdoesitfeel.co.uk/shop.html - and make the Man weep just that little bit harder. Butcher Boy are currently putting the finishing touches to their second album now. I've heard nine of the tracks and it's sounding incredible. I can't wait to hear the finished thing!

April 21st

Ah back from tour, and back at the Phoenix. My highlights from Saturday night.

* "Don't Worry Baby" by The Beach Boys. An email came through a few days before the club: "It's my boyfriend's birthday on Saturday and I was wondering if you could possibly play The Beach Boys' 'Don't Worry Baby' at some point cos it's his favourite song." It took a while for me to find the right moment - I wanted it to float out of the speakers, for time to almost slow down while it was playing - but we got there in the end, and it sounded magnificent. How does it feel to be loved? Exactly like this.
* "Better Ghost" by Butcher Boy. Another email pinged into my inbox, this time on Saturday afternoon. Butcher Boy were in the studio putting the finishing touches to their second album, and wondered if I'd like to hear a song. Wow. Even though the album's coming out on my label, I've yet to hear a note of what's been recorded, so this was a big moment. And, my oh my, what a song! A mere two minutes long, but absolutely perfect at that length - pristine jangle that builds in splendour as it goes on, the gossamer shuffle beat putting a spring in your step in an instant. Played at 1.30am,
to a packed dancefloor, it sounded wonderful. Once everyone knows what it is, it'll sound even better. Can't wait to hear the rest of the album.
* "Go Go Power" by Sugar Pie DeSanto. Another email, another request, another gift from up above. Supercharged soul dancer that got everyone shaking.
* "Canada" by Low followed by "Canada" by The Field Mice!
* "Foggy Notion" by the Velvets followed by "Something's Got A Hold Of Me" by Etta James. It doesn't really get any better than these two songs next to each other. I live for pairings like this. I must confess to having a moment while these were playing.
* "Suspended From Class" by Camera Obscura. Just sounded glorious.
* "I Cry Because Of You Argentina" by Chocolate Barry. From Malmo with love.

April 12th

Sitting in the venue in Copenhagen now, a fantastic little bar called Din Nye Ven, that's pretty much how I'd have a bar if I ever opened one. They've done it perfectly - open brickwork on one wall, small exhibition of local art, little bookshelves and odd art bits and pieces everywhere, tables with candles on, a table football in the corner, a small stage in another corner (bands play here - Ladybug Transistor are coming up), free wi-fi, and a little DJ booth thing that's yellow with white polka dots, capacity about 80 if everyone breathes in. The floor is concrete with metal strips running the length, making it look like they've built the bar over some tram lines. Apparently, there's a cesspit underneath here, so the metal's to strengthen the floor. Let's hope we don't boom shake the room too much tonight or could all end up - quite literally, ho ho - in the shit.

Fantastic night last night in Malmo. I love Retro, and Daniel is an excellent host. I had a hotel room and a bed - oh bliss - and a chance to rest before the night began. I decided to walk to the venue and the heavens opened as I trudged through the shopping streets with my record bags. I stood under a shop front, my coat getting heavier, the city map sodden, watching everyone scurry past in the rain, the lights twinkling. There's something about Scandinavian cities - even in the pouring rain, they look so beautiful.

The night went really really well. Lots of chaos in the room. I don't want to list any highlights as I'll probably play some of the same things tonight. We'll see. I've got a good feeling about this one.

April 11th

Just typing this on the train from Gotheburg to Malmo, a three hour run alongside forests, rivers, wooden houses and landscape that couldn't look more Swedish if it was painted blue and yellow. Of all the things on this mini-tour, I was actually looking forward to this train trip the most - to see a bit of the countryside while luxuriating in a state of the art Swedish train. I took a train from Copenhagen to Aarhus a few years ago and it was heavenly - amazing views and a sleek and spotless train. Alas, the usual train that does this run is off sick or something, so we have a replacement train which looks like it last saw service on Network South East in the Eighties. It has the same filthy windows, the same faded seats - not at all Swedish, to my mind! Still, the view, what I can see of it, is gorgeous. Oh look - some more trees! Another wooden house. Repeat to fade.

Last night at Mint Condition in Gothenburg was lots and lots of fun - more fun than I'd expected, to be honest. I'm never that sure about DJ-ing with bands. Usually you're just providing music for people to chat over and then everyone goes home after the last band has played. But last night, despite it being a Thursday which isn't a party night in Gothenburg apparently, people stayed and danced and generally had a wild time - until precisely 1.45am, 15 mintues before close, when everyone suddenly went home. I can only imagine there was a last tram to catch. Either that, or The Field Mice aren't as popular in Sweden as I'd been led to believe. I ended up playing "Black Cab" by Jens Lekman, a song - do you see?? - about going home after a night out in Gothenburg, to a handful of diehards. It made me happy, and possibly one or two other people as well.

Ealier, I'd played "Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo", not being entirely sure how it would go down. Maybe people from Gothenburg had heard plenty of their city's most famous son and would walk off the dancefloor in disgust. Happily no - he's, quite rightly, a floorfiller in his hometown. Although one girl did come up to me and say "Who's this?" "It's Jens Lekman. He's from Gothenburg." "Who?" "Jens Lekman!! He's from Gothenburg!!" "How do you spell it?" Next week my coal business sends a sales team to Newcastle.

The two bands were excellent. The Greencoats are a simple prospect on paper - a sixties garage rock'n'roll drone band, the kind of group we've seen plenty of in the past. But they manage to marry their Stooges/Nuggets schtick with a howling, deliciously intense guitar sound that I haven't heard since the glory days of MBV and Loop. Club AC30 - if you're reading this, your next signings are right here! The headliners were Bonnie And Clyde, a bunch of early twentysomethings who reminded me of The Deirdres from Derby - they had that same handclappy exhuberance and madcap charm. They're becoming big news in Sweden I'm told, and you can see why, although the best crowd reaction on this occassion was reserved for the blazing racket of The Greencoats.

So that's it - my visit to Gothenburg is over. I spent yesterday afternoon wandering around varoius record shops with Neils, who co-runs the Mint Condition with Bobby from Irene, talking about regional accents and jazz and whatnot, taking photos for a page on the city for the Indie Travel Guide. Not long til Malmo now. Current view out of the window - a lake, lots of trees, some wooden houses, some more trees. Bliss.

April 6th:

A great night at the Canterbury Arms. I thought that it would be a quiet one, what with the Gresham Flyers/Arthur And Martha double header at Bardens and Offline at the Albert on the same night, but we had a decent crowd in the end. Andrew and Ali turned in a fantastic set of dancers - including "Sir Duke", which I've never heard at HDIF before, and "Jolene", both to a packed dancefloor. In fact, I had a moment where I stood at the side watching everyone dancing to "Jolene", wondering where else in London you'd find a full room grooving to Dolly Parton. Then it was me. My highlights:

* "Hold Me Closer" by Hefner. One of those wonderful HDIF moments, where a song builds slowly but certainly and everyone just goes along with it, with some ecstatic souls singing every word. Just perfect.
* "Canto de Ossanha (Let Go)" by Astrud Gilberto. The kind of song that I alight upon when there's enough chaos in the room. Sounded magnificent.
* "You! Me! Dancing!" by Los Campesinos. Including the full build up, just for that extra bit of hysteria. It worked perfectly:: people started cheering the song, singing the chorus, clapping along, all while it was that lone note of feedback. Fantastic.
* "I Feel Fine" by The Beatles. More gorgeously pitched feedback.
* "Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow" by Felt. Glorious.

March 27th:

I'm doing two HDIFs in Sweden and one in Denmark in the next few weeks. I'm looking forward to them immensely. Please come along if you can!

Thursday 10th April
Mint Condition @ Pusterviksbaren, Gothenburg
Two bands live TBA.
DJ's: Me + Mint Condition DJs
Time 9pm- 2am
Age 20 years
Entrance 60 SEK

Friday 11th April
So Tough! So Cute!
Retro, N Skolgatan 24, Malmö
DJs: Me and Daniel from So Tough! So Cute!
Time: 11pm-3am
Age: 20 years (18years+ are welcome if they mail ahead to be put on a guest list)
Entrance: Free admittance

Saturday 12th April
Pop Revo
Dinnyeven, Copenhagen
DJs: Me and Søren and DJ Drogba from Pop Revo
Time: 9pm-2am

March 17th:

My highlights from Saturday:

* Fairnt Charm by Aislers Set - An excellent request and a beautiful song - I had a bit of moment during the last minute where everything just comes together, the jangling guitar, the soft organ, the lilting trumpet...just gorgeous.
* All Day And All Of The Night by Los Straightjackets - Brilliant Spanish language version of the Kinks classic.
* Back To Black by Banjo Or Freakout - Played early doors, this spaced out re-imagining of the Amy Winehouse song has to be heard to be believed. The work of an Italian man living in Hackney who appears to be a kindred spirit of Kevin Shields. He'll be very big indeed if he's got more stuff like this up his sleeve.
* I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying by the Miracles - Smokey at his shoe-shuffling best.
* Still Ill (from Hatful Of Hollow) followed by Love Me Do - Inspired by this excellent BBC4 documentary on the history of the harmonica - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b0094zrl.shtml?src=ip_mlt - a double dose of harmonica love.
* You've Been Gone Too Long by Ann Sexton - Haven't played this northern classic for years - sounded glorious.
* Love Goes On by The Go-Betweens - Played as the final song at 3am. Perfect.

March 10th:

Last Friday! My highlights...

* "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)" by The Byrds - I had a bit of a moment to this one. It sounded so magical and so beautiful - a little sunburst of perfection. I stood watching everyone dancing to it, just in awe of it all.
* "My Wandering Days Are Over" followed by "I Don't Love Anyone". No more standing watching for this - I was out on the floor with everyone else.
* "Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife (While The Bubbles Bounce About Above The Water)" by Shirley Ellis. I've been meaning to play this for ages. A loveable tonguetwister that makes me smile every time I hear it.
* "Victoria" by The Fall followed by "All Day And All Of The Night" by The Kinks. Victooooori-ah!
* "The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart" by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Shoegaze meets dream pop - "Christine" by the House Of Love skyrocketed into the 21st century. Excellent stuff.
* "The Day That Thatcher Dies" by Hefner. "Even though we know it’s not right/We will dance and sing all night." A text came in at 12.15am: "Thatcher's just been admitted to hospital..." Followed by "A Ghost In My House" by R Dean Taylor.

February 11th:

Thanks to everyone who came to our vinyl special on Friday. It was a mad night. As promised I left my CDs and CD player at home and instead turned up with a back-breaking haul of vinyl, both sevens and albums. As I kept saying for the first hour and a half, it was like being handed a new club - I had a ball going through my old vinyl, digging out dusty favourites ("Carwash Hair"! "June Rhyme" by the Stingrays), and stuff I've never played before (Galaxie 500!). And then for my post midnight set, what I had on vinyl changed the tone of the club slightly - of the soul stuff, I had mostly big Motown hits, so that's what I pulled out. And the reaction was fantastic - lots of dancing, singing, and general chaos in the room. I remember looking up at one point and just seeing everyone going berserk. It was a great sight!

My highlights:

Reach Out" by Bill Cosby - that's right, that Bill Cosby. A bonkers version of the Four Tops classic, from the man's bizarre album of soul covers.
"I Don't Want To Be Friends With You" by Shop Assistants - I should play this more often, a fantastic reaction to this indie classic!
"Twist And Shout" by The Beatles - on seven inch, sounding raw as anything, really kicked off a spark of excitement.
"Rusholme Ruffians", off "Rank" - Moz singing "His Latest Flame" before getting stuck in.
"Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye. First HDIF airing for this - great way to end the night.
"You Made Me Realise" - our live link up song, sounding as deranged and brilliant as always.

January 30th:

Thanks to everyone who came to HDIF at the 100 Club on Saturday night. It was an amazing night, and one I'm still trying to get my head around. Being tucked away in the far corner, it was hard for me to tell how it was going in the rest of the venue, especially over by the bar. So if you have any photos of the night, I'd love to see them - links to flickr sets and the like would be fantastic. My highlights:

* Magic Of A Kind Word by Belle & Sebastian - First airing for this at HDIF and what a storming song. I loved bouncing around singing along to this one.
* Safety Net by Shop Assistants - Ah, the noise and the rumble! Sounded magnificent really loud!
* Have Love Will Travel by the Headcoatees. It was great to see everyone grooving to this girl garage treat.
* Disc-Hoe by Those Dancing Days. Another girl pop treat, this time from Sweden.
* Never Understand by Tralala. And another girl pop treat, this being a cover of the Mary Chain classic by an American garage band.
* And of course, all of "The Queen Is Dead"! A HDIF milestone I think!

January 22nd:

So here we are then - HDIF at the 100 Club. I've dreamed of doing this for years and years. Wondered if we could dare have the club at such an important, historic venue; worried about booking the place and then no-one turning up; all the usual stuff that I fret and beat myself up about. "You take it all too seriously," said Alex on New Year's Eve. He's right of course. But I can't help it. I don't want to help it.

It's not just the string of legendary bands and artists that have played the 100 Club - the Stones, the Pistols, the Clash, the Kinks, Jackie Wilson, Nico, so many more. It's not just that it's home to the inspirational 6Ts northern soul all-nighter - the club that HDIF wants to be when it grows up. It's the fact that of all the venues in London, this is only one left with a clear, untouched, connection to the past. When you walk in the club on Saturday night, you'll see it exactly how Jackie Wilson saw it, how Nico saw it, how Billie Holiday saw it when she went to the jazz nights there. Think of all the other classic dancehalls and venues in London - Hammersmith Palais, the Clarendon Ballroom, the Marquee, the Roxy, the Rainbow and so on. They've all gone. The Roundhouse lives on, but it's not the same as it was when the Ramones played there in 1976. There's Ally Pally I suppose, but it's not the same either. While the rest of the world succumbs to vulgar branding and pointless refurbishments, the 100 Club stands alone, smack bang in the middle of London, like the last soldier fighting the good fight. It's an honour to be allowed through the doors. I hope we do them proud.

January 21st:

My highlights from Saturday night:

* "Abba On The Jukebox" by Trembling Blue Stars. I was running late, as always, so much so that I was still setting up and sorting out my CDs after the doors were open and people were coming in for an early drink and a chat. Jyoti, as genial and laid-back as ever, watched me buzz around like a lunatic, before offering a suggestion. "Why don't you put on 'Abba On The Jukebox'? That's 9 minutes long." A hop, skip and a gorgeous blast from the past later and I was ready.
* "Hazey Jane II" by Nick Drake. An early HDIF favourite, played for Lisa. Watching a packed West End dancefloor groove to this at 2.30am made me very happy indeed.
* "Outdoor Miner" by Wire. Another early HDIF fave, again for Lisa. "I'm in that kind of mood," she'd informed me. Sounded magnificent.
* "10.15 Saturday Night" by the Cure. Played, purely by accident, at 10.15. On a Saturday night. And the tap drips. Under the strip light. (Unfortunately, I wasn't sitting in the kitchen sink, but you can't have everything.)
* "Jeane, If You're Ever In Portland" by Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. In celebration of having tickets for his Bush Hall show. Hurrah!
* "Your Woman" by White Town. I don't usually play a song by the guest DJ, but I couldn't resist this. Another packed dancefloor for this classic.
* "Jackie" by Scott Walker. Final song, lots of emotional balladering on the dancefloor, the perfect way to bow out.

January 3rd:

I always find NYE a pretty stressful affair. I worry about it for days beforehand, and then in the run up to the bells I'm a bag of nerves, worried that something will go wrong. On this occasion, I was playing my planned set of tunes to take us into the new year when I realised that we were going to hit 2008 about four minutes early. Eeeeek! God knows how I'd managed to mess up that calculation, but I threw in a few extra songs and we got there in the end...! Here are my highlights:
* Que Sera Sera by Doris Day at midnight. I was worried and excited about this one. If it worked, it would be wonderful. If it didn't, I'd be facing a dancefloor full of puzzled faces. I played it at home again and again trying to work out if it would work...and then thought I should just go for it. And of course, it all went beautifully - everyone singing along, waving their arms in the air, and enjoying the sentiment and the moment. The start of a new year. Whatever will be will be. Then as someone shouted "Happy New Year", the opening chords of "Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying" sauntered into view. Perfect.
* Holland 1945 followed by Age Of Aquarius. I swore I'd never play this song again after it was such a storming highlight in 2006, but I felt that a yearand a half was time enough. And I liked the way the two songs - the fuzzedi ndie folk chaos of Holland 1945 and the airy rock opera madness of Age Of Aquarius - meshed together, both equally as unhinged but in very differentways. But really both of those songs are just an excuse to get to the second half of the second song, Let The Sunshine In, which is just astonishing. A bassline to die for, soaring soul vocals, and a chorus that makes me glow.Usual apologies if you tried to talk to me during this song. I was having a momemt. Ahem.
* Blue Monday. I couldn't let the year go by without another tribute to Tony Wilson. Brighter by the Railway Children got an airing earlier in the nightas well.
* Beginning To See The Light. A special occasion song for a special occasion.
* Everything Flows. A night of classics. There's something about the open-ended magnificence of this that's perfect for New Year's Day I think.I'll never know which way to flow/Set a course that I don't know.
* Black Minds, White Lies. He sees stars...!

January 1st:

HDIF poll 2007 results

Album Of The Year

Cats On Fire, “The Province Complains”
Butcher Boy, “Profit In Your Poetry”
Saturday Looks Good To Me, “Fill Up The Room”
Of Montreal, “Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?”
Au Revoir Simone, “The Bird Of Music”
LCD Soundsystem, “Sound Of Silver”
The National, “Boxer”
Arcade Fire, “Neon Bible”
The Hold Steady, “Boys And Girls In America”
Jens Lekman, “Night Falls Over Kortedala”

Single Of The Year

Los Campesinos!, “You Me Dancing!”
Jens Lekman, “Friday Night At The Drive In Bingo”
LCD Soundsystem, “All My Friends”
Those Dancing Days, “Those Dancing Days”
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, “This Love Is Fucking Right”
Black Kids, “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You”
Of Montreal, “Hemdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse”
Feist, “One Two Three Four”
Camera Obscura, “Tears For Affairs”
Butcher Boy, “Girls Make Me Sick”

Gig Of The Year

Edwyn Collins at Arts Theatre
Butcher Boy/Cats On Fire at Luminaire
Saturday Looks Good To Me/Lucky Soul/The School at Jamm
Joanna Newsom at Albert Hall
The Besties at The Windmill
Low at the Spitz
Ballboy at the Luminaire
Voxtrot at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen
Martha Reeves at Jazz Café

Guest DJ Of The Year

Kevin Rowland
David Gedge
Darren Hayman
Bobby from Irene
John Blain Hunt (Butcher Boy)

Who You’d Like To See DJ at HDIF
Cats On Fire
Kevin Rowland again

Also mentioned
Gregory Webster
Mattias from CosyDen
Johan of Acid House Kings
Stevie Jackson
Norman Blake
Hot Chip
Black Kids
Marc Riley
Martin Freeman
Jarvis Cocker
Kevin Barnes
Camera Obscura
Tim Gane or anyone from McCarthy
Belle & Sebastian
Tali White
Nicky Wire
David Kitchen (before Bowlie closes)
Jimmy Carr
Ten Year Plan(ners)
The Bobby McGees
Long Blondes
Shop Assistants
Bobby Baby
Ray Davies
Stars of Aviation
Martha Reeves
Guy Chadwick
Terry Bickers,
Squirrel Nut Zippers
Ric Menck
Matthew (Big Pink Cake)
Russ Winstanley
Rob Da Bank
Claire Wadd
Ed Ball
Jim Reid
Jake Shillingford

Thanks everyone for a fantastic 2007. Here's to the year ahead. I've got a feeling it's going to be a good one.

2007's weblog is right here

2006's weblog is right here

2005's weblog is right here

2004's weblog is right here

2003's weblog is right here

2002's weblog is right here

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