CMU Playlists

Playlist: The Leisure Society

By | Published on Wednesday 13 March 2013

The Leisure Society

The Leisure Society founder Nick Hemming was previously a member of noise-rock band The Telescopes and indie outfit She Talks To Angels – the latter with film director Shane Meadows and actor Paddy Considine, leading to his music appearing in Meadows’ films ‘A Room For Romeo Brass’ and ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’. He then founded The Leisure Society in 2006, after moving to London and beginning to work with multi-instrumentalist Christian Hardy.

In 2009, The Leisure Society self-released their debut album, ‘The Sleeper’, a month later finding a song from it, ‘The Last Of The Melting Snow’, nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. The album was quickly snapped up by the Full Time Hobby label and reissued. The following year another song from the album, ‘Save It For Someone Who Cares’, also received an Ivor Novello nomination.

Next month, on 1 Apr, the band release their third album, ‘Alone Aboard The Ark’, the first single from which, ‘Fight For Everyone’, is released on 25 Mar. The album release will be followed up by a UK tour, which will wind up at Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s Southbank on 25 Apr.

Ahead of that, we asked the band – so Hemming and Hardy along with drummer Bas Hankins, flautist Helen Whitaker and violin player Mike Siddell – to put together a playlist for us, which they did very democratically, choosing two songs each.

Of their selections, Hemming explained: “The music you hear when you’re growing up leaves an indelible mark on your heart and in your brain. I can remember feeling stranded at school, impatiently counting the hours until I could go home and listen to Guns N Roses ‘Appetite For Destruction’ on a loop. As I get older I find those moments, when a new song becomes all-consuming, are increasingly rare, so it’s really special when something comes along that makes you want to listen again and again… and again. Here are a few songs – one old/one new each – that have dominated our eardrums”.

Subscribe to this playlist on Spotify, and then read on to find out more about the band’s choices.

01 Deerhunter – Helicopter
Nick: A beautiful, moving vocal on top of wonderfully textured, dreamlike instrumentation. And great use of the Suzuki Omnichord too.

02 The Jam – Town Called Malice
Nick: Uplifting dancefloor pop hits that also have incredible lyrics are few and far between. If Motown had employed Philip Larkin to write their lyrics this would have been the result.

03 LA2019 – Living Among Us
Christian: I heard this track on Jon Hillcock’s ever-reliable podcast which I run to, listening out for new music that turns my head. I love the whole LA2019 EP. Tom Skyrme is the chap. He seems to have a healthy mix of obsessive attention to detail and an ear for great melodies. All covered in analogue synths. Right up my street.

04 Tim Buckley – Dolphins
Christian: I first saw this on an ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ DVD I got for Christmas. As an avid Jeff Buckley fan I hadn’t yet seen or heard his father apart from references to him in interviews and songs. When I hear him deliver this song (and I’m watching it in bed right now as it happens) I’m always incredibly moved. There’s so much raw power, control, emotion and sadness in it. It’s a damn sexy performance too.

05 Dusty Springfield – I Think It’s Going To Rain Today
Bas: A friend of mine played me this on a tour bus saying it was the best piece of music he’d discovered in a long time. It really blew my mind – I’d not really heard anything like it. The arrangement is incredible with a huge dynamic range. It could be a film score, a pop single, a jazz standard, anything, and Dusty’s voice delivers the lyrics beautifully.

06 Everything Everything – Weights
Bas: This song has everything I like in a conventional pop song. It succeeds in being interesting and challenging whilst always remaining accessible. I love the production of it and the chordal harmony at the climactic end.

07 Cat Power – The Greatest
Helen: I love the laid back feel to this whole album, and this track really captures the perfect combination of a sensitive approach to arrangement with the effortless beauty of Chan Marshall’s voice.

08 The Ink Spots – Whispering Grass
Helen: I adore this song. The sweetness of the lead vocals and the harmony are charming, and I really like the nostalgic sound of the recording. Even though it first recorded over 70 years ago, it has a timeless quality, and the simplicity of the arrangement really lets the intimate nature of the song shine through.

09 Elliot Smith – Waltz No 2
Mike: I couldn’t leave this song out. It blew me away the first time I heard it and gets better with every listen. So beautiful and sad at the same time.

10 Metronomy – The Look
Mike: The arrangement of this song is so stripped back, simple and brilliant for it. Metronomy do that so well. There’s nothing there that doesn’t need to be. It’s perfect.