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Outsideleft Week in Music We're hearing from Perfume Genius, IKLAN, Matt Berry, Tasha, The Streets, Jimbo Mathus & Andrew Bird, Nils Frahm, Third Horizon, Wau Wau Collectif, The Breeders and way more...

Outsideleft Week in Music

We're hearing from Perfume Genius, IKLAN, Matt Berry, Tasha, The Streets, Jimbo Mathus & Andrew Bird, Nils Frahm, Third Horizon, Wau Wau Collectif, The Breeders and way more...

by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent
first published: March, 2021
Groove on these, groovers!

Recordings. Lots of them. Every week. Memorable? Will they be remembered? In twelve days? Twelve Weeks? Twelve months? That's imperial thinking. --Toon Traveler


 

SINGLES  

UNIFORM
Shame - Zombie Remix
(Bandcamp)
What to say...  Ponderous, and slow, not too sure what the message is. Like listening to Darth Vadar on vocals and found myself thinking where is Luke Skywalker when you need him? My god maybe Darth Won, "The Dark side have taken over". BUT hey it’s just 5 mins of time, a sliver of music, a nanosecond of experience. Many will like this - but it's not for a "dark thoughts" day, that's for sure. --Toon Traveler


MATT BERRY
Aboard
(Acid Jazz)
I had a dream earlier in the week that I’d bought a Mellotron (see “Strawberry Fields Forever”) for $1000 sight unseen, only to find it disassembled, impossibly huge and strewn about an abandoned department store down the street from my mom’s house, and on cue, comic genius and and creator of one of 2020’s best albums (Phantom Birds) Matt Berry emerges with two minutes of resplendent instrumental psychedelia (I’d bet he’s got and is using a Mellotron that probably once belonged to Donovan or something) worthy of said haunted department store’s Muzak. --Alex V. Cook


TASHA
Would You Mind Pulling Me Close
(Father/Daughter)
This came just as I felt I could no longer use the forcefield of my imagination to hold the real world at bay. Tasha’s gentle revolution is as beautiful, emotionally enervating, and musically almost as sparing as ever. Maybe there’s a little more dabbling with a few extra instruments for drama. But not much of enough to sully everything else. Would you mind pulling me close? Probably while I tell you, if I could do it again, I’d do everything differently. --Ancient Champion


PERFUME GENIUS
Describe - AG Cooks remix
(Bandcamp)
Great intro on this one, love the percussion, and the distant hazy vocal, sorta apt for a waking up on a rain lashing window Saturday. The rapid fire rain drops, siren effects, and soar away vocal, hesitantly hopeful of a spring summer, the sopping synth and ah-ah-ah-ah hint of a swallows return. Yep a slightly discordant but good sound to wake up to, the waking, rising, showering, ready for a rainy day in rainy city --Toon Traveler


IKLAN (FEATURING LAW HOLT)
Funny Man
(Soulpunk)
IKLAN’s Album #1 was one of the sonic standouts of 2020, and now back so soon with the opening salvo from Album #2. A spare, vibrato soaked, feedbacked encroached shadowbox framing vocalist Law Holt’s righteous troubled/troubling and careworn/dignified and despairing without despair, rage, at… Well who is the Funny Man? Not a Gotham cartoon character. “I’ve never seen so much death, You get away with all the things you do...” Soon we’ll be at banality of evil levels of mendacity, here, where we are. And all the while, the guitar, the soaked guitar, someone’s over there, a protest singer singing about it... Imagine the Velvets rolling out Jesus at a Southern Prayer breakfast. You’re getting there now. Undeniably Beautiful, painful, scary and essential.  --Lee Paul


HOOVERII
Cindy 
(Reverberation Appreciation Society)
Epically big and insistent guitars and I’d like to know how they did that. A touch of the Rain Parade’s from Hooverii, me thinks. Pastel sound sweeps - echoing vocals, high on class, low on understandability but it's the slow sweep of sound, the gentle build inward and introspective, thoughtful and reflective one. To be used for  - home at the end of a hard day wet with rain, stress sweat soaked, travel soaked, clothes off, towel down, scented candle lit, back lying, resting floating on air above the ocean's of problems, light as feather, calm as sunbathing butterfly, lie rest float an enjoy just - being. --Toon Traveler


GUY BLAKESLEE
For America
(Entrance)
For America is taken from Guy Blakeslee’s cassette and streaming long player, Double Vision and opens with backwards keyboards, a swirling splash of colour, trembling piano. A solitary voice rolls and trembles through the piece, a story in three phases, the piano leads and fades, last rays of sun ahead of the third phase, water bouncing on stones, orange lights starlings swirl on the wing one to relax to, drift to another place, another time, great at the end of the day, full of contemplation, and imagination - a great piece to finish that second cup of breakfast of coffee and ponder, where do we go next. --Toon Traveler


THE STREETS
Whose Got The Bag
(Island Records)
The Streets are back with a bang I guess, but for me they’ve never really been away since never listened to them. I’ve seen album posters, seen they’re headlining on a festival poster.  but not aware of their music. Maybe I could pre-review old music... Whose Got The Bag - are they taking the piss, a load of cut and mixed music, sounds like a deliberate attempt to destroy their image, the tune a annoying 70's synth, and fake mockney cockney accent.  21st of June, 21st of June, it can’t come and pass, and be forgotten too soon. Hopefully before june. This is a waste of storage space. --Toon Traveler


CRUMB
Trophy
(Streaming)
Lovely slow slinky soft beat shuffle. Walking with your ear buds on works. Streets blocked, alone with a voice that tells love, but in "I don't really care tone". Sad yes, but passing that stage, sorta drifts, going somewhere and going nowhere, captures the sense of small town window shopping on a COVID closed October wet Thursday afternoon in a rundown town. That’s Crumb.  --Toon Traveler


GRAHAM COSTELLO
Circularity
(Gearbox Records)
Love Graham Costello, love the intro very, very Jan Gaberek ECM's Norwegian Sax colossus, slow pensive cymbal driven crescendo, minor key piano, suggests winter in New England, sun rise on a frosted lake, music to make you shiver, not in fear, not even in the physical cold of a Northern latitude's golden light on a silver pond. But in the beauty of a revelation, a perfect moment, when the flights of birds, flights of fantasy, delights in memory, within touching distance, hopes all feel possible floating on the breeze of the piano's last slowly drowning notes. If he’d left it at the opening piano it would’ve been the s/t to gratuitous lingering on a diabolical Scandi murder scene. He didn’t.  I loved it at breakfast time anyway. --Toon Traveler


NILS FRAHM
About Coming and Leaving and Nils Has a New Piano 
(Erased Tapes) 
It's nearly time for the annual 'Piano Day' (March 29th...it's already in your diary isn't it?). A worldwide event that is supported by all kinds of piano lovers,  performers, composers, and, of course, listeners.  Furthermore, one of the events' most vocal organisers, Nils Frahm, has released a pair of delicate and meditative piano pieces that are more refreshing than a subscription to a series of mindfulness apps.

If last month's 'O I End' was the soundtrack to a Spring downpour, then 'About Coming and Leaving'  is watching those raindrops slide down the windowpane afterwards.  It is that exquisite happy/sad moment.   Released separately, 'Nils Has a New Piano' is in a similar vein to those Satie- esque numbers on the album 'Screws' that was (for many), our introduction to him. It is a transcendental joy. Happy Piano Day ! -- Jason Lewis 


THE GARY
The Info
(Act Your Age Records / Sinkhole Texas)
The Info is taken from the EP, Fallow, The Gary’s first new music in 7 years and is in my observation a type of spare simple music, nobly redolent of the late LOU REED’s - New York LP era sounds... - Stories not really sung, The Info is more a prose piece, observation on life and life’s problem. Some will love it's stripped back simplicity, one chord, two chords, and occasionally risky third chord. The music plods, not in a nasty way, not annoying, but not enticing. Diary music, reflections on a day, elsewhere others are telling the same story with more verve and more of cold eyed cynicism that the themes deserve. --Toon Traveler


CRAIG FINN
Wild Animals
(Partisan)
From the recent Partisan Records collection, All These Perfect Crosses, Craig Finn’s natural poetry floats above semi acoustic and brass infused concoction. Come on, who can resist “A Dominican restaurant and a difficult dress, With burlap and feathers pushed up against mesh...” One to add to my playlist of songs concerning clothes to some greater or lesser extent. It’s pretty and it’s delightful. There are of course Willy Vlautin not so bad just born loser characters on the periphery and you gotta feel for them because they’re gonna get drawn in. Like I have been.  --Ancient Champion


THIRD HORIZON
Spectres Traversing Realms
(Third Horizon)
The newest track from Third Horizon, Spectres Traversing Realms, is an epic synth and string affair. If it’s cinemascopic in its sweeping and regal appeal, it’s the blown up IMAX for sure. The choral layers are spectacular. And while I am attempting to reign in my pleonasm picked up from hanging out with science undergrads who defined every experiment three ways, there’s little on the horizon like Third Horizon, maybe they’re there with Godspeed You! Black Emperor or the Boards of Canada or something. Something very unique . --Ancient Champion


GWEN STEFANI
Slow Clap
(Interscope)
Written, produced, and released only to appear relevant and on the charts. --Alarcon


BLACKABY
No Long Grass
(Hive)
This great power pop reminds me of the Lightning seeds, or Supergrass, lovely song, full of hope and summer promise, love the guitar middle 8, very happy sounds, could be the 60s UK Hipsters, turned social commentators, The Kinks, or a pop version of ‘80s baggie Manchester, a sound that's just a feel good piece of pop.  If we had outside jukeboxes in the UK this is perfect for those meet your mates for those "done the garden, cleaned the windows, been to the garage" quick couple of pints, sunny Saturday gig in the park. If they make it to the TYNE BAR in Newcastle  - July, August - I'm there perfect pop and pints, what's not to like? --Toon Traveler


NICK WATERHOUSE
B. Santa Ana 1986
(Innovative Leisure)
Great ‘60s west coast beach surfer sound, almost pre Tamla beat, ‘60s soul meets surf rock vocals, love the retro feel, simple song, driven along a beach hmm, more like hanging at the soda pop stall, but a real happy retro song. A tribute, an homage to days past, faded and almost forgotten, not a halcyon retro look back, more a celebration of days gone, and this reminds some of days gone, and some of days they'd have wanted to live, but never will, this will sound great on a California beach bum Compilation, 20 Surfs Up With A Big Wave vol 1? --Toon Traveler


THE BREEDERS
The Dirt Eaters
(4AD)
“The Dirt Eaters” is The Breeders’ contribution to 4AD’s latest compilation LP: Bills & Aches & Blues. The track is a cover of an obscure His Name Is Alive song off an even more obscure EP, as are all the other songs on Bills & Aches & Blues. The Deal sisters’ version stays true to the original, only with more distance and gloom, which really gives lyrics like “I'd eat all the dirt in this yard for you / And all the dogbones too” an extra gut punch. The Breeders --Alarcon


 

EP's 


THE HORRORS
The Lout
(Moog)
I alluded to it a couple weeks ago in this very same column that you never really know what kind of Horrors record you’re going to get. The Southend-on-Sea five-piece will mix up genres at will, and with The Lout (their first release in almost four years), they’ve taken cues from hardcore industrial, which sounds like a contradiction. I won’t lie to you -- The Lout is not easy listening. It’s the kind of music you blast when you’re having really carnal sex or you’re DJ a house party and you want to inject a shot of adrenaline into the atmosphere. --Alarcon


 

LP's


DAN BLAKE
Da Fe
(Sunnyside Records)
Cards on table I am a huge Jazz Fan, from 50's 60s kool Jazz to the 'out there Avant garde sounds across the streams today. The only exceptions, the Wynton Marsellies retro - note - for note revivals. That said and stated, this piece offers a beautifully delivered balanced interplay between sax and piano. I’m loving the high end splash cymbals, well spaced sound clear as a bell and lovely wandering soaring sax, full life and playfulness. Ahhh, these delights for a summer day, a long train ride, a  seat at home and some contemplation. A great piece of Jazz, brilliant in the morning, alive in the afternoon, kicking in the evening - Jazz for all people at any time of the day even "wine o' clock". --Toon Traveler
(Soundcloud - no embed code!)


PREFUSE 73
The Failing Institute of Drums and Other Percussion
(Bandcamp)
Groove on this, groovers! This is vol. 4 of a series from the groop/person/whatever Prefuse 73 is and I haven’t listened to the others yet, but wow. If you need a little Martin Denny mixed in your Steve Reich, a splash of pina colada mix in your pill sorter, this undulating wonder of vibraphones and vibes in general is the thing. --Alex V. Cook


JIMBO MATHUS & ANDREW BIRD
These 13
(Wegawam)
“Poor Lost Souls'' indeed. Mathus sings about Los Angeles as if he is sitting on a Yazoo City bus stop, surrounded by new dreams and the shattered chunks of old ones. “Sweet Oblivion” gets that folk blues groove going with Bird’s fiddle in full effect, swooping elegant like a vulture for roadkill on the shoulder.  Full album review is here. --Alex V. Cook


PAUL STUCKEY
Just Causes
(Neworld Multimedia)
Paul Stuckey has probably earned the right to do whatever he wants and wow does Rip Van Winkle live. 15 Songs for 15 Just Causes was inspired by Newman’s Own dressing. Good Causes of course but musically, this sounds like a "just got back from Woodstock" moment. Happy and clappy and packed with wonderful sentiment. I love the vibe, the get out there, be happy, live in the moment, in Western Europe's meteorological, (STORM A COMING),  political (BREXIT), Medical (COVID), social (RACISM in the Royal family)... These songs are a real ray of light, but really only if you’re feeling the sun of hope already. If you're on an upward mood curve, as Sly sang  "I wanna take you higher," for you this is a delightful gem, great for 60's hippies, 80's trippes, and 20's happies. I loved it. --Toon Traveler


WAU WAU COLLECTIF
Yaral Sa Doom
(Sahel Sounds)
Put together by Karl Jonas Winqvist, an unfortunately described ‘musical archeologist’ from Sweden, via a series of apparently accidental and improvised recording sessions in Toubab Dialaw in Senegal with the help of more local collaborator and studio engineer Arouna Kane, this album feels like a sweet, sophisticated prank. (See Gracey Babs full review here) -- Gracey Babs


Main Image: Perfume Genius by Camille Vivier

Toon Traveller
Travel Correspondent

Born - happy family, school great mates still see 7 / 8 in year, degreed, beer n fun, work was lazy but usually happy, retired. Learning from mum and dads travel exploits.
about Toon Traveller »»

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