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Outsideleft Week in Music We're hearing from Squeeze, New Order, Such Small Hands, Dawn Richard, For Those I Love, Flying Lotus, Ronnie Milsap, The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness, The Real Tuesday Weld, Weezer, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Momus, Allison Russell, Fury, Graham Costello, John Carroll Kirby,  Aquarian Blood, Little Simz, High Flying Birds and Piroshka

Outsideleft Week in Music

We're hearing from Squeeze, New Order, Such Small Hands, Dawn Richard, For Those I Love, Flying Lotus, Ronnie Milsap, The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness, The Real Tuesday Weld, Weezer, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Momus, Allison Russell, Fury, Graham Costello, John Carroll Kirby, Aquarian Blood, Little Simz, High Flying Birds and Piroshka

by Alarcon, Founder / Managing Editor
first published: May, 2021

approximate reading time: minutes

Piroshka - Scratching at the Lid - "It's a beautiful song; there are lots of shimmery guitars and lyrics inspired by the passing of time, while still feeling warm and summery." -- Alarcon

Brand new music you may or may not have heard this week. Why listen to the songs when you can read critiques about them?


Scratching at the Lid
(Bella Union)
In a statement to the press in regards to their forthcoming coming album, Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi wrote, “If Brickbat was our Britpop album, then Love Drips And Gathers is shoegaze!” An exciting proclamation, for sure! Berenyi’s beautiful Lush created some of the genre’s greatest moments. “De-Luxe” sounded so otherworldly in 1990, and it still sounds crisp, dark, and fresh. Their first three EPs and debut LP are fucking flawless. Berenyi’s husband and Piroshka guitarist K.J. "Moose" McKillop is also from shoegaze stock, he being the founder of Moose and all. So imagine my surprise when Love Drips And Gathers’s leadoff single “Scratching the Lid” was released this week and it sounded nothing like shoegaze. It’s a beautiful song; there are lots of shimmery guitars and lyrics inspired by the passing of time, while still feeling warm and summery. That said, if we can all agree that Loveless is the genre’s gold standard, I’m not sure anyone would classify “Scratching the Lid” as a shoegaze song. That said, this is just one song on the nine-song Love Drips And Gathers (July 23). For all we know, the other eight songs will fill our ears with swirling, flanged guitars; Velvet Underground-like droning riffs, and ethereal feedback. I always disliked the shoegaze label -- too open for interpretation. --Alarcon

We’re On Our Way Now
(Sour Mash)
It’s hard to believe that Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have been together for 12 years. Oasis seems like several lifetimes ago… so many hits, so many anthems. The strength and lifespan of Oasis makes the High Flying Birds output almost incidental in comparison. Yet after three LPs, Gallagher is releasing an 18-song ‘greatest hits’ compilation that’s almost identical to my solo-Noel Gallagher playlist. “We’re On Our Way Now” is the new single that Gallagher added to that triple LP to lure in the fans who already have the first three discs. It’s a strong song too -- bluesy and anthemic (although brushing up a little too closely to Coldplay’s first two albums if we’re being frank). Still, it’s a shame it debuts on a throwaway compilation. --Alarcon

(Age 101) 
If last month’s Introvert was an anthemic new Bohemian Rhapsody for the under 60s, like you’ll be whistling it for decades, unless FFS, you’re still whistling the old Bohemian Rhapsody, then what is Woman? If not more Queen, at least while we zoom into Buck Palace going from 0-100. It’s as if Little Simz has taken on the mantle of being Britain’s greatest, and at least a little provocative entertainer. It is the sound of young Britain now. Young British women now. So far removed from whatever today’s elections were about with their 1950s stereotypes from all sides. Woman has just beautiful dreamy soulfunk production and its filling up Buckingham Palace with a cavalcade of stars. Jourdan Dunne, Kesewa Aboah, Joy Crookes… It’s really all there.  -- Ancient Champion

Time in the Rain
It’s raining here in Toon. It was all yesterday, and time in the Toon's rain sounded nothing like this. JB Horrell’s voice sounds a little like Leonard Cohen, deep sonorous, one soothing tone, with throwaway words, and short lines, poetry with a picking  speed beat, and a "message" and about love, time, we've got lots of it to make good with. The whiny synth is a bit of annoyance, think a fly in your kitchen buzzing, battering against the window, it could be the sound of a drunken memory, recalling love over "two fingers of red eye", or the aftermath of a lovers split. The hangover of love, the loss, the regret, the words that hint at confusion, but not in a concerned sense, more savoring a memory of someone gone, and the final glows of memory's delights. --Toon Traveler

(Stones Throw)
From the forthcoming album, Septet, Another apt weather reference with the rain splashing down here in Tune. Sparky piano voice starts the song, keeps it all together, a bouncy undercurrent, but it goes nowhere, sorta rolls along, in a forgettable way, ambient music - not quite. Some bouncy flouncy guitar in a 30s jazz soul way, it wanders reminders, om a lazy wavy, going nowhere sorta way, not unpleasant, but forgettable, proficient, but not pigment, passes you by, like a gentle summer breeze, with candy floss sense of passion, kinda sorta, maybe, perhaps, sounds. --Toon Traveler  

What a days start coulda done with this on rain slashed Tuesday to blast the clouds, and blow lockdown blues outta sight. Great raw raging sax intro, ears prick up, heart beats faster, smile spreads slowly,thrill-a-minute or more, the drums wow! a great intro, that hard blowing, reminds me old Mango Dibango, John Zorn even. Wild as a lion's roar, skittish as a pride of baboons, raucous as rising flamingos, squalling impending doom, music open spaces, wild days, and releasing pent up resentments. This is music for that day when you've been sat in traffic, hot and sweaty, this is music for the head, for the heart, and for the future.--Toon Traveler  

Birds of Paradise
(Run For Cover)
Fury rock without a doubt on this nine minutes track, shot in Fullerton, Ca. Birds of Paradise opens with a classical piece I recognize but can’t name, but similar to something I heard in a Portishead, S. Etienne, cd intro. Cut into a sampled radio chatter, (think something like Dexy's Midnight Runners), then dim the light, kill the conversation and we're into swirling Jazz, think Manhattan Jazz, early morning, NY last dregs of the wee small hours, or the apple stitching in morning lights sorrowful trumpet, a slow mournful piano, change of tempo and we are into the hard push punch and shove of a NY 8.00 call, racing to work, coffee and bagels to go, yellow taxi cut up, bus horn blare, "hey bud what the…” Yeah in  your face, in your head, but sadly not your heart or soul, recycled and reused ideas, but enjoyable in an odd away. Those screaming strangled vocals, an incoherent yell, or a cover up of nothing to say. --Toon Traveler  

Taken from Allison Russell’s forthcoming solo LP, Outside Child. Wow! Such a pure dreamy voice with a brilliant range. Superb space sounds, and Montreal slips into French, which always sounds more intellectual, ESPECIALLY if your French is pre-high school, sun-seeker tourist level. The song is a paean to the city the singer loves, she dreams of the city, her past, her hopes, the beautiful memories, they are all here, tender, warm, affectionate. Never been to Montreal, but this song, is it French, or Quebecois? Who cares when her voice dreams and offers hope over gentle guitar flurries, snow in the late evening street lights.  There's pain, love and regret at something, somewhere, out there in memories and dreams, in here, there is a song of love and affection.  Exceptional. --Toon Traveler  


(American Patchwork/Darla)
It's BIG BIG BIG week for Momus at outsideleft. There's John Robinson's full review of Athenian here. And Momus walks you through th entire LP track by track, here. Wow! --Lamontpaul

When God Was Great
There was a time when I fucking loved the Bosstones. They fused my love for British ska and American, east coast punk -- it was the chocolate bar in my peanut butter. Don’t believe me? Listen to Skacore, the Devil and More -- it’s a stone-cold groove. Blistering covers of Minor Threat, Angry Samoans, and a skanky version of the Wailers’ “Simmer Down.” But after listening to When God was Great, I don’t think I’ll be waving my tartan Bosstone flag anytime soon. The gravelly-voiced Dicky Barrett waxes about the ‘good old days’ to a generic hybrid of pop and punk with a slight ska beat that you’ve heard many times over. Non-essential Bosstones. --Spanish Pantalones

Van Weezer
It borders on novelty. Weezer fans will love it. --Spanish Pantalones

(Antique Beat)
The Real Tuesday Weld are long time Outsideleft favorites. Their new LP Blood is simply stunning and we’re fortunate enough to have bandleader Stephen Coates talk us through the record, track by track, here.  --Lee Paul

Songs from Another Life
I was having an internal dialog about band names - you can call a band anything and that’s what you chose? - and up pops these Scottish/Spanish powerpop gemcrafters with a perfect name (spot on shoplifted from a song by the Feelies), crafting the excellent Yanqui heartbreak simulacra jams only such boys can. So, instead of licking your wounds from the nth Teenage Fanclub record not living up to  whatever crystalline midpoint you have set for them, seek the whosits from wherever and let them jangle you free from such concerns. They come and go like the breeze that gives you life. -- Alex V. Cook

A Better Word for Love
(Black River)
1) There is, or maybe was, a bar on the outskirts of my city festooned with artifacts of the owner’s time in the concert rigging industry. Lots of signed photos, mostly country stars with one Ozzy Osbourne lurking in the middle. The crown jewel of this collection is a red sequined blazer that country star Ronnie Milsap allegedly wore to the 1975 Country Music Awards, the one where Charlie Rich, before presenting John Denver as entertainer of the year, pulled out a lighter and set fire to the paper he angrily tore from the envelope. John Denver was beamed in by satellite and didn’t know what was happening. Milsap, being blind from birth, likely had someone lean into him over that very gleaming padded shoulder and tell him. In my mind, it is an incandescent Crystal Gayle. Anyway, this tenuous connection to a bit of glass-encased mensware has always made me love Ronnie Milsap. 2) Milsap is a classic country crooner who still totally has it. Maybe the only one left. 3) Ronnie Milsap is still alive? Good on ya, cowboy. -- Alex V. Cook

Deep space dispatch from the nexus of Tangerine Dream synths and Mannie Fresh hi-hats comprises this anime soundtrack.  The vocal cameos by Thundercat and Niki Randa are fine Ridley Scott closing credit jams, but the real dark matter lies in the countless instrumental shorties. If Lotus joined Gorrilaz, they would make the perfect pop song ever, empty and enigmatic as an abandoned reentry capsule. -- Alex V. Cook

For Those I Love (Instrumentals)
(September Recordings)
I love a rap instrumental album. I don’t know that For Those I Love is rap more than it is spoken word or a variant on whatever Arab Strap and Sun Kil Moon do, but here the songs undulate freed from David Balfe’s impassioned eulogy of his departed friend, letting his grief take its own form, a gas expanding to fit the shape of the room.  The disco aspects here take the center stage, esp on the first song. You have your hands in the air ready to really let go just as the music screeches to a halt. That there is the manifestation of loss. The original album is its own powerful, personal statement, but the instrumental is more cosmic in tenor. It sounds good on the treadmill, which is an allegory for the living. -- Alex V. Cook

Second Line
Much has been made of Dawn Richard’s career arc. When life gives you lemons, there’s actually little to do but make lemonade. Just make it pure and don’t make it like store brand. Second Line is as far from a generic record as you can get I’d say. It’s mondo mind boggling sci fi funk. Seriously like Janelle Monae and George Clinton got together and were not tethered to reality. I no longer wanna be and that ship sure sailed a long time ago for Dawn Richard. -- Ancient Champion

Oh and a great chance to additionally share a video of one of my favorite songs ever… The record that made me make music again.

Carousel (Raw Home Sessions)
The Raw Home Sessions of Such Small Hands debut LP Carousel throws Melanie Howard’s breathtakingly lyricality into even sharper relief. Is it okay to say I love this version of Carousel? Stripped of the studio production… It is audacious and emotionally pugnacious. Like a martial arts death blow you only begin to understand somewhile after it's been put to you. Beautifully. Acoustically. Carousel the Raw Home Sessions is on Bandcamp. Possibly elsewhere.  --Ancient Champion


Education Entertainment Recreation (Live at Alexandra Palace)
(Rhino/Warner Bros.)
Some bands are so explosive on stage, it’s impossible to capture their live sound in the studio. LCD Soundsystem comes to mind. As good as LCD Soundsystem sounded coming out of your speakers, it didn’t come close to what they were like on a stage. And then there are bands that glow in the studio, but can’t recreate the magic in concert. Like New Order. On their Education Entertainment Recreation (recorded live in 2018 at the Alexandra Palace), you just get the music -- no flashing lights, no designer intoxicants, no visage of a bored Bernard Sumner wobbling around the stage. You also realize how rough-around-the-edges New Order sounds when they play live -- the flashing lights, no designer intoxicants mask that. With approximately 10 exceptions, live albums are never a great idea, and more of a souvenir for those who actually went to the concert in question. That said, If all 10,400 people who were at the Ally Pally that evening in 2018 buy a copy of Education Entertainment Recreation, New Order could be back on the charts by midweek. --Alarcon

Spot The Difference
(XOXO Records)
Squeeze put out Spot The Difference, an LP of cover versions, of their own songs in 2010. A business decision... Read Jason Lewis' full review here. --Jason Lewis

Main Image: Piroshka

Founder / Managing Editor

Alarcon co-founded outsideleft with lamontpaul (the Tony Wilson to his Rob Gretton) in 2004. His work for OL has attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers, oh and probably the FBI, too.

about Alarcon »»



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