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Outsideleft Week in Music. We're hearing from... black midi, James, Can, Japanese Breakfast, LIz Phair, Philip Glass, Genesis Owusu, The Joy Formidable, Jungle, Greentea Peng, Simmy, Kid Cruise, Laura Mvula, Alanis Morrisette, Willie Nelson, Prince, Clinic, Boy George, Billie Eilish and DMX...

Outsideleft Week in Music.

We're hearing from... black midi, James, Can, Japanese Breakfast, LIz Phair, Philip Glass, Genesis Owusu, The Joy Formidable, Jungle, Greentea Peng, Simmy, Kid Cruise, Laura Mvula, Alanis Morrisette, Willie Nelson, Prince, Clinic, Boy George, Billie Eilish and DMX...

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: June, 2021
Except for Skyscrapers -- the one Bono ruins -- this is a welcomed surprise --Spanish Pantalones

The Week in Music has been a tough, am always thinking it's a slow week and then come Thursday night our contributors have weighed in with a cavalcade of stars and this week with Erin, an actual Cavalcade. You'll see...

RECORD OF THE WEEK

DMX
Exodus
(Def Jam)
DMX’s body was still warm when Def Jam released Exodus, yet as crass as the timing of this LP is, you can’t deny that is a fucking strong collection of songs. Except for Skyscrapers -- the one Bono ruins -- this is a welcomed surprise.  --Spanish Pantalones


SINGLES

BILLIE EILISH
Lost Cause
(Darkroom Interscope)
This sounds like a demo that Lana Del Rey sang after washing down a handful of Xanax with a bottle of vodka. What am I not getting with Billie Eilish? --Spanish Pantalones


CLINIC 
Fine Dining
(Domino)
Here's the first new song from the grotesquely underrated Scouse quartet since their 2019 resurrection release 'Wheeltappers and Shunters.'  Vintage synths swirl like the soundtrack to a seventies science TV show,  Ade Blackburn's echoey vocals spout surreal lyrics: ('clip on your tie, clip on your tie ...' ) and it's all comfortingly strange.   And then the disco drums push this tune out on to the dancefloor.  Clear a space, Clinic are back. --Jay Lewis


BOY GEORGE
The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
(BMG)

The voice is still there, as thick and sweet as Boy George’s voice still sounds, but the material is sub-standard fare. All “The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread” does is make me yearn for the velvety, lush sounds of Boy’s vocals in old chestnuts like “The Crying Game” or “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” --Spanish Pantalones


PRINCE
Born 2 Die
(SME)
When Dr. Cornel West told Prince he was an OK musician, but he was “no Curtis Mayfield,” the singer wrote “Born 2 Die,” in response to the disparaging comment, a single that until now, has been hidden in Paisley Park’s vault since 2010 (six years before he died). It’s a pleasant-enough jam, but like most of Prince’s later work, it sounds like he spent about five minutes on developing this slow, throwaway groove (approximately three minutes longer than I spent on this review, but I digress). --Spanish Pantalones


ALANIS MORRISETTE & WILLIE NELSON
On The Road Again
(RCA)
There’s a real American arrogance to this. There have been enough road songs and perhaps, Willie is one of the best placed to sing them as he apparently practically lives in his touring stagecoach. But romanticising travel could now be said to be pretty immoral; on the one hand those who have to travel to escape war and poverty and sometimes drown in European oceans and on the other, those who travel for fun and pollute the skies… both scenarios don’t seem to fit into this insipid tune, with Alanis squeezing out a quivering falsetto and Willie hardly bothering to get close enough to the mic to be heard. But maybe they’re singing about walking and I’m really wrong. -- Gracey Babs


LAURA MVULA
Got Me
(Flamingo)
Video: more stations on the road to reinvent worthy WOMADer Laura as an R&B diva. Here we have an actual car wash scene as Laura and two mates pout at a yellow car and wave jet washers around like sex toys. Audio: Billy Ocean’s Going Get’s Tough… rhythm sends the message, ‘prepare for another 1980s’ pastiche’ and the following noises don’t disappoint. Is there an official 80’s chord? If so, it’s used here. The song itself is so inconsequential I’ve forgotten it two seconds after the Youtube ad killed it. --Gracey Babs


GREENTEA PENG ft. SIMMY, KID CRUISE
Free My People
(EMI)
Video: various lovely looking young people miming or lounging around the kind of Parisian squat flat you always thought you were going to take opium and write half a novel in. It gets a little more stoned as it goes on which matches the track, then she wakes up and it’s all a dream, one facilitated by 34 people in the production crew, who were responsible, respectively, for 6 seconds of this vid each. Audio: woozy, stoned intoning from the singers. Simmy’s out of tune tracked voice works particularly nice. The chorus is: ‘we don’t want to chat until my people free’ which is understandable.--Gracey Babs


JUNGLE
Talk About It
(Caiola)
Video: the concept: an after school debating/discussion circle of young people in the gym who have obviously been kept on a few years past sixth form, sit in a circle ready to talk about ‘issues’, and you just know they are going to get up and dance. And they do! Great dancing. Audio: I have a soft spot for a few Jungle tunes, although, catching them live once the reality of their production unit in the flesh somewhat mashed the perceptions created. But this, although it has all the elements, doesn’t really have the pop punch of previous releases. It’s… awwwright. --Gracey Babs


THE JOY FORMIDABLE
Back To Nothing
(Hassle)
Video: nature, at dusk or dawn, with a torch and a GoPro on fish eye lens. Audio: progrock with a chorus. Drummer thinking about beer. Singer reasonably not wanting to ‘go back to nothing’, which might be one of those interesting mid-western American towns that feature in Fargo but more likely something to do with a relationship, I expect. Interestingly, at the end, the singer’s pronunciation morphs nothing to ‘nutting’ and I’m left wondering about her violent past. -- Gracey Babs


GENESIS OWUSU
Same Thing
(House Anxiety/Ourness)
Video: Walking and sometimes sort of flying in front of a green screen, occasionally with three mates in balaclavas, in a selection of costumes stolen from Missy’s old wardrobe plus Billy Ocean’s jacket. It’s a campy mess. Audio: Slap bass! Who can tell? Nowadays music software can very successfully recreate a slapper without too much problem. I like his Uxbridge college-educated rap style and look forward to hearing him chat about his life on the radio. This track is a series of predictable chords over a predictable 1980s homage beat and I’ve got no idea what it means lyrically. Now for the real question: are his parents Peter Gabriel fans or god-fearing Christians?  -- Gracey Babs


EP

TANA QUARTER
Philip Glass String Quartet No.3: 'Mishima'
(Orange Mountain)
For their fourth EP of adaptations of works by Philip Glass, the Tana Quarter  have  selected one of his most iconic and memorable pieces. Taking on the music to the film 'Mishima' could have been a daunting task (the original - performed by Kronos Quartet is an understandably grand production). But the much celebrated and multi award winning Tana Quartet handle the task with aplomb. It is an exquisite and sublime performance. This is a stirring and essential recording. --Jay Lewis


LPs

LIZ PHAIR
Soberish
(Chrysalis)
How do you fairly listen to new Liz Phair music in 2021 without comparing it to Exile in Guyville? Soberish is pretty good, better than Somebody's Miracle and Funstyle for sure, but it’s closer on track to her earlier work like Whitechocolatespaceegg. I bet this one sounded great in its demo form. I miss lo-fi Liz. --Spanish Pantalones


JAPANESE BREAKFAST
Jubilee
(Dead Oceans)
I’m calling it right now: Spanish Pantalones’s Album of the Year. --Spanish Pantalones


CAN
Live in Stuttgart 1975
(Mute/Spoon)
Is this the recording of the soundcheck? --Spanish Pantalones


JAMES
All The Colours of You
(UMG)

All the Colours of You, James’s sixteenth studio LP from Manchester’s most underrated band may be one of their strongest offerings to date from their 38-year history although old timers who prefer the band’s early-’90s indie sound will be disappointed with this one.  --Spanish Pantalones


black midi
Cavalcade
(Rough Trade)

Cavalcade, Erin says, is a hugely fulfilling album. Read the full review here --Erin


Main Image: DMX - Exodus (Def Jam)

LamontPaul
Founder & Publisher

Publisher, Lamontpaul founded outsideleft with Alarcon in 2004 and is hanging on, saying, "I don't know how to stop this, exactly."

Lamontpaul portrait by John Kilduff painted during an episode of John's TV Show, Let's Paint TV


about LamontPaul »»

Except for Skyscrapers -- the one Bono ruins -- this is a welcomed surprise --Spanish Pantalones

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