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Outsideleft Week In Music We're hearing from... BXKS, Big Thief, Coldplay, PinkPantheress, Black Country, New Road, Tears for Fears, Jesy Nelson Ft. Nicki Minaj, James Blake, slowthai, Charlie XCX, Johnny Marr, Robin Guthrie, Feral Vices, John Carpenter, The Charlatans, Pool Boy, Lonely Guest, Chlorine, Melvins and many more...

Outsideleft Week In Music

We're hearing from... BXKS, Big Thief, Coldplay, PinkPantheress, Black Country, New Road, Tears for Fears, Jesy Nelson Ft. Nicki Minaj, James Blake, slowthai, Charlie XCX, Johnny Marr, Robin Guthrie, Feral Vices, John Carpenter, The Charlatans, Pool Boy, Lonely Guest, Chlorine, Melvins and many more...

by Tim London,
first published: October, 2021
"So much cash, man, I might piss paper."

RECORD OF THE WEEK

BXKS - Bones 2 Pick (Marathon Artists)
by Tim London

‘So much cash, man, I might piss paper’. Glorious, don’t fuck, back of the double-decker, school home time, word artistry. (Although I am struggling with the image and the idea - who uses cash nowadays? Every young person I see waves their mobile in the general direction of anything from ticket collectors to tills. I know the idea is that street-drugs-hard cash etc but surely dealers have worked out you can get an app for small amounts now? And, anyway, why would an apparently super-smart student like Mz BX want to use horribly outmoded lifestyle allusions like illegal drug selling? I s’pose ‘I might piss virtual ones and zeros’ doesn’t have the same scan potential…) The next release sees her cover the end of human life as the earth responds to endless consumer culture. Can’t wait!


SINGLES

JAMES BLAKE, SLOWTHAI - Funeral (Method Records)
by Tim London

Of course, I will never listen to this again unless I attend a funeral where it is used on the playlist, wherein the dismal irony is likely to be lost because Mr Blake’s voice is just lovely enough to win over the written-on-a-fag-packet intrusion by slowthai. Nevertheless, as a cultural artefact, this plus the video is immense and probably could be interpreted as a comment on modern times. The detail and the lack of substance. Our pixelated existence. Watch it, if you’re a pop lecturer and tell me what it means.


CHLORINE - Thanks For Nothing (Chlorine)
by Tim London

In a rehearsal room in every city with regular electricity. It’s fun playing in a rock band. Knock back a couple of Buds, roll up a skinny one, load up the gear into the van and head out for a show in a bar. Feature in a TV film about a woman starting over in Portland. In the script, it says ‘typical Portland grunge type band play’. The audience is decked out by the stylist who has brought some extra plaid shirts for them to wear. Some of them are the band’s actual fans! The lead singer even gets a line: ‘follow your dream, I did.’


FLOOD TRIO - People (online)
by Toon Traveller

Great intro to People from a full-powered power trio. Flood Trio are full of power, menace, and malice. The brilliant driving pounding drums drive the music as Bruce might have said on a last chance power drive in a suicide machine or something like that. The vocals are as angry and passionate as the guitar is relentless. People is the first new song I've heard in a long time that sounds like the singer really, I mean REALLY, means it, this is not power pop this is pure power. Throttle open, burners full-on, pumped up, pedal to the metal, throat grabbing music for a post-pandemic marching pounding feet beat.  I loved it    


LONELY GUEST, TRICKY, MARTA - Move Me (False Idols)
by Ancient Champion

Lonely Guest is a magical mystery. A lockdown project from Tricky, one of Britain's most brilliant and brave musical innovators. The forthcoming self-titled LP will feature Joe Talbot, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Kway, Murkage Dave, and more, more, more, some of which you may have heard in recent weeks. Move Me is the stylish minimalistic delight that only Tricky can pull off. It is gorgeously spare and bare but it gives way to driven guitars. It's a showcase for vocalist Marta who has been in Tricky's orbit for a while now. Be in no doubt, Marta Zlakowska is statement talent. This whole record is huge. I can't wait.


BIG THIEF - Change (4AD)
by Ancient Champion

Sometimes it can feel as if Big Thief are dicking around and then whenever, with alacrity, they can put everything together. Where Adrienne's voice is to the fore and every chord and every lazed backbeat just lifts the most gentle of momentum towards... Well, listen and let Big Thief tell you. And then there's Buck Meek, of course, there is Buck Meek. Maybe the best band in the world this week. (Oh I added this version because I am not sure I want you to love Big Thief as much as I do).


JESY NELSON FT. NICKI MINAJ - Boyz (Polydor)
by Tim London

In which ‘are’ Li’tl’ Mixgal from Romford aims her team’s considerable public relations resources at an American market that is probably bemused by the dodgy all-over tan and the succession of cliched bad boyz limping about clutching their puny little willies and waving baseball bats (why not ever a hammer? Or crowbar? Soooo nationalistic) in her video whilst she does her fifty-fifth take sing/rapping a simple bit of simple nonsense over the top of a bump of a funk beat taken from some producer’s beat-bag who has to share writing credits with ten other people. ‘Get out my pub!’


BAMBARA - Love Is On My Mind (Wharf Cat Records)
by Toon Traveller

Looking at the name, my expectations rose, and to reward my anticipation - a great frantic into, an excellent indie crooner prince of darkness singer - deeply portentous, sensual, and sonorous. There are some dynamics with the backing vocalists but oh so much ado about nothing. In the end my search for the full darkness within our souls continues back with my Scott Walker collection. Love is on My Mind like a bit southern fried chicken - with most of the finger licking good bits scrapped off onto the paper packaging.


TEARS FOR FEARS - The Tipping Point (TFF UK / Concord Records)
by Katherine Pargeter

Tears for Fears break their seventeen-year long silence with a song seemingly inspired
by the mid-afternoon ITV quiz show 'Tipping Point'.

Throughout the excruciating video for the song, I wished that Ben Sheppard would turn up to lighten the gloom with his arcade-style coin pusher and some inane general knowledge questions. Sadly not.

It's uncertain whether the forthcoming album will be littered with references to the hours and hours of TV quiz shows that Roland Orzabel consumed during lockdown. Pointless Eggheads anyone?


CAT POWER - Bad Religion ()
by Ancient Champion

We're pretty fond of Frank Ocean whatever he is whatever he does his phenomena. And so, approach with trepidation that that would fuck with his work. Then again, we're really fond of Cat Power whatever she is whatever she does her phenomena. We're pretty fond of Shane MacGowan too, whatever he is whatever he does his phenomena. The Pogues' A Pair Of Brown Eyes is the other track already available from Cat Power's forthcoming Covers LP and that was a remarkable take on a great song. Here one of Frank Ocean's standout tracks from Channel Ocean is handled with perfect aplomb. The layers and depth are her alone. Dunno why it made me think of Bryan Ferry's Jealous Guy... No good reason to ever think of that. "It's a bad religion to be in love with someone who could never love you." It's possibly a Bad Religion to be in love with something that you can never be sure loves you back. But that's another poison, another thing altogether I guess.


MARVIN GAYE, BEVERLEY KNIGHT, ROYAL PHILHARMONIC - Abraham, Martin and John (Island)
by Lee Paul

From the forthcoming Royal Philharmonia strings up their bows for Motown. The avowed tearjerker for all who don't think civil rights can ever be taken for granted and that fascism is on the rise and may not be pushed back this time, who knows? Marvelous Marvin Gaye and Wolverhampton's Beverley Knight... Oh Wow! I love this version so much because... Oh, I still cherish the American dream like it is a real thing...


BAD HISTORY MONTH - Death Takes A Holiday (Exploding In Sound Records)
by Toon Traveller

From the acoustic then backwards guitars beginning the song, there is much to delight as the music evokes echoes of unreachable memories, a stretching, coming alive, feeling for a day. It's indie evocative though with the amps set to slacker... Sean Sprecher's rough-hewn voice is a perfect metaphor for a hangover morning ahead. It's a voice imbued with pained beauty. Death Takes a Holiday is the title track and taken from a split cassette LP - pixie points for the medium. Split between Bad History Month and Nyxy Nyxy. Ultimately, Death Takes a Holiday slides from a gentle acoustic strum to subsidence into a wall of feedback. That says everything. A great slice of sound.


CHARLIE XCX - Good Ones - Joel Corry Remix (Asylum)
by Ancient Champion

There's always one, or a hundred tracks every week that makes me want to debase myself. Charlie XCX generally manages that more than most. What would be unseemly for a man my age? Almost anything you can think of. This song makes me want to do whatever you think I shouldn't be doing. Vastly superior mix to the original. Perfectly weighted. Perfectly judged. Perfect Pop.


POOL BOY, DOMENIQUE DUMONT - Movie Night Cancelled (Noire and Blanche)
by Ancient Champion

Pool Boy is Cyril Hahn. Cyril Hahn is Pool Boy. First of all there aren't enough Cyril's in the world of Pop. Name another? Although Pool Boy is Cyril Hahn, he doesn't say so... Oh man! Love the lilty, spacey, barely-there dub of Pool Boy's Movie Night Cancelled from the superb recent LP, All Inclusive. The LP is a great mixture of dancy, downbeat electro and feels altogether warmer than 2018s Pool Boy. Movie Night Cancelled gets the gentle Domenique Dumont (who made People On Sunday one of our acclaimed LPs of last year). Sounds like a summer hit to me, if you are where the summer is right now.


NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS WITH THE MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - Push The Sky Away (4AD)
by Ancient Champion

Taken from the B-Sides and Rarities thing that's going on. The poignancy and drama lent to an already gorgeous song by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the choral support is grounding. I can't fly while I listen. I can only cower in tears. How can music be this beautiful?


BLACK COUNTRY, NEW ROAD - Chaos Space Marine (Ninja Tune)
by Tim London

Arctic Dog Doodah Band explore play most of the chords they know.


EPs

ROBIN GUTHRIE - Mockingbird Love (Soleil Apres Minuit)
by Spanish Pantalones

Hot off the heels of enjoying the anniversaries of Heaven or Las Vegas and Blue Bell Knoll last week (31st and 33rd respectively), ex-Cocteau Robin Guthrie sinks another three-pointer with the four-song Mockingbird Love. Cocteau Twins fans will likely compare this EP to Victorialand, the band’s dark, atmospheric collaboration with Harold Budd in 1986. Good music to chill out to at night for all those Bat Cave pensioners who need all the rest they can get at their age.


JOHNNY MARR - Fever Dreams, Part 1 (BMG)
by Spanish Pantalones

I want to like Johnny Marr’s solo work, but time and time again, it’s difficult to connect with the music. It always seems stiff and robotic... inorganic… all planned out. Maybe it’s his voice. Case in point, Marr’s latest solo release, Fever Dreams, Part 1 -- the EP’s press release calls it soul music fused with his roots as a “Mancunian glam rocker,” but I don’t hear much soul or glam. Just cold, indie New Wave, but maybe that’s what he’s going for. Maybe Part 2 will surprise us.


MENTO BURU - Skalloween ()
by Toon Traveller

I suppose the idea of having a ska-i-fied Halloween record must have sounded good at some point in an evening, but not all late-night, sleep-starved ideas are the best. Cards on table as Toon traveler, my journey through time has taken from seeing THE SPECIALS, and THE BEAT as they were starting out in Coventry UK. Early 1980s to here and now in TOON, on hearing, this voice reminded me of a long distant UK TV advert for R Whites Lemonade, it's the "secret lemonade drinker" one. That's NOT GOOD - I'm sure it'll be on YouTube. Then listening to the words,  my god, what is happening in Californian high schools, where's the appreciation of poetry and literature yeah I get that's irony, but it has to be subtle as well. really if there are Ghouls, Zombies, Werewolves, and Vampires around at Halloween - then put this lot (along with Donald Trump, Boris Johnston, and Justin Bieber at the front of the welcome, sacrifice line), do The World,  America,  and California a favour. I suppose this MAY have use in Trick or treat, playing this to callers would soon see no more callers as word of the EVIL trick spread no more visits to the home that played this from the porch. For a real taste of early 1960's Halloween Irony -  back to master of the form Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers  - the Monster Mash was far scarier, had better words, and was actually funny and FUN.


FERAL VICES - Mass produce Your Revolution (Feral Vicies)
by Tim London

It’s never fun encountering artists who I feel are a bit lefty like me but not liking their music. I could choose not to review it, right? Instead, I’ll say, if you like UK early noughties indie rock with a vocalist somewhere between Alex Kapranos and James Dean Bradfield you might also enjoy this shouty riffy stomp. Good luck!


LPs

THE CHARLATANS - A Head Full of Ideas (Then Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

The Charlatans release a career-spanning, 31-track best-of compilation, although if you ask me, the only song that needs to be on this album is 'The Only One I Know.' I’ve heard the song thousands of times and I never get sick of it. At some clubs, the song was played three times a night. It's a perfect song. It defined the summer of 1990. The Charlatans produced some fine music and no one deserves the prestige of a deluxe colored three-disc Greatest Hits release more than them, but to me, it begins and ends with 'The Only One I Know.'


PINKPANTHERESS - to hell with it (Parlophone Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

Ten lo-fi pop songs in 18 minutes from Bath, England’s latest UK sensation. Picking up where Lily Allen trailed off, PinkPantheress is causing an interesting buzz at the moment amongst tastemakers and those in the know, but to hell with it is going to put her in a different league. By 2022, you’re gonna be sick of hearing the name PinkPantheress.


THE BROTHERS STEVE - Dose (Big Stir)
by John Robinson

The Brothers Steve are neither of those things, but are five LA musicians including ex-members of Tsar, led by Os Tyler and Jeff Whalen. The first album #1 was well-received as a standout in the world of punk-pop, and the new album Dose follows up with an expanded sonic arsenal. The opening Get On Up deceives with a psych-country opening but delivers a punchy anthem to the night-time world, with the 60s tinged melodies and harmonies that are embedded into the album. From a UK listener's point of view, it's interesting of itself to hear modern US rock influenced by the 60s British Invasion, as on Next Aquarius. To me, the album is reminiscent of 10cc in their more playful moments.

The glam stomp is leavened by the quieter and more pastoral moments, and by the quirky lyrics delivered with conviction. Griffith Observatory is a standout, a tribute to classic cinema via a classic film location, along with the folk-prog balladry of Love of Kings. There's a vibe overall of trying to capture a live energy, T-Rex influenced closer Better Get Ready for instance is going to work much better with a sweaty crowd stomping along than on headphones.
https://bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com/ 


JOHN CARPENTER - Halloween Kills (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Sacred Bones Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

Another disturbing score from the master of minimalism. John Williams, Hanz Zimmer, Ennio Morricone -- they all use every instrument at their disposal to get the sound they want. Conversely, Carpenter flips the switch on his Roland Juno 106, plugs in his MiniMoog Model D, and creates bleak, vast, barren soundscapes with seemingly little effort. One more win for JC.


THE DARKNESS - Motorheart (Cooking Vinyl)
by Spanish Pantalones

Are they a novelty act or is The Darkness a serious rock and roll band? They border on parody all throughout Motorheart, but maybe that’s their sound. If the music was better, I’d dig a little deeper and see what makes The Darkness tick, but who has the time these days?


WEB WEB - Web Max (Compost Records)
by Lee Paul

This came out in August, maybe a lifetime ago for some of you. The fourth Web Web LP is an all too brief 30 minutes or so of seriously floating jazz... What's not to love? This time out Web Web main man Roberto Di Gioia is joined by Max Herre and an all-star cavalcade... Mulatu Astatke, Brandee Younger, Yusef Lateef, Charles Tolliver (Strata-East), and others show up to produce a smooth, stellar masterpiece. Di Gioia and Herre had played together in the past, having a helping hand in some Gregory Porter live sets and their own lauded live shows but this is the first time their recordings together have seen the world. I think. Web Max? Yes, it is.


THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - The Velvet Underground: Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack (Republic Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

Todd Haynes, the director behind such seminal work as Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story and Velvet Goldmine curates this soundtrack to his latest film, The Velvet Underground: A Documentary Film. The two-disc collection features some of the VU’s most well-known tracks, lost rarities like the boot-stomping “The Ostrich” by Lou and John Cale. An odd collection of Velvets odds and ends, which bring the best music to the documentary’s surface. The doc debuts this weekend on Apple TV+.


COLDPLAY - Music of the Spheres (Parlophone)
by Spanish Pantalones

I don’t think an LP has upset me as much as Coldplay’s ninth studio album, but here are my three reasons why this is the worst record I’ve heard this year, so far.

  1. The music, of course, is horrible: over-processed, pandering, pretentious, over-enthusiastic, and void of all originality. Chris Martian is on auto-pilot, although being on auto-pilot suggests he got the jumbo jet off the tarmac. 
  2. These motherfuckers named the lead track “Coldplay.” After nine albums, they pull a Wang Chung and name the lead-off instrumental track after themselves? The fucking hubris!
  3. The titles to one-third of the songs on this thing are emojis. I shit you not, dear reader. See the embedded video.

Imagine what Gwyneth had to put up with.


MELVINS - Five Legged Dog (Ipecac Recordings)
by Spanish Pantalones

Listening to the new Coldplay just before listening to Melvins’ Five Legged Dog really underscores the old “less is more” adage. While Chris Martin spent millions of pounds on studio time and produced a shit sandwich, Melvins assembled this stripped-down, 36-track all-acoustic LP featuring a career-spanning collection of songs cherry-picked from the band's entire catalog. This one's sorta like Nirvana: Unplugged, but without the studio audience applause. Dark, layered, and slightly off center, just how I like my Melvins.


Main Image: Screen grab from BXKS' Visualizer...

Tim London

Tim London is a musician, music producer and writer. Originally from a New Town in Essex he is at home amidst concrete and grand plans for the working class. Tim's latest thriller, Smith, is available now. Find out more at timothylondon.com


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"So much cash, man, I might piss paper."

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