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Outsideleft Week In Music We're hearing from Cleo Sol, Tierra Whack, Leyla McCalla, Cassandra Jenkins, G. Love, Dawn, Berlin Banter, Black Keys, Brian Wilson, Dave Newton and Thee Mighty Angels, Sirens of Lesbos, Ralph Heidel, Kunt and the Gang, Body/Dilloway/Head, Martha Skye Murphy, Sylvie, Marina Allen, Laura Cantrell & Michael Shelley

Outsideleft Week In Music

We're hearing from Cleo Sol, Tierra Whack, Leyla McCalla, Cassandra Jenkins, G. Love, Dawn, Berlin Banter, Black Keys, Brian Wilson, Dave Newton and Thee Mighty Angels, Sirens of Lesbos, Ralph Heidel, Kunt and the Gang, Body/Dilloway/Head, Martha Skye Murphy, Sylvie, Marina Allen, Laura Cantrell & Michael Shelley

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: December, 2021
Why Can't I Be You?

Thanksgiving had its sorry impact on us last week, couldn't gather enough motivation to collect our record reviews from around the room. Oh well. This week, Berlin Banter's All Too Familiar EP is our recording of the week but there's so much good stuff, it could have been almost any of these. Suprisingly since I thought - was hoping - the year was done.

Next up look out for our 50 Songs that We Noticed this year, in an A-Z by title format just to keep y'all clickbaited and confused.

RECORDING OF THE WEEK

BERLIN BANTER - All Too Familiar (Instant Noise)
by Lee Paul

Berlin Banter dismantle and remake a series of indie classics... And they talked about it with us, earlier in the week... see here


SINGLES

MARTHA SKYE MURPHY - Concrete ft. LEYA ()
by Tim London

Some songs you have to ask, ‘what would this be like without reverb?’ But Martha here is relying heavily on a little gizmo called a ring modulator and without it she would possibly sound more hysterical and less alien. So that when she repeats ‘concrete’ at the end 17 times (I counted so that you don’t have to) the effect would have been desperation as opposed to celebration. Snuck out in time for Xmas here is an artist with no less a willowy voice than is fashionable at the moment set against a charming Virginia Astley at-her-best arrangement of piano and electronic orchestra and harp. If the lyrics could be adapted for some standard R&B based stomper it’s to this actor’s credit that she doesn’t add to the mountain of pop rubble by doing so. Instead this becomes a relationship as brutal architecture which is both intriguing and dramatic. So, we have, ‘alien, celebration, brutal architecture, intriguing and dramatic’. That, surely, makes it single of the week?


DAWN - Lose Your Mind (Merge)
by Ancient Champion

Dawn Richard has rarely been constrained by convention. Her tie up with Merge Records feels right record shoppers, so check it out. As Alarcon said earlier in the week, Merge is a label you can trust to produce the goods. Anyway. Dawn is currently going with a little Gonzo-astro-funk... Lose Your Mind right alongside her.


SYLVIE, MARINA ALLEN - Falls On Me (Flexible Distribution)
by LamontPaul

Am really getting into these languid country vibes... Sylvie has this down. It's redolent and familiar without lapsing into pastiche. So, so really, really cool.


KUNT AND THE GANG - Boris Johnson Is STILL A F***ing C*** FOR XMAS NO1! ()
by OL Writer with No Name.

Somewhat undermining the well meaning sentiments by using the tune from Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll (Glitter gets half the songwriting royalties should he sue, if he’s allowed to sue from prison), it’s worth briefly considering the point of this release. Similar to reading Class War Daily there’s a lot to agree with and some snickering value attached but, in the end, if it gets noticed at all I think this will probably just add more legend to Brand Boris. On the plus side, it’s short, the kind of short I’m beginning to wish all singles were, one and a half minutes short. Tik Tok short. So its addition to the digital mountain is small enough to forget about.


LAURA CANTRELL & MICHAEL SHELLEY - Mr and Mrs Santa Claus (Confidential Records)
by Lee Paul

Christmas Starts Here!


LEYLA MCCALLA - Fort Dimanche (Anti Records)
by LamontPaul

Excuse my French, which is of course somewhere off the piss-poor scale, so, Leyla McCella is no less than astonishing right? The Haitian American cellist plays with Our Native Daughters and is on the New Orleans scene - probably getting to practice French and is renowned for her 2014 LP Vari-Colored Songs - a tribute to Langston Hughes featuring his poems, traditional Haitian folk songs and some of Leyla's own tunes. Fort Dimanche is beautiful, sparse and a must listen. I feel enriched just for listening to it 25 times this morning. Try this too (https://leylamccalla.com/video/leyla-mccalla-too-blue/)


SIRENS OF LESBOS - (I Don't Know, I Don't Know, I Don't Know) (Sirens of Lesbos)
by Hamilton High

Something new from Sirens of Lesbos is always notable. (I Don't Know, I Don't Know, I Don't Know) wow! All of the title in parenthesis' that's a rare treat just to ponder. (I Don't Know, I Don't Know, I Don't Know) is good value seems like several songs going on. So often with these guys there is.


DAVE NEWTON AND THEE MIGHTY ANGELS - Winter Tragedy (Streaming)
by Ancient Champion

Dave Newton makes Christmas rock with the chimiest of chiming guitars. From Wolverhampton, Dave's one of the ones that got out. I chatted with him on the phone once when we were both still ensconced in Los Angeles, he called about a Vox Continental I had to move on to pay a phone bill. And of course, within minutes the conversation turned to mutual acquaintance  Mr. Lake - Outsideleft's main film guy. Don't it so often do. Dave's UK band, Thee Mighty Lemon Drops had a great garage-psyche rock vibe that few could match in the mid-80s, for a while back then Like An Angel was everywhere, eclipsing their more fashionable counterparts... Winter Tragedy is a rare thing, a good guitar song. Really, really it's telling me how to get so high, this Christmas. Ha! 


CASSANDRA JENKINS - Hard Drive - Security Guard (Ba Da Bing! Records)
by Ancient Champion

From the LP (An Overview on) An Overview on Phenomenal Nature which is a collection of alternate takes from the much lauded An Overview on Phenomenal Nature which came out earlier this year and will make the most discerning of end of year lists. It's a meta world Cassandra inhabits, and draws us into. "I'm a three legged dog looking for what I lost." Who isn't feeling like that right now. Hard Drive - Security Guard is a more mumbling but not necessarily less insightful intrusion into thought. There's probably an entire novella here. A fearless and very exciting artist. Love it.


EPs

TIERRA WHACK - Rap (Interscope)
by Ancient Champion

Stand Up is the first standout track from Rap? Tierra Whack's new EP. This is the most delightfully minimal audiosonically. There is nothing not to love about Stand Up's lyrics. A sample line - and this is why I don't write anymore, I can't do this... "Car came with instructions, I don't read a lot." All The Fakes Sit Down... For 8 magical minutes at least. Still the greatest Whack World.


LPs

BODY/DILLOWAY/HEAD - Body/Dilloway/Head (Three Lobed Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

Body/Dilloway/Head is Kim Gordon and Bill Nace (who make up Body/Head) and Aaron Dilloway. Together, the three form Body/Dilloway/Head, an improvisational art noise-rock band. It’s as difficult to listen to as it sounds. Sure, there are some hypnotic qualities within the three-song LP, but it’s not like the Velvet Underground’s drone pieces, which had beginnings, middles, and endings to their songs. For the most part, Body/Dilloway/Head sounds like the CD player is skipping. 


CLEO SOL - Mother (Forever Living)
by Lee Paul

Cleo Sol is the voice. And one of the voices from the somewhat enigmatic Sault. Maybe everyone knows who they are except me. Mother LP came out back in August but you know, end of year doldrums in some respects has us casting around for things and getting back to the things we never mentioned. Mother is certainly gigantly gentle and contemplative, with the mere profundity of life foregrounded. Cleo has a great voice and an a musical isight not far removed from a "Lovin, you is easy 'cos you're beatiful..." vibe. Taht's to Mr Woodenhands for drawing my attention to this this week.


BRIAN WILSON - At My Piano (Decca Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

If you ever get to the Magic Castle in Hollywood, find the rear parlor. It’s located somewhere beyond the main bar. It’s a smallish room where you can gather around, enjoy cordials, and chat for a while before the next magic show starts. It’s a great room: deep burgundy walls, delicate furniture, and mahogany wood trim everywhere. Its lighting makes everyone look like a matinee idol. An old black Baldwin piano is squeezed in there too. The first time I went, I was accompanied by someone who had been there before -- I’ve mentioned him in this column once or twice -- the Radiohead obsessive. Anyway, Mr. Radiohead led me to that back parlor and said, “Watch this.” Then in a hushed tone, he leaned into the unaccompanied piano and said, “Irma, play “Paranoid Android.” About 20 seconds later, the piano started playing a soft rendition of “Paranoid Android” all by itself. At least I think it did. I’ve never heard “Paranoid Android,” but I looked at my excited friend as he pointed at the piano, as if he was fingered the specter of Irna herself and said, “That’s the song, “Paranoid Android.” It had a funeral dirge quality to it -- stiff and deliberate, as if the pianist was managing severe rheumatoid arthritis. “Wow!,” I mouthed back to Mr. Radiohead as if I recognized the song. That’s what this new Brian Wilson album sounds like. Decca records found a pianist who had never heard a Beach Boys song the sheet music to the band’s greatest hits and said, “Play this.” At My Piano is lacking the verve Wilson gave the originals, but your baby boomer parents will love it for Christmas this year.


RALPH HEIDEL - Relief (Kryptox)
by Ancient Champion

Haut is my introduction to german composer, Ralph Heidel's short long player, Relief. In a darkened room with the screen dimmed on my computer, that and the backlit keys, that's it for light. It really takes something to make me hear beauty in this light, beauty so vivid. Sounds heard that are not manufactured or made to be consumed but are there for you to hear. There's much that is organically so on Relief. Do you have the patience to discern? Relief is so for everyone, it's not for everyone, so? Like Ralph's hair in some respects, imagine Roxy era Eno at the sides and a Weller on top. Is that what kids are wearing now. So obviously a studio musician. Maybe he made such a great record because he isn't wasting time on his appearance. 


G. LOVE - Coming Back Home For Christmas! (Philadelphonic Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

G. Love and OUTSIDELEFT have a loose history that goes all the way back to July 30, 1994. I remember the date because it was my birthday. It was also G. Love and Special Sauce’s West Coast debut concert at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. Lamont, myself, and about ten of our Tower Records co-workers arrived at the quarter-filled venue. We used to play their debut LP quite a bit over our store’s PA system every day for weeks. After the concert, G. Love’s manager walked up to Lamont and asked him if he wanted to feature in G’s video they were filming in the desert the following day. Lamont asked, “What’s it pay?” and celluloid history was made 12 hours later. This album? I wish I could say I like it, but our boy from Philly went soft. G, now a solo act, sounds a lot like Kid Rock -- another disappointment from 2021.


Other Materials

BLACK KEYS - El Camino (Nonesuch)
by Hamilton High

Tenth Anniversary already of El Camino. And there's a whole bunch of extra material should you want to buy it again and why not?


Main Image: Berlin Banter

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 »»

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