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Outsideleft Week in Music Superstarring Doja Cat We're hearing from Doja Cat, Soft Cell, Murkage Dave, Suggs and Paul Weller, Arp, black midi, The Muffs, Kendrick Lamar, The Smile, AJ Tracey, Amyl & the Sniffers, RE Seraphin and Tove Styrke

Outsideleft Week in Music Superstarring Doja Cat

We're hearing from Doja Cat, Soft Cell, Murkage Dave, Suggs and Paul Weller, Arp, black midi, The Muffs, Kendrick Lamar, The Smile, AJ Tracey, Amyl & the Sniffers, RE Seraphin and Tove Styrke

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: May, 2022

approximate reading time: minutes

Doja Cat's succinct sample of Big Mama Thornton's You Ain't Nothin' But A... Wow!


DOJA CAT - Vegas (RCA) favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite
by Ancient Champion

Alright so. So excited to see Tom Hanks particularly uglied up to play Colonel Tom. Greasy greed oozing from the pores of the man dressing up a dream. Can't wait. And So. Wholly thrilled to hear Doja Cat sample, succinctly, uniquely, Big Mama Thornton's You Ain't Nothin' But A... It's a perfect amalgam isn't it? Perfect multiple explanation marks for 70 years of cultural fascination. From Black rocknroll to perfect Black rnb eating it's grannies. Eating the original monarchs. 50,000,000 Doja Cat streams can't be wrong. From the thrall of the 50s teens to the thrill music still provides. This is so great it almost made me faint. 


ARP - New Pleasures (Mexican Summer) favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border
by Toon Traveller

Wow with the first disjointed beats and synths I'm back in 80s synth powered UK pop. It's Living in a Box all sharp sounds and samples. So what's it really like? It's like "Pop Musik's -  'M"'  or early "808 Atate" or any number of the bands that made great innovative synth music in the mid 80s, when UK bands were listening to, Kraftwerk, Faust and Tangerine Dream and blending it into a backing tracks Japan would reject. Drop in some Yazoo, and a few samples and you've got the gist. The mild mannered mechanical revolution revival starts here. 

AJ TRACEY - Reasonable (Revenge) favoritefavoritefavorite_borderfavorite_borderfavorite_border
by Tim London

The way that spaghetti kung fu film and telly soundtracks has infiltrated the digital moods of hiphop and specifically drill is a whole PhD in waiting. The toxic, self-destructive and, occasionally, glory of a murderous cowboy, running in a long line from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Shows of the late Victorian era to… west London’s AJ Tracey, who gives us a little glimpse into his life using a language that has me reaching for Urban Dictionary (again). Including, touchingly, that he somehow persuaded a ‘bunny’ (a sweet natured young woman to the point of masochism) to tidy his room and make his bed. Yeeha!

THE SMILE - Thin Thing (XL) ZERO favorite_borders
by Tim London

A muso’s early morning wank. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows, don’t expect wars to be won so much as the energy necessary for them to dissipate. Punk rock lost.

BLACK MIDI - Welcome To Hell (Rough Trade) favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border
by Erin

On the lead single of their upcoming third album 'Hellfire' black midi builds on the melodic and harmonic elements of its predecessor,  while expanding the brashness and intensity of their debut, Schlagenheim. They delve into stories of the brutality of war whilst accompanied by their usual erratic instrumentation that manages to develop a pertinent song. 

SUGGS AND PAUL WELLER - Ooh Do You Fink U R (BMG) favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_borderfavorite_border
by Lee Paul

There you go. Top stars together. Doing their things although I suppose it sounds a bit more like Suggs is doing his thing and Paul Weller is having a go at doing a bit more of a Madness thing.

TOVE STYRKE - YouYouYou (Milkshake) favoritefavorite_borderfavorite_borderfavorite_borderfavorite_border
by Tim London

2009 Swedish Idol runner-up makes a big pot of 1980s bish bash bosh drums and synth stew that is actually flavoured water and the world blinks and wonders why humans bother.

MURKAGE DAVE - I Had A Nice Time But I Won’t Be Back (Bandcamp) favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite
by Tim London

Continuing what’s increasingly looking like a long form conceptual collection, a musical depiction of a British millennial desperately holding on to fun and joy in a blizzard of boomer greed. Shrunken scenes, horizons limited by the back wall of the club, friendship never more important. Will the latest, capsule generation, texting their mates while they walk past their houses, feel as alienated by this cosy, cuddly, drug imbued youth-style? Or will their sons and daughters reinvent it in a decade’s time as that year’s revival, when boomers are sweating away their last years in huge care homes on sites that used to house nightclubs?


RE SERAPHIN - Swingshift PE (Mt.St.Mtn) favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border
by Ancient Champion

Playing House comes from R.E. Seraphin's new EP, Swingshift. If you are an International Pop Overthrow, Redd Kross type, then this will be for you. Kind of reminds me too of legendary LA band, Ultravoilet Eye, remember their insane More Than A Feeling guitar solo's? There's a great, wobbly stab at greatness here. Commendable in so so so many ways.  


AMYL & THE SNIFFERS - Comfort To Me (ATO Records) favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite
by Spanish Pantalones

Oooh, this is a good one. Amyl & the Sniffers (fan-fucking-tastic band name, by the way) have always been on the peripheral, but Comfort To Me might be the one that thrusts me from casual listener to obsessive fanatic. Hard to believe these punks are from Melbourne; they have that messy “early-’90s Los Angeles Raji’s” indie sound down as if they’ve lived in Echo Park since birth. You’re gonna like this one, if you have a pulse.

KENDRICK LAMAR - Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (Top Dawg) favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_borderfavorite_border
by Spanish Pantalones

As someone who’s been on board months before critics and the unwashed masses realized how fresh and groundbreaking good kid, m.A.A.d. City was ten years ago, I’m not that knocked out by Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. Maybe it’ll take me a week or two the way the new Soft Cell album won me over. Right now, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers sounds like a lot of other hip-hop albums released this month. No real grooves, no hooks – nothing that’s gonna get you on your feet and crip walk across your living room. Portishead’s Beth Gibbons makes a cameo, as does Ghostface Killah and Thundercat, but is that enough? Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers has some high points for sure, and it’s head and shoulders above most other albums released this year, but you expect a little more from Kendrick Lamar, and this time out, I’m not feeling it… yet?

SOFT CELL - *Happiness Not Included (BMG) favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border
by Spanish Pantalones

I was going to review this new release last week when it debuted, but I have to be honest, it didn't knock my socks off on the first listen. Or my second or third. It sounded corny. (The leadoff single, "Purple Zone" still sounds like someone trying to sound like Soft Cell.) Plus, I had a lot of other deadlines and I wasn't so sure I wanted to spend precious minutes banging out a middling review. But I started listening to *Happiness Not Included on my morning runs and it started making sense. I don't think Soft Cell songs were meant to be listened to as background music while you're scrolling though your Instagram feed or while you're vegetating on a lounge chair by the pool. I think you have to be moving and focusing on nothing but the music itself; running at 5am really forces you to focus on what you're listening to. "Polaroid," a funny song about when Marc Almond first met Andy Warhol could've been a b-side from Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret -- angular and sparse. It's become my favorite song of the week. "Heart Like Chernobyl" and "Bruises on My Illusions" are equally certified bangers. Almond's subject matter throughout this entire LP may be dark and dystopian, but Dave Ball's music gives *Happiness Not Included the feeling of chugging, forward momentum. Not bad for a band that hasn't recorded anything in 20 years. 

THE MUFFS - Really Really Happy (Deluxe Edition) (Omnivore Recordings) favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite
by Spanish Pantalones

Despite its title, Really Really Happy is a bittersweet album. It’s the first release The Muffs have released since Kim Shattuck left us. If you’re a fan, you’ve heard the core of this deluxe reissue; it was originally issued in 2004 when the band, as drummer Roy McDonald says in the liner notes, began the second phase of the band’s career. That said, this LP is special in that it includes several dozen extra tracks including songs that didn’t make originally pressing and more importantly, Kim’s demos. Kim’s demos are what make this one special. She recorded them by herself at home, but they’re fully formed and emphasize how good of a songwriter she was – a master of the three-minute pop song. I suppose we all have to go sometime, but Really Really Happy (and all of The Muff’s recordings) underline just how unfair life is. The great ones leave too soon, while the shitty ones live on.

Essential Info
Main image, screengrab from Baz Luhrmann's ELVIS trailer

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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