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Outsideleft Week in Music... Getting all Squid-like with RVG We're hearing from RVG, Depeche Mode, U2, Inner Space Quartet, A Certain Ratio, Air Traffic Controller, British Electric Foundation (B.E.F), Lankum, Senestra, Whatitdo Archive Group, OMD, Eddie Chacon, Surprise Chef, Monika Roscher Bigband, Pozi, The Resolve, Stone Giants, CLT DRP, Bed Signs, Liars at the Witch Trial, Terzo, Maulen feat. Behzad Barazandeh, Tape Runs Out

Outsideleft Week in Music... Getting all Squid-like with RVG

We're hearing from RVG, Depeche Mode, U2, Inner Space Quartet, A Certain Ratio, Air Traffic Controller, British Electric Foundation (B.E.F), Lankum, Senestra, Whatitdo Archive Group, OMD, Eddie Chacon, Surprise Chef, Monika Roscher Bigband, Pozi, The Resolve, Stone Giants, CLT DRP, Bed Signs, Liars at the Witch Trial, Terzo, Maulen feat. Behzad Barazandeh, Tape Runs Out

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: March, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

RVG are certainly odd enough with this ditty to becoming a squid (as you do) to qualify for five hearts from me... - Alan Rider

SINGLES

RVG - Squid (Fire Records)
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by Alan Rider

RVG are certainly odd enough with this ditty to becoming a squid (as you do) to qualify for five hearts from me.  "Don't go back in time, its not worth it" they advise.  I might disagree with that advice as it would mean I could catch some classic gigs I missed at the time and also stock up on Apple and Microsoft shares, but I digress. Melbourne's RVG are very good at producing infectious and well crafted post punk alt rock or whatever its called, but lyrically they are off the wall, both with songs like this one about turning into a time travelling squid (now I see why they were warning me off!), or a host of other equally bizarre topics contained in the crop of new songs to be found on their latest Brain Worms album due out in June (review coming up on Outsideleft for that).  Its a heady and left of centre mix but still well worth your time and effort to seek out. 


MAULéN FEAT. BEHZAD BARAZANDEH - Rostro (Icons Creating Evil Art)
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by Alan Rider

Icons Creating Evil Art are shaping up to be an interesting label well worth keeping an eye on.  Although not a March release, its worth reprising Drone / Experimental / Doom artist MAULÉN's debut single 'Rosto', not least because it draws your attention to the epic video that accompanies it.  With vocals in Persian by guest Behzad Barazandeh, it is an epic and melancholic mood driven song that he describes as taking you on a journey towards your inner darkness.  Heavy stuff from an artist previously best known as guitarist for Death Metal act Age of Woe, and at 9 minutes plus, you could be forgiven for thinking that it is all a bit much, but that would be doing it a disservice.  Reminiscent of vintage Swans or Squurl, it needs that length to fully unfurl.  Dark, forbidding and intensely brooding, this is a cathartic experience that draws you in.  


POZI - Pest Control (Bandcamp)
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by Tim London

Clean as a new box of tissues. My buttocks were clenched tight throughout, hoping that they didn’t feel the need to add any excesses to this super-simple, perfectly constructed late morning in a 1980s squat moment. Hats off to the drummer who refrained from their hihats. Felicitations to the singers who harmonise like siblings. Who would think a violin could fill the space so? And… relax. Smart. Let’s play it again.


TERZO - Eve Seven (Icons Creating Evil Art)
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by Alan Rider

When I reviewed Italian darkwave/shoegaze/post-rock duo Terzo's last single 'Cymbeline' in OL, I was less than positive about them. But I'm all for giving anyone another chance and I'm glad I did. 'Eve Seven' has everything that 'Cymbeline' seemed to lack.  Its spacious, Cocteau Twins style dreamscape certainly beguiles in all the right places.  It has a familiar sound, thats true, but the vocals carry it off, with a stand out performance from singer Billie Lindahl and a lyrical theme drawn rather bizarrely from an X-Files episode about seven cloned girls all called Eve. They have their eponymous debut album out in April and I'm definitely intrigued enough to delve further into the world of Terzo, even if that does sound a bit like a Japenese Theme Park!


MONIKA ROSCHER BIGBAND - Unbewegte Sternenmeere (Zenna Records/Membran)
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by Alan Rider

Another single drawn from the upcoming 'Witchy Activities and The Maple Death' album, Unbewegte Sternenmeere (which translates as 'Unmoving Seas of Stars' in English) which demonstrates just why the Monika Roscher BigBand have unearthed something very special in their 18 strong mix of talented musicians.  With that many musicians involved, it should by any rights be a crowded mess, but it assuredly isn't.  Instead you get a sense of space, pace and grandeur and Avant Garde, tinged with Rock and Prog. That's a poor description though. Sorry!  Go listen for yourself and wait for an interview coming up in Outsideleft with Monika so she can explain to you the process of creating these miniature masterpieces far better than I ever could.


INNER SPACE QUARTET - Signals (Dime Records)
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by LamontPaul

Inner Space Quartet here are well on their way to achieving Popcorn Hot Butter levels of ecstasy. ISQ beam down and pick up and dust down a forgotten Primal Scream synth which they employ to great effect. You can dance to this or get into space age cosplay just as comfortably well. Pick your poison. It has the hallmarks of a now grainy 4:3 BBC science outside broadcast and is therefor brill. Buy it over on bandcamp on 5" vinyl while you can.


THE RESOLVE - Feelings (Tunecore)
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by Tim Sparks

The new single from Kent's The Resolve is merely a few hours old. Slabs and slabs of guitar stride out over classic era defying layered vocal melodies, maybe in the vein of the Manic Street Preachers. It's got that same thick creamy British rock sound... Read Tim Sparks interview with the band here⇒


STONE GIANTS - Metropole (Nomark)
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by Toon Traveller

Metropole, I think. Stone Giants maybe. This is one of the most rabbit hole press releases of nom-de-plumes I've encountered in a while. Anyway whatever I listened to by whomever is... Very electro, and 'out there' voices swirl above industrial pulses.  Vocals, words almost heard, but broken, in the dim distance, hints at what ? a threat,a gathering celebration, lost, despair. Almost in dark place, a drift of smoke, a whirl of desert sand, this is music from a place I can barely imagine, But I'm glad I'm not there. A tune that hums, in way you can't. I think the visuals are important but I can't be sure. Four hearts for something.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER - Anybody Got A Light? (All the main streaming channels)
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by Alan Rider

Boston's Air Traffic Controller (named after their frontman's previous role in the US Navy) claim in their promo blurb that they are avoiding cliches by releasing another 'pandemic song' to join the vast pile already out there.  Sorry to spoil things, but that's the very definition of a cliche, chaps! I am getting a bit sick of pandemic songs to be honest.  Yes, it was bad.  Yes, we get it.  But hey, we were all there too!  So please stop going on about it!  The next band to come up with an album or single introduced with the P word will be sent to bed with no supper and no review!  Having said that, this is not that bad.  It bowls along in a pleasingly inoffensive Folky Alt Rock way and won't upset your Aunty Vera.  So now they've got that out of their system, we will never have to hear them singing about the P thing ever again?   We can hope anyway. 


CLT DRP - New Boy (Venn Records)
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by Tim London

Clot Drip? Cloth Drop? Clit Droop? I dunno but, right up until the last mathcounting stabs (cos they are ‘proper’ musos) this is magnificent, just drums and a guitar that sounds like a monosynth and someone singing in that Runaways tracked style that originated with Suzi Quatro. ‘I make you worry!’ And indeed you very probably do. And dance, too.


WHATITDO ARCHIVE GROUP - The Cashmere Chamber (Record Kicks)
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by Ancient Champion

From the beginning - oh come on, the bells! Low rent xylophones and overpinged marimbas, and... Kettle drums. Look my ears are unreliable witnesses so check this for yourself. Whatitdo Archive Group are possibly all I need to listen to right now. Over and over. Can't wait for the LP spikily cinematic Palace Of A Thousand Sounds LP in May.


EPs

SURPRISE CHEF - Friendship EP (Big Crown)
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by LamontPaul

Since the release of Surprise Chef’s 2022 album, Education & Recreation they have been on an endless tour while continuing with their prodigious and prolific music output - as evidenced by their new Friendship EP. If you're a vinyl fetish person you're pre-ordering for June 2nd...


LPs

DEPECHE MODE - Momento Mori (Venusnote)
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by Jay Lewis

The relief! The first totally satisfying DM album in a long time. Jay just can't get enough...


LIARS AT THE WITCH TRIAL - Torches (Bandcamp)
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by Jay Lewis

As introductions go, as examples of just what to expect in the following half an hour 'I Should Have Known' (the opener of Liars at the Witch Trial's debut) is a breathtaking tour de force. Almost immediately, Kate Walton's impassioned vocals take you on a fantastical journey ('it's so hard to wake up from a hundred years of slumber, don't you know!) whilst her guitar takes you on a loud/quiet/loud grungy alt-rock rollercoaster.

After those daft remarks about Meg White in recent weeks, you realise just how essential a great drummer is to a two-piece band. 'Blinded by the Light' (no, not that one), shows just what an assertive drummer Adam Wakefield is. The synergy between the two players is palpable. The swaggering single 'No Clue' fizzes with punky guitar hooks one of Walton's most confident rock vocals. The high point though is the glorious title track - slower and bluesier, a suggestion of when of the many directions where this brilliant band may just go next.

Look out for Outsideleft's interview with Liars at the Witch Trial next week.


LANKUM - False Lankum (Rough Trade)
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by Jay Lewis

Jay's favourite album of 2023 so far, here's his review here⇒ 


U2 - Songs of Surrender (Universal Music)
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by Alarcon

Reputations be damned when Alarcon is listening in...


TAPE RUNS OUT - Floodhead (Trapped Animal Records)
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by Alan Rider

Tape Runs Out's debut album 'Floodhead' harks back to a time when tracks were not 'dropped', you bought the whole LP, not individual tracks, and you ran home from the record store excitedly with your purchase, desperate to get the needle onto those groves and immerse yourself. With violin and hammered dulcimer (yes, you did hear that right) fitting in seamlessly besides your standard bass, drum and guitars, all impeccably recorded at guitarist Dan's home studio, its a rare masterpiece that starts quietly, then  ranges up, down, and sideways. The single 'Souvenir' really doesn't do the album justice, being a simple rock song, but a well crafted one for all that and with a clever, funny video to accompany it. Floodhead’s cover artwork is a simulation of a water droplet as it hits the water, a flood being made from individual drops.  Good analogy.


BRITISH ELECTRIC FOUNDATION (B.E.F) - Music For Stowaways (Cold Spring)
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by Alan Rider

Alan Rider revisits Music For Stowaways, one of the most innovative and influential electronica LPs of the 80s, here⇒


EDDIE CHACON - Sundown (Stones Throw)
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by Toon Traveller

So I listened to Far Away from the LP and other and I am writing about that one. However the quality does not let up throughout this great LP. Look, I'm not normally a fan of what sounds like a drum machine opening, but luckily the vocals kick in. It's that voice that the carries the song. Icy, slightly dispassionate, it's underpinned by magnificent electric piano, straight out the best 70s Kool, but tender Jazz.  Sprinkle some brilliant late night drums. spaced out understated guitar and, those wonderful splash cymbals. Reminded of listening to Marvin Gaye - What's Going On - Yeah it's that good. A sense of late night spaces, places and intimate  senses. Love the whole feel of the piece, it's sense of place, that's late at night, a place I want to be, and just imbibe the 'ambience' invoked, utterly tasteful, sophisticated, in delicious way. 


ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK - Dazzle Ships (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Virgin Records)
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by Jay Lewis

Forty years on, Jay celebrates OMD's uncompromising and finest album here⇒


SENESTRA - Stanford (Fourth Dimension )
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by Jay Lewis

Jay Lewis discovers the dark electronic delight of Senestra here⇒


A CERTAIN RATIO - 1982 (Mute)
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by Alan Rider

There is just something about A Certain Ratio that can't help but raise a smile in me.  Maybe its the punk funk that has always been their trademark.  Maybe it was that they shared a label with Joy Division, but were the polar opposite soundwise with their horns (brass instruments, you understand. The band themselves didn't have horns!) and clear James Brown influences.  Maybe it was because they just made you feel good in what was a very gloomy time.  '1982', the title of their new album was probably the year I first saw them in a small nightclub in Coventry.  However, despite the title, this is far from a backward looking album.  It covers a lot of ground, electronic meanderings worthy of a more chilled out Kraftwerk rubbing shoulders with Afro Funk and many points inbetween.  The years since 1982 have seen ACR mature into a formidable force.  From the opening track SAMO, through the muscular electro of the title track, the classic ACR sound of Constant Curve,  to the epic 'Ballad of ACR' cataloguing their global travels and losses on the way, this is probably their most diverse and finest album yet.


BED SIGNS - Silver Lining Breakdown (Mint City Records)
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by Alan Rider

With a muscular production that damn nearly blew my speakers, Bed Signs debut album 'Silver Lining Breakdown' delivers indie pop and rock, with maybe a nod to electronica, revolving around song themes including self-doubt, self-hatred, toxic narratives, restricting relationships, and so on, channeling bands like R.E.M. and Superchunk in the process. Its a heady mix with 'Learnt My Lesson' the standout track. The album's title is, I believe, a reference to the ‘silver lining’ to any dark cloud, presumably followed up with a breakdown.  They reference "experiencing plague-driven mental health fragility" and the mixed-a-bit-too-high (which knocked a heart off their score) wispy vocals bear that out.  Despite my getting just a bit tired of hearing about various artists struggles with coping during the Pandemic (we all have our own stories we could tell so its hardly an original angle), I can forgive that this time.  The AI generated video to opening track 'Veronica Ruse' also illustrates a rising issue with the challenge presented to creatives such as video makers and song writers by rapidly developing AI technology. Pretty soon I will be replaced as a reviewer by AI.  You probably will be as a reader too, so Outsideleft will end up as bots talking to bots!


Essential Information
Main image RVG by Izzie Austin

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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