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Five Hearts For You All of the Five Hearts Record Reviews from March

Five Hearts For You

All of the Five Hearts Record Reviews from March

by Lee Paul,
first published: April, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

"All very promising for future albums..." John Robinson on Alice Low's Fruitcake

Five Hearts for records reviewed in the OUTSIDELEFT Weeks in Music from March 2023, our reviewers said. Unless they were the other older things that we needed to reminded everyone of, they're here too. All Fives, all the time.


SINGLES

ALICE LOW - Fruitcake (Clwb Music Publishing)
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by John Robinson

Her first EP is due out April, and we have already given a very positive review to previous single Show Business, so pleased to report that second single Fruitcake is equally joyous. It's half Scott Walker, partly Bowie in highly glam phase, a bit of Billy Mackenzie in the multi tracked vocals, harmonies and phasing. She's a fruitcake all right, a lovely moist one. The chorus soars and the song flips from torch song, to guitar solo via noir shimmer and stomp. Needless to say, the lyrics are confrontational, personal and cathartic: "I've got to change my face, this one's a fake, but what a beautiful meaningless fake...". All very promising for future albums...


BABY JAKE - We've got to get together to be free (All DSPs)
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by Toon Traveller

Love the old Hammond style driven organ opening, it's anthemic rallying call to unity. This could be straight otta the 70's, when we all wanted peace love and understanding.  Come 80s we realised, we gotta stand a fight, this song captures those moods, but transplant them 50 years on, sad, there's so little that's changed. Same sense of injustice, of powers turning back clocks, and scapegoating anyone who looks, behaves, believes, thinks differently. We DO all need to stand together, wonderful sentiment, great dream, and this is a powerful call to the struggle, and unity. So many miles to travel for justice
 


BOBBY HARDEN AND THE SOULFUL SAINTS - One Night Of The Week (BQE Records/Dala Records)
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by Toon Traveller

If after that Boss soul business, a palette cleanser is in order then soul man Bobby Harden brings it. This has all of the gorgeous classic tropes from back in the day. And the voice too. Imbued with hope. This is old, OLD school soul, it's got the lot, pained vocals, the backing vocalists, sweet and hugging syrup, cream on peaches. WTF, it's bloody class, bet he's brill live.


DAVID HEATLEY - If (Soundcloud)
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by Toon Traveller

What a happy start to a  Monday David Heatley provides, think pure pop meets, a way out west. Leftfield, with a sorta zydeco-lite vibe. Happy sound, this is pure summer, sings of sunshine and Pina Coladas in the lazy holidays', sun kissed, poolside bar. This truly is the purest of pure pop. It's just a  - a - feel good on grey hopeless Monday, a smile in the face of UK's cost of living crisis. I love the repeated riff, skipping like kids hand in hand, memories of happy beach side days. Ab fab.


DIPPERS - Tightening The Tangles (Goner)
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by Toon Traveller

From their forthcoming LP Clastic Rock, they named it!Australia's Dippers get directly into it on the single, Tightening The Tangles with a great intro, jagged guitar, slightly ironic voice. Keeping on the charming side of cute. Great individual lyric lines, seemingly unconnected, but there's magic in them spaces. It's got that post 70's rock, slightly childish playfulness, verbal nonsense, but not in a bad way.  Words amuse, mystify, leaving me querying, inspiration? Who? When? Track ends, eyes closed, melody hummed, fingers drummed. THEN, then,  a splash of perspiration, a dash of memory reclamation, swish of imagination Eureka I have it. Brian Eno, post Rocky Music, pre Ambient, that's it, that's the memory. Five hearts, I was late to Brian Eno, but thankfully earlier to this. 


EASY STAR ALL-STARS - Moonage Daydream ft. Naomi Cowan (Easy Star Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Wow! A daring and brill fat slab of rock reggae, reggae Bowie's got the thing to keep my feet moving, retreading a well worn groove for sure, but Naomi Cowan has such a great voice, slide that over some fat bass lines and percussion and this is a delicious antidote to the hail battering the windows right now. Love the groove, the horn breaks those "freak out, far out" exhortations... Feel the groove, and wait... The classic Mick Ronson guitar solo channeled by the otherwise horrible Alex Lifeson of terrible Rush at the tracks end... This is perfect reggae for the 2020s, echoing the past, adding rock, it's powerful, with of oodles groove. Even the generally unreadable Entertainment Weekly said, "Re-invention rarely sounds this good.” Stopped clocks, and all that.


EL MICHELS AFFAIR AND BLACK THOUGHT - Glorious Game (Big Crown Records)
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by LamontPaul

Fucking Brilliant... Nothing less really. Even the video. Possibly one of Thought's best. And the El Michel's Affair, if there's a game, if there's a top to it, that's where they are. Title track from the Glorious Game LP which comes out on April 14th.


ERIC BIBB - Family (Repute Records)
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by Toon Traveller

From the forthcoming LP Riding. This is a thrilling precursor. Supremely subdued. Gets going on the banjo. It's deeply Southern in it's tradition and by the end it's Southern semantic scope. Reminded me of Alabama 3's most famous tune, gotta tell you that. And maybe Earl Klugh, John Lee Hooker, and Taj Mahal. Eric's hero's shine through. Building on their traditions, it's soft railroad rhythms, and some razor sharp guitar breaks, BUT it's the lyrics, a celebration of strength, what was done, and sacrifices made. Can't wait for the album.


ESBEN & THE WITCH - True Mirror (Nostromo Records)
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by Alan Rider

Esben & The Witch have changed considerably from the glorious post punk noise previously displayed on tracks like the superb 'No Dog'. 'True  Mirror' is an introspective probe into self loathing, stripped back and pulled along by the pulsating heartbeat of a muted bass drum, tangential guitar work, and bassist and singer Rachel Davis's ethereally melancholy vocals.  Accompanied by one of their trademark, and similarly well crafted, black and white videos, its a masterclass in detachment.  The upcoming album this is taken from 'Hold Sacred', their sixth, will be one to keep an eye on.


EYESORE & THE JINX - An Ideas Man (Self Released (so no label))
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by Alan Rider

You know there is something about Liverpool's Eyesore & The Jinx that just reminds me so much of all those great post punk bands like Gang of Four, Delta Five, The Fall, Pere Ubu and so on.  That's a mark of respect by the way. They've released some great singles, all jittery and itchy in the way that gets under your skin like an internal rash, niggling away at you until you can't stop thinking about it.  'An ideas Man', their first new release since 2020, is indisputedly another one of those. "I fuckin' hate landlords" they say in their Press Notice, to such an extent they wrote a song about it. Good for them. They definitely have something worthwhile going on here. Think Gang of Four crossed with The Fall.  You see, I was right.


FEVER RAY - Even It Out (Mute)
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by Alan Rider

Karin Dreijer AKA Fever Ray has been a tad quiet this past five years, but is very definitely back with a bang with a new album 'Radical Romantics', tour, and stand out single “Even It Out.”  With a knowing nod to John Waters, Divine, and maybe even Madame JoJos (remember that place?), 45 year old Karin belts it out like she was 18 and on a mission. Apparently written as a warning to a child who once tormented Karin's offspring, if I was that kid I would be begging my parents to move school and house NOW!, as in the accompanying video she looks both unhinged and admirable at the same time. Inhabiting a creative world a good few blocks away from musical Main Street, that's just the sort of neighbourhood I like to hang around in, even if you do have to watch where you tread. Apparently Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who co-produced and performed on “Even It Out,” appear fleetingly in the video.  I blinked and missed it, but you may have better luck.  'Radical Romantics' is out now by the way.


IGUANA DEATH CULT - Pushermen (Innovative leisure)
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by Alan Rider

Can you award five hearts on the strength of a video? I just did, though the song is pretty cool too and rolls along in a nice sort of way.  Iguana Death Cult also have a great name. 'Pusherman' is the kind of single you'd be happy to have blasting out of your car radio any day and even better if the weather is good enough to have the top down.  The video is about a fictional green screen casting session for a movie called Pushermen.  Its silly.  The song is a bit silly too tbh, but I just like it, so cut me a break here won't you?


JOANNA STERNBERG - I've Got Me (Fat Possum)
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by Toon Traveller

This instantly reminded me of the 70s esoteric, and sadly overlooked songstress Melanie Safka, a long-forgotten yet wonderful singer songwriter. Joanna's lyrics are full of recognition of who she is. Her message, "Don't beat yourself up, there's the world out there to do that, so be kind to yourself."  We need more of these 'we as humans are essentially good people'.  Treasure yourself and others. Remember, faults, we all got 'em it's called humanity, it's who we all are. This is big on the hope antidote to these self-loathing, guru-seeking, e-trolling days.


KALIA VANDEVER - Temper The Wound (AKP Recording)
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by Ancient Champion

This doesn't happen to me every week. The chills, wrought by composition, haunting tension, musicianship. Temper the Wound is the first track from Kalia Vandever’s forthcoming LP, We Fell In Turn (AKP Recordings). Kalia is a Brooklyn based trombone composer, quartet leader, Harry Styles cohort, Kalia has also played with luminaries such as Lizzo, Japanese Breakfast and Moses Sumney. We Fell In Turn, was recorded over three days in TK, New York. It offers a stark improvisational palate of solo trombone, voice, effects, and little more. Kalia’s LP explores her heritage, “In Hawaiian mythology, aumakua are known as ancestral spiritual guides that manifest in different forms, whether physical or intangible,” says Vandever. “My aumakua visits me in my dreams, usually with a reassuring hug or a reminder of my past. Memories and early experiences seem to escape me, but find their way back in dreams.” Temper the Wound is a gorgeous taster for Kalia’s full length which is released at the end of the month. You can't wait to hear it.


LLOYD/BEAN - Tears Like Stars (Bandcamp/Tiny Global)
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by Ancient Champion

Alright, I have completely the writer and broadcaster Adrian Goldberg to thank for drawing my attention to this last night at the Pete Astor performance Adrian put on last night at the Rock n Roll Brewery. (more on that later...). The Robert Lloyd, the Nightingale, and the Janet Beveridge Bean of Sweetwater together on an LP of duets which this turns out to be simply beyond brilliant, oh wow. This is a little bit country and little bit rock 'n' roll. A little bit Nancy and a little Lee... Tears Like Stars is one of a couple of tracks available now, the other is Heavy Reckonings. The whole LP will be available at the end of May, but maybe you'd best order it now (from Bandcamp). Also featuring Pete 'The Tank' Byrchmore currently o the Membranes, and Mark Bedford of Madness. It is a gorgeous, stripped sound and Lloyd has rarely sounded better. Lloy/Beans other great coup, Adrian mentioned, is a one off show (damn! bring it to Birmingham too) featuring Go Between Lindy Morrison on drums in Shepherds Bush. Oddly, after the Galen and Paul Lonely Town record a couple of weeks ago, Alarcon and I began compiling a little list of our fave duets, as opposed to the modern idiom Blah Ft. Blah... Lloyd Bean are surely gonna make most every duet list. Sensationally gravelly good.


LONNIE HOLLEY - Kindness Will Follow Your Tears (Jagjaguwar)
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by Toon Traveller

Another more-of-a-mood piece than a hit single. Almost a paean to spiritual traditions, wondrous 60s Jazz feel, redolent of Pharaoh Saunders. Those swirls of sound, evocative impressions, Van Gough in music. The past made present. No singing, not rap, more Jazz poetry, an idiom occasionally revived, why such gaps in releases? Because it's bloody hard to get right as Lonnie has done right here.


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.  


MODERN COSMOLOGY - A Time To Grow ft. Laetitia Sadier/Mombojo (Duophonic)
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by DJ Fuzzyfelt

Well this is rather splendid. Laetitia Sadier, singer/musician in Stereolab and maker of excellent solo records plus critically acclaimed Brazilian group Mombojó combine to beautiful effect. It drifts along for 4 minutes or so with Ms Sadier doing what she does best over a languorous backing before the big drums and choirs do what the title suggests.A lovely way to spend 7 minutes and 18 seconds of my life. Straight onto the best of 2023 playlist.


MONIKA ROSCHER BIGBAND - Starlight Nightcrash (Zenna Records/Membran)
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by Alan Rider

Normally I would have reservations about a band named after one individual - for me a band is comprised of all its members - and the phrase 'Bigband' would send me running for the hills, but Munich's 18 strong Monika Roscher Bigband are an entirely different kettle of fish.  They sound huge.  They are huge.  But they are also capable of moments of incredible delicacy.  Following up last month's epic '8 Prinzessinnen' single and accompanying video, Starlight Nightcrash is relatively restrained, but retains the same quirky, Bjork like qualities that set this act apart, even incorporating the mangled sounds of a circuit-hacked Casio keyboard into the mix of horns, glacial vocals and rolling drums.  I despise the ordinary in music and this is definitely not ordinary.  Their third album 'Witchy Activities And The Maple Death’ is due in May.  We may very well have to pay them another visit then.


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.


NUHA RUBY RA - 6 In The Morning (Brace Yourself Records)
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by Alan Rider

Nuha Ruby Ra is pissed off.  If she doesn't like what she hears, she will just rip the turntable off the wall and throw it across the room. "God, how I've grown to hate guitars and every prick that holds one" she spits like a latter day Lydia Lunch over a pounding beat stabbed and bleeding with guitar and horn knives. You won't find her warbling wistfully over an acoustic guitar. She is more likely to smash that guitar over your head.  Just don't catch her eye.  Don't look, she is coming over!  I'm scared! 

Magnificent. 

'6 In The Morning' is taken from the upcoming 'Machine Like Me' EP out March 17th.


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.


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. 


SAU PAULO UNDERGROUND - Into The Rising Sun (Cuneiform Records)
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by Ancient Champion

From the album, Beija Flors Velho E Sujo [HD 24?/?96] comes the first single, Into The Rising Sun from the Chicago based Sau Paulo Underground... There's an intergalactic travelogue for you. It's brilliant by the way, parts fucked sideways up Tijuana Brass, boomy booming here and there. The theme to a movie we'll never see. This is most likely the sound God could hear when dabbling with the Creation. Good enough for God... There can't be higher praise, surely?


SWANS - Paradise Is Mine (Mute/Young Gods)
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by Alan Rider

There is something about Swans that always send a shiver up my spine.  Its been a while since we've had any new Swans material, with the previous album 'Leaving Meaning' appearing in 2019.  The enforced hiatus caused by the Pandemic and lockdown seems have rejuvenated their creative spark though, as it did for so many bands.  Whilst not actually a single, more a teaser track off the new album 'The Beggar' - their sixteenth - coming your way in June (watch out for a full review on OL then), 'Paradise Is Mine' is 100% shiver inducing.  Its classic Swans, from a gentle start, the intensity builds steadily and envelops you, swirling around the mantra "This Is Mine (Mind)".   As one of the comments on the Youtube video says, only Swans can make a 9 minute track feel like a 4 minute one.  "Am I ready to die?" intones Michael Gira at one point.  Please don't.  The world needs The Swans. 


TAPE RUNS OUT - 90°C (Trapped Animal Records)
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by Alan Rider

Cambridge's Tape Runs Out are one of the most intriguing and beguiling bands I've come across in a while. With atmospherics you could cut with a knife, they stand out from the crowd by a few miles.  The third single taken from their upcoming album 'Floodhead' (review next week), 90°C channels the spirit of Radiohead, with cascading guitar, hammered dulcimer, and soaring textures weaving together to form a well executed sonic tapestry. Chart material it may not be, but if you read John Robinson's review of the current Top 40 elsewhere on Outsideleft, you will know why that is indeed a very good thing. 


THE BLUE AEROPLANES - Building an Arc For the Anthropocene (Last Night From Glasgow)
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by Jay Lewis

It's been six long years since we last heard from The Blue Aeroplanes and, my word, I've missed them. Many of the delays between then and now were due to vocalist Gerard Langley being hospitalized with cancer, and then, of course, the lockdown. 'Building an Arc For the Anthropocene' is, like their the re-energized last album ('Welcome Stranger - 2017), punchier and punkier than would associate them. Having seen them on that last tour it's clear to see what a fabulous recruit to the ever-evolving lineup (at least 48 members since 1981), guitarist Bec Jevons. The layers of massed guitars on 'Building an Arc For the Anthropocene' is bewilderingly good. The single shows singer/poet Langley as being, unsurprisingly, much angrier and rather more politically engaged than we may have known him previously to be. It is an indication if the prevailing mood of their 12th studio album ‘Culture Gun’ is officially released on Fri 28th April 2023. Welcome back, Strangers!


THE DAMNED - Beware Of The Clown (Earmusic)
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by Alan Rider

The Damned these days have the air of a bunch of old mates simply having fun.  Their legacy as one of the few original punk bands to have consistently developed and delivered is assured, they have a fanatical worldwide fan base, and they don't give a fig what you or I think about them or who they upset (not that they ever did).  Its a nice position to be in.  'Beware of The Clown' is the second single taken from the new 'Darkadelic' album and is targeted firmly at Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, but could apply to any clown politician really (so all of them then!).  It is more political a song than we are used to from The Damned, but then I guess as you get older you tend to get more annoyed with politicians and idiots.  Its a classic Damned track though, and they are clearly having a laugh making the video and even show off a new dandy-ish drummer to boot.  Lets face it, who doesn't love The Damned?


THE IRONSIDES - Song For Adrian (Colemine)
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by Ancient Champion

I'm listening to The Ironsides' Song For Adrian, a B-Side I think, and I'm wondering why can't more records sound like this? Changing Light on May 19th (Colemine) is their forthcoming first full-length album, melding classic psych-soul sounds with sweeping orchestral arrangements – reminiscent of a cinematic soundtrack from a 60s European film. Is there a record label better at bringing it than Colemine right now? Big Crown maybe. They're right up there together for sure.


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

GRANDMA'S HOUSE - Who Am I (Brace Yourself Records)
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by Alan Rider

Bristol's Grandma's House are a morose, aggressive, punky three piece who glower at you with daggers whilst blasting out the sort of grrr, snarl noise that we've heard a zillion times before. What marks them out though is their videos.  Grandma's House look like someone took Hole and put them through a shredder.  They appear genuinely unhinged and are not to be invited in if they bang on your door screaming "Trick or Treat!" through the letterbox.  It's what panic rooms were made for.


KOKOROKO - RAPT (Brownswood Recordings)
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by Tim London

It takes a music video to show me a completely unknown world. How does the electricity get to homes - is there electricity? What happens at night, on those flimsy walk ways? How do you feel about your kids running about and splashing like little mer-kids in and out of the water? Is the water polluted? Does everyone know everyone? How does a place like that accommodate ten or twenty crew? Who’s in charge of a place like this? All these questions, and more. When, really, I should be thinking: ‘home, this is home.’

Home is the planet. Where an Afrobeat band of young people from south London create light, airy, butterfly jazz that soundtracks the busy streets of Peckham as easily as the wet roads of Makoko in Nigeria. Three tracks from Kokoroko’s first album form a kind of EP, knitted together by the sounds and sights of Akinola Davies Junior’s film that seems to capture something essential without sentiment, about life in what could be an alien environment but is actually just somewhere people live.

Five enormous hearts.


NUHA RUBY RA - Machine Like Me (Brace Yourself Records)
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by Alan Rider

Hot on the heels of her confrontational single '6 In The Morning' (given a five star review previously on Outsideleft), this 5 track EP amply illustrates why Nuha Ruby Ra is one to keep a close eye on.   As Toon Traveller says in his accompanying review, she draws you into a "world that is dark", yet is also full of purpose and unafraid.  With genuinely threatening bass lines reminiscent of Tracey Pew era Birthday Party, mixed with elements of Lydia Lunch, Skunk Anasie, and even Delta 5 in places, its a heady brew that could very well warp young minds.  Standout tracks are the sinuous and screaming 'Rise' (no relation to the Public Image Limited track) and, of course, '6 In The Morning'.  I would strongly advise not turning your back on Nuha Ruby Ra for even a moment, as 'Machine Like Me' shows she is coming to get you.


LPs

BLUE STATUE - No/On (Fourth Dimension)
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by Alan Rider

Blue Statue certainly love the sound of words.  With hard to spell song titles like Supercilious, Lachrymose, and Noetic (meaning 'relating to mental activity or the intellect'), even reading the sleeve of No/On is a bit of an education.  Their punchy brand of infectious indie rock is also an education. The fact they have signed to a label better known for the sorts of electronic and extreme experimental acts that normally inhabit the outer reaches of the musical solar system is a bold move by both band and label to break out of stereotypes.  It succeeds and in a field chock-a-block with identikit bands, they certainly have an indefinable something that deserves a wider audience. Intellectual and intelligent indie rock.  That's a rarity that deserves to be treasured.


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⇒


BROTHER LEE - Serequellograms (Dime)
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by LamontPaul

The fourth LP in 20 months from Brother Lee puts him in a class alongside the great brit eccentric musician-poets, Robyn Hitchcock, Anton and Brian Jones. Look, they don't have to be British. They are Britishers. 


DAVID BENJAMIN BLOWER - The Book of Bare Life & Returns ()
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by Tim London

It’s a sad, gorgeous album... read Tim London's full David Benjamin Blower review here⇒


DELERIUM - Signs (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

Sign is the 15th Long Player from Delerium. Alan Rider reviews it right 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. 


EDWARD KA-SPEL - Permission To Leave The Temple (Lumberton Trading Company)
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by Alan Rider

Edward Ka-Spel is a national treasure, says Alan Rider. You can read Alan's full review of Permission To Leave The Temple here⇒


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⇒ 


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⇒


ROYAL ARCTIC INSTITUTE - Coma To Catharsis (Already Dead Tapes)
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by Toon Traveller

This is a cassette only release. Like to see the editors do with that cos they didn't send it to me and I have the Japanese JVC still ready to go. Still waiting. Coma To Catharsis? Mostly mellow in a very mellifluous sort of way. Very. Sorta opening mysterious, patterns, wistful, romantic, reminiscent of 70's late night floating on a water bed music. Redolent of the spacey, spaced, slightly trippy music of the pre-punk 70s, listened to while sat in mates' bed sits, smoking, talking nonsense, before going on to be estate agents, accountants, and media workers. This floats along going where YOU want it to go. Yeah that's right hipsters, this is transcendental music, there's a big bit if Les Baxter, that's just the right side of incidentally.  Sit and chill after a long drive in heavy traffic. Strangely evocative and inspirational, makes me want to travel, somewhere ethereal, any suggestions?


SUDDEN INFANT - Lunatic Asylum (Fourth Dimension)
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by Alan Rider

Berlin based trio Sudden Infant describe themselves as "Swiss Industrial-Dada-Noise-Rock".  I couldn't have put it better myself.  From the opening 'Good Morning' where singer Joke Lanz (not his real name, surely?) describes the weather and tells us they are here to record this album, before the track morphs into 'Head', listing things that have a head "the boy has a head, dog has a head" and so on. Really?, I never would have guessed.  Cool video accompanying that one too. There are musical elements of Birthday Party, a punkier Frank Zappa, word association, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band, even US west coast punk, all blended together so you really don't know quite what to expect next.  Its an eclectic mix for sure, and Lunatic Asylum is more a descriptor than an album title. Standing out from the crowd is what Sudden Infant do best and this album treads on just enough toes to keep your interest going all the way through. "Swiss Industrial-Dada-Noise-Rock" indeed.


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.


THE STROKES - The Singles Volume 01 (Legacy Recordings)
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by Alarcon

Go listen to this, you know you're gonna love it. It's a boxset comprised of the ten original singles released from their first three studio albums. It's made up of a bunch of poorly recorded demos, b-sides, alternate takes, and it'll remind you how important they were to the trajectory of rock and roll. Thank god for the Strokes.


Other Materials

DE LA SOUL - Eye Know (Chrysalis)
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by Ancient Champion

Why not? Eye Know is nothing less than the perfect pop song. And streaming now.


MILES DAVIS - So What (Columbia)
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by Ancient Champion

I was thinking about OUTSIDELEFT's excursion into broadcasting and how I loved KCRW and NPR so much and how US radio has an awareness of jazz that doesn't really happen here so much. So while we don't have a radio show this week, we do have the theme music for our ideas on loan from and inspired by American radio's understanding what beauty sounds like. So what.


NEW ORDER - Blue Monday (Warner Music)
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by Katherine Pargeter

Blue Monday is 40. Early in 1983, John Peel got hold of the acetate of the forthcoming New Order single and played it, exclusively, to his eager listeners on his late-night show on Radio One. After it had finished playing, he grumbled '...a tune would have been nice!' and dutifully moved on to introducing the next record. The rest is history, the biggest-selling 12-inch single of all time, a record that has inspired generations of dance, indie and electronic music. One of those rare records that changed the landscape of popular music as we understand it. A masterpiece. John Peel meanwhile, no longer has a tent named after him at the Glastonbury Festival. But that really is not to do with music, is it?


RODRIGUEZ - Inner City Blues (UMG)
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by Ancient Champion

Because this from 1970 Cold Fact LP is worth thinking about.


TOM WAITS - Closing Time (Asylum)
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by Lee Paul

March 6th, 50 years ago the release of ‘Closing Time’ began the career of one of the all-time greatest artists and an exploration of blues, folk and experimental music that can't be replicated.


Essential Information
Main image: Alice Low press shot

 

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