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Week in Music with Mick, Amanda and a Prehistoric Man We're hearing from... Mick Harvey & Amanda Acevedo, Prehistoric Man, Jah Wobble, ABC, Yard Act, Alice Cooper, The Beths, King Cobra, London Brew, Kelly Finnigan, Tony Bennett, Sudan Archives, Dear Dear, Allah-Las, Mick Harvey & Amanda Acevedo, Mirror Glaze, The Nerves, Current Joys, Gabriella Hunzinger, Lance Lopez & The Sinclairs

Week in Music with Mick, Amanda and a Prehistoric Man

We're hearing from... Mick Harvey & Amanda Acevedo, Prehistoric Man, Jah Wobble, ABC, Yard Act, Alice Cooper, The Beths, King Cobra, London Brew, Kelly Finnigan, Tony Bennett, Sudan Archives, Dear Dear, Allah-Las, Mick Harvey & Amanda Acevedo, Mirror Glaze, The Nerves, Current Joys, Gabriella Hunzinger, Lance Lopez & The Sinclairs

by OL House Writer,
first published: July, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

Look up Smokey and His Sister for the original and superior version.

Outsideleft constantly walks the thin line between grinding to a complete halt and not. Not really walking though, lurching. Precariously. If there is an immediate future, it looks grim, but maybe that future has passed, futures happen faster than the words I can type. Maybe we're already at a point beyond the immediate future. We are going to publish something to read this week that will be brilliant, that you won't find anywhere else and that really matters. To me. People often ask me what Outsideleft is, because they just don't know. I don't know and I don't want to know. This week I drove out with Woodenhand to fetch a Philicorda organ, built in 1967. Up until the moment he got in the car I was thinking this is mad, neither of us play, certainly never the sharps or flats, it's a 150 miles roundtrip to get the thing and we have nowhere to put it and we don't even know how well it works. But as soon as Woodenhand got in the car, I knew everything would be okay. I'd arranged to store it at Agata's place where we sometimes record and it might be of use. Agata is so gracious, generous and beautiful and made a space in a corner of the room that made the organ appear to be part of her home. While fetching the organ we visited Magazine Heaven, and I fell in love all over again with print as a concept, which reinvigorated my musing about producing an intermittent print version of OL which would be very different to this web thing; and have very different needs. What else this week... I considered the menu details for our Super Secret Outsideleft Supper Club; can we create a concessionary ticket? I need to include everyone. Always. I did a little media interview with Whistlestop who are getting something exciting underway; considered some poets that I'd like to see at another Quiet Night Out; thought about our forthcoming Outsideleft Booklet with the poet Wayne Dean Richards and then tried to sell my guitars - I have no real use for them - OL needs money. I finally sat down and watched the Witch movie Agata loaned me, We Intend to Cause Havoc which is so very good, and thought about how that came about - because of Egon Alapatt's Now-Again records and how that label came about because of Peanut Butter Wolf's Stones Throw and how those guys make a point of releasing only what they like, not for profit, and wondered whether I am doing enough. Of what I like. Thought about a genre piece I want to find time to write and then thought about how excited I feel about the person who wants to come and edit OL that I have been talking to this past few weeks and what that could possibly mean if it can happen. Then it was Friday and it was time for the Week in Music and then that slipped into the future which was Saturday and relatively it didn't seem to matter much. The ripples and wrinkles across the universe went largely unnoticed. Alan and Jay were holding it steady.

SINGLES

MICK HARVEY & AMANDA ACEVEDO - Creators of Rain (Mute)
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by Alan Rider

Following up their previous single, a cover of Pat Benetar's 'Love Is A Battlefield' comes another re-interpretation, this time of 1967 classic ‘Creators of Rain’, originally recorded by Smokey & His Sister.  It's a meanderingly orchestral version, with vocals that to my ear don't quite come up to scratch. This reminds me of a slower Pogues for some reason. The video is a bit embarrassing to be honest.  Neither of them look comfortable doing it and it has more than a whiff of the holiday video about it.  That aside, I have a sinking feeling that the album won't be great either.  Neither teaser single has screamed 'must listen' to me.  It's a shame as there is nothing wrong with the concept here, but it's all in the execution where it is sadly lacklustre and a bit tired. Look up Smokey and His Sister for the original and superior version.


ALICE COOPER - White Line Frankenstein (Earmusic)
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by Alan Rider

For a dinosaur Alice Cooper certainly looks the part.  Scaly wrinkled skin, giant gnashing teeth, bird like feet, and now that paleontologists have discovered that dinosaurs also sported brightly coloured feathers too, the comparison is even more appropriate.  There is nothing in the fossil evidence so far to indicate they also wore leather trousers or eyeliner back in the Triassic period, but I'm sure that discovery is only a matter of time.  As for Alice Cooper, he was always a lot of fun when he was singing about blowing up school and welcoming you to his pantomime nightmare, but now he just sounds like a hoary old school Spinal Tap throwback singing about being bad to the bone, living for the road, one night stands, and white lines on the road as well as up his nose.  Basically, every rock n'roll cliche in the book is thrown in here just in case you didn't get the point.  Hanging with his actor and rock star pals in the Hollywood Vampires and with his reputation for schlock rock and excess, he is pretty much his own parody, so there is absolutely nothing I can say about this here that will even dent his scaly thick hide.  Just pop down to the fancy dress shop and buy yourself a Heavy Metal wig and cardboard guitar and you are all set for this and whatever album follows.


PREHISTORIC MAN - To The Side (Bandcamp)
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by Ancient Champion

Cut up loop controller, Prehistoric Man returns, and listen around you, what do you hear? You're hearing a sounds that says, Prehistoric Man does not return often enough. Ensconced in a secret Hertfordshire lair, not far from home of George Bernard Shaw, well maybe a little to the side. But probably on an anonymous cul de sac. From where else could this emanate? I really think this is an art form that in these hands is uniquely British. I don't think anyone easily approaches this level of insouciant intensity. Here comes the wholly idiosyncratic Prehistoric Man (of mystery) with a gently pulsating swirling modern piece. It's architectural, minimalistically baroque, Egon Schiele in a collage. It's an austere beauty. Difficult to like, difficult to love; but as a hill to die on, it's almost perfect.


GABRIELLA HUNZINGER - Body Away (Ameno Records)
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by Alan Rider

Not my normal sort of thing, but this has that special quality that you just can't bottle.  A soaringly evocative and yet wistful lament for the destruction caused by humanity in search for land and for power, its a pause for thought in the frenetic headlong rush to self destruction that passes for environmental policy and commerce in the world. “It questions whether the disregard we have towards nature, and the way we take it for granted, due to the increasing disconnection we feel from ourselves and each other.” says Hunzinger about the track.  Its a sad song, yet feels full of optimism at the same time.   Apparently she also works as a Reiki practitioner.  Healing is in her nature then, and Body Away certainly channels all the right energies.


DEAR DEAR - Natural (Streamimg and download platforms)
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by Alan Rider

Whilst I am getting more than a little sick of all these fake retro videos, all jerky Super 8 emulations and saturated Kodakchrome colours, the song itself is a perfect pastiche of a sassy, soul infused 70's sound.  It sounds very familiar so probably lifts from any number of Motown and other hits, but hey, whats new in music now anyway?  This is summer all over and even managed to raise a smile on my jaded lips.


YARD ACT - The Trench Coat Museum (Island Records)
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by Katherine Pargeter

I had this fear that despite the Elton John endorsements, Mercury Prize nominations and the likes of David Thewlis appearing in their videos that Yard Act would end up playing their first album ad infinitum to small rooms of aging Half Man Half Biscuit fans who love to correct you if you misquote any of their lyrics. Thankfully, as you can get down and dance to the eight minute long 'Trench Coat Museum' (there's an Arthur Baker remix on the b-side), this smart piece of skewered self-analysis may send the HMHB crowd sulking off to the bar instead. Yes, the intense end section is a bit Pop Will Eat Itself in parts, but that's an entirely good thing isn't it? 


KING COBRA - We Are Warriors (Cleopatra Records)
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by Alan Rider

How come I always get these hairy heavy metal records to review?  This is hilarious of course. It could have been made any time in the last 60+ years as very little changes in the world of hard rock. Bit like punk really.  Don't ask me why they are playing on a subway train though, but  I guess they have to take whatever gig is offered these days. 


ALLAH-LAS - Right On Time (Innovative leisure)
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by Alan Rider

LA surf/psyche rock act the Allah-Las (where do bands come up with these names, and how drunk were they at the time?) channel elements of Velvets, Chocolate Watch Band and Lou Reed, for 'Right On Time' accompanied by the now familiar (everyone is doing it) DIY/retro style video, shot on old Super 8 film apparently (though a video plug in would have much the same effect). This twangy Red Crayola style echoey psyche rock sound is the flavour of the month amongst many US acts for sure.  They probably all watched The Monkees as kids I guess.  Actually, so did I.  Guess I'm a psyche rock surfin' dude too then. The Allah-Las are playing some UK dates in September if you like. 1st - Room 2 - Glasgow,  2nd - Psych Fest - Manchester, 3rd - End Of The Road Festival - Salisbury, 4th - Marble Factory - Bristol, 6th - KOKO - London, 7th- Chalk - Brighton.


LANCE LOPEZ - Jam With Me (Cleopatra Records)
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by Alan Rider

You can smell the whisky and cigarettes on this one for sure.  As the nights get hotter I'm guessing you might be hearing a lot of this sort of thing wafting out of open windows as you cruise by in your open top Caddy.  Now pass the bourbon.


THE BETHS - I Told You That I Was Afraid (Carpark)
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by Toon Traveller

Bedroom sadness breakup. It's reading a diary, a single day's entry, intimate perhaps tear stained. Words flow, float, flutter, tease, and pluck heartstrings. The singer tells of being intellectually dominated by an older lover, a betrayal of trust, of time when we all realise we're getting older, small things, sighs, changes we notice fleetingly. The rhythms and rhymes of childhood die as first love fades, and losses scar and hurt seared pain, and hidden tears, memories, all stored in a heart that's aching, cracked. Desperate love, "kindly tell me a lie it'll be alright in the end, cross your heart and hope to die" we've all felt, hoped for, told, and been told that lie, in love, and believed, what is probably the most common lie uttered. 
 


ABC - Poison Arrow - Steven Wilson Stereo Mix (Mercury Record Ltd.)
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by Jay Lewis

I have listened to 'The Lexicon of Love' by ABC way more times than any other record, from that first audio cassette to the upcoming ATMOS Remix. Yes, I'll tell you that my favourite long player is something like 'Drumming' by Steve Reich or something equally highfalutin like that, but, friends, thats all a lie! And anyway, did Steve Reich ever have a gold lamé jacket and have bitterly heartbroken 'talking bits' in his records? Did he? The 40th (41st??) anniversary edition of  'The Lexicon of Love' is out next month. I've already ordered a couple of copies already.


JAH WOBBLE - Last Exit (Cleopatra Records)
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by Alan Rider

Jah Wobble always seemed like the kind of decent bloke you'd be happy to go for a pint with. Despite the rapping cockney cor' blimey voice that Wobble affects for this (though its probably his actual speaking voice) this is actually much better than I had expected when I was told that the instigator of the earlier (pre-rubbish) PiL dub bass sound and serial collaborator with anyone from Can's Holger Czukay to U2’s The Edge was "returning to the post-punk genre he helped invent".  The trademark pulsing bass is there, so is the slightly predictable post punk subject matter (America is a bit of a mad place that does some bad things - yes, honestly it does!), and the chorus phrase is repeated over and over in the hope you will remember it.  So far so good.  Its not an especially stand out track for a single (but then again, few are as the current marketing trend is to 'share' half a dozen tracks one- by-one ahead of any album release), and hailing it as a return to form might be premature, but its a strong start and I will give the upcoming album a spin for sure as Wobble's stuff usually works well in an album context.


CURRENT JOYS - Cigarettes (Secretly Canadian)
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by Alan Rider

What with The Sinclairs album review as well, it seems cigarettes are in this week.  Puffing away behind the bike sheds on their video in a surly and rebellious "Yeah, I'm smoking, so what are you gonna do about it?" way are Current Joys, a solo spin off act from a guy called Nick Rattigan and his mates.  He is apparently also "one of the primary members of Surf Curse".  Yes, I've never heard of them either.  I'm sure they are big in their home town though.   Musically, Current Joys are an underwhelming low fi Nirvana clone, almost the complete opposite of the blustery PR guff that would have you believe they are the Second Coming with Rattigan as Jesus.  Keep smoking those fags guys, they are just about the only thing that might make you look cool.


KELLY FINNIGAN - Leave You Alone (Colemine Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Kelly Finnigan day job is leader of the Monophonics. His new solo single, 'Leave You Alone,' a hallmarked R&B classic is a bit of a bus man's holiday then. Written and recorded in 2019, 'Leave You Alone'  tells a love story from the female perspective, inspired by the likes of Bettye Swann. “I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel. I just want to remind people why the wheel was such a good invention in the first place,” says Finnigan. That's a beautiful thing.


LPs

THE SINCLAIRS - The Long Slow Death Of A Cigarette (Cleopatra Records)
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by Alan Rider

The Sinclairs, for those that don't know, are original Damned drummer and Grail hunter Rat Scabies, and Flipron/Neville Staple Band guitarist Billy Shinbone and here a star studded list of guest vocalists: Zumi Rosow of Black Lips, Kid Congo Powers of The Cramps/Gun Club/The Bad Seeds, Roger Chapman of ‘60s band Family, and members of Japanese garage punksters The 5,6,7,8’s and even British actor Kevin Eldon (Hot Fuzz/Game Of Thrones)... Read Alan's full review here⇒


MIRROR GLAZE - All Change Please (La Pochette Surprise)
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by Alan Rider

Hamburg's Mirror Glaze talk big. "[an] emotional and cracked, distorted social reflection which opens up an unvarnished perspective and sheds a revealingly bright light on the social phenomena, fears and abysses of our time".  That's a lot to live up to, but I have to say they make a decent enough job of it, fusing garage and surf rock with power punk overtones.  Given the subject matter you'd expect it to be angry, shouty stuff.  There are elements of that, but overall this sounds more like a surfy version of classic Penetration to me, indeed, they describe themselves as 'Garage Surfers from Hippie Beach'.  Its not going to shake any foundations musically maybe, but it bowls along in a nicely old school way.  The weakest element is the female vocals, which sound a little strained in places and are better on the more laid back numbers like the poppy 'German Fall' but I'd rather this than Green Day any day.


LONDON BREW - It's One of These (Concord)
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by Toon Traveller

The 'Miles' samples didn't inspire me, the melodies were clichéd.


So, Have You Got Anything Else?

TONY BENNETT - I Wanna Be Around (Columbia)
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by Jay Lewis

Farewell Tony Bennett. Well, Sinatra knew he was the best and, for my money, he was right. There are moments when I was just so moved by the warmth, the hurt, the joy, and the love in his voice.  I can listen to the other chap all day (and, before you ask, yes I have), and not feel the emotion that Anthony Dominick Benedetto could convey.  He was the master. And if you want proof, then here's one of the greatest, I'm-so-over-you songs of all time (and yes, Brian Wilson/The Beach Boys did cover part of it on 'Smile'). With anyone else it'd just be kinda bitter, but Bennett was far more sophisticated than that. Truly one of the greats.


THE NERVES - Hanging on the Telephone (YouTube only)
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by Katherine Pargeter

I chose to mark the 40th anniversary of Paul Young's execrable 'No Parlez' album this week (you missed it! it wasn't in your diary?) by digging out Jack Lee's original version of 'Come Back and Stay' Sadly, the Californian new wave/power pop singer and guitarist left us for good in late May. He's probably going to be best known for writing the angsty 'Hanging on the Telephone' for his short-lived band The Nerves in 1976. Despite Debbies Harry's more self-assured reading of the lyrics, Blondie's version is one of those identical covers that I'd usually moan about. Well, there has to be an exception to every rule hasn't there?


SUDAN ARCHIVES - Queen Kunta (YouTube)
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by Ancient Champion

I guess I'd been watching the Gio Arlotta's Witch documentary, We Intend to Cause Havoc and I loved the unearthing, literally of the original band members. Not all of the original band members are available for unearthing as only singer Jagari remains alive. AIDS decimated the band's line up. In the movie, singer and frontman, Jagari, is encountered in his mineral mine, wherein he honest to god looked like nothing less than a man digging his own grave. Pick axe, chipping away for nuggets, 10-feet under. Part of the inspiration for movie director's long Arlotta's sojourn into the history of Witch, and his wide awake sideways glance at Zambian music, culture and politics generally was the reissuing of the lost 70s Zamrock LPs on Egon Alapatt's Now-Again label. Egon's label resurrected long lost funk and soul sounds from across the Globe. This re-animation led me to Egon's profile and his long term A&R role at Stones Throw Records where he worked with J Dilla and Madlibs and other legendary figures. And so to Peanut Butter Wolf who established the label and still releases, endorses and supports only music he likes. Here's a Stones Throw star, the very amazing Sudan Archives, from 2017... 


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Main image Mick Harvey and Amanda Acevedo

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