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Outsideleft Week in Casio Rockin' Music We're hearing from... Brother Lee, Candidate, ATARASHII GAKKO!, Cat Power, Yung Sham, Teenage Halloween, Comateens, Pole/Sleaford Mods, Sun June, Ancient Infinity Orchestra, Dove Armitage, Idles, Yard Act, Charli XCX & Sam Smith, Kat Dobey, Ann Eysermans, Che Aimee Dorval, Zooey Celeste, Hannah Rose Platt, Katherine Priddy, We Owe, Zooey Celeste, Nadine Shah, Bedless Bones, Duran Duran and Vic Godard & The Subway Sect

Outsideleft Week in Casio Rockin' Music

We're hearing from... Brother Lee, Candidate, ATARASHII GAKKO!, Cat Power, Yung Sham, Teenage Halloween, Comateens, Pole/Sleaford Mods, Sun June, Ancient Infinity Orchestra, Dove Armitage, Idles, Yard Act, Charli XCX & Sam Smith, Kat Dobey, Ann Eysermans, Che Aimee Dorval, Zooey Celeste, Hannah Rose Platt, Katherine Priddy, We Owe, Zooey Celeste, Nadine Shah, Bedless Bones, Duran Duran and Vic Godard & The Subway Sect

by OL House Writer,
first published: October, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

Casio City Rockers - Sure, there's moments of Money Mark wimpey-bar whimsy but someone has got to do it. Right now Brother Lee is that man.

SINGLES

ATARASHII GAKKO! - Tokyo Calling (JVCKENWOOD Victor Entertainment Corp)
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by Tim London

Whatever it was that Devo were trying to do reaches its zenith in the form of a smart-ass J-pop group, minus scratchy guitars, disarming the nuclear pecs and abs of meaty rocknroll one co-ordinated dance routine at a time. And they have the best lyrics - what is a ‘never ending sorry’? Sounds a bit Greek to me…


BROTHER LEE - Super Capri Beat (Dime Records)
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by LamontPaul

From the new Brother Lee collection, the LP, Casio City Rockers. Can it be done any better than this? Truly. The record is on Bandcamp right now and every track is the funkiest psych rock - eschewing the rock parts - that you will hear all week or all year. Sure, there's moments of Money Mark wimpey-bar whimsy but someone has got to do it. Right now Brother Lee is that man. I've gotta get someone who can write for this magazine to review the whole collection this week. Step up. It is so stellar, it is interstellar without even trying. Check the full length for yourself, right here. Rock around your room, however unsightly that might be wherever that may be, but do it for damn sure.


COMATEENS - Danger Zone/Elizabeths Lover (Left for Dead)
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by Alan Rider

"The Comateens, formed in 1978 were one of New York's earliest synth-punk bands", it says here, and along with Suicide were one of the few live bands brave enough to perform with a drum machine. There the similarity to Suicide ends.  In fact I'd hardly describe them as even 'Synth Punk' myself.  They had keyboards, but then so did The Damned.  These two tracks are reissues of the 1980s originals, both singles, with 'Danger Zone' bowling along merrily sounding a bit like The Knack or a poor man's Buzzcocks.  Safe punk you might say. No spitting or naughtiness here.  'Elizabeth's Lover' is more like the bastard daughter of The Shangri Las and the B52s.  Again, not especially synth-y (and I should know).  So what we are left with here is inoffensively chirpy pop punk, with only the faintest whiff of a synth.  Someone should have told them that wearing dark glasses does not make you into the equivalent of Suicide by any means.   Its way too late now to suggest they go back to school and learn what punk and synth actually means, but if I had a time machine and could pop back to 1980 that's exactly what I'd do.  After I'd bought a few winning lottery tickets, seen a few bands before they got massively famous, and invested in Microsoft and Apple shares that is!


DURAN DURAN - Psycho Killer (Tape Modern/BMG)
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by Tim London

Simon le Bon’s boy-band yodel is still present and correct, which must be both galling and amusing for his bandmates, essentially hipsters with hooks, as they refuse not to not cover a tune most bands wouldn’t have the gall to cover. For Brummies, they’ve got a lot of front.


CAT POWER - Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man (Domino Records)
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by LamontPaul

Another installment of this thing that Cat Power has done, recreating Dylan at the Royal Albert Hall in the 60s, dredging from my memory the sight of Kate Blanchett in the Todd Haynes-er, I'm Not There, and the distinctive richness that is the sound of Cat Power. There's something right, Baudrillardian about this, about Dylan now. What is more of a simulation. What is simply a signifier of something that was significant in some time before? Look, the Cat is on the roof trying to get back in and she has only just gone out of the door downstairs the moment before I came up here to write this. I wonder whether Cat Power has authentic Albert Hall hysteria/cheers and applause going on on this record if so what could be better? 


KATHERINE PRIDDY - First House on the Left (Cooking Vinyl)
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by Jay Lewis

David Olusoga's excellent TV series 'A House Through Time' took viewers through the history of, often unspectacular, buildings that generation upon generation had called home. Often paying attention to how those former residents' responded to the ever-changing shifts in society. I think of Olusoga's series when listening to Katherine Priddy's startling new single - 'The First House on The Left' a contemplation on a place that she has called home, aware of the 'centuries (of people that) passed through this door' and how 'all of the voices still breathe in these walls.' Her lyrical precision, her ability to subtly convey an emotion, has never been finer. Then there are those vocals that feel (excuse the unintentional pun), timeless, the delicate acoustic arrangement, and the strings that rise but never overwhelm the song. A fabulous return.

Katherine Priddy's new album 'The Pendulum Swing', is set to be released on 16 February 2024, followed by a UK and Ireland tour in May. Full details at katherinepriddy.co.uk.


CHE AIMEE DORVAL - Want That Soul (Icons Creating Evil Art)
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by Lee Paul

Ché Aimee Dorval's 90s inflected Want That Soul arrives just in time for Halloween with its spooky video. It's of course tough to construct a modern pop hit with a piece so in the thrall of hauntology. And it might be difficult to hear this without reimagining what peak pop Fleetwood Mac would sound like now. Luckily for us Ché Aimee's voice rises above and has more than enough of a charming timbre, to make this record happen. And it fades out, I always love to hear that. The childhood product of the Vancouver Village, Dorval was surrounded by a plethora of hippie aunts, punk rock uncles and a colourful extended family and you can hear some of that here. Crossing the Lions Gate Bridge, Ché Aimee Dorval has just embarked on a UK/European tour which if it comes your way is a definite Night Out I'd say.


DOVE ARMITAGE - Sex on Display (KRO)
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by Toon Traveller

Opens heavy bass, a pseudo Madonna vibe? Sex in your face ethos. It's that incessant bass line, the meat and wine, a voice that, don't give a shit. "4-3-2-1, are we having fun" great chorus. She strikes that just right pose, "don't fuck with me"  oice and self confident diction. Lurve it. 1-2-3-4 think I'll listen a few times more  
 


ZOOEY CELESTE - Walk By (ATO Records)
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by Alan Rider

Toon Traveller hated Zooey's previous single 'Cosmic Being' so much he gave it zero hearts, so a charity one heart from me is a big step up.  Its a real one trick pony of a track.  It starts off well, a sort of distorted Cure without the guitars, but then goes nowhere very fast.  By the time it dribbles to a close I simply couldn't care less. What gets me is that he even felt this half an idea worthy of release rather than simply doing the decent thing and reaching for the delete button once he'd sobered up in the morning.  There is an album too (see review below) that is only marginally better.  As the audience used to shout at duff bands at gigs, don't give up the day job, Zooey!


ANCIENT INFINITY ORCHESTRA - Equanimity (Gondwana records)
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by Ancient Champion

Let's call Equanimity a single because I don't know what else to do with it. Of course the entire LP, River of Light, is divine and not even in a John Waters use of that talent, way. Ancient Infinity Orchestra make the sound of their coming down from their homebase in Leeds sound like Angels breezing on down from heaven. Let's begin on Equanimity with the probing insistent bass from double-bassist, composer and band leader, Ozzy Moysey, and then wait with me for eight more minutes of pure aural joy. A 14-member ensemble daring us to come along on one of jazz's more spiritual pathways. Astonishingly great. I'm lifted. Ever feel like you never want to come back down?


CHARLI XCX & SAM SMITH - In The City (Big One Most Likely)
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by Tim London

Elecro-begging. Bit too blatant, as ever. No, I won’t give you money, you’ll just spend it on pop sox and nail varnish. I’ll buy you a sandwich, though.


YUNG SHAM - Hope Is In The Stars (peaceandlove)
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by Lee Paul

Good Gods Almighty. This is the giant number one record all over the world. In the parallel universe. Where i would prefer to live. "Oooh Girl I'm just a fool without you now..." afore the unspeakably sublime organ break. Lyrically dexterous which makes this wholly likeable and listenable all at once. Can he come to Bearwood to be our special guest. This young man has that thing... 


NADINE SHAH - Topless Mother (EMI North)
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by Tim London

Bo Diddley drama with a hint of Curved Air. There’s really nowhere further for sensible guitars to go, for wizened old blues runs and technical proficiency to explore, so let the feedback fly, if you’re lucky it will be in tune. Our Naddy-Addy-Addy-O is lucky and this small blast of perplexed anger brings righteous winter winds from the north like Viking beer boys on the Diamond Strip invading a bar, led by a woman who could knock them all out.


WE OWE - Time Suck (Mothland)
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by Alan Rider

Taken from the upcoming album 'Major Inconvenience ', 'Time Suck' is an excellent example of the sort of thing I am forever banging on about, namely offering a new twist and providing something fresh in a world that is weary and lazy and all too often falls back on the predictable and lame.  It comes as no surprise that sole-member Christopher Pravdica has previously done time in Swans and Xiu Xiu and driven along by a throbbing distorted bass pump of a rhythm that rises and fall like a dark sea, 'Time Suck' bodes well for the album to follow.  I'll be keeping an eye out for that.


SUN JUNE - Ambitions (Jagjaguwar)
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by LamontPaul

These aren't really singles as such are they they're just new tracks highlighted each week. Whatever I am sucker for this hesitant heist of my listening heart. I think only Sun June can do it so right now. Fab. I think we gotta get someone to hear the whole LP, yes? 


POLE/SLEAFORD MODS - Stechmück (Sleaford Mods Rework) (Mute)
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by Alan Rider

Previously I've described Sleaford Mods as sounding like a drunk shouting over a radio and this is not going to change my opinion one iota.  Put simply, this is pure tripe and please don't waste your time even clicking on the Youtube link below unless you really, really, have absolutely nothing better to do (and even then, don't!).  The popularity of Sleaford Mods is truly one of life's great mysteries to me and what a label with the pedigree of Mute is doing tainting their good name with this is anyone's guess.  Maybe they put it out for a dare.


YARD ACT - Dream Job (UMG)
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by Tim London

A BBC2 youth comedy show version of Was Not Was. With Harry Hill doing a Harry Hill with a northern BBC accent on sing-talking.


TEENAGE HALLOWEEN - Melodrama (Don Giovanni Records)
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by Alan Rider

With a name like Teenage Halloween I felt I just had to include them in this weeks reviews, but that's just about the only thing that stands out about this lot.  Ever since Green Day kicked off the US version of power punk there have been a zillion identikit bands churned out on a never ending musical conveyor belt, all sounding exactly the same, including Teenage Halloween.  American youth must have an insatiable appetite for this sort of generic tosh, but me, I much prefer a cheese sandwich.


KAT DOBEY - something like i'm sorry (Good Influence)
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by Ancient Champion

Oh wow! Kat Dobey is a damn fine singer. What's more there's no understatement in the determinedly understated and gorgeous sonics at that back of that voice. Oh man! Some people just know. Oh and the graphic art too. On all of her records. This is music that makes me want to know more not less, and when does that happen? Let's go and find out.


EPs

HANNAH ROSE PLATT - Hypnogogia (XTRA MILE)
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by John Robinson

Hannah Rose Platt is known for her dark, brooding melancholic songs, full of death bed confessions, ghosts and murder, inspired by spooky fiction and the legends of places she has performed. Hypnogogia brings four such songs, perfect Halloween listening. The drifting ethereal rock of Mara - a tale of a sleep demon, is followed by Beast in the Water, a ballad about a girl sacrificed to a monster in a yearly lottery: Platt knows her horror fiction. Date Night is the weakest for me, a doo-wop pastiche about the Goddess of Death stepping out on the town to experience life - but the best is the final, and most actually hypnogogic track Blue Lights, in which demons lure people to their death in the woods, even amidst the blue lights of emergency vehicles supposedly there to save them, which is an electronic soundscape perfectly fitting Hannah's beautiful lilting voice. Each tale is introduced with a prose poem, voiced by David Morrissey, his gravely tone and association with genre tv and cinema perfectly suiting the material, and the production by Ed Harcourt is crystal clear and balanced. 


LPs

ZOOEY CELESTE - Restless Thoughts (ATO Records)
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by Alan Rider

We are well used to portentous and self important sounding press releases here at OL, but Zooey Celeste claims to be an astral shaman responsible for leading the newly departed into the great beyond.  Blimey! If the newly departed have a predilection for naff home grown acoustic pop then this will be right up their street. Meanwhile, the living have better things to do.  A mix of the lightly composed, airy and full pop bombast, all fairly slickly recorded and performed, there isn't anything especially special about this.  Whilst there may be a market out there for this, it all sounds very bland to me and we have panned Zooey's last two singles taken off this. Lets face it, astral shamen's just aren't what they used to be.


CANDIDATE - Point Clear (Candidate)
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by Jay Lewis

Having released some of the most adorable singles of the year, Candidate's first album in 16 years fulfills their promise. Put simply 'Point Clear' is a charming and thoughtful return. Initially, it's irresistible pop harmonies of the singles 'Newfoundland' and 'Saturation' (imagine Teenage Fanclub circa 'Songs From Northern Britain' - and you're almost there), that charm, but it's the hushed textures of the lovely 'Walk Aboard' and the reflective 'Stop' and 'How To Never Die' that linger the longest. After you've succumbed to the album, search for recent b-side 'Rough as Fuck' - which is far, far more delightful than the title suggests.


ANN EYSERMANS - Moonlight Shadoh (Cortizona bandcamp)
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by Alan Rider

Most of us have a very limited and narrow definition of what constitutes acceptable music, which has lead to the bland predictability of the offerings we experience every day of the week here at OL.  Which is why when something as unusual and genre busting as  ‘Moonlight Shadoh’ comes along some of us (well, me!) sit up and take notice.  A tribute to her dog Shadoh, Ann Eysermans combines excerpts of field recordings, snatched fragments of harmonies, growling feedback sounds and the animal sounds of Shadoh to create ever evolving and surprising sound sculptures more akin to Musique Concrete than good old rock n'roll. Shadoh's barks and whimpers are merged with Ann's vocals, harp, and viola. Its been described as audio poetry.  That's an apt description as it takes you away from the mundane musical world into a VERY different place of tones, disassociated harmonies and displaced rhythms.  Shadoh would be proud. Available on vinyl and download from Bandcamp.


BEDLESS BONES - Mire of Mercury (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

Bedless Bones is actually one person, Kadri Sammel, a singer-songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and 'interdisciplinary artist' from Tallinn, Estonia, with ‘Mire Of Mercury’ being her third album to date. She spent a decade singing in choirs, as well as being part of Estonian avant-garde deathbeat/industrial outfit Forgotten Sunrise and the singer in the UK/Estonian dystopian industrial band Deathsomnia (funny name, that!). That experience shows through here as the vocals are ethereal in an Enya style and right on the button, the music an electro/EBM/trance melange designed to appeal to the club dancefloor.  There isn't anything especially innovative here though, despite the single 'Dead Woman being rather good, and I have a nagging feeling that this has been crafted just a little too carefully to appeal to a broad industrial fan base.  So there are witchy-poo elements doing battle with clanking metal beats, driving electro, soaring strings.  You get the gist.  Its clever stuff all right and like a musical cluster bomb will hit a number of targets simultaneously. Its just a bit too calculated to score a spontaneous five hearts though.


Other Materials

VIC GODARD AND THE SUBWAY SECT - Holiday Hymn (Youtube)
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by Ancient Champion

Simply one of the greatest pop songs of all time? Vic and the Subway Sect movin' on from their punky roots with some high-steppin' soul. As it should be. Love the stax cut-time thing on the drums and the well it sounds like the first fucking organ they found in a garbage pile in an alley that leads to the greenspace on the new estate. Amazing! Love this or let me know why not. I'm waiting.


Essential Information
Main image by Brother Lee I think.

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