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Outsideleft Week in Music Recommends The Rhythm Method We're hearing from... The Rhythm Method, The Bug Club, Leatherette, Pruillip, Flesh Field, The Pleasure Dome, Danny O'Keefe, Eamon The Destroyer, Brown Horse, Cryptosis, Esther Abrami, Her Ensemble, David Benjamin Blower, ClosetJudas, The Velvet Hands, District 97, Yaeji, Supplemental Pills, Say She See, Julia Holter, Joni Mitchell, Steve Wilson, Wilco, Twin Tribes, Sarah Mary Chadwick, Yaya Bey, Amigo the Devil, Art Feynman, Adam Miller, Dead Voices On Air and Asbestos Worker x Naw

Outsideleft Week in Music Recommends The Rhythm Method

We're hearing from... The Rhythm Method, The Bug Club, Leatherette, Pruillip, Flesh Field, The Pleasure Dome, Danny O'Keefe, Eamon The Destroyer, Brown Horse, Cryptosis, Esther Abrami, Her Ensemble, David Benjamin Blower, ClosetJudas, The Velvet Hands, District 97, Yaeji, Supplemental Pills, Say She See, Julia Holter, Joni Mitchell, Steve Wilson, Wilco, Twin Tribes, Sarah Mary Chadwick, Yaya Bey, Amigo the Devil, Art Feynman, Adam Miller, Dead Voices On Air and Asbestos Worker x Naw

by OL House Writer,
first published: November, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

The Rhythm Method: "This is an important British record." Toon Traveler

The venerable coupla yr old institution that is the Outsideleft Week in Music bumps up against a bumper box of releases this week it feels like and this isn't even the half of it here... The rest? I am not saying they were even trash. Soon it will be over. But for now hear them all, do it, do it now, knowing all too well that soon it will be over and you won't have to do this anymore.


SINGLES

THE RHYTHM METHOD - Have a Go Heroes (Moshi Moshi Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Acclaimed in the music pages of UK national newspaper, The Guardian as “Modern Britain’s greatest pop duo (under 40 category)” I'm finding sounds here immediately redolent of the 80s synth bands that sadly passed me by the first time. There's a touch of an even greater disconnect now between who we say we are, who we see we are and who we actually are. An even more bleak Making Plans For Nigel Vibe, in that desiccated what's the fucking point in making a plan for Nigel here anyway? It's got a late-Liverpool, pre-Madchester, feel. Reminds me of driving in a Northern Town, up over the Pennines, to Blackpool. Escaping boarded up, fly posted, semi-abandoned rust belt towns for the so often beautiful countryside. The Rhythm Method evoke poetic memories, of music, feel and lost friends of those days. That's enough for me. This is an important British record. As subversive as Robert Wyatt's Shipbuilding. Start there and you will know what I mean.


EAMON THE DESTROYER - We'll Be Pirahnas (Bearsuit Records)
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by Ancient Champion

We'll Be Pirahnas is the title track from Eamon the Destroyer's new LP which you'll find on Bandcamp. Of the purest of joys in listening to Eamon the Destroyer is the feeling that there is no blueprint. And each track spends part of the time fruitfully not finding one, but, as if looking. If that's a foible then so fucking what. This is incredible music with the emphasis on their incredible making, not my hearing. Eamon is in control when all around him, are maybe not.


STEVE WILSON - Beautiful Scarecrow (Virgin)
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by Toon Traveller

Opens keys, samples, slide guitar,  slow-opening, almost Kraftwerk-y use of synthesizers. It's cold and heartless, not always a bad thing. In Steve Wilson's hands it reminds of late Pink Floyd, with Roger Waters strained singing, and that band's milieu of sounds. It's got distant vocals, screaming power chord guitars, dashes of other world music that add to a 4th Movement Crescendo. It's post, still within that essence, prog-rock music, that many baby boomers love with all their hearts to this day. This is music for a certain kind of grown up for sure. If you pine for late Pink Floyd, this is for you. Steve Wilson knows how to compose a song.


ART FEYNMAN - All I Can Do (Western Vinyl)
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by Toon Traveller

Skip a beat opening, crisp drums or samples? Here's the sense of man having fun singing. Pretty on the ear, a sixties revival middle-eight, and a blunt razor guitar break. It's the 60's girls chorus that make the song, is it enough? Well, not for me, inoffensive, in a cruising along, driving wheel tapping way. Not even an attempt at Bryan Ferry vocals at the songs end saves this.


DANNY O'KEEFE - Well, Well, Well (Sunset Blvd)
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by Toon Traveller

Great slinky sleazy keys, and slide guitar, it's got that tired feel - exhausted, time slipping away in some town somewhere between Nowhere City and Deadendsville. A grubby bar, rusted pick-ups and broken 30's wind pump creaks oh so slowly in a azure cloudless sky. A sense of  nowhere to run, out of gas, out of road anyway, and the dregs of memories, some great slide guitar spaces in and out. It's a story of rested up faces, waiting for something to happen, in a place where 'blow-in' with a guitar, a story, and a time  weathered face gets barely a look from the two solo bar stooled sitters, and a barely awake bar man.


YAYA BEY - the evidence (Big Dada)
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by Tim London

It’s a bassline and a mood, that’s all. But the way the bass battles the kick and the way the voice is just ineluctably there… and, a BIG AND, for the video, which is how I want my videos done these days, with minimal production, well dressed humans and hold the miming.


TWIN TRIBES - Monolith (Self released)
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by Alan Rider

Twin Tribes are a Dark Synth/Goth duo from Texas, and don't they look the part!  Though tbh I'd have said that black lipstick paired with a twirly moustache is not the best look to go for.  Interesting video though of a friend of their doing a rather poor job of repainting their room. Never ask your friends to help with painting when they are clearly possessed by the devil I say.   Its competent, if predictable, synthy Goth fare.  Sub Sisters of Mercy/Mission, and so on.  At the risk of sounding jaded, all this stuff sounds the same to me and the videos always look like poor rip offs of low budget horror films.  Fear, horror, possession, everlasting dark nights of the soul, etc.  There just isn't a lot of fun happening in doomsville industrial goth land these days.  Just crack a smile once in a while guys, won't you?


BROWN HORSE - Shoot Back (Youtube)
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by Toon Traveller

What would we call Americana than comes from East Anglia? Brown Horse offer a unique and unusual voice, a cross between, post drugs Joe Cocker's hard life vulnerability and Anthony, minus his Johnsons' falsetto. There's a 70s Byrds-y, West Coast feel, reaching for the Tony Joe White end of the country-soul-scale. And better for all of that. Americana is a very difficult trick to pull off for any UK band and many try, and many fail risibly where Brown Horse so wholly succeed. My guess, theirs is a retained authenticity. Shoot Back drifts along, an easy, late in the day, chillin' and cooling down groove. Delightfully luscious Southern Soul guitar from the genre's heart, subtle wah-wah, shimmering tremolo, plinky plonking Rhodes... I need to get hold of their LP, Reservoir, as this is one of the few records I played over and over this week. 


THE VELVET HANDS - Meet Me In The City (KRAUTPOP RECORDS)
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by Alan Rider

Supergrass seem to have been reincarnated with different members and a different name but the same set of tunes.  Funny that.


ADAM MILLER - Camera (Bandcamp)
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by Toon Traveller

Doomy, synthesizer opening, a fragile voice, is it synthesized? Percussion, heavy, ponderous, reminiscent of Phil Collins - in his self pitying phase. Vibratoed guitar slices through the dreariness, bridges to the instrumental passage, then trudges back into a wet, grey, UK gloomy, doomed, dismal mood. Has he a problem in love? Frankly my dear readers, I don't give a damn." Give me UK, 80s, top of the pile, spikey-haired, face-painted, goth gloom every breathing minute of my life over this.
 


CLOSETJUDAS - Mael-Strom (Bandcamp)
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by Lee Paul

This is the sound of Mississauga or Winnipeg or both. Something's going on here and I am going to let ClosetJudas explain it to you. Closet Judas has a nice line in suburban post Cobain moan and says, 'Maelstrom is based on the 2020 videogame the last of us part ii by naughty dog. main loop kill bill drums in mæl by kyle krysa with additional royalty-free drums sourced via looperman. voice in strom taken from the youtube video “empathy: philosophical debates and phenomenology” by dr. ellie anderson.  All of the money from this non-profit endeavor goes to Tiny Changes. stems from the amalgamated song "mælstrom" available here for people to make their own remixes.' (available as a compilation on january 1, 2024): go here. This is the kind of thing I like.


SARAH MARY CHADWICK - If I Have It In Me At All (Kill Rock Stars)
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by Toon Traveller

SMC's If I Have It In Me At All is a track that is on the periphery of her new LP, Messages to God for an ironic-iconic label. Although If I Have It In Me At All is not actually on the LP. It's a very beautiful bonus. A simple electric piano, all minor key, husky and pained depressed voice... The suffering is immutable as she plays. Not a tune, her lone voice, understated piano accompaniment, adds desperate empty spaces, "creeping like dead ivy around the tree in her backyard". Close to tears, voice breaking. Not a comfortable listen at all. Five broken hearts...


THE PLEASURE DOME - Insane (Hound Gawd Records )
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by Alan Rider

Gosh, this actually looks quite exciting.  The singer takes his shirt off.  Its hot and sweaty.  It looks a lot of fun.  Its filmed in Paris at a club called Supersonic, which is a great name for a club. Almost makes me wish I'd been there too.


AMIGO THE DEVIL - Cannibal Within (Regime Music Group)
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by Toon Traveller

A confessional song, facing mortality, facing it with self-loathing and fear; sanity slipping away into depression's deep well. A bleak, black, solitary song, but not for the lonely. There's a huge soundscape to reinforce the drama. The message slithers from those dark places we fear, Fentanyl dosed, doused, soused and damaged. It's those uncharted black hole, dark spaces between Nick Cave's visions, and Scott Walker's darker than black spaces in a psychotic mind. A hard, sad, tragic listen to the story of a life, I hope I never skirt, let alone stumble into. I hate the message, salute it's courage.


JULIA HOLTER - Sun Girl (Domino)
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by Jay Lewis

As introductions go 'Marienbad' (2012) by Julia Holter was an ideal. I'd assumed that the song was a reference to Alain Resnais' beguiling film ('Last Year in Marienbad') and felt that the dream-like textures and broken poetry of the song were as mysterious as the film itself. I came to find that, as with so much of her work, it was poetic, strange, and soulful. And 'Sun Girl' is as extraordinarily experimental as anything she has done to date. It is more a series of vivid musical landscapes than an actual conventional song. Holter claims that she has recently been 'trying to create states of mind, colours, and human feelings in sound...and a little less storytelling'. With 'Sun Girl' she has created a piece of playful weirdness, as disorientating as it is delightful. And the six-minute long animated video may well be a masterpiece too.


CRYPTOSIS - The Silent Call (Self Released (so no label))
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by Alan Rider

Oh Fercrissakes! If I have to sit through another one of these screamy thrash metal demonstrations of macho bullshit I may as well become as psychotic and deranged as all thrash metal bands would like you to think they are. 'The Silent Call' spreads a whole new layer of cliche onto an already cliche rich musical field like so much manure.  I despair, I really do.


DISTRICT 97 - Stay For The Ending (Cherry Red)
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by Alan Rider

Stay For The Ending apparently addresses the ever-shifting, omnipresent threat of Covid-19 in its many variants and forms.  Not that you'd know.  It just sounds like overly twiddly rock music of the sort I thought we'd seen the back of in the mid 70's.  Way too much showing off for me.  Musos!


YAEJI - easy breezy (XL)
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by Tim London

It’s so easy breezy for Yaeji’s generation to meld sound and vision and fashion and living into one THING. Not a brand or a promotional video or PR or even a pop song. It’s a single entity that is hard to discuss - it just is. And what is it? It’s a few chords, minimal production, fruity loop beats and cutesy-pie singing. It’s a cultural artefact containing music, dancing and ageism. It’s not for you, you’re too old. Go away. Too old, too fast. Relax. Speed up the footage not real life. Think of the bananas. Won’t someone think of the bananas?!?!?


EPs

ASBESTOS WORKER X NAW - F@ck You (Learning Curve Records)
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by Alan Rider

Of course what they really wanted to call this 10" EP is 'Fuck You' but they were just too scaredy cat to spit it out, which somewhat contradicts the sentiment in the EP's title I'd say, and belies their intention to "thrash out three well-crafted nuke-core tracks" filled with "beautifully venomous lyrics".  Yet despite all that they just couldn't bring themselves to say the words "Fuck You" in case it harmed their sales, whereas here at OL, we say whatever we feel like, whenever we feel like it.  So I'm giving five hearts to us for having no fear and not being too timid to say the naughty word, and a feeble one heart to Asbestos Worker/Naw if only for giving me the idea.  The EP itself is bog standard shouty hardcore by the way. If I was you, I'd just say "f@ck you" back at them and move on. (I couldn't find an accompanying video on Youtube for this release btw so instead here is a video on identifying asbestos hazards when carrying out building work by a nice chap in a High Vis jacket called Jimmy.)


LPs

THE BUG CLUB - Rare Birds: Hour of Song (Bingo)
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by Jay Lewis

I usually end up regretting the kind words that I give to the records that make me smile or even, heaven help me, laugh out loud.  Sooner or later those jokes will all wear thin and I’ll be left with the memory of times my life fell apart like wet cake.  I know that one day I will pick holes in ‘Rare Birds: Hour of Song’ the second album by South Wales trio The Bug Club.  One day lines like ‘Nothing worth saying rhymes with marriage…except for garage’ and ‘I wish that I was (as) funny as a hardback book about jokes’ will seem awkwardly hollow.  And the twenty-three short poems that are interspersed between so many of the tracks will just start to grate.  But that day hasn’t arrived yet and the band’s punkish exuberance really charms me.  And maybe I’ll always find something adorable in the tender lo-fi acoustic numbers ‘In My Hour of Song’ and ‘Mister Do You Have The Time For Sittin’?’  All know is that today, I need and adore The Bug Club.


LEATHERETTE - Small Talk (Bronson Recordings)
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by Alan Rider

Leatherette caught my eye as the warm original version of their name is one of my all time favourite songs.  The sax driven piece of social commentary about our drowning in a sea of bureaucracy, which is the single 'Bureaucracy Apocalypse', is what Sleaford Mods would sound like if they were any good (ie if they were not Sleaford Mods!).  Leatherette's sound is an odd sort of tooty angry jazz tirade, short and straight to the point.  Jazz agit punk?  I'm sure that's a genre now.  If not, it definitely should be.  The 80's were full of indie bands like this, often hailing from Leeds.  Gang of Four could be a reference point here. Delta Five too, especially the track 'Isolation', the opening riff of which is stolen directly from Delta Five (I'd sue).  Despite that, 'Small Talk' is well worth a listen. The good news is that through the magical generosity of Youtube, you can listen to the whole thing for free there right now.

 


FLESH FIELD - Voice Of The Echo Chamber (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

Kicking off with an impressive and powerful set of pounding drums and guitars, its pretty clear that Flesh Field want to stand out from the crowd, blending elements of orchestral and metal together.  Anthemic and impeccably produced, 'Voice Of The Echo Chamber' explores the stages of the radicalization of individuals toward political violence.  Its a heavyweight topic, but very relevant to the shit show we are witnessing on the news every day.  Where art imitates life, it is important not to trivialise or resort to cliche to make your case.  Fortunately, Flesh Field manage to do that and the resulting album is an impressive and thoughtful work, where others would have resorted simply to volume and histrionics to make the point.   There is a definite evolution over the course of the album to fit with the theme of gradual radicalization.  It works.  Its been almost 20 years since the last Flesh Field release, which is way too long, so its good to see them back with a definite bang here with 'Voice of The Echo Chamber'.

 


DAVID BENJAMIN BLOWER - Kindness Is Solid Stone Violence is a Heavy Loan to Pay (Bandcamp)
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by Tim London

A new DBB record is always a thing of joy and ambiguity, see Tim London's review right here.


DEAD VOICES ON AIR - Dadu (eMERGENCY heARTS/UMP)
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by Alan Rider

Alan Rider sees Dadaism in Dadu as you can see over here


SAY SHE SHE - Silver (Karma Chief Records)
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by Jay Lewis

As we hurtle towards the end of the year, or the impending apocalypse (whichever comes first), it’s probably not much consolation to know that before all societies collapse in on themselves, there were a few good funked up, retro disco flavoured, soaring harmonized, ridiculously eclectic records to listen to – and that they were all made by Say She She.  I wonder if I will still wake up singing 'Astral Plane' on the days that  I have to go and search for food in a nearby skip or recall how I listened to  ‘Cest Si Bon’  on repeat before the sirens started to wail.

Some may moan that, at 16 tracks and over an hour in length, Say She She’s sophomore album is far too long. Just think of it as generosity and that, after the rationing starts, no album will ever be that length again.  Cherish it. 


SUPPLEMENTAL PILLS - Judgement Time (Bandcamp)
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by Toon Traveller

Judgement Time is the opening track from Supplemental Pills LP, No Easy Way Out which was released back in July. Portland Drone Rock, and yes there's that drone that could could be out of anywhere. But this variety Britisher's will identify is of the damp Portland Cement ilk. It's hard. The magic is, the shimmering sounds, its strained voice, dystrophic lyrics. It's those post apocalypse sounds of hope gone, stark and dirty, fears and resignation. Yeah Drone miserabilism gets it's mood. Perversely I'd say it's a good mood. Like the Spacemen 3 could change my mood. In 2022 the band's bass player Aron Christensen was murdered while on a hiking trail with his 4 month old puppy. His final recordings we're at least in part an investigation of existentialism shied away from. "Aron's death makes the record carry a heavier weight, because he's not here. It hits harder when I listen to it. It's our job to carry on his legacy. It's different than when he was around and I could tell him 'great job', and I can't do that now. It's sad to listen to sometimes, at least for me personally." Says vocalist Ezra Meredith. Here is the band now evocative, and strangely entrancing, courageously bleak.
 


PRUILLIP - Pruillip (Cortizona bandcamp)
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by Alan Rider

PRUILLIP are a two piece guitar and drums Belgian 'sludge band' (their description!).  They remind me very much of a more intense, low fi and exposed early White Stripes or maybe Earth.  Distorted feedback guitars and basses, rattling drums echoey screams and vocals, heavy, doom laden, loud.  You get the gist.  The single 'Botherham' is a wonderful slice of in-yer-face puglilism.  The intro to the album is the very definition of plangent (you may need to look that one up!).  Pruillip have a great red raw sound that grates and rattles and shakes the bars on the windows in all the places that Jim Jarmush's SQÜRL also do (if you know them). Rough, ready and other-wordly in some parts, bass guitar heavy and repetitive thuggery in others, its a heady mix, not over produced as many releases now are, and avoids the obvious in favour of a surprise round every musical corner.  It's good. If you can't find it, it's on Bandcamp, here


Other Materials

WILCO - Loft Sans (OTF)
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by LamontPaul

The Wilco font, they says it like this: "We worked with SimpleBits to create a unique typeface for the band. Inspired by an iconic "GUITAR" sign hanging in The Loft (the band's Chicago recording studio). Wilco Loft Sans is an all-caps, high contrast sans serif. We took the handful of letters found on the sign blow molds and expanded those into a full alphabet in 4 weights: Treble, Midrange, Low End, and Bass." And this is okay I think. I can see using it when some kids get the fake version up on google fonts or somewhere for free. So long as you don't mind your print display pieces being mainly remarked upon for their Wilco font.

Wilco Font


JONI MITCHELL - Both Sides, Now (Reprise)
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by Jay Lewis

Joni Mitchell is 80 years old this week.

Recently I’ve had to contend with being forced to listen to aged pop singers returning to songs that they made them famous decades ago.  It’s been a rather unedifying experience, in re-recording their old material each act failed to bring any new insight, understanding or meaning to their old words.  But, then again, you don’t look to something as ephemeral as pop lyrics for depth do you?  Do you?

But Joni Mitchell may just be the exception to that rule.  Her songs are like paintings that can be understood from so many angles, their meaning can change in the light or over time. It’s what great singer-songwriters do.  When Joni wrote ‘Both Sides, Now’ it seemed so precocious (she was 23 when she wrote it – apparently inspired by a line in Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow...not everyday source material for a pop song),  she returned to it when she was 57.  And without changing a single word, it became a totally different song. It ached with all of the reflection at all opportunities grasped and missed, of remorse and self-acceptance and of coming to terms with yourself. 

And she wrote 'Both Sides, Now' before recording ‘Blue’, ‘Court and Spark’ or ‘Herija’.   I’m going to reach for that word genius now and feel totally justified in using it. Happy Birthday Joni.


ESTHER ABRAMI, HER ENSEMBLE - Shirley J. Thompson: Semplice Sempre (Sony)
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by Ancient Champion

Shirley J. Thompson will always be known as the first woman to conduct and compose a symphony in 40 years for her landmark and incredible piece celebrating London's history, New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony which was written back at the turn of the century. Exceptional use of the cowbell on Marshes, Hamlets and Roaming Cows. (Oh and later the vibra-slap too -  personal fave). All of her music is amazing, gorgeous, sumptuous. Maybe in the world only the American, Jeri Lynne Johnson, founder of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra - who has put strings together too for the like of Jay Z, is a contemporary of her stature?  Here Esther Abrami just plays Shirley J. Thompson composition, Semplice Sempre. Get an amp and some some speakers with a great bass response to figure this out. Oh man it is enough to make a grown woman or man cry.


Essential Information
Main image Joey Bradbury and Rowan Martin from The Rhythm Method

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