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Outsideleft Week in Music... Can you fight, fuck and dream to it? We're hearing from... Ultrasonic Grand Prix, The Delines, Soft Cell, Jay-Z, Jeshi, Katherine Priddy, The Telescopes, Ceiling Spirit, Les Big Byrd, Queensryche, Harp, Brother Lee, King Geedorah, Dumbo Gets Mad, Ron Horton, Little Man Tate, Black Nail Cabaret, Brittany Bindrim, Hailu Mergia, Bachratten

Outsideleft Week in Music... Can you fight, fuck and dream to it?

We're hearing from... Ultrasonic Grand Prix, The Delines, Soft Cell, Jay-Z, Jeshi, Katherine Priddy, The Telescopes, Ceiling Spirit, Les Big Byrd, Queensryche, Harp, Brother Lee, King Geedorah, Dumbo Gets Mad, Ron Horton, Little Man Tate, Black Nail Cabaret, Brittany Bindrim, Hailu Mergia, Bachratten

by OL House Writer,
first published: December, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

"Come over here, and put your hands on the speaker let the sermon begin." And so it does. There isn't nothing wrong with this. Little Barrie and Sean Lee's Ultrasonic Grand Prix

The august institution that is the Outsideleft Week in Music maybe not for the first time but the first time I can remember, had this weird thing happen. Weird things always happen but this week the best record we heard on the office stereo by like a million miles was by, well... Well we can't tell you because when I reached out to them, they wanted no part of it. No part of being reviewed here, not part of featuring next week in an interview. I'm giving them Five HEARTS for all of that. Makes me like them more.

SINGLES

LES BIG BYRD - Mareld (Chimp Limbs Recordings)
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by Alan Rider

Sweden's Les Big Byrd may have an unlikely name, but they sure make wonderful music.  This is an 11 minute, largely instrumental song, based around a shimmering repetitive synth riff, droney fuzz guitar and trippy vocal harmonies. Not the most obvious a choice for a single, I grant you, but paradoxically, that's why its such a good choice.  It reminds me of all those great trippy 60's psychedelic records.  Its great. I could have this on repeat and never grow bored.  Chimp Limbs is their own label so "there was nobody to try and convince me that a 11 minute synth jam isn’t single material” says band leader Jocke Åhlund. Thats a brilliant reason right there to release stuff yourself, and just in case your Swedish is a bit rusty, “Mareld” is the Swedish word for the strange bacterial bioluminescence phenomenon that spookily lights up the ocean's surface at night.  I know you knew that.  Of course you did. I believe you, honestly. The album ' Diamonds, Rhinestones and Hard Rain' is coming in March next year and will be well worth the wait I reckon.


DUMBO GETS MAD - Indian Food (Live) (The Reverberation Appreciation Society)
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by LamontPaul

This is a bit more like it, unless my headphones are breaking up because I have this new old amp, a vintage amp that was pretty broke ass when it was new in the 80s. The appeal. It's been in some terrible place for so long, bringing it into the warmth of the sun, caused the VU meter that I got it out for to instantaneously saturate with condensation or maybe condescension. Records didn't sound like this in the 80s. And so perversely, this record probably doesn't sound like this now. Dumbo Gets Mad Big in 24? You tell me.


JESHI - Inside Out (Because Music)
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by Alan Rider

Lets face it, Rap is as cliched and devoid of ideas as every other genre of music. The backing track to this is far, far, more interesting than the heard-it-all-before vocals, delivered in that grumpy sounding, identically tempo'd, fake patois that all rappers sing in. I'm probably not qualified to comment on any (c)rap track as I find the vast majority of it repetitive and dull. There will be exceptions of course, and the backing to this is at least an attempt to be a bit different, so credit where it's due for that.


THE TELESCOPES - (In The) Hidden Fields (Fuzz Club Records.)
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by Alan Rider

Aw c'mon. This is just boring.  The video (sorry, 'visualiser') is also incredibly dull.  All I can say is "Why??"


LITTLE MAN TATE - Under Cover Lovers (Best of Three)
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by Toon Traveller

What really pisses me off, Fuck witted PR for bands, ie send out the track, Max Volume, minimum compression. RESULT, earphones ripped out, burning, simmering resentment. Sad, coz this a great slab of post Brit Pop, 2000's pop rock. Oasis marries Franz Ferdinand, flirts with Arctic Monkeys. You get the idea, It's a great song full of drive and raw rasping vocal, just the right side of desperate. There's the breaks, timed just right, delightful production balance, and a chorus, foot tapping, finger popping, with a wonderful earworm riff. Loses hearts for insulting marketing (above).  Their LP is out on January 26th. I'd presume it will be loud!


THE DELINES - Christmas In Atlantis (Decor)
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by Alan Rider

I can hear you groaning "not another Christmas single, every fuckin' year we have to put up with these" (well, that's what I usually say at least), but this is a game attempt to inject a bit of grubbiness into the sickly schmaltz that is all around without resorting to churning out yet another punk Christmas single (as much a cliche these days as Bing Crosby).  Coked up sisters, naked selfies, ill advised tattoos, fed up UFO nut grandmothers, gambling, and so on.  Its all in here. Well, you have to really don't you?  No one over the age of 8 believes Christmas is anything other than rubbish, so why not spice it up a bit?  Good for The Delines.


RON HORTON - Erato (Newvelle Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Taken from Ron Horton's new collection, A Prayer for Andrew, due in Mid-December from Newvelle Records. Erato is delicate, elegant, tantalising and at the outset, calming. Opening with horns, piano and deft, brushed drums. The trumpet is marshmallow soft, a flirting upright bass. Music for the wee small hours, for cold, crisp, winter frosted days, for languid mojitos on a lazy, hazy, evenings with Mediterranean sunsets. Trumpet and Sax, playful kittens, delighting in each other games. This is jazz gone through the searing, mind melding 70's improvisational heat, then paid it's dues, escaped,  dancing, swaying on the other  side. Melodies are hinted at, occasional indulged,  but space's sense are stroked and their delights served up again and again. Romantic, melancholic, tragic. Ecstatic.


QUEENSRYCHE - Nocturnal Light ( Century Media Records)
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by Alan Rider

Watch out! 'Hairy rock band you thought were dead, but nope, they are still going' alert! Queensryche is a name that I dimly recall largely because of its weird spelling. They are a bit like Judas Priest. They've been a bit like Judas Priest for sixteen albums now.  That's a lot of landfill.  The video is another of those increasingly common spooky cartoony AI generated ones.  The trend to get AI to make your videos for you will get boring very quickly though, as it becomes commonplace if it hasn't already.  You can, however, take some comfort in the fact that however clever AI gets, it can never, ever, be artistic or creative.  It can run algorithms aplenty for sure, and emulate art very convincingly, but being an artist is exclusively a human skill and always will be.  There.  That's made your day.


BRITTANY BINDRIM - Obelisk (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

Another AI generated video. Zzzzzzz.  This smacks of 'croony girly singer decides to go a bit Industrial' in an attempt to add some cool to her cheesy image.  It's a poor man's Evanescence.  I'd skip imitators like this and go straight for the original if I was you.


ULTRASONIC GRAND PRIX - Seamoon Rising (Non-Delux)
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by Ancient Champion

"Come over here, and put your hands on the speaker let the sermon begin." And so it does. There isn't nothing wrong with this. Little Barrie and Sean Lee having a time while making the greatest and most fun record I've heard in a while. Little Barrie chops the guitar one way and Sean Lee the other. Such a hot record it dried out the condensated VU meter window on my amplifier.


BACHRATTEN - Sudstadt (La Pochette Surprise)
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by Alan Rider

Its about time we had a single not sung in English.  So here we have Bachratten from Kassel, Germany giving us a slacker rock song about the pain of separation from your soul (I think).  Its charmingly amateurish and they look a tad embarrassed in their video.  The singer is wearing a horrid white chunky jumper too, which looks like it will make him too hot.  It's a welcome relief from the gloss of PR and slick videos.


KATHERINE PRIDDY - Does She Hold You Like I Did (Cooking Vinyl)
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by Jay Lewis

Well, this is a surprise. I really wasn't expecting the (Spaghetti) Western flavour provided by the trumpets that run this. Then there are the cinematic strings and driving percussion - it's a big production!  'Does She Hold You Like I Did' is a drama, a tale of heartbreak (the title does remind me of one of ABBA's most hurt lyrics from 'The Winner Takes It All'), the awful sense of something slipping away from you. But it's when the large accompaniment has faded that Priddy's quietly delivered closing lines sting you the most.


BLACK NAIL CABARET - Autogenic (Dependent)
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by Alan Rider

Dark electronic melded with pop noir is how I'd describe this.  So what does that actually mean in the real world?  Well lets say its a bit electro pop, but has slightly dark/gloomy lyrics and a glum faced video featuring real human beings for once.  Its understated and actually quite forgettable once it's finished to be be honest. This is yet another one for the 'its ok, I suppose' drawer (which is getting pretty full lately).  Its inoffensive, neither boring nor exciting. It just is.  Hardly a recommendation I know, but I let out an audible sigh when his track started up.  'Not another one' I muttered.  I'm underwhelmed (again!).


CEILING SPIRIT - The Bloodwren Pt II (Youtube)
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by Toon Traveller

Been away to sunny Spain and back to freezing rain. Then this throbbing intro straight outta prog rock demigods, Yes, just as much a ponderous story, pseudo classical pretentious, slow build, an "up ii's self", deluded self-believin'  yeugghhh. It's plodging through slush, with leaky shoes, fun level of tiresomeness, depressing, miserable. No hearts, no stars, no I didn't like it.

LPs

HARP - Albion (Bella Union)
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by Jay Lewis

It's been a long time, but could it actually be him? In that desolate, double-exposed picture on the front cover, alone on a wintery landscape, it really is the first sighting of Tim Smith since he abandoned Midlake over a decade ago.

Harp (admittedly, not one of the most inspired of band names), sees Tim and wife Kathi, take the fascination with late 60s English folk-rock that ran through 'The Courage of Others' (his last outing with Midlake) and blend it with a new found love of early 80s bands and, in particular, The Cure circa 'Faith' as well as, as displayed on the title track, the poetry of William Blake. There is a melancholic delight in shimmering guitars that recall The Cocteau Twins on 'Throne of Amber' and 'A Fountain', but most affecting is the closer 'Herstmonceux' - a reflection on the moment when the arrival of love changes your whole worldview. As a reflection on the last decade of his life the album documents the falling out of and then in love, of faith, of spirit and of overcoming personal anxieties, 'Albion' feels personal, it should be savoured.


SOFT CELL - Non Stop Erotic Cabaret (2023 Deluxe Box Set) (Mercury Records)
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by Jay Lewis

Jay finds a small bedsitter to go and live in whilst he listens to a six CD edition of one of his favourite albums.  


BROTHER LEE - Mosaic Mountain Lithium Sun (Dime Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Brother Lee is ticking me off with all this hardest working man in show business business. There's just no slowing the Brother down. I've lost count of the number of records he's been part of in 2023. Positively though, I can actually hold my breath between releases and emerge synaptically intact. From what will surely be the last Brother Lee release of 2023, Mosaic Mountain Lithium Sun, I have been listening to Always Hope For You. A beautiful, beautiful, electric-acoustic piece of anti-balladeering that gives way to a mass of massive backwards guitar. I have it on repeat if that means anything to you. Lee is happy I think to be exiled in the South of France for now, his posts on the matter on Instagram attest so. You know, the type of backwater place where the neighbourhood dog needs a rehoming and meanwhile Lee is taking care of it and so on. Passes for the kind of excitement I like. I mean, small town stuff, makes me want to ask my space alien friends to uplift Bearwood with their belief and set it gently down on the plot next door to Lee's.


Other Materials

KING GEEDORAH - Take Me To Your Leader (Ninja Tune)
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by Ancient Champion

Alright so I'm still reeling from the Liz Berry, Hannah Swingler, Nafeesa Hamid triptych painting places with words. And am thinking about how the context of how they don't just tell us about their world, they unlock a door and take us in. It's brilliant. And then I played this because I love MF Doom and that outer space place just like I love those WM poets.


JAY-Z - Empire State of Mind ft Alicia Keys (UMG)
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by Ancient Champion

I guess when they're emptying out my suit when I finally go, they shake out my trousers maybe upside down, and those pockets full of dreams will spill out. "If you can make it from Bearwood, you can make it from anywhere..." 


HAILU MERGIA - Wede Harer Guzu featuring Dahlak Band (Awesome Tapes From Africa)
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by Ancient Champion

This is like an aural Wedding Feast at Canaan, the longer it goes on the better it gets. Originally released in 2016.


Essential Information
Main image Little Barrie and Sean Lee's Ultrasonic Grand Prix sleeve art crop from their LP Instafuzz due in Jan. The single is an exciter for sure.

OL House Writer

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