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Outsideleft Week in Music is your date with The King We're hearing from... Lee Perry & Tricky & Marta, The Fall, Edward Ka-Spel, Ghost Funk Orchestra, The Jack Rubies, KMFDM, Liam Bailey, Royel Otis, Ches Smith, Makrokosmos Orchestra, ELP, Joe Jackson, The Cardigans, Sam Lee, A Good Rogering, Frontier Ruckus, Sarah Jarosz, Dave Harrington et al, Thundermother, Paramore, Luce Mawdsley, Megaton Leviathan, Teke Teke, Camera Obscura

Outsideleft Week in Music is your date with The King

We're hearing from... Lee Perry & Tricky & Marta, The Fall, Edward Ka-Spel, Ghost Funk Orchestra, The Jack Rubies, KMFDM, Liam Bailey, Royel Otis, Ches Smith, Makrokosmos Orchestra, ELP, Joe Jackson, The Cardigans, Sam Lee, A Good Rogering, Frontier Ruckus, Sarah Jarosz, Dave Harrington et al, Thundermother, Paramore, Luce Mawdsley, Megaton Leviathan, Teke Teke, Camera Obscura

by OL House Writer,
first published: February, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

The Future of My Music should be required radio listening all day.

intro.

A little delayed Week in Music this week. Apologies and all that. Yesterday was a sort of massive day. Beginning with a morning times event, at the always great Wolverhampton Lit Fest. Ancient Champion read/performed does what he does. Then getting the PA out of the loft, and all the other bits that needed dusting off for the incredible Outsideleft Night Out with David Benjamin Blower. Oh man, what a night! DJs Agata and Woodenhand brought their most astonishing records. It felt like all of Bearwood was there. You should be there too next time, the First Friday March 1st when we will feature the incomparable sounds of cigar box guitarist Chickenbone John... After all that, at about 3am, we all got back to the home stereo, sat around and got the VU meters going on some new music, here's some of it... 

SINGLES.

LEE PERRY, TRICKY, MARTA - Future of My Music (False Idols)
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by Ancient Champion

Oh this is just so beautiful in every way. The individual artistic Trademarks abound. Dubby, melancholic, a mellow mirage of hope. Radio exists so that The Future of My Music can be broadcast all day. Everyday. What a joy.

CAMERA OBSCURA - Big Love (Merge)
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by Toon Traveller

It's country, double-tracked, harmony vocals  and tasteful slide guitars. Butterflies flitter everywhere. Quiet middle eight, soft drum beats, guitar's sliding, licks, repeat riffs. It skips, a child, school bound, hand-in-hand, with 'bestie'. It's about a big love, so the refrain says, "Honey don't go back there, there's no room, no room for you there". great advice. But, the melody, it's, it's just wrong. Words say "stop, turn, walk". Melody says "hey sis, it was a good time, good love, but walking?, I dunno". Inoffensive, pretty playing,  Americana / C&W, as set out in "C&W songwriting for Dummies".

A GOOD ROGERING - Another Handout (Possibly self-released - hard to tell really)
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by Alan Rider

Calling themselves 'A Good Rogering' means this lot are not taking themselves too seriously.   With a Reservoir Dogs themed video, they do what US rock bands do really well, namely become their own pastiche, but do it with a knowing smirk on their faces.  Its a jolly, chunky little ditty this, and a flashy and amusing video too.  They are on their third album, and for five hairy, middle aged men, they make a decent racket which I guess is what life is all about, so hats off to them I say!

SARAH JAROSZ - Runaway Train (I Can't Tell)
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by Toon Traveller

24hrs of rain, drizzle and then some rain, then Sarah pops up for review. Echoes of all them mid-west, mid-afternoon, sun-kissed cutesy towns, awash in mid-summer memories. I don't want to get all epistolary-first person on you but I got a lotta hyphens in there. An Antidote to North Sea winds, driven Arctic rain, and snow-threatening English clouds. Cotton picking, fair to middling. You gotta wonder though, much worse material by other men and women is regarded as genius for some reason so why not Sarah? No one else here has ever quoted Garden & Gun in their press materials... "an intriguing and captivating change of pace from an artist firmly in control of her work." - Garden & Gun. Oh man, I want to get reviews into Garden & Gun.

LIAM BAILEY - Dumb (Big Crown Records)
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by Lee Paul

The instrumental version Liam Bailey's Ekundayo is one of the mercurial greats from Big Crown Records who have many, many greats to wow you with. Dumb is from Liam Bailey's follow-up LP, Zero Grace. The record again pairs Bailey with producer Leon Michels (El Michels Affair). It's an intensely personal record. And if people did this anymore, could easily light up the charts with singular hits. While Dumb leans into rhythm, many of the tracks are way more plaintive singer-songwriter from the overground. And of course Michels imbues everything with just enough of the right kind magic. What I've heard of this very special record, from an important British voice from Nottingham, I'd totally recommend getting onto Bandcamp to hear the three of four tracks that are already available.

SAM LEE - Meeting is a Pleasant Place (Cooking Vinyl)
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by Jay Lewis

Sam Lee has always struck me as a person who sees well beyond the facile fixations of the modern world. When he sings, it's as if he's been carrying the words with him for hundreds of years. He is a folk singer in the truest sense of the word, as if there is a direct connection between him and the time and place he is reporting from. He also sings with Nightingales.

Like much of Lee's work, parts of 'Meeting is a Pleasant Place' is sourced from old gypsy folk songs, but then there are the contemporary touches that he (or rather, producer Bernard Butler) adds: ambient textures fuzzy guitar and the gospel like harmonies of Trans Voices, a London based trans choir. A beautiful record. 

ROYEL OTIS - Murder on the Dance Floor (Ourness)
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by Toon Traveller

Cover versions, a great tribute, Oasis - Come on Feel the Noise, an Abomination, Phil Collins - You Can't Hurry Love, Sure it rocks, it skips, it's nothing new.  Sophie's original, her Uber Cool voice, "and so, and so, and so", just had that hot evening, cool breeze, sipping Mint Juleps, disco music, floats down the beach. It's those 90s, Sophisticated Summer club, Majorca, memories we's all love to have. Royel adds nothing, sure its rough, and a bit knife-handle sharp. As a pub band cover, it's OK,  nothing new, GO ON YOUTUBE, play original, and smile with the memories, real or imagined.

THUNDERMOTHER - Speaking of the Devil (streaming and download platfrms)
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by Alan Rider

"Swedish queens of rock ‘n’ metal", the aptly named 'Thundermother', look and sound like they'd drink you under the table any day of the week.  Challenge them to an arm wrestling contest and they'd likely rip off your arm and beat you to death with it just for kicks.  You get the gist.  This is straight-ahead, good time hairy arsed rock that is just great fun to play loud.  Thundermother are pretty much the new L7, and we all know that L7 are legends around here.

LUCE MAWDSLEY - All Seasons Swarm (Pure O Records)
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by Alan Rider

'All Seasons Swarm' is a wonderful, whirling, cracked, and blown track, the second to be drawn like blood out of the veins of the upcoming 'Northwest & Nebulous' album by Liverpudlian composer and musical landscape artist Luce Mawdsley. It's a tad over two minutes so doesn't out stay its welcome, dropping in briefly before blinking out like a snuffed candle flame. Melodramatic? Maybe. Feverishly sublime? Definitely.

MEGATON LEVIATHAN - Silver Tears (C-Squared)
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by Toon Traveller

Wow, Doomy, Doomed, Doom laden, Doomster plodding opening, slowed down funeral dirge, distorted, disfigured voices, repeat, repeat. Cymbals splash, Drums Bash. It's a low, long, foot-dragging, rain-soaked, tired, miserable depressing sound. Almost Orchestral in hue, and style. Reminded, (ethos and ambition) of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music. 'Google' the back story of that album, and you'll get my point. Silver Tears is a courageous, uncompromising slice of avante-garde invention. I don't like it on any level but admire the compositional integrity.

TEKE TEKE - Bankrobber (idk)
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by Toon Traveller

Bankrobber covered, why not, covers can be great, especially when leaping language barriers, Seu Jorge - Life Aquatic (Bowie, covers in Portuguese) comes to mind. This, sadly, is miles off the pace, it's in Japanese, there's the classic opening, and then shoots off into what sounds like a Friday Night, Tokyo, Karaoke session. 80's electric synth, and style-o-phone solos, give that tinny, tacky, trashy, half-drunk night, feel.  Incongruously, there's a flute solo, and a hop-a-long Cassidy climax, with a fade that's 5 minutes too long.  Yeuugh Yeugh. I am saying not for me. This is from Hearts & Minds & Crooked Beats out on 2/7 (International Clash Day - good god almighty) that'll benefit the International Rescue Committee. Other artists that contributed to the comp include The Dandy Warhols, Smokey Brights, Seán Barna, Julia Massey of Warren Dunes, and more. 

GHOST FUNK ORCHESTRA - To The Moon! (Karma Chief/Cole Mine)
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by Ancient Champion

You know it would be easy to be churlish and say, oh, upon hearing the Ghost Funk Orchestra's To The Moon! that Public Service Broadcasting added some NASA sci-fi to their music and that was just aces, or when you get a little thrill from Public Service Broadcasting's digging into the archives to think of how much more fun space was the Man Or Astroman? way. If you don't love this because of the other, if you pass on Ghost Funk Orchestra because you think you've heard it already, I don't think so. The leftcentric leftover 60s sounds of Ghost Funk Orchestra are going To The Moon! And they do seem to have provided the only recording this week incorporating its own much-deserved and necessary '!' in the title. That surely has to mean something to the discerning music mind. The music from start to finish is just incredible too. How did they do it?

FRONTIER RUCKUS - I'm Not the Boy (Loose Music)
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by Toon Traveller

Ok, there's mightily, finely, plucked banjo, a wistful Tex Mex, mariachi-style horn. Lyrics, it's all boys' enigmatic chatter. Steady drums, lazy strummed guitar. Sadly his nasal whine takes the song deep into mediocrity. A weird time change, not even a funky banjo solo can redeem, Maudlin ending, synth wind blows, dreary, depressing, A strange mix, 80's early electro soundscape, splashes of Country, Jazzed, sadly out of place, trumpet. A random radio station scan, MOR, jazz, country, cut, spliced, pasted, would have the same result. Ideas, but no inspiration.

PARAMORE - Burning Down The House (A24)
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by DJ Fuzzyfelt

Amongst the cavalcade of nearly stars rolling right up for Everyone’s Getting Involved: A Tribute to Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense, Paramore sticks out. They're big. Anything else of note about their version of Burning Down The House, you'd be at liberty to ask? More of an insult than a tribute.

 

LONG PLAYERS

EDWARD KA-SPEL - Tales From The Trenches (Lumberton Trading Company)
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by Alan Rider

'Tales From The Trenches' is the second release for Lumberton Trading Company by Legendary Pink Dots founder and leading light Edward Ka-Spel. Alan Rider has a lengthier review, Edward Ka-Spel's Desiccated Dystopian Vision, longer than can fit into this page, here⇒ 

KMFDM - Let Go (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

KMFDM have been doing it for a while, with ‘Let Go’ their 23rd studio album.  Having honed their skills over 40 years, it has to be said they have gotten very good at this.  Leaving aside the risibly Dead or Alive/Divine disco-sing along the opening title track (which lost them a heart off the score), the following track 'Push!' is a bit of a belter. and sets the tone for what follows. KMFDM can rightly claim to have been in the vanguard of drum and guitar-based industrial music from the very start, along with Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and Front Line Assembly, spawning a legion of imitators (some pretty terrible) in the years since. Few can hold a light to them though on the evidence of this.  They have injected a fair bit of variety into each track from the swirly  ‘Airhead’, the spaghetti western-tinged guitar and synth battle ‘Turn the Lights On’ to the snotty anger of ‘When The Bell Tolls’. You also get hip-hop flavours, electro, and even the cut-up and dub of the closing track ‘WW 2023’ (though it looks like we may be getting WW3 for real by the end of 2024 if things don't improve), topped off by the 50-second orchestral drum and bass album outro, the bizarrely titled 'Fillet Manchego Claret & Blow'.  It's pretty non stop rush from end to end, and any track off this is likely to go down a storm at any industrial goth disco.   This is the sound of the 80's inventively reinvented.  Witness the album standout track 'Touch' for a masterclass in how to build a song that would not sound out of place on any 'best of '80s' playlist, yet has subversive industrial undertones running through it.  That KMFDM can still sound this powerful and motivated after 40 years and 23 albums is an impressive feat that defies the passage of time.

JOE JACKSON - Joe Jackson presents Max Champion in What a Racket! (Edel Music)
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by Jay Lewis

As you may know, Joe Jackson first arrived as a bargain basement Elvis Costello copyist during that late 70s New Wave scene, aping that Mr Malcontentmimage for all the young male misfits. He then, much like Costello, went off to explore new musical terrains whilst forever reminding anyone still listening what a classically trained, proper musician he was. When called upon to replay the hits, he did so as if the chore was somehow beneath him and that he was doing us all a great service by revisiting that not-at-all-racist song about 'Pretty girls out walking with gorillas down my street'.

And now, his musical magpie-ism has led to this latest conceit with our Joe playing the archivist of the much-overlooked works of the long-forgotten English Music Hall stalwart: Max Champion (yes, it's all written and performed by Jackson ). It's like being exposed to re-runs of 'The Good Old Days' with an injection of that observational wit that ran through The Divine Comedy's sneery 'National Express' and some faux Cockney accents. Take the lamenting (and lamentable) 'Dear Old Mum' ('...how she brought us up like proper little paddies'), the jaunty annoyance of the title track or the fact that he has to 'stub the gasper out' (in the real world, Jackson is vocally opposed to all smoking bans) on 'Health and Safety. '

It is a record that should come with its own health warning, it should be avoided at all costs

ELP - The Complete Collection (Cherry Red)
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by Alan Rider

In our household ELP stands for "'elp!  Get me out of here!".  This 3 CD set is everything you'd imagine. Pompous, bloated rock that refuses to go away.  Old punks will of course now claim to have always liked ELP really.  The fact that there is still a market for this though proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the world is well and truly screwed.

THE FALL - The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click) (Cherry Red)
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by Alan Rider

The title is a bit of a mouthful isn't it? 'The Real New Fall Album (Formally Country on the Click)' but then when did The Fall ever make things easy for you? The reason for the subtitle is that the tracks were originally scheduled for release back in April 2003 under the title ‘Country on the Click’ but Mark. E Smith was unhappy with the mix and withdrew it to do some further work and it came out later in 2003 with this title. Typical of him, really. This 5 CD re-issue (there is a 1 LP vinyl edition too if you like) includes the original and inferior 'Country On The Click' album, the better re-mixed version that was released as The Real New Fall Album, 2004 album Interim, a disc of single B-sides, and a New York live Show from the time, all of which showcase the wonky, unpredictable brilliance of The Fall.  There hasn't been anyone like them before or since, and with Mark E Smith's death there can never be a repeat other than through re-issues.  Highlights  contained in here are many, but you either get The Fall or you don't.  You will already know which side of the fence you are on.

CHES SMITH - Laugh Ash (Pyroclastic)
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by Toon Traveller

The album makes thrilling use of disorientation and juxtaposition: starkly beautiful chamber melodies coexist with synthetic rhythms, explosive bursts of improvisation with elusive song forms, austere ambience with thundering complexity. Eclectic, undoubtedly, but in a paradoxical way that is defiantly cohesive while never losing sight of the fact that none of it should be. PR Blurb like this, always suckers me in, nails it. Really, it's 70's Philip Glass, meets early 70's Jazz Rock, with a dash of Funk in the regular synth beats. Jesus even a nod to Madonna's 90's Rap, and that's a wrapp.

THE JACK RUBIES - Clocks Are Out Of Time (Big Stir Records)
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by Alan Rider

The first album in over three decades from forgotten but recently re-formed (everyone's doing it these days) postpunk rock janglers The Jack Rubies.  As I said, its jangly, melodic-y, guitar-y stuff with lazy britpop style drawly vocals, pumped out by the no longer skinny band to re-live their glory days.  Let's be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, its just that I have grown weary of the ghosts of yet another forgotten (or 'classic' if you believe their PR) 80's/90's indie band rising from the grave to haunt us yet again like yesterdays reheated dinner. 'Long awaited'?  Not really.

MAKROKOSMOS ORCHESTRA - Dissolve (Adhyâropa Records)
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by Toon Traveller

I love the sound of improvised, Avant Garde Jazz, over black coffee in the morning. Opening, a classic '70s NY cop movie, jerky notes, early morning light, discordant, dissonant, fugitive dealers, furtive dopers, fleeting pan handlers, and last dreg coffee sippers sliding home. Magnificently evocative, times long passed, fantasies enlivened by exemplary playing. Power and inspiration, imagination and evocation. A soundtrack for the life you wanted to live, before you realised how big and bad, Lower South, Upper East Sides really were. Here's an older vidoe to get a taste o' the band.

DAVE HARRINGTON ET AL - Dance of the White Shadow and Golden Kite (AKP)
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by Toon Traveller

Trepidation, the title, Prog Rock at it's diddly, fiddly, twiddly worst. Opens circular horns. If it were keys, Rick Wakeman eat yer heart out. Initial panic subsides, it's solidly into mixed Arab / Jazz Silk Road, world sound. Notes, motifs, and timings, all crossover, crossroads, careful mixes, and linked passages. Haunting, apprehensive sax, and wonderful ' hit all the non drums percussion', creating a wall of aural delight, allowing the leads to soar and swoop through the piece. Disjointed sure is, abstract, there' s a sense of time, place, history, and today, everywhere all at once, in a single time/space continuum. Echoes, wild blowing, ideas mixed, matched, melded. It's magnificent example of wind, sax, and invigorating expression. Dreams of Morocco and Turkey, Tashkent, and Samarkand, Mystery, Magic, promise and intrigue. I feel a look at flights coming on.

Othered.

THE CARDIGANS - My Favourite Game (Stone Version) (Own Label)
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by Alan Rider

You know this song.  Of course you do. It's from 1998 and has had a fair few spins on every radio and TV station going over the years, but you need to see/see again the great and unexpected video created for this and listen to the lyrics.  It's brilliant.  You can thank me later.


essentials.

Main image screen grab of the sleeve art with liberties taken for the Lee Perry LP King Perry

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