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Outsideleft Week in Music: The Night Coming After the Vulture Prince We're hearing from... Arooj Aftab, DYW, Basement Letters, Reviser, Belle and Sebastian, Sadistic Force, Craig Benedict Valentine Badynee, Oloff, Lu Warm, Jean-Jaques Perrey, Flesh Field, Cigarettes After Sex, L'Imperatrice, The Slits, Allman Brothers, English Teacher, Stephen Bluhm , The Pull of Autumn and The Wesleys

Outsideleft Week in Music: The Night Coming After the Vulture Prince

We're hearing from... Arooj Aftab, DYW, Basement Letters, Reviser, Belle and Sebastian, Sadistic Force, Craig Benedict Valentine Badynee, Oloff, Lu Warm, Jean-Jaques Perrey, Flesh Field, Cigarettes After Sex, L'Imperatrice, The Slits, Allman Brothers, English Teacher, Stephen Bluhm , The Pull of Autumn and The Wesleys

by OL House Writer,
first published: April, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

"sometimes we must be content with an exchange of glances..."

intro.

Welcome to the Week In Music and... Breathe. What a Week this is! There's a notable return from Arooj Aftab and a debut LP from English Teacher. And there's way more great ones besides. It's dinner time here though, so I've gotta go and chomp through that and not this. This week's preponderant thoughts on music come from Ancient Champion (5), Tim London (2), Alan Rider (4), Toon Traveller (1), LamontPaul (2), Hamilton High (1), Lee Paul (3) and John Robinson (1).

singles.

AROOJ AFTAB - Raat Ki Rani (Verve Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Well she makes it sound easy, doesn't she? This comes from Arooj Aftab's forthcoming LP Night Reign, a follow-up to Vulture Prince which was, when we still did those things, Outsideleft's LP of the Year in 2021. Of Raat Ki Rani, Arooj says, "Interaction with the queen of the night feels unthinkable, sometimes we must be content with an exchange of glances.” Raat Ki Rani is at once expansive and illusively intimate, daring to speak of an erotic joy and sorrow. Such is life.

THE WESLEYS - A Lot to Lose (Youtube I listened to it on)
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by Ancient Champion

The Wesley's are offer a lot by offering a lot less than a lot of bands that manage to get my finger hovering over and finally onto the 'play' button. How would I know that without hitting play and what makes me do that from time to time? That's the secret sauce The Wesley's PR people bring. Anyway. Some entertaining components. Sounds like a Strokes drum sample getting this underway and bright clean guitars and bass burst in. And early handclaps. Kudos. The underrated secret ingredient in pop. So many secrets here today. What's so beautiful about A Lot To Lose is everything it lacks. It lacks stridency, urgency. It upfront in its languity. Guitars solos fill the guitar solo gap without being guitar solos at all. They check Teenage Fanclub, The Pixies, and The Replacements as influential. That A Lot to Lose feels like a bit of a throwback makes it all the more significant because now in no way is it.

BASEMENT LETTERS - Heavy Showers (Bandcamp)
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by Ancient Champion

Oh wow! This is a great hybrid pop song with fab lyrical intent. A writer who can write provocative meaning into a pop lyric. Great busy synths and rising choruses. A youthful swaggering snarl from the singer. Aces. And who can resist a record that breaks down to a weather report in the middle? Not me and I hope not you. It all sounds so floatily effortlessly ambitious and yet, still a pleasure to listen to. Amazingly amazing all told.

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN - What Happened To You Son? (Matador)
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by Lee Paul

Everybody loves them so why don't I? What Happened To You Son? Is at once urgent and easy. Altogether quite amazing. Wondrous trumpets. Chunky bass. It's got more than everything you'd ever need from pop in one song.

CIGARETTES AFTER SEX - Dark Vacay (Partisan Records)
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by Alan Rider

Do people still do that 'ciggie after bonking' thing these days?  Surely it would now be a vape, or maybe slap on a fresh nicotine patch?  'Dark Vacay' is a dreamy, slightly lazy outing that does actually sound like they have just been at it and are feeling that warm glow, even if they are not puffing away on a cancer stick too.  'Cigarettes After Sex' are a big band, playing arenas and selling oodles of tickets, as they will constantly remind us.  On the strength of this though, I can't work out why they would be so popular.  Its a bit of a nothing song really.  Not something that would have taken much work at all. Write it on the bus, basically. Mind you, its often a mystery to me why some acts prove to be so popular.  I put it down to a general lowering of standards and the decline of Western civilisation. Or something like that.

SADISTIC FORCE - Iron Right (Bandcamp)
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by LamontPaul

It's the speed/black/thrash that gets us every time. Especially the thrash. The Sadistic power trio Force is James Oliver, guitar and vocals, Mike Gupta, bass and backing vocals and Rom Gov on the drums. Put it on repeat and drive at night. It rocks hard. MOTÖRHEAD's "I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care)"is on the B-side too.

L'IMPERATRICE - Danza Marilu (feat. Fabiana Martone) (Microqlima)
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by LamontPaul

Nu Disco? It's really, really a lot like old disco. But it is so new! And in case you're in any doubt, it is so totally lovable too.

THE PULL OF AUTUMN - I Was Just Dreaming (RBM Records)
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by Lee Paul

The Pull of Autumn are more of a group of associates who make music with a collective purpose. I Was Just Dreaming is a new single from their fifth album, Memory Tree, which will be available at the end of May. A less analog cover of the Orchids' Sarah Records track from 1992, it has both a languid and insistent vibe. In that respect it's a little redolent of a more desiccated Ultra Vivid Scene's Mercy Seat. I Was Just Dreaming features Bruce MacLeod on vocals with Daniel Darrow of 80s post-punk group Johanna's House of Glamour doing everything else. Previously they have worked with the Pop Group's Mark Stewart and the new LP too, promises a cavalcade of stars.

STEPHEN BLUHM - Easter (Self-Released)
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by Toon Traveller

From the LP, Out of the Nowhere Into the Here comes Stephen Bluhm's Easter offering a chamber piano opener, slow painfully, romantic wistfully, the attention taken by micro hesitant playing, almost as if he's turning his own 'sheets'. Builds slowly, strings randomly blare, ships' distant horns, in the city's morning Fog. Yes it's pensive, apprehensive, atmospheric, hits of morning rain, a mournful day. It slows your pace, you're aware of your breathing. Meditative, it's sure that. Music to sense in 'the moment' and 'be alive' to, and sense 'your self... Being'. I'd say stick with the instrumental version as there is a vocal option, which, hmmm I don't know about that really. 

CRAIG BENEDICT VALENTINE BADYNEE - The New Richter Waltz (Team Love Records)
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by Ancient Champion

There's something charming about Craig Benedict Valentine Badynee before you even get the proverbial needle into the groove. An uncanny approach, maybe to everything. His new two-sided single - am really into that arcane-ness - is he says, 50 years in the making. I don't don't believe him, it is an immense Soft Boys-eque raggedly curated romp. Craig adds that he's been somewhat slowed down on the record release front by raising two sweet little brats in Chicago. I don't know that I should have told you that. Like that. Anyway, both songs, The New Richter Waltz and Grumbling Bellies are really more-ish. Guitars twist and the lyrics turn. It's all wholly veering into a lackadaisical what's not to love territory. There's an eponymously named LP forthcoming. Truly, smarter than your average rock.

REVISER - Assassins/Burn It Out (Self released)
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by Alan Rider

Assassins/Burnout is a twin single, a sort of two-for-the-price-of-one concept, or BOGOF if you want to use supermarket slang.  This is all pumping bass and chiming guitars and has a retro 80's Goth feel, but that's not a bad thing here.  Its a little restrained though and needs to let rip a bit more to elevate itself above the masses. That may just be poor production, as there is a lot that can be done nowadays to give a more kick to a track, and the production on this is underwhelming for sure (step forward Paul Malinowski of the band Shiner, who is the guilty party here).  Having said that, I do like this pairing of tracks and its got a lot to recommend it.  It is really hard to stand out in any musical field now, let alone such a crowded and notoriously conservative one. Reviser will need to go more all out to do that, but thankfully this avoids the shrieky histrionics that some mistake for passion, so kudo to them for that.

ep's.

FLESH FIELD - Voice of Reason (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

Released as a companion piece to the five heart rated 'Voice of the Echo Chamber' album, 'Voice of Reason' is an extended, album length EP of seven new tracks, plus remixes by The Great and The Good of the scene.  Rather than group the remixes at the end, they are scattered throughout the album, but the new tracks are the draw for me and each sport the trademark cinematic quality that mark out the Flesh Field sound. Standout track has to be 'The Truth Can't Hide The Lie'. This album is screaming out for a dystopian video game to be made for it, and in keeping with the themes explored in 'Voice of the Echo Chamber', it's dramatic, portentious, and driven by a pounding tribal rhythm track and bloody orchestral stabs throughout. The remixes are actually a lot better than I'd feared (I am not a huge fan of remixes per se), with a jittery re-working by Leather Strip of 'Soldier', a superior take on 'Catalyst' by GenCAB, and an almost synth pop 'Manifesto' by System Syn.  Flesh Field's Ian Ross always looks so damned serious that he seems to have a lot on his mind, but on the evidence of this he needn't worry so much.  He knows what he is doing and this is an unusual take on a follow up album that really works. 

long plays.

ENGLISH TEACHER - This Could be Texas (Island Records)
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by John Robinson

John Robinson says that for him this is one of the releases of this [rapidly aging] year. John has a lot more to say too, right over here→

OLOFF - Hello (Oloff)
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by Ancient Champion

EDIT|| This is the approach I love the most. I get a one line email that I open at 5.49am, before going to sleep. "This is an album about  social alienation, gratitude, and searching for a home." Best, Oloff.  5.49.30am I decide to sit up for half an hour to listen to Hello. Noting that the second track on the LP of mainly experimental hip-hop is called Class A. I'll spend later today replacing the title of my piece of music also called Class A. I can't match this. Originally, London and now Valencia. E-N-V-Y - I have to get out more. Oloff's music is an eclectic mix he says. And he is not wrong. Somedays even before they begin, musicians like Oloff make me glad we exist.

DYW - Negative Space (FPE Records)
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by Tim London

Is it possible to be scared, exhilarated, titillated and lifted, [and a plethora of other things...] by an LP? Tim London's asking you to listen and find out. Read the whole review of Belgrade's DYW, here→

so, have you got anything else.

THE SLITS - Kill Them With Love (Only Lovers Left Alive)
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by Tim London

What a great piece of music from a reformed Slits in 2005. One of the best British bands of all times? This week, Tim London got all gooey while viewing the while reviewing the Slits' cinematic experience, Here To Be Heard which is streaming now on Amazon.

ALLMAN BROTHERS - Ramblin' Man (Mercury)
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by Hamilton High

You probably know why this is here. Founder of the Southern Rock sound as near as darn it, Dickey Betts passed over this week. As lives go, that was a sensational one.

LU WARM - Joseph Connell's Wedding (Self)
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by Lee Paul

Lu Warm is a singular bluegrass guitarist, a Black Country Primitive. Oh man the melodies he conjures up. Lu Warm will be appearing at the next Outsideleft Night Out on Friday May 3rd in Bearwood. Read all about Lu and his Outsideleft Night Out here→

JEAN-JAQUES PERREY - E.V.A (Vanguard)
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by Alan Rider

Jean-Jacques Perrey was a French electronic music performer, composer, producer, and pioneer of pop electronica,  especially the use of the Ondioline, an ancestor of the modern synth.  He worked with John Cage, but you have probably never heard of. him  This track probably sounds a bit familiar, too but you just can't place it either. Jean-Jaques passed away in 2016 aged 87, but you cannot deny the man left behind a legacy of kooky Space Rock brilliance and you need to know his name.

essentials

main image, Arooj Aftab

previous week in 'Music Will Keep You Warm' is here→

OL House Writer

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