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Outsideleft Week in Music: It's Shark-Shark Week We're hearing from... John Cale, Brainstory, Diamanda Galas, Frances Quinlan, Jay Wires, Delerium, Common, JD Pinkus, Rapsody, The Harlem Gospel Travelers, Swampmeat Family Band, DIIV, Georgia Ruth, Wooden Wand, Malice Machine, Leif Vollebekk, Joe Ely & Front Line Assembly

Outsideleft Week in Music: It's Shark-Shark Week

We're hearing from... John Cale, Brainstory, Diamanda Galas, Frances Quinlan, Jay Wires, Delerium, Common, JD Pinkus, Rapsody, The Harlem Gospel Travelers, Swampmeat Family Band, DIIV, Georgia Ruth, Wooden Wand, Malice Machine, Leif Vollebekk, Joe Ely & Front Line Assembly

by OL House Writer,
first published: May, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

John Cale. Superbly strident and relentless. Beat-ific!

intro.

It's Shark-Shark week! It's a week of Discovery! It's Outsideleft's Week in Music. Each week our writers are confronted by new releases right alongside the whole history of music by which to get the measure of the new tunes. Sometimes we just throw our hands in the air and to quote Lake, we're like 'So You Got Anything Else?' And sometimes we don't. Wait 'til we start arguing over the OL Top 100 LPs of all time. I can assure you, it won't be whatever Apple did. This week's OL reviewers, Hamilton High (1), Lee Paul (3), LamontPaul (3), Alan Rider (6), Sofia Ribeiro Willcox (1) and Ancient Champion (4)

singles.

DIIV - Raining On Your Pillow (Fantasy Records)
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by Alan Rider

The band say of 'Raining On Your Pillow', this is a song "..which brings to mind the shameful past (and present) of American imperialism. Lost in a terrifying landscape, a lone soldier ruminates on the existence of a landscape of his own far removed from conflict. Does it matter if this place is real or not? Is a false sense of hope enough to give our lives meaning in the midst of despair? ".  Blimey!  The song itself, is dreamy and other worldly psychedelia in the way Lush were when they were at their best.  It's enough to give Shoegaze a good name!  There is an album due to 'drop' anytime now called 'Frog In Boiling Water', a title that makes me cringe, but promises to be well worth checking out.

DIAMANDA GALAS - La Llorona (Intravenal Sound Operations)
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by Sofia Ribeiro Willcox

On May 15th, Diamanda Galás shared her rendition of the Mexican folklore song La Llorona from her forthcoming live release, Diamanda Galás in Concert. The album, which features select recordings taken from performances at Thalia Hall in Chicago, and Neptune Theatre in Seattle from 2017, is set for release on June 14 via Intravenal Sound Operations. Sofia Ribeiro-Willcox reviews La Llorona and offers broader perspective on the Music and Folkore nexus, right here→

COMMON - Wise Up ft. Pete Rock (Loma Vista Recordings)
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by Lee Paul

Oh wow! This might or might not be a curtain-raiser for a new LP from well I don't wanna call them elder statesmen. Statesmen will do. Common is such a shoe-dropping on so many lines writer. So great. This is as they say, propulsive. Worth a listen or 100. I hope there is an LP

LEIF VOLLEBEKK - Moondog (Secrete City)
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by Ancient Champion

This is hard to do. Take a voice, a guitar and at the outset little else and hang the listener's attention on just that. Canadian Leif Vollebekk, perhaps akin somewhat to recent acoustic icons (time flies, recent is a within a decade or two), Civil Wars, Ray Lamontagne and Damien Rice draws on a slightly more cerebral text. Sure it sounds as sumptuous as the wide open spaces you imagine your Canadian plaid shirted songwriters to inhabit. Not cosplaying it in the city. Leif has that. And he has the cinematic blowout that is borderline epic but within the borders of beauty too. Maybe no matinee idol. The greying temples say so. But the best Leif since Leif Garrett? I think so.

FRANCES QUINLAN - Another Season (A24 Music)
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by Ancient Champion

I love Frances' band Hop Along so much, redefining as they do what the rock band formula can precipitate. I dunno how many if any of the band members are pitching up on this glitchy piece here. It's from the soundtrack to Jane Schoenbrun's much anticipated refracted-reality horror I Saw The TV Glow. By the second playing, I am as convinced as ever by the concentering dynamics and well, the voice. Quinlan could sing the phone book and it's weight would carry a substantial threat. When it's over I can't resist putting it on once more to see what more is there.

JOHN CALE - Shark-Shark (Domino Records)
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by Ancient Champion

DJ Fuzzyfelt has gotten everyone here pricking up their ears and paying attention to music emanating from Wales. A doyenne then must be John Cale, I should check with Fuzzy before I make these extravagant claims. But on this, it just feels like it is so. Shark-Shark is amazingly brilliant. Superbly strident and relentless. John Cale rocks harder at 82 than I have managed in the past 40 years and I am only 70 or so. I couldn't do this. At least without putting my hip out. But I could get a wig like his and my life would be better. John Cale knows everything.

JAY WIRES - Meaningless (Yes Trigger Music)
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by Alan Rider

Jay Wires has access to an absolute Aladdin's Cave of vintage synth equipment, that is mind boggling in its possibilities.  For many that would lead to an OTT, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, approach, but Jay is way too savvy for that, carefully crafting a superior '80's style electro pop track on the aftermath of a traumatic breakup with a narcissist. It strikes the right balance between a slightly wistful and melancholic set of lyrics, coupled to a soaring and bouncy synth pop tune. 'Meaningless' may be the title of the track, but meaningless it most certainly isn't.

DELERIUM - Falling Back to You (Myon Return to 2000 Mix)/Remember Love (Zanias Justified Remix) (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

Delerium were the first act I covered when I started writing for Outsideleft back in Febuary last year (how long ago that seems now!), with a full page review of their album 'Signs', and US singer-songwriter Mimi Page was a guest vocalist on that album.  Delerium's Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber's day job is Front Line Assembly, which has kept them pretty busy this past year as tour support to Ministry and Gary Numan. That means Delerium has taken a back seat and these two  DJ re-mixes of the songs Mimi contributed to 'Signs' will have to suffice as a stop gap.  Like most extended re-mixes, they are a different take on the original, but don't add a huge amount ,and sound quite retro to me, reminiscent of Ibiza club mixes that merged into one another and all sounded much the same (builds and drops, etc), especially the mix of 'Falling Back To You'.  So its a shrug and a 'meh' from me, I'm afraid, but I am still looking forward to the next album whenever that appears.

BRAINSTORY - XFaded (Big Crown Records)
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by Alan Rider

There was a time when I would have muttered "bloody hippies" under my breath at this, before moving on, but now I realise that a world full of Bloody Hippies would be far, far, preferable to the straight, cropped hair, and gun happy one we currently inhabit.  The cartoon video is like an animated Furry Freak Brothers, done in the style of those that used to be slotted inbetween skits on the Banana Splits Show.  The music is lazy and meandering, stoned out of its head, probably!  I like it.

GEORGIA RUTH - Chemistry ft. Euros Childs (Bubblewrap Collective)
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by Hamilton High

Chemistry is the final focus track to land before the late June release of the Georgia's third LP 'Cool Head' (Bubblewrap Collective Records). Mellow and mellifluous, with the musical perpensions of Laura Cantrell at her most reflective in sentiment at least. Where is Georgia Ruth coming from? As Miranda July would have us believe, (All Fours) the journey back home is shorter than the outbound one. 

JD PINKUS - If I Could Read My Mind (Shimmy Disc)
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by LamontPaul

JD Pinkus says If I Could Read My Mind is "about an endless journey to that mystical place called home." Dude and his pal on the recording, his banjo equal, Mike Savino, trust us enough to show us what they got back behind the still shed and indulge us in some country fine moonshine. If I Could Read My Mind might have been aimed at a Butthole Surfers album that is as yet not happening. Maybe never will. Famed photographer and old school cinematographer, Hunter Barnes shot the video on Super 8. The whole wild original aesthetic puts me in mind of an afternoon I once spent with NC chainsaw critter cutting artist, Clyde Jones. Off the grid. Electric.

JOE ELY - Odds of the Blues ft. Bruce Springsteen (Youtube)
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by LamontPaul

Odds of the Blues, an old timey duet then with Bruce, is from Joe's forthcoming late summer LP Driven To Drive. Am drawn to driving action. You know that. Here's a wide open road trip. I have a couple of Joe Ely records from way back when Joe Strummer alerted us to Ely's coolness. Told us it was okay to like him, and more, maybe we better do that. Live Shots, I think, was a great LP from around 1980, She Never Spoke Spanish To Me and Boxcars are on there, just fantastic songs. Guitarist Butch Hancock is on there too. Joe's put a lot of miles and a lot of county fairs between then and Driven to Drive. Roadtested.

THE HARLEM GOSPEL TRAVELERS - We Don't Love Enough (Colemine)
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by Lee Paul

On paper a dream. It's been a while since dreams have worked out for me.

RAPSODY - 3:AM ft. Erykah Badhu (We Each Other)
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by Lee Paul

Maybe you'll grow with someone or someones, and maybe you'll write that sometime or sometimes. This is pretty emotionally naked and daringly beautiful for it. 

 

long plays.

MALICE MACHINE - Act of Self Destruction (Bandcamp)
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by Alan Rider

Malice Machine were so unimpressed by my previous review of their cover of 'Living On Video' that they felt compelled to track me down via Facebook and send a grumpy message.  It was far from being at the "I will snap your neck like a twig" level that Ian Winwood talks of in my interview with him last week, but hats off to them for being passionate enough about what they do to take the time and effort to do that, and it is a mark of pride to any reviewer to elicit any reaction, so we are both happy.  They claimed in their message I hadn't listened to their album.  I had, and I stand by my view that it is a poor copy of Front Line Assembly/Front 242/Skinny Puppy.  That sound is over 30 years old now, so this is almost in tribute band territory.  They make a good enough fist of it, but nothing more. I expect I will get another message from them now, but they might want to think first about how PR works.  Their PR agency sends it out, unsolicited, to us for review.  We listen, then we give our views on it, positive or otherwise.  If you don't want that, don't send it to us. Simple really.

so, have you got anything else.

SWAMPMEAT FAMILY BAND - Baby Bird (Bandcamp)
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by Ancient Champion

Dan Finnegan from Swampmeat Family Band is dabbling with new material on his acoustic and this Babybird has escaped onto the internet. It's a little country psychedelia. A little, great wide open like an even more laconic Howe Gelb or Jackson James Toth. Dan will be bringing the Swampmeat Family Duo—a subsection of the Family Band—featuring Dan with Stew Johnson on pedal steel, to the next Outsideleft Night Out at Corks on Friday June 7th→. Don't miss. 

WOODEN WAND - No Bed For Beatle (Youtube)
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by LamontPaul

Hearing Wooden Wand here, I wonder where I had been all the time I was waiting to find them. A singular devotion to the ride cymbal here is to die for.

FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY - Mindphaser (Third Mind)
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by Alan Rider

Just to remind you of how modern industrial music started, and also how little some of it has evolved, this is the 1992 benchmark against which all that followed is measured. 

Essential Information
Main image, John Cale Youtube screengrab
The previous Week in Music 'Outsideleft Week in Music Gets All Mid-Century Modern' is here→

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