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Outsideleft Week in Music Vous Aime We're hearing from... Dominique Fils-Amie, Clan of Xymox, John Cale, Aluna, Kirin J Callinan, Mercury Rev, Ghost Town Steppas, Ela Minus, Charli XCX, Refuse 73, Dead Karma, Will Laut, Alex Foster, Quivers, Sour Widows, Crown-Lites, Luke Elliott, Standard Music Library, Scott Guild, Petrol Bastard, Marko Nyberg, Culture and Buzzcocks

Outsideleft Week in Music Vous Aime

We're hearing from... Dominique Fils-Amie, Clan of Xymox, John Cale, Aluna, Kirin J Callinan, Mercury Rev, Ghost Town Steppas, Ela Minus, Charli XCX, Refuse 73, Dead Karma, Will Laut, Alex Foster, Quivers, Sour Widows, Crown-Lites, Luke Elliott, Standard Music Library, Scott Guild, Petrol Bastard, Marko Nyberg, Culture and Buzzcocks

by OL House Writer,
first published: June, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

"Dull, dismal, I am wondering whether verbose misdirection at the beginning of a record review works for the reader?" Toon Traveller

intro.

Sometimes it's easy to have a momentary wobble about this week in music malarky. It happens from time to time. Wondering about the lack of diversity in the music here and trying to stretch that. The writers here and how to get more opinions... Of course, thinking what Edith Sitwell would say. The whole world out there may be attempting to tell us that UK politicians suddenly aren't trivial. That they are at a serious business and maybe so, but after a couple of weeks of tuning in who is still actually sure? Maintaining focus on the truth that there is no shame in liking pop music as an adult, listening to it, writing about it or making it, this is not a trivial business. It's not a business at all of course. The listeners and writers this week are Lee Paul (3), Toon Traveller (9), Ancient Champion (7), David O'Byrne (2), Alan Rider (2), John Robinson (1),

singles.

DOMINIQUE FILS-AMIE - Moi je t'aime (Youtube)
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by Toon Traveller

Dull, dismal, I am wondering whether verbose misdirection at the beginning of a record review works for the reader? I am beginning with weather talk because for us Brits, soon that's all that will be left to be spoken of politely. Meanwhile Dominique Fils-Amie, not from across the channel, but from across the Atlantic, puts me in mind of coffee sips and croissants. Sophisticated urbane chatter, possibly about more than the weather, cafe sounds. Dominique's voice, feather light, delicate, warm and tender. A lovers waltz of whispered promises, wine glass chink, tongues touching. Moi je t'aime kisses the air, ears and listeners hearts. While Rishi, Starmer, and Farage babble about who was lying the most about lying - as engaging as weathermen, Dominique is channeling past icons Piaf, infusing her art with her signature vocal layers and countermelodies. It is a hypnotically lush result. A French escape right now into this song, where I don't understand the words, but on repeat, repeat, repeat, weaves the most wonderful magic. 

CROWN-LITES - Totality (Ghost Funk Orchestra in Dub) (Colemine Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Taken From the Ghost Funk Orchestra album, 'A Trip to the Moon' which came out in February on Colemine Records. An album inspired by Seth Applebaum,  commander in chief who composes, produces and arranges the music from his New York Subterranean lab fascination by space. In this recording Seth uses sound bites from the actual audio transmissions between the crew of Apollo11 and the capsule communicator at the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas. That's the story. You have to add in a dose your own pop culture fascination and then it works otherwise why does it even matter?

DEAD KARMA - Space Camaro (YouTube)
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by Lee Paul

Would you mind if I mentioned tinnitus? The potentiality of. If you listen to Space Camaro too often. Revelling in the freedom and exhilaration of you, a muscle car and some friends on a wide open road, Space Camero is so wild it kind of feels like it might be inspired by Musk putting that Tesla in space. Before we knew more about him and that just seemed like a rich dude's dumb stunt. Dead Karma weld together punk rock and metalcore and it's fun. If they made this journey in just two minutes you could hear it all on the car stereo in a couple of laps of the Talladega Superspeedway. I am older now and I can't imagine not wearing ear protectors to their show. And still I hope end expect rock bands to be a danger to my health. Raw Power for the radio.

REFUSE 73 - Vast Wildlife Poison (Lex Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Every now and again, all too rarely these days, the OL review system throws me a genuine delight. Vast Wildlife Poison is from the forthcoming 'New Strategies for Modern Crime Vol. 2' (out 6/28 on Lex Records) Glitchy beats, discordant sounds, broken patterns. It works. Refuse 73, full of verve, hopped up on ideas and virtuosity. A long flight Eastwards from Toon Traveller land's ears. Huge slabs of 80's industrial electro, echoes of long gone mass production. Rust Belt blues, post industrial hues. Heavy steps, in desolate places, poverty pinched faces. Silicon Valley's downside is reality. There's all too little hope, a litany of broken dreams, forlorn hopes, empty space, dive past places. An inconvenient truth, reflecting on the cost of progress in a Tict oked out,  Amazoned, flooded  A.I, replicated,  sterilised  sanitised  world. Salute the next tech billionaire, their victims have a requiem.  

MERCURY REV - Patterns (Bella Union)
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by Toon Traveller

After a day of weed war in the garden, it's a delight to review something inventive. This is probably that song from this week's reviews. Opens with splashes of musical delight, it could be a soundtrack, it could be backing of a 2020s beat poet. There's no singing, just a monologue, delivered in a lilting voice. Intriguing, entrancing, enchanting, this is magic in sounds and words. It's complex memories referencing Jackson Pollock; there's the romance of the stars. Broken hearts, words as images — if Van Morrison recorded with ambient sounds, this what one of his 'talking' reminisces could sound like. It's either audacious and brilliant or unmitigated tosh. You decide for you.

CHARLI XCX - 360 (Atlantic Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Feels like an age since we have a Charli XCX record reviewed here. Charli is an outsider in the mainstream for sure. 360 is from the new LP, Brat, and if you now your various over time internet 'it' girls you'll find the video pretty hilarious backdrop to a great piece of electropop. If you for any reason don't know your internet 'it' girls, sit back and enjoy this with your eyes closed. It's still a great record.

SOUR WIDOWS - Big Dogs (Exploding in Sound)
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by Toon Traveller

The Sour Widows LP 'Revival of a Friend' will be available from Exploding in Sound Records on June 28th. Big Dogs is the final teaser single from it. I don't know what to call these things, "single" sounds about as useful as he or she and not they right now. Bands will be coming up to me and saying "Don't gender my child." Big Dogs begins with promising steady drum slaps, but... ponderously picked guitar, wimpy vocals, plod, plodge, plink, plunk, no need to think. It's a slow. slow, no quick-quick slow build to a 70s prog rock chorus. A volume leap, a screaming guitar, very 'eavy 'enry, very 'umble, very vexing, exceedingly empty, monstrously meaningless. But that's just a feeling. 

SCOTT GUILD - Until They're Home (North Street Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Until They're Home is part of the companion LP to Scott's novel, 'Plastic'. He is gifted with a luscious voice, just the acceptable side of a self-pitying Nashville whine. It glows over the haunting dark keyboard lines, understated strummed guitar, sombre slow stepping bass. Stark bleak stripped bare hearts, souls and winter brittle voices, you know this is a dark, tortured heart. Americana, country, small town, small lives, it's a raw and visceral reveal. Thing is, it's a fantasy, a paean to loneliness, to a VR world, where there's only emptiness and a peak into the future's dark side. It could easily be so true. Think dark psyco country, with Snakefarm's songs of Opioid lives, truths told that Nashville, Austin, and LA's glitzy, music world, would prefer remain buried in the small town, 'Nowheresville' dust. 

STANDARD MUSIC LIBRARY - Broad Highway (Bucks Sound)
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by Ancient Champion

Perfectly evoking a time and a place. It's a painful love all the same.

ELA MINUS - Combat (Domino Records)
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by Lee Paul

Colombian artist, producer and singer Ela Minus, switches on the synthesizer, quite possibly one they themselves had built, and after days if dillying around with patch cables, out comes the epic, seismic sound, eschewing what I'd previously known to be humanscale. It takes a voice to reel it all back to a place I can understand. “Los pájaros nacidos en jaula/no le tenemos miedo a nada,” Minus sings at the start, referencing a?popular proverb?about how birds born in a cage grow to consider flying a sickness. And like sickness, like poison, gently damaging and inexorably overwhelming one's internal organs, this begins to feel so good.   

ALEX FOSTER - A Vessel Ashtray (feat Momoka Tobari) (Hopeful Tragedy Records)
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by Toon Traveller

From the massive crossover hit LP Kimiyo, comes this exceptional single featuring Japanese popstar, Momoka Tobari. There's a signature layered, pensive opening, stark sounds of industrial nightmare. Higher in the atmosphere are distant voices, just out of sight, somewhere with their subliminally whispered tones. This is music full of unknown unknowns, in a swirling floating melodrama of ideas. A post impressionist soundscape that would show well in any modern gallery, minimalist in definition, shaded in nuance, it's a magical conception. It's elegiac of course, becoming a murky sepulchuric lament. When is the dark is comforting? When it is here. Mesmerising.

WILL LAUT - Lost and Found (Wavetrap records)
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by Toon Traveller

Wow! Electro-pop with soul and invention, backwards sounds, almost baritone, disjointed, fractured vocals. If Scott Walker was born late 60s this is what he could be doing today. It's underpiined by stark hard as nails industrial patterns, betraying roots far deeper than the obvious Test Department, Throbbing Gristle, and Art of Noise. Sure a krautrock vibe stomps through the piece. This is more, it develops, it steps tentatively into love, hope, and celebration. From the self-titled EP available now, what makes the song is it's delightful marriage of hard sounds, proper singing, mystery, and mastery of the electro wasteland of despair 

QUIVERS - Oyster Cuts (Merge)
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by Toon Traveller

Here's what I hear when I hear this, bass riff straight from 'Best Friend's Girl' The Cars' super duper stateside / worldwide smash hit. Didn't rate that song then, don't much care for this. 

KIRIN J CALLINAN - Can't Fuck The Fucker (feat. Ariel Pink) (Worse Records)
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by Lee Paul

Is this a record wholly concerning itself with misjudgement? I don't know. It does win the Outsideleft Week in Music award for the most swear words in a title this week. Kirin J Callinan just can't seem to fuck the fucker. Who doesn't know how that feels.

ALUNA - Heatstroke (featuring Paul Woodford) (Because Music/Mad Descent)
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by Ancient Champion

"Dance, dance, dance! Dance to the radio." Remember Ian Curtis going on about that as if it was the only thing? Am kind of thinking about dance music because of Dave Haslam's 'Strawberry and the Big Apple: Grace Jones in Stockport" art book. It's beautiful and I hope you already own it. It concerns in part Grace Jones meeting ACR in Stockport to make disco music. Nothing is ever unlikely. Aluna met up with Paul Woodford and this is so far as I know, because I can't dance at this speed no more, archetypally grreat disco music. There are just certain songs that have the ability to transport you to a place, immerse you in it and Heatstroke is does that. Music that makes you wish you'd stayed fitter after all. Who would you be if you weren't taken by Aluan and Paul into the night, into a club where dancing was even more important in that moment than finding someone to fuck you later. I mean, that's important too. But just losing yourself in dance. Just like Ian Curtis was talking about people doing all that time ago. 

long plays.

JOHN CALE - POPtical Illusion (Domino Records)
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by David O'Byrne

John Cale is a living legend which is a hard thing to be. He's got itches he wants to scratch and he has to do it in public. David O'Byrne watches what he's doing→

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Everyone's Getting Involved: A tribute to Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense (A24 Music)
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by Ancient Champion

The deifying the pop past is a thing that I am finding pretty exhausting and listening here to an hour+ of artists so often sounding like the machines that a band like Talking Heads would have probably torched is an interesting proposition in itself. They would have torched the machines and then played them not the other way around. Machines torching their legacy. Let's see. Well I quite love Psycho Killer, it's kind of loose I always think, from a Bret Easton Ellis psycho killer era, with French passages making killing sound classy. Here? Well as much as I want to like Miley's version, I don't end up doing that until after some time spent listening to the National's version of 'Heaven'. Oh no that singer dude shouldn't. Fuck me, let me get Edith Sitwell to qualify this for you, to abrogate on my behalf, "There is no truth, only points of view." Edith said that and you would do well to remember it. Blondshell... Sounds like think they've been asked to rerecord Bowie's Heroes. Wrong memo? The Linda Linda's are so fizzy and exciting but not for 4:12 too much. They can't keep it up that long. It's not their fault. It's very machine led. And then about another 30 minutes elapses before Toro y Moi and Birjean lets loose with 'Genius of Love', bright sparks those two. And I think I am going to like the LP closer, 'Crosseyed and Painless' by Chicago Batman with Money Mark. I do. Some good notes on there from Keyboard Money Mark. You'll hear them! It's worth taking a listen just for those. How do I write that? How do I describe that. I'm not that good. Listen out for what sounds like, in between the excellent cowbell, an electronic inverse cuckoo. Cuc-koo. It's good.

GHOST TOWN STEPPAS - !From Da Frontlines! (Nepotism)
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by David O'Byrne

Remember Two Tone, The Specials, Madness, Ska, late 70s Reggae? Ghost Town Steppas do and reference all of the above on this re-mastered reissue of their first album. The musicianship and production are both firmly on point and a good half the tracks presented do justice to their influences with "Steppas Tonight" and "Timewarp" being standouts. The unashamedly poppy "Kiss Me Kiss Me" is also worthy of a replay. But ska/reggae fans may find the remaining numbers both disappointingly bland and blighted by incongruous US RAWWWK vocalising.

CLAN OF XYMOX - Exodus (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

Returning with their 18th studio album, three years after  ‘Limbo’, their account of the pandemic and its consequences, 'Exodus' is Clan of Xymox's "black bouquet of mournful requiems for a sick new world", and, as that description implies, is pretty dark stuff, but not without hope.  The soaring opener 'Save Our Souls' may be a reference the war in Ukraine, but could equally apply to other wars, both current and upcoming. The follower 'Fear of the War' is just that, a potent of what may be to come. I doubt Clan of Xymox mainstay Ronny Moorings sleeps well at night and 'mournful and pessimistic' is the lyrical tone set throughout 'Exodus'.  Goth music tends to that anyway, I know, but by the time the closing track, the surprisingly bouncy 'Once Upon A Time', with its Cure-like guitar line, fires up, I am feeling distinctly depressed.  Having said that, its actually quite an upbeat album, musically at least, the title track being a standout with its driving sequence and almost sing-along chorus. It certainly succeeds in skilfully creating a set of black requiems in no uncertain terms. Clan of Xymox have been around for four decades, have a distinctive sound that simply oozes Goth, and with every step get a little more negative about the world we live in.   In their defence, and on the evidence of our own eyes every day, who can blame them?

so, have you got anything else.

MARKO NYBERG - MASS (N/A)
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by John Robinson

I reviewed Marko Nyberg's brilliant album Solveig a while back and you can seek that out, but here is a short film made to accompany it, filmed on Suomenlinna fortress island near Helsinki, featuring Sofia Ruija, a graduate of the Finnish National Opera & Ballet, and Nyberg himself, filmed as a collision between the natural and the electric, past and present, with music from Solveig, like the album itself, hauntingly desolate but with passages of enervating electronica: Nyberg bridges electronic dance with modern classicism to soundtrack his performance as some kind of paganism, a white MASS.

CULTURE - Two Sevens Clash (youtube)
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by Ancient Champion

One of everyone's favorite songs of all times? Always great to hear this. So great it makes me want to stay alive to hear it.

BUZZCOCKS - What Do I Get (U/A)
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by Ancient Champion

The Buzzcocks What Do I Get. I wonder whether there has been a band I loved more. Great performance from Steve Diggle here, very early day Buck Meek. This week we were thrilled to hear of Steve Diggle's memoir Autonomy: Portrait of a Buzzcock published by Omnibus in late August. Read about it here→

PETROL BASTARD - Beefy Grandad (Bandcamp)
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by Alan Rider

Leeds highly entertaining alt rap duo Petrol Bastard (not to be confused with That Petrol Emotion - not the same thing at all) have just re-released their seminal track from 2023, 'Fuck The Tories'. I think that is a sentiment that we can all identify with.  Still, we are almost there.  Just a few more weeks to go.  Strange, though, that there have been so many songs by different groups with that same title over the years.  What it is to have been in the popular consciousness so consistently, for so long, eh?  'Beefy Grandad' is an amusing track too.

Essential Info

Main image Dominique Fils-Amie by Sabiha Merabet

The previous Week in Music 'Outsideleft Week in Music: Doping on Dopamine' is here→

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