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Outsideleft Week in Music gets Extinct We're hearing from... Meat Beat Manifesto/Merzbow, David Byrne and Devo, Dream Phases, Young Jesus, Adrianne Lenker, March Violets, Staples Singers Jr., Black Sites, Throbbing Gristle, Schkeuditzer Kreuz, Bobby Oroza, Deep Purple, 404 Error, Dave Guy, Luke Elliott, Kau, The Dear Boys, Strotter Inst. & Barbara Lynn

Outsideleft Week in Music gets Extinct

We're hearing from... Meat Beat Manifesto/Merzbow, David Byrne and Devo, Dream Phases, Young Jesus, Adrianne Lenker, March Violets, Staples Singers Jr., Black Sites, Throbbing Gristle, Schkeuditzer Kreuz, Bobby Oroza, Deep Purple, 404 Error, Dave Guy, Luke Elliott, Kau, The Dear Boys, Strotter Inst. & Barbara Lynn

by OL House Writer,
first published: June, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

A collaboration between Industrial rhythm pioneers Meat Beat Manifesto and Japanese noise innovator, Merzbow, 'Extinct' is a meeting of minds that has produced something that is really quite hypnotic once you immerse yourself in it.

intro.

Welcome to the Week in Music. Your reviewers this week are Lee Paul (2), David O'Byrne (1), LamontPaul (1), Ancient Champion (2), John Robinson (3), Toon Traveller (2) and Alan Rider (8). Thanks to all of those guys, for listening to the uncompromising records and many of the others that rattled along this week.

singles.

ADRIANNE LENKER - evol (4AD)
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by Ancient Champion

Adrianne Lenker's a long time favourite and maybe there's little left to say about her here? That's weird isn't it. I am just having a well why don't you listen to it instead moment. This is a rare I usually have so much to say. I am usually so qualified to J U D G E. Oh well. 

DREAM PHASES - Living in a Cave (Coconut Spaceship)
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by John Robinson

Dreamy shoegaze pop with psychedelic leanings from - shock! - a West Coast band influenced by The Byrds and CSNY. Kind of leaning into the pandemic still as a theme, get out and experience the fireworks of life this is telling us, you like living in your cave too much. Perhaps too dreamy to grab me, but cool fuzz guitar and I dig the bell like keyboard at the back of the chorus, like, man. Hopefully their album Phantom Idol, out in July, will up the ante.

THE DEAR BOYS - (They Say) Don't Waste Your Vote (Streaming and download platforms)
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by Alan Rider

There will of course be a plethora of UK election related singles coming out in the run up to D Day on 4 July, but this one has a real catchy retro charm about it, The Dear Boys being the brainchild of one time editor of Jamming! fanzine/magazine, founding member of early 80s punky/mod band Apocalypse, and more recently rock author/biographer, writer, and podcaster, Tony Fletcher, although the song was written by bandmate Tony Page (they say before the election was called). You can't argue with the sentiment here.  This should become the theme tune of blanket election coverage, if anyone in the BBC had a shred of musical knowse, but instead, I suggest you hum this loudly on the bus to encourage others to exercise their democratic right.

MARCH VIOLETS - Hammer The Last Nail (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

Originally formed in Leeds in 1981, before splitting six years later, then reforming (as all bands of that era inevitably do) as a three piece in 2010 with a couple of the original members present, The March Violets exist in a crowded marked place of 1980's retro/nostalgia, so can they cut it still?  On the evidence of this, they certainly can, and are still capable of turning out new material that sounds fresh, albeit with a massive nod to their past. This one is taken off their latest album, the third since they reformed.  Its a cracking track for a single, very hummable and with a great riff.  The video could have been better though, with singer Rosie Garland miming badly and opening her mouth far too wide, but then no one said musicians had to be any good at acting, and they usually aren't, so lets not worry ourselves about that, eh?

LUKE ELLIOTT - Even the Moon is Leaving (AKP Recordings)
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by John Robinson

Mesmeric ambient modular synth sounds, a circling and dreamlike soundscape which acts as a sweetener for Luke's full album Every Somewhere which is planned for release on July 12th. His music takes inspiration from nature, and from the evocative layered work of Pauline Strom, even as the title here might bring to mind The Caretaker. Exactly my sort of catnip!

BOBBY OROZA - Goddess (Big Crown Records)
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by Lee Paul

Bobby Oroza's new single is a drum and bass driven, but not drum 'n' bass driven, double-a sided 7" if the truth be told, "Queen Of The Barrio" b/w "Goddess". on Bandcamp now. The absolute king of Scandi-retro-soul. If that's in your bag. It's late night material for sure. I like it without even looking at the video. But it is fair to say when I do look at the video, less Goddess, more an excellent interpretative dancer who looks like they are being uncomfortably stalked by the camera dude. I wish I had a little supplety left like that. What do you see?

DEEP PURPLE - Pictures of You (Deep Purple)
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by Alan Rider

To say Deep Purple are an institution is obvious.  To say they should be in an institution is too.  This is everything that is stale, smug, and arrogant about rock music, especially the smirking Ian Gillan, who looks like someone who if he shook your hand, you'd be checking how many fingers you had left after.   I'm sure you will feel all this bile is mis-directed at a 'much loved national treasure' ,and that this record may well be boring as hell, right down to the title, but it's not that bad really, is it?  Maybe not, but  I say its high time they hung their creatively dry bones up and stopped haunting us.

DAVE GUY - 7th Heaven (Big Crown Records)
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by Lee Paul

Yep. This is from Dave Guy's first solo record, 'Ruby'. Awash with horn understatement. Great. Reminds me of Nico Segal's Donnie Trumpet LP's instrumental parts. Love to Dave Guy for doing this.  

STAPLES SINGERS JR. - I've got a Feeling (Luaka Bop)
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by Toon Traveller

Out next week. I Love the gospel-soul of the 60s Staple Singers, if you haven't heard the guitar bridge in 'If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)', your education is missing a trick. It's nearly 60 years since those days and lot has changed and much hasn't. Civil Rights central then Black Lives Matter to the fore now. Here's hope in cloudy times of hate and misery. A lazy, relaxed groove, a voice, easy on the ear, slack drums, and a crisp guitar.

SCHKEUDITZER KREUZ - Ratchet (Bad Habit records)
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by Alan Rider

Australian Schkeuditzer Kreuz  is a purveyor of pugilistic, dark electronic industrial, or 'Synth Crust' as he puts it.  Its heady stuff as you can hear, and has gone down well internationally. It always amazes me that folk still have such deep pockets that they can pack out gig after gig and not run out of money for food, but thanks to that he has been able to tour widely and is just about to set off for Japan on yet another tour.  What is unusual here, though, is that Schkeuditzer Kreuz has the backing of the NSW Government to do that!  Such non judgemental support for the arts is unheard of in the UK, and is increasingly rare across Europe, as philistine right wing governments gain momentum, burning all that is good in their path. So hats off to both Schkeuditzer Kreuz and the NSW Government I say!

DAVID BYRNE AND DEVO - Empire (Bandcamp)
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by David O'Byrne

David O'Byrne on the David Byrne and Devo track Empire from the Noise For Now 2 LP to benefit abortion rights in the USA... read the review of the LP here→

Pre order Noise For Now 2, from Bandcamp here→

KAU - Kaugummi (Sdban Ultra)
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by Toon Traveller

Footsteps, 70s Jazz keys, dexterous swirls of Chick Corea, and all  the 70s Jazz crossover crews. Stabs, jabs, slices, sound mixed, matched, unmatched, but never losing melody, theme, or identity. Just in the right place, timing changes to keep the whole thing moving. Sadly the delicious drums and great electric piano can't cover up some essentially duff ideas. There are passages where the synthesisers, and a desire to be 'like wacky man' and a bit 'out there' leave a sense of a band looking for ideas to fill empty space. There's a vocal passage that could be straight out of Pink Floyd - Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast, why anyone want's to revisit utterly pretentious trash is beyond me, ruins  good ideas, Hope this lot develop, there's real promise here. 

404 ERROR - Ethal (Self released)
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by Alan Rider

A jolly little synth pop song from Newcastle about someone falling in love with an AI Chatbot, before implanting the personality into a sex robot. AI is all anyone talks about now.  There is nothing more to be said.  We are doomed.  Get used to it.  This one comes with an AI generated video that amply illustrates how creepy AI looks when it attempts to be sexy, and how it still can't work out how many fingers we have. You'd think it would know by now.

THROBBING GRISTLE - The Man From Nowhere (Mute)
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by Alan Rider

There is a temptation by some to dismiss Throbbing Gristle as noise merchants, unlistenable, industrial grinders, etc.  Yes, they had those aspects, especially in some of their early live appearances, but they were also capable of moments of great beauty and purity as evidenced on 'The Man From Nowhere', taken from an upcoming reissue series. Creating a soundscape underpinned by barely audible cut up vocals and a combination of lightly skipping beats and ominous tones, this pulsing 7 minute track is sublime.

BLACK SITES - World on Fire (Self Released)
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by John Robinson

I'm not in the mood, I think, for this sort of riff heavy Zepp-alike rhythm section and blasted vocals of war and vengeance, "All hail the chosen One, the wrath undone, the purifier" sounds like parody but that's what we get. The first verse slides into the chorus with "we do just what we're told, the chilling cold of a world on fire" done less to get bonus GCSE marks for using an oxymoron and more because they needed something to rhyme with "told" and "cold" was the first thing that came to mind. I'm being unfair, I think. It's pretty good really, but hardly going to set the... well, you know.

long plays.

YOUNG JESUS - The Fool (Saddle Creek)
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by Ancient Champion

Ancient Champion gets all swoony about the permanent impermanence of everything, as they do, and listens to Young Jesus' The Fool too. Right here→

MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO/MERZBOW - Extinct (Cold Spring)
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by Alan Rider

A collaboration between Industrial rhythm pioneers Meat Beat Manifesto (Jack Dangers) and Japanese noise innovator, Merzbow (Masami Akita), 'Extinct 'is a meeting of minds that has produced something that is really quite hypnotic once you immerse yourself in it.  There is so much that is predictable and safe in music.  Verse, chorus, middle 8, drops, loops, breakbeats.  It's near impossible to innovate with the weight of musical history, including all that is experimental and off-the wall, pressing down on you. This comes close though, with two tracks, each spanning a side of an LP (if you were playing the vinyl) creating a dense mantra of sound that eschews the tired structures we are all too used to, in favour of a swarm of sound that envelops you and the whole room when played at volume. Yes, my neighbours hate me!  A sonic ambuscade, this is not for everyone, but does it very nicely for me.

so, have you got anything else.

STROTTER INST. - Mizellen (Hallow Ground)
by Alan Rider

Strotter Inst (aka Christoph Hess) hail from Switzerland and have been creating and issuing truly unusual sounds since 1999, using modified and manipulated turntables. Rubber bands are fixed to the rotating turntable and plucked by the stylus as it passes, records have strips of cardboard or tape attached in patterns to create textural rhythms, electric pulses are fed through the needle to create looping feedback, the stylus itself is replaced with violin strings, or sewing needles welded in place. These sounds are then fed through chains of effects pedals to create densely layered sound structures, melded with looping, rumbling rhythms and processed vocals. It is quite something to see and hear. Its a brave and confrontational approach, and something he takes into performance through installations in art galleries and avant garde festivals. The physical manipulation of electronic sound in this way may very well be the last musical frontier we have yet to fully cross, having started that ball rolling with Musique Concrete and in places like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

BARBARA LYNN - You'll Lose A Good Thing (Youtube)
by LamontPaul

The storied career of Barbara Lynn is of course a good thing. I love it that the first band she put together, Barbara Lynn and Her Idols were all female musicians. Now that is mid-century modern. You'll Lose a Good Thing was a massive hit for Jamie Records, I think. But just watching her lefty Telecaster ways is a lot of fun.

essential info.

Main image Meat Beat Manifesto/Merzbow screengrab from YouTube
The previous Week in Music 'Outsideleft Week in Music: Vous Aime' is here→

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