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Outsideleft Week In Music We're hearing from Hannah Peel, Tindersticks, Kid Congo Powers, DijahSB, Crowded House, Bobby Oriza, Wild Pink, Iceage, Wedding Present, Kokoko! and more...

Outsideleft Week In Music

We're hearing from Hannah Peel, Tindersticks, Kid Congo Powers, DijahSB, Crowded House, Bobby Oriza, Wild Pink, Iceage, Wedding Present, Kokoko! and more...

by Alarcon, Founder / Managing Editor
first published: February, 2021

approximate reading time: minutes

As a taster for an album to coincide with the release of her debut album in 2010, Hannah Peel admitted to being bemused that the audience had travelled out to see her. A decade later and Peel is a celebrated musician, composer, award winning score-wr

It’s Friday, and like clockwork, here’s another edition of the OUTSIDELEFT Week in Music: the weekly reader where you’ll find OL’s sharpest scribes’ reviews of new hits by some artists you may have even heard of! --Alarcon


(Sonde Music Ltd)
At the end of a show at Birmingham’s Glee Club to coincide with the release of her debut album in 2010, Hannah Peel admitted to being bemused that the audience had travelled out to see her. A decade later and Peel is a celebrated musician, composer, award winning score-writer, producer, project collaborator and broadcaster.  The path from ‘The Broken Wave’ to her forthcoming album ‘Fir Wave’ is one of invention and great ideas being realised. As a taster for an album that explores science, nature, and how the role of music works within that, Ecovocative is an intriguing introduction.  Fizzing synths, bells and electronic beats that sound like they were recorded underwater combine to create a picture of an ever changing environment.  It is music to immerse yourself in, to be cerebral and to surrender to.  --Jason Lewis

Leela James makes reliably sick and slick contemporary soul. The spoken word intro, the Alicia Keys at her peak moments vibe, the hair, the voice, the hooks all over the place. I could listen all day, but “Complicated” is really meant for listening all night. Complicated... Sounds like a lifestyle choice for when you are as beautiful as the Molly Carter’s of the world, and it’s a good choice. --Hamilton High

Silver Linings
(Streaming Platforms)
“Silver Linings” sort drifts in a meandering California west coast style, inoffensive, singsa-longa style, happy and hope summer's on the way, beaches open, festivals and country fairs, open air gigs, kisses, beers, burgers, and salads in the west coast sun. Eddie and the Getaway exude upbeat hope and optimism, hopes of changes, and the trying to escape a small town, taking love with… Can see this being a great local radio hit west coast and midwest. There’s the All-American Springsteen icons present… Radios, open road, windows open, great images and hopes for the future. A first listen it didn't move me, but that was in the grey snow and wind. Today on a sunny Toonside, Silver Linings sounds better, more in touch with the coming longer days, summer sips, gym slips, stained vests, and sockless sneakers. - One to save for summer days maybe even as far north as Echo Beach. --Toon Traveler

Aqua Sphere
The prolific minimalist Intjay returns with the beautifully light looping and lolling wholly synthetic Aqua Sphere. His second single of this young year. All we can find to show you is an intro Intjay's lovely low-fi beatmaking --Lee Paul

By Myself
Canadian rapper DijaSB delivers the second track from the forthcoming LP, Head Above The Waters, “By Myself” is lyrically dexterous and musically delightfully solidly minimal and lumpily funky. This is a quite brilliant introduction. Good one for driving at night though the city. Looking forward to the full length. --Ancient Champion

Chance of a Lifetime
(WMD Recordings)
Wings of Desire -- they’re a bit U2-ish... That sorta anthemic rock, but uplifting and great. Superb rat-a-tat-tat-a guitar. A piano that really drives the song, “Chance Of A Lifetime.” We've all felt that in our lives, and this sings to past memories and hopes, a song for the times -- perhaps, love the London, streets and  settings. Would I see them live? Hmm there's enough there, with or without a gig buddy. Love the cross-speaker phasing at the end, a delightful retro touch. Is there a hint of M People? Not bad thing in the soaring vocals, good for a wet afternoon, huddled and warmed, yeup thumbs up from me. -- Toon Traveler

Black Tears (Dub)
The Trojan records goddess, Marcia Griffiths, coupled with producer Adrian Donsome Hanson who seems intent on tearing out the very speaker fabric, makes for a greatly entertaining and involving six minutes.  --Ancient Champion

So Good
(Go Farquin!)
Simple song, not too much going on and that’s a good thing. The melody reminds me much of White Town’s rather excellent garage-synth hit, Your Woman and that was global so that could be a good thing...  --Toon Traveler

I Got Love
(Big Crown)
I sometimes wonder what happened to Bobby Oroza. Almost every time I put his records on. He is the greatest. How does some Finnish kid from the frozen north end up making the hottest, most authentic, valve made sounds of soul? I’m not seeing his songs show up on a Scandi murder mystery… A bit more SoCal Santa Ana sounding if anything. Dear Bobby, how can I make my drum machine play like that? I Got Love is dreamy, layered, all those lovely sharp stops… starts… I got love and that’s all that I need. Indeed.  --Ancient Champion

Pacific City
(Royal Mountain Records)
So far, Brooklyn’s Wild Pink have released three songs from their forthcoming A Billion Little Lights on Royal Mountain Records, and the fourth follows the general theme of observation from a distance that has developed. In "The Shining but Tropical" the observation was from above, where "all the microscopic life, like a billion little lights, become a single living thing", detailed in John Ross' sympathetic and carefully chosen lyrics and delivered in his quiet, breathy fashion. In the later songs, and in this new release "Pacific City", we observe the past from the regretful present as the singer parlays a truce with his former self. To steel guitar, a shimmering pulse, and saxophone directly from an imagined 80s soundtrack, he regrets the death of the robbers in "Heat", and acknowledges that all you need is "a little room". The sound is classic Americana, the kind of music that is described as widescreen, mid-American indie. The producer is David Greenbaum, who has also worked with Beck and Cage the Elephant. The song ripples, with no clear verse/chorus distinctions, appropriately for the contemplative subject matter. As a further taster for the album, a mixture of pastoral rock and Whitman style lyrical observations, it bodes well, with subtle deviations from their standard sound and material throughout, and more confidence displayed in Ross’ voice. --John Robinson

I wasn’t expecting this sound from Iceage’s latest single, “Vendetta” from their forthcoming LP, Seek Shelter. Up until now, I’ve expected and cherished the Swedish band’s sludgy morose torch songs and gothic bursts of pop, but “Vendetta” threw me for a loop. It’s groovy, like “Shaun Ryder on E” groovy. Lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt even sounds like Ryder. Listen to the Monday’s “Clap Your Hands” and tell me you don’t hear the similarities. --Alarcon

True Love Will Find You in the End
(Tiny Moon Records)
It may be a coincidence, but Birmingham-based singer songwriter Katherine Priddy has released her tender acoustic version of Daniel Johnson’s ‘True Love Will Find You in the End’ the same week that she’s appearing as a contestant on BBC2’s early evening quiz show ‘Lightning’. At the time of writing, host Zoe Lyons has yet to ask Priddy about her quietly devastating interpretation of Johnson’s most-covered song or even any of her own folk tinged releases.  If that moment doesn’t arise then my best advice is for you to locate Priddy’s songs on one of those modern streaming services and then book tickets to see her perform  at this year’s Moseley Folk and Arts Festival.  A guarantee that your post-vaccine return to enjoying live music will have a rather wonderful start. --Jason Lewis

My Favourite Dress (Locked Down and Stripped Back Version)
Andrew Jezzard’s 2019 documentary ‘Something Left Behind’ was a poignant and heartfelt tale of how ‘George Best’ - The Wedding Present’s debut album had managed to stay so close to its adoring audience over 30 years.   ‘My Favourite Dress’ is probably  the album’s most widely embraced moment, ensuring for listeners that whatever break up you associated with those frank and slightly bitter lyrics, it may still not have faded. Although David Gedge has never hidden his lack of love for ‘George Best’  he’s continued to perform and re-record versions of it’s songs.  His singing and musicianship have improved so much over the ensuing years and thankfully, this may be the moment that Gedge has managed to reveal the hurt and subtlety of the song, the additional acoustic guitar, the regret tinged vocal and that tragic realisation of the closing lines make it sound less resentful.  An inspired reworking. --Jason Lewis
Also see out recent interview with Wedding Present bass player Melanie Howard, here

That’s Entertainment / Cosmic Dancer
Initially released as a b-side of the lacklustre “Sing Your Life” single, Morrissey’s attempt to cover Paul Weller’s most prized lyric, was an underwhelming creation. Despite some pretty musical tinkering on this remixed version, nothing conceals Moz's mangling of the lyrics on what may have seemed like such a canny idea  at the time, but the whole project still misses its mark.  One would imagine that for promotional purposes, the ‘sleeve’ still shows the same picture of Morrissey and David Bowie that adorned the recently issued version of their live take on Marc Bolan’s ‘Cosmic Dancer.’ now demoted to the second track.  This audience-scream heavy version was never intended for release.  And it shouldn’t have been. --Jason Lewis

To The Island
As much as I wanted to love Crowded House’s return to center stage, maybe “To The Island” wasn’t the band’s best foot forward. I know, I know -- “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is fairly milquetoast, and that song is the albatross around Neil Finn’s neck, but he’s done better than this. Maybe the forthcoming album “To The Island” comes from will be more interesting, but I’m not holding my breath. --Spanish Pantalones


Swing from the Sean Delear
(In the Red Records)
Kid Congo’s latest release, Swing from the Sean Delear, is loud, rowdy, and rough. Upon my first few listens, I noted quite a few tones and sounds similar to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s louder stuff. Then I did the minimal amount of research and found that Swing was recorded and mixed by Jim Waters -- the producer behind some of Spencer’s best work. By the way, soak in “He Walked In” -- the 14-minute space odyssey is a slow burn of a groove about Kid’s former Gun Club bandmate, the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce -- intense stuff. --Alarcon


(City Slang Records)
I’m hedging my bets a little saying that Distractions might be my favorite album of the year since 1) it is only February and 2) I have only heard the perfect louche disco “You’ll Have to Scream Louder” - where they don’t - and the endless zombie techno of “Man Alone (Can’t Stop the Fadin’)” - he can’t - but I trust in Tindersticks ability to fall upward into the heavens esp with a little boogie in them. --Alex V. Cook (Read Mr. Cook’s full review of Distractions on the front page of OUTSIDELEFT here.)

Open Door Policy
(French Kiss Records)
If ‘70s-era Bruce Springsteen formed an ‘90s alt-rock band, it would probably sound something like The Hold Steady’s Open Door Policy. You can decide what to make of that. --Alarcon

Fongola (Instrumentals)
(Transgressive Records)
More experimental, more challenging with each passing record. This is the instrumental partner to last years Fangola and so the video comes from back then... --lamontpaul

Failure Sculptures
From the lyric video, Fences is dark and pensive, with open spaced voices, the rasping rasping, panting and heavy with emotion, the vibrated guitar all and to the desperation, addiction, booze, and the realization of the effects, the guitar no romantic, drunken poet, no supposed boozed fuel brilliance  so beloved of the brilliant boozer, perhaps personified by Sean McGowan. This sounds more like alcoholic self-realization, than any 12 step recovery proclamation, dark words, and music, no glory, just a sense of love and more worryingly soul lost. So authentically effecting it sounds too depressing to sit with and listen to alone, perhaps too many truths in the dark messages. --Toon Traveler

I Belong to You
(Streaming Platforms)
You might have missed Valentine’s Day already but serious look man LuQa most likely did not. I’ll admint his top 40 single for lovers passed me by at first. But this is great slice of late night, huggers, cuddlers, kissers, sounds, full of desire, soft lights, settees, and sips of wine and love, and affection, all those things we're denied in pandemic times. A lovely record, sounds like a man with regrets, having been through a break and looking for recovery. Hhmm sounds like so much Philly or 80s UK soul, lovely record in these isolated doors. --Toon Traveler

Hannah Peel Photo taken by Emily Dennsion Hair by Hiro

Founder / Managing Editor

Alarcon co-founded outsideleft with lamontpaul (the Tony Wilson to his Rob Gretton) in 2004. His work for OL has attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers, oh and probably the FBI, too.

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