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Outsideleft Week in Music We're hearing from... Masabumi Kikichi, The Real Tuesday Weld, Laurie Anderson, Saille, La Femme, Auvie Sinclair, Lonnie Smith, Nils Frahm, Dry Cleaning, Skullcrusher, Prince, Lou Barlow, The Reds, Pinks and Purples, Big Thief and a few more...

Outsideleft Week in Music

We're hearing from... Masabumi Kikichi, The Real Tuesday Weld, Laurie Anderson, Saille, La Femme, Auvie Sinclair, Lonnie Smith, Nils Frahm, Dry Cleaning, Skullcrusher, Prince, Lou Barlow, The Reds, Pinks and Purples, Big Thief and a few more...

by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent
first published: April, 2021
open and reflective, beautiful splatters of notes break the melody, creating those perfect moments when you're aware of all around you, sound, smell, touch, sight, this could be a lake, empty small town railway station, a funeral or a lone stargaze.

SINGLES  

MASABUMI KIKUCHI
LIttle Abi
(Red Hook Records)
Little Abis is taken from Masabumi Kikuchi's final studio recording “Hanamichi” which is out on April 16th from Red Hook Records. I am a real sucker for the icy cold precision of ECM, this production is angel-pure, the music thoughtful, pensive and reeking of sunlight. Scandinavian clarity and Nordic peerlessness. Calm music, open and reflective, beautiful splatters of notes break the melody and almost create those perfect moments when you're aware of all around you, sound, smell, touch, sight, this could be a lake, empty small-town railway station, a funeral or a lone stargaze. Music for you, me, alone, together, slow and romantic, at moments enervating and tentative, yet glorious and uplifting, a full gambit of emotions and hope and delight in one solo sole musical experience  --Toon Traveler


THE REAL TUESDAY WELD
Blood Knuckled and Dusted
(TRTW)
It’s the beginning of the long goodbye… We first featured the Real Tuesday Weld way back in 2005, here. Even then they’d been playing a while. Doing good, weird music. Refining their self-created genre of “antique beat”. Now it’s almost over. Blood Knuckled and Dusted is the first single from the new album Blood which is the first of a trilogy of farewell albums. (See, I told you it was a long goodbye.) Featuring the magnificent vocals of Oriana Curls and captured on video by Paul Heartfield (a video which also features the ear of TRTW’s low-slung bass legend Don Brosnan) the track is a taste of a fantastic new album which we’ll cover in full-on release. If you’ve not investigated TRTW there’s still time. And then you can be sad when your new favourite band have broken up. --Lee Paul


REIGNING SOUND
Oh Christine
(Merge)
Each single from the forthcoming Reigning Sound album (May 21) is like one more cigarette in a pack you thought was empty, one more beer in the fridge, one more dance with that girl at the bar. Extra slice of pizza. Reasons to live. --Alex V. Cook


AMON TOBIN
The Biggest Fan
(Slumberland)
Often, the best electronica is that which aspires to be guitar rock and yet does not give in to the temptation of fingers on dirty old strings. This here is an intermittent ripper of that ilk, occasionally going from Flaming Lippish to full Lark’s Tongue in Aspic served in one of Daft Punk’s mirrored helmets back down to digital zero. --Alex V. Cook


BIG THIEF
Off You
(4AD)
Hang loose, Big Thief! Off You is a cover of the 2002 Breeders song and is part of a 4AD retrospective. Somewhat faithful to the original minus sci-fi synths that Adrianne Lenker’s voice more than adequately compensates for. Everything on the recording is perfectly, beautifully… Slack. Oh man. --Ancient Champion


viAFAntAsticA
Onstage, Right Now
(bandcamp and elsewhere)
Onstage, Right Now is the remarkable video single from viA FAntAsticA's LP 2 for 1. Justin from the band walked us through the entire record... Read Justin's directors cut thoughts here --Ancient Champion


THE LANCASTERS
Scallywag
(Fuzzy Cracklins Presents)
Wow, what a start to a cloudy Thursday, my least favourite day, and then the Lancasters kick the clods away, a great slice of what sounds like a southern boogie good ol' boys (in the fun sense) blues. Summer rock. Absolutely superb slide guitar slices through the words and dead simple backing, driving the song, dragging into the sunshine, loved it. It'll be great at 5-6pm festival slot scene, sun on a hot day, beer in hand, feets shuffling, this is a summer sound for sure. I wonder if they're going to do a UK Tour... Will have to check. --Toon Traveler


THE REDS, PINKS AND PURPLES
The Biggest Fan
(Slumberland)
My bandmate sent me this as if to say “See?” It has that dreaminess of the Sea and Cake and The Clientele without the clenched jaw preppy air. They sound like they might be normal dudes that stumbled into the indie rock country club and have the charm to pass. Their reverb pedals seem bespoke, though. Radiant. --Alex V. Cook


LOU BARLOW
Over You
(Joyful Noise!)
From the forthcoming solo LP, Reason To Live, (Amy 28th, Joyful Noise!), the legendary Lou Barlow does that thing he does so well, a disconcertingly simple song, lost love, first love, loss and heartbreak, but not a song of heartbreak, more a heart stripped, ripped and trampled from the chest. Lost pride, a sense, there's no reunion, and lives move on. A change to the mock tears and mopping of love lost, this is the song the celebrates the break and remembers tender sweet consuming love, but realizes when love has to move on, memories and pain remain, and that's always true, but the getting over and learning to live and looking to love again, this about wearing the loss, bearing the loss, saying it hurt, but I want to keep the memories and move on, and with that there's hope for all lovers lost. --Toon Traveler


PRINCE
Welcome 2 America
(Sony Legacy)
This July 30th, the lawyers in charge of the Prince estate will release Welcome 2 America. This album was intended for release in 2010, but like most of Prince’s post- 2000 music, he kept in his vault. Maybe he got bored with it, maybe he realized he could’ve done better. The lead-off title track serves as a teaser to the full-length concept LP. Ultimately, “Welcome 2 America” is Prince’s “Dirty Blvd.” by Lou Reed. It’s built on heavy-handed concern, foreshadowing, and predictions for a future where racism, disinformation, and politics push our collective narrative. Unlike Reed’s New York, Prince never knew how to edit himself when left Warner Bros. in 1996, and this meandering single proves it. --Alarcon


EPs  

SKULLCRUSHER
Storm in Summer
(Secretly Canadian)
Listening to Skullcrusher’s second EP, Storm in the Summer made me wonder what happened to Beth Orton. The last I heard of her was 2016 when she got called out on her video for spray painting all over Joshua Tree National Park. My point is, Helen Ballentine’s Skullcrusher picks up where Orton left off with Central Reservation. Faint, glassy guitars; distortion in just the right places; reaching, semi-desperate lyrics -- it sounds like something you’d hear on the soundtrack to an indie film written and directed by Ethan Hawke. --Alarcon


LPs  

DRY CLEANING
New Long Leg
(4AD)
"It is tempting to cast them as a softened Fontaines DC or an ASMR Pretenders or an updated/backdated Arab Strap or another new band who has fallen into the Anish Kapoor-like black hole of the Fall’s perpetual reissue schemes, but I am open to the idea that Dry Cleaning is largely unaware of such reference points because the connection of all the parts is so seamless." Read Alex V Cook's full review of Dry Cleaning's New Long Leg, here. --Alex V. Cook


NILS FRAHM
Graz
(Erased Tapes)
Originally recorded in 2009, 'Graz' contains the first-ever recordings Nils Frahm made for Erased Tapes.  It's difficult to comprehend how an album of such exquisitely tender piano pieces have remained unreleased for so long.
Apparently, these grand piano recordings were shelved in order to give more focus to Frahm's more experimental close mic’ed, dampened piano works. Now that we all know what a hugely versatile musician he is, it's okay to take in the autumnal romance of opener 'Lighter', the eight and a half minutes of 'Kurzum' that has echoes of Chopin's 'Raindrop Prelude' or the saddest film soundtrack music that never was in  'Because This Must Be.' 
'Graz' is a wonderful and very welcome discovery. --Jason Lewis


LONNIE SMITH
Breathe
(UMG)
This record fills the entire grey area of my personal Venn Diagram. 1) I took up the Hammond organ a year or so ago and Dr Lonnie Smith is one of the great soul masters of it. It is helpful to hear how novice I am at the instrument. 2) Contemporary Iggy Pop cameos > contemporary Iggy Pop records, and they do a brill jazzbo reading of “Sunshine Superman” by 3) Donovan, who I also have a deep thing for. Outside of tickling my peccadillos,  this record is solid groove jazz focused on the organ, though trumpeter Sean Jones gets to get out there on “Track 9”. The Versuz-grade gospel vibration of “Pilgrimage” with Alicia Olatuja will heal what ails ya and the cartoon space funk of Monk’s “Epistrophy” will reestablish your illness. --Alex V. Cook


AUVIE SINCLAIR
3:31
(https://auviesinclair.bandcamp.com/)

Portland beat maker makes a beat for every day of March 2021 and releases it on April 2. Each one brief, breezy, dense enough to be there but also not. It’s the audio version of a “draw something every day” Instagram challenge except Auvie leafed through his sketchbook to find an abstract mural of the cosmos woven from his idyls.--Alex V. Cook


VARIOUS ARTISTS
Bills & Aches & Blues
(4AD)
Bills & Aches & Blues suffers from what all record label compilation LPs suffer from:  inconsistency. The US Girls covering The Birthday Party’s “Junkyard” and The Breeders doing His Name Is Alive’s “Dirt Eaters” produce high points in this petite 18-track LP. (An 18-song retrospective from a 41-year-old label seems dismissive.) But for every Dry Cleaning or tUnE-yArDs, you’ll find… Well, you find yourself looking for the forward button a lot. So many 4AD bands with no representation on this release, and so many 4AD bands that didn’t need to be on it. A missed opportunity, oh well. --Alarcon


LA FEMME
Paradigmes
(Disque Pointu)
I’d like this band a lot more if they didn’t actively state that their primary influences are the “Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk and mix of coldwave, punk, and yéyé.” False advertising -- buyer beware. --Spanish Pantalones


SAILLE
V
(Black Lion Records)
If you dig the idea of Cookie Monster droning on about Satanic mysticism and the finality in biblical symbolism, brother, have I got an album for you. --Spanish Pantalones


LAURIE ANDERSON
Big Science
(Nonesuch)
Reissued, repackaged, red vinyl and restating the disorder that birthed it in the first place, Jason Lewis has a full review of Laurie Anderson's art statement LP, here. --Jason Lewis


 

Toon Traveller
Travel Correspondent

Born - happy family, school great mates still see 7 / 8 in year, degreed, beer n fun, work was lazy but usually happy, retired. Learning from mum and dads travel exploits.
about Toon Traveller »»

open and reflective, beautiful splatters of notes break the melody, creating those perfect moments when you're aware of all around you, sound, smell, touch, sight, this could be a lake, empty small town railway station, a funeral or a lone stargaze.
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