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Outsideleft Week in Music We're hearing from... Gary Numan, Chai, Drunken Prayer, Wadada Leo Smith, Mannequin Pussy, Lana Del Ray, Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen, Jon Hassell, Rick Cox & Luke Schwartz, Japanese Breakfast, Garbage, Duran Duran, Muck Spreader, Haley Blais, We All Break and Kunzite

Outsideleft Week in Music

We're hearing from... Gary Numan, Chai, Drunken Prayer, Wadada Leo Smith, Mannequin Pussy, Lana Del Ray, Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen, Jon Hassell, Rick Cox & Luke Schwartz, Japanese Breakfast, Garbage, Duran Duran, Muck Spreader, Haley Blais, We All Break and Kunzite

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: May, 2021
David Benjamin Blower - The layers of stringed instruments are an agile gentle delight, the piano is out on its feet, the guitar rises with a narcoleptics commitment to the perpendicular. And David's voice is the lone wilderness caller. - Lamontpaul

How about that... If Birmingham in the UK is your hometown it could almost be a hometown Week in Music for you. A regional special. David Benjamin Blower vs Duran Duran... Praise be that 99% of you don't belong here. Of course, only one of the aforementioned artists will have the PR wallop to appear in a plethora of national and international publications like The Guardian this week (would the Guardian please just stop with their music coverage). And only one of the aforementioned artists will have released the Recording of the Week anywhere, outside of Jackie. -- Lamontpaul

RECORDING OF THE WEEK

David Benjamin Blower
Songs For Nomads 2
(Bandcamp / Spotify / Everywhere)
David Benjamin Blower returns with the soothing Songs For Nomads 2, a record of some quiet contemplation and stripped bare somnambulant beauty. Of course, that's what only David can do. Park us on the edge of our seat in a world of anxiety while sounding all the while like he has this, and everything will be okay.  The layers of stringed instruments are an agile gentle delight, the piano is out on its feet, the guitar rises with a narcoleptics commitment to the perpendicular. And David's voice is the lone wilderness caller. Any poet of the apocalypse would possibly be overmatched, but David Benjamin Blower's right in there in the ring, a one-person All Things Considered, one person pushing back, one person we should all be listening to. --Lee Paul


INDIVIDUALS

KUNZITE
Saturn
(Lowly)
A great heavy beat intro, rock the house with the fuzz bassline, a real slice of 80s funk, with the synth pop over the top a layer of electro on a fat, slow groove bass. this could be straight out of the 80's it's got that 80s sweaty club groove, breaks and sub(not in a bad way) Moroder feel, think a slowed down donna summer instrumental, or funked up Depeche Mode, an echo of 80's club, great beat, swaying, rocking - loads of vague 80s memories in there, the bass line is killer, and it's just hat you need before the pubs open to get ready and   -  awhh just a treat for your feet. -- Toon Traveller


WE ALL BREAK
Here’s The Light
(Pyroclastic)
Great drums and piano, on Here’s The Light, the first track from Ches Smith’s Path of Seven Colors. Bouncing sax, kinda township jazz meets Puerto Rico street, a real slice of summer salsa, could be Colombia. a club in Cameroon. a cross-culture, rhythm-driven congas, bongos, timbales, all there in a glorious mix of Latin /African streets, favelas, and African shanty shuffles, You can sense the hot summer sun on your arms, feel the sweat form and bead on your back. forget feet shuffle, this is real movement, the pianos change as JAZZ impro kicks in the rhyme, piano in and out of time, A dancer losing the beat, in and out of time, the voices celebrations, calls and response.  this is the record, band, we need when we open up. 25 years ago when the latte café revolution hit UK and all the indie coffee shops played the Gypsy Kings in the hot summer of '97, '98 the soundtrack of summer was flamenco, This summer, if we have one, sounds like this will capture the release Zeitgeist, that mix up, mash-up, Bachulian mix of wild dance, broken patterns, rhythms discordant voices, piano-like sense and reason jumping in and out of communal embraces. Forget hand-holding, hugging, this is dancing close, sharing bottles, food and the essence of life. Sadly, I fear, a record that'll fail commercially, too hard to file in a box, too hard for the algorithms to link to any other music, you'll have to search it out and enjoy this, it's worth the effort, I loved this record more with each play. -- Toon Traveller


HALEY BLAIS
Someone Called While You Were Out
(Tiny Kingdom)
Song a bit poor, a lot of nothing - but the video, great late 60's 70's retro images - a flashback of memories especially the classic film - The Conversation, - classing "Who’s watching who, who's listening to you", great story in the video, but the music, it's a bit of nothing in the song and instrumentation, sorry gang, but that's the best I can do, on this one. -- Toon Traveller


MUCK SPREADER
Would He
(Republic of Music)
A primal growl gets Would He underway, and dog vocals, a story, and mix-in off-beat horns, chanted and mixed-up, mashed down and dropped, sounds-chopped, edgy, disjointed, repetitive sounds, echoes of a city, sometimes at night, no time at dawn, jazz lines bounce down back alleyways, voices chat, rebellion calls to arms, this is NOT a club record, if this is a club record, it’s for a club that I very much want to be left in the rope line, outside. It’s too edgy for me. There I said it. It’s too edgy for black midi, Dry Cleaning, Squid, Black Country New Roads and all of the new edgy in their mums living room bands.  Sit and concentrate. A disjointed New Orleans Jazz band march, a funeral parade, chanted, rumbling rambles. Stories cut across other stories, talking over you and not making sense like a group of drunks in the street. Presented as art it is captivating to see, on the edge of danger, a place to be but maybe not for me. -- Toon Traveller


DURAN DURAN
Invisible
(BMG)
A good -- not great -- lead-off single from the forthcoming album by Birmingham’s favourite sons. 'Invisible' is the synthy art-funk single off the forthcoming Future Past album (October 22).  Their fourteenth studio album will include pop luminaries such as Giorgio Moroder, Mark Ronson, Lykke Li, Erol Alkan, and Blur’s Graham Coxon. I suspect this will be the song the boys will be playing when I leave my seat and head to the bar when I see them live later this year, but let it be known -- I will be there. --Alarcon


GARBAGE
Wolves
(Stunvolume/Infectious Music)
'Wolves' is what I expected: a rote, quasi-industrial number that sounds more like B-side filler than an important lead-off single of a comeback album. It’s the lead-off single to Garbage’s forthcoming LP (No Gods No Masters, June 11). What does it sound like? Picture a fight scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer… this is the song that would accompany that scene. Or maybe I just don’t care for the song because like the band itself, 'Wolves' sounds inorganic and pre-packaged. --Spanish Pantalones


JAPANESE BREAKFAST
Savage Good Boy
(Dead Oceans)
Another effortless, poppy single from Michelle Zauner’s Japanese Breakfast. The latest single from the forthcoming Jubilee (June 4), 'Savage Good Boy'- only lasts a little over two minutes, but Zauner makes the most out of it with airy vocals, a catchy hook, and a chugging beat. As good as the song is, the video’s better. (Plus it co-stars Michael Imperioli -- Christafuh from The Sopranos) More proof that Jubilee is one of this year’s most anticipated LPs.  --Alarcon


JON HASSELL, RICK COX AND LUKE SCHWARTZ
the nothing roselight
(Ndeya)
I first heard Jon Hassell's extraordinary trumpet playing on the title track of David Sylvian's 'Brilliant Trees' album. All of these years later, I'm still not sure whether it's a song of love or spirituality. Or both.  All I know is that Hassell's haunting and innovative sound pointed the song towards the heavens.  I've been fascinated by him ever since.

'the nothing of roselight' is a taster of a longer piece that was commissioned for sculptor Charles Long's current Worklight exhibition (on display in Los Angeles).  The sculptor notes that he has been a fan of Hassell’s Fourth World sound, one he describes as 'both primitive and futurist' for many years. Previous Hassell collaborators,  Rick Cox and Luke Schwartz bring along the disquieting landscapes of their electronic effects to this project.  The full results of their collaboration will be made available in due course. We are eager to hear it. -- Jay Lewis


SHARON VAN ETTEN & ANGEL OLSEN
Like I Used To
(Jagjaguwar)
There's a moment in the video for 'Like I Used To' where the two singers mimic the famous ABBA pose (one looks directly at the camera, the other sideways on - their faces seemingly meeting in the middle), from the promo for 'Knowing Me, Knowing You'

It's not the first time that it's been parodied, but 'Like I Used To' is one of those rare moments where a similarly dramatic pop tune and anguished lyric have been so irresistibly juxtaposed. The members of ABBA may feel honoured if they saw it.  Olsen's ability to convey contradictory emotions in a song has long been one of her strengths ( 'Shut Up, Kiss Me' is one of the finest examples). Meanwhile, Van Etten has the ability to turn uncomfortable emotional episodes into brilliantly cathartic songs and this is a fine addition. 'Like I Used To' opens with pounding drums, swaggering guitars and haunting keyboards.  It suggests that what follows will be huge and dramatic. And it is.  Olsen and Van Etten's voices weave around each other and then duet in such a glorious, spellbinding manner.  And just like that Swedish band, the release of that agony is a joy to hear. -- Jay Lewis


LANA DEL REY
Blue Banisters / Text Book / Wildflower Wildfire
(Interscope/Polydor)
For all the shit I give Lana Del Rey and her pseudo-blue blood new-new romantic affectations, I can admit one thing: she (and her team) are great marketers. It takes a lot of intelligence to find a niche in the competitive musical landscape and exploit it. Del Rey slipped into that aesthetic of the airy, aristocratic, art school dropout with a daddy so rich, he bought her a recording contract, and guess what? There was a big audience that b'ought it. What’s this genre called? Waif-core? Now only a couple of months after she released the grating Chemtrails over the Country Club, Del Rey dropped 'Blue Banisters, “Text Book, 'Wildflower Wildfire' - her marketing team calls the songs '...buzz tracks in anticipation of her upcoming 8th studio album.' I call them a threat to intelligence.  --Spanish Pantalones


SOME ASSEMBLY WAS REQUIRED

MANNEQUIN PUSSY
Perfect
(Epitaph)
When a band lands on Epitaph Records, I come to expect overproduction and generic punk (think The Offspring, Bad Religion, The All-American Rejects), but Mannequin Pussy’s latest EP doesn’t sound like they’re part of the Epitaph stable at all. That said, Perfect is a bit uneven -- it zig-zags from spacey and ethereal (“Control” and “Darling”) to rough and jagged (“Perfect” and “Pigs is Pigs”). A little something for everyone I suppose, but I’d still like to hear a little more cohesion with their next collection of songs. --Spanish Pantalones


LONGER THAN THE OTHERS

Wadada Leo Smith
Various Box Set Collaborations
Leo, 80 years old, with decades of cutting edge Jazz playing has released an album of Trumpet solos and what to say? Amazing and captivating in its scope, style, and beauty, this track swoops and floats, full of joy and passion, the track sparks and fizzes, drop the pace, and rises in purity, cut glass precision, delicate flutters, over 7 minutes of purity, and elegance. SEVEN minutes of delight, passion, and dexterity, it's amazing a man can hold attention with just three valves, a beaten piece of metal, lungs and lips, this is transcendental music for the summer's dawn, breaking sun, coming alive never felt so good in early morning sun. -- Toon Traveller


DRUNKEN PRAYER
Electric Daddyland
(House of Morgan)
The instrumental-over-a-voicemail genre is an enduring gambit of indie rock. It offers an immediate out of body context to one’s exploratory jam, a ghost inhabiting this shambly house you’d only just built. Here, Morgan Greer weaves a 16-minute bluesy raga into innocent messages from his father - “I’m trying to find you” - casting them as enigmatic even a little heartbreaking, It reminds one of Gavin Bryars’ epic Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet which uses a similar tactic, though these recordings are scattered like stars across Greer’s meditative vista. In the middle of the piece, his undulating guitar disappears and the voice hangs with long mournful slide notes. The voice filling the vacuum with “I hope you well” is a jab to the tender heart.  That it’s being released on Fathers Day only sharpens the point. --Alex V Cook
(This is what we could find...)


CHAI
Wink
(Sub Pop)
'Wink' is poppy, sexy, funny, playful, danceable, and the fucking grooviest thing I’ve heard all year. 'Wink'  is also impossible to put in a box; there are touches of hip-hop, slow-jam R&B, psychedelia, funk, rap, electroclash, trip-hop, and the song 'End' sounds like a lost Beastie Boys outtake performed instead by four of Japan’s funkiest women: Mana, Kana, Yuuki, and Yuna. There’s also strong evidence of local influence from Pizzicato 5 with a dusting of Cibo Matto, and Ryuichi Sakamoto touches from his 'Smoochy' phase. This could be the soundtrack to your summer, but you’re wasting your time with Teenage Fanclub’s latest disappointment. If it was 1993, Chai would be on Grand Royal Records and third on the bill at Lollapalooza. --Alarcon


GARY NUMAN
Intruder
(BMG)
Sounds like someone’s spent their quarantine listening to The Downward Spiral on repeat. --Spanish Pantalones


Main Image: David Benjamin Blower and his Banjo...

LamontPaul
Founder & Publisher

Publisher, Lamontpaul founded outsideleft with Alarcon in 2004 and is hanging on, saying, "I don't know how to stop this, exactly."

Lamontpaul portrait by John Kilduff painted during an episode of John's TV Show, Let's Paint TV


about LamontPaul »»

David Benjamin Blower - The layers of stringed instruments are an agile gentle delight, the piano is out on its feet, the guitar rises with a narcoleptics commitment to the perpendicular. And David's voice is the lone wilderness caller. - Lamontpaul

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