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Outsideleft Week in Music. We're hearing from Pixies, F.S. Blumm and Nils Frahm, Thom Yorke, Radiohead, Kanye West, Prince, Rapsody, Andy Partridge, Elvis Costello and the Attractions; Juanes , Piroshka, Stuck, Glen Campbell, Erasure, Anna Meredith, Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Pageants and Sugarcubes

Outsideleft Week in Music.

We're hearing from Pixies, F.S. Blumm and Nils Frahm, Thom Yorke, Radiohead, Kanye West, Prince, Rapsody, Andy Partridge, Elvis Costello and the Attractions; Juanes , Piroshka, Stuck, Glen Campbell, Erasure, Anna Meredith, Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Pageants and Sugarcubes

by Jay Lewis, Reviews Editor
first published: July, 2021

approximate reading time: minutes

There's a fairground vibe over the eighteen tracks of Anna Merediths' LP

OH MY... This weeks OUTSIDELEFT Week in Music is the 2000th story we've published. Kind of excited about that... To the music, Batman...


ANNA MEREDITH - Bumps Per Minute (18 Studies for Dodgems) (Moshi Moshi) by Jay Lewis

There's a fairground vibe over the eighteen tracks of Anna Merediths' LP, our Record of the Week - read the entire review here


RAPSODY - Iconic (Femme It Forward)
by Lee Paul

Rapsody, when all the blows are counted is still the reigning rap world champ, right? She's been called the successor to the crown worn by Nina Simone. Sure, four years since Laila's Wisdom and a couple since Eve. And a while since she got an assist while playing in the NBA Celebrity All Star game - hmmmm, maybe get back to making music after all. Iconic is part of new LP Big Femme Energy Vol. 1 from the indie label Femme It Forward. Have I got that detail right? I like that Vol. 1 thing.  Anyway, Baby Rose and Tierra Wack who like a lot feature too. The whole album if female artists is great. Heather Lowery, executive producer says, "It celebrates the power, and achievements of women and girls, while sharing stories of insecurities, vulnerabilities, and navigating mistakes, which every young woman can feel empowered by. It pays homage to those who came before us while paying it forward to those who will come after us." Meanwhile, Rapsody's Iconic is a pure great pop record, every sound, every beat an appointment. It's a heavy delight. Who you know been this good for this long?

THOM YORKE, RADIOHEAD - Creep - Very 2021 Rmx (XL Recordings)
by Jay Lewis

We all know about those artists who retrace their once-popular footsteps for commercial gain, we may even know of those who inform their audiences that they were wrong for holding dear their inferior early versions of their music, and then there are or those whose rerecordings are there just mess with their listener's heads.

Thom, I can only assume, has opted for the latter, with just a smidgen of the middle one. We all know of Radiohead's troubled history with the song that made them huge, the song that was so unlike the genre-defying music that was to follow over the next couple of decades. And that's before we even got to the tiny matter of The Hollies' legal team. Originally unveiled for a Japanese fashion show, this version 'Creep' is stretched over nine acoustic minutes, a different pitch added reverb on the vocals and (at the three-minute mark), synths that could have been inspired by a low-budget sci-fi movie from the mid-1970s. It is the disorientating soundtrack to an extremely bad dream, as beautiful as it is chilling. You will never listen to the Radiohead version in quite the same way again.

by Jay Lewis

There is something exciting about Costello when he is being a contrary soul. From unleashing an album of (then), hugely unfashionable country music covers that no one knew that they wanted, through to re-recording songs from his last album in French with Isabelle Ajdani. And Iggy Pop.

His latest adventure brings together a host of Spanish singers taking their turns at translating the lyrics and handling the vocals of the 'This Year's Model' album (1978) and sundry b-sides. The music is from the original masters made by the Attractions. Why change what's already perfect? This isn't Mexrrissey for heaven's sake.

The first offering is 'Pump It Up' - singer Juanes has an eerily similar voice to the young Elvis on this version. Columbian-born Juanes is a Grammy award winner and one of the world's largest selling Latin American artists. You will want to search for his music after hearing this. The blend of new vocals and original music is seamless, reaffirming why you first fell for this band in the first place. Fabuloso!

'Spanish Model' is released on 10 September

F.S. BLUMM AND NILS FRAHM - Desert Mule (Leiter verlag)
by Ancient Champion

Desert Mule takes a long, melodic and gentle audio journey through it's five minutes of life. This is the first release from the forthcoming collaboration, 2X1=4 LP that F.S. Blumm and Nils Frahm have put together for the for Leiter verlag label. It will be available in early September. These guys go way back. Desert Mule is captivating with the restrained dub elements suggesting King Tubby was shouting instructions through the studio door, although not allowed in. They're not going to get all Gonzo on you, but F.S. does have form as co-founder of Quasi Dub Development who worked with Lee Scratch Perry. Desert Mule finished up at Frahm's Funkhaus studio in Berlin. Good for driving through urban expanses at night if you do that. 


KANYE WEST - No Child Left Behind (Def Jam)
by Ancient Champion

Well. Taken in the round, is Kanye currently the worlds' greatest entertainer? I don't know whether you've seen video of the Atlanta listening party for the new LP Donda. Can't wait to play it loud. Special. And this video too. So sad that Sha'Carri Richardson, the fast woman in the world, is not at the Olympics. And Kanye neither.

COLDPLAY - Coloratura (Parlophone / Atlantic)
by Spanish Pantalones

Music for people who are challenged by the likes of Elbow, Travis, and Muse.


ANDY PARTRIDGE - My Failed Songwriting Career, Volume 1 (Ape House)
by Spanish Pantalones

Five songs written by Andy Partridge for other musicians who returned them unused, back to their owner. Why wouldn’t a band use a song Partridge wrote for them? One more of life’s unanswerable questions. (As of me writing this, Partridge hasn't released a video for this EP so here he is talking about another one of his songs.)

STUCK - Content That Makes You Feel Good (Exploding In Sound)
by Ancient Champion

Chicago's Stuck are Greg Obis, Tim Green, David Algrim, and Donny Walsh. Their EP, Content That Makes You Feel Good is pretty immediately sublime, and full of debate about the things that I hope will make you feel bad, while you're feeling good about listening to Stuck's EP. Unlike me, Stuck are not done with just mumbling about societal problems and putting Netflix on and falling asleep at the switch. With it's authentic, riveting ghetto punk clang Stuck are serving up some new ideas for a better tomorrow. You'll be glad to hear that post punk never sounded so good. 


GLEN CAMPBELL - Live From The Troubadour (Surfdog Records / Big Machine Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

Glen Campbell’s final performance at the Troubadour on West Hollywood's Sunset Strip has been captured for posterity here on Live From The Troubadour. Covers of Lou Reed, Paul Westerberg, and Top Petty ensure it great, but old familiars like “Rhinestone Cowboy” and "Wichita Lineman" put it over the top. Can OL's weekly record review column handle a third Recording of the Week? It'll have to.

BILLIE EILISH - Happier Than Ever (Darkroom / Interscope)
by Spanish Pantalones

How predictable is this one? There's a track on it called "Oxytocin." 

ERASURE - The Neon Remixed (Mute)
by Spanish Pantalones

How do you squeeze the last few drops of blood (money) out of a middling album? If you're Erasure, you re-release it with generic hi-NRG remixes a year later. Vince Clarke had a quarantined year to come up with something interesting. Instead he double-dipped and came up with this horseshit.

PIROSHKA - Love Drips & Gathers (Bella Union)
by Spanish Pantalones

Nostalgic, yet fresh sounding. I would've preferred something a little more moody from Piroshka's second LP, but maybe I need something against the grain.

PRINCE - Welcome 2 America (NPG Records / Legacy Recordings)
by Spanish Pantalones

Prince offers a timeworn message (the world is bad) under a bed of uninspired, derivative music. I’d much rather listen to his early work during the more interesting years of his career (1977 - 1983), but this is what his estate served up.

PAGEANTS - Sun and Settled Days (Eye-Dull Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

An breezy collection of songs by one of Long Beach, California's best kept secrets. Ignore whatever toothless neo-hippie folk singer OUTSIDELEFT tells you might've released the 'Recording of the Week' this week; I assure you, Sun and Settled Days is head and shoulders above it.

Other Materials

PIXIES - Debaser (Live from the Roseland, Portland 2005) (Pixies Music)
by Ancient Champion

Proof that for a moment in time Frank Black and the Pixies were the greatest in the world. This version of Debaser is from a newly issued live show, I don't know where you'll find it. Look though. One time I drove across the US, in 13 days, Leisurely, it's true, the Southern Route, and it feels like only the Pixies' Surfer Rosa tape was on the car stereo. 

SUGARCUBES - Birthday (One Little Indian)
by Ancient Champion

Why is this here?

Björk Guðmundsdóttir

One of the most perfect pop records of all times?

Main Image: Anna Meredith

Jay Lewis
Reviews Editor

Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based poet. He's also a music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.

about Jay Lewis »»



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