search for something...

search for something you might like...

Outsideleft Week in Music. We're hearing from Sampa The Great (feat. Thando, Jace XL, Alien, Whosane),  Jarvis Cocker, Iklan, Mac McCaughan, Lionlimb, Tasha, July Jones, Amyl and the Sniffers, Lindsey Buckingham, Smile, Reb Fountain, Joe & The Shitboys, Allen Stone, Billy Idol, Mild High Club, Low, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Buffalo Daughter, Ari Lennox, Sam Fender, Bob Dylan & Cindy

Outsideleft Week in Music.

We're hearing from Sampa The Great (feat. Thando, Jace XL, Alien, Whosane), Jarvis Cocker, Iklan, Mac McCaughan, Lionlimb, Tasha, July Jones, Amyl and the Sniffers, Lindsey Buckingham, Smile, Reb Fountain, Joe & The Shitboys, Allen Stone, Billy Idol, Mild High Club, Low, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Buffalo Daughter, Ari Lennox, Sam Fender, Bob Dylan & Cindy

by Lee Paul,
first published: September, 2021

approximate reading time: minutes

The return of... reverb! (Sampa the Great & more...)

This is what we talk about when we're talking about music.


by Tim London

The return of… reverb! Nice to hear a big reverb wrapping itself around much of this mix. Why? Because so much modern R&B based music has that dead, personal, in your ear, flat, podcasting sound which removes the ambience, the room, the world from the performance. But that’s not what makes this a strong piece of progressive, jazzy, semi-retro soul worth your ears’ attention. Here we have a distinct voice (but who’s? There’s a bunch of names attached) and if the spiel towards the end spoken by someone with an accent that floats around the Atlantic spills into cliche, the last few words in, what, Twi? Yoruba? - somehow bring the track home. Big yell for the fat fingered bass that comes in at 4mins 30 secs. Part of an ever enlarging canon of Black artists refusing to be sunk into the foundations of any particular continent, in collaboration with each other.


ARI LENNOX - Pressure (Dreamville)
by Lee Paul

Ari Lennox creates joyous and generally sultry pop songs, they are the good ones. A Millie not Mahalia Jackson for the clickbait age. It takes more. Pressure posits itself around an insouciant, classic pop hook, something you might pick out on the guitar, bass or piano while dabbling and never get it to sound as fresh, simple nor as lovely as this. In a kitschy Marc Newson style retrofuturistic video set, Issa Rae funny, Ari Lennox absolutely restores faith lost in rnb pop. It's what makes lost late nights happen. Makes those mornings waking up not knowing where you are, worthwhile. And just as often makes me think that in these straitened times, in these days, I am doing it all wrong. Dirty and Delightful. What's not to love?

SMILE - Eon (Chimp Limbs)
by Toon Traveller

Taken from the album Phantom Island, I begin with worrying about that Roger Dean style lettering, never a good sign for a band. As album omens go, this is a bad omen, dredging up all sorts of prog rock expectations. The music though is not that bad, not Yes crossbred with Genesis after all, sorta OMD, Howard Jones, UKs 80s anodyne sub pop,  twinkling synth, soft summer sounds, plink plonk dink donk, conjoined with well synthetic emotions and passions. Eon skips along though like a child happy in the sun, marginally better than lift music, better than music played - telephone on hold music, but not as good as music played in supermarkets. Pleasant, inoffensive, forgotten already.

by Tim London

If the idea of Jarvis Cocker attempting a cover of a French 1965 puppy dog pop tune, in French, gets you as horny as a chain-smoking maquereau then I can’t help you. Everything to do with this ‘recreation’ baffles the fuck out of me. As Cocker mangles the tune with his normal hysterics, searching for the note like an old ex-Parisian searching for his favourite cafe on his old gentrified manor (it’s gone, Mnsr Cocker, just like the pitch), the backing sounds like it’s been digitally lifted from the archives and the whole world applauds an Elvis impersonator finally getting to play Vegas. Baffled.

MAC MCCAUGHAN - Burn A Fax (Merge Records)
by Toon Traveller

Hmmmm. Superchunk's big guy floats this along in a gentle way. Drifting spacily, with slightly distant voices. Sounds like something from the late 90s / early 2OOOs in an Elbow influenced, someone of that sort, sorta way. A mystery tour. If a friend played it to me, I'd be pleasantly pleased. Check it out I think you could be too. 

SAM FENDER - Get You Down (Interscope)
by Toon Traveller

Suppose as a local lad, born and raised in a place near to Toon Traveller's home and for that reason I've high expectations  although I've never really listened to him. So my first impressions of a toon superstar? Wow! He's like a funky Billy Bragg. Remember that guy from 40 years ago. Get You Down takes a while to get going and when it does the words sound kinda like a sub 'The Boss' guy. You know who... There's a sense of wonder, a sense of loss, Broken promises. US sounding guitars, sharp strings, finger tapping on the steering wheel, windows down, sounds blaring,swinging beat, pounding drums - a great USA driving song ifyou were on the reoad there, maybe in LA's traffic slow crawl. Or maybe in open mid west spaces, high plains drifting. Good not bad, but Bruce The Boss does it better. 

LIONLIMB - Nothing (Bayonet)
by Lee Paul

Nothing is the second single taken from the forthcoming Lionlimb LP, Spiral Groove. Lionlimb is the nomenclature of multi-instrumentalist Stewart Bronaugh, and as Nothing effortlessly grows from nothing to a delightful Ziegfried epic in three minutes it's easy to wonder whether here is a Paddy McAloon LIMOGES level talent. Managed to play it several times. Really looking forward to the LP in November.

TASHA - Perfect Wife (Father/Daughter)
by Ancient Champion

Tasha gets all mid-tempo on us with her peak Cardigans-y new single, Perfect Wife. Look, I am assembling a playlist to accompany my collection of short stories to be listened to while reading so that you can't actually concentrate on either. Each song to features a detail about clothing, oh I love that stuff. A character from the book, Big Marty, returning an unappealing hat, hears Halls of Montezuma and My Favorite Dress while in his car. Perfect Wife by Tasha will certainly make the list. "Let’s find some place we can go out and dance, You wear your hair down I’ll wear my favorite pants..." my favorite clothing lines since "Put on your stockings babe, the nights are getting cold." Or, "I would go out tonight, but I haven't got a stitch to wear." Perfect Wife is from Tasha's November LP Tell Me What You Miss The Most, I am excited already. Meanwhile, you should know, Favorite Wife is an unadulterated joy.

IKLAN - I Am Like The Wind... I Will Cool You Down or Blow You Away (Soulpunk)
by Lee Paul

IKLAN blow hot - never cold, always. The new single, I Am Like The Wind... I Will Cool You Down or Blow You Away is a scarifying combination of malevolent musical violence and workaday mayhem. A Murder Most Fowl epic of some 9 minutes of free association. It is challenging but IKLAN always lays down a challenge. Not be be underestimated. Not to be missed.

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS - Earthlings (Ghosteen Ltd.)
by Spanish Pantalones

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds drop another tucked-away gem from their forthcoming B-Sides & Rarities Part II release, a vapor-like song titled "Earthlings." Cave and the Seeds recorded it during 2019’s Ghosteen sessions. Logging in with less than three minutes, the song is barely there; haunting, uplifting, unsure, maudlin, and joyous -- just like all Bad Seeds songs. Cave calls it the "missing link that binds Ghosteen together. A lovely song that just got away."

REB FOUNTAIN - Foxbright (Flying Nun)
by Toon Traveller

Psyche is taken from the forthcoming Flying Nun LP ISIS and features a pensive piano and voice that is reassuringly familiar like KT Tunstall. Or someone like that. The words, spoken, barely sung match the mood. Is this music or poetry with music? Whatever, this leaps out of the mish mash of sounds, I am  sent to hear. This would sound great in a medium sized hall with a sparse band. A simple BUT effective song, full of deep passion, it draws me into world of gray mists, uncertainty, and the distant light of hope. Her voice matches the minor key sounds perfectly, slow and reflective, apprehensive, these are songs of love, loss and recovering hope a great voice, captivating enchanting words, a delight at the days start, and this dark room light solo candle light music.

CINDY - Party Store (Mnt.St.Mtn/Tough Love)
by Ancient Champion

Party Store is a new single from the redoubtable, Cindy, purveyors of perfect West Coast indie pop. Taken from the LP 1:2 which will be available soon in the UK from Tough Love Records, on Beer colored vinyl. Party Store continues in Cindy's laconic style. Katrina Gill's voice lazes gloriously over the lassiaz fare leanings the strumming, backbeats and denuded instrumentation of the band. Like a washed out day at Paradise Cove, still brilliant.

JOE & THE SHITBOYS - Manspredator ()
by Tim London

Manspredator is hard to pronounce - try it. You’ll almost definitely spit on the ‘sp’ bit just like the singer. Chugs along in an anti-macho, fuzz bass punk fashion until the call, at the end, to ‘fuck fade outs’, which is brave, because some people really believe in them. Unless there’s a rival band called ‘Fade Outs (which is a great name for a punk band, or a surf band) in which case that’s them told. I appreciate the sentiments. What’s a ‘Shitboy’?

JULY JONES - Aladdin ()
by Tim London

More nu-soul Emo and another young woman dressed in shiny lolita goth. Immaculate nails that match the two daggers she waves around phallically (what I mean is that she doesn’t look like she’s about to cut up spuds) and featuring maybe three complete outfits, all shot on a minimal studio set and… oh, the music? P21st century preset number 23… And the singing? Voice competition contestant number two. The lyrics? All about a Jasmine who has upset our July, apparently sticking a blade into her (that might be metaphorical) and who is, of course, a ‘bitch’ who might once have been considered a friend, sentiments I think we can all sympathise with.

AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS - Hertz (Rought Trade)
by Toon Traveller

Amyl and the Sniffers as a band name kinda captures the zeitgeist of the music... Chanted lyrics, crashing guitars repeated rants - a cross between The Prodigy's Fire Starter and the UK Post punk chants. Hertz could be from any time between UK's 80's rants and pub rock. Well now, heard it all before in various times in my life. tThe band sounds good, and it is their own songs so I suppose that's a plus at a live gig. Its better than hearing most 80s tribute bands that make a good UK Living.

ALLEN STONE - Is This Love (ATO Records)
by Toon Traveller

From the Apart LP that will be with us soon. This is a Bob Marley cover as the word and his wife knows. As there so much stuff being pumped out it takes too long to even sample liste. Life, like this summer, really is too short. Don't waste your money or if downloading, your valuable time just along to the Simply Red streams - - - it's the real deal


BILLY IDOL - The Roadside EP (Dark Horse Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

Billy Idol teams up with longtime partner Steve Stevens for his first new release in nearly seven years with The Roadside EP. It’s a four-song mishmash of ProTools-tuned, Monster Energy Drink-infused, American rock and roll. U Don’t Have To Kiss Me Like That sounds like the lead track of a Timbuk 3 album on HGH. (Why do musicians think new technology is better?) The Roadside EP sounds like it was produced by Stock, Aitken, and Waterman -- slick, hooky, and ready to be used as incidental music for Monday Night Football.


BUFFALO DAUGHTER - We Are the Times (Anniversary Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

It is absolutely always a treat when the OUTSIDELEFT offices are filled with the sounds of the latest Buffalo Daughter album, although it's a rare treat (this is this first album in seven years). We Are the Times is bouncy, jagged, filled with lumpy Seinfeld bass lines and laser blasts. That said, unlike previous Buffalo albums, this one also has a heavy side. "ET (Densha)" sounds like an apocalypse, a “soundscape for the world we currently live in,” as the band said in a recent statement for the song. This very well could be Buffalo Daughter’s Dark Side of the Moon.

LOW - Hey What (Sub Pop Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

More slow, chugging tempos and minimal arrangements from Sub Pop's critical darlings. Too experimental for any sort of mainstream success, Hey What will only extend Low's underground status, but if this Minnesota duo were to ever reach Nirvana-levels of fame, could their music stay this insular and delicate? 

MILD HIGH CLUB - Going Going Gone (Stones Throw Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

True Pantalones story: The night I first ever heard of the Mild High Club at the Echo in Echo Park, California (when they opened for Wire -- see last week for the story), I spent an hour passing the peace pipe with several members of the band in the back of the venue during Wire’s soundcheck. Top-shelf cheeba, but I digress. Mild High still sounds easy and breezy, but with Going Going Gone, the band added bits and pieces of bossa nova and samba here and there. If this LP was released four months earlier, it could’ve been a contender for the OUTSIDELEFT Summer LP of the Year.

LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM - Lindsey Buckingham (Reprise)
by Spanish Pantalones

It seems as if the haircut still has a little bit of ‘70s fairy dust in it after all.* In his first solo record in ten years Lindsey surprisingly comes through with another solid collection of fun pop songs. Buckingham’s catchy, jangly light touch is still there, the melodies are as memorable as ever, and you start believing all those criticisms that maybe he is the force behind Fleetwood Mac. Old Swinging Dick Buckingham goes for the fences and picks up a sweet stand-up triple in the ninth inning.

*This was not a reference to cocaine, in case anyone thinks the UK's Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 has been breached.

BOB DYLAN - Springtime In New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 (1980-1985) (Columbia Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

It’s Bob Dylan with 54 previously unreleased jams. A jumbo-sized collection of his loosest, most potent work, which is fitting considering disc one is made up of casual rehearsal sessions just as the ‘80s were blossoming. It’s a nice change of pace from the Dylan you’re used to hearing; you know the one… brooding, introspective, moody. With Springtime In New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 (1980-1985), Dylan is at his Freewheelin’ finest. Maybe not for Dylan rookies though, this whole Bootleg series can be overwhelming.

Main Image: Simon Compton Reid - he has several good cameras... (from Wikimedia) 



All About and Contributors


Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]


If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]


Ooh Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha May 29th

outsideleft content is not for everyone