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Outsideleft Week In Music: Beginning with Beirut We're hearing from...Beirut, Widowspeak, Sofiane Pamart, Robin Guthrie, Sierra Ferrell, Sea Power, Chris Church, Kenny G., Father John Misty, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Christian Death, Big Thief, Douquette Johnston, Logan Lynn and Youth Sector

Outsideleft Week In Music: Beginning with Beirut

We're hearing from...Beirut, Widowspeak, Sofiane Pamart, Robin Guthrie, Sierra Ferrell, Sea Power, Chris Church, Kenny G., Father John Misty, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Christian Death, Big Thief, Douquette Johnston, Logan Lynn and Youth Sector

by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent
first published: January, 2022

approximate reading time: minutes

Beirut. Hints of my beloved Level 42... - Toon Traveler

Beirut lead off the first Outsideleft Week in Music in 2022. Glad to be back at it...


BEIRUT - Fyodor Dormant (Pompeii Records)
by Toon Traveller

Great intro, drum machine is perfect for the lazy new tech meets slinky sax feel. The voice almost a Crooner, could be from any period but reminded of 80's synth bands especially early Depeche Mode with hints of my beloved Level 42, and a dash of a mellow OMD. I've gotta say, I loved the slow pace, and gentle washed out feel, dreams of summer strolls as the snow falls. That's there. along with promises of better days ahead, hints of hope, yeah just right for the dank end of January that saps your soul. Right on!

KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD - Black Hot Soup (DJ Shadow "My Own Reality" Re-Write) (KGLW)
by Tim London

Giving the non-stop, hyper-active Gizz & co a break here’s Doctor Shaddyaddy-o making them danceable in a non-mosh, I-don’t-care, tie-dye fashion remix. There’s also something fascinatingly unrepentant about the video, like a loud swearer in a pub or a mum who hits her kids in public. You want to tell it/them off but you also want to just sit and watch like the street theatre voyeur you are.

SOFIANE PAMART - Love (88 Touches)
by Tim London

With the opening notes copping the tune from ’everyone’s a fruit and nut cake’ the comedy continues with the video (a sort of travelogue featuring various skinny women looking uncomfortable on balconies, beaches and window sills, dressed in lingerie) and the press release in which we are informed that our Sof is ‘a haute couture pianist with the mentality and image of a rapper’. Interestingly his publicity picture has him looking amazed at something below his chin, out of shot, while he hugs what looks like a long stemmed pipe. Imagine the smell of a hotel room with a Jack Vettriano print on the wall.

WIDOWSPEAK - Everything Is Simple (Captured Tracks)
by Tim London

Often I wonder how Americans hear songs sung in an American accent. Is it like someone from Barking hearing Billy Bragg back when he wasn’t adding his own Western twang to his singing? Is it comforting like Guy Garvey, who could sell pyramid schemes over the telephone because he sounds like you’d wish all northern Brits to sound? Or do they just not notice any more, or even, never have. Some kind of confirmation that rocknroll belongs to America, always has, always will? But then I remember that Americans borrow accents from other Americans apart from when they sing country when the rule is to be your real authentic country self. Unless you are Gram Parsons. In which case does Gram Parsons sound to Americans like Eddie Grundy does to us? A comedy country chap? And what do real cowboys think of Widowspeak rolling around in the dung and looking all winsome at a night time rodeo? ’Dudes’, that’s what those rednecks think, ‘with their cityfied mullets and ironicified strumming. Yeehaw’. Who cares what the rednecks think! They’re nearly always wrong anyway. This is magnificent, Cowboy Junkies with some energy, (probably stolen, you know what junkies are like, well some and, anyway, shouldn’t it be ‘Cowboy Users’ now? A better name I think.) As I said, magnificent! Great strumming.

SEA POWER - Green Goddess (Golden Chariot)
by Katherine Pargeter

Is GB News still going? I only ask because I don’t want to waste any further time rummaging through the stations looking for some apoplectic would-be Spectator columnists getting into a lather about unpatriotic wokedom...

This leads me to Sea Power,  the band that they’d never heard about until they removed the word ‘British’ from their name last year.  Well, they're back with another one of their portentous pop anthems. Grandiose guitars and lyrics that aren't about that one who used to do fitness workouts on breakfast television in the eighties.  Hopefully, the residents of the GB Shit Journalism Graveyard will suffer aneurisms whilst listening to it.   

FATHER JOHN MISTY - Funny Girl (Bella Union)
by Jay Lewis

Finally, Josh Tillman has reacquainted himself with that delightful combination of pithiness wrapped in elegant melodies and sweet, sweet vocals that made us originally adore 'I Love You Honeybear' back in 2015.

Since then, it's been a difficult and frequently exasperating ride, but he appears to have refound his copy of 'Nillson sings Newman' (and, judging by that breathtaking  Sinatraesque orchestral sweep 'A Little Schmillson in the Night' as well), and has remembered how to mix sumptuous and cynical in the properly balanced proportions. It's utterly lovely.  

The album ‘Chloë and the Next 20th Century’, is set for release on 8 April.

LOGAN LYNN - Baby Britain (Kill Rock Stars)
by Toon Traveller

Sounds like something out the 1960's California beach pop. Think Jan and Deane, or you may alsoi think Peter Noon. Perhaps I'm missing the point? Don't get me wrong, it's inoffensive, its soft on the ear it's got a  lovely melody, and smooth gentle wave line, a good radio record, a bit soulless. Kill Rock Stars won't slay too many with this.  

BIG THIEF - No Reason / Spud Inifinity (4AD)
by Hamilton High

Ahead of their Feb LP release. No Reason / Spud Infinity is redolent of an itch rather than riotously ground down scratch. Spud Infinity could be Rod when he was just beyond being a mod so take a look at that. You can almost see John Peel miming along on Top of the Pops. No Reason on the other hand, lovely loosely focused folk. From maybe loosely focused folks. idk.

YOUTH SECTOR - Is Blood (Family Values)
by Toon Traveller

Jagged guitar for starts. Here comes a UK Mod revival. Or a Vapors revival. The incessant, nagging guitar, is cool, sharp and driving. Up for it vocals, hints of the B52s, and Jo Boxers, power pop and there's nothing wrong with that. And nothing all that right with it either.

DOUQUETTE JOHNSTON - Mystics (Single Lock)
by Toon Traveller

Form the LP The Social Animals, Mystics gets underway with a slow intro, slinky and other worldly, sorta-post event vibe. Easy on the ear, easy drum your fingers along to, a rising crescendo chorus, sounds like a late night, far away radio, song, nothing offensive, but in reality, there's no sense of power, commitment, or passion,it's easy to listen to and the vocals are just not quiet at the top the game. The mix perhaps, this sounds like the softer side of the late 80's "Madchester" sound that gave us The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, Stone Roses, and the rest. Murky, like listening through the garage door. It's almost there, but just a few guitar chords away from real brilliance. 


ROBIN GUTHRIE - Riviera (Darla Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

Instead of shuffling around the house in his slippers and house robe during quarantine, Robin Guthrie produced several LPs and EPs, the four-sound Riviera being the most recent. This one reminds me a lot of the songs from the Cocteau Twins’ collaboration with Harold Budd: The Moon and the Melodies. A pleasant enough album, but lacking in Elizabeth Fraizer’s voice, which is what Riviera suffers from. Listening to “Starfish Prime,” you can almost imagine how Fraizer might have twisted her vocals around Guthrie’s familiar atmospheric melodies. Without vocals, Riviera is as much new age as it is dream pop.

(The accompanying video is from Guthrie EP recorded a few months ago, but you won't even be able to tell the difference.)


CHRISTIAN DEATH - The Dark Age Renaissance Collection, Part 1, The Renaissance (Season of Mist Records)
by Spanish Pantalones

According to the press release, The Dark Age Renaissance Collection will be arriving in four parts, but Part 1 (The Renaissance) is the most important one. It’s the part that’s comprised of the Los Angeles band’s first four albums: Catastrophe Ballet, Ashes, Atrocities, and The Scriptures. You can almost smell the faint hint of clove cigarette smoke from this box set.

KENNY G. - New Standards (Concord Jazz Recordings)
by Spanish Pantalones

I'm jealous of people who enjoy this album.

CHRIS CHURCH - Darling Please (Big Stir)
by Toon Traveller

Oh well, love NC Boys. But ohh oh dear my ears. That old, old, pathetic marketing trick, send the file out with a high pre-loaded volume. Yeah it catches the ear, in the way that scream of a hammer hitting a thumb does. Then I have to scrabble around for the remote control or even get out of my chair to control the volume.

SIERRA FERRELL - Long Time Coming (Rounder)
by LamontPaul

Sierra Ferrell broke through by busking, and with a little bit of viral video... hits. Hers is the Americana romance writ large - like Joe Ely would do. It's dirt beneath the fingernails country. Long Time Coming appeared 2021, but she has been booked (by the Empty Rooms promoters) to play some shows in shoeboxes in the UK, which is a very thrilling development, and maybe you should hear this before you go along. Long Time Coming is pretty magnificent. Her band here bolstered by Nashville legends the essences of this record are its timeless qualities. Sierra Ferrell has a voice to die for, a country archetype, and the songs lilt along... probably couldn't love this more.

Main Image Beirut

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 »»



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