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Outsideleft Week In Music, starring The Weather Station We're hearing from... The Weather Station, Anna Westin, Superchunk, Fontaines D.C., Kids on a Crime Spree, Jeremiah Moon , April Magazine, Zeal & Ardor, Stabbing Westward, Amythyst Kiah, Hodgy, Au/Ra, Lady Wray, Chris Church, Eels, PJ Harvey, Le Big Zero, Nina Simone, Hot Chip, The Lazy Eyes, Maita, The Staves and Sprints

Outsideleft Week In Music, starring The Weather Station

We're hearing from... The Weather Station, Anna Westin, Superchunk, Fontaines D.C., Kids on a Crime Spree, Jeremiah Moon , April Magazine, Zeal & Ardor, Stabbing Westward, Amythyst Kiah, Hodgy, Au/Ra, Lady Wray, Chris Church, Eels, PJ Harvey, Le Big Zero, Nina Simone, Hot Chip, The Lazy Eyes, Maita, The Staves and Sprints

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: January, 2022
The first thing you notice about 'Endless Time' is how quiet and stripped back it is

RECORD OF THE WEEK

THE WEATHER STATION - Endless Time (Fat Possum )
by Jay Lewis

At the end of 2021, Outsideleft awarded Tamara Lindeman of The Weather Station our 'Songwriter of the Year' gong. Her album 'Ignorance' was a poignant and profound meditation on climate grief that was heartfelt, and personally political (not capital P political), her writing, and of course, her delivery was exceptional.

'Endless Time' is the first new song from the forthcoming 'How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars' album (released 4 March), a record that was written alongside 'Ignorance' but was recorded after those sessions were completed. The first thing you notice about 'Endless Time' is how quiet and stripped back it is, just her voice and Ryan Driver on piano (whose style evokes Joni Mitchell's 'Blue'), it feels like an exploration of Linderman's innermost thoughts. As meditative as Paul Buchanan's 'Mid Air'. A sublime beauty.

According to Lindemann 'How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars' will be a '...a quiet, strange album of ballads' - crucially, there will be no drums or percussion. She has announced that it will be less a follow up to 'Ignorance' but more as '...a companion piece; the moon to its sun.'  Judging by 'Endless Time' those songwriter awards will just keep coming


SINGLES

THE LAZY EYES - Hippo (online)
by Toon Traveller

Great name for a band and what a piece of guitar noodling and twiddling these lazy eyes provide. Could be straight outta the late 60s early 70s - the guitar soft and lazy intro, drums love the patterns slow and just able to pick out touches of Pink Floyd in the middle phaze. This is a surprise of delights, building to a crescendo of soul sound and passion. Love the feel, it's a reminder of the past, a reminder of musical dexterity, and best of all the feel is what you bring to it. Top tip though, DO NOT watch the Video, it ruins the delight of the music. This is just " sheer profundity " as a doyenne of the 60s utter on their classic live album. (Erm, who? Ed) 


LADY WRAY - Joy and Pain (Big Crown)
by Lee Paul

Joy And Pain is the title track from 2021's... Joy and Pain. A story song that wouldn't be out of place on any diegetic trailer park radio. "You threw me in jail and then you put up my bail..." Lady Wray really is the greatest and this is a convoluted relationship musical novella, on the Insecure terrain. Great.


AU/RA - plz don't waste my youth (Sony)
by Tim London

She wants to drink your adrenaline but then she says she only asks one thing and that is that you don’t waste her youth. So that’s two things. Immediately I don’t trust her. And… how do you pronounce “/“ hmm? Anyway, I promise not to waste your youth, Orslashra, I don’t have it and I don’t know where you put it and why don’t you tidy up after yourself?


STABBING WESTWARD - Ghost (COP International)
by Tim London

Apparently this lot have been going since 1985. Gosh! That’s a long time to be stabbing in the same direction. Let’s hope none of their (probably) many enemies don’t come at them from out of the sunrise. Although, as the singer is keen to tell us, he’s just a ghost now so there’s probably not a lot more that can be done to them. Exorcism? Ten good looking Irish priests attacking from the east should do it. Can ghosts stab? I have a bone to pick with this industrial tag on their Wiki page - I hear no conveyor belt, anvils nor factory machinery, just some preset synths and bog standard guitar chugs. I feel I am owed a clank or two.


NINA SIMONE, HOT CHIP - Be My Husband (Verve)
by Ancient Champion

I don't normally like these Ripping It Up and starting again with Nina Simone things. Really you're gonna make Nina Simone better? Hot Chip, as a testimony to their greatness, kind of stand aside except for blasting the bits and bobs and for the most part Nina never sounded better. To a new generation.


THE STAVES - Careful Kid - (Be Kind Version) (Warner)
by LamontPaul

The Staves revisit some of the tracks from last years' Good Woman, looking for different aspects and facets to their own tunes and Careful Kid is the latest to be stripped back to incredible effect. The original was kind of like Taylor gone gonzo, lots of Bombast - that seemed maybe pointless? Here, it's like Taylor on The One. "Coming back round, from a five year rebound..." is resonant and devastating. This is soaring instead of anchored. A thing of beauty. Amazing.


HODGY - Everyday (Columbia)
by Tim London

It’s for a worthy cause but this is a critical review. Kinda like his singysongy voice but the beat is hiphop preset 24. When it stops and he sings, sounds like, ‘grime’ with a load of reverb and echo on it. I wonder what might have happened if the production was braver. More bravery, less stoned-ery.


LE BIG ZERO - Monster Movie Pie Fight (Know Hope)
by John Robinson

Le Big Zero, garage rock from Brooklyn with Breeders-esque 90s slacker feel, release second album A Proper Mess (named after the last couple of years) in April, following the pretty cool Ollie Oxen Free from 2019. This jaunty number is the story of a screenwriter whose script is studio sabotaged, and embarks on or succumbs to vampiric attack at the launch party for their ruined film. I like the subdued instrumental break, the decision to have space between the two vocalists rather than close harmony works to detail the break between the character's two sides. Hopefully this humour and catchiness carries through the album. 


MAITA - Loneliness (Kill Rock Stars)
by Tim London

More Democratic country exotica. There is something very cute about ‘chicks riding bicycles with baskets and bells wearing warm tights and smock dresses in small town Americana’. For men of a certain age the idea of drinking endless coffees in a friendly place whilst chatting about important/not important trivia (or how many kids to adopt) with a woman like this is very attractive. But wouldn’t it be great if, in the middle of the song, there was the equivalent of a dirty great gob of flem landing in the lukewarm coffee and spoiling the pretty montage? Wouldn’t it? And the woman gets up and just fucks off, leaving him to contemplate the whirl of spit, as if a barista has left him a personal message.


ZEAL & ARDOR - Church Burns (MVKA)
by Tim London

All the enjoyment I’ll ever have from this group is contained in this review.


SPRINTS - Little Fix (Nice Swan Recordings)
by Jay Lewis

As we're still in the longest hour before the dawn part of winter, I need records that are full of post-punk grungy shoutalongness more than I need central heating and a constant supply of hot water bottles and 'Little Fix' by Dublin band Sprints is all this and more.

The lacerating guitar intro feels like a homage to Elastica's 'Stutter', before vocalist Karla Chubb arrives with a caustic monologue ('...I'm medicated/they like me better when I'm sedated' ) before the roaring and raging chorus. Like their handful of songs to date, it's a headstrong, assertive, and belligerent beauty of a song. 

'Little Fix' also appears on the forthcoming 'Modern Job' EP, alongside the ferociously brilliant title track. Head over to https://sprintsmusic.bandcamp.com/album/a-modern-job
to reserve your copy


ANNA WESTIN - Bright Burning Mess (soundcloud)
by Tim London

This song is… Kooky. Conservative. A Democrat voter. Might have a small BLM poster in the corner of a window. Might even be gay. Nothing wrong with any of that, at least until a genuine socialist alternative turns up.


SUPERCHUNK - The Night (Merge)
by Toon Traveller

Loved the start of the video, only because I had that cassette deck when I was at college / starting my away from hometown living in London, and starting to be a sorta semi-adult. The one here is in pretty good shape, picked up from Pop Will Eat Itself's Rich at RPM? As for the music, would I have recorded this one? Probably, some good lyrics, until the chorus, BUT the sentiment captures that fragility, lack of self-confidence, some happy go lucky melodies and harmony vocals, it moves along "night is like so many," yeah sad to say "this song is like so many that are sent up for review ", yeah I'd tape it too. Play it a couple of times, tape over it probably. Good for a lark in the park on a summer afternoon, bottles of beer, sips, hugs and kisses, but it's really a here today, and tape over tomorrow. If a mate played it 40 years ago - I'd nod my head in a sorta, kinda, maybe a ok perhaps way and they'd know it's not my glass of chardonnay. Then again, what is? 


AMYTHYST KIAH - Love Will Tear Us Apart (Rounder)
by Lee Paul

I guess Love Will Tear Us Apart is one of those unapproachable shibboleths... Think again suckas, Amythyst Kiah, her and her acoustic guitar, owns it. That second verse, if you're not in it, if you haven't been there, you've possibly never lived and so I'd recommend going out there and trying that. 


FONTAINES D.C. - Jackie Down the Line (Partisan Records)
by Alex V. Cook

Remember decades ago when the Stone Roses "I Wanna Be Adored" was the best song in the world? Remember last year of so when Fontaine D.C.'s "Televised Mind" was? Ever wanted to run some sort of regression analysis on this very limited dataset and see what you get? And add "sha la la la"'s? And really make a video like you are ABC or somebody? Me too! Peer review my findings! 


EPs

JEREMIAH MOON - Sputnik (online)
by Toon Traveller

Frames of reference is from Jeremiah Moon's Sputnik EP. Cello based with pained vocals, simple sparse instrumentation. This is delicate, intricate, winter music, waiting for the sun on a mid-west day. Fleeting clouds, tip of the sun's kiss on the land, be it ploughed furrows, city streets, or misted water and fishy bubbles. Don't be fooled the title, this is light years away psycho space rock. As I've aged I've moved from Guitar God worshiper, through Keyboards are King, brushed Saxophones are a love supreme, and ended up appreciating the caress of cellos. For me this is just a perfect slice of folk, in the true sense, sandwiched between the classical skilled playing. There's a passionate, sometime elusive, duet with the vocals, a construction that few performers seem able to attain, judging by the rest of the review stuff I've heard this week.


LPs

PJ HARVEY - Let England Shake (Demos) (BMG)
by Alarcon

PJ Harvey marks the tenth year of Let England Shake with a vinyl reissue along with the album’s songs in demo form on a separate album; treatment Harvey’s given to six other seminal LPs in her catalog. It’s a collection of death-folk ballads and grumbling rumblers, all which are incredibly different from what Harvey had produced up until 2011. Let England Shake is delicate and measured, accented in Harvey’s new fascination at the time, the autoharp. But for all of its relatively lighter touches, her ninth album is Harvey at her strongest, one of her many peaks. These demos only illustrate the strength of these anti-war songs, both in full flight and stripped-down skeletons.


CHRIS CHURCH - Darling Please (Big Stir)
by John Robinson

Another re-release from Big Stir records, a careful re-mastering of Chris Church's album from 11 years ago, with added vocals by Lindsay Murray of Gretchen's Wheel, this is a rock album about loss, haunted by the death of Chris Church's brother. The songs roll along with occasionally non-standard structures as you might expect of power-pop, chiming melodies and harmonies inspired by bands like Sugar. Pillar to Post has especially sweet harmonies and the layered guitar riffs on opener History and more psych-rock tinged Nepenthean are impressive, with Chris clearly adept at all instrumentation. You'd hardly know this is a one-man band in fact, the talent of Chris Church, who has recorded since the early 90s in bands such as The Freds, being prodigious. Of course the vibe and sound have little variation throughout, this is melodic rock in a Big Star/Todd Rundgren vein and not for everyone perhaps, but the chorus of We Could Pretend is beautiful and Triple Crown carries a stately majesty. Available at Big Stir Records Bandcamp.


KIDS ON A CRIME SPREE - Fall in Love Not In LIne (Slumberland Records LLC)
by Alex V. Cook

Maybe it's the death of Ronnie Spector. Maybe it's the sudden snap of winter's chill. But I need the come on of a woman talking about what we need, what we want, what we got, drenched in a metric Jesus and Mary Chain of reverb. I need the photo booth album cover of the bad girl goddesses walking among us like a parade. So what if they might get a little more Blink-182 than Ramones occasionally? I have no claim on their ways. I only have rock 'n' roll as an interface to these women. And THEN, I watch the video and they aren't these girls from the cover but instead two dudes and a woman on drums who might have been one those girls once. That guy Mario has the best girl group voice going. Does it matter? I had only a Spotify account of a chance with any of them. Maybe its all I need. When can I see them again? It's all I need.


EELS - Extreme Witchcraft (E Works)
by Spanish Pantalones

There’s only one thing more self-indulgent than a musician in the early stages of love – a musician in the early stages of breakup. (Mark “E” Everett has a lot of passing thoughts about his second recent divorce, but does he have to write a song about all of them?) Yep, Everett’s divorce songs get tiresome quick – “Strawberries And Popcorn” is literally about how he can eat strawberries and popcorn now that his harpy ex-wife isn't in the house. The words are straight outta LiveJournal. That said, the music itself is fantastic, this mopey motherfucker knows how to produce a bonafide jam. If you ignore the lyrics, Extreme Witchcraft is an even mix of fuzz-boxed Detroit garage rock and Wilco-y lushness, sometimes in the same song. Eels’ fourteenth album is crammed with one stone-cold groove after another, just don’t mind the lyrics.


APRIL MAGAZINE - If the Ceiling Were a Kite: Vol.1 (Tough Love)
by Alex V. Cook

Detune that guitar a little. Put those Velvet Underground bends anywhere you can inject one. Sing like you are dreaming. It's a formula that gets me every time and April Magazine's magic album of it was exhaled into the late 2021 like so much vape, floating up and probably doing something to the ozone. I missed them and the hubris of calling your album Something: Vol 1 has Vegas ponying up against a second. And sure, there are always more boxes of SleepyTime tea on the shelf, but this cup here is transfixing. The right temperature. A cup chipped into the perfect vessel. Did you know that Celestial Seasonings is run by a cult? It was at least started by one. Cozy up to me and I'll tell you all about it.


Main Image: Youtube screengrab, Tamara Lindeman

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 »»

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