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Outsideleft Week in Music, it's BLONDIE We're hearing from... Blondie, Medicine Singers, Backseat Lovers, Fancey, Heather Sommer, Peter Matthew Bauer, Okay Kaya, Nick Frater, Cass McCombs, Ezra Furman, Michael Botte Band, Muse, Diamanda Galas, SRSQ and Concrete Prairie

Outsideleft Week in Music, it's BLONDIE

We're hearing from... Blondie, Medicine Singers, Backseat Lovers, Fancey, Heather Sommer, Peter Matthew Bauer, Okay Kaya, Nick Frater, Cass McCombs, Ezra Furman, Michael Botte Band, Muse, Diamanda Galas, SRSQ and Concrete Prairie

by Tim Sparks,
first published: August, 2022

approximate reading time: minutes

Now and then I pick out tracks from indie artists or bands I follow on the social music groups, and this time we have a great track from the Michael Botte band...

SINGLES

MICHAEL BOTTE BAND - New Rising Sun 
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by Tim Sparks

Now and then I pick out tracks from indie artists or bands I follow on the social music groups, and this time we have a great track from the Michael Botte band, Ive watched ( and listened) to this guys development over the last year or so, and he's taken on board some genuine feedback and made some great steps forward in both writing and production, this track being produced by Bob Beals at Sound Foundation studio. The opening acoustic chords of New Rising Sun, set the scene with a warm vocal sitting just nicely in the mix, some cool harmonies, nice guitar work and drums, send us onto the highway, cruising with the top down!


CASS MCCOMBS - New Earth (ANTI Records)
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by Tim Sparks

A start with birdsong puts you in a good mood I guess, then we have a double track vocal sound with a soft backbeat and acoustic guitars making a very 60's / 70's sound drifting along in a bit a dreamworld. It's nice...pretty harmless, but doesn't really get to a high point, a bit like driving through the countryside on a summers day in the MG Midget. Flower Power springs to mind.   


SRSQ - Saved for Summer (Dais Records)
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by Toon Traveller

SRSQ (pronounced ‘seer-skew’) is Kennedy Ashlyn, at least on all the good bits I would say. I could be wrong. There's a lot more to it than that. Toonside downpour may not be best backbeat, but this leaps out with soaring harmony vocals, and swirling guitars, like a discarded Eurovision entrant. Still Kennedy has a voice that weaves and wraps all around it, but the synth-drums blunt a song full of good ideas. The guitar is well played, but the vocals have to fight too hard to win. This sounds at times like the sword and sorcery themes that British bands loved in the post hippy, pre new-age early 70s. An epic journey not particularly going anywhere? Nowt wrong with that. That's life, it's the journey not the destination that matters, and this is so much more than a pleasant ride on a wet day. Subtract half a heart for that over dominant guitar and dull repetitive synth drum.


MEDICINE SINGERS - Sunset (Joyful Noise)
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by Toon Traveller

Joyful Noise, a well named label! Sunset opens with an almost electric drone of voice, spaced sounds and clashing rumbles over a steady beat. The voices reinforcing the rhythms. There's feedback guitar and a deep sonorous feedback rumble, it's all quite dark and mysterious, a perfect underpinning of this song.  This song leaps out of the usual musical pool, and the stuck in the middle, convergence where so much sounds like the last track. I'd be interested to see how it fits into "people who like that, also liked this" music selection, algorithm. I getting out four hearts, this the most interesting sound I've reviewed in at least a month.


PETER MATTHEW BAUER - 21st Century Station (Fortune Tellers)
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by John Robinson

Ahead of Bauer's third solo album, 21st Century Station is a stomping, ska-tinged song about endings. The muffled production deliberately emulates some kind of early warning broadcast, giving the vocals a slightly ethereal, Flaming Lips-esque quality. The chorus perfectly hits the joyful melancholia of dancing alone while everything collapses around you. "To the ghosts in the music, to the nightclubs on fire... play the hits till we go". (Here's the video for Skulls from the LP, all I could find...)


OKAY KAYA - Spinal Tap (Jagjaguwar)
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by Toon Traveller

Spinal Tap begins with a sorta rap voiceover, in and out of sync, a taste of the 70's USA midnight road movies. The track slides in slinky, easy on the ear, a great groove. The melody weaves around you, draws you in. A middle eight delights in repetitive simplicity. This is a strange, beguiling, piece. This is clever song writing, full of hooks, delightful lines of hope, a great acoustic guitar,  and some wonderful vocals with a couple of complementary melodies. This top draw. Looking forward to the full-length, SAP, on November 4th from (a personal favourite) Jagjaguwar.


FANCEY - Out On The Streets Tonight (YouTube)
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by Tim Sparks

If Abba played more guitars it would sound like this, when I read the bio of writer Todd Fancey I was intrigued, using 80's synths, DX-7, Korg Poly and Oberheim drum machine Kick what's not to like ! Glue it all together with a rock guitar and silky vocal from Micae, we have a synthtastic foot tapping tune


BACKSEAT LOVERS - Growing / Dying (Capital Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Capitol Records, a piece of swinging sixties architectural history, the Tower that The Beatles and Frank Sinatra built. Do they have anything to do with music anymore? I thought for a while they were a missile defence company. Anti-war artists till signing on the dotted line. Anyway, love Backseat Lovers' slow-paced, don't give a shit intro, and the discordant buzz guitar, the power chords and middle eight breaks reminiscent of Oasis (there's a sorta Americanised sarcastic sneer), it's probably supposed to be redolent of Pavement Beatles. Some familiar simple song progression, howling guitars, and slow death of the vocals with  "I think it's time to go"  it may be that drastic, but time to hit delete button on this one. Imagine if Slacker had been made by professionals. Professional Slackers. There's lots that'll love 'em, especially live I'm not one of those types.


EPs

HEATHER SOMMER - Chameleon (Live Acoustic) (Youtube)
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by Tim Sparks

The stats for Heather Sommer's music look impressive...and anything labelled Live and acoustic gets my attention.

In Chameleon, a lone Fender Strat guitar with a jangled chorus and a touch of gain picks the way with a ringing backdrop to work perfectly with Heathers vocal tone, which drifts effortlessly through some great melodies, and carries us from verse to chorus and onwards.

Im temped to see if there is a full version of this, but somehow I think this version is good enough.

Im off to listen to more of Heathers acoustic EP.   

 


LPs

CONCRETE PRAIRIE - Concrete Prairie (Good Deeds)
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by Lee Paul

British Americana from Bath... Sounds unprepossessing in many respects, however, Concrete Prairie have something that I think is probably going to be doing the business at a lot of festivals up and down the land this summer. A mixture of homespun folkiness, progressive social justice and dynamic fiddle is a treat and at times drifts towards Nebraska. “Socially conscious, aware of the world around us, and not afraid to go down a Country-Folk avenue…or to rock out”, singer Joe Faulkner says. It's one of the good ones.


EZRA FURMAN - All Of Us Flames (Bella Union)
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by Spanish Pantalones

Either my hearing is going, my earbuds have a short in the wiring, or I’m listening to the demo of Ezra’s latest album -- I’m still not sure. Alls I knows is that I enjoy his previous recordings, but this one sounds like someone dropped a beverage on the mixing desk. I’m gonna give it a few more listens though, maybe it’s a grower, but I'm not holding my breath.


MUSE - Will Of The People (Warner Records)
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by Spanish Pantalones

Sounds like Coldplay with distorted guitars -- avoid at all costs.


DIAMANDA GALáS - Broken Gargoyles (Intravenal Sound Operations )
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by Alarcon

I wasn't going to review this LP (looming deadlines, exhaustion, general malaise), but I'm so glad I gave it a spin. I'm not even sure how to describe Broken Gargoyles other than... atmospheric? Earlier this week, NASA released a recording of the sound of a black hole (listen here) and it sounds a lot like Diamanda's latest. It's haunting, demonic, and I'm pretty sure if you listen to the entirety of the album's two tracks, you die seven days later. It gets my vote as the OL's recording of the week.
Side note: Since the album doesn't have a traditional music video, watch Diamanda's spoken word record release promo.


BLONDIE - Against The Odds 1974-1982 (UMe / Numero Group)
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by Alarcon

I’m not gonna tell you how great this Blondie box set is; you know the music, you know the band – you sorta know what you’re getting. But just in case you’re still unsure, this thing comes with remastered versions of the first six studio albums (things get patchy after '82), over four dozen previously-unreleased demos (including the band’s first session in a recording studio), and a bunch of alternate takes. There’s also interesting commentary on each track by the band (I like that sort of stuff), a bunch of essays by the band’s producers, and lots of rare photos. Go buy it, you only live once.

Side note: I really detest “unboxing” videos (the noises), but I figure you’ve heard all of Blondie’s albums by now, so here's this... At least with this clip, you get to see exactly what you’re getting for your $125.


NICK FRATER - Aerodrome Motel (Big Stir)
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by John Robinson

Nick Frater - Aerodrome Motel is a fantastic new power pop release from Big Stir this week. John Robinson checks under the fuselage, right here.


Essential Info
Main image Blondie 1977, wikipedia.

Tim Sparks

Tim is a UK based music producer who takes a keen interest in artists who are just starting out, from helping them to get their music heard, to advice on studio production and live performance and way more.


about Tim Sparks »»

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