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Outsideleft Week in Music starring Cara Tivey Reviews of: Cara Tivey, Dry Cleaning, Arab Strap, Arctic Monkeys, Andrew Bird, Brian Eno, The Damned, Pip Millett, Surprise Chef, R.A.P. Ferreira, Emma Ruth Rundle, Anna of the North, The Beatles, Guided By Voices, Craig David, Petite Noir, Micah P Hinson, Now More Than Ever, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Two Fingers vs Muadeep, Iceblynk, Mark Owen, Quicksand and Algiers

Outsideleft Week in Music starring Cara Tivey

Reviews of: Cara Tivey, Dry Cleaning, Arab Strap, Arctic Monkeys, Andrew Bird, Brian Eno, The Damned, Pip Millett, Surprise Chef, R.A.P. Ferreira, Emma Ruth Rundle, Anna of the North, The Beatles, Guided By Voices, Craig David, Petite Noir, Micah P Hinson, Now More Than Ever, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Two Fingers vs Muadeep, Iceblynk, Mark Owen, Quicksand and Algiers

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: October, 2022
"I am going to need music that will remind me of the sun, plants, flowers, waterfalls, clouds (not just the oppressive grey ones), and gentle (and I emphasise gentle) rainfall" - Jay Lewis on Cara Tivey

Many great records amongst the reeds this week and so thanks to Outsideleft contributors DJ Fuzzyfelt, Alex V. Cook, Tim London, Ancient Champion, Toon Traveller, Jay Lewis, Spanish Pantalones and Katherine Pargeter for doing the wading.

SINGLES

ANDREW BIRD - I felt a Funeral, in my Brain ft. Phoebe Bridgers (Loma Vista)
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by Tim London

Andrew’s voice, a less drunken Rufus Wainwright duets with Phoebe’s perfectly painted magnolia emulsion and the result is the soundtrack to an afternoon movie about a broken hearted professor moving to a small town in upstate California and falling in love with a cute mechanic.


SURPRISE CHEF - Grinners Circle (Big Crown Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Surprise Chef have served up some of the genuine dee-lites of this year. Generally groovy instrumentals. They have me grinning from ear to ear. I just can't stop loving them. 


ALGIERS - Irreversable Damage (Beggars)
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by Tim London

What’s that? You want a rock track that sounds like the 21st century? When the sounds and tunes have crushed against the wall of possibility. Yes. Moroder synth. Roland 808 drum machine. Rap-singing like it’s 1979. Chorus is the Tempt’s in their angry period. Guest appearance by angry old 90s rock star. Guitar mutates from Sigue Sigue Sputnik to acid tripping San Francisco. A lucky bag of fizzy, desperate, hysterical righteousness.


QUICKSAND - Feliz (Epitaph)
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by Tim London

Whatever positive reaction I might have had to this thing (and it would have been tiny) is totally negated by the nazi snare drum that insists on being heard through all the fuzz, like a seig heil at a football match. Youtube follows this up with AC/DC live from 1977, an anti fascist climbing the terraces to punch the lights out of that stupid drum. Thank you Youtube’s algorithms.


ICEBLYNK - She's Gone (A Secret Brand)
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by Toon Traveller

The intro and sound remind me of The Passions' "I'm in love with a German Film Star". This starts delicately, almost a 17th century harpsichord melody, real sounding drums, always a great sound. The wavy-floaty voice, strangely pretty airy and full of hope. There's a repeated guitar motif, riff, whatever, that sounds straight outta Coldplay. That apart, She's Gone has a unique charm, and that dreampop sense of... crisp winter, groundfrosted, sunlight somnolent days; when strolling with good company. This is good company to keep.


UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA - I Killed Captain Cook (Jagjaguwar)
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by Tim London

Some of us might have fantasised about killing a Trump or a Farage and saving the world a whole lot of pain. The problem, of course, being that there are other Trumps and Farages that would sprout in their place and the people who back them will remain miles away from our fizz bombs. Which was the case with Captain Cook, who, despite being killed by the Unknown Mortal Orchestra, was just one of many westerners who went to the Pacific with guns and VD to upset the natural runnings. Interesting idea for a song, though, sort of creaking through some jazzy chords as if the singer is actually old enough to have done the dirty deed and not lying through his teeth. Love it.


TWO FINGERS VS MUADEEP - Lost Gods (Nomark)
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by Toon Traveller

This is realness compared to the usual pap that Outsideleft's reviews ed sends me. A futuristic sense of improvisation, the machines click and whirr with menace. The eastern percussion is a delight. Wonderful samples, back up reverse thar tape, it all combines to give a flavour of Arab souks, Indonesian markets, and inner city UK, US East Coast streets and cafes. It's Urban music from the ghettos, favelas, and Barrios of the world, from the Anaheim suburbs and Strabane's side streets. Wherever people are looking for new forms of expression. An aural soundtrack for our time, close your eyes, and walk in the footsteps of  2020's youth, downpressed, but bursting with hope, wilfully unnoticed by the old folks with all the power. Until it's too late.


THE BEATLES - "Yellow Submarine" demo (Apple)
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by Alex V. Cook

This dead-headed demo version by sour old John is delicious. 

In the place where I was born
No one cared. No one cared.

I'm going to start covering this version. 


R.A.P. FERREIRA - ours (Ruby Yacht)
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by Ancient Champion

There's something irresistible about swooping looping minimalism. The laconic resigned sound of someone still kicking against the pricks. "Do what you can kid, do what you can." Love this.


PIP MILLETT - My Way (Sony derivative)
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by Ancient Champion

In some respects perfectly serviceable very now r'n'b. On the other hand it only took one listen to make me play Pip's brand new LP - When Everything Is Better, I'll Let You Know - in its entirety. Isn't that what focus tracks are for (Tim Londontm)? And well, wow, it is totally nocturnal. I mean I can't really find a track that's not swamped in sultry, that's not tapped into deep emotions. So sure, maybe somewhat familiar antecedents but exciting, really exciting use of genre sounds and moods. Lazy, laconic, yearning, learning... One of the records I'll return to again and again, digging deeper. Great.  


CRAIG DAVID - Better days (I Came By Train) (BMG)
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by Tim London

Craig’s not going to beat the snigger impulse for evil fucks like me at the mention of his existence by releasing a whole song that sounds like a Craig David pastiche that is an actual advert for train travel. During a train strike.


PETITE NOIR - Numbers (Warp?)
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by Tim London

Not blessed with a beautiful voice, Yannick AKA Petite is nevertheless a fighter. On the same charisma scale as any of the 2010’s indie landfill contingent he insists on attention nevertheless. An artist like this often manages a sublime moment, a release that justifies all their trials. This isn’t it. It’s OK.


ARAB STRAP - We See You (Eat Your Own Ears)
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by DJ Fuzzyfelt

Stunningly beautiful. A lazy review....nah....it is stunningly beautiful


MICAH P HINSON - People (Ponderosa Music)
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by Jay Lewis

When I first saw Memphis born Micah P Hinson play, he sounded as weary as someone who had lived multiple lives, all of them horrible. He was 23.

A lot of the bad luck that Hinson had already experienced poured into his words and music and, now at the wise old age of 41, they still do. 

'People' contrasts the breezy Americana of his band (the aptly 'The Musicians of the Apocalypse'), with his tale of how his life experiences have shown what an awfully disappointing breed the human race is. Heartbreaking. 


NOW MORE THAN EVER - Don't Rush, Don't Wait (Thirty Tigers)
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by Toon Traveller

My heavy rock lust must be affecting my hearing. On first play this sounded as superfluous as TAKE THAT on one of their more rock orientated tracks. TAKE THAT moved up to AOR, this could be what they'd sound like if they did. Opens with Casio/ style-a-phone sounding keyboards, and then the kick in of multi harmonies, and simply lyrics "she smokes a cigarette, just like Georgette", come on, even Robbie Williams can do better than this and he's no Shakespeare, nor Dylan. On a second play - I mean to dispell my disbelief that this bothers to exist I guess, sounds as good as any made in the 2000's boy band. 


ANNA OF THE NORTH - I Do You (PIAS)
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by Tim London

The actual sound of the Tories dreaming of selling council houses to racist taxi drivers. It’s the 80s! A-fucking-gain.


LPs

BRIAN ENO - FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE (Opal Music Ltd)
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by Alex V. Cook

I love Brian Eno like everyone does and maybe even more, but I will voice this heresy - the last actual good record he made was Apollo in 1983 and that was mostly Daniel Lanois' doing. But decades of hoping the right breeze would fly through the window has finally paid off with the bad-poetry-titled FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE. Sure, it sounds like him mostly vocoder singing with piano and that one synth patch he likes, yet, it is tranquil, yet full of life. Full of yet. Digital tadpoles emerging in star patterns just under the shimmering meniscus. I suspect there is a bit of tribute. to his late brother Roger in the glacial piano chords (Roger was along on the Apollo mission) and there is not a small debt to be paid to Carl Stone in the processing, but it is just lovely. If he'd released it as Ambient 5: it would be perfect. 


ARCTIC MONKEYS - The Car (Domino)
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by Jay Lewis

Maybe it's the fact that they were once referred to as 'the evil bastard offsprings of Oasis,' very early on in their career that has led Arctic Monkeys to reinvent themselves so many times.

Although the last Arctic Monkeys album ( 'Tranquility Base and Hotel' - 2018), introduced the band's latest reincarnation: the suave but surreal lounge act - there was still a sense that this was just a costume change, that the smart alec lyrics got in the way of the sincerity. Understandably, it left many confused.

Fortunately 'The Car' doesn't fall into the same trap. From the opening 'There'd Better Be A Mirrorball', the lyrics are open-hearted, genuine and so, so much better for it. Sure, the Richard Hawleyesque croon is an acquired taste but do bear with! And if you thought that the new orchestral enhanced Monkeys may run the risk of being too Burt Bacharach alike smooth, listen to the pounding drums and dark synth textures of 'Sculptures of Anything Goes', or the funk wah-wah guitars of 'I Ain't Quite Where I Think I Am'. All in all, it's an extraordinarily touching album.


EMMA RUTH RUNDLE - Engine of Hell (Sargent House)
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by Toon Traveller

Not a new release but noteworthy as Emma announces an American tour - so, revisited a year after release. The LP opens with a simple spare piano and a whispered vocal introduction, whispered not softly, not tenderly, almost a whisper in the dark places, hoping not to be overheard. This is a hard listen already. There's pain here. There's loss. Perhaps it's the disappointment that ALL her love was just not enough, the other's demons were just to powerful. Alive in the  dark, deep, tragic places, lived in the lonely nights of a starkly, desperate, soul. One heart and unsure if the heart is for my own fears and raw nerves exposed, or I just don't like it. 

GUIDED BY VOICES - Scalping the Guru (Guided by Voices, Inc.)
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by Spanish Pantalones

If Robert Pollard isn't releasing material every three months, I get concerned and although Scalping the Guru isn't technically new, it's made up of some very rare (and raw) material from GBV's pivotal Bee Thousand period, and that's enough to keep me satiated for a few more months. With Scalping the Guru, Pollard handpicks gems from some of his band's most sought-after EPs they recorded and released in a flurry during the early '90s -- Static Airplane JiveGet Out of My StationsFast Japanese Spin Cycle and Clown Prince of the Menthol Trailer. Nothing on this compilation sounds polished or radio-friendly, but that's the charm -- these are songs that were written and recorded on the fly with relatively primitive instruments and recording equipment. Will there ever be another lo-fi movement in pop music? It's doubtful, but as long as Pollard can still squeeze three chords out his guitar and press the play button on his 4-track, there's always a chance for a revival.


DRY CLEANING - Stumpwork (4AD)
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by Jay Lewis

'It's a weird premise for a show, but I like it' (Liberty Log)

It is. Three years after the 'Magic of Meghan' introduced us to the talk-singing of Florence Shaw and the post-punk indebted trio of musicians, Dry Cleaning are still a peculiar proposition. Shaw's collage of overheard or online dialogues spliced with her own commentary has created something that feels like an internal monologue, a mix of the beguiling, banal, shocking (she is such a wonderful swearer), and hilarious. Cut-up poetry about the minutiae of modern life.

Their second album reveals Dry Cleaning shows the band stretching out, experimenting, and (as on the opener 'Anna Calls From The Arctic'), grooving.  There's also the distorted and disorientating MBV feel of  'No Decent Shoes For Heavy Rain' and (please inform me if I'm wrong here),  the first-ever song to be written about a missing pet tortoise. 

Even with its rather yuk-inducing sleeve, 'Stumpwork' is a remarkable album.  


CARA TIVEY - Zone (via Bandcamp )
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by Jay Lewis

Winter is approaching and throughout the forthcoming months, I am going to need music that will remind me of the sun, plants, flowers, waterfalls, clouds (not just the oppressive grey ones), and gentle (and I emphasise gentle) rainfall.

This year, that soundtrack is going to be provided by Cara Tivey's new album 'Zone', a collection of instrumental pieces that are, in one way or another, influenced or inspired by nature and the landscape that surrounds her at home in Hereford. It has shades of classical music and of jazz and pop. There are moments that feel like calming lullabies ('Tim's Waterfall'), lapping waves ('Subtext'), and old, possibly European, film soundtracks (the title track and 'Romantique'). For anyone planning to hibernate until springtime, you will need a copy of 'Zone'  Purchase Zone here.

 


THE DAMNED - A Night of a Thousand Vampires (earMusic)
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by Spanish Pantalones

Live albums are tricky because so few are worthy of more than one listen, including this one. A valiant effort though. On October 28th, 2019, The Damned played the London Palladium to perform Wait For The Blackout, "an immersive musical and theatrical experience" about vampires and vampire-related imagery. (Notice how everything's an experience now? You just can't go to a concert or any sort of event where someone or something is performing. It has to be an experience. I read it has something to do about millennials wanting to spend their money on doing things rather than saving money to move out of the apartment they share with five other millennials, but in actuality, some marketing turd probably came up with it.) Moving on, A Night of a Thousand Vampires -- eh, I can't imagine many people interested in it unless they were one of the 2,286 people who were at the Pally the night is was recorded. It'll make a nice souvenir for those people though. All that said, I usually give average recordings an average grade, but considering The Damned are now considered a legacy band, I'm giving this one an extra half heart plus another half heart for Dave's Nosferatu costume (see video below).


Other Materials

MARK OWEN - Rio ()
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by Katherine Pargeter

'...trying to survive when the cost of living keeps getting higher and higher' - no it's not advice from Martyn Lewis, but failed tax dodger Mark Owen. It's on a par with that well schooled Pro Putin imbecile that ranted about not wanting no education in the ranks of the most jarring and phoney lines uttered by a pop star. Contemptible.  


Essential info
Main image: Cara Tivey

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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