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Outsideleft Week in Music: Hymns of Disobedience Reviews of: David Benjamin Blower, The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Spice Girls, The Bug Club, Eddie Chacon, Orbital and Sleaford Mods, Alice Low, Cedric Im Brooks, Gorillaz, The Ramona Flowers, Air Traffic Controller, Rayland Baxter, Pozi, Mortal Prophets, Phoenix, Mabe Fratti, Noel Gallagher's Stumpy Legged Pigeons and Robohands

Outsideleft Week in Music: Hymns of Disobedience

Reviews of: David Benjamin Blower, The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Spice Girls, The Bug Club, Eddie Chacon, Orbital and Sleaford Mods, Alice Low, Cedric Im Brooks, Gorillaz, The Ramona Flowers, Air Traffic Controller, Rayland Baxter, Pozi, Mortal Prophets, Phoenix, Mabe Fratti, Noel Gallagher's Stumpy Legged Pigeons and Robohands

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: November, 2022

approximate reading time: minutes

David Benjamin Blower's Hymns of Disobedience feels timely, owes to traditions.

Well, it's like the old folks strike back this week, or it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - the holiday buying season part at least. The reviewers doing the reviewing this week are... Katherine Pargeter, Toon Traveller, Tim London, Lee Paul, Spanish Pantalones, Jay Lewis, Ancient Champion & an item from me too. 


ORBITAL AND SLEAFORD MODS - Dirty Rat (Orbital Recordings Ltd.)

by Katherine Pargeter

Reflecting on the trademark anger that he once displayed in his early career, Elvis Costello once noted that, if you keep shouting your views at people, you will either end up losing your voice or people will just stop listening to you. Sorry Elvis, but it's now nearly a decade since 'Austerity Dogs' introduced many of us to Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods' belligerent take on a risible country in speedy decline.

Unsurprisingly, he's as aggrieved now as ever before and we are still listening. 'Dirty Rat' mocks those that, after 12 years of Tory misrule, of Brexit, Boris and Braverman can still blame some other hidden power for the malaise. It's directed at those who believe that there is an anti growth alliance or who accept the warped views of hateful tabloids. It is aimed at vermin. You know who you are.

THE RAMONA FLOWERS - Gotta Get Home (Distiller)

by Toon Traveller

Some great names listed as involved, not too sure what they've contributed to the track. Reminded me of 'Madchester' bands and Oasis, Inspiral Carpets et al, but slightly samey, same old disco drums and bass. A leftover bag of snippets and outtakes from (for good reason), half forgotten sessions. Probably could have been huge 20 years ago. Maybe still will be. One heart for trying.

POZI - Slightly Shaking Cells (Bandcamp)

by Tim London

There’s no reason why this works but it does. It’s a reasonable walk on a summer evening, or a bit of a pub crawl that is more about laughing than drinking. It’s an ordinary looking person wearing one item that is extraordinary. It’s a load of questions that you ask yourself and can’t answer but, along the way, another question is answered. It’s a violin essentially playing one note while a bass guitar plays a walking riff over a drum beat that doesn’t change very much. And a singer skipping along with something important only to them and no-one else. So, mind your own business. Lovely.

ROBOHANDS - Relax (Bastard Jazz Recordings)

by Lee Paul

Robohands' sparse Relax from the LP, Giallo, completes the suite and brings me down nicely. Try it. It might do it for you.

RAYLAND BAXTER - My Argentina (ATO Records)
ZERO favorite_borders

by Toon Traveller

Opens voice and piano. pained and solitary, not so much a tune as a soliloquy, with an accompaniment. This man believes he's deeply in love, but feels unloved back, with hopelessness in his heart. Locked in, loved in,  it slips into melancholy as the cello, always a sad sound in a minor key, slides in. A pained howl, before the piano middle eight, and I switched off. He's focused on his lover's looks. Perhaps that's the problem, no soul. The cry of a man whose skin deep in emotions and attractions. Yawn. First listen felt sad for Rayland, second listen she should ditch him. She can do better.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER - 20 (Air Traffic Controller)

by Toon Traveller

I shouldn't like really this, a dead simple bass line, synth drums and electro beat. Somewhere between Blancmange and Pet Shop Boys reject tracks, boy harmonies, and the optimism of youth in the words. A guitar break that sounds like it came out of 'learn 20 guitar licks in two weeks". But there's something oh so PERFECTLY commercial about this... is it timeless? Sounds like it; Is it memories? There's 80s/90s pop in there. Real earworm music. I hate it as much as I love it. 

ALICE LOW - Show Business (uknown)

by Tim London

Verrrrry provocative. Provoking who? Me, a bit, and that gives me joy. First, the easy: some super stereo panning, fiddly-widdly drumming that still somehow works, a voice that starts at Bowie’s Elvis impression and makes it even more camp, a run of vocal hooks that pierce your vinyl sofa and refuse to leave. Now, the lyrics: oh, fuck it, you’ll just have to listen. All I can say is Kier Starmer needs to listen, pay attention and tell his focus groups to fuck off.

ZERO favorite_borders

by Tim London

What's in the news today, oh boy? It’s more divisive nonsense around gender fluidity and transy things. What hoary old chord structure can I dust down to hang my vapid views on? Here we go, not sure where I got it from but it’s had some use, all rounded at the edges. Smells a bit fusty but who’s sniffing, eh? Eh?

EDDIE CHACON - Comes and Goes (Stones Throw Records)

by Tim London

Nice to see a pop video featuring a singer with a grey beard and sensible shoes walking carefully up some sharp edged concrete stairs. My knees creaked in sympathy. Lovely voice. I was imagining him singing to me after preparing a nice Italian meal and then he started playing the saxophone. In the sea. And our smoothy affair was off, just like that. I want someone dependable, not some crazy beatnik. Damn!

GORILLAZ - Baby Queen (Parlophone)

by Spanish Pantalones

Gorillaz dials it back for the band's third single off their forthcoming LP (February 2023), with a chugging mid-tempo number. It sounds as if it could've come from Plastic Beach with all of its synths and 808s. It's also the song Damon Albarn mentioned in his recent Los Angeles Times feature interview where he described it as an interaction he had in 1997 with the 14-year-old crown princess of Thailand. (He met her at a Blur concert where she was able to escape her security detail and dive into the pit.) I, along with other fans, was hoping for Albarn to unleash "Skinny Ape" as the next single, but it looks like we might have to wait until next year. 

MORTAL PROPHETS - Crossroad Blues (Unknown)

by Toon Traveller

From a single shimmering note, could be a church organ. Could be Bowiesque at least. Bowie fans will love it I guess. This reminded me of Dylan in his Saved phase, it has that sense of searching and despair. He talks of crossroads standing, lights going out and no help at hand. We don't have to go too far to see and perhaps remember, those feelings, that deep despair. A shimmering guitar, hovering keys, and occasional drums, it all adds to that sense of exhaustion, and resigned to fate, alone, abandoned, and last card played.


DAVID BENJAMIN BLOWER - Hymns of Disobedience (Bandcamp)

by LamontPaul

This week, a new EP, Hymns of Disobedience from David Benjamin Blower. A singular artist, DBB often feels to me to be the most significant musician and lyricist in Birmingham, UK, now. Hymns of Disobedience feels timely, owes to traditions. David says the tracks included here, songs of protest and civil disobedience, are a call. A perhaps unlikely revolutionary leader, articulately pushing back as the British march lockstep into a wilderness they need not do. What though would prophets be if they weren't entertaining at least? Theirs then, would be the wilderness. Florence Brady adds vocals and shruti box, and there is some additional singing from Lydia Catterall too. The opening song, What Shall We Do incorporates DBB's lyrical apocalyptic mess that succinctly encapsulates the desperation people are feeling and will feel soon in their streets and communities. By candlelight probably.


THE BUG CLUB - Green Dream in F# (Bingo Records)

by Katherine Pargeter

'it doesn't have to make sense you's art'

I had to laugh.  I'd spent far too many years trying to promote, publicise and beg people to attend exhibitions at a large museum and art gallery in the centre of Birmingham. It hit a nerve.

The Bug Club hail from Caldicot in South Wales and, despite the lack of nearby art galleries,  can still compose deadpan punky numbers like the aforementioned 'It's Art' and the singular 'Love is a Painting'. As well as art, the  trio does seem to look upwards for inspiration as displayed on  'Sitting on the Rings of Saturn' and 'Love Letters from Jupiter'. And if you think that there is too much humour here then there's the bluesy (and more sci-fi related), 'Some Things Sound Better in Space' to prove otherwise. 

This is a joyous journey in to The Bug Club's, err, universe.

PHOENIX - Alpha Zulu (Loyauté Records)

by Spanish Pantalones

Another very good Phoenix album with some peppy, danceable singles, but things become a little forgettable as you get deeper into the album. That shouldn’t keep you away from Alpha Zulu though, you’ll probably love every track on the LP as much as I do. (The collaborative single with the kid from Vampire Weekend is a typical Phoenix gem.) You just won’t remember much of what you heard 10 minutes earlier. And that’s Phoenix’s only problem: they haven’t released a perfect anthemic album yet. They’ll produce their career-defining Screamedelica or Different Class eventually, but until then, Alpha Zulu is another stand-up triple.

MABE FRATTI - Se Ve Desde Aqui (Unheard of Hope)

by Jay Lewis

There is a point, several listens in to 'Se Ve Desde Aqui'  when the baffling and dislocating noises start to make sense. It's like that moment when a previously confounding poem suddenly comes alive. And you just, succumb. 

Mabe Fratti is a cellist and composer from Guatemala (now resident in New Mexico), and her album (the title translates as ‘It Is Seen From Here’), is a bold step on from the ethereal predecessor (last year's 'Será Que Ahora Podremos Entendernos?'). This time, the sound is edgy, part improvised, and, according to Fratti much “drier” in texture than before. There is a striking juxtaposition between the sweetness of her voice and the discordance of the music (the
cacophonous horns and drunken percussion of 'Desde El Cielo' would be rejected by Tom Waits as being far too 'out there' ). But then, when least expected, there is the balm of 'Algo Grandioso' - an enchanting love song. 

'Se Ve Desde Aqui' is a beguiling, strange and beautiful record. 

THE BEATLES - Revolver (Special Deluxe Edition) (Calderston Productions Ltd. )

by Jay Lewis

When The Beatles played their final live shows in August 1966, they wisely chose not to perform any songs from their new album, 'Revolver'. Jay Lewis talks you through the reasons for that and way more about this special reissue of the Revolver, here »»


by Spanish Pantalones

The Spice Girls observe the 25th anniversary of their 1997 multi-platinum selling album Spiceworld (five times over in the UK, four times in the US) with the an expanded release of SPICEWORLD 25, which includes the obligatory bonus tracks and live recordings, but the music has never been the selling point. It was about the spirit and the attitude with the Spice Girls. 

The Union Jack micro-minis and roars of girl power is what fueled the Spice Girls initial assent, the music was always inconsequential. One could even argue that their meteoric rise had more to do with its alignment with Britpop as opposed to their songs. But Britpop died when Blur released the Americanized lo-fi Blur in early 1997 and by the time Spiceworld was released nine months later, the Girls' Union Jacks and working classes accents were gone, and so was the lightening-in-a-bottle magic.

SPICEWORLD 25 is a nice snapshot the Spice Girls floundering to find their next identity. With Cool Britannia not being so cool anymore in October 1997, the Girls marched towards the new millennium with this unbalanced album stuffed with over-produced world music, Motown/Tamla-lite, soul, disco, and hip-hop. Without the marketing, the Spice Revolution didn't seem so exciting anymore, and it shows in SPICEWORLD 25, but we still have fond memories of the '97 Brit Awards.

BARBRA STREISAND - Live at the Bon Soir: Greenwich Village, NY | November 1962 (Impex)

by Spanish Pantalones

I’ve never actively listened to a Barbra Streisand recording, but when the promo disc for Live at the Bon Soir landed on my desk, it got my attention. It’s the live “lost debut album” that Streisand was supposed to release in 1962 when she was 20-years-old and had just signed to Columbia Records. Who knows how her career would’ve turned out had this version of her debut been released instead of The Barbra Streisand Album in ‘63. Live at the Bon Soir could’ve been a ballsy debut: it’s just Streisand, a piano, an upright bass, a three-piece drum kit, clinking cocktail glasses, snapping Zippo lighters, and a sophisticated Greenwich Village audience laughing and cheering along. Now, Streisand clones her dogs and co-stars in bad Ben Stiller comedies, but Live at the Bon Soir is such a vivid flashback to the evening it was recorded, you can almost smell the nicotine and scotch in the air and forget all about latter day turds like Funny Lady and The Main Event.

Other Materials

CEDRIC IM BROOKS - Mun Dun Go (Soul Jazz Records)

by Ancient Champion

Soul Jazz Records once more into the Studio One archives to dust down Cedric 'Im' Brooks' Mun Dun Go and it just sounds so almightily great and incredible all at once. Is there any sound to love more than instrumental reggae? Originally released in 1970, copies dating from then are super rare and can set you back as much as £600, so don't give up on the thrift store vinyl racks as you never know. Although I met a British Heart Foundation admin person yesterday who made it clear they knew what they were doing over there. 

Essential Info 
Main image David Benjamin Blower by photographer Richard Harris (insta here)
David Benjamin Blower's Hymns of Disobedience EP available now on Bandcamp here

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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