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Five Hearts for November All of Outsideleft's November Five Heart Music Reviews in One Place

Five Hearts for November

All of Outsideleft's November Five Heart Music Reviews in One Place

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: November, 2022
David Benjamin Blower, on his 5 heartworthy EP, Hymns of Disobedience, he's like Dr. Manhattan, seeing the apocalyptic present and future all at once.

These are the big boys that got the big love from our reviewers in November. Lots of love and 5 hearts each. Maybe you think some of them deserved even more... Music, it's a discussion. Amongst other things.

SINGLES

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER - 20 (Air Traffic Controller)
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by Toon Traveller

I shouldn't like really this, a dead simple bassline, syndrums and electro beat. Somewhere between a Blancmange and Pet Shop Boys reject track, 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 
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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.


BNNY - Breaking Up (Fire Talk)
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by Tim Sparks

My immediate thought was that it's a demo, then I realised it's just that raw untreated sound which is a vibe in the song. Bnny's vocal sound is very laid back and almost whispered, but it does add an interesting dynamic to the song, and as its starts too build it works just fine, the lyric being a typical event in young lives I guess. Overall its well done. I like the vibe and the way they have made some very backs tracks into a nice mix and production.


BOBBY OROZA - The Otherside (Instrumental) (Big Crown)
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by Ancient Champion

Instrumental versions from the LP Get On The Otherside from the Scandi King of RnB. Dude this is lush, listen... I have to have it. You?


EVA CASSIDY - I Can Only Be Me (with the London Symphony Orchestra) (Blix Street)
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by Toon Traveller

I've heard Eva with a standard band backing, her voice then was a delight. This takes that voice to a whole new level, the understated orchestration matches the soaring beauty of her vocal performance, passionate, but not incessant. Her voice clear, sharp, light in the gathering gloom. A gentle caress, notes held perfectly, delicate and pensive. This is an enchanting version from a masterful songstress. A marriage of music and voice that we hear all too rarely these days. Loved it all the way to that last wiped-away tear.


HORSEGIRL - Computer Love (Rough Trade)
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by Ancient Champion

Simply a brilliant interpretation of the almost entirely unrecognisable Kraftwerk classic. Think it is time to dust off my own Kraftwerk cover.


LIV.E - Wild Animals (In Real Life)
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by Ancient Champion

Love Liv.e, she makes feminist politics set to music seem dangerous still. Who gets to say who is objectifying who? Meanwhile though, maybe you can just buy these kinds of backing tracks off the peg. From the factory. But you know like you can buy Continental Tires or generic ones and the latter leads you off mountain roads? Liv.e obviously spent a little more at the Lo-fi beats factory. The bass drum is authentically, beautifully, cardboard boxy. The bone idle piano I'll remember all day long. I don't really like dogs but c'mon, all the fetishistic claws, the dog-ear-hat - especially the dog-ear-hat cosplay, it's so irresistible. I want one. To replace my trusty crown. Wild Animals got me thinking about my crumbling persona and how this could soundtrack that afternoon with Luna Dupree when we shopped for boxing gear, rented a room from noon opposite a big box DIY store and after filling ourselves with disgust at the people going in for paint and planks in their free time, I laced up Luna's boxing gloves and took a beating. Hours after Luna left, she called hotel security. A lot later my kidney problems abated. "I've got my nose up in the air-Most of these dogs don't deserve a meal-They always wanna bite when they see me." Lovely tripartite. It's the voice, Liv.e; it's the sound of a woman not taking any old dog's shit. And making great, great pop records while she's about it.


MACY GRAY - Merry Christmas Baby (Moonslice)
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by Ancient Champion

Macy's got an entire Christmas LP, recorded with her band the California Jet Set Club out this week. I've gotta get a closer listen to that now Thanksgiving is over and Outsideleft's Christmas Shop is open.  I love all the giving. Merry Christmas Baby is nicely restrained. It's got mistletoe and kisses. Makes me feel in love with the season. Macy, one for the Christmas ages. 


MOUNTAINSCAPE - Atoms Unfurling (Trepanation)
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by Lee Paul

Mountainscape inhabit a post-rock hinterland. Own it really. From their current breakout LP here comes the title track Atoms Unfurling. An inevitably heavy nine-minute opus. J Mascis wouldn't be unhappy with these guitar sounds. At some points, these are the sounds you will hear when you are separated from your soul. Formed and informed by metal but influenced too by an array of avant-garde composers. Mountainscape are one of those new British bands that fuck fashion and do whatever they need to do to break the mold. It feels like nothing can stop them now.


NADINE KHOURI - Keep on Pushing These Walls (Talitres)
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by Ancient Champion

OMG! This is like the record I have been searching for forever. Nadine's voice is religious. One listen and you'll be a worshipper. There's something so perfect for laconic optimists in Keep on Pushing These Walls. And the music, oh so many miles away from the voice, and then here comes the guitar all subtle and then all outrageously bendy and tearing at your speakers. Quietly still. Redolent, a little, of Natalie Bergman's great record stylings. Nadine Khouri is a giantess of graceful understated beauty for sure. This record, damn! At least we can still have nice things.  


NEW ORDER - Elegia (Full Length Version) (Streaming platforms only )
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by Jay Lewis

Never mind the fact that 'The Perfect Kiss' was cut in half to fit onto New Order's 1985 album 'Low-Life' the reflective 'Elegia' was chopped down to a third of its original running time to make it onto the record. But both are now going to be part of the expanded version of the album due for release at the end of next January.

'Elegia' is devastating. The mournful instrumental was an unfeigned tribute to Joy Division's singer Ian Curtis (apparently wordless because Curtis wrote the band's lyrics), its tenderness is wrapped in its apparent iciness. The full 17 minutes of this is profound, the band's finest moment.  Sometimes five hearts are not enough.


O - Ogo (Speedy Wunderground)
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by Toon Traveller

Wow love the opening, it's a big, big positive funker this one. Every few years a track like this comes along. The one you wish you'd written for yourself. It is best served to warm the winter months. Full on power and passion and the promise of great times. Thrash, trash, bash, out there, everywhere. Horns as brutal and beautiful as can be. The sound of young London now. The London that refuses to be brutalized by political incompetence. Paying back with our feet. Somewhere between Hendrix that you know and love and Hendrix. Let loose on a piece of jazz. Damn, I'd pay good money to see them live. 5 Big hearts for the biggest of sounds.  


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

In Fighting Back, R.A.P. Ferreira shows us he's the closest thing we got to to Gil Scott.
"I know it's epic poetry that keeps the cosmos orbiting." Jazzy, lyrical, brief. This is just a brilliant record.


ROZZI - Hand in My Pocket ()
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by Toon Traveller

It takes courage and self-belief to cover a modern classic, especially one as loved and popular as Alanis' Hand in My Pocket. Happy to say Rozzi's piano and phrasing give a different meaning. This sounds more like a confident sense of figuring "it" out, as opposed to Alanis' talking about figuring "it" out. A subtle difference but that's the point. Rozzi sounds like she's actually authentically living the life. Alanis... Just reporting on it. Love the 'southern soul' organ, and semi-gospel chorus, matches Rozzi's soaring vocals. Brilliant.


SOFT CELL - Light Sleepers (EMI)
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by Tim London

After their last release, a painful, collaboration with Pet Shop Boys, Soft Cell seem to have remembered what they’re all about as Marc does his best lonely poet observing the world from a coffee stained formica top world weary croon. With a video that pays homage to the truly groundbreaking element of the band, the way that they brought a Tom of Finland, out and proud, gay presence into the life of teenage girls dressed entirely in black just at the point when they could really do with an outrageous, dark and sentimentally hearted gay best friend.


SPENCER CULLUM - Kingdom Weather (feat. Yuma Abe) (Full Time Hobby)
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by Alex V. Cook

The album Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection from 2021 still beguiles with its soupcons of Grateful Dead and Can and John Fahey and general raga-folk-fetishism and this single ups the globalism with Tokyo-based singer Yuma Abe gently along for the ride. Spencer Cullum's take on the the whole American Primitive guitar thing is a relief in that, for him, it is not a speed trial or a museum lecture but deft fingerpicking in the service of a song, putting a thousand stars up to make one delightful night sky. Nag champa not required, but it pairs well...


TEMPS - no, no (Bella Union)
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by Tim London

Thankfully, this isn’t comedy, it’s an easy, tidy-trippy tune, the first release of one of the more acceptable funny people James Acaster, who has put his money and his social presence and, in a way, his career, on the line to produce a whole load of interesting, occasionally fabulous music by an interesting bunch of ‘temps’ - personally chosen from the ranks of the music-loving musicians and singers and rappers who exist despite the best intentions of record labels who might, once upon a time, have done something similar in an artists and repertoire fashion. Respect and thank you.


EPs

DAVID BENJAMIN BLOWER - Hymns of Disobedience (Bandcamp)
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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.


LPs

ANGELA ALVAREZ - Angela Alvarez (Nana Album LLC)
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by Alex V. Cook

Angela Alvarez is making a buzz worldwide as a 95-year-old  dubbed Best New Artist at the Latin Grammys. There's a documentary. Locally, she's made the rounds because she lives somewhere right here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I haven't knowingly met her and have scoured the musician list to see if there's anyone I know, but no dice. I'm ill-equipped to speak on Cuban music, but this album is traditional, warm, exquisitely recorded and deserving of all cinco corazones and praise it receives. Angela, if you are reading this, I do a 5-7 set at the Brakes Bar on Government every Sunday and I'd love to have you on as a guest. We can split the tips.


BIG JOANIE - Back Home (Daydream Library)
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by Ancient Champion

Just in time for the world cup Big Joanie's LP has the same name as the classic England football team single recorded for Mexico '70. There are similarities of course. If you recall that 1970 team, defending the world cup they'd won in '66 so badly. That performance pales next to what Big Joanie get up to here. 


CHRISTEENE - Midnite Fukk Train (Spaceflight Records)
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by Tim London

Tim London has your review of Christeene's hotly anticipated Midnite Fukk Train LP, here...


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


PAPER IDOL - The Playground Sessions (Cloud Kid)
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by Ogglypoogly

From start to finish Paper Idol's The Playground is a sequined bag of joyful noise. See Ogglypoogly's full review here⇒


SELF ESTEEM - Prioritise Pleasure (Deluxe) (Universal)
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by Katherine Pargeter

Five tracks from the most revelatory pop album of last year get rearranged with a string quartet. Rebecca Lucy Taylor's words are now more piercing as they set alongside this stripped-back setting. An exceptional album just got a whole lot better.


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


TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS - Live at the Fillmore (1997) (Warner Records)
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by Spanish Pantalones

By the time Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played their legendary 20-night run at San Francisco’s Fillmore in January 1997, they had just spent the last three years either on the road or in the studio. He recalls it being difficult to get into a groove during a live gig because he was always in a constant state of travel. “The idea [of the Fillmore gigs] was just to be a band again and to play the same place for a while,” Petty told BAM magazine the day after the tenth show in the set of gigs. “Lately, for us to play is such an ordeal: to get everyone together, to get the rehearsal booked, and then it's always a touring thing—it's a big commitment.” So this 72-track cherry-picked compilation of songs from that Fillmore residency. The band sounds loose and tight, some call it being in the pocket. There are Petty originals within the tracklist – obvious singles (‘American Girl’) and obscurities (‘Heartbreakers Beach Party’), but it’s mostly comprised of bar band standards like the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me,’ Richard Barry’s ‘Louie, Louie,” and Them’s ‘Gloria.’ Five hearts on this one, it’s a good reminder of how easy Petty made it look.


WEYES BLOOD - And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow (Sub Pop)
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by Jay Lewis

I'm always dubious of musical trilogies, but the second part of the story that began on Titanic Rising (2019), is every bit as startling as its predecessor. 

'And in the Darkness Hearts Aglow' shares the former's anguish at trying to find love, stability, or any kind of sense in such a disconnected world. There are the warm arrangements, the subtle orchestration, and the yearning vocals (imagine Karen Carpenter with a dash of Laura Nyro). As she's quick to point out, since her last record, any tiny slivers of normality have been turned on their head and the result is Blood's strongest body of songs to date. 

The shortcomings of post-pandemic life is set out on the opener 'It's Not Just Me, it's Everybody' with the admission that we're 'Living in the wake of overwhelming changes/We've all become strangers.' This, alongside the ache of '...Looking for love in all the wrong places / We don't know where our love has gone' ('Hearts Ablaze') are delivered in such an unabashed style, they can just flaw you.  The iron fist in the velvet glove. 

Compare her to other smarty-pants singer-songwriters if you must, but Weyes Blood is far too wise, far too genuine to suffer such indignities. 'And in the Darkness Hearts Aglow' proves that she is far ahead of anyone else. I'm even looking forward to the third part of the trilogy. 


Other Materials

BREEDERS - Cannonball (4AD)
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by Lee Paul

The Breeders, absolutely magnificently postmodern. So why not?


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

Soul Jazz Records once more into the Studio One archives to dust down Cedric 'I'm' 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. 


JACKIE MITTOO - Jerico Skank (Studio1)
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by Ancient Champion

Jackie Mittoo mired in artificial bird sounds? What is this melody again? This week's competition. Just preternaturally great.


Essential Info
Main Image: David Benjamin Blower by Richard Harris

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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