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Outsideleft Week in Music... This is the Sound of Girls Aloud We're hearing from... Girls Aloud, The Pastel Waves, The Upsetters, Robyn Hitchcock, Sparklehorse, The Smile, Gorillaz, Kurt Uenala, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Callum Easter, The Wedding Present, Weezer, Hamish Hawk and The Jam

Outsideleft Week in Music... This is the Sound of Girls Aloud

We're hearing from... Girls Aloud, The Pastel Waves, The Upsetters, Robyn Hitchcock, Sparklehorse, The Smile, Gorillaz, Kurt Uenala, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Callum Easter, The Wedding Present, Weezer, Hamish Hawk and The Jam

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

approximate reading time: minutes

Immerse yourself in art and culture that makes you feel valid, worthwhile and glad to be alive

Okay. The Outsideleft Week in Music winds down towards the end of the year on SUPERSTAR notes. If these guys aren't household names yet, I have a feeling they will be. And if they are already then they probably deserve it for enduring the music industrial complex. 


HAMISH HAWK - Money (Post Electric Artists)

by Jay Lewis

You could call it a coping mechanism, but whenever society is shaken to its core by a series of crises that could so easily have been averted, it's always best to turn to the smartest, wittiest, most thoughtful, and insightful artists to help us to get through the mire.  It's not for advice, it's just to immerse yourself in art and culture that makes you feel valid, worthwhile and glad to be alive. 

And this is where the splendid Hamish Hawk comes to the rescue. Imagine Stevin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields with a desire to sound like Scott Walker and you're getting close to how refreshing Hawk is. 'Money' appears to take a swipe at those who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing, including those that are '...making inroads into liquor, prize-winning haircuts and drum machines on ice'. Wisdom mixed with the driest of humour. We need that so much now.

THE WEDDING PRESENT - We All Came From The Sea (Utah Saints Remix) (Scopitones)

by Jay Lewis

Other than some mild, almost apologetic, shuffling or feet at Indie and Alternative Nights at clubs in the late eighties, I've never really associated The Wedding Present with hitting the dancefloor.

And so I was unprepared for the relentless throb of this remix of one of their recent singles by Electro-Dance duo Utah Saints (you know the chaps that transformed a line from Kate Bush's 'Cloudbusting' into the techno hedonism of 'Something Good').  But can they transform one of David Gedge's romantic conundrums into something that you might actually be able to dance to?  Sadly, despite moments where the words and music almost gel, more often than not it feels that Gedge is struggling to be heard across the bar of a nightclub that he really doesn't want to be in.  It's an incongruous mismatch, and I really would prefer to go back to my self-deprecating shuffling instead.

CALLUM EASTER - Feelings Gone (Moshi Moshi)

by Ancient Champion

Made up from earlier releases and melded together for your entertainment now. Here's what Callum has to say, "I wrote this in 2016 around the Brexit referendum. When people were blaming other people for their shit. Foreigners, yeah. Two kinds of people. Leave was everywhere. Control our borders, big posters, NHS buses and lies. Tory wankers gobbling like xmas turkeys on the radio...get me mine. And it's the same shit now, rich cunts on the take. Austerity my whole adult life. Ahh well… I still believe in people. Hold me and the feeling's gone. HOLD ME AND THE FEELING'S GONE. All the pain and suffering forgotten for a moment. Safe in someone's arms. Chest to chest, hearts beating, blood pumping, connect to disconnect. And we can all have that, all together. Like an arrow, a stranger, like Cupid spreading respect for one another. When was the last time you held a stranger? Stop reading the headlines. Stop scrolling that pish. I still believe in people."

KURT UENALA - G.O.D. ft. David Gahan (h.n.f. music)

by Toon Traveller

This opens with 80's fat flat bass and swirling sounds reminiscent of Tangerine Dream, and more avant-garde Germanic electro, distant voices, broken, and disjointed, The music speaks of darkness, hidden place, and fear, these are the nightmares, we fear, the things hidden in our souls, waiting for us, this is the sound of paranoia. Guess what? Paranoia is OK.

SPARKLEHORSE - It Will Never Stop (Anti)

by Ancient Champion

Perfectly judged two minutes. It begins and it then stops. Like Mark Linkous' life then. But so what. You know you've gotta put it right back on again. In this it will really n,n,n,n,Never Stop. Rightfully so. As Mark would know. Until it does. Then we go again.

WEEZER - I Want A Dog (Crush Music)
ZERO favorite_borders

by Spanish Pantalones

Your honor, I submit Weezer’s 'I Want a Dog' as Exhibit A in the case in which I will prove Rivers Cuomo has never grown as a songwriter since 1993 (or whenever his band’s first album was released). The lyrics? Well, the title isn’t allegorical, nor is it metaphorical. Cuomo is really singing about just wanting a dog. He’s rich as fuck with anything he wants at his disposal – what’s holding him back from getting a dog? As for the song’s music? It’s that same “quiet verse, loud chorus, messy outro” formula he’s been beating to death since 'Say It Ain’t So.' Your honour, in summation, I blame the slow growth, unpleasant body odor, and low IQ of all Weezer fans on Mr. Cuomo as he has never attempted to challenge his listeners or himself, nor has he ever given an excuse for his formulaic, repetitive output. The defense rests.

GIRLS ALOUD - Sound of the Underground (20th Anniversary Ltd Edition 7" Vinyl) (UMR/Polydor)

by Jay Lewis

You can moan all you like about the calculated manner that those pop groups that were assembled on prime-time talent shows or about how those programmes were as aggressively stage-managed as a US Republican Rally.  But you cannot deny just how fabulous a tiny handful of those acts actually were.

I will happily place Girls Aloud at the very top of that list (yes, above handsome Harry from Redditch). And as it's now the twentieth anniversary of the debut single 'Sound of the Underground' it's time to revisit just how splendid they were.  Yes, it's a joyful girl group singalong, but there are audacious references to drum 'n' bass and even a pastiche of Dick Dale's surf guitar.  It wouldn't be the last time that they would randomly mash-up musical genres ('Biology' from 2005 is their most dizzyingly brilliant example of this).

100% of all proceeds from this limited edition vinyl-only single will go to the Sarah Harding Breast Cancer Appeal. Harding, who was one of the five original members of the group,  died of the disease last year aged 39. The single can be purchased here.

THE UPSETTERS - Give Up Version (Pama)

by Ancient Champion

Sometimes I just think maybe the whole perfect primitive-ness of The Upsetters might make them my new favorite band. This week.

GORILLAZ - Skinny Ape (Parlophone Records)

by Spanish Pantalones

As a standalone single, this one ain’t doing it for me. It has its moments, but it’s not nearly dynamic or groovy as we’ve come to expect from a Gorillaz single. That said, according to my research, it seems like 'Skinny Ape' is going to play a bigger part in the grand scheme of things in regards to Damon Albarn’s overarching theme of the dangerous cults and intrusive technology. (It's about robots, drones, and the service industry.) Maybe this one will sound better when sandwiched in between the rest of the forthcoming Gorillaz’s LP, 'Cracker Island' – I have high hopes for that one.


THE PASTEL WAVES - Back in the Land of the Living (Spinout Nuggets)

by Tim Sparks

The guys got in contact so I thought I'd check out their new album and a few tracks and quite pleasant it is too, firstly it's very guitar-oriented which always gets my attention, more so with some cool riffs...of which there are few here.

Having listened through the songs, I found them all to have a feel-good factor, not too overproduced, some nice sounds going on and some really good melodies, backed with harmonies adding that magic dust.

My personal choices are -
Heritage - is just a weird opening looped riff and some different chord arrangements which are interesting.
Dish it out - A nice lazy feel with a nice chorus and vocal mix.
Holiday Blues - Much more upbeat guitar rhythmic feel, reminds me of The Cure.

All in all, a good listen, check them out over Christmas dinner.Pastel

ROBYN HITCHCOCK - Shufflemania (Tiny Ghost)

by Alex V. Cook

Once upon a time in my twenties, I declared I wanted to be David Byrne in my thirties, Jonathan Richman in my forties, and Robyn Hitchcock in my fifties. Not sure of the reasoning but I recall it feeling like a solid plan, and here in my golden decade I could do worse. Shufflemania is a return to the bulbous form RH's been shaping since that night of my declaration and even before. There are the "and the Egyptians"-grade rave-ups and rant-ons. There are sweet acoustic whispers. "Noirer Than Noir" might be his most Robyn Hitchcock thesis statement yet. On the surrealist bard end: there are feathery serpent gods and Scorpio and "The Man Who Loves the Rain" where he goes

You have two graves
Your name is on both of them
I like to keep people guessing as well
When I get close to them

and sitars and even rather smart use of the vocoder. There are trains. Socrates appears in a quirky blues number. For the kid thirty years ago, Shufflemania resembles a promise. To this silver fox me, it is a validation. 

THE JAM - Dig The New Breed (Polydor )

by Katherine Pargeter

It's forty years since The Jam threw together this live album as a Christmas present, a leaving gift to their adoring fans to coincide with their split.

There's the irony of the album's title that can only really be appreciated in retrospect. The fact that the bass player and drummer formed their own tribute band, wrote memoirs, and 'fly on the wall' accounts of their life in the band. But all of this would be for naught if the permanently nostalgic crowd still adore it.  Dig the new breed?  No, let's keep talking about our high jinx back in the day! 

This week those adoring fans will be listening to this chronological rag bag of live tracks which, apart from the powerful and excited pounding of the drummer, are fairly stodgy and unremarkable. Certainly, Paul Weller's later lyrics for the band gained some degree of social awareness and maturity, but that's mostly lost in these recordings where the words are just barked out or the accompaniment is so pedestrian ('That's Entertainment' being the worst offender by far).

Give me the creative curve balls, pretensions, and follies of The Style Council any day.

THE SMILE - The Smile at Montreux Jazz Festival, July 2022 (XL Recordings)

by Spanish Pantalones

According to my half-assed research, The Smile is something of a big deal in 2022. The LP the band released this year ('A Light For Attracting Attention') has been finding its way on to several ‘Best Albums of 2022’ lists from quite a few vanilla, mainstream publications. A little more research showed that The Smile consists of Radiohead band members, one of them being Thom Yorke, which explains why this band is so popular and mundane. (I knew there was a reason.) If you like extended jams and musos noodling on their respective instruments, brother, you’re gonna love this one.

Other Materials


by Ancient Champion

So. For sure I read about this in The Guardian this week and was set free to add this guilty pleasure. 'I'll protect you from the Hooded Claw, keep the vampire from your door'. We all need Holly Johnson sometimes. And a wonderfully ridiculous video.

Essential Info
Main image. Really? Do you need to be told?

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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