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Outsideleft Week in Music has ANOHNI Digging To Her Roots We're hearing from... ANOHNI (as Fiona Blue), Sleaford Mods ft. Florence Shaw, PVA, Depeche Mode, The Rolling Stones, Tropical F*ck Storm, Aretha Franklin, Invicta, WILSN, Jonnine, Esben and The Witch, Delvon LaMarr Organ Trio, Esther Rose, Petite Noir, Sorry, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Momus, Chat Pile,  Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood, Alfa Mist and Ancient Champion

Outsideleft Week in Music has ANOHNI Digging To Her Roots

We're hearing from... ANOHNI (as Fiona Blue), Sleaford Mods ft. Florence Shaw, PVA, Depeche Mode, The Rolling Stones, Tropical F*ck Storm, Aretha Franklin, Invicta, WILSN, Jonnine, Esben and The Witch, Delvon LaMarr Organ Trio, Esther Rose, Petite Noir, Sorry, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Momus, Chat Pile, Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood, Alfa Mist and Ancient Champion

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: February, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

This is going to require some exposition, so perhaps put on the track while reading?

SINGLES

ANOHNI (AS FIONA BLUE) - Rapture (Anthology)
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by Toon Traveller

This is going to require some exposition, so perhaps put on the track while reading? You could be glad that you did. From June 1992 to March 1995, in the midst of the AIDS crisis in NYC, an extraordinary theatrical collective emerged from the underground called the Blacklips Performance Cult. Co-founded by ANOHNI with collaborators Johanna Constantine and Psychotic Eve and joined by a cabal of fellow artists, drag queens, punks, nightlife veterans and students, they performed a new play every Monday night at 1:00am at the now-closed Pyramid Club on Avenue A. This March sees the release of a book and compilation offering an immersive dive into Blacklips Performance Cult: Blacklips: Her Life and Her Many, Many Deaths, co-authored by ANOHNI and Marti Wilkerson and published by Anthology Editions. Rapture is the first track available from the companion LP... Phew. 


CHAT PILE - Tropical Beaches, Inc (The Flenser)
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by Tim London

Hahahahahahahaha! Great lyrics:-

Ocean is

Far away

A million miles

Far away

And my wife

And my kids

It’s just me

At the gym

       I think I’m getting the hang of metal a bit now - no, this isn’t the lyrics, we’ve moved on - and understand there is a sense of ironic self-righteousness in all of its versions and sub-genres. It’s OK to take the piss as long you are taking the piss out of yourself, gently. As if to say, I know this is ridiculous but it’s also really important to me. But here, with this lyric, I can’t figure if it really is the writer, alone, at the gym, feeling sorry for himself or if it’s meant to be funny that you go the gym when you’re a lonely rocker, instead of, maybe the bottle of Jack. It works either way but I hope that it’s more David Byrne than Andrew Tate.


INVICTA - Sinister Obesession (Sublevel Records)
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by Tim London

Hahahahahaha! Some of the best synchronised head banging since the purple days of Status Quo. According to the press release they are on a quest for ‘total metal domination’ which would be a hell of a super power but I think it’s already taken. The words seem to be mildly Frankenstein-y, like a pulp comic cheap take, which is fair enough and very pop. And the painful vomits of lead vocals sit nicely on top of the tidy harmonising little riffs. Basically, I’d rather listen to this than much of the rest of the week’s releases - at least it’s entertaining in a late night, nothing on, watch a zombie film kind of way.


SLEAFORD MODS FT. FLORENCE SHAW - Force 10 From Navarone (Rough Trade Records)
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by Tim London

Always remember, even when the band or singer are apparently ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ they are always acting. If they make a video. This would have been so much better without the video where they mime along just like all the other mimers. Fucking sell outs. Fucking let me down. Fucking liars. Even Mark E Smith made miming videos. Fucking sell out. Even The Sex Pistols did one, even the fucking Clash. All sell outs. At least Charlie XCX doesn’t pretend - she’s knows she’s product.


WILSN - Every day And Every Night (UMG)
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by Tim London

Ever since Paul Young (or was it Paul Weller? Or was it Mick Hucknall? Or was it The Redskins?) decided that ‘reinventing’ Stax soul for the modern age was both homage and a good business decision there has been an apparently never-ending stream of new, youngish singers who have jumped aboard the soul train. The elements are now so obvious I’m surprised there isn’t a computer preset: press three for Al Green! Of course, none of them come close, however hard they try. The most successful pastiches are the ones that mess with the formula. This one? Just sounds like an A&R decision.


ESTHER ROSE - Blurry ft. Sampa The Great (Roya)
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by Ancient Champion

Esther Rose back with a new suit, a new attitude, a new label, a new LP and a new single, Chet Baker. Okay so how did she get that title past the Spotify censors who said I couldn't possibly call a piece of music, When I Open My Mouth I Wish The Sound of Macy Gray Came Out as I would be gaming the system? A million Chet Baker fans might be unhappy, but at least a million Esther Rose fans are super thrilled right now...


PETITE NOIR - Blurry ft. Sampa The Great (Roya)
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by Toon Traveller

Blurry starts voice and guitar, rhythm beat out simple chords and the drums slip in, but it's the voice falsetto that carries the song, it starts in an 80s alt vibe, and inhabits a liminal space between reflection and revenge. Harmless easy listening. It's from the LP MotherFather, his first LP from Petit Noir since the acclaimed La Vie Est Belle/Life is Beautiful, which came out in 2015. Looking forward to hearing it.


JONNINE - Tea For Two (Boo) (Bandcamp)
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by Tim London

No, not that tea for two, probably more like the old beatnik word for maryjoo-anna, if the woozy pace and the bassline are anything to go with. I do like a two note bass line and these are the best two notes of the week. Over that and a very lazy percussionist a young woman with the hint of a cold reminds me a little of Alison Stratton if the boys in Young Marble Giants had spiked her camomile.


ESBEN AND THE WITCH - The Well (Nostromo records)
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by Toon Traveller

Hhhhmm... Is a plaintive haunting voice, underpinned with vibrato guitar, set in a song that's more atmosphere than melody than song itself. Well, sadly no, sure the voice is pained, and the music sombre in a melancholic way.  Listening, found myself, drifting, thinking, if I was at a funeral or cremation, and this was playing as I entered the chapel, I'd probably think 'appropriate' without catching the lyrics. Yeah it's got that austere coldness that occasionally touches a chord, sadly that occasion is not here and now.The dead might give it more stars music to be buried to, a selling point.


BLACK BELT EAGLE SCOUT - Spaces (Saddle Creek)
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by Toon Traveller

Black Belt Eagle Scout put out their music on one of our favorite reliably great labels, Saddle Creek. There was time in the mid 90's, when "world music" was the vibe which hep cats like me lapped up like milk. That First Nation, Native American music was Sooo much the vogue. Later the calm rhythms, soft chants, and drum patterns filled the chill out rooms and meditation spaces of festivals and mindfulness sessions, world wide. It's great to see artists moving beyond what was narrowly defined for them to embrace, refresh, and reinterpret mainstream genres, moving it, and their own roots, forwards. So we end up here, in that space where marketed "Americana" brushes up with the "real Americana", yeah it has all that sense of open spaces, of lifestyle and culture fading. Evoking hints of sun rising over summer grasses, or cold silver lit first snows. There's echoes of those 90's CDs but in a positive sense. Delightful slide guitar that could be straight from 'Paris Texas'... This provides a taster for the more adventurous to sample and explore another musical world. A brush of transcendental calm.


TROPICAL F*CK STORM - 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be) (Joyful Noise Recordings)
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by Tim London

I’m a fan. But. After checking how well they do the ‘songy’ bit (quite faithfully, actually, so, pointless) I flicked through the rest of the 17 minutes, dropping in on moments of Gong-like meandering and can only presume Australian marijuana is strong cos you’d need to be stoned to appreciate this. I mean, it’s all done with obvious love, but. Why? Garage bands should keep their fave, faithful covers in the garage.


ALFA MIST - 4th February (stay awake) (Anti)
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by

Very cool laid back jazz, echoes of the sea, whispering voices, a message about giving up drugs and booze, and the rap, a sorta London version of Gil Scott Heron, (a long time hero for me). A delightful classical mid-section keeps mood, low lit and relaxed. This is uber cool soft step music, in a great sense, and the rap hints at isolation, and an awareness of a world full of risks. Eyes and ears sharp, stay cool. This is music to get ready for an edgy night out too. Chilled down, taking it easy, to face the night ahead, calm before the Friday night storm in UK, or the Saturday Night special, Stateside. Lovely groove.


DEPECHE MODE - Ghosts Again (Venusnote)
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by Jay Lewis

'Time is fleeting/see what it brings...' 

It may come as next to no surprise that Depeche Mode's first music since the death of founding member Andy Fletcher since his death last year, grapples with thoughts of mortality.  

What is a surprise though is just how light, how melodic, and how (unlike their difficult-to-warm-to last few albums), instantly absorbing 'Ghosts Again' is. It's has that familiar Depeche Mode hybrid of enchanting pop and melancholy, mixed in with one of Dave Gahan's most beautiful and bruised vocals (the 'everybody says goodbye' line brings tears. 

Finally, there's the stylish accompanying video by Anton Corbijn - well, someone's been rewatching The Seventh Seal haven't they? 


LPs

NANCY SINATRA AND LEE HAZELWOOD - Nancy and Lee Again (Light In The Attic)
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by Lee Paul

The first ever reissue of 1972's Nancy and Lee Again is pop music elevated to a higher level. Daring, psychedelic, cinematic, and sweet. From Light in the Attic records on March 24th.


THE ROLLING STONES - GRRR Live! (Mercury Studios)
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by Alarcon

Being an obsessive Smiths/Morrissey completist myself, I truly sympathize with what it must be like for Rolling Stones obsessives. To insist on buying every release, re-release, box set, limited edition single, bootleg… it can be exhausting, mentally and financially. So I take no pleasure in announcing the coming of the Stones’ latest release, GRRR Live! 

Unlike their bloated 80-track 2012 box set entitled GRRR, GRRR Live! reveals that the gruel is getting thinner and thinner with each passing year in the Rolling Stones’ canteen. This incarnation of their ‘GRRR’ series is made up of their 24 standards from a December 2012 show at Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center during the band’s 50 & Counting Tour. It was also broadcast live as a pay-per-view event so there’s nothing here that we haven’t seen already.

Now you've got to ask yourself one question, what kind of Stones fan are you? Are you a casual fan who settles on the two-disc CD release or are you the type of fan that opts for the vinyl edition with a blu-ray video of the Prudential Center concert mixed in Dolby Atmos? (Also, what’s Dolby Atmos?) If you’re a Stones obsessive completist, you buy every format and ask yourself what you’re doing with your life.


MOMUS - Issyvoo (Darla Records)
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by John Robinson

The 2023 album from Momus recorded last year is Issyvoo, you can read why John Robinson thinks it's a FiveLoveHeart record in his Psychogeographical Sounds review, right here


Other Materials

ANCIENT CHAMPION - Getting Read For Nothing (None)
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by Hamilton High

Ancient Champion, make a rare live appearance in Birmingham at what they call a poshies youth club on Sunday.


PVA - Not (BBC Sessions) (BBC)
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by Ancient Champion

PVA stick out some of the music they'd recorded for the BBC. I'm always surprised when artists cover Big Thief songs, wouldn't be my first instinct. It's as if PVA are channeling Stuart Moxham and Alison Stratton with a raised their pulse, something I don't think Stuart Moxham and Alison Stratton ever did. By the end it is wholly diabolical. God I love that word. Reminded me of how much I love so many other things. Well done PVA.


DELVON LAMARR ORGAN TRIO - Move On Up (Coalmine)
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by Ancient Champion

Delvon LaMarr is coming! Delvon LaMarr is coming! To Birmingham and what's that, maybe nothing less than Night of The Year? What are we gonna do in this city while we hang around until May? Good time to check out their warm up set in Seattle...


SORRY - Willow Tree (Domino Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Yes. Good. Sorry. I don't know if they've ever heard music before. Totally great.


ARETHA FRANKLIN - I Say A Little Prayer For You (Atlantic Recordings)
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by Jay Lewis

I could have picked any of about a dozen (maybe two dozen, maybe three), songs that Burt Bacharach wrote the music for. I could have picked something by any of my favourite singers (Scott, Dusty, Sandie, Elvis C), but I've selected this because it's as close to perfection as a mere pop song can be.

Hal David's lyrics find romance in the mundane and the everyday  ('I run for the bus dear/while riding I think of us dear'), whilst Aretha's heart tugging vocals,  have the passion of someone raised singing gospel. But it's Burt's music that binds this all together ( If you want to marvel at Burt's work without vocals or lyrics, then find the album 'Reach Out' and listen to his instrumental version of this tune).

There is very little in music that is better than this. RIP Burt Bacharach.


Essential Info
Main image by Juan Bendana ANOHNI from 2009 Antony and the Johnsons days.

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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