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Outsideleft Week in Music with Lana's middle America myth making  We're hearing from Lana Del Ray, Shonen Knife, Beck, Dry Cleaning, Ben Folds, Orbital, Linkin Park, Jax Jones, Bob Dylan, Calum Scott, Museumgoer, Central Cee, GA-20, Gallon Drunk, Anna B.Savage, Tove Lo, Mediocre, Abby Jeanne, The Church and The Disco Scooters

Outsideleft Week in Music with Lana's middle America myth making

We're hearing from Lana Del Ray, Shonen Knife, Beck, Dry Cleaning, Ben Folds, Orbital, Linkin Park, Jax Jones, Bob Dylan, Calum Scott, Museumgoer, Central Cee, GA-20, Gallon Drunk, Anna B.Savage, Tove Lo, Mediocre, Abby Jeanne, The Church and The Disco Scooters

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

approximate reading time: minutes

...but could you imagine how depressing a Beck divorce album would sound?

SINGLES

LANA DEL RAY - A&W (Polydor Records)
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by Tim London

Whenever I try to hit a response across the badminton nets to one of Lana Del Ray’s whispy, self-conscious torn denim urban country odes to a mythical America, I tend to miss. In fact, I’m still staring at her as the shuttlecock whooshes past, wondering what all the fuss is about. I want to like it. There’s obviously a bit more to her than Shania or Taylor’s middle American shopping for trainers, but, still… anyway, this is the closest to me getting a response in as the ‘something something American whore’ chorus line fades into an extended, valium-downer outro. Actually, now we’ve arrived, I think this is brilliant. Game on.


BECK - Thinking About You (Fonograf Records)
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by Spanish Pantalones

Folky Beck at his most stripped down, with not much more than an acoustic guitar, a harmonica, and strings. While we’ve heard him sound gloomy and somber like this before, this one’s about his pending divorce, which is something he never does – talk about his life. No word on whether this is a one-off single or the lead-up to an album, but could you imagine how depressing a Beck divorce album would sound like?


JAX JONES, CALUM SCOTT - Whistle (Polydor Records)
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by Tim London

The major labels are coming out to play! And here’s Jax (so good his name is two names in one) The middle eight section seems to be ‘if you call me knock knock knock’ which is a bit greedy, calling, whistling AND knocking. What’s wrong with an old fashioned text? On closer examination I heard wrong but I prefer it: ‘Knock knock knock’ shows some balls. Of course, this is more shopping for trainers and there are far too many trainers in the world, great smelly mounds of them.


ABBY JEANNE - Know Better (Eraserhood Sound) 
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by Toon Traveller

I Love the feel of this right from the get go. This is a giant 60s inflected pop song. Bonus Jazzy sounds, and sense of 80's spiritual soul, a really great groove. This spirits you away to summer strolls, ice creams, and sunburnt park sitting... Has me yearning for the days... It's all together a delight, great guitar, wonderful echo effect, yeah this has it all for those home working, garden sitting, mint juleps sippings. A delight, this is a touch of gentleness, a brush of summer tenderness. 5 hearts all the way every day 


THE CHURCH - No Other You (Communicating Vessels Records)
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by Spanish Pantalones

I don’t love this one, but I don’t hate it either and that’s probably how you’ll feel about it too. (I’m never wrong about these things.) It’s The Church at their most Beatlesy with an extra helping of Dark Side of the Moon. As a stand-alone single, it’s a nice, spacey ballad, but my half-assed research tells me that this is part of the band’s forthcoming conceptual album about a machine (the Hypnogogue, they even wrote a song about it) that extracts music from people’s dreams. Frankly, it sounds like work to listen to, but I like the fact that these pensioner are still making listenable music that doesn’t sully their good name. (I'm posting the live version of the single, because it has an edge that the studio version lacks. You're welcome.)


BEN FOLDS - Winslow Gardens (New West Records)
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by Alarcon

As pretentious as Ben Folds seems to be (for starters, he uses the words “craft” and “generous” in interviews), he fills a niche. No one else makes that wistful, bouncy piano-driven AM Gold that seems to appease Generation X like he does. You can almost feel the deep shag rug under your feet when you listen to this one.


SHONEN KNIFE - MUJINTO Rock (Valve Records)
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by Alarcon

A four-minute blast of Johnny Ramone-style buzzsaw guitars offset by the high harmonies of Naoko, Atsuko, and Risa. If you replace their vocals with Paul Weller's howl, this could be a deep cut on In the City.


LINKIN PARK - Lost (WMG)
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by Tim London

There’s really not much difference between this floppy, self-pitying whinge fest and the voice competition big ballads. They both exist in the same bubble of inward looking art inversion. What does that mean, Tim? The opposite. The opposite of art. When you try (and I have, really, tried) to see the beauty of a generic shopping mall and fail, that’s when you stop allowing junk like this a free pass because lots of people like it. It’s shopping for trainers.


MEDIOCRE - To Know You're Screwed Is To Know A Lot (Dangerbird)
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by Ancient Champion

Mediocre are anything of course, but that. Blending bits of garage rock and post punk indie pop, they are tongue in cheek motherfucking genius types. They said it. "It's all self taught," and I'm buying in, in about as racious a 2:43 as I've heard in a while. To Know You're Screwed Is To Know A Lot is from their forthcoming EP To Know You're Screwed on the always excellent Dangerbird Records. “Sometimes the awareness of being screwed is comforting, but sometimes ignorance is bliss.” Mediocre Keely Martin on bass and Piper Torrison on guitar with the help of Jake Pavlica of the band Street Play on drums, Joe Reinhart of Hop Along and Algernon Cadwallader, contributing too. A great one.


TOVE LO - Borderline (Pretty Swede Records)
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by Tim London

Do you think some artists add a load of credits into the video in order to make it seem like some kind of Sundance competitor? ‘Executive Producers: Francesco Colombo, Natan Schottenfels, Sofia Garmilla, Charlie Twaddle, Laila Daniela Camhi’  Fake, fake, fake!! ‘Twaddle’ !!! In this epic, wee Tove touches her tits in a scrapyard, hangs out a car window in ecstasy and appears to have been kidnapped by a crash test dummy with a penchant for bondage (we’ve all been there). Meanwhile some Europop babbles on in the background like a Slovakian supermarket tannoy.


DRY CLEANING - Swampy & Sombre 2 (4AD)
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by Tim London

Swampy. Over what could be a slightly more energetic out-take from a Big Brother and the Holding Company album, circa 1967 wassername does her tired primary teacher thing and, surprisingly, when she sings a bit it’s a nice noise and helps me get over my inherent dislike of the talking aspect. Sombre 2. Double bass and glockenspiel means hints of subterranean bar, Argentinian drinking session with Nick Cave’s cousin, mercifully free (for me) from a vocal. In other words, it’s a short instrumental.


CENTRAL CEE - Me and You (WMG)
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by Tim London

He says he’ll get you a Porsche (twin turbo exhaust). But do you believe him? It’s a nice beat and I like his voice, he sounds genuine, but the lyrics are all surface, all about having shit. Sounds like, despite his best efforts, Mr Cee sees you as an addition to his belongings. That’s not a good start to a relationship.


GA-20 - By My Lonesome (Live) (Colemine Records)
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by Tim London

Utterly, unashamedly rooted in 1969’s American rhythm and blues/blues/rocknroll revival that reached its apex with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s massive success playing unfussy, two and a half minute, three chord rock songs. Lead singer Matthew Stubbs sports a Jerry Garcia bush of hair and the band do not, in any way, attempt to connect with the twenty-first century beyond releasing their music digitally. In the UK, it was the bedrock of pub rock where the accents floated about America via Essex and Hammersmith, but, in America I suppose it’s almost, now, a folk music and this lot are really good at it.


ANNA B.SAVAGE - Pavlov's Dog (City Slang)
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by Katherine Pargeter

When my work colleagues ask me later today what I am planning to do this weekend, I probably won’t tell them of the album at the top of my pile of records to listen to. As tasters for Savage’s sophomore album (out today), I have already succumbed to the mesmerising title track (in/Flux), been haunted by ‘The Ghost’, and realised just how a mere pop video can be art with the exceptional ‘Crown Shyness’ (oh and she’s also duetted with Hamish Hawk on his new album).  I’m frequently reminded of Keeley Forsyth’s intense tales. Before I go and prepare some lies to tell the rest of my colleagues, I will share the (mostly) positive 'Pavlov's Dog' (‘I’m here/I’m waiting/I’m salivating’), the honesty is overpowering. I’m off to spend my weekend in a state of flux.


LPs

BOB DYLAN - 'Fragments' - Time Out of Mind sessions 1996-1997 (Coumbia)
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by Jay Lewis

Jay listens to all six hours of the sessions from his favourite Dylan album - and probably wishes there were more. Link here⇒


ORBITAL - Optical Delusion (Orbital)
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by Spanish Pantalones

Apparently everyone with a musical instrument and a recording contract made a pandemic album, including Orbital. Social media, Covid-19, Brexit – all of the hot-topic buttons are pressed here. Sure, the lyrics may be a bit weighty for dance music, but luckily for Optical Delusion, every track is so strong, you’ll never realize how much of a political album it is. The surprise hit of the week? Those who remember the Second Summer of Love will all say yes.


MUSEUMGOER - Museumgoer 21 (Bandcamp)
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by Ancient Champion

Museumgoer 21 is lengthier and breadthier than the equally beautifully ambient 20 Museumgoer releases to date. There's much to enjoy on here, from Bentley powered Rhythm Ace almost funk on These Weeds. "My neighbor," says Museumgoer, "was mowing his wreck of a yard (an oak tree came down in the last hurricane) and the buzz of the mower permeated the house. I caught a minute of it on my phone then later mixed wit with a cello sound to make a grindy, My Bloody Valentine-ish organ patch and built the thing from there - a fanfare for a job adequately done." Then there's A Vibe, here. But read Museumgoer's own track by track, here⇒


Other Materials

THE DISCO SCOOTERS - From Mud To The Moon (Playground)
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by Lee Paul

Ah. The glorious Disco Scooters, recorded on a Fostex Portastudio in a Hastings living room... The title track from their C86 style cassette only release on the Work Experience Scheme record label Playground Records.


GALLON DRUNK - Some Fool's Mess (Clawfist)
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by Ancient Champion

Probably can do this justice with words you're  just have to look and listen and think about what you're doing with your life.


Essential Info
Main image by Justin Higuchi from Los Angeles, CA, USA - Lana Del Rey @ Grammy Museum 10/13/2019

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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