search for something...

search for something you might like...

Outsideleft Week in Music: Everything But The Girl are Back with: Everything But The Girl, The National, Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Neutral Milk Hotel, Shahzad Ismaily, Whatitdo Archive Group, The Hackles, Fast Romantics, Bill Pritchard, Miirrors, Sam Akpro, Caroline Polachek, FIDLAR , Shana Cleveland, Bebe Rexha, Liars at the Witch Trial, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Hania Rani, Bebe Rexha (again), Natalie Merchant and Devon Church

Outsideleft Week in Music: Everything But The Girl are Back

with: Everything But The Girl, The National, Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Neutral Milk Hotel, Shahzad Ismaily, Whatitdo Archive Group, The Hackles, Fast Romantics, Bill Pritchard, Miirrors, Sam Akpro, Caroline Polachek, FIDLAR , Shana Cleveland, Bebe Rexha, Liars at the Witch Trial, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Hania Rani, Bebe Rexha (again), Natalie Merchant and Devon Church

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

approximate reading time: minutes

Do I wonder whether militantly suburban Tracey would rather be listening to The Archers than the electronic handclaps that, just about, keep them relevant? - Tim London on EBTG

SINGLES

EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL - Caution To The Wind (Buzzin' Fly Records)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_borderfavorite_border

by Tim London

Is it unsporting to wonder whether the reinvention of EBTG in the early 90s as a precursor to the smart living room minimalism and personal inventory set to the relaxed smoothness of The xx is a little bit, umm, opportunistic? Do I wonder whether militantly suburban Tracey would rather be listening to The Archers than the electronic handclaps that, just about, keep them relevant? Yes, I wonder. Her voice though, has matured nicely, the tiniest hint of a rough edge and lower range, accent still stuck determinedly somewhere between Harpenden and Washington DC, and is a pleasant thing to hear for three minutes.


WHATITDO ARCHIVE GROUP - Hidden Cove (Record Kicks)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite

by Ancient Champion

Nearly 2 years on from their Italo-western soundtrack The Black Stone Affair, Whatitdo Archive Group come with, well certainly a more stripped-down single, Hidden Cove. Some say the LP in May, Palace Of A Thousand Sounds will be more dionysus style mod century lounge... More Martin Denny and Lee Baxter and Alarcon will be dusting off his cocktail glasses, looking in the back of the closet for the quality vodka for the dirty martini mixes. We'll see. For now, this is what we are getting from one of the most groovy and exciting bands in the world. T O U R now! I know they read this page, so that Isanimplore.


SHANA CLEVELAND - Faces in the Firelight (Hardly Art)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by Toon Traveller

Great, great treat of a spaced out electro start. Slowly drums and wistful guitar get into it, could be straight outta that trippy 80s summer of peace and love. Golden cornfield, punts on a southern stream, Laura Ashley fabrics, soft focus, fingers drifting in a slow ebbing river, dappled sun, golden jewels bounding, warblers burbling, languid drifting lazily through willow boughs, river bank kissing, picnicking lovers, white wine sipping, tender slow kissing. It's summer somewhere and this is the perfect soundtrack to it.


THE NATIONAL - New Order T-Shirt (4AD)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by Alex V. Cook

A sweet acoustic guitar-forward song name checking New Order is perhaps a demographic eventuality. The synths creep in, and the drums have a bit of 'Brotherhood' to them, almost regrettably, undoing the schism, but then this is The National at their best. They set up the beer can pyramids in your heart only to knock them down. Matt's gruff ramble about cigarettes and remembering a girl in a place in a time before it all went to shit. It's lovely. It's not the wine-drunk rager this song might have been on Alligator, but that was some time ago. 


LIARS AT THE WITCH TRIAL - Torches (Bandcamp)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by Jay Lewis

After a handful of deleriously powerful singles, Liars at the Witch Trial release their most ambitious work to date. 'Torches' - is their new single, and title track from their forthcoming album, burns into you. There's a darkness here, Kate Walton's passionate, almost bluesy, vocals are astounding. Her grungey guitar hooks and Adam Wakefield's assertive drumming sound are intoxicating and that moment when the splendid chorus lifts proceedings to a dramatic new level...well, it's all rather special. The album 'Torches' will be released on 31 March 2023.


DEVON CHURCH - Flash Of Lightning In A Clear Blue Sky (Felte)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_borderfavorite_border

by Toon Traveller

There's a sense that Devon is a Sunday school teacher clinging to the chapbooks of the poets he read in sixth form. Flash Of Lightning In A Clear Blue Sky. Well. Anyway, it starts with stark synthetic darkness designed to promulgate fear and foreboding. I dig that. I can hear smoke rising from trashed utilitarian urban alleyways. Sonorous in the mix are the vocals. It is a great, great atmosphere. Holding its nerve through a ponderous stroll. It wears its influences well, the simulacra of 80s angst with a touch of English Art School alienation. Those art school kids were bullied after all. In the swirling anthemic climax, all dismay and decay fade into miasmic sodium lights, bouncing off wet streets. It's a song of our times, tired, played out, certain now of a certain type of past, but wholly unsure of a future.


AROOJ AFTAB, VIJAY IYER, SHAHZAD ISMAILY - To Remain/To Return (Verve)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by Alex V. Cook

It is worth exploring jazz pianist Vijay Iyer's interface with the 99% of the universe that is not jazz because he builds a navigable bridge between that takes you there. Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab also operates in this transitory space, as does composer and engineer Shahzad Ismaily, so this music is jazz/not jazz, Middle Eastern and not, ambient and activated. The song ripples in a lost grotto pool of the spirit, lifting and falling like mid-drift feather. It borders dangerously on what we used to call World Music, what with its call-to-prayer vibe and excessive reverb, but the journey feels sad and terrestrial. The album from which this is emitted is called Love in Exile, hearkening back, to me at least, to the spiritual jazz/rock of John McLaughlin Kicking it with Carlos Santana et al, but without the fireworks. It's also a little Vangelis. It's also lovely.


NATALIE MERCHANT - Come on Aphrodite ft. Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus) (Nonesuch)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by Lee Paul

From the forthcoming Nonesuch LP, Keep Your Courage, the first single and first new music in an age from Natalie Merchant, is Come on Aphrodite, featuring Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus). I think one of the few shows that moved me to tears would've been the 10,000 Maniacs at the Town and Country whenever that was. Come on Aphrodite is wonderfully relaxed and awash with piano and brass. Merchant just does this better than almost anyone.  Oddly the two times I went to the Leno show, Merchant was the musical guest and she refused to get in frame with a chimpanzee for the bumper-trailer thing for the west coast broadcast of the show. Somedays I get that some muso's are better at what they do than other muso's doing pretty much the same thing and that it matters. “‘Come On, Aphrodite’ is an invocation to the goddess of love and passion,” says Merchant. “In the lyrics, I list all the clichés we use to describe falling in love: being drunk and blind, over the moon, weak in the knees, and half out of our minds. For the Greeks, when the spirit of love descended, it was seen as a kind of assault; you would become powerless against an all-consuming, sweet madness. Amazingly, humans still crave it, in spite of the perils.”


BEBE REXHA - Heart Wants What It Wants (Warner Records)
favoritefavorite_borderfavorite_borderfavorite_borderfavorite_border

by Toon Traveller

It's not often they send me the "legacy" label material like Warner Brothers for review. I'm not sure if this is satire, if it is it's a good one. So dead on. Otherwise, if not this demonstrates how out of touch those big ol' dinosaurs can be. Gets off to a good start but 10 seconds in, the chorus and a standard drum pattern, yawn, and a 'little girl lost vocals' faux innocence. Chuck in 'a throw instruments at the wall and see what sticks, and you have this trash. Utterly dead in the eyes and soul, (it'll do well on American Idol) pain but absolutely no passion.


BEBE REXHA - Heart Wants What It Wants (WMG)
favoritefavorite_borderfavorite_borderfavorite_borderfavorite_border

by Tim London

Second review, just because it's so fuckin' good! Mainstream is always weirder than left field alternative. Bebe’s voice is similar to Noosha Fox’s and it sits on top of this country-pop hybrid thing like Europop on the lapping waters of the Black Sea. Bebe herself must be judged, of course, visually, as much if not more than audibly and she doesn’t fail to delight, looking like she could happily rope a steer, and cook a biggo stew all whilst falling down the motel stairs after a pint of vodka. A choreographer’s nightmare, in other words. Whoever thought it was a fab idea to set the video in the early 1970s pornland of big John Holmes was obviously going out with the actor with the ‘tache who’s probably been struggling for work since that movie about the smoking stunt men. There, i think I’ve done the production justice, even if I haven’t mentioned Nails By Caroline.


FAST ROMANTICS - Euphoria (Postwar Records)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by Tim London

With a truly horrible video and a voice like a Guy Garvey fan trying to do Guy Garvey while the kids are sleeping, there’s no real reason for me to like this, but I do, temporarily, no doubt, but I love the fact that he could’ve made it all dum dum dum bass, biff bash kick snare drums and epic guitars (plus his girlfriend) but, instead, has sunk the mix into a blancmange of self-defeating, over-saturated and miserable, the late night takes of audible drug abuse (plus his girlfriend) and it sounds like he was headed towards Phil Spectorville but gave up at the first crossroads and stayed in Pittsburgh after all.


THE HACKLES - Birdcage (Jealous Butcher)
favoritefavorite_borderfavorite_borderfavorite_borderfavorite_border

by Toon Traveller

Love the female harmony and silky electric, eclectic mandolin opening. mixed with a pain-wrenched violin. The vocals delicate harmony all builds hope and anticipation, a wisp of spring magic. The arrangements and line "waiting to die like a Christmas tree " seem particularly poignant. I like it and if they were playing  locally, I'd  consider  seeing them live.


FIDLAR - Centipede (Own Record Label)
ZERO favorite_borders

by Tim London

Hold on. Does that lyric really go ‘she’s my oasis but she treats me like I’m in blur’??!!?? Zzzzwipp! Off it goes at 1.31, there’s just no need for me to hurt myself like I do. Nothing - and I mean NOTHING - about this garbage deserves your attention, in fact, I’m going to link to Armadillos mating so that you don’t have to subject yourself to it. Unless it’s a joke. Is it a joke? Am I being fooled by three smart comedians who are just taking the pastiche too far? Who knows. Who cares.


EPs

SAM AKPRO - Trace (Fair Youth)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite

by Toon Traveller

Starts positive. some great 'off the beat', beats, and the feel of another place, possibly not this world. This has that sense of new, 'old' ideas remade, remodeled. It's a mix of psychedelic soul / rock  and a drizzle of that jazzy, letting it flow sensibly. It's a mixed, crafted match-up of 80's baggy Manchester Sound, meets 70's Norman Whitfield production. Sound and instruments swirl, it's one of the mini-autumnal leaf swirls we see, in musical form. I love the groove, it's back of the room, far away sound, wafting around your ears in an enchanting magical sound. Think Stone Roses, meets Soul II Soul, in a hazy,  phazey,  cool, drifting, musical love affair. It's sheer delight. I love this one. Can't wait for the entire Arrival EP in April.


LPs

CAROLINE POLACHEK - Desire, I Want to Turn Into You (Perpetual Novice)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by Erin

'Nothing's gonna be the same again...'  Erin explores Polachek's second long player here.


NICK CAVE AND WARREN ELLIS - Blonde (s/t) (Invada)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by Lee Paul

Have been getting around to reviewing this for an age and now here it is on a vinyl LP, the soundtrack to a sometimes divisive film. Most probably for people who have read two conflicting reviews and don't know what to think or say for themselves. I am twisted and I am as torn as Natalie Imbruglia was. Try this, you can begin when you leave the theatre by discussing what was the worst of it for you. Meanwhile here's the music. 'Bright Horses' is heaven-sent and beautifully destructive. If Blonde is a film about us and what we think we want, and not about what we need. Cave and Ellis care not to conform to anything you want, I'd say. In their hands, 'Abortion' sounds dreamy and ends so suddenly. Quite a brilliant record, epic, melodic, sonic, and minimal all at once. Marilyn is safe in their hands. But why is vinyl so really necessary? IDK.


BILL PRITCHARD - Lance (Tapete)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by Jay Lewis

On his first album since 2019, Bill Pritchard has worked with Canadian poet Patrick Woodcock. Jay Lewis listens in here.  


HANIA RANI - On Giacometti (Gondwana Records)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite

by Jay Lewis

Rani's extraordinary soundtrack to a film on the iconic sculptor Giacometti gets Jay full attention here⇒


NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL - The Collected Works of Neutral Milk Hotel (Merge Records)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite

by Ogglypoogly

Ogglypoogly collects some major thoughts about the Collected Works on Neutral Milk Hotel here⇒


Other Materials

MIIRRORS - Gunshot Glitter (Pravda Records)
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite_border

by LamontPaul

Chicago's MIIRRORS handle their interpretation of Gunshot Glitter, the unfinished Jeff Buckley song, with sweeping dexterity. They dial back the ferocity just a bit and it makes for a rewarding record-like listen. It's got a vintage sound to it for sure. 70s Alba bedroom stereo. The MIIRRORS have included Gunshot Glitter, on their very confident forthcoming LP Motion and Picture which will be available on March 23rd. 


Essential Info
Main image Everything But The Girl

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 »»

Lu Warm at Corks in Bearwood on Friday May 3rd web banner

RECENT STORIES

RANDOM READS

All About and Contributors

HELP OUTSIDELEFT

Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]

WRITE FOR OUTSIDELEFT

If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]

OUTSIDELEFT UNIVERSE

Ooh Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha May 29th
OUTSIDELEFT Night Out
weekend

outsideleft content is not for everyone