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Outsideleft Week in Music: Trombone Universe We're hearing from - Kalia Vandever, Kokoroko, David Bowie, Eric Bibb, Edward Ka-Spel, Depeche Mode, Angel Olsen, Tinariwen, Yves Tumor, Sleaford Mods ft Perry Farrell, Fever Ray, Fenne Lily, Rodriguez, Sudden Infant, The Luka State, Lonnie Holley, David Benjamin Blower, Media Giant, Psyclon Nine, Miles Davis, Sam Gellaitry, Ghost Love, Blue Statue, Telecom, Grandma's House and Cosmic Crooner

Outsideleft Week in Music: Trombone Universe

We're hearing from - Kalia Vandever, Kokoroko, David Bowie, Eric Bibb, Edward Ka-Spel, Depeche Mode, Angel Olsen, Tinariwen, Yves Tumor, Sleaford Mods ft Perry Farrell, Fever Ray, Fenne Lily, Rodriguez, Sudden Infant, The Luka State, Lonnie Holley, David Benjamin Blower, Media Giant, Psyclon Nine, Miles Davis, Sam Gellaitry, Ghost Love, Blue Statue, Telecom, Grandma's House and Cosmic Crooner

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

approximate reading time: minutes

Kalia Vandever offers a stark improvisational palate of solo trombone, voice, effects, and little more. Wow!

The OUTSIDELEFT Week in Music is brought to you by gathering the thoughts and feelings of our writers, independently and without an agenda I guess.

SINGLES

KALIA VANDEVER - Temper The Wound (AKP Recording)
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by Ancient Champion

This doesn't happen to me every week. The chills, wrought by composition, haunting tension, musicianship. Temper the Wound is the first track from Kalia Vandever’s forthcoming LP, We Fell In Turn (AKP Recordings). Kalia is a Brooklyn based trombone composer, quartet leader, Harry Styles cohort, Kalia has also played with luminaries such as Lizzo, Japanese Breakfast and Moses Sumney. We Fell In Turn, was recorded over three days in TK, New York. It offers a stark improvisational palate of solo trombone, voice, effects, and little more. Wow! It rolls like a souped up steamroller. Kalia’s LP explores her heritage, “In Hawaiian mythology, aumakua are known as ancestral spiritual guides that manifest in different forms, whether physical or intangible,” says Vandever. “My aumakua visits me in my dreams, usually with a reassuring hug or a reminder of my past. Memories and early experiences seem to escape me, but find their way back in dreams.” Temper the Wound is a gorgeous taster for Kalia’s full length which will released at the end of the month. You can't wait to hear it.


DEPECHE MODE - The Cosmos is Mine (Mute)
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by Spanish Pantalones

The thing I fucking hate most about reviewing a band’s single before listening to the full album is that I have no perspective. “My Cosmos is Mine” isn’t the greatest song Depeche Mode has ever released and it probably wouldn’t even make it as a B-side during their better years, but knowing that it’s the leadoff track to their first album since founding member Andrew Fletcher died, gives the single a lot more significance (and more OUTSIDELEFT hearts). This single is heavy and dark with a sludgy heartbeat-like core – like a sexy funeral dirge. I didn’t have much faith in the band’s forthcoming Memento Mori (due March 24) after its limp leadoff single (“Ghost Again”), but “Cosmos” gives me hope that their new LP is the goth-noir album I’ve been anticipating from them for years. Don't let me down, boys.


SAM GELLAITRY - Assumptions (FFRR/Parlophone)
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by Toon Traveller

Love the opening, slow build, as the groove eases through. First sun's rays on a snowscape, icy vocals entice, the slightly jagged melody keeps the interest. Not dance, but you can dance to it. Not chill out, but you can chill to it. It's in that place, as you stir from the ambient, trance, cool down room, and get ready to hit the floor again, throw shapes in foam, and a cloud of sweat. Memories could be made of this.


TELECOM - Ramon (All Better Company records)
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by Toon Traveller

Too much 'hard core' in my inbox of late. 'Telecom', are a poor person's yacht rock antidote. A moments of relief, smiles, warmth if Randy Newman don't rock your boat. Easy on the ears what's wrong with that? I can't wake angry, thrash and rage all day, everyday. Well I can. This is lazy music sure, we're all that sometimes. Syrup harmonies? A spoon of honey's good for the health. Will it change the world? No way. See 'em live? No chance. 


SLEAFORD MODS FT PERRY FARRELL - So Trendy (Rough Trade)
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by Alan Rider

One of life's great mysteries is why on earth does anyone like Sleaford Mods?  A poor man's version of The Fall crossed with The Streets, they are a talent free zone in my book.  If I wanted to hear a tramp shouting over a radio I could go to any bus stop or shop doorway after dark. Dragging Perry Farrell into this in a desperate attempt to add a splash of class simply doesn't work either.  The video is dire too.  Zero hearts feels generous from where I'm standing.


FEVER RAY - Even It Out (Mute)
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by Alan Rider

Karin Dreijer AKA Fever Ray has been a tad quiet this past five years, but is very definitely back with a bang with a new album 'Radical Romantics', tour, and stand out single “Even It Out.”  With a knowing nod to John Waters, Divine, and maybe even Madame JoJos (remember that place?), 45 year old Karin belts it out like she was 18 and on a mission. Apparently written as a warning to a child who once tormented Karin's offspring, if I was that kid I would be begging my parents to move school and house NOW!, as in the accompanying video she looks both unhinged and admirable at the same time. Inhabiting a creative world a good few blocks away from musical Main Street, that's just the sort of neighbourhood I like to hang around in, even if you do have to watch where you tread. Apparently Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who co-produced and performed on “Even It Out,” appear fleetingly in the video.  I blinked and missed it, but you may have better luck.  'Radical Romantics' is out now by the way.


TINARIWEN - Tenere Den (Desert) (Wedge)
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by Toon Traveller

Opening with a shimmering guitar, finger popping drum patterns, communal voices. An arcing downed powerline to the electronic Master Musicians of Jajouka's sounds of the 70s. Tenere Den sways with ease, hints of brittle autumnal desert light. Pretty, late night camp fire hypnotic melody, eases into desert inspired sleep. There's a lot to pleasantly consume here, it's beguiling, and evocative. But there's little I've not heard before from them and similar Sahel sounds. 10 years of unique sound and style, what comes next I want to hear here, but can't hear the progress.  


FENNE LILY - In My Own Time (Dead Oceans)
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by Ogglypoogly

There's a soothing lilt to this song, it's difficult to keep track of the world around you when you hear it.  The combination of Fenne Lily's captivating vocals and the borderline hypnotic guitar lick offer a moment of calm in a chaotic world. It's a song that needs to be heard rather than read about, so take a few minutes and go experience it. It's not ground breaking, but it is all a bit lovely. (Though I'm deducting a heart for the creepy ventriloquist dummies in the video)


DAVID BOWIE - Let's Dance - (Honey Dijon Moonlight Club Mix, 40th Anniversary Remix EP) (Jones/Tintoretto Entertainment Co)
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by Jay Lewis

Although much of the posthumous Bowie releases have taken us into a fascinating alternative world where abandoned projects are brought to life, past mistakes on albums are tweaked and adjusted ('it's what he would have wanted'), and much-bootlegged shows are tidied up and given a proper release, this is none of those things. There is zero value in a series of 40th-anniversary dance remixes of a record that is already called 'Let's Dance'. Banal and generic and easily forgettable. It's the bonus disc of the box set that you will never, ever play.


ANGEL OLSEN - Nothing's Free (Jagjaguwar Records)
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by Alarcon

This has Lana Del Rey's pretentious stench all over it. As someone who's liked most of Olsen's previous work, this is disappointing. 


MEDIA GIANT - Man Bites Dog (Brace Yourself Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Sadly not as interesting as the headline, strangely reminded of Duran Duran - voice, arrangements, occasionally fuzzy guitar. Slightly low-fi, pseudo funky (we can't afford Nile Rodgers) production. The high and low vocal range, and the easy, sleazy, late 80s pre-rave beats, it's,it's just in 'ear, and gone today. Well produced and played, but about four decades too late


ERIC BIBB - Family (Repute Records)
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by Toon Traveller

From the forthcoming LP Riding. This is a thrilling precursor. Supremely subdued. Gets going on the banjo. It's deeply Southern in it's tradition and by the end it's Southern semantic scope. Reminded me of Alabama 3's most famous tune, gotta tell you that. And maybe Earl Klugh, John Lee Hooker, and Taj Mahal. Eric's hero's shine through. Building on their traditions, it's soft railroad rhythms, and some razor sharp guitar breaks, BUT it's the lyrics, a celebration of strength, what was done, and sacrifices made. Can't wait for the album.


LONNIE HOLLEY - Kindness Will Follow Your Tears (Jagjaguwar)
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by Toon Traveller

Another more-of-a-mood piece than a hit single. Almost a paean to spiritual traditions, wondrous 60s Jazz feel, redolent of Pharaoh Saunders. Those swirls of sound, evocative impressions, Van Gough in music. The past made present. No singing, not rap, more Jazz poetry, an idiom occasionally revived, why such gaps in releases? Because it's bloody hard to get right as Lonnie has done right here.


GHOST LOVE - Iconic (All streaming platforms)
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by Alan Rider

Montreal based three-piece Ghost Love want to be Depeche Mode, Slowdive, Bronski Beat or Mesh. They really do. "Iconic", the second single from their upcoming album 'Mourners Disco' due out in April, is chock full of those ever popular '80s inspired synth-pop hooks, a driving electro beat, and slightly pleading and high pitched Jimmy Somerville styled vocals. You'll swear you've heard this one before.  Me, I think they are trying just a bit too hard to be everyone else to be truly credible as themselves.


EPs

KOKOROKO - RAPT (Brownswood Recordings)
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by Tim London

It takes a music video to show me a completely unknown world. How does the electricity get to homes - is there electricity? What happens at night, on those flimsy walk ways? How do you feel about your kids running about and splashing like little mer-kids in and out of the water? Is the water polluted? Does everyone know everyone? How does a place like that accommodate ten or twenty crew? Who’s in charge of a place like this? All these questions, and more. When, really, I should be thinking: ‘home, this is home.’

Home is the planet. Where an Afrobeat band of young people from south London create light, airy, butterfly jazz that soundtracks the busy streets of Peckham as easily as the wet roads of Makoko in Nigeria. Three tracks from Kokoroko’s first album form a kind of EP, knitted together by the sounds and sights of Akinola Davies Junior’s film that seems to capture something essential without sentiment, about life in what could be an alien environment but is actually just somewhere people live.

Five enormous hearts.


GRANDMA'S HOUSE - Who Am I (Brace Yourself Records)
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by Alan Rider

Bristol's Grandma's House are a morose, aggressive, punky three piece who glower at you with daggers whilst blasting out the sort of grrr, snarl noise that we've heard a zillion times before. What marks them out though is their videos.  Grandma's House look like someone took Hole and put them through a shredder.  They appear genuinely unhinged and are not to be invited in if they bang on your door screaming "Trick or Treat!" through the letterbox.  It's what panic rooms were made for.


PSYCLON NINE - More To Hell (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

‘More To Hell’ is a 30 minute companion piece EP to 2022’s ‘Less To Heaven’ album by cult US industrial rock act Psyclon Nine, founded two decades ago by controversial musician Nero Bellum. Including new tracks and remixes by Skold, Suicide Commando, Snakes Of Russia, Jay E and Pitch Black, as well as Bellum himself, it owes a massive debt to Marilyn Manson and Ministry.  Firmly in the same musical mould, the main attraction is the distinctly unhinged and body modified figure of Nero Bellum himself.  Whilst this isn't completely my cup of poisoned tea, I can appreciate the (witch)craft on display here. With whispered/screamed Hellraiser style vocals backed with angular industrial synths, this is not for the faint hearted.


LPs

SUDDEN INFANT - Lunatic Asylum (Fourth Dimension)
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by Alan Rider

Berlin based trio Sudden Infant describe themselves as "Swiss Industrial-Dada-Noise-Rock".  I couldn't have put it better myself.  From the opening 'Good Morning' where singer Joke Lanz (not his real name, surely?) describes the weather and tells us they are here to record this album, before the track morphs into 'Head', listing things that have a head "the boy has a head, dog has a head" and so on. Really?, I never would have guessed.  Cool video accompanying that one too. There are musical elements of Birthday Party, a punkier Frank Zappa, word association, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band, even US west coast punk, all blended together so you really don't know quite what to expect next.  Its an eclectic mix for sure, and Lunatic Asylum is more a descriptor than an album title. Standing out from the crowd is what Sudden Infant do best and this album treads on just enough toes to keep your interest going all the way through. "Swiss Industrial-Dada-Noise-Rock" indeed.


THE LUKA STATE - More Than This (Thirty Tigers)
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by Alan Rider

Hailing from Winsford – a town between Manchester and Liverpool –  The Luka State claim they aren’t overly concerned with the loftier heights of the rock’n’roll dream.  Their urgent, bass driven indie rock sound, reminiscent of early Manic Street Preachers belies that.  They absolutely are all about the rickety Rock'n'Roll dream, from the opening blast of 'Bring Us Down' through the single 'More Than This' and all points before and after.  Subjects include addiction, mental health struggles, and depression.  Cheery stuff, all riding on an over familar wave of riffy rock like so, so many others.  They seem decent enough sorts, and I have no axe to grind, but no moulds are being broken here and that's a bit of a shame.


BLUE STATUE - No/On (Fourth Dimension)
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by Alan Rider

Blue Statue certainly love the sound of words.  With hard to spell song titles like Supercilious, Lachrymose, and Noetic (meaning 'relating to mental activity or the intellect'), even reading the sleeve of No/On is a bit of an education.  Their punchy brand of infectious indie rock is also an education. The fact they have signed to a label better known for the sorts of electronic and extreme experimental acts that normally inhabit the outer reaches of the musical solar system is a bold move by both band and label to break out of stereotypes.  It succeeds and in a field chock-a-block with identikit bands, they certainly have an indefinable something that deserves a wider audience. Intellectual and intelligent indie rock.  That's a rarity that deserves to be treasured.


EDWARD KA-SPEL - Permission To Leave The Temple (Lumberton Trading Company)
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by Alan Rider

Edward Ka-Spel is a national treasure, says Alan Rider. You can read Alan's full review of Permission To Leave The Temple here⇒


YVES TUMOR - Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) (Warp)
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by Lee Paul

The highly anticipated follow-up to Heaven To A Tortured Mind, is finally around. Yves Tumor is an extraordinary and singular supernatural talent, with boundless experimental tendencies. Praise a Lord Who Chews but Which Does Not Consume; (or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) is an artist pouring petrol on to afrofuturistic intent. It's combustible. It's also electric, minimal, operatic, transgressive and knows well how to go pop.


COSMIC CROONER - The Perks of Being a Hypocrite (Self released)
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by Alan Rider

Describing himself as a 'Silver tongued Amsterdam lounge lizard' peddling 'absurdist suave' I simply can't get the image of Russell Brand in 'Get Him To The Greek' out of my head.  Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.  Setting aside the fact that the whole idea of reviving crooning lounge music in the style of Sinatra is not something anyone is crying out for right now, there is a strange allure to the sheer ridiculousness of Cosmic Crooner and that anyone as unfeasibly good looking as him would choose to do this as a career instead of say, becoming an underwear model. If they already hadn't invented the term Kitsch for this, I'd definitely have to. 

See Tim London's alternate take, here⇒


DAVID BENJAMIN BLOWER - The Book of Bare Life & Returns ()
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by Tim London

It’s a sad, gorgeous album... read Tim London's full David Benjamin Blower review here⇒


Other Materials

MILES DAVIS - So What (Columbia)
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by Ancient Champion

I was thinking about OUTSIDELEFT's excursion into broadcasting and how I loved KCRW and NPR so much and how US radio has an awareness of jazz that doesn't really happen here so much. So while we don't have a radio show this week, we do have the theme music for our ideas on loan from and inspired by American radio's understanding what beauty sounds like. So what.


RODRIGUEZ - Inner City Blues (UMG)
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by Ancient Champion

Because this from 1970 Cold Fact LP is worth thinking about.


Essential Info
Main image by Bao Ngo

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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