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Outsideleft Week in Music cedes the G L O R Y We're hearing from... Gabriels, Captain, Kevin Morby, Alex Nicol, Brian Eno, Milly, Weird Nightmare, Fatoumata Diawara, Mahalia, Cinema Cinema, King Krule, Dream Wife, Bazox, Sages, Kevin Morby, Griz Green, Joey Mac, Norah Jones, Sam Smith & Madonna, Dakota Jones, Peter Gabriel, Bully and James 'Foz' Foster

Outsideleft Week in Music cedes the G L O R Y

We're hearing from... Gabriels, Captain, Kevin Morby, Alex Nicol, Brian Eno, Milly, Weird Nightmare, Fatoumata Diawara, Mahalia, Cinema Cinema, King Krule, Dream Wife, Bazox, Sages, Kevin Morby, Griz Green, Joey Mac, Norah Jones, Sam Smith & Madonna, Dakota Jones, Peter Gabriel, Bully and James 'Foz' Foster

by OL House Writer,
first published: June, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

Gabriels. I'm going to sound hideously fickle here...

SINGLES

GABRIELS - Glory (Parlophone)
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by Katherine Pargeter

I'm going to sound hideously fickle here, but the band that I spent so much of the last few years raving and drooling about now seems to be a little predictable ... Whereas 'Love and Hate in a Different Time' and 'Angels and Queens' sounded so, daring, fresh, so intriguing, so soulgospelfunk sexy and strange, this is kinda ordinary, even formulaic and that, sadly, just ain't enough. 


NORAH JONES - Happy Pills (Live in Austin, TX) (Big Record Co)
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by Lee Paul

One of the few ones where Norah Jones rocks out. Remarkable. ~ Here's a different version on video. Dude in tighty whiteys, jeans that is, take another look at your life choices.


JOEY MAC - Ferdinand (Independent)
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by Ogglypoogly

‘As our love withered, your leaves grew…’ It’s always a good day when you find out Joey has something in the works, and (for me) it’s hard to resist a song described as being “an unexpectedly warming picture of a failing relationship through an ode to a chilli plant”.  Joey Mac has cracked the Midas code, with her distinctive style her music is instantly recognisable, without falling into the trap of being the same song in a different tempo with new lyrics draped over the top. Ferdinand is as catchy as a very catchy thing and activates the toe-tapping reflex within seconds of opening, this is the kind of tune that leaves me wanting to dance around a campfire as the sun sets. It leaves a listener wanting more, and I’m prepared to look beyond the inference that she’s naming plants and award this all of the hearts.


BAZOX - My Home Ft. Jamila Woods & James Vickery (4433764 Records DK)
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by Ancient Champion

Alrighty-then. This is so perfectly nothing at all happening here but everything. It's the soundtrack to my collection of short stories where I make sure nothing happens either. Buy several copies, and play them slightly out of sync. Twice the beauty. And beauty it is. I love it.


SAM SMITH & MADONNA - Vulgar (UMG)
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by Tim London

Trying to listen to this as if I don’t know who either of these are. The lyrics have obviously been written as part of an English lesson assignment (primary school, ages 9-10) and the sounds and arrangement have obviously been stolen from the Britney box (circa 2002). The ‘chrapping’ is a naughty Muppets skit and the… celebrity, well, that’s top-notch.


KEVIN MORBY - Bittersweet, Tennessee ft. Erin Rae (Dead Oceans)
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by Ancient Champion

The thing with Kevin Morby is that he requires Constant Appraisal and Reappraisal. What he did before doesn't sound like it did anymore. It's like art that can never be told it is finished. It lives and I love that. And I love this.


PETER GABRIEL - Road to Joy (Peter Gabriel Ltd)
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by Katherine Pargeter

There's a definite whiff of Bowie's 'Fame' in the mix on this, Peter Gabriel's most entertaining single in many a long year, and the Eno co-production is delightfully odd. Sure, the title is an atrocious pun, the explanation of the lyrics (available on Gabriel's 'Full Moon' updates on YouTube, should you be that curious), is nonsense and some of those rhymes are execrable...but, then again, this is the guy who thought it was a good idea to write a song about the tender art of lovemaking by comparing his, erm, manhood to a heavy-duty hammer primarily used for demolition jobs.  


SAGES - Walk Away (indie likely)
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by Toon Traveller

After 2 weeks frying in Playa del Carmen, an all-inclusive resort hotel, (it was a wedding, honest), where the high points were a Mexican / Euro House band, or a cabaret mariachi band, huge sombreros that only tourists wear, I faced my first new music in three weeks with mouth-watering anticipation. SO what do we have here... Thrown back to my early first post-pubescent year and Black Sabbath in the early 70's. Though the 'Sabbs' were awful then, this is a little better, derivative drums and bass, the semi-Iommi guitar, and rasped almost strangled vocal, nothing new here to hear. "It's time to walk away" screams the chorus, and you know the band are dead right and on the money, so it is. Wait though. The vocal harmonies, bizarrely, actually work in the song and show promise.

CAPTAIN - Fire In My Heart (Independent)
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by Ogglypoogly

In the days that follow a chaotic weekend music festival fuelled by, well, whatever you opted for as festival fuel, there comes a melancholic reverie as you relive the sights, sensations, sounds and revelations you experienced. Whether intended or not, that is what Captain has captured with ‘Fire In My Heart’, with a big voice for one so young, Captain is absolutely one to keep a close eye on, the mix on this track doesn’t do her vocals justice and I highly recommend catching her live, which if you’re lucky enough to be at either Sharrow Festival or Tonnau - you’ll be able to do in the coming weeks.


BRIAN ENO - The Ritan Bells 1 (Universal)
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by Ancient Champion

Really good bell sounds and not much besides so I am uphearting it for that.

Downhearted because he missed punk and is in bed with massive music corporations exclusively.


KING KRULE - If Only It Was Warmth (XL I think)
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by Ancient Champion

This would be perfect without King Krule. Who cares. Set someone to the controls who can excise the vocals and you've got a surefire hit. Nothing happens then. Which is good. I mean, who wants a lecture in who King Krule is disappointed in? But the bass and cymbals. Good.


WEIRD NIGHTMARE - She's The One (Sub Pop)
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by Alan Rider

Pointless and boring cover version of a Ramones song that robs it of anything that made it worth listening to in the first place.  Namely, that it was performed by The Ramones in the way only they can (or could).  I despair that some people truly don't have anything better to offer us than this sort of tripe, and worse still, they seriously expect us to buy it!  Jeez!


MAHALIA - Cheat (Feat. JoJo) (WMG)
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by Tim London

The aural equivalent of a Brazilian wax whilst being forced to listen to your parents have sex for the first time in six weeks. Somehow extraordinarily mundane, almost punk in its ordinariness.


EPs

ALEX NICOL - It's Been A Long Year (Youtube)
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by Toon Traveller

"When you paint the truth what colours do you use?" An interesting question. and the singer seems to be in a quandary, "Do you step into dance groove, or tiptoe around the edge?" Good life questions. Do you leap into life, or flutter around the edges? At times we've all been there, confidence, fear, and trust all anchor us in the present, when something new is easy steps away. Commit or hold back, I suppose that's when life slips away. When love floats off, elusive and now out of reach, a memory, a time passed, regrets, lessons, hopes, dreams and memories. It's Been A Long Year is the opening track from Nicol's new EP. A song of reflection, and wistful memories, there's a sorrow here, but it's the slow slipped wine of sweet memories, there are talks of bitter truth, but really these are bitter/sweet truths.  A song that floats on the memories of love, those days of reflection, and experiences in a balance perspective. Plaintive but NOT pleading.


MILLY - Freed Milly EP (Dangerbird)
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by Alan Rider

Another set of covers.  This time three tracks by Sebadoh are covered by sloppy LA threesome Milly.  Silly name that, Milly. Silly Milly.  Hey, that rhymes! Once again, there is a truly awful promo shot provided in a feeble attempt by their PR folk to persuade us hard-working and long-suffering journos to give them column space.  This time it is of Milly sitting in a diner stuffing disgusting-looking and artery-clogging fast food down their pasty gullets, all dressed in US Football shirts (that's the weird US version of football btw, so not proper football).  Lamentable.  The EP echoes this disturbing image in that it's lacking in any aural nutrition and overindulging will no doubt make you fat, sweaty, and spotty and probably shorten your life.  Don't say I didn't warn you.


LPs

FATOUMATA DIAWARA - London Ko (Wagram)
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by Katherine Pargeter

The vibrancy of the colours on the front covers of Fatoumata Diawara's fourth album is an indication of the arresting mix of musical styles and bold messages therein.

Born on the Ivory Coast, but raised and Mali (now currently residing in Paris), Diawara is constantly moving her songwriting into new territories, she is a storyteller whose traditional influences mix so well with the sonic explorations. Former 'Africa Express' organiser Damon Albarn is co-writer on half a dozen of the songs here, the rapport between her guitar and his keyboards is a delight as shown by the insatiable funk of album opener (and lead single) 'Nsera'. The appearance of guest vocalist Angie Stone on 'Somaw' may initially seem an odd match but as their voices combine together on the need for connection with family it makes absolute sense. Then there is the ease that her voice works so well alongside Ghanian rapper M.anifest on the fabulous 'Mogokan' but it is the harmonies with Brooklyn Youth Choir on 'Sete' (a song about FMG) and the glorious 'Moussoya' that is so transcendent. 'London Ko' is an ambitious and frequently startling record.


BULLY - Lucky For You (Sub Pop)
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by Alan Rider

When I wrote about Bully's last single taken off this album I said that she may be the saviour of Sub Pop, encapsulating the classic Sub Pop sound better than most I've heard for a while.  I haven't changed my mind on that one yet.  Bully may be earnest and shouty in the way only US pop punk acts are, but she has got the energy and determination to see it through, albeit with a big glob of corporate record label backing (for that is what Sub Pop are) behind her.  She has been around for 10 years though, so is no breaking act, and says that 'Lucky For You'  "draws from personal pain and the universal struggle that is existing, learning, and moving on".  If you say so.  In truth, I actually believe her dog died and that inspired much of the content.  She is actually far too clean and shiny (despite her best efforts in her videos to appear a grungy slacker) for anyone to truly believe she is suffering in the way she sings about, but she has the formula down to a tee and you just can't help but warm to her.


DREAM WIFE - Social Lubrication (Lucky Number)
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by Alan Rider

Think of Cyndie Lauper crossed with The Pretenders on speed and you'd be getting close to what scantily clad London 'punk' trio Dream Wife sound like.  Their previous single off this album, 'Hot (don't date a musician)' failed to light any fires in me and the other tracks off the album, although keen to please and slightly frenetic in their enthusiasm for being fast and loud, end up sounding rather samey.  I am a terrible cynic though and if I were hearing this without having heard so many others that sound so similar, I might have felt differently.  It's not punk though, this is manufactured Rock/Pop all the way and constructed specifically to appeal to teenage boys (just witness the pout fest and exposed breasts in their many videos), even getting the word 'lubrication' into the album title just to make doubly sure.  Despite all their press waffle about being subversive etc, this is about as punk as a Women's Institute jam-making class.


DAKOTA JONES - Heartbreakers Space Club (Lord Please Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Dakota Jones' Heartbreakers Space Club is a pretty exceptional record - read their track-by-track right here⇒


CINEMA CINEMA - Mjölnir (Nefarious Industries)
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by Alan Rider

Cinema Cinema have been around a while, this being their seventh album and they have spent several stints supporting Blag Flag and others in lengthy tours across the States and Europe. Mjölnir is a collaboration with what they describe as a' polymath percussionist ' (I think that just means he is a dab hand at hitting things) Thor Harris who has previously done stuff with Swans and Angels of Light.  All well and good, but what's it like then?  As you might imagine, there is a heavy influence from Swans and Sonic Youth, and if you can imagine that mixed with a free-form jazz style with swirling synths and distorted guitars and slightly out-of-place shouty vocals you'd be getting there.  Its hypnotic and ethereal in places, a little discordant in others, with more than a touch of the arty farty as free Jazz structures always are. I honestly don't know what to make of this, as it's very different to their previous output which was far more Grrrr! Crash! Bang! Kerranngg! style as you will see from the video..


Other Materials

JAMES 'FOZ' FOSTER - Adrift (Online Radio Show)
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by Alan Rider

Not an album EP or single, but an online radio show, Adrift is the brainchild of guitarist, saw player (yes, honestly!), soundtrack composer, soundscape artist, and collector of odd musical instruments, Foz, a former member of The Monochrome Set. He is also the musical director of Touched Theatre and composer and director of Sawchestra (a saw orchestra one assumes).  Each show features an hour of experimental acoustic and electronic sound compositions, each uniquely composed and recorded for each episode. With elements of found sounds, generated electronic signals, acoustic instruments, radio fragments, static, and the spirit of the Shipping Forecast, each episode has a different theme. Expect musical saws, whirlytubes, bull-roarers, bells, whistles, unusual stringed instruments, theremins and weird synths.  Hopefully, OL can sense-check this intriguing concept with him in the near future.

https://www.totallyradio.com/shows/adrift/episodes/adrift-in-little-boxes-06-june-2023


KEVIN MORBY - City Music (Dead Oceans)
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by Ancient Champion

This isn't music from back home. This isn't music from the country, but from the city.


GRIZ GREEN - Costa Brava (Acama Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Hard rock miner turned easy 60s superstar. Costa Brava, produced by Jose Granson. It's the greatest. My timing on the tambo. This is fucking sensationally brilliant.


Essential Information
Main image Gabriels but you know that.

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