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Output Five Star Although I can't stand the record rating system I devised, here are the Five Hearts records for you anyway...

Output Five Star

Although I can't stand the record rating system I devised, here are the Five Hearts records for you anyway...

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: March, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

The instrumental coda from his great Dear Scott album now expanded into a full blown three and a bit minute epic. - DJ Fuzzy Felt writing about Michael Head

FIVE HEARTS!  It's true, I don't love the Hearts rating system I devised. I think it is a signifier, offering symbols that can prevent people from reading writing about music. Symbols offering more value than words. One of the many conundrums in occupying this space I think. We don't have budget for a battery of psych research, but in an ad hoc way, I'd like to know why other entities that marry words and music and have researched and reasoned why they do it, do it? Help me out here. What is the value? This is what AI said, "Ha-ha I am not telling you. Figure it out for yourself." First person in history sued for misquoting AI, someone will be. Well, at the end of this rambling, the number of 5 Heart records in February was 35, and by that metric that seems like a pretty good month for music. The reviews came from Hamilton High (1), Toon Traveller (7), LamontPaul (1), Jay Lewis (4), Katherine Pargeter (1), the most generous Ancient Champion (11), Alan Rider (6), Ogglypoogly (1), Lee Paul (1), DJ Fuzzyfelt (1) and even Bearwood Danny Rose (1) piped up with one five heart review. Here they are, all in one place.

1999 WRITE THE FUTURE - Long in the tOOth (ft. De La Soul, Warren Hue, Pos of De La Soul, The Budos Band) (88rising)
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by Ancient Champion

Credit for the lengthiest credits this week I think. It's a conglomeration. And it is a conglomeration of ideas. 88rising are perhaps best know for digging around in Asia for diggable sounds. Good God Almighty. There is no ceiling to the volume Long in the tOOth should be played at. The Budos band are everywhere on this. This is simply just so entertainingly great.


AND THEY SPOKE IN ANTHEMS - You Silly Wommer, You (Huis Mortier Records )
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by Jay Lewis

I should always be cautious about the record that I fall head over heels in love with after several hours of sifting through another pile of 'yes and so what...' new music. But And They Spoke in Anthems is not letting go of me. After a five-year break (which was preceded by another five-year hiatus), singer-songwriter Arne Leurentop has his most personal music to date, 'You, Silly Wommer, You' is dedicated to one of his best friends who died suddenly. It is reflective without ever being maudlin, it is a celebration of a life, a reminder of the extremely fragile brilliance of our time here. Oh, and the 'one shot' video is an utter joy, a lovely tribute.


ANNIE CHEN - Rozpacz  (JZ Music)
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by Toon Traveller

Scat singing, not as Ella Fitzgerald did it... Avant Garde vocals over an irregular bass, not as Norma Winston sang it. Piano skits, and flits, not Chick Corea fingered. A sax, Pharaoh with a sense of melody, Ayler with burning ideas. It's several passages, ideas separated and bridged, by happy bright sunshine vocals, before each new new diversion and direction. A journey in every sense of the word, a mystery tour into jazz classics, Eastern mysticism and ice cool Norwegian Jazz. A magically evocative excursion into the primal mix of voice, drums (real ones), and bass (upright with strings), A delicious  shower of sounds and ideas to greet the day, and all it's hopes and possibilities. The LP Guardians will be available in late February, it's a powerful and impassioned set, inspired by a wintertime visit to Acadia National Park in Maine.


BRITTANY HOWARD - I Don't  (Island Records)
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by Ancient Champion

Brittany Howard goes totally, absolutely and amazingly Barry Biggs here. She is him. It is just gorgeous. In my life I don't think I have listened to a single record more than Barry's Sideshow. The astonishing eunuch falsetto. Oh man, let's talk about me. When I was writing We Can Help You With Your Lust... Barry Biggs was on my mind and has been ever since.


CHES SMITH - Laugh Ash (Pyroclastic)
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by Toon Traveller

The album makes thrilling use of disorientation and juxtaposition: starkly beautiful chamber melodies coexist with synthetic rhythms, explosive bursts of improvisation with elusive song forms, austere ambience with thundering complexity. Eclectic, undoubtedly, but in a paradoxical way that is defiantly cohesive while never losing sight of the fact that none of it should be. PR Blurb like this, always suckers me in, nails it. Really, it's 70's Philip Glass, meets early 70's Jazz Rock, with a dash of Funk in the regular synth beats. Jesus even a nod to Madonna's 90's Rap, and that's a wrapp.


DAVE HARRINGTON ET AL - Dance of the White Shadow and Golden Kite (AKP)
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by Toon Traveller

Trepidation, the title, Prog Rock at it's diddly, fiddly, twiddly worst. Opens circular horns. If it were keys, Rick Wakeman eat yer heart out. Initial panic subsides, it's solidly into mixed Arab / Jazz Silk Road, world sound. Notes, motifs, and timings, all crossover, crossroads, careful mixes, and linked passages. Haunting, apprehensive sax, and wonderful ' hit all the non drums percussion', creating a wall of aural delight, allowing the leads to soar and swoop through the piece. Disjointed sure is, abstract, there' s a sense of time, place, history, and today, everywhere all at once, in a single time/space continuum. Echoes, wild blowing, ideas mixed, matched, melded. It's magnificent example of wind, sax, and invigorating expression. Dreams of Morocco and Turkey, Tashkent, and Samarkand, Mystery, Magic, promise and intrigue. I feel a look at flights coming on.


DAWN PENN - Woman of The Ghetto (Parish Records)
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by Lee Paul

Maybe most associated with the effortlessly incredible Marlena Shaw who passed away in January. Dawn Penn's Woman of The Ghetto supplants Charles Stepney sonderous musical histrionics for Shaw with a reggae dacenhall lilt, a little awash with effects, effectively recentering the song around the message. More late night... Both versions are a delight to hear of course. Just fabulous.


EDWARD KA-SPEL - Tales From The Trenches (Lumberton Trading Company)
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by Alan Rider

See Alan's Five Heart review right here→


ERIC HILTON - Midnight Milan (Montserrat House)
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by Ancient Champion

With my finger so firmly on the pulse of significant musical happenings it is probably pretty hard for you to imagine I would be the very last to know about Eric Hilton's Sound Vagabond album, released today on the Montserrat House label. This track, Midnight Milan, is really quite quietly perfect, all past-midnight wind down promise. The co-founder of Thievery Corporation gives us neither too much nor too little. The Prince of languid, mercurial, downbeat trajectories. The LP is by turns as diverse as a musical jackdaw could be. Oh Wow! 


FLOWERED UP - Weekender (London Records)
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by Alan Rider

Taken from the upcoming re-issue of rave pioneers Flowered Up’s 1991 debut album ‘A Life With Brian’, this Clive Langer-produced, masterful thirteen minute epic “Weekender” is now included on the album, which it certainly wasn't first time round as it would have taken up most of one side of the vinyl. The single was accompanied by a short film whose depiction of a weekend of clubbing gives an insight into early 90s rave culture and was the subject of 2022 Heavenly Films documentary ‘I Am Weekender’.   Touted as an alternative to Happy Mondays, Flowered Up were superior in many ways, and despite their baggy/rave credentials had a lot more in common with 70s rock bands than 90's rave acts. Underrated and under appreciated in UK musical history, 'Weekender' acts as a timely reminder of just what a band like Flowered Up can achieve in the hands of a top producer like Lang, in the same way as Frankie Goes To Hollywood were transformed in the hands of Trevor Horn.  This has to be heard to be believed.


GAZELLE TWIN FEATURING MAXINE PEAKE - We Wax. We Shall Not Wane (Bandcamp)
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by Alan Rider

Originally commissioned by Somerset House, London, Gazelle Twin’s audio installation 'We Wax. We Shall Not Wane' closed their The Horror Show exhibition, which took you on a journey through 50 years of horror.  With two nine minute tracks comprising a winding and eerie synth tone overlaid by actor Maxine Peake dramatically intoning a selection of historic texts and literature, along with Gazelle Twin's own words, it is an intense experience.  In common with her previous album, the excellent 'Black Dog' and her numerous collaborations, soundtracks, and performances, this pushes the boundaries and is truly a work of art.  In my eyes, Gazelle Twin can do no wrong.


GHOST FUNK ORCHESTRA - To The Moon! (Karma Chief/Cole Mine)
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by Ancient Champion

You know it would be easy to be churlish and say, oh, upon hearing the Ghost Funk Orchestra's To The Moon! that well Public Service Broadcasting added some NASA sci-fi to their music and that was just aces, or when you get a little thrill from Public Service Broadcasting's digging into the archives to think of how much more fun space was the Man Or Astroman? way. If you don't love this because of the other, if you pass on Ghost Funk Orchestra because you think you've heard it already, I don't think so. The leftcentric leftover 60s sounds of Ghost Funk Orchestra are going To The Moon! And they do seem to have provided the only recording this week incorporating it's own much deserved and necessary '!' in the title. That surely has to mean something to the discerning music mind? The music from start to finish is just incredible too. How did they do it?


HIATUS KAIYOTE - Everything's Beautiful (Brainfeeder)
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by Ancient Champion

Oh, wow...


IDLES - Tangk (Partisan Records)
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by Alan Rider

One of my fellow OL reviewers hated the 'Gift Horse' single off Tangk, giving it a misersly one heart.   I like to think I'm a more generous soul though, previously gifting them three hearts for the single 'Grace', but holding back judgement until I'd heard the full album.   Reviewer taste differences aside, Idles have been getting progressively more experimental as they go, their previous outing 'Crawler' in 2021 being a case in point. 'Tangk' starts out as it means to go on, with an out-there intro track, 'Idea 01' (I guess they couldn't think of a title for that one) setting the tone for what follows, with a tingling drum and keys ripple set against a juddering distorted guitar stutter.  'Tangk' is a muscular workout throughout, with fuzzy bass and tribal pounding drums the engine house driving every track.  The best moments are not the singles, with 'Dancer' being one of the tracks I could easily pass on, but even having said that, it is still full of unexpected scrapes and growls that set it aside from the run-of-the-mill.  Lyrically, I have no idea what they are going on about though. 'Hall and Oates' thankfully sounds nothing like that 80s pop duo, but is instead a punky blast, and by the time the sonorously understated and brooding 'Monolith' rounds things off, we know that Idles have their craft thoroughly nailed, combining sonic experimentation with singer Joe Talbot's whistful, yet angry tones.  Like a guitar driven Aphex Twin, Idles are not afraid to stretch things tight until they snap off into unexpected directions.  Turning a previous consolation one star score into a resounding five heart triumph, well that's a trick you don't often see round here.


JIM WHITE - Marketplace (Drag City)
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by Toon Traveller

What to make of this drum and keys piece? Sounds and notes, fast as hell, but not a rock speedster groove. Darkening dusk, but not in a Goth Rock sound. Tweets and cheeps but not in prog rock, post hippy feel. Ok so you know what it's "not", but what is it? That's harder to describe, define, and categorise. Different, well uncommon, inventive absolutely, machine made, impossible, human music, undoubtedly. I love it's quirky, spunky, cheeky, flirty, sparkle. Oh and Jim White plays everything, and has done on many great records by many artists you love for the best part of the past 20 years (Cat Power, Bill Callahan, PJ Harvey and way more besides). A whole LP, All Hits: Memories, emerges on March 29th. Getting into Jim's Marketplace is such a natural thing to do.


KALI MALONE - All Life Long (Ideologic Organ)
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by Jay Lewis

As Kali Malone's last album clocked in at just over five hours and mostly consisted of extended drones of oscillator, guitar and cello, I've often wondered what it would be like to put it on at bedtime, much like Max Richter's eight-hour long 'Sleep'. I wonder what perplexing dreams Malone's music would inform? How rested I would feel, or how anxious?  I'll let you know when it happens. There are similar moments here, the nine and a half minutes of 'The Unification of Inner and Outer Life' is - played (slowly, very s l o w l y, of course), on pipe organ - so little happens, yet you are utterly transfixed (you're transported to an old cathedral, shards of late afternoon sunshine pouring through the window? or is that just me?). But it's the three vocal pieces with the male vocal choir Macadam Ensemble that are the most unexpected and spellbinding moments here. 'All Life Long' has the power to envelop you, to transfix and hypnotize you. It is an album of spaces, of reflection, let it seep into you.


KATHERINE PRIDDY - The Pendulum Swing (Cooking Vinyl)
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by Jay Lewis

See Jay's Katherine Priddy review, here→


KIM GORDON - I'm a Man (Matador Records)
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by Alan Rider

There is no one out there doing what Kim Gordon is doing these days.  We tried to get her to talk to OL recently, but to no avail.  So we have to content ourselves with throwing roses at the stage instead.  Kim is very clearly not a man.  What she is though is a fiercely inventive and confrontational artist who surpasses her previous work with Sonic Youth with every step.  The album this is taken from, 'The Collective' will be a treat.  We may ask her again to talk to us when that comes out.  If we keep on at her like a small child in the back of a car asking "are we there yet?", one day she might just say yes. Won't that be a thing.


LEE PERRY, TRICKY, MARTA - Future of My Music  (indie)
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by Ancient Champion

Oh this is a just so beautiful in every way. The individual artistic Trademarks abound. Dubby, melancholic, a mellow mirage of hope. This is why radio exists so that The Future of My Music can be played all day.


LITTLE SIMZ - Mood Swings  (AWAL)
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by LamontPaul

From Drop7, a new long EP or short LP from one of Britain's most significant artists, Little Simz. Seven songs. easy to listen to in one sitting. Mood Swings is playful and of course play is where everything begins. And it swings and it whispers insidiously. Whenever I hear people like Simz I so often wonder about the safe spaces of conformity so many artists choose to inhabit. Why? Do you think this attention might make Zynga will bring Drop7 back? It was better than Words With Friends. Although to be fair I don't have any friends, I don't play games and adn I don't know what they will do.  


MAKROKOSMOS ORCHESTRA - Dissolve (Adhyâropa Records)
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by Toon Traveller

I love the sound of improvised, Avant Garde Jazz, over black coffee in the morning. Opening, a classic '70s NY cop movie, jerky notes, early morning light, discordant, dissonant, fugitive dealers, furtive dopers, fleeting pan handlers, and last dreg coffee sippers sliding home. Magnificently evocative, times long passed, fantasies enlivened by exemplary playing. Power and inspiration, imagination and evocation. A soundtrack for the life you wanted to live, before you realised how big and bad, Lower South, Upper East Sides really were. Here's an older vidoe to get a taste o' the band.


MEXICAN INSTITUTE OF SOUND - Mi T-Shirt de la Nasa (Soy Sauce)
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by Ancient Champion

Originally on the 2017 LP, Disco Popular, Mi T-Shirt De La NASA is a joy and can be found on MIS's 2004-2024 retrospective out now. As brilliant now as it ever was. Joy is an understatement yep.


MICHAEL HEAD AND THE RED ELASTIC BAND - Shirl's Ghost (Modern Sky Records)
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by DJ Fuzzyfelt

The instrumental coda from his great Dear Scott album now expanded into a full blown three and a bit minute epic. With Bill Ryder Jones again producing you know it's going to be a tour de force and it is. With a new album due in May and an autobiography due in August, and, goodness does Michael Head have a story to tell, with a rare tour coming to, he's going to be busy. While most of his late 70s and early 80s Liverpool contemporaries are doing their greatest hits tours legacy act, Head is still, 43 years on from his first release in Pale Fountains, still releasing and performing great new music. A class act.


RED RUM CLUB - Western Approaches (Modern Sky)
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by Ogglypoogly

Why the long face? The Red Rum Club review can actually be found over here→

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd60zK8aQ5I


RON & NANCY - We Can Help You With Your Lust (Fullertone)
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by Danny Rose

That lead singer has been listening to the Go Betweens hasn't he? But only the Robert Forster tracks. The keyboardist is clearly Steve Nieve in a dress. I mean both these things as a huge compliment. This is what the early 90s could have sounded like in Southern California.


SAINT TROPEZ ORCHESTRA - Thèmes et Atmosphères (Dime Records)
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by Ancient Champion

I don't know whether the telling of the etymology of this record is apocryphal or not, up until the line, "All we do know is: it's a masterpiece and you need it."  True.


SAM LEE - Meeting is a Pleasant Place (Cooking Vinyl)
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by Jay Lewis

Sam Lee has always struck me as a person who sees well beyond the facile fixations of the modern world. When he sings, it's allas if he's been carrying the words with him for hundreds of years. He is a folk singer in the truest sense of the word, as if there is a direct connection between him and the time and place he is reporting from. He also sings with Nightingales. Like much of Lee's work, parts of 'Meeting is a Pleasant Place' is sourced from old gypsy folk song, but then then there are the contemporary touches that he (or rather, producer Bernard Butler) adds: ambient textures fuzzy guitar and the gospel like harmonies of Trans Voices, a London based trans choir. A beautiful record. 


SUN ATOMS - Let There Be Light (Little Cloud Records )
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by Toon Traveller

I've been listening to Sun Atoms, their currently single, Ceiling Tiles and this earlier piece, 'Let There Be Light'  Very strange, Leonard Cohen with a heavy cold and a sparse accompaniment, embodying a distant horn, empty streets, cars swishing along empty wet streets. Disturbing yes, threatening... Menace never sounded so warm and appealing. This is a real slice of played out, washed up, tired of life, resigned, sliding into decline voices. I love all of that stuff.


THE CYRKLE - Dance wit me Tonight (Big Stir Records)
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by Toon Traveller

We're all too young to have been at "The Hop", with Danny and the Juniors. So this'll have to do. It's 'Happy Days' territory, girls in pony tails and bobby socks and those swinging skirts. Boys, shirts checked, feet Loafered and hair crewcut. Strawberry Soda pops and the Juke Box. Crooning and finger popping, summer afternoons away. It bobs, skips, and dances, horns honk, and voices coo, love, passion, and desire. Dancing at the Hop, hopping at the Soda Parlor, bopping in a car lot, hugging at the drive in. Perfect, pure pop's taste of those 2nd hand memories, from 50's USA movies, that REALLY, none of us have.


THE FALL - The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click) (Cherry Red)
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by Alan Rider

The title is a bit of a mouthful isn't it? 'The Real New Fall Album (Formally Country on the Click)' but then when did The Fall ever make things easy for you? The reason for the subtitle is that the tracks were originally scheduled for release back in April 2003 under the title ‘Country on the Click’ but Mark. E Smith was unhappy with the mix and withdrew it to do some further work and it came out later in 2003 with this title. Typical of him, really. This 5 CD re-issue (there is a 1 LP vinyl edition too if you like) includes the original and inferior 'Country On The Click' album, the better re-mixed version that was released as The Real New Fall Album, 2004 album Interim, a disc of single B-sides, and a New York live Show from the time, all of which showcase the wonky, unpredictable brilliance of The Fall.  There hasn't been anyone like them before or since, and with Mark E Smith's death there can never be a repeat other than through re-issues.  Highlights  contained in here are many, but you either get The Fall or you don't.  You will already know which side of the fence you are on.


THE LAST DINNER PARTY - Nothing Matters (acoustic) (Island Records)
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by Katherine Pargeter

Whilst they were recently on tour in America, The Last Dinner Party made it known that they were having difficulty replacing the f-word in the chorus of 'Nothing Matters' so that it could become more radio-friendly. Cue Courtney Love arriving backstage after a show with her suggestion. The word should be 'punch' ! ('...and I will punch you like nothing matters' - really Courtney? really?). You'll be happy to know that this acoustic version of their fabulous introduction to all our lives does not include the Love-inspired amendment. Thankfully.


THE SORCERERS - Yasuke in Roppongi (ATA Records)
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by Ancient Champion

The Sorcerers are definitively what they say they are. Musically so. Yasuke in Roppongi gets going with the most massive sax sound, over an insistent pulsing afrobeat concoction. It is very beautiful. With a touch of eerie mystery for good measure. 


THE WARNING - Sick (Republic)
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by Hamilton High

The Warning come with a warning of course, that these women are the hottest rising band in rock right now and who could could argue with that... Three sisters from Monterrey, Mexico, Dany, Paulina and Alejandra Villarreal are right there on the cusp of riot grrrls vs out and out banal rock. "I wanna make mistakes and live in regret..." That I like. Who knows which way they'll go?  I can get with that. For now though, this is as exciting it promises to be, there is not volume ceiling for listening. Epic. Your neighbours really do need to hear this too.


THEE CONDUCTOR, BONNY PRINCE BILLY - Inappropriately (Thee Conductor)
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by Ancient Champion

From the Thee Conductor, Bonny Prince Billy LP, Ennoia. I listen to music for moments like this. I listen to hear something that feels inspired. Here it is. Percussion. Mellow furious percussion. This is a timeless beauty. Take it to your home and play it. I'm going get back to working on my short story collection now and I am going finish it up listening to this. Understated and Wonderful all at once.


TIERRA WHACK - Shower Song (Interscope)
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by Ancient Champion

Do I need to remind you of my ongoing shower woes? The self-same shower currently pulled together with Gorilla tape. £9 per roll at this moment of asking. It's a sing-song loss, as Tierra Wack reminds us, no one in the house, nor my neighbours can hear me singing like Whitney, Singing like Britney, Singing like Aretha, Singing like Alicia... I sound great. I'm thinking Tierra could have one of those old echoey Hollywood showers because without a doubt Tierra sounds greater than I ever do. It's just the shower thing right? Tierra Wack, putting the art into artist so courageously.


Essentials
Main image Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band


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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