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Outsideleft Week in Music is all about Me and Thee We're hearing from... Me and Thee, Michel Moers, Still House Plants, Guy Hamper Trio, Infinite River, Leæther Strip, Baby Rose and BADBADNOTGOOD, Mike Watt and Papa M,  Nas & DJ Premier, Brainstory, Applied Communication, Scott Robertson, Principe Valiente, Esther Rose, Rebecca Karpen, Nina Soleil, Jim Jones Allstars, Dead Kennedys, Lu Warm and Ornette Coleman

Outsideleft Week in Music is all about Me and Thee

We're hearing from... Me and Thee, Michel Moers, Still House Plants, Guy Hamper Trio, Infinite River, Leæther Strip, Baby Rose and BADBADNOTGOOD, Mike Watt and Papa M, Nas & DJ Premier, Brainstory, Applied Communication, Scott Robertson, Principe Valiente, Esther Rose, Rebecca Karpen, Nina Soleil, Jim Jones Allstars, Dead Kennedys, Lu Warm and Ornette Coleman

by OL House Writer,
first published: April, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

They're the kind of bad boys (and girls) Joan Didion would've liked in her pomp, not least of all because Me and Thee's lyrics sound like they were torn from the hands of Richard Linklater's script supervisor and thrown in the air...

intro.

When Outsideleft Week's in Music are this darn great, it's just a thrill to be part of it. Thanks for loaning OL your ears,  John Robinson (1), Hamilton High (2), LamontPaul (1), Ancient Champion (6), Lee Paul (3), Alan Rider (5) and Toon Traveller (2).

singles.

ME AND THEE - School of Blackbelts (Independent)
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by Ancient Champion

Sometimes some bands just have it, you know it as soon as you hear it but you don't know whether they know it too. So, Me and Thee embodies somehow, you can hear on School of Blackbelts, the essence of what made all of your greats great. They could be an Outsideleft archetype, a bronze boulder on our lawn out front of our new office. Think of Pavement in the garage still, their slacker greatness abides, think of Vic Goddard, think of someone else you like that much. Me and Thee are going to be generationally huge of course, like, imagine a provincial Libertines, where provincial is absolutely not a derogatory term. They're young, from Wolverhampton-ish. They're the kind of bad boys (and girls) Joan Didion would've liked in her pomp, not least of all because Me and Thee's lyrics sound like they were torn from the hands of Richard Linklater's script supervisor and thrown in the air... Landing on the right side of limpid, languid genius. They have something to say about suburban Britain and are articulate about it. School of Blackbelts is astonishingly good.

STILL HOUSE PLANTS - M M M (Bison)
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by Ancient Champion

It's easy to think that maybe Still House Plants are one of the most important bands in the UK right now. One of the most intense. M M M is the opening track from the new full length, If I Don't Make It, I Love U. There's a touch of the Jen Orpin's about the video, no? This is how music sounds now. And if yours don't. Maybe consider letting someone else, make it for you.

LEÆTHER STRIP - Nowhere Boy (Cleopatra Records)
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by Alan Rider

Despite the cyberpunk skeleton in a leather jacket on the sleeve, and their 'ard as nails image, this just sounds like weak Europop to me. This is the sort of track I'd consign to the bin if I'd written it.

PRINCIPE VALIENTE - ‘Inspired By Me’ (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

I wasn't bowled over by their previous single, 'Something New', and to be frank this one hasn't convinced me either.   Its very formulaic Goth fare of the sort AI will soon be churning out by the bucket load, and the vocals grate a bit, especially on the intro.  I also have the distinct feeling that I have heard this before.  Not outright plagiarism, but the tune just sounds very familiar to me.  See what you think.

NIINA SOLEIL - Irish Goodbye (Stem Disintermedia)
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by Toon Traveller

Always a bit of sucker for modern romantic Irish music, and having visited recently and seen how small town Ireland, is so much more diverse... Culturally, music, food, faces. So open. It left me wondering how the nation's music is changing. Sadly, I suspect  too many still hanker after the good 'ol days. Fiddles, bodhrans, mad drums, and shouted drunken playin'. Or the romanticised, mist shrouded romantic songs against a peat-roofed whitewashed cottage backdrop. Recalibrate my friends. What we have is a mid Euro/American drum driven mix of words, languages, and future gazing, hoping not dreaming. It's light years from The Dropkick Murphy's! No Celtic mysticism here, but pleasantly listenable over a pot o'tea and soda bread.

NAS & DJ PREMIER - Define My Name (Mass Appeal)
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by Hamilton High

Nas and DJ Premier reunite to mark the 30th anniversary of Illmatic and they make it sound so simple. The subtle nuanced repetition of the tracks and you know, Nas in just the right place. It's just enough magical. And no more than it needs to be. Blissful in many ways.

BRAINSTORY - NyNy (Big Crown)
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by Ancient Champion

 I've been kind of resistant to Brainstory. I mean I want to and I know I should love them. But here comes the singing I don't care about. Come on people... I don't give a damn about the psychology of the human condition and our predisposition to... or whatever it is, singing, how can we get together to make it stop? I'd be loving this little two minute track otherwise. That bass alone! That got me after one bar. And okay to be fair the singing here isn't as annoying as much is. But singing, makes me scratch my head. It's a pathology I suppose. For me.

GUY HAMPER TRIO - Incense Rising from a Censer ft James Taylor (Damaged Goods)
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by Ancient Champion

Sort of maybe, a double-A sided single in the classic sense. The Guy Hamper Trio fly the hammond organ pedals all the way to the stars and further. Might be the band I want to see most this year. The other side of this, Instrument of Evil - even far further out. Their story is here→ and I'd recommend reading it... My story is, this is the greatest Ancient Champion record of all time and I didn't even get to make it.

MIKE WATT AND PAPA M - Long May You Burn/Fireman Hurley (Youtube)
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by Ancient Champion

This is the second 7” in the Mike Watt “one-for-one” series, where Mike invites a long-time friend to cover one of his songs, and vice-versa. The first one in the series featured Mike Watt covering Big Boys classic We Got Soul, and Tim Kerr (Big Boys) covering Minutemen's History Lesson – Part II - a personal fave. Here, Long May Your Burn is just lovely, from every aspect. A restorative for me, in terms of enjoying music. Burn! Long Maybe You Burn. I do think about what I'll miss the most when I'm dust. Stuff like this. I don't know, can dust hear? 

SCOTT ROBERTSON - Table Wine Talk (Self-Released)
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by Lee Paul

Scott Robinson and his band together have a nice line in the languid. The guitars for sure flaneur from the amps. They have an intense slacker louche demeanour about and towards everything. This makes them matter. And they're barely rousing themselves to the esoteric heights of Table Wine Talk. Why would they bother. When the lead guitar crunches in towards the end, it's a beneath the table kick in the shins to stop the soporific sucker from talking. One of the good ones obviously. 

REBECCA KARPEN - 23 (RatCzarina Records)
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by John Robinson

An established singer-songwriter from New York, Rebecca Karpen's music is intensely personal, and in this case, cathartic as "23" addresses an abusive situation in her life. Her voice is breaking, emotional as she and her acoustic guitar sing together. It's a strong message about believing your friend if she tells you she's in hell, about taking back the confidence stolen from you. She has a strong, idiosyncratic delivery with nuanced expression here, as well as a considerable back catalogue worth exploring on both SoundCloud and YouTube.

ep's.

BABY ROSE, BADBADNOTGOOD - Slow Burn (Secretly Canadian)
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by Ancient Champion

Sometimes when the jaundice has calcified in my ears towards singing, lyricists and all that, someone comes along and they are simply The Voice and that changes everything for a few minutes or so. For a few minutes or so, I am cured. Like an aural equivalent of that incident at Bethsaida and the spittle/eyes thing. You know what I am talking about trump biblical scholars, and other culturally literate types. You know. It's what thirsty ears wait for, spittle this good, an EP, Slow Burn, that blazes. So, Baby Rose, BADBADNOTGOOD oh man... You'd have to listen, if you really want to hear again. 

ESTHER ROSE - Ketamine (New West)
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by Lee Paul

So... I've been a big fan of alt-country star Esther Rose for an age now. Ketamine was first released on Bandcamp back in January and is now included in a new EP of reworkings of faves from 23's Safe To Run LP. Eeerrrgghhh, so much exposition. Let's get to it. This record is going to be particularly handy if you don't keep a copy of the Physicians Desk Reference on your bedside table. As so many of the most favorite women in my life do. Or maybe now you access that content online on your phone or something. Maybe you subscribe. Drugs change so fast these days. "I'll try ketamine, I'll try benzodiazepine... "  Let me see if I have got this right from what I remember... Ketamine might be used for treatment resistant depression. Benzodiazepine, anxiety and insomnia. What would you rhyme with psilocybin? This is a great stripped song by an artist who always appears been ready to reach for it. I don't know whether there's been so much drug talk outside a Craig Finn record in like forever. They should duet. It would be a disaster for the characters in the song. But so rewarding for us product consumers. 

APPLIED COMMUNICATION - Oxytocin Drunk (Youtube)
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by Toon Traveller

From the EP Applied Communications Has a Midlife Crisis here is Oxytocin Drunk. Oh. One of those hip, knowingly self-deprecating US records that middle-class, already middle-aged 20 year-olds love - those that find Frank Zappa, too darn weird. It's got that happy, clappy, bouncy, flouncy skip along melody, and sarcastic, caustic lyrics. Uplifting? Yeah. Smiles all around? Of course, lots of them. If you can't discern my smile from a grimace. It sounds like those tunes that used to populate kids kindergarten Saturday TV, like TeleTubbies, but not at the educational programming level. A bounce along, inoffensive, but instantly forgettable song. Hard to like, harder to love, but easy to enjoy and tap along to, forgettable as a raindrop on the windscreen. 

long plays.

MICHEL MOERS - As Is (Freaksville Records)
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by Alan Rider

Best known for his work with 1970s electronic group Telex, Belgian musician Michel Moers second album 'As Is' comprises 10 individualistic electro tracks created over several years, whilst he was also working as an architect and photographer. They each have a distinctly European feel (whatever that means!), with a crisp and slightly icy feeling to the beats and synths and detached vocals strongly reminiscent of Yello.  It doesn't surprise me that he is an architect as that approach to composition is very evident here. He ropes in guest collaborators to help out on a couple of tracks, such as ex-Propaganda singer Claudia Brücken, whose distinctive and stern Teutonic tones add a welcome edge to the single Microwaves (which appears to be all about defrosting a frozen pie!).   Standout track for me, though, is the Kraftwerk-ish 'Pixels'.  Each track is quite different, linked largely through Moers half spoken vocals and the jittery Europop beats threaded through each song. As Moers intones over the track Beau-Triste, "Sit back, relax, enjoy the flight".

INFINITE RIVER - Tabula Rasa (Birdman)
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by Alan Rider

There is undoubtedly something special about having a physical slab of vinyl arrive at the Outsideleft offices, so rarely does it happen these days, especially one that the label spent $30 to mail all the way from Detroit.  That makes our ears prick up, and Tabula Rosa continues the trip we joined with Infinite River's previous, five heart rated, album, Space Mirror.  Their Press Release suggests Magma and Sonic Boom as references, and it is certainly that, but I would also put it up against Sweden's Les Big Byrd.  Side one is the stronger, opening with the wonderfully psychedelic 'Sky Diamonds Raga'.  The second side opens with an unnecessary and rather weak cover of Roger and Hammerstein's 'My Favourite Things', before lapsing into soft rock for the majority of the tracks.  Lets go back to side one then, which is the one I will be going back to play again.  This is entirely an instrumental album, driven by drones and ragas, with roots in both Prog and New Age.  Improvisational and inspired in places, if both sides were up to the standard of side one, it's be another five hearts.  As it is, four hearts is still generous, but if you are looking to invest in Infinite River, then their previous one, 'Space Mirror', would definitely be my choice over this.

so, have you got anything else.

DEAD KENNEDYS - Holiday In Cambodia (Alternative Tentacles)
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by Alan Rider

I will never tire of hearing this.  One of the best bass intros of any record and one of the most genuinely exciting singles you will ever hear.  How do people do that?

ORNETTE COLEMAN - Love Call (U-5)
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by Hamilton High

The tension goes on forever. On every string and skin. And then Ornette. And then you know, music can do anything.

LU WARM - Moribund Cuppa (Bandcamp)
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by LamontPaul

Honestly, as heavy as acoustic picking can get, like Led Zep heavy... Moribund Cuppa is from Lu Warm's exceptional debut LP Gnome Standard which you can find on Bandcamp. Come along so see Lu Warm at the Outsideleft Night Out next Friday - along with DJ's Woodenhand and Prehistoric Man. Dancers are going to dance. Maybe not to Lu. But listeners are getting down to Scrivens this week to get their lugs ready all the same. More info here→

JIM JONES ALLSTARS - Chingon (Ako-Lite Records)
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by Lee Paul

From the not widely loved enough '23 LP Ain't No Peril. Chingon is minimalist funk with the baggiest bassiest baritone guitar, at least, I think, it's the baggiest baritone guitar you're gonna hear all week. This is as perfect as perfect can be.


essentials
main image, Me and Thee

The previous Outsideleft Week in Music 'The Night Coming After the Vulture Prince' is here→

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