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Outsideleft Week in Music: Doping on Dopamine We're hearing from... Isobel Campbell, FRJD2, Tele Novella, Richard Hawley, Splintered, Young Jesus, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Vince Staples, Until the Ribbon Breaks, Graham Parker and the Goldtops, Bobbyy, The Chameleons, Evulsion, Body Meat, Francois and the Atlas Mountains, Elias Ronnenfelt, Ulvtharm, Mourning Noise, History of Guns, Fire Engines, Ancient Champion, and TLC

Outsideleft Week in Music: Doping on Dopamine

We're hearing from... Isobel Campbell, FRJD2, Tele Novella, Richard Hawley, Splintered, Young Jesus, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Vince Staples, Until the Ribbon Breaks, Graham Parker and the Goldtops, Bobbyy, The Chameleons, Evulsion, Body Meat, Francois and the Atlas Mountains, Elias Ronnenfelt, Ulvtharm, Mourning Noise, History of Guns, Fire Engines, Ancient Champion, and TLC

by OL House Writer,
first published: May, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

While Isobel's entire EP is great, Dopamine is just sensationally brilliant.

intro.

This is late. I am late. I was immersed in some Miranda July, autofiction? I was helping Ancient Champion dismantle a shed. Exciting stuff. We were listening to this week's new music while we were hammering and un-nailing, unfelting, crowbarring and generally cutting up. This was a pretty good selection of sounds to cut up to, if you don't have plans yet for the weekend. Your records reviewed by... lamontpaul (4), Hamilton High (3), Lee Paul (3), Toon Traveller (5), Alan Rider (6), Ogglypoogly (1)

singles.

ULVTHARM - Sinners Will Inherit The Earth ( Cyclic Law)
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by Alan Rider

This is dark stuff.  Scary stuff really. Regardless of whether or not this will give you nightmares, its a classy example of how to make dark electronics that don't sound cliched. Nice example of how to make a budget video that works too. Like an arthouse horror.  Not recommended as bedtime listening though.

EVULSION - Decimation (Streaming and download platforms)
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by Alan Rider

Elena Verrier from Death Metal act Evulsion specialises in posting videos of her playing the guitar lines to various Death Metal classics by Sepultura and others. She always looks so incredibly serene whilst absolutely shredding that guitar of hers. It's quite hypnotic. This one is actually an original track off Evulsion's latest album, the charmingly named 'Spiritual Putrefaction'. Amongst all the raspy singing of gore and rotting flesh, and flailing drums, you can be sure she will be standing serenely in the eye of the storm, chopping out those guitar lines, seemingly without effort.  In my limited experience with guitar players, you ever have it, or you don't.  She has it.

FRANCOIS AND THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS - Cachou (Domino)
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by lamontpaul

From a new collection called Her River Raves Recollections. Cachou features superior mumblings throughout. Two magical minutes. It's a summer delight and kind of reminds me of the essence of my love for Jonathan Richman of course. Instruments designed to be taken to the beach or the park. All music should just be this and no more. It's love! And it feels just great.

TELE NOVELLA - Marry Me (Kill Rock Stars)
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by Hamilton High

"Coin-operated medieval country songs through a 1950s western lens." They say. If you can't discern the brilliance here, from that, then go ahead and listen. You probably won't be disappointed by an immersion in Tele Novella's edgeworld. 

THE CHAMELEONS - Where are You (Metropolis Records)
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by Toon Traveller

A band from a quarter century passed, hibernated, dormant, now revived, and more significantly, revitalised. There's a growing trend, especially in the UK, for "Indie Bands" to revive their past glories. There's nowt wrong with that. But sometimes there ain't that many glories to mine. The Chameleons aren't that and this from the raw guitar opening kick has all the chords, the licks, and rhythm tricks we loved in our youth. It's old festival magic. They've been away, what? Resting? Recovering? Raising families? Who cares. Now they're back with a bang, a sound as new as 80's indie rock can be. Energy, fizz, buzz, sheer joy in sounds and guitar clash. It's simple music, easy to follow lyrics, teeming with guitar ticks and bass line tricks. Let's be clear there's no new ground broken here, and it says so proudly. This is one for the fans old, and new.

GRAHAM PARKER AND THE GOLDTOPS - Last Stretch of the Road (Big Crown Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Jeeeessuuus. Like you, I thought he was dead, feels like he's been away for decades. Perhaps he never went away, just never played a theatre or a radio station near me. Worth the wait? Well not too sure, he seems to be in that Americana feel and groove, so hip, and popular these days. Yeah it's a throw back, there's even a mouth organ opening the tune. I ask you, how RETRO is that? It's one of those sat at the trestle table humming, steering wheel tapping, stuck in traffic, songs. But Parker's voice is still singularly raw, with that loser's rasp. Oddly Graham, perhaps he always did, sounds like a Dylan voice from the late 90's. Wistful fading memories, tinges of wasted years, dried up tears, little self pity. All present, and correct.

BODY MEAT - North Side (Partisan Records)
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by Hamilton High

Body Meat adhere to Vlad Propp's structuralism as  they draw on the hero narrative from video games as a resource for their music. "A shopkeeper returns to his forest after a long and tiring journey. He is used to selling great weapons that help keep the realm at peace. Hesitant, he runs across the bridge that connects the world to his home. A strange patron awaits him. Upon entering his humble shop, he is thrust into a void: a great orb is unleashed. The orb engulfs the forest and chases the shopkeeper deeper into the void. A mysterious being appears and helps him escape the orb. Thrust into a realm between worlds, here the shopkeeper makes a stand and must defeat the orb to bring the forest back and return to a place he once called home."

RJD2 - Catch the Exit Door (RJ's Electrical Connection)
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by Toon Traveller

A whole jewelry store of shining sparkly ideas, each and every one of them funky as hell, drums and horns, wah-wah guitar. A slinky, sleazy, foot tapping, arse shaking, slab of revivalist funk and soul. A fabulous drop, a cute guitar break, and we're back into the groove, and it's a hell of groove. Fat as a juicy fatburger, sharp as a switchblade, with a smattering of blown mind psychedelic organ. And did I tell you about the tuba? This oozes groove, it's a celebration, it shouts out memories and the glorious futures we want. A summer playlist natural, I need not add anything else.

HISTORY OF GUNS - When You Don't Matter (Liquid Len Recording Company)
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by Toon Traveller

"An unflinching look at abandonment" places, people, ideas, hopes, could be any, or all of them. Post-industrial decline, 80s electro, baritone, wasted lands, communities people and lives. Sure it's hopeless, hippiless, and sadly 'idea' less. if you were a 80s kid, growing up, growing old in Thatcher's post industrial wasteland, or rusting in Reaganomics' closed out places, you'll remember these sounds. For me, on the whole, an unflinching look at the abandonment of new ideas. I'm sorry.

UNTIL THE RIBBON BREAKS - Carousel (feat. Homeboy Sandman) (Vero Music)
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by Toon Traveller

Carousel is clever and amusing, a great electro ambient track with some intriguing vocals. A well constructed song, breaks, changes, and melodies weave more complex patterns than most of the music washing up in a sickly in-box, but it's not quite enough somehow. Leaving no real impression, no positive memory, no desire to hear more of the band's work. Better than most sounds I've heard this week, but then again I am beginning to think they only send me the shavings and never the wood.

VINCE STAPLES - Why Won't The Sun Come Out (Def Jam)
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by Lee Paul

I guess one of the biggest releases in the world this week is the Vince Staples LP, 'Dark Times' his 8th LP, and while he's of great interest to the mainstream now, remember when it was a coup to get him to Insecure's Block Party? That was joyous; or when he was hanging out with Earl Sweatshirt types in the indie margins. Staples records have always afforded a little defiance of convention, expectation and form. I kind of like how he has moved the world into his orbit and not vice versa. Why Won't The Sun Come Out is just a beautiful monologue, a conversation. Possibly of interest to our poet friend Duncan Jones–could have him updating his piece on pop records with talking bits. What about pop records with only talking bits? Why Won't The Sun Come Out is the final track on 'Dark Times', it features New York singer Santigold chatting about a weird dream, about creativity and spirit. It's the greatest, reaffirming rap records as the most reliable place in music to find superb storytellers. "It's easier for a girl to come over and give you pussy than it is to come over and give you a hug." Not in my house.

ELIAS RøNNENFELT - Like Lovers Do (Escho)
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by Lee Paul

Elias Rønnenfelt's Like Lovers Do is a relatively entertaining hoedown. The Iceage singer, well you knew that, takes a hiatus from that type of angst and serves up another. Right-o.

MOURNING NOISE - Black Cadillac (Cleopatra Records)
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by Alan Rider

"Horror punk rabble rousers" are how Mourning Noise describe themselves.  I don't really know what that means, but this is what they used to call 'Nu Metal', and jolly exciting it is too.  They sing about a Black Cadillac.  There is very attractive to rockers about the Cadillac. Its big.  It's black.  Its a big, black car.  If only our roads here in the UK were big enough for them, we would be singing about them too!  Regardless, this is a blast!

YOUNG JESUS - Am I the Only One (Saddle Creek)
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by lamontpaul

From the brand new LP, The Fool. Young Jesus is the man really. The Fool, already on so many mid and end of year best lists. Am I the Only One embodies all that is good about Young Jesus in three minutes. The verbosity, the poetry. The garrulousness. And of course, self-doubt. 'Sitting up late in bed, self-hate and shame, Wanting to be dead, wanting to grow another body'. 

NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS - Frogs ( Play It Again Sam)
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by Lee Paul

Teasing the forthcoming Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds LP, I am surprised by how much this makes it feel like there is something seriously wrong with my ears. The swirling of maybe everything. And the size of everything. It's like approaching one of those massive hotels in Vegas, or at Lourdes, where twenty minutes later you're still walking towards it and you haven't gotten there yet. Massive.

BOBBYY - It Knows The Bliss Is Treacherous (Stone Pixels Records)
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by Alan Rider

Taken from the debut album 'Buckets' this is a blissed out, jazz infused piece of ambient house, with whispered vocals.  I'm sure someone will correct my use of genres there, but listen to the track and you will get my drift.  It's a bit of something and nothing really, not in the Aphex Twin league, yet pleasant enough.  I can't really tell from this snippet what a full album would be like, though, so its an odd choice for a single really.

ep's.

ISOBEL CAMPBELL - Dopamine (Cooking Vinyl)
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by lamontpaul

From Isobel Campbell's new Cooking Vinyl EP, 'Second Guessing'. Aside from her solo recordings Isobel is perhaps best known for her work with Mark Lanegan and of course Belle and Sebastian. Dopamine is Isobel at her most lyrically contumacious. Quietly so. Does the tortoise take the hare, anywhere? No matter how slowly one exhorts the other to go. Meanwhile the band is playing like a bunch of tortoises, with chainsaws in some few parts. While the entire EP is great, Dopamine is just sensationally brilliant.

long plays.

SPLINTERED - Between Scylla and Charybdis (Fourth Dimension)
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by Alan Rider

There are some releases, Alan Rider says, that just stand out as being different, above the herd if you like. Check out his full review of Splintered, here→

RICHARD HAWLEY - In This City They Call You Love (BMG)
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by Ogglypoogly

Richard Hawley's ninth solo album, 'In  This City They Call You Love,' is a seamless addition to his discography. Read Ooglypoogly's full review right here→

so, have you got anything else.

ANCIENT CHAMPION - When I Open My Mouth I Wish the Sound of Macy Gray Came Out (Fullertone Records)
by Hamilton High

This is Ancient Ancient Champion from 2017, where they do their mellow Velvet Underground meets synthetic Gerry Rafferty in an unempathetic mood. I am fond of taking urban drives to this at night. When I Open My Mouth I Wish the Sound of Something Great Came Out was called that in a huff because the distributor objected to the celebration of a star in the original title.... When I Open My Mouth I Wish the Sound of Macy Gray Came Out. I met Ancient Champion once and they actually asked me what I thought about the compressor that pulls the bass way up in the middle (2:43)? That's what they asked. Very famous Canadian-Irish writer with the vocal interjections on this they said. That was it and then they were gone.

TLC - Unpretty (LaFace Records)
by lamontpaul

I love this song so much and TLC's politics for girls, and boys is right up front. Having said that I always loved going to Sephora on Hollywood Blvd and buying all of the makeup that MAC can make. But this song always reminds me keenly of the pressure. Now I'm nearly a hundred years old, is it any wonder I am considering cosmetic surgery because people are constantly carelessly I think convincing me that I am a bad person. Are they at all bad people, my convincors? My judges? When I get my work done I will feel better. This is one of the all time great pop records but have a billion views on Youtube changed anything? Tough day.  

FIRE ENGINES - Lubricate Your Living Room (Pop Aural)
by Alan Rider

The fluffed start to the second track on this,'Get Up and Use Me', is so brilliant. I can just imagine that happening in the studio and them saying "lets just leave it in". This sounds like it was all recorded in an afternoon, and is so much better for all the rough edges and urgency. There is one of those box set thingys coming out on Cherry Red in August. We must let you know all about that when it happens.

Essential Info

Main image screengrab from an Isobel Campbell's video.

The previous Week in Music 'Outsideleft Week in Music It's Shark-Shark Week' is here→

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