Posts Tagged ‘The Left Outsides’

“All That Remains” is the fifth album by Walthamstow’s finest duo The Left Outsides since at least the halcyon days of Bevis Frond’s Inner Marshland.
Hard to pin down with any certitude, the music created by The Left Outsides varies from track to track and even moment to moment. Alison Cotton’s vocals, harmonium and viola blend with Mark Nicholas’s voice, bass, guitar, piano and drums in ways that recall everything from Kendra Smith and David Roback’s drony duo, Opal (on “Down to the Waterside”), to PJ Harvey covering an old Blondie tune as a dirge (on “Naming Shadows Was Your Existence”).
But the basic pulse of All That Remains most often reminds me of either current work by Massachusetts’ estimable Damon and Naomi, or the sound of Pearls Before Swine around the time of their third LP, These Things Two. Like those combos, The Left Outsides manage to swap and mix male and female vocals without altering the elegiac dream-heft of their overall sound. They do this while maintaining a vibe that feels indebted to the mists of wood and dale far more than the bustle of London. 

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And the instrumental arrangements are never too far from the light touch of the folk-rock classicism perfected in the UK and Holland as the ’60s slid into the ’70s. Most of the sounds seem more like meditations upon this period than any attempt at recreation, however, which also aligns the band with certain threads that emerged in the ’80s uk psych underground just before raves took over.
All of which makes this a beautiful and outstanding record, and one that especially rewards the deep concentration of what is euphemistically called “late night listening.” It’s a very special spin. 

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The Left Outsides are: Mark Nicholas and Alison Cotton, a husband and wife duo based in London, England whose atmospherichypnotic songs echo Nico’s icy European folk, pastoral psychedelia and chilly English fields at dawn. 

“We’ve probably run out of superlatives with which to shower on wife/husband duo Alison Cotton (viola and voice) and Mark Nicholas (guitar and vocals) . Such is the siren-like allure of this their fifth album (their second on Cardinal Fuzz and which gets a US release courtesy of old ‘Scope mate Byron Coley’s Feeding Tube imprint), though, that we just can’t resist trying to do  it something approaching justice without, hopefully, resorting to too many tired clichés of our own making……..It has a foot in the past and gives a nod to the present, while the Left Outsides have their eye firmly fixed to the future. Nothing here outstays its welcome. Long may it, and they, run”.

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“‘All That Remains’ is the fifth album by The Left Outsides and it is one of those albums which merits full album, in the correct order of songs headphone listening.  The classic way, so to speak. Because that is what this albums encapsulates: ….. “All That Remains” is a classical folk album that is inspired by its creators and imprinted with their unmistakable musical trademark”

The Left Outsides are: Mark Nicholas and Alison Cotton, a husband and wife duo based in London, England whose atmospherichypnotic songs echo Nico’s icy European folk, pastoral psychedelia and chilly English fields at dawn.  ‘There Is A Place’ takes its inspiration from the forest, with the LP made up of new compositions as well as reworked recordings the band wrote and performed for Gus Alvarez’s film, Stand & Deliver. “In a woodland clearing lies the body of a young woman. A sharp intake of breath – she is alive. What happened last night? Into the woods she searches for answers”…
This album successfully marries the bleary narcotic dream-pop ethic of Grouper and Beach House (check out the truly stunning ‘One Step At A Time’) with the more familiar drone-folk / pastoral excursions, most of which (‘Time Makes A Fool Of Us All’, ‘The Creeping Fog’) play out like some weird Anglo-Gothic film soundtrack, but are kept in balance by a gorgeous and inspired reading of Jack Frost’s ‘Civil War Lament’.

“The brooding instrumental ‘Cry of the Hunter’ eases the listener in on a dramatic note with mournful expressions of strings, guitar, and wordless vocalizing punctuated by piano chords, the piece resembling at times a meditative King Crimson.

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“Woozily narcotic of tempo and bathed in reverb, minor chord-heavy songs…glide by in a melancholy swoon….there’s a bewitching aura of moonlight dappled languor.
“Packed with atmospheric, gentle psychedelic folk…this is a delicate and sublime mix of swooning melodies and haunting, intelligent arrangements.”

“It’s dark yet playful; ‘quintessentially English’ yet worldly and well- travelled as if part acid folk with hints of portentous balladry and filmic imagery as viewed through a gypsy campfire and all thoroughly delightful.” 
“Its ethereal folk and dreamy psychedelic songs have the power to hypnotise. Heartfelt, introspective Englishness has
never sounded so good.” 

The Left Outsides - The Shape Of Things To Come

This is a limited edition vinyl release of The Left Outsides: The Shape Of Things To Come album – 300 copies only in 140 gsm vinyl with a high-gloss artwork sleeve.including lyric sheet and album download code.

The Left Outsides, Mark Nicholas and Alison Cotton, are a husband and wife duo from the Midlands and Sunderland based in London, England whose atmospheric, hypnotic songs echo Nico’s icy European folk, pastoral psychedelia and chilly English fields at dawn.

Their new album is The Shape Of Things To Come, mixed by Martin Noble of British Sea Power and Graham Sutton of Bark Psychosis – 13 songs including modern-day murder ballads, 60s beat psychedelia and outsider folk, with music and lyrics inspired by memories, dreams and Gregorian chants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=60&v=rr8Ee2dkQoM

Before The Left Outsides, Mark and Alison were in psych folk group The Eighteenth Day of May. Alison was also in Saloon, and over the past decade she’s played viola live with British Air Powers (an early version of British Sea Power), Cheval Sombre, Pete Astor and Mathew Sawyer. She plays with Plinth and her viola arrangements can be heard throughout Comet Gain’s latest album, Paperback Ghosts.

The Left Outsides have played across the UK, France, Germany and in the USA on their own, supported Dead Meadow, The Clientele, Mark Mulcahy and the Bevis Frond and also appeared at Phil McMullen’s Terrascope festival. They’ve recorded radio sessions for Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone, Tom Robinson’s show on BBC6 Music and Pete Paphides show for Soho Radio.