Absolute Elsewhere

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WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . BYUNGKI HWANG: a Korean master musician at home

17 Oct 2016  |  5 min read  |  2

In Seoul, the vibrant capital of South Korea the old and new, the raw and polished, frequently rub together in odd juxtapositions. So a butcher’s shop with pig trotters on the wet floor is perhaps to be expected in the suburban street where the country’s most famous musician lives. Byungki Hwang, at 72 when I visited him in 2008, was still Korea’s leading player of the... > Read more

Byungki Hwang: Sounds of the Night Part 4, from the album Kayagum Masterpieces, 2001

MILES FROM INDIA CONSIDERED (2016): Davis, in a sitar way

8 Oct 2016  |  4 min read

For very many decades there has been a profitable and important cross-cultural engagement between Western musicians and Indian artists. From the moment people heard George Harrison tentatively picking out a few notes on sitar for the Beatles' Norwegian Wood in 1965 – and unwittingly launching a raga-rock phase which dominated the late Sixties – the influence of Indian... > Read more

Miles From India

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE BEVIS FROND (2016): Scuz me while we kiss this guy

6 Oct 2016  |  6 min read

For a man with his name on almost 30 albums in the past three decades, you'd think the name Nick Saloman would be pretty well known. Okay, the albums all come under his band's name, but even that is hardly familiar to most: the Bevis Frond. England's Saloman (confusingly sometimes spelled Salomon in some overseas media) and his fellow travellers – the Bevis Frond has had a few... > Read more

I Can't Cry from Superseeder

NORAH JONES CONSIDERED (2016): Old ways and a new day breaking

3 Oct 2016  |  2 min read

Because her debut album Come Away With Me of '02 sold over 25 million copies, smarter-than-thou folks and cynics wrote it off as polite MOR. But it was actually a canny distillation of country and cool jazz (her two reference points as a jazz pianist who grew up on Willie Nelson) and her forthcoming album Day Break – originals and covers of material by Duke Ellington, Horace... > Read more

FRANK ZAPPA RE-COLLECTED (2016): Dinner with the Don of Freakdom

26 Sep 2016  |  2 min read

Aside from being a composer and performer who crossed, or more correctly ignored, boundaries between musical genres – his catalogue includes everything from doo-wop to classical albums – Frank Zappa could deliver zinging one-liners. At one point in the late 60s when he looked like a typical longhaired flower-child drop-out acid freak, he was once asked, “What are... > Read more

Peaches En Regalia

THE PIXIES CONSIDERED (2016): Clearing the path to Nirvana

23 Sep 2016  |  1 min read

Apparently the man known as Black Francis (and later Frank Black) was obsessed with outer space but in '86 gave up the idea of coming to New Zealand to see Haley's Comet to form a band. Our loss was the world's gain because the band was the Pixies who inspired countless others in their first lifespan. They split in '93, reformed in '04 (although founder member/bassist Kim Deal quit in... > Read more

DAVID BECKER INTERVIEWED (2016): The work and the rewards

19 Sep 2016  |  11 min read

For an interviewer, the worst subject isn't the one who doesn't say much or even anything, because at least that can be turned into a funny story. The worst is the person who just goes on and on and on . . . Two-time Grammy-nominated American guitarist David Becker can certainly talk, but the saving grace is that he's very interesting, has enjoyed a real DIY career in which he... > Read more

That Man is a Legend

THE PYE AND PICCADILLY GIRLS (2016): They also serve who only stand and sing

5 Sep 2016  |  3 min read

Britain in the Sixties threw up a number of great female pop singers when the world's attention turned in that direction after the explosion of the Beatles. There were many talents like Cilla Black and Lulu – capable of an extraordinary range of emotion from heartache to nail-hard hammering – and Dusty Springfield (who grew from MOR ballads and pop into soulful depth... > Read more

Incense by Sheila Carter

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ROY BUCHANAN: The Messiah who isn't coming back

29 Aug 2016  |  3 min read

There have been any number of Southern blues, soul and rock'n'roll musicians who have struggled with their pull of their secular and spiritual sides: Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Son House, Al Green . . . and the great guitarist Roy Buchanan. Arkansas-born Buchanan -- who died in an apparent jail-cell suicide in 1988 at age 48, although that has been seriously questioned -- was plagued... > Read more

THE MONKEES; THEN AND AGAIN (2016): It was 50 years ago today . . .

27 Aug 2016  |  3 min read  |  1

Anyone can easily locate the YouTube clip of the 1967 recording sessions for the Beatles' extraordinary A Day in the Life. The montage shows celebrity pals hanging around: Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, Donovan clowning with George Harrison, a youthful and happy Keith Richards, Harrison's wife Pattie Boyd sipping wine, Marijke from the hippie clothiers The Fool earnestly waving a... > Read more

That Was Then, This is Now

DEATH BY HUNGARIAN MUSIC (2016): The cult of Gloomy Sunday

15 Aug 2016  |  3 min read

In small, conspiracy-theory pockets of popular culture there is the belief that some songs are poison, in the same way that theatrical types don’t refer openly to Shakespeare's Macbeth but rather say, “the Scottish play”. The fatalistic songs of Robert Johnson – who allegedly made a pact with the Devil down at the crossroads outisde Clarksdale, Mississippi... > Read more

Gloomy Sunday, by Billie Holiday

POI E AND PATEA MAORI (1988): Dalvanius, man of passion

4 Aug 2016  |  19 min read  |  2

The old wooden Methodist church in a side street in Patea isn’t used much anymore. A lot of places in Patea aren't. It's a town battered by the economic ideas of successive governments and people have had to move out. The work just isn’t there anymore. But at least once a week the cobwebs in the church rafters shake when the Patea Maori group, the town's most visible... > Read more

Patea Maori: Ngoi Ngoi

DINOSAUR JR CONSIDERED (2016): If'n it ain't broke

1 Aug 2016  |  2 min read

Hard to believe, but Dinosaur Jr out of Massachusetts, first formed over 30 years ago. They've been helmed by sole constant , singer-guitarist J. Mascis – although co-founder and bassist Lou Barlow, who left after the first five years, rejoined when the band was resurrected after an eight year hiatus ending in late '05. A long and productive career (some fine solo projects... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HANK GARLAND: The forgotten star of the six string

25 Jul 2016  |  4 min read

When guitarist Hank Garland's '59 Chev station wagon spun out on a road in Tennessee and hammered into a tree in September 1961 it left him unconscious in hospital for weeks. And although he recovered and lived another 43 years he never went back to work . . . but what a career he'd had since he'd arrived in Nashville as a precociously gifted teenager 13 years before the crash. At... > Read more

Sugar Foot Rag

SHARON JONES CONSIDERED (2106): Lady willpower

25 Jul 2016  |  3 min read

When opportunity came knocking, Sharon Jones was waiting to open the door. She was 40 and had been ready for decades. No surprise then that once her career took off she released albums with the titles I Learned the Hard Way and Give the People What They Want. Jones – now 60, half a dozen albums to her name, Grammy nominated and the subject a recent film festival documentary... > Read more

TRACE BUNDY INTERVIEWED (2016): Songs, stories and fortunately no singing

20 Jul 2016  |  7 min read

There are some musicians you need to see live to fully appreciate what it is they do. American guitarist Trace Bundy – on his way here for a national tour, see dates below -- is one of those. He takes to the stage with just a couple of acoustic guitars but -- through the use of delay pedals to create loops of sound, unusual tunings and different capo settings – he can... > Read more

THE ZELLE RECORDS STORY (2016): Hemisphere to hemisphere

4 Jul 2016  |  2 min read

Let's just say immediately that when it comes to music, Zelle Records out of Vienna in Austria is extremely patriotic. About New Zealand music, that is. According to the label's head honcho (and sole employee) Arno Loeffler, Zelle is a “one-man, vinyl-only record label dedicated to alternative rock and pop music from Dunedin and elsewhere in New Zealand”. Their... > Read more

AARADHNA SPEAKS ABOUT HER NEW ALBUM (2016): Not just another brown girl in the ring

1 Jul 2016  |  <1 min read

Over here at Elsewhere Aaradhna has been one of our favourite New Zealand artists for the intelligence, soul and power she brings to her music. Her previous album Treble and Reverb in 2012 won a stack of awards and we had it as one of our favourites of that year. (She answered our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire when she was nominated for a Silver Scroll after it, see here). Recently... > Read more

THE RAMONES CONSIDERED (2016): Like the Beach Boys on speed

1 Jul 2016  |  2 min read

Hey! Ho! Let's go . . . and check out the key albums by the band that was the Beatles for brats, New York's classic punk-pop group known for their “1-2-3-4” no-mucking-about performances and memorable, economic songs. And the reason at this time? Because their thrilling debut (see below) has come out in a reissue  . . . and it's bigger than God this time. ... > Read more

VAN MORRISON: A CLASSIC PERIOD REVISITED (2016): Is it too late to stop now?

27 Jun 2016  |  4 min read

Although Van Morrison made many indifferent albums (like the travesty What's Wrong With This Picture? : Answer? Everything), since the thoroughly enjoyable Keep It Simple ('08) he's been back on form. But you suspect even longtime fans have given up listening after many disappointments and recognising that Van now is not the Van of then (or Them). Longtime aficionados will... > Read more

Cyprus Avenue (live at the Troubadour, 1973)