Absolute Elsewhere

Music interviews, overviews, critical essays and reviews. Big names, cult acts and interviews exclusive to Elsewhere. Straight and bizarre, oddball and ordinary music and musicians.

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NWA; BACK OUTTA COMPTON (2015): The return of the original gangstas

31 Aug 2015

When Ice-T boldly announced that gangsta rap was the CNN of the ghetto suburbs, one wit hit back saying — given the cliched posing with guns and chains and the sneering attitude — that it was actually more like the Cartoon Network. Of course things change fast in popular culture and before long the writer Ned Sublett in his excellent book about New Orleans and the hip-hop... > Read more

Deep Water (Kendrick Lamar, Justus, Anderson.Paak)

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HAYSEED DIXIE: The wacky world of hillbilly humour

24 Aug 2015

The remote community of Deer Lick Holler in the Appalachians isn't on the way to anywhere, so there aren't many outside influences. It's where musicologists go to study authentic hillbilly music -- and be fearful of the sound of Duelling Banjos. So it was a significant day when a stranger drove into the valley on crisp autumn afternoon two or more decades ago -- and promptly crashed into... > Read more

Hayseed Dixie: Strawberry Fields Forever

KARIN KROG CONSIDERED (2015): A rare voice from the north

17 Aug 2015

Because no sensible soul would come to a website called Elsewhere to hear just the familiar, we can confidently speak about the extraordinary, often uncategorisable Norwegian jazz singer Karin Krog who is now in her late 70s and has been around since the Sixties when she emerged a jazz-pop singer. She first came onto the Elsewhere radar a few decades ago when she recorded with John Surman... > Read more

Maiden Voyage

JOHN LENNON REISSUED ON RECORD (2015): Going solo in the Seventies

14 Aug 2015    2

Had he lived, John Lennon would turn 75 on October 9. Which means – because he had 17 years on the world stage before his murder in 80 – that he's been dead twice as long as he was alive and famous. Recently Paul McCartney noted that Lennon's death turned him into a martyr, and its also true that – perhaps largely through Lennon and Yoko Ono's self-mythologising... > Read more

SIMON THACKER INTERVIEWED (2015): The intercultural explorer on six strings

7 Aug 2015

When Simon Thacker was growing up outside a small village some distance from Edinburgh in Scotland, the rest of the world seemed a very long way away. But as an aspiring guitarist he connected to it through music by exploring the blues, classical music, folk and more. He found his way to Indian and Spanish music and so these days the world doesn't so much come to him but –... > Read more

Nada-Anada: Joy. Simon Thacker and the Nava Rasa Ensemble

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . JACO PASTORIUS: High times and low notes

3 Aug 2015    2

For a jazz musician, Jaco Pastorius died in pretty creditable rock n’ roll style: drug, delusions, alcohol and itinerancy. And beaten to a pulp by a nightclub manager who didn’t recognise the persistent drunk battering on his door at 4am as a former genius on electric bass. Pastorius’ remarkable but brief life is inscribed in an almost too convenient arc. He was left for... > Read more

PETE TOWNSHEND REPEATED (2015): Who loves who the most?

20 Jul 2015

A few years ago before Christmas I bought two rock autobiographies to read over the break. One was Rod Stewart's Rod which was howling funny and charted the life of a man for whom booze, blondes and a bloody good time were written into the contract of being a rock star. So he obliged. The other could not have been more different, it was Pete Townshend's earnest Who I Am which read... > Read more

My Baby Gives It Away by Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . WENDY O. WILLIAMS: Baby you can trash my car

13 Jul 2015

The spirit and essence of rock'n'roll is impossible to define. For some it was encapsulated by Little Richards' visceral scream and shout of “Awoobopaloobop Alopbamboom”. For others it might be more like, “Make a fucking racket, show us your tits and blow up a car”. If you are of the latter persuasion then New York's Plasmatics – fronted by Wendy... > Read more

Dream Lover

JOY DIVISION REISSUED (2015): The art at the heart of darkness

13 Jul 2015

Many decades ago on his Graceland album, Paul Simon sang, “Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts”. New Zealand threw one of the most unexpected up its singles chart: At the dawn of the 80s Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart went to number one. Some might think that confirms the country as emotionally bleak, a place where novels and films almost invariably... > Read more

The Sound of Music

JON SPENCER INTERVIEWED (2105): Another rock-blues implosion from New York

6 Jul 2015

Jon Spencer is just back in his adopted home-city of New York after an American tour then a few festival dates in Europe with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the band he formed 24 years ago. He's only got a little downtime however before coming to Australia and New Zealand for shows and then a punishing schedule through until the end of the year. He's going to be 50 this year and... > Read more

Funeral

DAVE BAXTER, AVALANCHE CITY INTERVIEWED (2015): Finally, above ground again

3 Jul 2015

The cafe where we meet is very nice and attracts a particular clientele, as you'd expect. It is in Herne Bay, the country's first $2 million suburb apparently. Neither Dave Baxter nor I live around here of course – he's out west in Massey and I'm a few suburbs to the south – but with his hipster beard and beanie he fits in better than I do. Neither of us are good for... > Read more

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING STONE (2015): Where's Bill? Why man, he done gone!

29 Jun 2015    1

When he was in the Rolling Stones, bassist Bill Wyman was mostly an impassive and seemingly disengaged presence on stage, only occasionally flicking a knowing look at drummer Charlie Watts as Mick Jagger pranced and preened. Bill Wyman was the Silent Stone. After he left the Stones in '93 however he wrote Stone Alone, a strangely compelling and scrupulously detailed account on... > Read more

Jumpin' Jack Flash

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . SANDY BULL: He had the whole world in his hands

22 Jun 2015    1

Just a thought, but if Sandy Bull had been British, magazines like Uncut and Mojo would be running major, rediscovery features about him and placing him in the pantheon of innovative guitarists like Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Richard Thompson and – especially – Davy Graham. But Bull – who recorded fewer than a dozen albums between his debut in '63 and death in 2001... > Read more

Improvisation for Oud 1 (live 1969)

SCALPER PROFILED (2105): New clothes for an old ceremony

22 Jun 2015    1

Scalper – known to his family as Nadeem Shafi – is one of the politest e-mailers it has been Elsewhere's pleasure to have contact with. For the past few years he's sent us sample tracks from his forthcoming album, always signed off with “Peace” and has cheerfully accepted that Elsewhere doesn't review singles or EP (too many full length albums commanding... > Read more

Lullaby (Scalper w Claire Duncan)

JAMES TAYLOR INTERVIEWED (2015): Even now, there's a stretch of highway

19 Jun 2015    1

Against the odds of age – and a bank balance probably falling below those necessary multiple millions rock-gentry seem to require these days to survive in the lifestyle they created and have become accustomed to – James Taylor is touring again. However, despite being 67 and having seen more than his share of concierges in strange hotels, unappealing backstage areas and... > Read more

Stretch of the Highway

DISCO, NOW AND THEN (2015): The genius of Giorgio, and getting the Fever again

19 Jun 2015    2

At 74, the pioneering producer Giorgio Moroder should be slowing down, but in fact he's started again. His new album Deja-Vu will be his first in 30 years and the renewed interest in him was doubtless prompted by his appearance on Daft Punk's 2013 Random Access Memory in which he spoke over an archetypal Moroder piece entitled Giorgio by Moroder. Among the guests on the new album... > Read more

La Disco by Giorgio Moroder

BARRY SAUNDERS INTERVIEWED (2015): The road and the runaways days call again

15 Jun 2015

Barry Saunders is lighting the first fire of winter at his Wellington home when he takes the call. But as the singer and songwriter in the long-running Warratahs, he's got plenty to talk about  . . . because they've just released their first album in nine years. And they are going back out on the road [dates below]. Although of the latter prospect he's prepared to admit as... > Read more

Faraway Sun

GARRY VAN EGMOND INTERVIEWED (2015): It's only rock'n'roll but I underwrite it . . .

12 Jun 2015

Garry Van Egmond has never had a heart attack, and given the nature of the business he's been in for more than four decades – where the stakes a big, the egos often bigger and financial ruin can be looming at any point – that's a real surprise. “I've always stayed very calm,” he smiles with a demeanor which confirms it. It's big business but “I play a bit... > Read more

Rock Or Bust

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . GEOFF LOVE: Man of international mysteries

8 Jun 2015    1

Britain's Geoff Love has no place in the catalogue of the mad, bad, dangerous and disturbed. He was just so utterly normal. And that's why he joins our collection of odd characters in music under this banner We Need to Talk About . . . He was almost abnormally normal, and enormously prolific.  Composer, arranger, band leader and producer Love – that's his real name,... > Read more

Somewhere My Love/Lara's Theme from Dr Zhivago

CAIRO KNIFE FIGHT INTERVIEWED (2015): Two for the road

28 May 2015

The body language of the two men sitting in the corner of this Mt Eden cafe could hardly be more different. Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Gaffaney (on the right) seems slightly ill at ease, the eye contact fleeting and smiles wry and rare. Guitarist/songwriter George Pajon Jr seems entirely comfortable, maintains a steady and clear gaze and speaks with a smile. He even... > Read more

Climbing Through Ashes