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BRIAN WILSON INTERVIEWED (2016): Still not made for these times

13 Jun 2016  |  6 min read  |  2

Brian Wilson – the genius behind the Beach Boys' hits from the elemental and Chuck Berry-borrowings of Surfin' USA to the ethereal Good Vibrations and beyond – cuts a sad and strangely out-of-time figure these days. For more than a decade he has been touring his golden period in the mid-to-late Sixties – half a century ago – playing his reconstructed album SMiLE... > Read more

PET SOUNDS CONSIDERED (2016): Brian Wilson's gifts on display

7 Jun 2016  |  3 min read  |  1

There are two reasons to be excited about the 50th anniversary box set of the Beach Boys' classic album Pet Sounds being released next week (June 17). The first is that it exists at all – a whopping 104 tracks across the five CD version which includes mono and stereo mixes, instrumental backing tracks and live versions – and we can hear how the mind of its creator Brian... > Read more

TERRY REID REVISITED (2016): Take me to the River, and to the other side

30 May 2016  |  5 min read  |  1

It's probably safe to say that unless you were there at the time or are an avid reader of the rear-view looking British rock monthlies, you've never heard of bands like Spooky Tooth, Steeleye Span or Colosseum. Or folk artists like John Renbourn, Davy Graham and Bert Jansch. Or even Terry Reid, although this singer-guitarist – now age 66 – has the distinction of being the... > Read more

River (alt take)

PAUL SIMON CONSIDERED (2016): He is a rock

30 May 2016  |  3 min read

For more than half a century Paul Simon has been articulating the concerns of his generation, as in American Tune in the Watergate era of disillusionment: “I don't know a soul who's not been battered, I don't have a friend who feels at ease”. Sometimes his lyrics have seemed prescient (“the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls" in Sound of... > Read more

CHRIS STAPLETON CONSIDERED (2016): Bigger than country, and going bigger

25 May 2016  |  5 min read

In the early Nineties when Billboard magazine adopted the more accurate Soundscan method of assessing record sales, three genres of music emerged as selling much more in America than anyone had previously thought: rap, alternative rock and country. It would be easy to simply note a divide there between urban (black, inner city), white college and rural (that mythical Middle America).... > Read more

Sometimes I Cry

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT … BERT JANSCH (2016): The most reluctant hero

23 May 2016  |  8 min read  |  1

Few musicians have recoiled from the glare of fame as assiduously as British guitarist and singer Bert Jansch. This solo artist and founder member of the seminal UK folk group Pentangle – less a band perhaps than a grouping of unlike minds and revolving membership -- was often an indifferent solo performer despite his obvious genius, was frequently drunk on stage (and admitted... > Read more

Needle of Death

BOB DYLAN and ERIC CLAPTON TODAY (2016): Older than yesterday

23 May 2016  |  5 min read  |  1

In recent times Mick Jagger has said he'd rather be interviewed by young journalists, because the old cynical ones are only ever interested in writing about the collective age of the Rolling Stones, which numbers in the centuries. He has a point and, whether you care for them or not these days, the Rolling Stones still make energetic blues-based rock . . . and are even promising... > Read more

Come Rain or Come Shine

THE MONKEES REVISITED (2016): Through the looking glass

20 May 2016  |  7 min read  |  1

The point about the Monkees is that most people miss the point about the Monkees. Back in the late Sixties some people – and some even today – got very exercised about the Monkees not playing their own instruments on their early albums. Gee,and can we start an alphabetical list of artists who didn't? The Association, all the vocal acts on Motown, the Beach Boys . . .... > Read more

I'm Not Your Stepping Stone (live '67)

QUEEN BEY THE REVENGER Vs PJ THE REPORTER (2016): Welcome to their worlds

16 May 2016  |  5 min read  |  1

Whether you think Beyonce's new album/hour-long film Lemonade is an openly autobiographical letter paying out on the infidelities of her husband Jay Z or just another clever piece of PR positioning, hardly matters. The “visual album” Lemonade – as in, “if life gives you lemons . . . “ – is actually an exceptional multi-media piece of work . . . with... > Read more

Chain of Keys by PJ Harvey

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (2014): The singer not the song, unfortunately

30 Apr 2016  |  2 min read  |  1

If you type in "world's worst singer" into Google and hit enter, the usual spew of teenage drivel comes up: people having a go at Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and so on. This kind of anti-fan rhetoric backed up by impeccable logic ("I hate her") is fun if you are 14 and doing it, but -- conceding there is no objective method of assessing "the worst" --... > Read more

Biassy

RYAN CHOI CONSIDERED (2016): Ukulele for the 21st century

25 Apr 2016  |  3 min read

Ryan Choi was born, and lives, in Honolulu. And he plays ukulele. But that is where the cliches and expectation ends. Because he plays a very different ukulele in a very different way. But first, let's backtrack a little to say how he came to Elsewhere's attention. Every week on average Elsewhere receives about a dozen CDs for consideration and about the same number of e-mails... > Read more

Inn Blue

RAY DAVIES, SONGS ON SALE (2016): Kinda Kinks but kinda not

25 Apr 2016  |  3 min read  |  1

In 1964, when they realised there was money in song publishing, Paul McCartney and John Lennon got in on the game, McCartney was especially keen to flog off songs to others (like the Stones, Peter and Gordon, Cilla Black and others in Brian Epstein's stable of stars like the ill-fated Tommy Quickly). In fact later in life he would joke that he'd go round to Lennon's place and they'd... > Read more

This Strange Effect by Dave Berry

CHEAP TRICK CONSIDERED (2016): Famous for their powerful trickery

18 Apr 2016  |  5 min read  |  1

Unfortunately for Cheap Trick, by the time they got to record their album All Shook Up with former Beatles producer George Martin and their engineer Geoff Emerick in 1980, they were starting to pull apart and had run out of puff. And great songs. But the band from Illinois in the mid 70s — sometimes wrongly described as “America's Beatles”, but we'll see why soon... > Read more

Southern Girls

SONIC YOUTH REVISITED (2016): From sideline to frontline to fade away

18 Apr 2016  |  4 min read

When the married couple of bassist Kim Gordon and guitarist Thurston Moore in Sonic Youth separated in 2011, there was great sense of sadness, as Gordon would later acknowledge in her very interesting autobiography Girl in a Band. She quoted from Elissa Schappell's article in Salon which captured what many fans – and even just casual observers of the band – were thinking.... > Read more

Tuff Gnarl (from Sister)

THE PROCLAIMERS INTERVIEWED (2016): Still clocking up the miles

11 Apr 2016  |  9 min read

The problem is common enough: The artists continues to make important music and the audience just wants to hear the hit songs from decades ago. It does seem unusually cruel in the case of Scotland's Proclaimers – twins Charlie and Craig Reid, now 54 – because their latest album Let's Hear It For The Dogs not only contains some of their toughest and most incisive (and... > Read more

Tuesday Afternoon

MURRAY McNABB REISSUED (2016): Spirit having flown

7 Apr 2016  |  3 min read

When New Zealand composer and keyboard player Murray McNabb died in 2013 at age 66 it's a safe bet that more people had heard his music than they might have thought. Outside of his serious jazz work McNabb did serious commercial work, music for television commercials (the famous Crunchie and Mainland Cheese ads), movies (Once Were Warriors), television series (Greenstone) and much... > Read more

Mr Gone (w Space Case, 1982)

RAY COLUMBUS RETURNS (2016): Snap, crackle and rock

30 Mar 2016  |  5 min read  |  1

In his often courageously candid 2011 autobiography The Modfather – subtitled “the life and times of a rock'n'roll pioneer” and co-written with journalist Margie Thompson – New Zealand cultural legend Ray Columbus didn't exactly deal the dirt. But then Columbus always came across as a genial, generous professional and – given he lived straight during the... > Read more

Kick Me

SANTANA REVISITED (2016): From Woodstock to Devadip

28 Mar 2016  |  1 min read  |  1

Carlos Santana has been famous and prolific for over 45 years and his new album Santana IV finds him re-united with most of the original band. So, essential early albums by the band or from his own solo catalogue? Santana (1969): The debut which introduced Latin-infused jazz-rock to the audience which hadn't been there for the band's stunning debut at Woodstock earlier that month.... > Read more

Waves Within (from Caravanserai)

DAVE DOBBYN CONSIDERED (2016): Magic what he do . . .

21 Mar 2016  |  3 min read  |  2

When producer Sir George Martin died in March, much was made — quite rightly — of his long association with the Beatles. What wasn't made more clear to a couple of generations of people for whom the Beatles are a band from the distant past, was how unusual and almost unique that relationship was. Martin was there for just about every Beatle record over seven enormously... > Read more

Harmony House

PERE UBU REISSUED, PART TWO (2016): Deconstructing pop and language

14 Mar 2016  |  5 min read

When Elsewhere spoke with Pere Ubu's mainman David Thomas recently it was ostensibly to discuss the two box sets of the band's early recordings which have been reissued on vinyl (and download) through Britain's Fire Records. But as you may see from that lengthy conversation, many other topics were traversed and there was perhaps less about the reissues than expected because Thomas... > Read more

Petrified (from Song of the Bailing Man)