Absolute Elsewhere

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14 Nov 2011    1

In the current issue of Uncut magazine, the editors have compiled a list of the 50 greatest bootlegs. Among the usual suspects are never-released Bob Dylan and the Band, the Clash, the Velvet Underground, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Cave, Captain Beefheart, Led Zeppelin, Kate Bush (her demo sessions) and so on. Topping the list was the Beach Boys' SMiLE which the authors duly noted would... > Read more

Good Vibrations session

THE BEACH BOYS' SMiLE (2011): Reconstructing the jigsaw puzzle

14 Nov 2011    1

In a sense, the group's name was the problem: The Beach Boys. It was ideal when they were singing short-hair clean-cut Californian surf and hotrod songs in the innocent early Sixties. But as the decade turned, the Beatles arrived, passing marijuana replaced waxing down the board, and the Beach Boys music became more complex . . . but the band's name sounded juvenile and not a little... > Read more

Good Vibrations session

FLYING NUN AT 30 (2011): Getting older and bolder

4 Nov 2011

If you are 20, jeez even if you are 30, the great days of Flying Nun -- that thrilling period between the Clean's rallying cry-cum-single Tally Ho in '81 and, say, Martin Phillipps announcing the end of the Chills on-stage in America in '92 to the surprise of his bandmates – is not something you experienced. Not for you the excitement of seeing the young Straitjacket Fits,... > Read more

Drawing to a Hole

TOM WAITS INTERVIEWED (2011): Cutting through tough scrub

31 Oct 2011    1

As many who've tried will attest, you don't so much interview Tom Waits as ask a question . . . then hope for the best. His reply might be an oddball witticism which is funny but evasive, a yawning and uncomfortable silence, a strange but insightful analogy which makes better sense later or a mumbled “I dunno, you know”. Of course sometimes he is sharp and penetratingly... > Read more

New Year's Eve

GURRUMUL PROFILED (2011): Songs of the sacred world

27 Oct 2011    1

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – known to his people as Gudjuk and in the wider world as simply Gurrumul – is an overnight sensation which has been about two decades in the making. The blind, self-taught, singer-songwriter from an Aboriginal community on the small and remote Elcho -- an island off the north coast of Australia near Darwin (population 2300) -- has toured Europe... > Read more

Gurrumul: Djarimirri

U2, ACHTUNG BABY TURNS 20 (2011): The handbrake turn

25 Oct 2011    1

In Dublin, at the end of the final U2 concert on the Lovetown tour in 1989 -- broadcast to 200 million in a live radio link up -- Bono said they would now “go away and dream it all up again”. From a scrappy post-punk band at the start of the decade they had delivered half a dozen albums which connected them with a global audience, and had written stadium anthems which are... > Read more

Zoo Station

JIMI HENDRIX IN 2011: Return to Winterland 1968

17 Oct 2011    1

From the moment Jimi Hendrix arrived in London in the early hours of September 24 1966 to his death in the same city just a few days short of four years later, he seemed to be constantly moving, playing and recording. He played his first jam in London the night he arrived, and a fortnight later -- after jamming with the Brian Auger Trinity, the VIPs at the famous Scotch of St James and... > Read more

Foxey Lady


11 Oct 2011

In the excellent DVD doco The Never Ending Narrative, a legion of rock writing worthies line up to discuss Bob Dylan's remarkable late-career reinvention. Nigel Williamson is both amused and slightly annoyed that not only did Dylan start making some of the best music of his career, but he also took on Williamson's area and proved to be one of the best writers about music (his autobiography... > Read more

Beatnik's Wish

DEAN WAREHAM INTERVIEWED (2011): His past is ever present

5 Oct 2011    1

Dean Wareham's many past lives are all existing parallel in his musical life these days. As founder of the much acclaimed Galaxie 500 in 1987 around Boston, he quit the band in '91 to form the Velvet Underground-influenced Luna which lasted until the middle of the following decade. More recently with his wife Britta Phillips (also in Luna in the latter days) he had played and recorded... > Read more


DAVE LISIK INTERVIEWED (2011): Ancient, contemporary and to the future

3 Oct 2011

Even a cursory glance at the website for Canadian-born, American-educated and Wellington-resident composer/musician Dave Lisik is impressive for his work ethic. Aside from noting him being a teacher, trumpeter and theorist, his website lists eight albums under his own name since 2007 and another five where he was producer/director of various ensembles (from US percussion groups to a... > Read more

The Watchers

STEVE WILSON OF PORCUPINE TREE INTERVIEWED (2011): Setting controls to the heart of his prog

29 Sep 2011

Steven Wilson doesn't sound remotely angry, just weary, when he says a major British newspaper declined to review his new album Grace For Drowning. They said he was too under-the-radar and no one knew who he was.“Well, that's frustrating,” he sighs, “because most of the music they write about is completely unknown and unheard. Without wishing to blow my own trumpet I've... > Read more


PINK FLOYD, PART ONE 1967-72: Before the dark side

25 Sep 2011    1

When Johnny Rotten wrote “I hate” on a Pink Floyd t-shirt, he probably didn't have much room left to get into specifics. After all, even by 1976 when the Sex Pistols emerged there had been a lot of different Pink Floyds for him to hate. Nine album's worth in fact. There had been the brief period in '67 when Syd Barrett wrote the eccentric singles See Emily Play and... > Read more

Interstellar Overdrive

PINK FLOYD, PART TWO 1972 - 83: After Dark to the unkindest Cut

25 Sep 2011

Despite the textual analysis possible on Wish You Were Here in 1975 and the gargantuan theatrics of The Wall (a largely unlistenable album and often as dull as its cover), it is always The Dark Side of the Moon where the Pink Floyd story pivots. That album -- 50 million sold, in the Billboard top 200 for more than 14 years after its release in March '73 -- captured the uneasiness of the... > Read more

Sheep (extract)

PINK FLOYD, PART THREE (1987-94): Cut straight to the toll of the Bell

25 Sep 2011

When Roger Waters quit Pink Floyd in April '87 -- the band he had co-founded with Syd Barrett, Nick Mason and Rick Wright more than 20 years previous, and for whom he had largely written their last few albums including The Wall -- he probably quite justifiably expected the band's name would be folded away. He might have presumed the individual members, all wealthy aside from acid-damaged... > Read more

Learning to Fly

NIRVANA'S NEVERMIND 20 YEARS ON: Classic is as classic does

16 Sep 2011

The past is not just another country, it is one with very different radio. Let's go back to a time when people wore strange clothes and listened to very different music. A place where Bryan Adams was writing himself into the Guinness Book of Records with the longest-running single -- 16 weeks -- on the UK charts with (Everything I Do) I Do It For You. In this yesteryear Guns N' Roses... > Read more

On a Plain

THE JAYHAWKS, MARK OLSON INTERVIEWED (2011): Today in the green grass again

5 Sep 2011

Whenever anyone speaks of the No Depression movement – the alt.country and roots music which emerged in the early Nineties -- one band's name is always mentioned: The Jayhawks. Out of Minneapolis, the five-piece Jayhawks influenced bands such as Uncle Tupelo (which split to form Wilco and Son Volt) and their first two major label albums Hollywood Town Hall (1992) and Tomorrow... > Read more

Hide Your Colours

MAREKO INTERVIEWED (2003): The hard road from Samoa to South Auckland

4 Sep 2011

Mareko is seated at one end of a stacked table in Dawnraid's South Auckland office. Piled high on the other end are boxes of T-shirts emblazoned with his name and that of his debut album, White Sunday. During a wide-ranging conversation, Mareko - aka Mark Sagapolutele - laughs about how much mileage he's been getting in the media lately. And his album isn't even out yet. He's had... > Read more

City Line

THE DIRTBOMBS INTERVIEWED (2004): Detroit's punk soul brothers

1 Sep 2011

The Dirtbombs come from a city with a powerful rock'n'roll history: Detroit. The Motor City sprang Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Bob Seger, Iggy Pop, and latterly the White Stripes, Kid Rock and the Von Bondies. The Dirtbombs' frontman Mick Collins formerly helmed the semi-legendary Gories but the unique two-bass, two-drums quintet Dirtbombs have been seriously rocking for... > Read more

I'll Wait

RATTLE RECORDS AT 20: Decades of delivering

1 Sep 2011

Even producer Steve Garden, one of the prime movers behind Auckland's Rattle label, finds it hard to believe it has been 20 years since their first releases. Now with a catalogue of over 30 albums -- which includes those on their Rattle Jazz imprint -- Rattle is a significant player in New Zealand's musical landscape. It has recently launched the ia subsidiary label (Independent... > Read more

Part 8


29 Aug 2011

In 2002 after a Rolling Stones concert in Chicago I asked my friend, who lived in the city, to take me down to 2120 South Michigan Avenue, the old home of Chess Records. Aside from wanting to see this legendary place where Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley, Etta James, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon once held court, I also half thought that Mick'n'Keith'n'Charlie might drop by. After... > Read more

Another Sugar Daddy