Absolute Elsewhere

Keep up to date with RSS Feed iconRss or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

ILL SEMANTICS INTERVIEWED (2002): The meaning behind the theory

2 Aug 2011

You know how it's supposed to be in hip-hop - the artists are kinda surly and mean, there's usually something about the struggle of "my people", some unspecified and unfiltered rage. That's how it's supposed to be: guys in beanies with a bad attitude, sistas glaring at you from behind impenetrable wraparounds. But it isn't like that on this sunny morning in the boardroom of... > Read more

Ill's Coming

COLD CHISEL INTERVIEWED (2011): Forever now, and again

1 Aug 2011    1

When the Australian rock band Cold Chisel arranged a press conference in Sydney in July 2011, they had something to announce and much to celebrate. But the gathering of media, management and musicians was also conducted with a degree of solemnity. The excitement was tempered because someone was absent from the microphones alongside singer Jimmy Barnes, keyboard player/songwriter and... > Read more

Home and Broken Hearted

COLD CHISEL ALBUMS, REMASTERED AND RE-PRESENTED (2011): The last wave, again . . .

1 Aug 2011

The reason for Cold Chisel's July 2011 Sydney press conference was to announce the biggest archival reissue in Australian music history. All their albums (including live releases) remastered and packaged up with rare and unseen DVD footage (some bought from eBay says Barnes), and 56 extra tracks available only on digital download. Here's a run-down of the Cold Chisel remastered and... > Read more

The Last Wave of Summer

HOLLIE SMITH INTERVIEWED (2011): Are friends electronica?

1 Aug 2011

In Berlin it's 8.15am so a yawning Hollie Smith is forgivably vague about where her friends Electric Wire Hustle played last night. And she is also on holiday, despite having a new album Band of Brothers Vol 1 – with Mara TK of EWH – released back home. “I did talk last year of moving over here for a lot longer,” she says “but things kept changing so... > Read more

Promised Land Hotel (Pt 1 and Pt 2)

CHANTS R&B 1966: New Zealand's rocking witchdoctors

25 Jul 2011    2

Chants R&B, who styled themselves "soul agents for r'n'b," were a raucous four-piece from Christchurch, New Zealand who would seem to have been in cultural isolation from r'n'b rock of the mid Sixties by them being at the bottom of the bottom island at the bottom of the world. But Christchurch had an American airforce base and so -- as with Max Merritt and Ray Columbus before... > Read more

I Want Her

R.E.M. LIFES RICH PAGEANT REISSUED (2011): The turning point

25 Jul 2011

When R.E.M. re-signed to Warners for a reported US$80 million in 1996, it was hard to know whether to stifle the gasp or the guffaw. Although that figure bandied about was doubtless inflated and involved complex deals regarding recording, promotion and royalties, it wasn't the number that was so significant. It was what Warners thought they might be getting. After all, the band were... > Read more

Fall On Me (Athens demo)

THE GREATEST LOST ALBUM IN ROCK? (2011): The remarkable story of The Voyage of the Corvus Corrone

18 Jul 2011    5

In late 1976 keyboard player Rick Wakeman of the progressive rock band Yes – riding a string of solo successes with his prog-rock concept albums The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Citizen Kane – gave a revealing interview to the British magazine New Music Maker in which he described his forthcoming project, a concept album based on Sir James... > Read more

The Edges of the Map

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB (2011): The Dylan tribute albums

18 Jul 2011

Bob Dylan's 70th birthday in June 2011 hardly went unobserved in the world – you couldn't turn around without bumping into profiles, reconsiderations, essays and the like – and nor was it coincidence that many artists lined up for tribute albums. Some got in early – like Ben Sidran whose Dylan Different arrived before Bob's 69th birthday – and others had... > Read more

Tomorrow is a Long Time

PITCH BLACK INTERVIEWED (2004): Lights, camera, action

16 Jul 2011

Fortunately, Paddy Free and Mike Hodgson, who are Pitch Black, get the joke behind the question: why is it so many electronica artists like themselves live in the bush or by the ocean, and are inspired by all that nature out there? Whatever happened to nightclubbing and staying up until dawn? Free, who lives at Piha and calls Karekare his spiritual home, says these days he couldn't... > Read more

SUEDE REISSUED AND RECONSIDERED (2011): England made me

4 Jul 2011    3

At the going down of the sun we will remember them, those great Britpop bands who were The Next Big Thing – like Longpigs, the Seahorses, Mansun, the Supernaturals . . . All household names, right? Yes, it was – and still is -- easy to be cynical about Nineties Britpop, especially from this distance when Oasis and Blur were being set off against each other, and British... > Read more

The Asphalt World

TEX PERKINS INTERVIEWED (2011): Cash money and black is back

2 Jul 2011

The hotel's drawn blinds shut out the mid-morning Auckland sun, pills are scattered on a table, the remains of takeaway food are on another and there's a pervasive air of “the morning-after”. “Yeah, very Johnny Cash,” says Tex Perkins, the room's slightly disheveled occupant, in a husky and weary voice. The Australian singer-songwriter – in such... > Read more

What Do You Want Now?

ACID DAZE PART THREE: A Day in My Mind's Mind Vol 3; 28 Kiwi Psychedelic Trips 1967-72

25 Jun 2011

As with the second volume in this excellent on-going and budget-priced series, I wrote the liner notes to this album and -- with the invaluable research and help of Grant Gillanders who once again chose the tracks and must be on the shortlist of an honour's list for services to Kiwi music -- I also wrote the profiles on the bands who feature.Again rather than me itemise the trippy music and... > Read more

The Smoke: Never Trust A Woman

ACID DAZE PART TWO: A Day in My Mind's Mind Vol 2; Fantasies, Polka Dots and Flowers

25 Jun 2011

Rather than essay this second collection of Kiwi psychedelic songs from '67-'72 -- subtitled "Fantasies, Polka Dots and Flowers" -- why don't I just reproduce below the liner notes I wrote for it?.................. The exciting thing about this on-going series of psychedelic music from New Zealand in the late 60s and early 70s is not just that it brings back some great songs and... > Read more

The Music Convention: Bellyboard Beat

PAUL McCARTNEY 1970 AND 1980 (2011): Lowkey at each end of his first post-Beatles decade

20 Jun 2011

In a few months Sir James Paul McCartney, age 68, will premier his new work, a major orchestral piece for the New York City Ballet entitled Oceans Kingdom, written in conjunction with American composer John Wilson. This ambitious career move in the classical world follows his Liverpool Oratorio, Standing Stone and Working Classical with the London Symphony Orchestra in the Eighties,... > Read more

Paul McCartney: Coming Up (live, 1979)

TOWNES VAN ZANDT INTERVIEWED (1988): Say hello and wave goodbye

16 Jun 2011

You hate to say lt, but Townes Van Zandt had probably already written his own obituary - many times. Try this as a sample of his cut-to-the-bone, white knuckle lyrics: “There ain’t much I haven’t tried -- fast llvin’, slow suicide, I try to tell myself I’m fine but it just aln’t so.” Van Zandt has always lived on that knife edge of self-doubt, a man... > Read more

Townes Van Zandt: You Are Not Needed Now (live, 1985)

NICK CAVE, FROM OUTSIDER TO AUTEUR IN THE NINETIES: Let Love In to No More Shall We Part

2 Jun 2011

From the early Nineties, Nick Cave -- ever so slowly -- ceased to be a preoccupation of those who immersed themselves in the gloom of his raw and dirty blues-based music and became a respected, almost mainstream figure. You could mention him in most conversations and people would know who you meant. Songs like Straight To You, Christina the Astonishing, Papa Won't Leave You Henry... > Read more

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Stagger Lee (from Murder Ballads)

STEVE IGNORANT OF CRASS INTERVIEWED (2011): A working classy act

1 Jun 2011

In Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip's pointed but very funny rap on Thou Shalt Kill four years back, Scroobius rolled out a catalogue of groups noting after each one they were were “just band”. And so it goes: “The Sex Pistols, just a band; the Clash, just a band; Crass, just a band; Minor Threat, just a band . . .” Hold up. What's the punk-era Crass doing in such... > Read more

TINY RUINS INTERVIEWED (2011): Some were meant for greatness

31 May 2011

Hollie Fullbrook – who performs as Tiny Ruins – laughs with slight embarrassment, tells of how she came to her stage name and asks I not mention it because it sounds pretentious. It doesn't actually – unless you think mentioning Jean Paul Sartre's Nausea and the forties singer/band leader Tiny Bradshaw in the same anecdote qualifies as pretension. But that is... > Read more

Tiny Ruins: Adelphi Apartments

HOWE GELB INTERVIEWED (2011): The price and pay-off of the path less traveled

20 May 2011    1

Howe Gelb of Tucson, Arizona is one of the long distance runners. He's been in for the long haul with his band Giant Sand (two dozen albums since the mid Eighties) and diverse solo projects under his own name (around 18 which range from gospel in Canada to flamenco desert-rock in Cordoba, Spain on his new release Alegrias). And there are other albums as OP8, the Band of Blacky... > Read more

Howe Gelb and A Band of Gypsies: Cowboy Boots on Cobble Stone (from the album Alegrias)

STEVE WINWOOD PROFILED (2011): From teen-soul boy to mainstream man

19 May 2011

When the salty bluesman Howlin' Wolf growled “the men don't know, but the little girls understand” on the 1961 Willie Dixon-penned Back Door Man we know he was talking about something more earthy and sexual than pop singers like Justin Bieber. But when Bieberfever arrived to what appeared to be the surprise of anyone over 16, there were many music writers bewailing his... > Read more