Absolute Elsewhere

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BOB DYLAN, FOR ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS (2012): The long look back

10 Sep 2012

With the release of Bob Dylan's 35th studio album Tempest, half a century after his self-titled debut, it's fair to observe there is an awful lot of Bob Dylan music (and some would fairly observe a lot of awful Bob Dylan music) washing around in the world. For the curious starting out on a journey through these vast lands then, here is an album and film overview: six of the best, six of the... > Read more

I Want You

JERRY LEE LEWIS, THE LEAN YEARS 1965-69; The singer not the song

7 Sep 2012

Given the amount of death and damnation which has attended Jerry Lee Lewis' life, it seems remarkable that in 2012 -- at age 76 -- he is still with us. He has seen off wives, children, cousins, friends, the FBI, prison sentences, more liquor and amphetamines than we can imagine, honkytonk nights, rivals like Elvis . . . And he's still here. At one time Jerry Lee could have been the... > Read more

What a Heck of a Mess

BOB DYLAN; FIFTY YEARS ON (2012): The new Vs old Dylans

3 Sep 2012    1

The new Bob Dylan album Tempest – in yet another uninspiring cover – is released later this week, but already there has been controversy over the first-released song Early Roman Kings on which the croaky old troubadour rides Muddy Waters' famous Mannish Boy riff. Some have called it a rip-off (which rather damns everyone from Bo Diddley to George Thorogood and beyond who've... > Read more

Duquesne Whistle

ALL KINDS OF HIGHS, SIXTIES PSYCHEDELIC POP (2012): The jellybean-tangerine-dandelion years

31 Aug 2012

Back in the early Nineties when I first interviewed Fred Cole of the Portland garageband Dead Moon, he ran down the names of the bands he'd been in since the mid-Sixties. It was hilarious -- so Spinal Tap we were both laughing like drains -- that I said I could pick the year, if not the month, the band existed just from the name. In the early Sixties Beatles-era he was in a Beatpop band... > Read more

I Can Beat Your Drum

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE MONKS (2011): Gabba Gabba Hey Hey we're the monks

30 Aug 2012

Because of its lo-fi, raw and untutored quality, the Black Monk Time album by a group of five former GIs who had been stationed in Germany in the early Sixties has been widely hailed by the likes of Jack White, Iggy Pop, Jay Reatard, Fred Cole of Dead Moon and many others who favour its elemental quality. The fact that it has been largely out of print (and the band broke up shortly after... > Read more

I Hate You


29 Aug 2012    1

When it was announced Bob Dylan had recorded an MTV Unplugged session in late '94, a wag within earshot guffawed and said, "But wasn't he always?" Which was sort of true. There are any number of people across a few generations who have imprinted in their consciousness the image of the impossibly young Dylan, acoustic guitar in hand, singing those socio-political anthems which made... > Read more

Positively 4th Street

EDDIE COCHRAN (1956-1960): Live fast, die right

27 Aug 2012    1

When Amy Winehouse died in 2011, few were much surprised that biographies started appearing within weeks. When Whitney Houston died there were no albums of hers readily available in New Zealand stores -- her previous studio album had been almost three years previous -- but that was a problem resolved within days. As we know all too well, there is money to be made out of that combination of... > Read more

Somethin' Else

PETER POSA PROFILED (2012): Pulling a hit out of the hat

26 Aug 2012    1

Half a century ago, in that monochrome world before the Beatles – before even Coronation Street screened on New Zealand television -- guitarist Peter Posa from Henderson rode a wave of local popularity with his single Wheels. As was the custom of the day, he'd adapted an already established hit – by the String-A-Longs out of Texas – and radio picked up his version.... > Read more

The Old Rugged Cross


13 Aug 2012

In Liverpool's Dockland there is a statue to one of the most famous musical sons of the city. And it isn't of a Beatle, Gerry of the Pacemakers or any of those many others who followed in the wake of the Fab Four in the Sixties. Or of anyone from the second wave ushered in by Teardrop Explodes, Echo and the Bunnymen and others in the late Seventies.. Nope, it dates back to a singer from... > Read more

Don't Say It's Over


6 Aug 2012    1

Before one of their earliest live shows – at the rain-soaked Great Western Festival in May 1972, on the bill with hard-rockers Nazareth – Roxy Music saxophonist Andy Mackay was grabbed for a quick interview about this group which was starting to gain attention. They'd just signed to Island Records and their self-titled debut album was still a month away, but already the... > Read more

Love is the Drug


3 Aug 2012

The last time Elton John topped the British charts, Nirvana hadn't recorded their Nevermind, Shihad were a few years away from their debut album and none of One Direction were born. It was 1990 and Lady Gaga was four. But Sir Elton – now 65 – is back at number one, courtesy of the Australian electronica-dance duo Pnau he has mentored for five years. The half-hour album... > Read more

Honky Cat

EDEN MULHOLLAND INTERVIEWED (2012): Dance across genres

30 Jul 2012

Melbourne-based Eden Mulholland has been busy recently, but often “busy” doesn't translate into success for musicians. However with his broad portfolio and diverse interests – from composition for contemporary dance to pop-rock with the band Motocade and into commercial work for advertisement and corporate clients – Mulholland has been enjoying his labours. Not... > Read more

Tightrope Highway

MARK GARDENER INTERVIEWED (2012): Ride into the sunlight

30 Jul 2012    1

In that gap between the Stone Roses' first album in 1989 and the emergence of Oasis with Definitely Maybe in '94, one of the prime contenders for greatness in British rock were Ride out of Oxford. They formed in '88, were signed to Alan McGee's famous Creation label the following year and their debut album Nowhere in '90 was universally hailed for its droning sonic energy, visceral... > Read more

Gravity Flow


20 Jul 2012    2

Tycho Cohran – aka LT – was always destined to do something in music, as were his seven brothers. The sons of jazz pioneer Phil Cohran, a Sun Ra Arkestra player and founding member of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) in Chicago, the boys were given instruments at an early age and of course there was always music around the house, including family... > Read more

Marcus Garvey

STEVE KILBEY, THE CHURCH, INTERVIEWED (2012): Thirty years of keeping the faith

16 Jul 2012    5

At 57, Steve Kilbey of the Australian band the Church can look back on more than three decades of . . . Of what, exactly? Instant fame in 1981 with their second single, his classic jangle-pop song Unguarded Moment; cracking the US (and elsewhere) charts with the sublime and much-covered Under the Milky Way Tonight of '88; a long catalogue of albums of often gorgeously mysterious... > Read more


ABBA; THE VISITORS, REVISITED (2012): Farewell to all that

11 Jul 2012

Abba were never my band. Too handclap-pop without the power-pop element, too clean and expressionless. Yes, I got the pathos in some lyrics, loved the irony (or irony-free) covers which Flying Nun bands did on the Abbasolutely tribute and have a soft spot for Dancing Queen. But . . . Just not my band. Never even bothered with their movie, despite Agnetha's bum which seemed... > Read more

One of Us

PAUL AND LINDA McCARTNEY'S RAM RECONSIDERED (2012): New time, different jury

29 Jun 2012

When Paul McCartney released Ram in 1971, his second post-Beatles solo album (and co-credited to his wife Linda), critics got out blunt knives and hacked at it, and him. Rolling Stone's Jon Landau – later Bruce Springsteen's manager and producer – said it represented the lowest point “in the decomposition of Sixties rock thus far”. At least with Bob Dylan's... > Read more

Smile Away

THE STRANGE STORY OF THE EMERSON BROTHERS (2012): The family that plays together

25 Jun 2012    1

Ignore, if you can, the odd and laughable album cover and consider this: Few famiiies could claim to have supported their kids' musical aspirations the way Don Emerson did in the late Seventies for his boys Donnie and Joe. Back then Don Snr owned 1600 acres around the tiny town of Fruitland, a five hour drive from Seattle. Today, because he took out mortgages (at 18 percent interest!) to... > Read more


ZIGGY AT 40 (2012): The star who fell to Earth

21 Jun 2012

Judging by the indifference of people in swanky Heddon Street just off London's Regent St, no one had read the wall plaque I was photographing. In London there are plaques everywhere commemorating something or other, so the nonchalance was expected. But the cool people's interest wasn't even piqued when my son and I started striking odd leg-up poses. Heddon Street was where... > Read more


BENNY SOEBARDJA PROFILED (2012): The godfather of the Indonesian prog-rock underground

15 Jun 2012

Even today with better access to information, the excavation of musical vaults around the globe and the acceptance of world music, it still seems to come as a surprise to many that countries such as Korea, Thailand, Iran, the Lebanon, India and Japan -- not to mention various places on the South American continent and Mexico -- had their own counterculture and rock gods in the late Sixties/... > Read more

The End of the World