Absolute Elsewhere

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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

GRATEFUL DEAD REVISITED, AGAIN? (2016): Welcome to the re-resurrection

11 May 2016  |  3 min read

First of all: Jeez! Who knew? If you're under 45 did you know some of your favourite bands and artists – Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett, Mumford and Sons, Marijuana Deathsquad, Lucius , Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Fucked Up among them – would line up for a four-CD salute to those hippie icons Grateful Dead? And if you're over 55 or of pensionable age and traveling free on... > Read more

Shakedown Street, Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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)

SIR GEORGE MARTIN INTERVIEWED (1998): The retiring knight of the round vinyl

10 Mar 2016  |  7 min read

Of all the knights of pop -- Sir Cliff, Sir Paul, Sir Elton -- it is Sir George Martin, famously known as the Beatles’ producer, who seems the most deserving of the accolade. It was November '95 when I met him in London at the launch of the Beatles’ Anthology albums. He was self-effacing, courteous and well-spoken. (At age 16 he'd heard his voice on tape and thereafter... > Read more

EILEN JEWELL INTERVIEWED (2016): Bringing it all back home

7 Mar 2016  |  10 min read

There's no category for Eilen Jewell's music: Some will call it country and some alt.country, but there is also a clear European jazz quality in many songs, she acknowledges Billie Holliday and Bob Dylan as early influences, does a sultry cover of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates' 1960 hit Shakin' All Over and can break your heart with a straight-ahead ballad. Oh, and in 2010 she did a fine... > Read more

My Hometown

JAMES MACKINTOSH OF SHOOGLENIFTY INTERVIEWED (2016): From the Scottish Highlands to northwest India

2 Mar 2016  |  10 min read

Percussionist James Mackintosh sees the irony. When he was a teenager growing up in the picturesque Scottish Highlands at Fort William he was in a spiky-haired punk band playing Clash covers. It was only when he went to the big smoke of Edinburgh – once nicknamed Auld Reekie for the smoke from coal fires – that he started to play traditional Scottish music. These days,... > Read more

The High Road to Jodhpur/Am Bothan a Bh'aig Fionnghuala

DAVID THOMAS OF PERE UBU INTERVIEWED (2016): Walking with noise and ghosts

26 Feb 2016  |  19 min read

David Thomas is his customary garrulous, funny but incisive and sometimes his visibly irritated self . . . at least he would be if we could see him on this Skype call to his home in England. Somewhere behind the screenshot of his much younger self there is muttering and mumbling as someone, who I take to be his partner, laughing and telling him to push connections. “He's... > Read more

All The Dogs Are Barking (alt mix)

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

26 Feb 2016  |  5 min read  |  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)

VIOLENT FEMMES REVISITED (2106): Gone baby gone . . . but back?

24 Feb 2016  |  3 min read  |  1

Having witnessed the adoration New Zealanders were prepared to pour on the Violent Femmes, Elsewhere would frequently joke that they -- like Cheap Trick -- could turn up in Auckland tomorrow and fill the Town Hall with sweaty, party-ready fans from across at least two generations. They made the kind of singalong, acoustic-rock music we liked . . . and we proved it by being the first country... > Read more

Country Death Song

JOHN CALE RECONSIDERING (2016): The new society still ain't pretty

15 Feb 2016  |  3 min read  |  2

Most musicians in rock culture establish their sound and reputation over a few early albums and consolidate both if their careers are of any length. The late Lemmy and Lou Reed for example released albums which became their hallmarks, and their personae – wildman Lemmy and pugnacious Reed – became our enduring image of them. That said, in each case there were frequently... > Read more

Library of Force (from M:FANS)