Absolute Elsewhere

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BENMONT TENCH INTERVIEWED (2014): The Heartbreaker's solo flight

BENMONT TENCH INTERVIEWED (2014): The Heartbreaker's solo flight

Benmont Tench has considerable history. He was a teenage fan in Florida of a local group called Mudcrutch whom he saw, fell in love with, went to their shows and eventually joined them as their keyboard player. When Mudcrutch broke up in '75 he, founding member Tom Petty and guitarist Mike Campbell – by then in California – formed Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and... > Read more

Wobbles

3 Mar 2014    1

NATHAN FORD INTERVIEWED (2014): The highly proactive listener

NATHAN FORD INTERVIEWED (2014): The highly proactive listener

Nathan Ford laughs quietly when I ask him about the strange, whispery folk album by Kitchen Cynics (Scotland's Alan Davidson) he's posted at his music blog. It isn't exactly what I'd call psychedelic, which is the ethos behind his impressive and rapidly expanding blog. “I've probably got a much broader definition of what people think is psychedelic. To me it is often music... > Read more

English Dream

24 Feb 2014

MARTHA DAVIS OF THE MOTELS INTERVIEWED (2014):  Still in total control

MARTHA DAVIS OF THE MOTELS INTERVIEWED (2014): Still in total control

Martha Davis, frontwoman for a seemingly endless parade of band members as the Motels, has rarely stopped writing and performing since the first Motels line-up formed in 1971. Fame struck them much later however and although their first two albums – Motels and Careful, '79 and '80 respectively – did exceptionally well in the Southern Hemisphere off the back of the... > Read more

Mr Grey

20 Feb 2014

ROTOR PLUS INTERVIEWED (2014): The slow music movement

ROTOR PLUS INTERVIEWED (2014): The slow music movement

One of the most interesting albums/projects Elsewhere heard last year came from a New Zealand artist who goes under the name Rotor Plus (variously rotor plus, rotor +). With the release of the album Dust, he completed a trilogy of CDs which were as seductive as they were mysterious. The music was understated and sometimes barely there, surface noise and found sounds were part of the... > Read more

Middle: The Drape of the Curtain

10 Feb 2014

HP LOVECRAFT REMEMBERED (2014): Short-lived psych-folk rock

HP LOVECRAFT REMEMBERED (2014): Short-lived psych-folk rock

Now, I'm neither ashamed nor proud of this, but some while back – decades ago – I enjoyed perpetrating pranks and hoaxes, especially postal pranks. Of the latter I would, for example, anonymously send increasing large blocks of wood to a friend in some far flung place inviting him to join my “Plank of the Month Club”. Or I would send off elaborate A4-sized... > Read more

The White Ship

31 Jan 2014    1

PETE SEEGER PROFILED: The conscience of America

PETE SEEGER PROFILED: The conscience of America

When I was growing up and the sound of the Beatles and the Stones was the soundtrack to my life, the folk movement out of the US just seemed quaint and grounded in another era. While artists such as Joan Baez and the young Bob Dylan made an impact, a bunch of buttoned-down college boys in sweaters singing "hang down your head Tom Dooley" or women in chunky-knits whining "we... > Read more

Pete Seeger: Hallelujah, I'm a Bum

29 Jan 2014

DAN WALSH INTERVIEWED (2014): Down the dark path

DAN WALSH INTERVIEWED (2014): Down the dark path

At 26, British musician Dan Walsh is living the dream. He's highly acclaimed by the media and his peers, has three albums behind him, writes a very interesting and often amusing touring blog at his website, last year was invited to collaborate with some Indian musicians in Kolkata, tours regularly in Britain and now has made his way to New Zealand for a short tour (dates below).... > Read more

Mwawash/Egyptian Cottage

28 Jan 2014

ROSANNE CASH INTERVIEWED (2014): The river that runs through her

ROSANNE CASH INTERVIEWED (2014): The river that runs through her

As the daughter of the late Johnny, Rosanne Cash could have had big boots to fill. But she wisely took out on her own path and, with both her first husband Rodney Crowell and her second John Leventhal, crafted country rock albums which staked out their own territory. Her career has been intermittently interrupt by illness and taking time out to raise children, but she has become... > Read more

The Sunken Lands

27 Jan 2014    1

OKKERVIL RIVER. AN UPDATE (2014): Watching the river flow

OKKERVIL RIVER. AN UPDATE (2014): Watching the river flow

One of the most interesting and unexpected albums recently came from the emotionally damaged Roky Erickson – formerly of 60s psychedelic Texas rockers Thirteenth Floor Elevators – who had his brain fried by electroshock treatment and prescription drugs back in the late 60s/70s and spent many years in institutions. The album True Love Cast Out All Evil (2010, see... > Read more

Pink Slips

27 Jan 2014    1

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO, AGAIN (2014): Still at all tomorrow's parties

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO, AGAIN (2014): Still at all tomorrow's parties

Every now and again when music magazine editors get bored, or some significant anniversary rolls around, they gather the staff and usually some guests to vote on The Greatest Albums of the Rock Era. Or something like that. In the two decades after its release in 1967, the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's frequently took out the top spot – often juggling it with Marvin Gaye's... > Read more

Run Run Run (live)

24 Jan 2014    1

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LIBBY HOLMAN (2013): Sex, scandal, shooting and suicide

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LIBBY HOLMAN (2013): Sex, scandal, shooting and suicide

When they found singer Libby Holman dead in her Rolls Royce of carbon monoxide poisoning in 1971, her suicide brought an end to a life marked by scandal, sexual promiscuity, one dead husband and a murder trial, overt bisexuality, the death of a son, depression . . . and some pretty steamy blues songs, although among her repertoire was the uncharacteristically domestic Cooking Breakfast for the... > Read more

Why Was I Born?

23 Jan 2014    1

THE BEATLES' US ALBUMS REISSUED: How America misheard the Beatles

THE BEATLES' US ALBUMS REISSUED: How America misheard the Beatles

Thanks to record company exec Dave Dexter Jnr, Americans got to hear the Beatles . . . although if Dexter had had his way they might not have. Dexter – the Capitol Records man charged with releasing non-American acts in the States – turned down the first Beatles singles on offer from the UK (Love Me Do, Please Please Me, Ask Me Why and She Loves You, plus their... > Read more

Help! (US version)

20 Jan 2014    3

MATMOS CONSIDERED (2014): The art of understatement and the unusual

MATMOS CONSIDERED (2014): The art of understatement and the unusual

In the secretive world of code-breakers and cypher-deciphering the Enigma machine is legendary. It is one of that family of highly complex machines designed by mathematicians and boffins used to crack the codes of Nazi comunications during the Second World War. But for the Baltimore electronica duo Matmos -- Martin Schmidt and Drew Daniel -- it became another tool for creating and... > Read more

For the Trees

20 Jan 2014

NICK DRAKE, AGAIN (2014): Songs from a troubled soul

NICK DRAKE, AGAIN (2014): Songs from a troubled soul

Anyone hearing Nick Drake's hushed final album Pink Moon from '72 or looking at photos of that young man -- eyes averted, the frail figure hunched, the mouth rarely smiling – might have guessed here was a soul too sensitive for this wicked world. And sure enough he was dead in late November 1974, at just 26. But there's another view of this doomed and depressive romantic... > Read more

13 Jan 2014    1

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, REDUX (2014): The Return Again of White Light/White Heat

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, REDUX (2014): The Return Again of White Light/White Heat

Elsewhere has previously quoted Brian Eno from 1976 about Velvet Underground, but it bears repeating. He said, "I knew that they were going to be one of the most interesting groups and that there would be a time when it wouldn’t be the Beatles up there and then all these other groups down there. “It would be a question of attempting to assess the relative values of the... > Read more

The Gift (instrumental only)

10 Jan 2014    2

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF BILL HALEY (2013): Don't knock the rocker

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF BILL HALEY (2013): Don't knock the rocker

One of the first victims of rock'n'roll was a founding father of the style: Bill Haley. A country singer with a love of Western Swing, Haley was 30 when his signature song Rock Around the Clock became a massive hit in '55 when it appeared on the soundtrack to the juvenile delinquent film Blackboard Jungle. He would also appear in the first real rock'n'roll film Don't Knock the Rock the... > Read more

Skinny Minnie

27 Dec 2013

ROBERT GORDON INTERVIEWED (2013): The soul of Memphis revealed

ROBERT GORDON INTERVIEWED (2013): The soul of Memphis revealed

Memphis-born and based writer Robert Gordon knows the musical pulse of his city. He documented it in his book It Came From Memphis and has written essays about Elvis Presley after being given access to private material in the Presley estate. He has made documentary films, wrote the definitive biography of Muddy Waters (Can't Be Satisfied) and, among other things, produced an Al Green... > Read more

24 Dec 2013    1

STEVE EARLE INTERVIEWED (2013): Observations from the low road

STEVE EARLE INTERVIEWED (2013): Observations from the low road

No subject – be it family, money, his job or politics – is off-limits in a conversation with Steve Earle, if you can get a word in. A talker whose conversation takes off into interesting tangents, Earle is like Bruce Springsteen, a well-off musician who can relate to the working class and those suffering economic privation. His most recent album with his band The... > Read more

21st Century Blues

16 Dec 2013

KEITH RICHARDS INTERVIEWED (2013): Coming down again

KEITH RICHARDS INTERVIEWED (2013): Coming down again

A few minutes before the appointed time the phone rings and a scratchy voice wheezes, “Hello man, s'Keith”. And it is. No intermediary, no international call connection through a third party, just Keith Richards laughing down the line. Which is unexpected in a world where stars have minions to connect calls (and sometimes listening, in case things get “awkward”... > Read more

Gimme Shelter (2014)

9 Dec 2013

THE DUTCH WOODSTOCK (2103): Three days of love, peace and . . .

THE DUTCH WOODSTOCK (2103): Three days of love, peace and . . .

If the golden age of hippiedom was supposed to have gone nose down in the mud and the blood and the beer at Altamont in early December 1969, someone forgot to tell the Dutch. Because in June 1970 -- a full three years on from the Summer of Love -- they held the "Holland Pop 70" festival with an impressive line-up. It rained of course, but well over 100,000 turned up at a site... > Read more

Wasted Union Blues

7 Dec 2013