Absolute Elsewhere

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THE EASYBEATS REMEMBERED (2015): I got hit songs on my mind . . .

9 Mar 2015    1

The edges of the vision are blurry but at the centre of the frame things are clear. I am a teenager, my friend Barry and I and perhaps a couple of others are stumbling down a dark road near what is now the Whangaparaoa shopping centre. We had just been at a movie – may have been kicked out – and are drunk on Blackberry Nip or McWilliam's Sweet Sherry. As we pass by the old... > Read more

She's So Fine

ADESOLA OSAKALUMI INTERVIEWED (2015): The fellah who is Fela

9 Mar 2015

When the Nigerian military raided the compound of the outspoken activist and musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti in 1977, they beat him senseless, destroyed his famous nightclub The Shrine and threw his 82-year old mother to her death from an upstairs window. Yet Kuti – who died of Aids-related illnesses in 97 – just kept coming back, presenting and recording his incendiary music... > Read more

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Richard Thompson

2 Mar 2015    3

Richard Thompson starts on the back foot. The legendary British songwriter whose career dates back to the seminal folk-rock group Fairport Convention in the late Sixties and whose admirers include the Finns, Bob Mould and latterly Jeff Tweedy of Wilco among many others, including Elsewhere – came to New Zealand's inaugural Womad at Western Springs Park in Auckland in '97, but hasn't... > Read more

The Snow Goose

MARC RIBOT CONSIDERED (2015): Cosmopolitan guitarist without portfolio

25 Feb 2015

If there is a distinguishing feature of American guitarist Marc Ribot's style it is that you'd be unwise to attempt to attribute a distinguishing feature or style to it. In the words of  Walt Whitman, he contains multitudes. And he can go anywhere with them. Which is doubtless why Tom Waits -- making his career turn in the mid Eighties -- called on Ribot to bring his angularity... > Read more

The Cocktail Party

AUSTIN BROWN OF PARQUET COURTS INTERVIEWED (2015): Future now but old school on many fronts

23 Feb 2015

Anyone who has paid even just passing attention to New York-based Parquet Courts will get the connecting points: a guitar band with a keen ear for the past which includes bands like Television, Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers, the Strokes and so on. But add in some thought-provoking lyrics and songs which slow the tempos right down and you can hear that Parquet Courts aren't just... > Read more

Stoned and Starving

THE MOVE: ALWAYS AND FOREVER; BELATEDLY (2015): Classic pop, great rock then forgot

23 Feb 2015    3

Anyone dumb enough to rely on an encyclopedia of rock or -- worse -- that self-described disgrace which is "Classic Hits" radio, would be forgiven for not knowing that the Move ever existed. Those DJs at "classic rock" certainly would have no clue . . . but we expect them to be clueless, I suppose. Shame on them.  It seems the Move -- despite their... > Read more

Fire Brigade

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . FRANK ROSOLINO: The night the lights went out

20 Feb 2015

He doesn't really deserve to be in the same company as the misfits, oddballs, eccentrics and the certifiably crazy-psychotic musicians in this on-going series We Need to Talk About . . . But the wonderfully expressive jazz trombonist Frank Rosolino is here because, in the early hours of November 26 1978, he did something so unexpected and unthinkable it shook the world, and most... > Read more


JIM PEPPER, REMEMBERED (2015): A man comin' an' too soon goin'

16 Feb 2015    2

It is a rare jazz musician who can score a rock-radio hit -- but saxophonist Jim Pepper was a very rare jazz musician indeed. Of Kaw and Creek descent, Pepper was born in Oregon in 1941 and described himself as an "urban Indian". He spent much of his early life between family homes in Oregon and Oklahoma and although he grew up listening to big band jazz and bebop he was also... > Read more

Jim Pepper: Ya Na Ho

FRED FRITH CONSIDERED (2015): The prince of plinkety-plunk

13 Feb 2015    1

The term “prepared piano” – where the musician places objects onto the strings to get odd and often random sounds – is well known in the classical world. But few people know Johnny Cash got into “prepared guitar” when he recorded I Walk the Line back in '56. To get that clacking rhythm he placed a dollar bill under the guitar strings and got a sound... > Read more

Heat c/w Moment


9 Feb 2015    2

I know this is very wrong, but while talking to J. Willgoose – not his real name – who is the taller half of Britain's Public Service Broadcasting, I am picturing him as like the actor/writer Stephen Merchant. He has the same dry humour and delivery. And he's tall, with glasses. Willgoose and Wrigglesworth as PSB have created some of the most interesting music-cum-film... > Read more

Fire in the Cockpit

KIM RICHEY INTERVIEWED (2015): The writer on the road, again

9 Feb 2015

Kim Richey pulls the car off into a gas station somewhere in Alabama to take the call from Elsewhere. She's halfway between Birmingham and her home in Nashville and is delighted to say before she comes to New Zealand she is going to spend time seeing the country. “I can't imagine coming all the way to New Zealand and not seeing it,” she says after telling how she put a... > Read more

Breakaway Speed

CHRIS ELDRIDGE of PUNCH BROTHERS INTERVIEWED (2015): The Radiohead of bluegrass

4 Feb 2015

Towards the end of a digressive and interesting conversation with Chris Eldridge, guitarist for Punch Brothers, I ask if the description “bluegrass” -- which has most commonly been applied to their music -- has any relevance anymore. After all, they have edged their music towards art rock with classical references, have thrown in covers of songs by Beyonce and the Cars... > Read more


WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . KORLA PANDIT: The Man from the Mystic East

2 Feb 2015    1

The exotic looking Korla Pandit – who died in 1998 aged about 77 – had a fascinating background: He was born in India to a traveling French opera singer and a Brahmin priest and eventually ended up in Los Angeles in the mid Forties after spending time in Europe and Britain. His music was just as interesting as his somewhat mysterious life. He played the organ but... > Read more

Procession of the Grand Moghul

LISA MARIE PRESLEY REMEMBERED (2015): A child of her time

2 Feb 2015    1

Mercer Ellington did it, so did two of Sinatra's kids Frank Jnr and Nancy. Two Lennon's and George Harrison's son Dhani did it too (in fact every Beatle has a kid who's done it). So did a few Marleys, Judy Garland's daughter Liza Minnelli and Steve Earle's boy Justin Townes. They all went into the family business. If we suspend our scepticism about this we'd have to concede it's... > Read more

Soften the Blows

AUCKLAND'S LANEWAY FESTIVAL CONSIDERED (2015): Out of a clear blue sky . . .

27 Jan 2015    3

Auckland has had a patchy track record with outdoor festivals. At the lower end of the scale you could go back to the embarrassment of the day put on for the young Princess Anne and Prince Charles in the Sixties (Bunny Walters' zipper coming down), the Robin Gibb concert in '70 where someone threw a tomato at him, the disastrous Neon Picnic and the second Sweetwaters . . .... > Read more

SHAKEY GRAVES INTERVIEWED (2015): Taking it to the top

26 Jan 2015

In a little over three years, Alejandro Rose-Garcia – better known as Shakey Graves – has carved out the almost perfect and throughly contemporary career arc. Setting aside his occasional acting jobs where his boyish good looks got him small parts on the big screen, and a four-week role as the life-guard/love interest in the television series Friday Night Lights, the... > Read more

Dearly Departed (w Esme Patterson)

ELVIS COSTELLO + WENDY JAMES (2015): That year's model

26 Jan 2015

Transvision Vamp were one of those British bands who got through the door in the post-punk/New Wave era, but didn't quite know what to do on the other side. After some mostly unsuccessful singles they hit paydirt with their '88 album Pop Art and then Velveteen nine months later took them to top of the UK charts. Although neither album appeared on the US charts (in fact only Australians and... > Read more

Puppet Girl

THERE'S GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT (2014): The music that reshaped the world

19 Jan 2015

Because Fifties rock'n'roll music is rarely heard these days -- and on the rare occasions it is, the music is utterly decontextualised – it's hard to imagine what a revolution it was for people at the time. Here was a popular music which was aimed directly at teenagers (the first musical movement to do so) and addressed their concerns in terms of parties, dating, rebelliousness... > Read more

Red River Rock

THE AUCKLAND LANEWAY FESTIVAL (2015): In high anticipation for . . .

7 Jan 2015    1

This year's St Jerome's Laneway Festival at Auckland's Silo Park (Monday January 26, Auckland's anniversary weekend) looks to have the most consistently strong line-up of any so far. Especially if you look back at the albums and artists many critics and civilians chose as their “best of 2014”. A considerable number of the Laneway acts – international and... > Read more

IAN ANDERSON INTERVIEWED (2014): The view from the top

16 Dec 2014    2

It was over 20 years ago that I spoke to Ian Anderson, the founder of Jethro Tull and the sole constant in that remarkably durable prog-rock band, and I have never forgotten the experience. That man could talk and talk and talk . . . Without a word of lie I can say this, as he went on and on about how fans demanded all the reissues and whatever, I got up... > Read more