The Bargain Buy

Elsewhere recommends interesting or Essential Elsewhere albums -- or useful collections by important artists -- which come at a low price. Build a real world collection of discs beyond what you have invisibly in your iPod, laptop or memory stick.

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Monkees; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

16 May 2016  |  3 min read  |  2

By the merest twist of fate, the history of popular American music 50 years ago could well have been very different if just one man had got a different job. Stephen Stills -- a wonderful songwriter but even better guitarist who had his friend Jimi Hendrix on his first solo album -- was a mainspring of Buffalo Springfield and co-founder of Crosby, Still and Nash. But consider this, he... > Read more


THE BARGAIN BUY: Imagine Dragons; Night Visions + Smoke and Mirrors

2 May 2016  |  1 min read

If this pleasant, popular and pop-rocking outfit out of Las Vegas have somehow gone past you then let's bring you up to speed. They've picked up a swag of awards for their debut album Night Visions (2012) and its follow-up Smoke and Mirrors (2015) and although they have been pinned often as indie-rock they bring a lot of other influences beyond guitars into play. Open ears will hear... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Thin Lizzy; The Very Best of Thin Lizzy

25 Apr 2016  |  1 min read

It's always interesting having tradespeople around your area. A couple of years ago a bunch of Fijian Indian tilers moved in to do some work on neighbouring properties and all day I rejoiced in the very different and elevating sound of Radio Tarana. The guys working in the courtyard for a few days last week had a very different station on all day, The Rock at a guess but even if come... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed

18 Apr 2016  |  1 min read

With David Bowie's passing there has been a landslide of merchandising – all the vinyl reissues, compilations and picture discs – but if you just want an interesting and sometimes left-field catch-all for yourself (many missed his final two decades) or to introduce the master to a younger person you can't go past this. This three-CD set looked a bit like a cynical... > Read more

Sue (long version)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Best of the Proclaimers

11 Apr 2016  |  <1 min read

Although in our interview with Craig Reid of Scotland's Proclaimers we acclaim their most recent album Let's Hear It For the Dogs, he and we freely concede most people only know them for one or two songs., You know the ones: 500 MIles, Sunshine on Leith and Letter From America. Of course they appear on this tidy collection released back in 2002 along with 17 other songs drawn from their... > Read more

Throw the 'R' Away

THE BARGAIN BUY: Talking Heads, The Best of Talking Heads

28 Mar 2016  |  1 min read  |  1

It is a peculiar thing how essential Talking Heads were during the late Seventies and throughout the Eighties, and yet how their absence has barely been felt since they ceased to play or record (they have never "broken up" apparently) at the dawn of the Nineties. This 18 song collection -- which doesn't get to the big Afro-inspired ensemble pieces but keeps attention on the jerky... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Neil Young; Greatest Hits

21 Mar 2016  |  <1 min read

It surely has to be conceded that, with very few exceptions these past 20 years, the best stuff Neil Young has released has come from his archives. Too many slapdash, bang 'em out in the studio albums and too few where you felt his heart was really into it. This collection -- which first appeared in '04 and was reissued in '09 when we commented on it  -- isn't for fans who... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Rolling Stones; Grrr!

14 Mar 2016  |  1 min read

With the Rolling Stones promising (threatening?) a new album -- their first since A Bigger Bang in '05 -- it's maybe timely to look back at their catalogue courtesy of this triple CD collection which opens with their first single Come On (their cover of the Chuck Berry song, from '63) and Not Fade Away (their cover of Buddy Holly from '64) -- it unfortuntely but understandably ignores their... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Florence and the Machine; How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

8 Feb 2016  |  1 min read

There's an enormous amount of wrought emotion on this album which sounds like a collection of sometimes obsessively self-centred songs about heartbreak ,but Florence has the lungs, powerful vibrato and melodies to carry it all off . . . right through to the quasi-gospel Mother at the end. In a world of somewhat wussy female singers whose default position is mope-folk or moaning,... > Read more

St Jude

THE BARGAIN BUY: Taylor Swift; 1989

1 Feb 2016  |  2 min read

When Ryan Adams recorded his own version of this Swift album it got to a lot of people who otherwise wouldn't mention Swift's name in civilised company. The shorthand was Adams had credibility, Swift was just a clever pop singer. Well, I'll go on record and say Taylor Swift's Auckland concert that I caught was one of the most enjoyable shows I've ever seen: She is quite the musician... > Read more

I Wish You Would

THE BARGAIN BUY: Kendrick Lamar; To Pimp a Butterfly

18 Jan 2016  |  1 min read

Although Elsewhere certainly heard this exceptional album last year, because we didn't actually write about it Lamar's masterwork couldn't be considered for inclusion in our Best of Elsewhere 2015 list. Had we reviewed it, we would have joined the global chorus acclaiming this amalgam of contemporary rap and r'n'b, jazz, Sly-style funk, Tupac, rap-adelic backdrops and solid soul where... > Read more

King Kunta

THE BARGAIN BUY: Keith Richards; Crosseyed Heart

7 Dec 2015  |  1 min read

Here's a question for you to ponder this week. Should this long overdue Keith Richards solo album make it into the Best of Elsewhere list which will appear shortly? We had our say about it in depth here, but just to reiterate we found it pretty good but hardly essential. There are too many songs and a few of them rather indifferent. But when it is good it is very, very good. You... > Read more


THE BARGAIN BUY: Teddy Pendergrass; The Real Teddy Pendergrass

9 Nov 2015  |  1 min read

When the great soul singer Teddy Pendergrass was involved in car accident in early 83 which left him a paraplegic, he was at the height of his career as a crossover artist whose smooth style of bedroom ballads matched that of Barry White and Marvin Gaye. He had brought an emotional depth and sexual ache to many of his more recent songs (titles included Love TKO, Feel the Fire, I Can't Leave... > Read more

It's Time For Love

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Best of Roxy Music

2 Nov 2015  |  1 min read

The career of Roxy Music was a game of at least two halves, what might call the innovative years followed by a gap then the sheen'n'polish of their second incarnation. It is the latter period -- hits like Avalaon, More Than This, Angel Eyes and so on -- which is perhaps better known because those songs were all over radio. And some of the more edgy material like Both Ends Burning and Love... > Read more

Do the Strand


5 Oct 2015  |  1 min read

While it is neither Elswehere's interest nor place to advice anyone on how best to bring up children, we would be remiss if we didn't point out you might just be some kind of lesser parent or caregiver if your kids between eight and 12 have not seen The Goonies. You are denying them (and yourself) a whole lot of chilly fun of the old style: baddies are baddies, kids are fickle but smart,... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dusty Springfield; The Very Best of

28 Sep 2015  |  1 min read

Some things have a longterm impact on an impressionable young teenage mind. So when my older sister said something like, "That's a man" when the heavily made-up Dusty Springield appeared on television some time in about '65, I could never look at Dusty the same way again. Not that looking at Dusty was important, it was what came out of her slight frame that counted . . .  and... > Read more

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me


21 Sep 2015  |  1 min read

When Cilla Black died unexpectedly in August -- she was 72 but somehow seemed at least a decade younger -- the many obituaries focused predominately on her early years as a pop star (essentially just six years after '63) then telescoped her subsequent television life which lasted for decades. That was telling. Cilla Black was one of those rare people who endeared herself to a pop... > Read more


14 Sep 2015  |  1 min read

Although far too clever and CGI-heavy for its own good and, despite the star firepower -- of among others Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine sleepwalking again, Woody Harrelson smug'n'mugging it up and Isla Fisher -- this criminal mastermind-cum-magic and illusion flick will certainly pull you in. Because most of the time you'll be saying, "But why . . . ?" or "So... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Essential Roy Orbison

7 Sep 2015  |  1 min read  |  1

With his extraordinary range, a catalogue of original songs which (like Arthur Alexander) told often told interior monologue stories, personal tragedies hidden behind dark glasses and a mystique enhanced by so few interviews, the great Roy Oribison was as unique in popular culture as Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen and Scott Walker. Few would try to cover Orbison's classic songs (Pretty Woman,... > Read more


THE BARGAIN BUY: Fargo, The Complete First Season (DVD)

31 Aug 2015  |  1 min read

Just as the television series Fargo -- based on the Coen brothers much acclaimed mid-Nineties film of the same name -- started screening in New Zealand, a well placed television critic went into print asking why anyone would want to taint the reputation of the movie and indicated this would inevitably be something of smallscreen dog of a series. Well, that just went to prove that sometimes... > Read more