Karen Hunter: Rubble (Monkey)

Karen Hunter: Drunk & Disorderly
Karen Hunter: Rubble (Monkey)

The guy who wrote the liner notes for this long overdue album by Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter -- it was me actually -- says he can well remember the first time he saw her perform: it was over 15 years ago and she stood so far outside the self-proscribed parameters that most musicians put on themselves you couldn't help but be stunned.

Hunter rocked from powerchords to soft acoustic balladry, embarked on free-flying spoken word, had a slippery jazz quality, and at other times she sounded like a folk singer.

She was "alt" long before there was "alt", if you know what I mean.

She continued her idiosyncratic path for many years but with little reward or comprehension from critics, then these past few years took time off to study jazz. My guess is she probably could have taught her tutors a thing or two.

The result is this album which is much more musically coherent than her previous outings (do yourself a favour and find The Private Life of Clowns and InsideOutside however), and in places owes more than a little to the early sound of Tom Waits and Rickie Lee Jones.

But those are only the most obvious references and keen ears will hear much more in the emotional depth of these songs. And some strange soundbeds for her lyrics.

Karen Hunter is one of a kind, and this album is further proof of that.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Blitzen Trapper: American Goldwing (Sub Pop)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Blitzen Trapper: American Goldwing (Sub Pop)

Still sounding like they were breast-fed equal parts Grateful Dead, early Neil Young, White Album-era Beatles and Elton John's country-flavoured Tumbleweed Connection-gone-grunge, Blitzen... > Read more

Mary Coughlan: House of Ill Repute (Shock)

Mary Coughlan: House of Ill Repute (Shock)

This remarkable Irish singer who soaked her life and songs in whisky at the start of her career slipped from sight for a number of years but here returns with an album that should be counted among... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Paul Revere and the Raiders: Greatest Hits (1967)

Paul Revere and the Raiders: Greatest Hits (1967)

Yes, a greatest hits collection does look a bit like cheating for an Essential Elsewhere album. But wait, there’s a good reason. Back in the mid-Sixties after the Beatles breakthrough... > Read more

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

When the recording of Robert Moran’s new opera was released in '94 there was an almost predictable ripple of controversy in the more staid sections of the classical world. And not because... > Read more