Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

ONE WE MISSED: Various Artists; Stand Up People (Vlax/Southbound)

13 Apr 2014

Our rationale here is that we did not so much "miss" this, as just didn't write about it when it was released in New Zealand during the last quarter of 2013. And what is it? Well, it's more the newly hip sound of the Balkans. New Zealand's various "gypsy" groups and Balkanista (who played at Womad 2014) have been mining this particularly danceable line for a couple of... > Read more

Gilava Amare Romenge

SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

10 Apr 2014

Facing down an avalanche of releases, requests for coverage, the occasional demand that we be interested in their new album (sometimes with that absurd comment "but don't write about it if you don't like it") and so on, Elsewhere will every now and again do a quick sweep like this. Comments will be brief. Various Artists; Wolf Party (Voodoo Rhythm/Southbound): Subtitled... > Read more

Carmen on Ice

Flip Grater: Pigalle (Maiden/ Rhythm Method)

7 Apr 2014

At the time, Elsewhere critically noted Flip Grater's previous album When I'm Awake I'm At War was weighed down with the first person singular. Every song was "I" (and invariably "you") and this trait can be endemic in singer-songwriters. The best get past that cloying self-obsession and use events in their lives or personal emotions to address more universal things.... > Read more

Exit Sign

Drive By Truckers: English Oceans (ATO)

7 Apr 2014

After albums which redefined Southern rock – notably Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day and Brighter Than Creation's Dark – the Truckers lost their way a little. Perhaps the departure of songwriter Jason Isbell (playing solo at Auckland's Tuning Fork, April 12) before Creation's Dark in 08 or the distraction of other projects diluted their winning formula of hard-times... > Read more

When Walter Went Crazy

Sun Kil Moon: Benji (Spunk)

7 Apr 2014    2

Because I always thought Benji was the name of a dog I can't resist saying this: Benji is a dog of an album. And a damn dull self-obsessed dog at that. Okay, it is emotionally naked, stories about burying uncles and dead second cousins, titles like I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love and I Love My Dad are here (alongside Ben's My Best Friend) . . . and just think about a low acoustic... > Read more

Micheline (live)

Dog Age: Good Day (theactivelistener)

6 Apr 2014

Here's the problem when neo-psychedelic artists posit themselves too exactly into a period and style, in this case specifically Lennon '67. These Norwegians have certainly got the trippy ethos but here -- their two albums from '89 and '91 plus an extra track -- the nasal monotone of their Lennonesque vocals detracts from their rather fine folk-rock coupled with (occasionally orchestral)... > Read more

The King of Ing

The Brothers and Sisters: Dylan's Gospel (Light in the Attic/Southbound)

5 Apr 2014

There have been any number of tributes to Bob Dylan – from the Hollies in the Sixties through country, jazz, quasi-classical, latterly, black Americans, actors reading his lyrics, world music artists and doubtless by creatures on other planets. But this album, produced in '69 – the same year as The Hollies Sing Dylan – by Lou Adler with the Los Angeles... > Read more

Mr Tambourine Man

Tami Neilson: Dynamite! (Southbound)

31 Mar 2014    5

Country singer Neilson (originally from Canada) set the bar high on three previous award-winning albums. But this exceptional outing – five songs co-written with Delaney Davidson who also co-produces with Ben Edwards -- confirms her gifts beyond country. This world-class album is a major statement from an artist at the top of her lyrical and vocal game. One listen... > Read more

Greg Fleming: Forget the Past (

31 Mar 2014    1

In a guest column for Elsewhere this week, the New Zealand singer-songwriter Greg Fleming notes dryly that his last album Edge of the City with his band The Trains was his dark rock-noir album which got good reviews . . . but didn't trouble the charts. Elsewhere certainly joined the chorus of acclaim for that 2012 album (see here), and also in 2010 for the long overdue issue of the album... > Read more

There She Goes

Dodson and Fogg: The Active Listener Introduces . . . (theactivelistener)

31 Mar 2014

Dodson and Fogg is the nom de disque for singer-songwriter Chris Wade from Leeds who has four albums under his belt, and sits in that very pleasant area of folkadelica where the references points for the unitiated might be Donovan songs like Three Kingfishers, Legend of the Girl Child Linda and Sunny Goodge Street. Or the Incredible String Band at their most song-inclined. (ie, verses and... > Read more

To The Sea

Coffee Sergeants: Purple Martin Sanctuary (theactivelistener)

27 Mar 2014

It's very hard to keep up with Nathan Ford's blogspot and bandcamp downloads under the generic name of The Active Listener. Just this past week he has released three other albums while I am still enjoying this one from a few weeks back. It's by a band from Austin who wear their REM influences right up-front on the opener entitled Virginia Creeper. If you are looking for a band to play... > Read more

Sally White

The Roulettes: The Roulettes (

24 Mar 2014

Well, they took their time to get to this debut album. The Roulettes formed way back in 2002 in Dunedin, did an EP five years later (the title track and I Think I Can were used in Outrageous Fortune) and the lead-off track here First Song of Summer was released last October (in time for summer, natch!) Located between power pop, indie rock and with a fine sense of focused economy (11 songs,... > Read more

Baby It's Fine

John Psathas: White Lies (Rattle)

24 Mar 2014

Not having seen the film for which this is the music -- a single, 28 minute piece for piano, strings, taonga puoro and the composer on synth -- is no disadvantage at all. This beautifully understated, modulating and elegantly slow piece can at time sound less like a soundtrack (in that it doesn't parallel or evoke any kind of physical action) and more in the manner of a long suite of... > Read more

Grayson Gilmour: Infinite Life! (Flying Nun)

22 Mar 2014

When Grayson Gilmour signed to Flying Nun four years ago, back in that brief period when Roger Shepherd took control again of the label he had founded, there was considerable optimism that it might signal a rebirth for the label. Gilmour was quite unlike most FN artists in that his music was multi-layered, his songcraft highy refined and, if nothing else, he composed on piano and not the... > Read more

Silence and Youth

Hard Working Americans: Hard Working Americans (Melvin/Southbound)

17 Mar 2014    1

Post-Springsteen, working class dignity is in the air and in the US they have the same political shorthand we endure about “hard working families” when any Leftist politician steps up for a microphone soundbite. This semi-supergroup – best known are guitarist Neal Casal (Ryan Adams' bands) and singer-songwriter Todd Snyder who helms this – picks up songs... > Read more

Welfare Music

SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

14 Mar 2014

Facing down an avalanche of releases, requests for coverage, the occasional demand that we be interested in their new album (sometimes with that absurd comment "but don't write about it if you don't like it") and so on, Elsewhere will every now and again do a quick sweep like this. Comments will be brief. Shayna King; The Day is Young (Te Ao): The undeniably talented... > Read more

Why I Need You

Lake Street Dive: Bad Self Portraits (Signature/Southbound)

10 Mar 2014

For some reason – having an upright bass player and trumpeter perhaps? – this conservatory-educated Boston quartet is referred to as “indie jazz” in some promo bumpf, which hardy squares with the soul-edged, alt.rock-cum-country and girl group-influenced pop on this, their third studio album. And confusingly their You Tube breakout video three years ago... > Read more


The Fleshtones: Wheel of Talent (YepRoc/Southbound)

10 Mar 2014

New York's Fleshtones have been cranking out raw rock'n'roll since the mid Seventies and their schtick is to trawl the history of the genre (girl groups, garageband rock, punk etc) and shape it to their own ends. They've gone through quite a few members but their guests have included Fred Smith of Television and Clem Burke from Blondie, who probably just liked the idea of letting their hair... > Read more

Tear for Tear

ONE WE MISSED: Devils Elbow; Absolute Domain (Hit Your Head)

10 Mar 2014

Because Elsewhere is a one-man outfit, "we" can't be everywhere at once -- and sometimes we are very elsewhere -- so every now and again there will be slightly apologetic postings under the banner . . . One We Missed. This one -- by an Auckland band which has previously delivered an Elsewhere Best of 2010 album with Sand on Chrome and last year an excellent almost-album of B-sides... > Read more

A Little More

Rob Thorne: Whaia te Maramatanga (Rattle)

4 Mar 2014

Those with a greater understanding of Maori spirituality than me will doubtless get more from this gentle, frequently trance-inducing album of taonga puoro (traditional instruments) which evoke the natural world (wind, bird song) and disembodied voices. Rob Thorne speaks of the album in the liner notes as "a re-aquaintance of ancestor with descendant . . . these ancient practices and... > Read more

Pursue Enlightenment Pt 2; Gateway