Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Bannerman: Clawhammer (bannerman.com)

Bannerman: Clawhammer (bannerman.com)

As in most countries, New Zealand musicians can usually be placed in a genre or style. Not so Richard Setford who is Bannerman. His two previous albums (considered "outstanding" at Elsewhere) were so musically diverse you would be unwise to attempt any kind of labelling. And in places they sounded nothing like his EPs. It is an impressive back-catalogue and now Bannerman... more >>

Echoes

15 Jul 2013    1

Rose Windows: The Sun Dogs (Sub Pop)

Rose Windows: The Sun Dogs (Sub Pop)

Credit where it's due. Few bands simultaneously conjure up broody Black Sabbath, prog-pomp King Crimson, desperate Siouxsie Banshee and the hippie-vibe of the Incredible String Band . . . and expect to get away with it. Especially not if they add – to pile-driving metal guitars and the Middle Eastern exoticism of their singer Rabia Shabeen Qazi – wide swathes of... more >>

Native Dreams

15 Jul 2013

Tom Odell: Long Way Down (Sony)

Tom Odell: Long Way Down (Sony)

In Britain this critically favoured, chart-topping 22-year old pianist/singer has made no secret of his admiration for Elton John and that's hardly surprising: the opening piano passages in the sentimental Grow Old With Me are pure Elton, later he includes the line “I sat on the rooftop” (he watched birds, didn't kick off the moss) and occasionally gets within a whisper of... more >>

Can't Pretend

15 Jul 2013

Chris Priestley: Unsung Heroes (Ode)

Chris Priestley: Unsung Heroes (Ode)

The firmly held belief here at Elsewhere -- which is a quorum of one, and I have the deciding vote -- is that New Zealand folk music has never been cool or interesting for most of the Sixties Generation And Beyond People because this musical tradition became uncoupled from popular music (ie. pop music) at about the time we were slightly embarassed about our origins and were looking to engage... more >>

Captain Lorraine

12 Jul 2013

These New Puritans: Fields of Reeds (Infectious)

These New Puritans: Fields of Reeds (Infectious)

Start as you mean to go on, they say. And TNP's Jack Barnett certainly leads you into this project gently with an opening track where the slow piano and horns are in the foreground and somewhere down a long corridor a woman seems to be singing her way through something akin to Bacharach-David's This Guy's in Love With You. This isn't a collar-grabbing start but one which immediately makes... more >>

Dream

11 Jul 2013    1

Gray Bartlett: The Sixties Collection (Frenzy/Ode)

Gray Bartlett: The Sixties Collection (Frenzy/Ode)

Although Gray (Graeme) Bartlett is best known today by that lovely old catch-all word "entrepreneur" -- he promotes concerts, discovers talent, tours national and international acts etc -- he was and remains a very fine guitarist, which was how he got his start in "show business". At the end of the Eighties I accompanied him and his small band on a brief tour into... more >>

Surf Rider

10 Jul 2013

Eric Lichter: ELKS in Paris (Diamond Market)

Eric Lichter: ELKS in Paris (Diamond Market)

Any New Zealander hearing the downbeat chorus-cum-hook of the opener on this album -- "how could a plan so beautiful go so pitifully bad" -- might think they have tuned in to a Greg Johnson album. It's all there in the seemingly effort marriage of words and melody, the balance of sentiment between yin and yang, the worn-out but tuneful delivery . . . And then the rhythm picks... more >>

I Still Insist

9 Jul 2013

The Map Room: All You'll Ever Find (Rhythmethod)

The Map Room: All You'll Ever Find (Rhythmethod)

The Auckland duo of recording engineers/producers and sound mixers Simon Gooding and Brendon Morrow (York St, television and film work etc) craft the most unfashionable music. And it's some distance from what their professional careers might suggest. Far from deploying all the technology available to them, here they offer up 10 atmospheric, frequently weightless and often delicate songs... more >>

Memory

8 Jul 2013    1

Mark Mulcahy: Dear Mark J Mulcahy I Love You (Fire)

Mark Mulcahy: Dear Mark J Mulcahy I Love You (Fire)

Neither Mulcahy's previous band, the US indie.rock outfit Miracle Legion, nor his solo albums created a ripple here, but this new direction might just get traction. Following the death of his wife five years ago he took time out and has reappeared as an abrasive streetwise singer-songwriter who even references the Velvet's I'm Waiting for the Man in the acerbic opener I Taketh Away.... more >>

He's a Magnet

8 Jul 2013

Fat Freddy's Drop: Blackbird (The Drop)

Fat Freddy's Drop: Blackbird (The Drop)

Given this album debuted at #1 on the New Zealand charts -- and deservedly so, it sounds extraordinary -- it hardly needs any comment at Elsewhere. But . . . And there is a "but". Because despite the fact it will be warmly embraced by longtime fans, that these long and loping songs (the opener 9.30, only one of the nine coming in under five minutes) will doubtless get the... more >>

Bones

8 Jul 2013

John Murry: The Graceless Age (Universal)

John Murry: The Graceless Age (Universal)

With all the high-profile, well-marketed albums around it's inevitable small players from darker corners go overlooked, but this extraordinary debut of original material by a Tupelo-born survivor deserves serious attention if damaged singer-songwriters have any appeal. Somewhere between backroads alt.country, early Leonard Cohen and the storytelling of James McMurtry, The Graceless... more >>

John Murry

1 Jul 2013    2

Various Artists: Sing Me the Songs; Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle (Nonesuch/Warners)

Various Artists: Sing Me the Songs; Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle (Nonesuch/Warners)

Kate McGarrigle (of the McGarrigle Sisters, with sister Anna) who died in January 2010 not only wrote a remarkable body of songs and sang them beautifully (and sometimes with saltiness) but – with her then-husband Loudon Wainwright III – gave us Rufus and Martha Wainwright. Joe Boyd (who'd produced the sister's first albums and their live McGarrigle Hour with family and... more >>

Southern Boys

1 Jul 2013    7

Larry's Rebels/The Rebels; A Study in Black/Madrigal (Frenzy)

Larry's Rebels/The Rebels; A Study in Black/Madrigal (Frenzy)

Among the many interesting and unreleased things I have at home is a CD burn a friend made of the original versions of songs which Kiwi acts turned into homegrown hits. And the remarkable thing is -- and I will safely say this without pulling some reflexive bullshit Kiwi/nationalistic stroke -- the local versions waaaay oustripped the originals. Frankly, you don't want or need to hear the... more >>

Painter Man

30 Jun 2013

Mavis Staples: One True Vine (Anti)

Mavis Staples: One True Vine (Anti)

The great Mavis Staples – now 74 – has been immersed deep in the spiritual waters, and therefore has more to draw on, than most singers. She was a child of the church and well before her teens was singing in the Staple Singers lead by her father Pops. They sang of spiritual redemption, the civil rights struggle for equality and dignity, recorded material by contemporary... more >>

Every Step

28 Jun 2013    3

Boards of Canada: Tomorrow's Harvest (Warp/Border)

Boards of Canada: Tomorrow's Harvest (Warp/Border)

In that crowded spectrum between major record companies, bandcamp and obscure indie releases, it is getting harder and harder for bands -- even established ones -- to get attention. Critics are forever wanting to discover "the next new thing" in some obscure corner of webworld to enhance their own cachet as much as that of the artist (you sometimes think the art runs a distant... more >>

Come to Dust

24 Jun 2013    2

Miracle Mile: In Cassidy's Care (MeMe Records)

Miracle Mile: In Cassidy's Care (MeMe Records)

It has been quite a few years since we've had an album from the previously productive Miracle Mile, a band once acclaimed as one of Britain's best kept secrets. In the past five years or so founder member Trevor Jones appeared to be out on his own (Hopeland of 2009, Keepers in 2010, both under the name Jones) yet, curiously, they sounded very much like MM projects, especially since his... more >>

Primrose Hill

24 Jun 2013

Bruce Soord/Jonas Renkse: Wisdom of Crowds (Kscope/Southbound)

Bruce Soord/Jonas Renkse: Wisdom of Crowds (Kscope/Southbound)

The return of progressive rock has been stealthy in the past decade with British bands like Muse, Anathema, Porcupine Tree (lead by Steven Wilson) and The Pineapple Thief (founder Bruce Soord) staking out a wide sweep of territory which touches on dark metal as much as employing often pretentiously portentous lyrics. Here Soord hooks up with Renkse, formerly of the Swedish metal bands... more >>

The Centre of Gravity

24 Jun 2013

Sigur Ros: Kveikur/Candlewick (XL)

Sigur Ros: Kveikur/Candlewick (XL)

After this Icelandic post-rock group's singer Jonsi did his more pop-rock album Go in 2010 during the band's hiatus, it might have been expected some of that filter into their glacial if sometimes dramatic sound, but their excellent Valtari of last year mostly continued along their singular path. And despite them promising this one would be more aggressive there's only occasional... more >>

Stormur

24 Jun 2013

Various Artists: Sweet Dreams; Where Country Meets Soul Vol 2 (Kent/Border)

Various Artists: Sweet Dreams; Where Country Meets Soul Vol 2 (Kent/Border)

As the second volume to the excellent Behind Closed Doors collection, this one of black artists digging deep into country-soul should find favour easily. Many of these artists bring a sad gravitas to the lyrics about cheatin' and heartache (Facts of Life on Sometimes, Ralph Lamar tearing himself apart on Don't Let Me Cross Over) although there is just as much MOR here (the great William Bell... more >>

Sometimes

23 Jun 2013

Leafblade: The Kiss of Spirit and Flesh (KScope/Southbound)

Leafblade: The Kiss of Spirit and Flesh (KScope/Southbound)

Here are just a few reasons why many people quite rightly can't take the new era of prog-rock seriously: Two nouns ("leaf"+"blade") don't make a right and couplets like these are just ridiculously pretentious  and freighted with referential poetry: "A child of the prophets born 'neath the wandering star, honoured with gold and light from the wise men afar".... more >>

Beneath a Woodland Moon

20 Jun 2013