Crabs and crawlers on the beach beside Cape York, the northernmost tip of Australia
Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Terry Allen: Bottom of the World (Allen/Southbound)

Terry Allen: Bottom of the World (Allen/Southbound)

On the basis of his excellent Lubbock on Everything of '79, you'd probably always give country singer Allen the benefit of the doubt. But this one of sometimes laboured rhymes, small ideas writ large (actually just medium-sized), the understatement of things which barely deserved even that and the occasional lyrical (and musical) cliche will only be embraced by the most hardcore of fans who... more >>

Wake of the Red Witch

The Veils: Time Stays, We Go (Rough Trade)

The Veils: Time Stays, We Go (Rough Trade)

For my money Finn Andrews of the Veils wrote one the finest songs of the past five years with the exceptional Us Godless Teenagers on the 2011 EP Trouble of the Brain. An insightful song of disillusionment about a generation so often dismissed, reviled or ignored, it never went for the mawkish or sentimental, it is a minor masterpiece of lyrical economy and came with an achingly heartfelt... more >>

Summer and Smoke (demo)

Deerhunter: Monomania (4AD)

Deerhunter: Monomania (4AD)

Mainman Bradford Cox keeps busy: this is Deerhunter's sixth album and he has a parallel career as the more experimental Atlas Sound. Increasingly lines between have blurred and in places here (when distortion pedal and vocal effects get a serious thrashing) it might hard to discern the separate projects. Cox has described this as “punk rock” (it's not) to “getting a... more >>

Dream Captain

Salon Kingsadore: Anti-Borneo Magic (Sarang Bang)

Salon Kingsadore: Anti-Borneo Magic (Sarang Bang)

The Auckland Observatory last year was the perfect venue for Salon Kingsadore. While planets shifted and an astral journey past the rings of Saturn played out on the Stardome above, the group improvised fluid space-jazz rock propelled by the mercurial guitar of Gianmarco Liguori and the inventive keyboards of Murray McNabb, who here again helm “instant compositions” (with... more >>

Reciprocal Sword

The Milk Carton Kids: The Ash and Clay (Anti)

The Milk Carton Kids: The Ash and Clay (Anti)

Two perspectives on this come to mind. If you are under 25 and entranced by this duo, then go see your grandparents and borrow those old Simon and Garfunkel albms they are so attached to that they never threw them out. And if you have early S&G albums this one is proof of what your Mum said: never throw anything away, it'll come back into fashion again. The two singers here are... more >>

Promised Land

The Handsome Family: Wilderness (Spunk)

The Handsome Family: Wilderness (Spunk)

Heard from a distance this might sound like more alt.Ameriana folk with one ear on gospel hymns, and sometimes given a colouring of weepy steel guitars and old upright piano. And those ol' country harmonies. But the wry lyrics here undercut most such notions as Rennie and Brett Sparks -- on their ninth studio -- explore the wonders and oddities of the natural world, so it comes off more... more >>

Gulls

Graham Parker and the Rumour: Three Chords Good (Proper)

Graham Parker and the Rumour: Three Chords Good (Proper)

Despite an excellent career fueled by British pub rock, post-punk energy and Parker's cutting lyrics coupled to memorable and often soulful songs, GP&R never really got the accolades (beyond critical praise, especially for their live shows) they deserved in the late 70s/early 80s. Then Parker moved to America and continued to release interesting if low-profile albums. This... more >>

Old Soul

Iggy and the Stooges: Ready to Die (Warners)

Iggy and the Stooges: Ready to Die (Warners)

Iggy -- after that brilliantly intuitive period which encompassed three Stooges albums and The Idiot/Lust For Life solo albums with Bowie -- was always a smart button-pusher. So here -- with surviving Stooges and others making an excellent noise we'd have to concede -- you can almost see his finger hovering: Sex and Money (tick); "i got a job and I'm sick of it" (tick, but hardly... more >>

The Departed

Meat Puppets: Rat Farm (Megaforce/Southbound)

Meat Puppets: Rat Farm (Megaforce/Southbound)

Although one of the great ignored bands of the 80s for their sun-baked but tough psychedelic-cum-country rock, Arizona's Meat Puppets only really got traction in the 90s after their appearance on Nirvana's MTV Unplugged session. But it was all over quickly, guitarist Cris Kirkwood suffered severe drug problems, his bassist brother Curt relocated to Austin and their recording career... more >>

Leave Your Head Alone

Archers of Loaf: All the Nations Airports (Fire/Southbound)

Archers of Loaf: All the Nations Airports (Fire/Southbound)

British pop has certainly had the eccentric end of the market fairly well wrapped up by bands like Half Man Half Biscuit, The Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band and the Soft Boys, or people like Jona Lewie and so on. Stateside, eccentricity seems to come in smaller packages (solo acts like Jonathan Richman, damaged souls like Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnston) but it appears to be less difficult... more >>

Worst Defense

Charlie Horse: I Hope I Am Not a Monster (laughingoutlaw.com.au)

Charlie Horse: I Hope I Am Not a Monster (laughingoutlaw.com.au)

Better a few months late than not at all for this gritty, pleasingly ragged and sometimes boisterous rock from an Australian band which has done the character-building work through pubs but sensibly take themselves off to a cabin the Blue Mountains where they write and have a studio. The focus of the band is on singers/writers Crystal Rose and Paul McDonald who have an ear for darkly... more >>

I Killed My Mind

Wayne Hancock: Ride (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Wayne Hancock: Ride (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Wayne "The Train" Hancock is best described as a truck-stop rocker. He's the guy you'd love to see at some juke-joint or country bar with his band as they take rockabilly, Hank Williams country, blues, honky tonk and some serious swinging'n'twangin' guitar to a crowd ready to dance, drink or dig into their crawfish or grits. He's got lowdown blues songs, road songs (with pedal... more >>

Deal Gone Down

Suede: Bloodsports (Warner)

Suede: Bloodsports (Warner)

The timing of this first Suede album couldn't be better: David Bowie's got a new album out and his Alladin Sane celebrates an anniversary reissue. And for a band whose singer Brett Anderson owed a clear debt to aspects of Bowie in the Seventies this synergy for Suede should be useful. Quite what should we expect from a reunion album is however another question. Graham Parker and the... more >>

Hit Me

Billy Bragg: Tooth and Nail (Cooking Vinyl)

Billy Bragg: Tooth and Nail (Cooking Vinyl)

The self-described Big Nose From Barking has always dealt a lovely line in romantic but clear-eyed sentiment alongside his more obvious political songs. And sometimes the politics has been personal and vice-versa. This album -- with a excellent small band, recorded by Joe Henry and following the death of Bragg's mother -- finds him in a mostly turned-down and reflective mood. The opener... more >>

Swallow My Pride

Ethan Johns: If Not Now Then When? (Three Crows/Southbound)

Ethan Johns: If Not Now Then When? (Three Crows/Southbound)

Good title and cover shot for the debut album from someone whose name usually follows the words "Produced by" on albums from Crowded House, Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Rufus Wainwright, Ray LaMontagne and other luminaries. He's also the son of Glyn whose name followed "Produced by" on records by the Stones, Clapton, Led Zepp and the Who . . . and who is still active... more >>

Willow

British Sea Power: Machineries of Joy (Rough Trade)

British Sea Power: Machineries of Joy (Rough Trade)

IN the current roll call of great bands out of Blighty, the fascinating and heroically named British Sea Power seem to have gone woefully overlooked. Their intelligence and musical curiosity has manifested itself in two soundtracks, the one for Robert Flaherty's Man of Aran film from 1934 being a particular Elsewhere favourite for its sympathetic understanding of the stark images. Their... more >>

K Hole

Steve Earle: The Low Highway (New West/Southbound)

Steve Earle: The Low Highway (New West/Southbound)

The final track on this -- Earle's 15th studio album -- is Remember Me, a moving message to his child who might never see him when grown. Earle, now 58 and with a three-year old, knows this possibility and such honest emotion (sometimes fueled by political anger) has been a hallmark of a career which looked finished in the mid Nineties when he was jailed for drug and weapon possession.... more >>

Remember Me

Kurt Vile: Wakin' on a Pretty Daze (Matador)

Kurt Vile: Wakin' on a Pretty Daze (Matador)

The improbably-named Philadelphian here opens this beguiling fifth album with the nine minutes-plus sorta-title track which lazily reassures his love/the listener that it's okay, he's fried, living low and lazy before a delightfully long skygaze-meets-Neil Young guitar part glistens off into the distance. As a statement of intent it's enormously impressive and – after his... more >>

Girl Called Alex

Superturtle: Beat Manifesto (Sarang Bang)

Superturtle: Beat Manifesto (Sarang Bang)

This is how all vinyl purchases should come, with a CD. If you'r going to shell out for a record -- and there's a limited edition of this one -- then you should of course get a free CD or download link. Good on local label Sarang Bang for doing that. Superturtle -- who launch this at Auckland's Hard Luck Cafe on Saturday -- here throw you back to the mid Eighties  for a dozen... more >>

You're Gonna Get There Too

Karl Bartos: Off the Record (Bureau B)

Karl Bartos: Off the Record (Bureau B)

One glance at the cover photo and two bars of the first track and you know Bartos has some serious Kraftwerk origins. In fact he was in the group for 15 years from 1975 and then -- if we believe the slightly disco-pop ballad Without a Trace of Emotion here -- quit with little love lost to pursue a solo career with "the world at my feet". If that were entirely true however you'd... more >>

Without a Trace of Emotion