Music at Elsewhere

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Steve Earle and the Dukes: Terraplane (New West/Warners)

9 Mar 2015  |  <1 min read

The only surprising thing about Earle making a blues album – given he's done rock, country, folk and bluegrass – is that it took him so long. As a Texan where the tough electric players and Lightnin' Hopkins' backporch acoustic style came from, blues was certainly in his blood. And these songs – many written while back-packing around Europe by himself, presumably... > Read more

The Tennessee Kid

Various Artists: Black America Sings Sam Cooke (Ace/Border)

9 Mar 2015  |  1 min read

It was perhaps obvious that the on-going series Black America Sings -- which has seen compilations of black artists singing the songbooks of Bob Dylan, Lennon and McCartney, Bacharach and David, and Otis Redding: see here -- would come around to compiling covers of the smoothest and, some might say, the most popular soul singer of them all. Sam Cooke's move from gospel to soul-infused pop... > Read more

When a Boy Falls in Love

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

9 Mar 2015  |  3 min read  |  1

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, in the same way it does IN BRIEF about international releases. Comments will be brief. Various... > Read more


IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent releases

6 Mar 2015  |  2 min read

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up New Zealand artists. Comments will be brief. Jake Xerxes Fussell; Jake Xerxes Fussell (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound): North Carolina singer/guitarist Fussell's father was a folklorist and... > Read more

Star Girl

Various Artists: Hang on Sloopy; The Bert Berns Story Vol 3 (Ace/Border)

4 Mar 2015  |  3 min read  |  1

In his excellent 1989 collection of writing Ball the Wall, Nik Cohn included a superb and insightful piece about Phil Spector, who at that time – the very early Seventies – had retreated behind the walls of his LA mansion. “Money, music, style: in each of them his breakthrough was absolutely basic,” wrote Cohn.  “In the early Sixties, he seemed... > Read more

Am I Groovin' You

Public Service Broadcasting: The Race for Space (Southbound)

2 Mar 2015  |  <1 min read

The 2013 debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain by this British duo married sometimes driving rock or evocative soundscapes with spoken word samples from old British and American documentaries and films. The result was a thrilling mix which, with almost Futurist enthusiasm, embraced a time when progress (mail trains of the Thirties, the Spitfire), adventure (the ascent of Everest)... > Read more


Proton Beast: Digitizer (Muzai)

2 Mar 2015  |  1 min read

The naked light bulb on the cover of this debut album by Auckland's self-described "disco doom" trio is more apt than that mirrorball. This is sonic density -- mastered by Brad Boatright who has done the deed for Sun O))) among others -- from a band which has supported Boris and Beastwars. So there you have your visual and aural references for eight tracks (recorded... > Read more


Various Artists: Follow Me Down; Vanguard's Lost Psychedelic Era 1966-70 (Vanguard/Border)

27 Feb 2015  |  2 min read

Fact is, if  -- as the cover title suggests -- the psychedelic era was "lost" to anyone during the four/five years on this collection, it wasn't to the label's tripped-out audience at the time. It was perhaps to the label itself. Vanguard released many psych-albums including the exceptional debut by Country Joe and the Fish, Electric Music for the Mind and Body.... > Read more

A Nickel's Worth of Benny's Help

Kiasmos: Kiasmos (Erased Tapes/Southbound)

23 Feb 2015  |  <1 min read

One of the most interesting, if not visually engaging, artists at Laneway was electronica boffin Jon Hopkins who added edge and scratchy beats to elevate his sound above the quasi-ambience of his albums. As with Hopkins, you suspect this duo of Iceland's Olafur Arnalds and Faroe Islander Janus Rasmussen, could also up their game for a live audience. Because here across eight... > Read more


Various Artists: Nippon Girls 2 (Big Beat/Border)

23 Feb 2015  |  1 min read

From the same New Zealand distributor (Border, see here) as brought us the largely terrific Girls With Guitars album comes this, subtitled "Japanese Pop, Beat and Rock'n'Roll 1966-70". (Others in the series are "Pop, Beat and Bossa Nova") Although the Japanese very quickly got the original rock'n'roll of the Fifties (guys like this) and of course the Beatles, their... > Read more

Furi Furi 5

Ryan Bingham: Fear and Saturday Night (Universal)

23 Feb 2015  |  <1 min read

This 33-year old Americana/ singer who played the Tuning Fork last year with his new band has a road-hardened, Bourbon'n'catarrh voice which belies his years. As some wag noted, he sounds more like Steve Earle's father. After a bender, I'd add. But, as with Earle, sometimes that raw edge is less expressive than it could be. Fortunately, if we may say this, Bingham... > Read more

Snow Falls in June

The Aquadolls: Stoked On You (Burger/Southbound)

16 Feb 2015  |  <1 min read

If there were a missing link between Sixties girl groups, California surf-pop, Nineties skater rock and Taylor Swift's assertive pop-sassiness it might be this lo-fi band helmed by singer-guitarist Melissa Brooks from Southern California who does a neat line in simplistic pop-rock with catchy choruses, a slightly flat (or indifferently “Whatever”) delivery and looks the part on... > Read more

Our Love Will Always Remain

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

16 Feb 2015  |  3 min read

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. Sparrow Thieves: Lethargic Caffeine (sparrowthieves): There are a... > Read more

Le Printemps Arabe

Punch Brothers: The Phosphorescent Blues (Warners)

14 Feb 2015  |  <1 min read

Recently guitarist Chris Eldridge from this band said in an in-depth interview with Elsewhere that Punch Brothers wanted people to have to make time for this album and peel back its layers. Indeed. This collection opens with a 10 minute-plus piece which at times refers to the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys and minimalist classical composers like Steve Reich, and also has... > Read more

Little Lights

One Man Bannister: Birds & Bees (Thokei Tapes/bandcamp)

12 Feb 2015  |  1 min read

Releasing an album on cassette in an age when most people no longer have a turntable let alone something as archaic as a tape player seems a bit like that Spinal Tap thing: Being more selective about your audience. It is however an interesting way of getting attention and I for one -- when I was offered a cassette of these songs, which prove to be quite sophisticated home recordings -- was... > Read more

B5 instrumental/A Boy and A Girl

Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love (Sub Pop)

11 Feb 2015  |  1 min read

If you are bit over bands reforming to tour their classic album or just to pick up the cheque, then put aside such cynicism for this, the return album from former riot grrrls Sleater-Kinney who broke up a decade ago and seemed to have gone their own ways. But from the thrilling, fuzzy riff on the opener Price Tag here right through the furious 33 minutes which follow, here's a band which... > Read more


Bob Dylan: Shadows in the Night (Sony)

9 Feb 2015  |  2 min read  |  4

No one should be surprised by this 36th studio album from 73-year old Dylan being covers of standards. Even when he first appeared he was looking backwards (to old folk and blues), during his retreat in 66 he and the musicians who would become The Band played around on 50s pop and standards, he contributed a gorgeous version of You Belong To Me (from 52) to the Natural Born Killers... > Read more

Some Enchanted Evening

Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

9 Feb 2015  |  1 min read

Before we even address the music on this new album by Josh Tillman (aka FJMisty) who was previously in Fleet Foxes, let's just tip the hat to the value-added packaging here. The gatefold sleeve comes with a pop-up centrefold, there's a large fold-out poster with lyrics on one side, and a booklet with "Exercises for Listening" which reads a bit like a 21st century computer-literate... > Read more

I Went to the Store One Day

Various Artists: Girls With Guitars (Ace/Border)

9 Feb 2015  |  1 min read

At the end of the first side of this record -- yes, it's a record, bright red vinyl too -- is a great lost classic. It is soulful belter Gail Harris from Washington state with the semi-legendary local group The Wailers (not Bob's band) tearing into Ike and Tina Turner's I Idolize You. The song was lifted from the album The Fabulous Wailers at the Castle (which you can stream free here, and... > Read more


Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Psychedelic India (Rough Guide/Southbound)

2 Feb 2015  |  1 min read

The on-going Rough Guide psychedelic series certainly throws up some fascinating – if not always strictly psychedelic – music from many corners of the globe. Elsewhere unequivocally recommends The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Bollywood and The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Cambodia (both of which come with a bonus disc) for their sheer mind-bending sounds which are exotic,... > Read more

Satyam Shivam Sundaram