Music at Elsewhere

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The Helio Sequence: Helio Sequence (Sub Pop/Rhythmethod)

13 Jul 2015  |  <1 min read

Sometimes sounding more like a British dreamscape-cum-shoegaze band than some of their own earliest incarnations, this outfit from Oregon are now on their sixth album. But this is a perfectly acceptable point to tune in. Singer-writer Brandon Summers places himself in the mid-ground of the soundscape of shimmering washes of guitar, pulsing rhythms and a kind of summershine atmospheric... > Read more

Phantom Shore

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Freedom Tower (Southbound)

13 Jul 2015  |  <1 min read

About halfway through these breathless 35 minutes you'd be forgiven for needing a cup of tea and a lie-down. And you've also forgotten how this implosion of Beastie Boys, RL Burnside-style electric blues, Aerosmith with Run DMC and much more actually started. In a cover like a mixtape and subtitled “No Wave Dance Party 2015”, here the Spencer trio fire off 13 raucous... > Read more

Bellevue Baby

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

8 Jul 2015  |  2 min read

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up New Zealand artists. Comments will be brief. Nadine Shah; Fast Food (Apollo/Southbound): Britain seems awash with talented women singers but some appear to get better coverage (Graham... > Read more

Werewolf by Tom Dyer's New Pagan Gods

Richard Thompson: Still (Proper/Southbound)

6 Jul 2015  |  <1 min read  |  1

Those thrilled by this much acclaimed singer-guitarist's set at Womad in March, or who have immersed themselves in his often incendiary recent albums Dream Attic and Electric, will need no second invitation for this one. Produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy (deploying members of Thompson's band and Wilco) and frequently impelled by the same energy Thompson brought to Taranaki, this 12-song... > Read more

Broken Doll

ONE WE MISSED: Jimmy LaFave: The Night Tribe (Music Road/Southbound)

1 Jul 2015  |  <1 min read

Americana singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave has one of those classic, heartbroken, world-beaten, minor key and slightly weary voices which holds considerable appeal. Except he deploys it on just about every song, so you can experience a kind of emotional burn-out . . . all the while appreciating just how moving he can be. Slow and selective listening is therefore advised. He's appeared at... > Read more

Never Came Back to Memphis

Algiers: Algiers (Matador)

29 Jun 2015  |  <1 min read

Out of the torn traditions of America's gospel'n'blues Deep South but shot through with post-punk fury, this trio take a hammer to politics, religion and race but couch it in blood-stirring music. Here are terrifying soundscapes (Claudette), desperate spooked-out soul driven by guitar grit and throbbing bass (And When You Fall, But She Was Not Flying), worldweary aching (Games) and... > Read more


Various Artists: EurNoVision 2015 (link supplied)

29 Jun 2015  |  1 min read

Having enjoyably missed much of this year's Eurovision Song Contest -- better staging and lighting than songs, right? -- a compilation of "outsider" music from the various underground scenes of Europe billed as EurNoVison sounded suitably subversive. But deary me . . . And dreary this.  If this is subversion then sign me up for the counter-revolution. The music by... > Read more

Berlusconi Stole My Teenage Girlfriend by Kodagain (from Serbia)

The Quin Tikis: New Zealand's Premier Maori Show Band (Sony)

29 Jun 2015  |  2 min read

Among the many pleasures of my life is meeting young students in the music papers I teach at the University of Auckland where I am a "professional teaching fellow" in the School of Music. The young are so full of enthusiasm, uncertainty, promise and failure . . . What always thrills me is when Maori students come to me and say, "Thank you, sir" after a lecture in... > Read more

Poi Poi Twist

Bill Wyman: Back to Basics (Proper/Southbound)

28 Jun 2015  |  <1 min read

Apparently it has been 33 years since former Stones bassist Bill Wyman last released an album under his own name. But you'd have to ask, did you really notice his absence? Of course he had his diaries to draw on for Stones books and the Rhythm Kings project to keep him occupied, but here he eschews their sub-superstar session ethic and enjoyable if often uneccesary covers for a whole album... > Read more


The Moon Band: The Moon Band (wisdomtwinsrecords)

28 Jun 2015  |  <1 min read

Elsewhere has previously mentioned the British "band" Dodson and Fogg (in truth mostly just the extremely talented, if as yet largely undiscovered, Chris Wade). Wade is more than just a musician and artist however, he runs a little record label too it would seem: wisdomtwinsrecords. And it was from there, actually right here (or maybe because they had a track on a recent... > Read more

My Home

Leftfield: Alternative Light Source (Infectious)

22 Jun 2015  |  <1 min read

Leftfield were always one of the most interesting and innovative British electronica-cum-dance acts (remember the duo's association with John Lydon 20 years ago?). Now they are down to just founder Neil Barnes and hip guest vocalists (many electro-processed beyond recognition) for the first album under the name since Rhythm and Stealth in '99. Coincidentally that title might... > Read more

Shaker Obsession

James Taylor: Before This World (Universal)

22 Jun 2015  |  <1 min read  |  1

For his first album of new material in 13 years, James Taylor doesn't spring, “Hope you like my new direction” on his audience. In fact three songs here – the pastoral Montana, Snow Time and the string coloured, piano ballad You And I Again – could have come from his heyday in the early Seventies for their gentleness and purity of melody (and my Lord doesn't he... > Read more


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

20 Jun 2015  |  2 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, in the same way it does IN BRIEF about international releases. Comments will be brief. Able... > Read more

No Manz Land, Fats White

Jamie xx: In Colour (XL)

15 Jun 2015  |  1 min read

This debut solo album by the boffin behind The xx (and an influential and innovative remixer) joins a number of very intersting dots in British dance and ambient pop of the past few decades. Few "dance" albums would dare place a lowkey piece entitled Sleep Sound -- a horizontally laidback piece with a subtle sample from the Four Freshmen -- second up, but this is an album where... > Read more

The Rest is Noise

The Milk Carton Kids: Monterey (Anti)

15 Jun 2015  |  1 min read

As their name suggests, the LA duo of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan are sensitive guys with a strong measure of empathy. It also cannot go without being said that they evoke the spirit of the Simon and Garfunkel's sensitive, acoustic folk (no more so than on Secrets of the Stars here)  . . . but fewer commentators have referenced the Everly Brothers (S&G's role model) for the... > Read more


Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (Caldo Verde)

14 Jun 2015  |  1 min read

When my oldest son in London recently told me that he was going to see Sun Kil Moon (aka Mark Kozelek) in concert I said something to the effect, that'll be cheerful, a bundle of laughs. That glib comment was driven by having endured his album Benji which I conceded in my review might actually be a classic. I just found it intolerably self-indulgent . . . and worse, his monochrome... > Read more

Little Rascals

Mariame: Bloom (N'we Jinan)

11 Jun 2015  |  1 min read

When a North American singer is presented as the “Cree Rihanna” it's hard to know how to respond. Are you being invited to show more interest just because she's singer from the First Nation people in North America? But if that is somehow her point of difference then why make the immediate association with a singer who has an established... > Read more


RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Tori Amis; Little Earthquakes (Rhino/Atlantic)

10 Jun 2015  |  1 min read

As with Kate Bush, this American singer and songwriter -- a longtime-sometime resident in Britain -- has a reputation among critics and her loyal fanbase which far outstrips her recent sales. With her move into classical music, her reputation -- as with that of Joan Osborne who has also gone to make excellent if largely overlooked albums -- rests quite firmly on this, her impressive debut... > Read more

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Aly Cook: Horseshoe Rodeo Hotel (

8 Jun 2015  |  1 min read

Mainstream country music – more Nashville than Austin, and not remotely alt. – barely gets acknowledged in New Zealand outside of specific regions and outlets, which makes you admire singer-songwriter Aly Cook's persistence all the more. She had taken her music global (tours in Europe, across Australia which seems her second home and of course the US), has an Australian... > Read more

Midnight Cowboys

Bill Morris; Hinterland (

8 Jun 2015  |  <1 min read  |  1

This beautifully played and arranged folk-cum-country rock album from the Dunedin singer-songwriter comes with a stellar cast including guitarist/mandolin player John Egenes and Red McKelvie on pedal steel. Morris writes lyrics which are nailed down by visual detail (the excellent title track, the speak-sing Ruby in the Dust located in outsider Australia, the superb and sad Roses in a... > Read more

Roses in a Drawer