Music at Elsewhere

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Various Artists: Sweet Things from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook (Ace/Border)

27 May 2015  |  1 min read  |  1

While it would be easy to dismiss a collection like this by a cursory glance at the titles -- Gee, you just collect a bunch of Brill Building hits from the Sixties, right? -- there is so much more going on here than first meets the eye. Okay, hits penned by Greenwich and Barry (together or solo) are here: Why Do Lovers Break Each Other Hearts by Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans; Then He Kissed... > Read more

I'm Nobody's Baby Now

Various Artists: Nippon Girls (Ace/Border)

25 May 2015  |  1 min read

Elsewhere has happily passed this retro J-pop path previously with Nippon Girls 2  . . . but with the "prequel" now available -- also on vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and again with an excellent essay by New York's Sheila Burgel who has a great girl pop website -- we once again immerse ourselves in "Japanese Pop, Beat & Bossa Nova 1967-69" (as the subtitle has it).... > Read more

Black Room

Shilpa Ray: Last Year's Savage (Northern Spy/Southbound)

25 May 2015  |  <1 min read

Perhaps because of her formative experiences as an outsider – her strict Indian immigrant parents forbade Western music and so she was secretly a Goth-punk in New Jersey – and musical influences from Patti Smith, classic rhythm and blues-pop and the drone sound of harmonium (not too far from Velvet Underground), the extraordinary Shilpa Ray manages to sit between accessible if... > Read more

On Broadway

Little Lapin: Remember the Highs (bandcamp)

25 May 2015  |  1 min read

Little Lapin -- aka Lucy Hill -- might almost be considered a New Zealand songwriter: She lived here for about five years and, although British, her time in Aotearoa (living in Raglan, this debut album recorded in Auckland with Ben King of Goldenhorse producing) was certainly useful for her. She received some NZ on Air assistance and did national tours. That Kiwi cash we gave her (it's... > Read more

Sound of Summer

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love (Jagjaguwar)

21 May 2015  |  <1 min read  |  1

Ruban Nielson's gift for a melodic twist coupled with lyrics which say something hasn't deserted him. If anything it has deepened and become more soulful and nuanced on this collection which refers to Prince-style soul with a disco bass line (the opener I Can't Keep Checking My Phone), deep funk (the brittle danceable pop of Like Acid Rain), the grandeur of contemporary soundtracks... > Read more

Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)

18 May 2015  |  <1 min read

This exceptional album is named for Stevens' schizophrenic and drug-addicted mother who died in 2012 and the stepfather (married to Carrie for five years when the singer was a young boy) who was his stability and currently runs Stevens' record label. The songs fold back into the past but are also very much located in present emotions. They find Stevens at his most revealing... > Read more

Should Have Known Better

Elliot Moss: Highspeeds (Warners)

18 May 2015  |  <1 min read

After being tipped by Spin magazine as one of the artists to watch in 2015, this New York multi-instrumentalist, producer and video artist sees his debut album from last year re-presented (with two extra tracks). The brooding, moody slow-groove electro-pop soundbeds topped by his smooth, soulful and slightly folk-jazz influenced vocals are certainly appealing on the standout Slip, the... > Read more

Faraday Cage

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent releases

15 May 2015  |  3 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. Dodson and Fogg; Warning Signs (wisdomtwinsbooks): Britain's Dodson and Fogg is, as we have previously mentioned, the nom de disque for the... > Read more

Everything Changes

Andy Gabbard: Fluff (Alive/Southbound)

11 May 2015  |  <1 min read

The Kurt Cobain doco Montage of Heck subtly reminds what a big Beatles fan he was (especially the cracked version of And I Love Her). This enjoyably rowdy if hardly ground-breaking grunge-pop solo debut by Gabbard – singer-songwriter for Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers – might remind you of both Nirvana and mid-period Beatles, as well as Dinosaur Jr, Neil Young with Crazy... > Read more

Supernational

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

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

Hunt, Kilgour and the Heavy 8s

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: The Stones; Three Blind Mice (Flying Nun)

6 May 2015  |  2 min read  |  1

Of the four bands on the famous Flying Nun Dunedin Double EP – recorded in the front room of a Christchurch flat in '82 -- the Stones looked to be here for a good time but not a long time. Consider how the bands represented themselves on the cover space given them. Both the Verlaines and the Chills chose to get artistic and serious (the former with sheet music, the latter... > Read more

Everywhere Man

Florian Flicke/Popul Vuh: Kailash (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

4 May 2015  |  1 min read

There is perhaps a generation of people whose view of the world, cultural colonialism and image-making was shaped by two key films from director Werner Herzog: Aguirre; The Wrath of the God in the early Seventies, and Fitzcarraldo a decade later. Those extraordinary stories of human effort and failure set in the the unforgiving world of the jungles of South America -- where Nature... > Read more

Earth View

Blur: The Magic Whip (Warners)

4 May 2015  |  2 min read  |  1

To accuse Damon Albarn of being a mannered singer does rather somewhat miss the point. His Sixties role models -- Ray Davies, David Bowie et al -- were much the same. So when Blur's Modern Life is Rubbish and Parklife albums rolled around back in the mid Nineties at the zenith of Britpop it meant nothing that he adopted a vocal style which was far removed from his speaking voice. In... > Read more

Pyongyang

The Very Best: Makes a King (Moshi Moshi)

4 May 2015  |  <1 min read

In some circles this album by the duo of Malawi-born singer Esau Mwamwaya with Swedish beatmaker Johan Hugo may be labelled world music. Admittedly it was recorded by Lake Malawi, features Baaba Maal on one piece and is sung in the local language Chichewa. But -- on this their third album together -- with some bashing or ambient electronica, bassist Chris Baio from Vampire Weekend... > Read more

Let Go

The Cleves: The Musical Adventures of the Clevedonaires, Cleves and Bitch (Frenzy)

3 May 2015  |  2 min read

Buried away in the typically interesting liner notes of this compilation by Grant Gillanders, he writes this: “The Cleves' second single You and Me was released during May 1970, the same month that they made their 100th appearance on Australian television”. Huh? One hundred appearances on Australian television? How many – how few – New Zealand artists... > Read more

He's Ready (The Clevedonaires)

Princess Chelsea: The Great Cybernetic Depression (Lil' Chief)

1 May 2015  |  1 min read

The 2011 debut album Little Golden Book by Chelsea Nikell (aka Princess Chelsea) was an Elsewhere favourite for its subtle blend of coquettish and slightly childlike charm with an adult sophistication. Nikkel sounded like an adult in child's body, and sometimes vice-versa. As Elsewhere has noted however, that didn't translate effectively at this year's Laneway where she appeared mannered... > Read more

We're So Lost

Alan Brown: Silent Observer (alanbrown.co.nz)

1 May 2015  |  2 min read

Despite what many amateurs in the New Age world may think -- and Brian Eno's Bloom app allows you to pretend you can do it -- creating respectable ambient music isn't quite as easy as it sounds. We default to Eno again because he has some form in this area and he said this genre was about creating music which should be as ignorable as it was enjoyable. In other words it could be aural... > Read more

Unanswered Question

Doldrums: The Air Conditioned Nightmare (SubPop)

27 Apr 2015  |  <1 min read  |  1

On this second album under the band moniker Doldrums, the Montreal-based experimental electronica-rock artist and DJ Airick (actually “Eric”) Woodhead delivers an enjoyably noisy and unpredictable clatter which happily slides from dancefloor thumpers (Hotfoot) to dreamy astral-plane sonics (the prog-lite Funeral for Lightning) and a few pop-influenced points in between.... > Read more

Funeral for Lightning

Hannah in the Wars: Hannah in the Wars (99X-10/Aeroplane)

25 Apr 2015  |  1 min read

Get past the usefully scene setting but irritatingly repetitious opener here (Burning Through the Night where Hannah Curwood's voice becomes more shrill and annoying than desperate as seems the intention) and a very interesting album reveals itself. Curwood from Central Otago is now based in London and caught the ear of the Cure's keyboard player Roger O'Donnell who produced this frequently... > Read more

Sweet Release

Beth Hart: Better Than Home (Provogue/Warners)

20 Apr 2015  |  <1 min read

Hart may have a troubled soul – junk, booze and family matters all took their toll – but at her extraordinary Powerstation show last month she proved a good-humoured survivor with powerful stories to tell, and an exceptional voice to convey the hurts, optimism and energy required to pull herself through. And here across 11 originals she drops personae and dives into her... > Read more

Might As Well Smile