Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Sinead O'Connor: I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss (Nettwerk/Southbound)

25 Aug 2014

Too often in popular culture, controversy and craziness are substitutes for, or get in the way of us seeing, real talent. O'Connor has courted her share of both and that often blurred the focus of her. Strangeness still circles her private life, but this straightforward album – 12 well-arranged, emotionally and musically direct songs – finds her at top form on economic songs,... > Read more

The Vishnu Room

Ron Gallipoli: Ron Gallipoli Loves You All (Freezing Works Music)

25 Aug 2014

In the other real world Ron Gallipoli is Sam Bradford who was the singer in New Zealand's Sharpie Crows, but here he nails down some droll, pleasingly weird, socio-political lo-fi electronica-cum-light industrial post-punk. It might be all over quickly -- nine songs in 34 minutes -- but he crams a lot of information (satirical comment) and sounds (nods towards bedroom-solo Chris Knox, what... > Read more

16000 Dead Pigs in the Huangpu River

Into Orbit: Caverns (bandcamp)

21 Aug 2014

This Wellington duo of Paul Stewart and Ian Moir (guitars and drums respectively) work the line of dynamically delivered astral psychedelica with nods to widescreen drone rock, but really make something of their own out of it. The emotional breadth and sonic textures on display here -- and our reference points might be Jakob, Wooden Shjips, Kerretta, early Explosions in the Sky etc -- are... > Read more

Set Adrift

Wire: Document and Eyewitness (Pink Flag/Southbound)

20 Aug 2014

Post-punk arty-smarties Wire have delivered some excellent albums in recent years, notably Red Barked Tree in 2011 and more recently last year's Change Becomes Us for which they went back to tapes from the period covered here as the starting point for new configurations and ideas. Most people perhaps remember them from this formative period at the end of the Seventies and those three... > Read more

Eastern Standard

Various Artists: XL Recordings, Pay Close Attention (XL)

19 Aug 2014

Elsewhere rarely ventures towards compilations from record labels but this double CD (available on four album vinyl here) is so outstanding we think we should draw it you attention as both a sampler and a standalone collection of great songs from important artists in the 25 year history of this London-based indie labe. It's quite some journey from the Prodigy's Firestarter and Peaches' Fuck... > Read more

Sea Within a Sea

Benjamin Booker: Benjamin Booker (Rough Trade)

18 Aug 2014

Although he had some considerable advance hype, this New Orleans-based punk-edged rocker lives up to the claims being made on this debut album, simply by delivering gutsy rock'n'roll with a tight band and songs with titles like Violent Shiver, Wicked Waters, Spoon Out My Eyeballs and I Thought I Heard You Screaming. But those titles don't really tell the story because far from being some... > Read more

Old Hearts

Kimbra: The Golden Echo (Warners)

18 Aug 2014

When Kimbra appeared at this year's Womad in Taranaki I observed at the time it allowed her to roadtest new material away from the prying eyes of the international -- and even local -- music media. She wasn't quite the unusual choice that many thought for a world music festival (other mainstream pop acts have been on previous bills) and she delivered a vigorously enthusiastic set full of... > Read more


Eric Clapton and Friends: The Breeze; An Appreciation of J.J. Cale (Universal)

18 Aug 2014    1

Eric Clapton frequently speaks of himself as a messenger, originally passing on the blues then in the Seventies discovering the music of Bob Marley and J.J. Cale whose songs he covered to great success. Although not a close friend of the late Tulsa-based Cale until they collaborated on the Grammy-winning Road to Escondido in 2006, Clapton felt strongly enough about the man and his... > Read more

The Old Man and Me

Mike Cooper: Trout Steel (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound)

15 Aug 2014

A few weeks ago when Elsewhere reviewed the predominantly guitar instrumental/experimental album Cantos de Lisboa by Steve Gunn and Mike Cooper, we confessed to knowing little about Cooper who counted among his folk and blues peers and admirers the likes of Bert Jansch and Davy Graham. This album -- its title lifted from stoner-favourite Richard Brautigan's famous book Trout Fishing in... > Read more

Sitting Here Watching

Glen Moffatt: Superheroes and Scary Things (SDL)

13 Aug 2014

Further proof that we export real talent. A little over a decade ago country-rock singer-songwriter Glen Moffatt quit New Zealand to base himself in Queensland, leaving behind three fine albums and a nomination in the songwriter of the year category. He immediately picked up good notices and awards in Queensland, but we haven't heard much from him in recent years. This album however --... > Read more

She's Not a Honky Tonk Woman

Fu Manchu: Gigantoid (At the Dojo/Southbound)

11 Aug 2014

Because Brant Bjork played with them and they're part of the Kyuss/Clutch/Monster Magnet cabal, this Southern California hard rock-stoner band has often been mentioned in dispatches but rarely made an impact here. That's surprising, given they should appeal to graybeards who loved the feedback rock of Sixties legends Blue Cheer and Australia's Tumbleweed as much as recent QTSA and... > Read more

The Last Question

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent releases

11 Aug 2014    2

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 short . . . Richard Thompson; Acoustic Classics (Proper/Southbound): The great British singer-songwriter Thompson has made frequent appearances at Elsewhere by way... > Read more

Dimming of the Day

Murray McNabb Group: Every Day is a Beautiful Day (Sarang Bang)

5 Aug 2014

In the final days of his life -- which ended in early 2013 -- the New Zealand composer and keyboard player Murray McNabb was still working, despite being on morphine for pain relief from the cancer which would kill him. Towards the end it was my privilege to interview him about his long career, and I was struck by his philosophical approach to the inevitable as much as I had been by the... > Read more

Standing Babas

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye (Warners)

4 Aug 2014    2

Most rock fans agree TP and his cracking Heartbreakers had a decade-long dream run after their self-titled debut in 76. Their taut Beatles/Byrds pop-rock welded to a nuggety rock'n'roll attitude and Petty's economic songs made their albums sound like collections of snappy singles. And when this Florida-native expanded into “Southern accents” (the title of their impressive... > Read more

Shadow People

Hans Chew: Life and Love (Proper/Southbound)

4 Aug 2014

This is interesting, odd and unexpected. On the inside cover Chew -- shaven head, bearded -- looks pretty hardcore . . . but he plays grand piano. And he doesn't play the classical repertoire but rocks out in a Southern boogie style with a tough little band (which includes Dave Cavallo on guitars, including slide). The result is an enjoyable meltdown of blues, country, soul and rock... > Read more

Strange Love

Death Vessel: Island Intervals (Sub Pop)

4 Aug 2014

It does seem odd that the label which brought us Nirvana should now be so attached to alt.folk (and sometime mope.folk) with Luluc and Death Vessel. DV is in fact singer Joel Thibodeau (born in Germany, raised in the States) and any number of fellow travelers for the past decade, although for this album -- his third as Death Vessel -- he has honed it down to mostly just three or four pals.... > Read more

We Agreed

Fink: Hardbeliever (Ninja Tunes)

31 Jul 2014

The first and only time Fink (known as Fin Greenall to his family) has appeared at Elsewhere was with his debut album Biscuits for Breakfast and although his career gone extremely well for this Britsh DJ, singer-songwriter and producer, he still sounds glum'n'moody. Which is no bad thing as he brings an intensity that is convincing, and he can back it all up with memorable melodies.... > Read more

Truth Begins

The Unsemble: The Unsemble (Ipecac/Southbound)

30 Jul 2014

If supergroups still exist this might not be one, but perhaps in the world of alt.rock and out-there readers of The Wire they could qualify. Here are drummer Brian Kotzur who has "worked with" Silver Jews, guitarist/keyboard player Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk) and bassist/electronics player Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten, Crime and the City Solution). These... > Read more


The Antlers: Familiars (Inertia)

28 Jul 2014

Peter Silberman, the mainman behind and up-front of New York's Antlers, has been making steady and stealthy moves towards greater acclaim with a series of lovely and sometimes pained albums which have increasingly become more musically complex. They've also managed to retain a sense of the hurting heart within the orchestration. Their 2010 album Hospice was a 10-song cycle about... > Read more


Jungle: Jungle (XL)

28 Jul 2014

It's sometimes said that every music that ever existed is still being played somewhere in the world today. It's certainly true that Jungle -- an unusually secretive London duo heading a collective -- have taken Seventies disco and cool funk to their hearts and here on their debut album offer up a post-electronica version of these styles which is snappy, clever, groove-orientated and just... > Read more

Son of a Gun