Music at Elsewhere

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15 Dec 2015  |  18 min read  |  1

As always, our selection of the Best of Elsewhere begins with qualifications: We didn't hear everything released this year (Didn't even try. Would you?) and so missed some which will be on others' lists. And that these are only notionally “The Best” because as you know next month something else will become My New Favourite Album and . . . And that of course we heard a lot... > Read more

Kong Fooey: Final Destination (Bella Rose)

12 Dec 2015  |  <1 min read

In a cover which amusingly references that of Elvis' debut album (and by association the Clash's London Calling which did the same), this Auckland outfit deliver an enjoyable fusion of hip-hop, old school funk bass, searing rock guitars, a smattering of blues harmonica, dance floor shaking beats and slacker soul. If that cover is a look back with a fresh flavor, much of what's here is the... > Read more

Speak That Truth

Son Little: Son Little (Anti)

7 Dec 2015  |  1 min read  |  1

If we believe what we read -- rather than accept the evidence of our ears -- this hip young black American from LA (real name Aaron Livngstone) is the bridge between classic soul and contemporary hip-hop. And more. Well, let's just come right out and say it. To be that you'd have to write stronger and more soulful songs than are on this debut album which is both half-baked and... > Read more

Loser Blues

Roy Orbison: One of the Lonely Ones (Universal)

7 Dec 2015  |  1 min read

The cruel Fates conspired against the great Roy Orbison. His personal life was blighted by tragedy and his career was a series of brief highs and then long periods far from the spotlight. In the early-mid Sixties he was a star but by '67 when he topped the bill over the Yardbirds and the Walker Brothers many people at the Auckland Town Hall walked out on him. As a ballad singer who... > Read more

Say No More

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

4 Dec 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. Enya: Dark Sky Island (Warners): On a cursory listen through her catalogue, Enya may seem to deliver much the same. But while that... > Read more

So I Could Find My Way, Enya

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

30 Nov 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.... > Read more

Jonathan Bree, Once It Was Nice

ONE WE MISSED: Deerhunter, Fading Frontier (4AD)

30 Nov 2015  |  1 min read

Quite how we missed this new album by Deerhunter/Bradford Cox who has long been an Elsewhere favourite is simple: laziness. The album doesn't announce its contents in the clever cover so it probably just got sidelined when something with the artist and title bannered large yelled at us from the pile. Cox is one of the smarter guys in the pop business, although he'd doubtless prefer to... > Read more

Duplex Planet

Neil Young and Bluenote Cafe: Bluenote Cafe (Warners)

23 Nov 2015  |  3 min read  |  2

Even diehard Neil Young fans would have to admit his most recent studio albums have been disappointing if not bloody awful . . . like the never-play-again rubbish A Letter Home and The Monsanto Years. Anyone who gave The Monsanto Years a four star (or even more idiotically a five star) review -- and some did -- had mistaken right-on politics for crap songs and should be forced to listen... > Read more

Bad News Comes to Town

Baio: The Names (Glass Note)

23 Nov 2015  |  <1 min read

Not to be confused with small-screen star Scott, Chris Baio -- bassist with Vampire Weekend -- here gets playful and poppy (the bright Sister of Pearl) with this debut solo album. It mines a small but rewarding vein of electro-pop in the manner of Hot Chip, but he comes off his own man with deft funk flourishes, subtle allusions to world music-cum-disco (the lengthy opening overs of I... > Read more


Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Nils Frahm (latenighttales/Southbound)

23 Nov 2015  |  <1 min read

Elsewhere has most often enjoyed these Late Night Tales compilations (and has written about quite a few) where someone famous (or little known) is invited to make a vaguely themed collection, and this one by Berlin-based composer Nils Frahn -- whose idiom is sort of electronica-classical -- is a real gem. It opens with his cover of John Cage's famous 4:33 (and it's not what you might think... > Read more

Peaks by Dictaphone

Adele: 25 (XL)

23 Nov 2015  |  2 min read

A week before the release of this album, Elsewhere was having a lunchtime conversation with someone at the very pointy end of the music business. He runs a chain of stores which sells something called “CDs”. We agreed that good, bad or indifferent, this new and obviously much-awaited release by British chanteuse Adele was going to be A Very Important Album Indeed.... > Read more

River Lea

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Chris Knox; Seizure (Flying Nun)

23 Nov 2015  |  <1 min read

For quite some time now Flying Nun has ben working on a reissue campaign of all Chris Knox's solo albums, and the Tall Dwarfs catalogue (the duo of Knox and former Toy Love pal Alex Bathgate). Seizure is the sensible first blast in the lovingly restored vinyl/CD reissue of Knox's vast catalogue because it contains The Big Hit (Not Given Lightly) as well as important Knox statements... > Read more

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Scott Fagan; South Atlantic Blues (Atco/Southbound)

19 Nov 2015  |  2 min read

First let's be clear. This reissue of an album which disappeared on its release in '68 doesn't reveal some great lost classic. Nor will it suddenly elevate its creator to the realms enjoyed by Rodriguez after that documentary Searching for Sugar Man. And it might not even make you yearn for the second and equally obscure album by this guy. But it is recommended here because it is... > Read more


Trillion: Perfect Freq (trillion)

16 Nov 2015  |  1 min read

Many have doubtless lost track of Jody Lloyd, the Christchurch producer/rapper with his Dark Tower outfit who delivered the excellent Shadows on a Flat Land debut almost 20 years ago and the award-nominated follow-up Canterbury Drafts in 2001. That's becase he has continued to operate under a number of pseudonyms, the most prominent (but still somewhat off the grid) Trillion. Most... > Read more


Little Bob Story: Off the Rails/Live '78 (Chiswick/Border)

16 Nov 2015  |  1 min read  |  1

Many decades ago a friend was in London just as punk was gripping the city, but also while there were still great pub rock bands coming through and even the first song from Dire Straits. He would send me tapes (one had Sultans of Swing on it and I went to their local label and suggested they release it, they declined until . . .) and that was when I first heard Patti Smith's Piss Factory,... > Read more

Hot'n'Sweaty (live)

Wreckless Eric: amERICa (Fire)

13 Nov 2015  |  1 min read  |  2

The cheeky post-punk rocker Wreckless Eric was among the many interesting and somewhat eccentric choices to be on Britain's Stiff records, alongside Ian Dury, Jona Lewie, Lena Lovich and Rachel Sweet. Eric – Eric Goulden – delivered some of the most enjoyably ragged rock and thrashy folk-framed songs (a recently reissued album from the early Nineties was entitled The... > Read more

Space Age

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

13 Nov 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.... > Read more

Better Pickups by Salad Days

Greg Johnson: Swing the Lantern (

12 Nov 2015  |  2 min read

When it comes to metaphors, similes, cultural references and astutely hard-crafted images or couplets, as a lyric writer Greg Johnson would seem to have the inside running and be well ahead of the field. That he has in recent years most often hitched these essentials of wordcraft to memorable – sometimes downbeat – melodies has pushed him into the frontline of New Zealand... > Read more

Never Turn Back

Fat Freddy's Drop: Bays (Rhythmethod)

9 Nov 2015  |  1 min read

  There are concept albums and live albums, but this new album from a band which has juggled studio and live releases sound pleasingly close to a studio-created concept of a live album. It opens slow and stakes out its ground with some fairly familiar Freddy grooves on  Wairunga Blues, their archetypal rolling reggae groove on Slings and Arrows (which devolves into a natty,... > Read more


Various Artists: The Birth of Surf Guitar Vol 3 (Ace/Border)

9 Nov 2015  |  1 min read  |  1

It seems odd that surf guitar rock should be so enduring. For some it was just a brief phenomenon of the late Fifties/early Sixties but here at Elsewhere we've recently written about surf guitar rock influences (sometimes with a weird spaghetti western spin) in bands out of Israel, Spain, Croatia and of course the USA and New Zealand. This 26 track collection goes back to origins with... > Read more

Storm Surf