Music at Elsewhere

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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

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

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

The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers (released 1971, reissued 2015)

8 Jun 2015  |  2 min read  |  4

When the Rolling Stones entered the Seventies they were broke, battered and staggering. In '69 Keith Richards had started snorting heroin (while drinking Jack Daniel's and beer) which would lead to addiction, and at the end of that year they played the sulphurous cesspit of Altamont, a violent festival which effectively buried the spirit of the Woodstock Generation. In July '70 --... > Read more

I Got the Blues

Soak: Before We Forgot How to Dream (Rough Trade)

8 Jun 2015  |  <1 min read

Over 11 songs and some ambient bits in just 43 minutes, Northern Ireland's 18-year old Bridie Monds-Watson – aka Soak, who played a short set at Golden Dawn in April – burns a subtle and very impressive trail which at times might call to mind This Mortal Coil, Lykke Li, throaty alt-folk and the earnest adolescent poetry some wrote for their highschool magazine. However... > Read more

Hailstones Don't Hurt

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Gil Scott-Heron: Small Talk at 125th and Lenox (Ace/Border)

3 Jun 2015  |  1 min read

This debut by the late, early black revolutionary poetry is of great historical resonance because it contained the first recordings of his classics The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and the equally powerful Whitey on the Moon. At the time – the live session recorded in 1970 for Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label and released the following year – Scott-Heron was 21, a... > Read more


Paul Weller: Saturns Pattern (Parlophone)

1 Jun 2015  |  2 min read

You certainly have to give Paul Weller  a tip of the hat for his capacity at reinvention (the Jam, the Style Council, a lengthy and diverse solo career) and the energy he has put into it. He certainly shows no signs of slowing down as he gets closer to 60 (he turned 57 about 10 days ago) and played a blinder of a show at Auckland's Powerstation five years ago. On this diverse... > Read more

These City Streets

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

1 Jun 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 wil be brief. Bill Fay: Who is the Sender? (Dead Oceans): British folk-pianist/composer sees the world as the Garden of Eden corrupted, Nature as a... > Read more

The Big Hurt

Various Artists: Main Divide (Loop free download)

31 May 2015  |  <1 min read

Everyone likes free stuff, right? The good people at Auckland's Loop label know that and so to close off New Zealand Music Month they are offering a free download of a mixtape of their artists which includes terrific and warming-you-up grooves on these wet-weather days by the likes of Bailey Wiley, Lord Echo, Sorceress, P-Money, Jr Kong, Sola Rosa, Electric Wire Hustle and more. Very... > Read more

Teacups by Sorceress

Ozric Tentacles: Technicians of the Sacred (Madfish)

29 May 2015  |  <1 min read  |  1

Although it's possible to let the thirtysomething year career of this British band go past you, your life is considerably poorer for not having heard their blend of psyched-up, tripped-out spaceflight ambient instrumentals which frequently unfurl to the 10 minute mark. Their galaxy-exploring ambition is here spread across an impressive double disc which is, according to founder and... > Read more

Butterfly Garden

Torres: Sprinter (Partisan)

28 May 2015  |  <1 min read

For her second album Brooklyn-based Mackenzie Scott aka Torres shreds her past and soul on nine gripping songs. Some throb with love but latent menace (Son You Are No Island), some compelling for quiet intimacy (the seven minute-plus closer The Exchange about a child given up for adoption) and others furious synth'n'guitar-rock, close to poetically revealing Patti Smith and howling... > Read more

Son, You Are No Island

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