Music at Elsewhere

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Various Artists: Lost on the River; The New Basement Tapes (Sony)

9 Nov 2014

The provenance of these hitherto unknown lyrics by Bob Dylan is discussed in our interview with the album's producer T Bone Burnett, but briefly the story is this: Dylan's publishers approached Burnett saying Bob had discovered a box of lyrics from '67 and would he (Burnett) like to do something with them. To hear Burnett tell it, at that point Dylan dropped out of the picture and even at... > Read more

Lost on the River

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

7 Nov 2014

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.  Comments will be brief. Jakob; Sines (Shoot the Freak/Border): The sound of this Napier... > Read more


Darren Watson: Introducing Darren Watson (Beluga)

6 Nov 2014

After the fame/notoriety which came with his pre-election Planet Key song and video (see here), Wellington singer-guitarist and long-running bluesman Darren Watson reveals further humour in this album's title. Fact is, he's more than half a dozen albums into his career (from Chicago Smokeshop in the late Eighties, through Smokeshop and then albums under his own name), but maybe That... > Read more

Slow Cooker

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra: Be Mine Tonight (

6 Nov 2014

Among the many problems I have with this -- and they start with the cheap looking cover and extend to the sheer obviousness of the project -- is how utterly joyless some of these versions of New Zealand songs sound. Aaradhna's vibrant and uplifting Wake Up and the Swingers' once exciting Counting the Beat here sound barely able to rouse themselves from the hammock. But maybe that's the... > Read more

Slippin' Away

The Flaming Lips: With a Little Help From My Fwends (Warners)

4 Nov 2014

Now here are some words you wouldn't expect to read in the same sentence: "Miley Cyrus" and "the Beatles' A Day in the Life". Or even "Miley Cyrus" and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds". But when you add "The Flaming Lips" into the equation things start to make some kind of bent sense. The Lips -- that is, the eccentrically... > Read more

A Day in the Life Of

Mark Lanegan Band: Phantom Radio (Heavenly)

3 Nov 2014

Former Screaming Trees singer Lanegan isn't shy putting himself about. Alongside recent impressive solo albums (Blues Funeral and his covers album Imitations) he's appeared with Soulsavers, QOTSA, guitarist Duke Garwood and Isobel Campbell, as well as guesting for Moby, Unkle, Martina Topley-Bird . . . He has that go-to dark baritone freighted with gravitas which others want. This... > Read more

Torn Red Heart

French for Rabbits: Spirits (Lefse)

31 Oct 2014

This dreamscape debut album opens with such an elegantly simple guitar and piano part that it's hard not to be quickly seduced, and when vocalist Brooke Singer wafts in there is a lovely weightlessness at work above the undercurrents of drums and cymbal splashes. It sounds tidal and elemental. From their homebase at Waikuku Beach in New Zealand's South Island the duo of Singer and John... > Read more


Ha The Unclear; Bacterium, Look At Your Motor Go (bandcamp)

30 Oct 2014

And now for something completely different . . . Singer-songwriter Michael Cathro who fronts this oddly-named band is a real one-off. His accent is unashamedly antipodean: He pronounces the Dunedin suburb "Core-sto-feen" as is the habit there, in Edinburgh it's the suburb I was born in and is "ki-store-fin". And his vocal limitations have a real charm as he... > Read more

Mortality (A Million Years Ago)

Various Artists: Cold Cold Heart; Where Country Meets Soul Vol 3 (Kent/Border)

29 Oct 2014

The crossover between country and soul has long been acknowledged but this excellent series brings classics and obscurities together just to gently push the point home further. Elsewhere has hailed the previous two volumes and this one continues the thread, but to even greater effect. Here are some extraordinary black soul versions of songs you might only have heard as whitebread... > Read more

Another Man's Woman, Another Woman's Man

Scott Walker + Sun O))): Soused (4AD)

27 Oct 2014

Scott Walker's setting a breathless pace these days: it was usually a decade between albums but after The Drift (06) just six years before Bish Bosch and now only two years since that typically demanding, commanding art music. For newcomers, London-based American-born Walker was the romantically brooding baritone on Walker Brothers pop hits in the Sixties, moved towards European... > Read more


IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent releases

27 Oct 2014    1

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 brief. This week people you know from elsewhere (and maybe Elsewhere) Johnny Marr; Playland (Warners): Marr's first solo album The Messenger post-The Smiths... > Read more

One Lost Year

Sola Rosa: Magnetics (Way Up)

20 Oct 2014

Andrew Spraggon, the man behind the ever-morphing Sola Rosa, is a clever fellow. His albums are astutely focused and when he stretches himself he never strays too far from exactly where you think the beat-driven music should be. As the song here -- featuring singer Georgia Anne Muldrow -- says, "You're never too far from the ground". Even when Sola Rosa aim for soulful pastures,... > Read more

Til the Sun

Lenny Kravitz, Strut (Roxie)

20 Oct 2014

With two new Prince albums, the reissue of two Hendrix albums (Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge) and the next installment of Hunger Games pending (in which continues his role as Cinna), it seems timely to mention Lenny Kravitz, a man whose musical career often seems incidental to his image. You would rarely accuse him of originality and his reference points remain somewhere between... > Read more

Happy Birthday

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

16 Oct 2014

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. Comments will be brief. Sam RB; Finding Your Way Home ( Sometime Auckland street... > Read more


Electric Wire Hustle: Love Can Prevail (Every Waking Hour)

15 Oct 2014

Last month this album -- EWH down now from a trio to Mara TK and David "Taay Ninh" Wright -- got a very nice notice in the New York Times, noting their "knotty, disorienting studio fabrications, surrounding hand-played R&B" are "descendants of [Marvin Gaye's] What’s Going On". True, inasmuch as problems with love and God become intertwined... > Read more

By and Bye

Lucinda Williams: Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone (Thirty Tigers)

13 Oct 2014

Few artists would dare open an album – let alone a double set – with a spare song based on words of their accomplished poet father . . . especially when the worthy sentiment sounds like the old faux-philosophical hippie poster Desiderata. But Lucinda Williams – decades into an acclaimed career, now on her own label and with a faithful following – can take that... > Read more

Something Wicked This Way Comes

The Seeds: Singles As and Bs 1065-1970 (Big Beat/Border)

13 Oct 2014    1

Elsewhere's advocacy of power pop and garageband rock (especially Sixties stuff) is well documented . . . so this collection of  24 songs by the legendary Seeds out of  LA was always going to be straight into the player (how I wish I could say "onto the turntable") and the volume knob turned heavily clockwise. The band that gave the world bona fide classics like Pushin'... > Read more

Up In Her Room

Stevie Nicks: 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault (Warners)

13 Oct 2014    2

With Christine McVie rejoining Fleetwood Mac after 16 years and the classic line-up touring again, the timing couldn't be better for this collection of Stevie Nicks' previously unreleased songs, most written between 1969 and 87. Using her demos as a guide, she linked up again with producer Dave Stewart, longtime friend/guitarist Waddy Wachtel, Heartbreakers' guitarist Mike Campbell... > Read more

Mabel Normand

Leonard Cohen: Popular Problems (Sony)

6 Oct 2014

Although he long had the reputation of a “one-man Joy Division” or “Laughing Len” in reference to his gloom-soaked melancholy, Leonard Cohen always had an increasingly self-deflating streak. Just as he opened his Ten New Songs album of 2001 with the whispery and wry In My Secret Life (written and revised over a dozen years) and had the droll Because Of on Dear... > Read more


Engineers; Always Returning (Kscope/Southbound):

6 Oct 2014

 Another on the prog label Kscope -- home to Steven Wilson and his band Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, Anathema and others -- and this double disc (songs on one, instrumental versions on t'other) is mighty impressive, and comes in a hardback cover with lyrics. Engineers -- who have been through a few line-up changes -- are British multi-instrumentalist Mark Peters and drummer/composer... > Read more

Innsbruck (instrumental version)