Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Keith Richards: Crosseyed Heart (Republic)

28 Sep 2015  |  2 min read  |  1

Before we answer the only question anyone seems to be asking about this album — “Is it any good?” – let's just declare our hand: For many decades it's been our firmly held opinion Richards' ragged solo spots on Stones albums were often the highpoint beyond the hits. Cracked classics like Coming Down Again and All About You for example captured a piece of... > Read more

Robbed Blind

Sunken Seas: Glass (digital only)

25 Sep 2015  |  <1 min read

This Wellington two-piece impressed Elsewhere mightily with their 2012 debut album Null Hour, notable for its controlled intensity and sonic density. It was nominated for Taite Award in 2013. Their follow-up EP Cataclysm got them international notices and they've opened for The Black Angels, Wooden Shjips and Bailterspace, all travelers in similar territory. This new album -- the band... > Read more


Kurt Vile: b'lieve I'm goin (deep) down (Matador)

25 Sep 2015  |  <1 min read

Vile's previous Wakin on a Pretty Daze captured an audience for its benign tripped-out vibe and although this isn't as strong he should consolidate his fanbase with these slightly ambling, sometimes downbeat songs which also have flashes of humour (check Dust Bunnies) and the accomplished diversity. Some of these songs are self-indulgent or lyrically shallow: The stoner opener Pretty... > Read more

Life Like This

Girl Band: Holding Hands with Jamie (Rough Trade)

25 Sep 2015  |  <1 min read  |  1

Here's how you subvert expectation. Call yourself Girl Band and give your debut album a cute title like Holding Hands With James . . . then deliver atonal noisecore, aggressive thrash and declamatory lyrics over lo-fi sonics. This all-male Dublin four-piece might have emerged in the post-punks days alongside The Fall, Chrome, Pere Ubu and clank'n'grind experimentalists, but here... > Read more


Tami Neilson: Don't Be Afraid (Neilson Records)

21 Sep 2015  |  2 min read  |  2

The backstory to this album -- how Neilson's singer-songwriter fatherRon  died earlier this year, a little over a month before she went in to record -- has been much essayed, and she mentions it in the brief liner notes. But far from being a maudlin collection (some songs were written already) this typically excellent collection kicks up its heels at times, notably on the lively... > Read more

Holy Moses

In BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

21 Sep 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. Bryce Dessner/So Percussion; Music for Wood and Strings (Brassland):  One of the most innovative and exploratory guitarists around,... > Read more

When the Nights Are Cold by Joe Ely

Destroyer: Poison Season (Merge)

14 Sep 2015  |  1 min read  |  1

While the world may be awash with pretty good albums which are enjoyable in their own right, every now and again something comes along which you recognize as not just a keeper but one which reveals more on each hearing. Dan Bejar of Destroyer -- who, despite the name, are as far from black metal as you can imagine -- has created an album of odd dimensions built around three separate and... > Read more

Archer on the Beach

Triumphs: Beekeeper/Bastardknocker (Monkey Killer)

14 Sep 2015  |  1 min read

This Dunedin duo of John Bollen and Mat Anderson (guitars and drums respectively) here aim for a big subject, an instrumental concept album which "pays tribute to New Zealand's forgotten history of psychedelic mountaineering". That's not a territory many will have previously encountered, however here it is in all its widescreen drama and gritty grandeur across tracks with titles... > Read more

Everest Was The First Pyramid

Beirut: No No No (4AD)

14 Sep 2015  |  1 min read

Although some writers would have you believe this assured-sounding new album by Zach Condon/Beirut (one of Elsewhere's favorites) is something of a major musical departure, it is not quite extreme as a few have made out. The endearing elements of Condon's pan-global style and sometimes swooning delivery are all intact (the horns, strings, allusions to various Borderland and Eastern European... > Read more

At Once

Lance Canales: The Blessing and the Curse (Music Road/Southbound)

7 Sep 2015  |  <1 min read  |  2

In these dreadful days when we see desperate migrants on the nightly news and a US presidential candidate says he'd build a wall along the Mexican border, Lance Canales' raw version of Woody Guthrie's Deportee here (“We died in your hills, we died in your deserts . . . some of us are illegal and some are not wanted”) has a powerful resonance. Especially as he names the... > Read more

Sing No More

Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing: Scrying in Infirmary Architecture (Muzai)

7 Sep 2015  |  <1 min read

This charmingly named Auckland outfit got a few points in for their previous album Eeling which was rather demanding but showed some real flickers on 21st century post-punk declamatory experimentalism. Those reference haven't changed much but this albums feels a whole lot more focused and in places even considered. Pollen Moon and Darwinning here are compellingly bleak and raw and... > Read more

Pollen Moon

Public Image Ltd: What the World Needs Now . . . (PiL Official/Southbound)

4 Sep 2015  |  <1 min read

While John Lydon will always have points in for the Sex Pistols, the early PiL albums and even the 2012 This is PiL, he certainly does his best to lose them with as much effort. Like this one which, when it isn't engaging in juvenile politics (Betty Page about the evil USA) or banging around on post-punk ideas which were best explored by the Pop Group (whose drummer Bruce Smith is here),... > Read more

The One

Delaney Davidson: Lucky Guy (Rough Diamond/Southbound)

4 Sep 2015  |  <1 min read

Although he's picked up country music awards there's always been blues and Fifties outsider-pop in Davidson's catalogue. They come through on this stripped-back, direct and often enjoyably abrasive album. The moody You Don't Want Me Around and Five Bucks sneer like a menacing rock'n'roll delinquent, there are guitars strung with barbed wire (the snarky Eastbound) and stomping... > Read more

Tell It To You

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

2 Sep 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. Mike... > Read more

Beeps by Mike Caen

Various Artist: LPMT0003 (Loop)

1 Sep 2015  |  <1 min read

And the free stuff just keeps coming from the good people at Loop. Here is another mix tape of their artists (including Yesking, Yoko Zuna, Electric Wire Hustle and Sola Rosa) and it is, like their previous mixtapes, absolutely free. Just go here for a free download. And while you are there you can download the previous two releases also. Free is a good deal!  > Read more

The Phoenix Foundation: Give Up Your Dreams (Universal)

31 Aug 2015  |  1 min read

Given the implosion of individual talent the Phoenix Foundation manages to contain, it's hardly a surprise that every now and again they do something which discreetly hints at, "Hope you like our new direction". After the widescreen and sometimes epic nature of their previous double-disc Fandango followed by the more economic and rhythmic-directed EP Tom's Lunch last year you might... > Read more


Various Artists: Compton (Aftermath)

31 Aug 2015  |  1 min read

So just to be clear there's the NWA classic gangsta rap album Straight Outta Compton and now a bio-pic of the same name. But despite this being subtitled "A Soundtrack by Dr Dre" it isn't the soundtrack to the film, it is music inspired by the film. (As far as I can tell there is no actual soundtrack album.) So here is sort-of Dre's first album under his own name for over 15... > Read more

One Shot Kill

The Shifting Sands: Cosmic Radio Station (Fishrider)

31 Aug 2015  |  <1 min read

Three years ago the Flying Nun compilation Time To Go reminded us of the downer psych-rock out of the South Island in the Eighties with familiar names like the Clean, Chills and Puddle alongside the barely-recalled Wrecks Small Speakers and the Victor Dimisich Band. This three-piece from Port Chalmers-Adjacent – who run the local venue Chick's and here include the Clean's David... > Read more

Should Be Better

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

31 Aug 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. Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham: The Complete Duo Recordings CD/DVD (Proper/Southbound): Together or separately, Penn and Oldham (whose albums... > Read more

It Tears Me Up by Dann Penn and Spooner Oldham

Eb & Sparrow: Sun/Son (Deadbeat/Southbound)

28 Aug 2015  |  <1 min read

After three excellent EPs, an excellent self-titled debut album and opening for Pokey LaFarge, Beth Orton and others, this Wellington-based five-piece around singer-songwriter Ebony Lamb have ensured a receptive audience for this world-class follow-up. It dripps with languor (think kd lang or Chris Isaak at their most sleepy), spaghetti Western desperation-cum-twang (the... > Read more

Loaded Gun