Music at Elsewhere

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Elton John: The Diving Board (Universal)

14 Oct 2013    1

The resurrection of Elton John continues as he approves of younger talent (recently praising Lorde) and gets remade/remixed by Pnau, yet also hooked up with seventysomething Leon Russell for The Union and goes the whole Las Vegas at Caesar's Palace. Here again with longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin (and produced by T Bone Burnett) the piano-man and pals don't adjust the successful... > Read more

A Town Called Jubilee

Tony Joe White: Hoodoo (Yep Roc/Southbound)

7 Oct 2013

Perennial Southern swamp-rocker and the Louisiana man who defined the genre (although John Fogerty of Creedence got there around the same time, albeit from San Francisco), doesn't change his winning formula here. It's still low-growl'n'mumble vocals, rolling grooves and razor-sharp guitar on these nine tracks which look to his own life for source material. Which means a rich vein... > Read more

Alligator Mississippi

Bill Callahan: Dream River (Drag City/Universal)

7 Oct 2013

The final song on this short, emotionally dense album finds our weary, baritone narrator driving home in winter, listening to a Donald Sutherland interview on the truck radio as “time itself means nothing”. In this simple moment – as a slow fiddle keens supportively – he realises when things are beautiful you should just keep on with it. If Callahan's... > Read more


Various Artists: Good Vibrations; A Record Shop, a Label, a Film Soundtrack (Ace/Border)

4 Oct 2013

We'll have to wait for the acclaimed bio-pic to get the full measure of the life and times of Belfast's Terri Hooley who started his record shop Good Vibrations at the height of what is euphemistically called "the Troubles" and, as self-confessed hippie, found himself a convert to punk. His shop spawned a label and gave us, among other classic songs, the Undertones Teenage Kicks.... > Read more

You're a Disease

Various Artists: Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited (Ace/Border)

3 Oct 2013

The liner note writer  Ian Saddler echoes my experience driving through Louisiana, being dumbstruck by the lively Cajun, zydeco and swamp pop coming out of the local radio stations. About 20 years ago the Ace label issued a couple of albums of Louisiana Saturday Night music and this one picks up some of the players on the scene today whose names -- aside from the great Warren Storm who... > Read more

I'd Like to Hear From You

Lorde: Pure Heroine (Universal)

30 Sep 2013    3

It is a rare and wonderful thing when artists channel -- intuitively or otherwise -- their own concerns and those of their generation, and in the language of their peers. Into that illustrious lineage which in pop culture stretches through Dylan, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell is Lorde, a preternatural talent who on this debut album frequently adopts a slightly detached,... > Read more

White Teeth Teens

Neko Case: The Worse Things Get . . . (Anti)

30 Sep 2013

This album's full title – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You – barely hints at the emotional depth, anger, passion and soul-baring on display from someone who comes out bruised but swinging: “Fat-fingered bullies were no match for me . . . you'll have to deal with me” she sneers on the furiously jagged pop of Man with... > Read more


Earth Wind and Fire: Now, Then and Forever (Sony Legacy)

30 Sep 2013

The infectious horn-driven sound of EWF changed the coordinates of black music when founders Maurice and Verdine White envisioned a band crossing genres from soul and funk to pop, rock and Afro-inflected rhythm'n'blues. Early on they brought in singer Philip Bailey and later drew from disco and electro-pop. This, their 21st studio album since 1971 and eight years since their last, is... > Read more

Guiding Lights

Cher: Closer to The Truth (Warners)

30 Sep 2013    1

The prices Cherilyn Sarkisian paid on her way to becoming the iconic figure she is today were recounted in stark and moving detail in J. Randy Taraborrelli's biography Cher of '89. At the end of that book Cher was on stage at the Oscars picking up the best actress award for her role in Moonstruck and beating out Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction), Holly Hunter (Broadcast News), Sally Kirkland... > Read more

My Love

Elvis Costello and the Roots: Wise Up Ghost (Blue Note)

23 Sep 2013

Even in Elvis Costello's unpredictable career (rock and country to string quartets, soundtracks and and music for a ballet among many other things), this album with the American hip-hop outfit the Roots comes as unexpected. But the real surprise is that it isn't what might be anticipated – typically wordy Costello's lyrics bent towards rap – but a clever mash-up of... > Read more


Babyshambles: Sequel to the Prequel (Parlophone)

23 Sep 2013

Although the damaged Pete Doherty may never live up to the promise of the Libertines, this third album with the very patient Babyshambles – five years on from their indifferent Shotter's Nation -- goes some way to redeeming him in his second stab at a career. It'll be divisive because they can hardly be accused of originality and the poetic spirit he once possessed often eludes... > Read more

Fall from Grace

The Impending Adorations: Further (bandcamp)

20 Sep 2013

The proposed quartet of beguiling download-only albums by Auckland's Paul McLaney under the name The Impending Adorations continues with this third installment, which -- given the quiet and almost liturgical atmosphere of the previous albums -- opens with the lovely, restful Canon. There is a warm domesticity present in this 10 minute opener but further along mildly disconcerting thoughts... > Read more

The Last Living Soul on Earth

Robbie Fulks: Gone Away Backwards (Bloodshot/Southbound)

19 Sep 2013

Country singer Fulks will always get a fair hearing at Elsewhere on the basis of one song alone, his courageous cover of Cher's Believe which he delivered solo as a slow and aching ballad (with his own Autotune inflection). It was on his double live album Revenge! (and you can hear that song with our review here). That album had one disc with his band and the other him seated and solo, and... > Read more

I'll Trade You Money for Wine

King Krule: 6 Feet Beneath the Moon (XL)

16 Sep 2013

While it's interesting to hear people banging on about "the 27 club" -- the coincidence of so famous musicians dying or killing themselves at that age -- it might be more rewarding to look to "the 19 club", an age when so many artists seem to emerge with preternaturally mature work. We'll exclude so many US pop acts because most are on a commercial path rather than an... > Read more

Border Line

Willis Earl Beal: Nobody knows (XL)

16 Sep 2013    2

Those who discovered the extraordinary Beal on last year's debut Acousmatic Sorcery – a weird, literate concoction of clanking Tom Waits, boho poetics, soul'n'gospel balladry and alt.folk filtered through a backstory of depression and itinerancy – may be surprised by this. That previous collection was pulled together from home demos, this is him in a studio and revealing... > Read more

Too Dry to Cry

Mark Lanegan: Imitations (Heavenly/PIAS)

16 Sep 2013    1

Pity anyone collecting the complete works of Mark Lanegan who not only runs a solo career but has been a gravitas-filled voice in Screaming Trees, QOTSA, the Gutter Twins, Soulsavers, Twilight Singers, on albums with Isobel Campbell and, just four months ago, Black Pudding with London multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood. Here he covers a moody selection of songs which include a... > Read more

She's Gone

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Murray McNabb; Songs for the Dream Weaver (Sarang Bang)

16 Sep 2013

The late Murray McNabb was proud of these recordings (despite the financial cost) done in New York in 1990 and, in an interview just a month before his death he mentioned them as a high point in a long career. He had gone to New York -- the first and only time I believe -- and hooked up with bassist Ron McClure and drummer Adam Nussbaum whom he'd met when they'd toured in New Zealand with... > Read more

Dark Windows

Ry Cooder: Live in San Francisco (Warners)

9 Sep 2013

After his excellent but demanding concept album trilogy (Chavez Ravine, My Name is Buddy, I Flathead) then two political albums (Pull Up Some Dust, Election Special), Cooder's mainstream audience might have been tuning out. This live album recorded two years ago – his first in 35 years – might be the commercial corrective because it has an easy familiarity with well-known... > Read more

Lord Tell Me Why

Over The Rhine: Meet Me at the Edge of the World (GSD/Southbound)

9 Sep 2013    3

When this duo from Cincinnati made a short promo tour in '06 they were widely interviewed, and their albums Ohio ('03) and The Drunkard's Prayer ('05) much acclaimed. Then, oddly, their equally excellent subsequent releases The Trumpet Child ('07) and The Long Surrender ('11, produced by Joe Henry and including a stellar supporting cast) went largely ignored.... > Read more

Sacred Ground

Tama Waipara: Fill Up the Silence (tamawaipara)

9 Sep 2013

In a recent interview with Elsewhere, Tama Waipara conceded some of the songs on this diverse but thoroughly consistent album were built up from rhythms, was flattered by the comparisons with Rufus Wainwright in some material and Talking Heads/Peter Gabriel in others. If that sounds like an album of spot-the-references, that is not the case. Here Waipara makes a very clear break with... > Read more