Music at Elsewhere

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Mandolin Orange: This Side of Jordan (YepRoc/Southbound)

2 Sep 2013

This North Carolina duo of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz mine a well-worked seam of Americana with acoustic guitars, flattened harmonies, mandolin, Appalachian fiddle and so on. Which means they won't sound especially original to casual ears. But in their atmospherically listless songs and emotionally turned-down narratives – which come with subtle arrangements and discreet... > Read more

Hey Adam

Hollywoodfun Downstairs: "The Mancunian Swing" (Muzai)

29 Aug 2013

Things not quite in alignment here? One part concept album, another part “What I did on my holidays”, this debut from Wellington noise-rockers apparently documents singer Kurt Williams' time in London during post-Britpop – which is when exactly? – or it's a day in the lager-life of a very un-Merrie England (isn't it always like that?) during a “booze, brawls... > Read more

Colours of Soho

Sheep, Dog & Wolf: Egospect (Lil' Chief)

26 Aug 2013

On Auckland's Lil' Chief label which brought us the charming Tokey Tones a decade ago, the Brunettes, the barbed-pop of Princess Chelsea and more recently ex-Brunette Jonathan Bree's melancholy Primrose Path break-up album (and others), comes this debut from 19-year old former Aucklander Daniel McBride who's already been named “a young Sufjan Stevens” by The Guardian for his... > Read more

Problems/Canvas

The Tedeschi Trucks Band: Made Up Mind (Sony)

26 Aug 2013

The slight Susan Tedeschi can belt out blues with the fervour of Janis Joplin, and with husband/guitarist Derek Trucks (who also plays in Clapton's band and the Allman Brothers) she's had interesting musical settings. This time – on co-writes with Trucks and name players like Doyle Bramhall II also from Clapton's band, John Leventhal, Jayhawk Gary Louris and others -- she's... > Read more

Misunderstood

Peter Jefferies: The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World (DeStijl//Flying In)

26 Aug 2013    1

To be honest, I had not heard -- or even heard of -- this debut solo album by Jefferies. Forgiveable perhaps given it first came out as an Xpressway cassette-only release in 1990. But its legend loomed large because after some underground critical acclaim internationally it -- plus the single Fate of the Human Carbine b/w  Catapult -- was released on record and CD by Chicago's Ajax... > Read more

While I've Been Waiting

Various Artists: Hugs and Kisses; Tender to All Gender (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

26 Aug 2013

Some years ago I was in the States when television person Ellen DeGeneris seemed to be in a protracted state of "coming out". The media was full of speculation about how this might affect her ratings. There were think-pieces in papers and it was a topic of conversation in bars and clubs. One night over drinks with some people, I was asked what might happen if a high-profile... > Read more

She Likes to Party

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: The Clash; Hits Back (Sony)

26 Aug 2013    1

Okay, this isn't exactly a reissue (although everything here has been readily available) and it also isn't a hits collection despite the suggestion of the title because the Clash didn't have enough hits to fill one disc let alone the two here. But what it is -- and this is why it is recommended -- is a decent, 32-song career overview (which sensibly avoids anything from their crash'n'burn... > Read more

Train in Vain

K.T. Tunstall: Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon (Virgin)

19 Aug 2013    1

Recording with the insightful Howe Gelb (Giant Sand, from which Calexico emerged) in Tucson with his Danish band (plus guests like Andrew Bird), Tunstall – who appeared in Neil Finn's Seven Worlds Collide concerts – here turns things down from the electro-beat she explored on 2010's Tiger Suit (recorded in Berlin) in favour of her folk-poetry persona, with a nod to... > Read more

Old Man Song

Cloud Control: Dream Cave (Mushroom)

19 Aug 2013

This self-styled indie-rock outfit from Sydney's Blue Mountains have won two Arias and, in 2011, the Australian Music Prize which netted them a cool A$30,000. And on this, their second album, you can hear what the fuss is about when they open with a strangely compelling non-song Scream Rave then wind down in a slo-mo power-pop ballad Dojo Rising. Later they surprise with the bouncy... > Read more

Moonrabbit

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Fleetwood Mac; Then Play On (Warners)

19 Aug 2013    1

Released in 1969, this -- their third album -- was the last of the original Fleetwood Mac line-up which included guitar genius and Mac-founder Peter Green, another graduate of John Mayall's Blues Breakers and at the time spoken of with the same admiration reserved for the likes of Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Also in the line-up was acclaimed guitarist Jeremy Spencer, who by this time was... > Read more

Closing My Eyes

Peter Posa: Golden Guitar; The Peter Posa Anthology (Sony)

16 Aug 2013

Where the recent chart-topping White Rabbit compilation of the great guitarist Peter Posa picked up his hits and more familiar tunes, this 46-track double disc draws on the extraordinary back-catalogue of 20 albums and showcases the breadth and depth of his musical stylings. The breath-taking opener -- a thrilling reinvention of the hoary old Sweet Georgia Brown -- is such a fleet-fingered... > Read more

Blue Moon of Kentucky

One Man Bannister: Evolver (Powertool Records)

12 Aug 2013    2

The idea behind this album is hardly new. It's now a commonplace for Britain's Mojo magazine, for example, to include a cover disc on which various contemporary artists record a classic album in its entirety, most often one by the Beatles. What makes this album unique however is that it is -- as far as I'm aware -- the first time a single New Zealand artist has revisited a classic album and... > Read more

Love You To

Kingston: Black and Bloom (Aeroplane)

12 Aug 2013

If you don't listen to ads you'd not know these locals with cloud-piercing shouty choruses have songs helping sell V, Pepsi, KFC and a Ford Kuga. Both those latter hook-filled heavyweights (Good Good Feeling and You Want It? respectively) are on this 14 song album which is big on “whoa-whoa” or “oh-ho-oh” hooks, forward momentum and songs which drill themselves... > Read more

Lotto

Aoife O'Donovan: Fossils (Yep Roc/Southbound)

12 Aug 2013    1

This American singer-songwriter will only be recognised if you read fine print. She wrote Lay My Burden Down – the opener here – which Alison Krauss recorded a few years back, although she was 10 years in a folk-bluegrass band Crooked Still, and appears on the Goat Radio Sessions alongside classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma. She's classically trained herself, but on this, her... > Read more

Beekeeper

Tom Russell/Norwegian Wind Ensemble: Aztec Jazz (Proper/Southbound)

5 Aug 2013

Even within the alt.country/Americana world, the bittersweet storyteller Tom Russell remains a marginal figure, despite almost 30 albums (and books) steeped in what poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti called “the wounded heart of America”. His songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Joe Ely, Nanci Griffith and others, but it is his own emotion-filled voice on albums like Hurricane... > Read more

Nina Simone

Transcendental Learning Collective: Shift (Powertool Records)

5 Aug 2013

Given the pedigree of players on this debut album released a couple of months back – produced by Mike Hodgson from Pitch Black and Tinnitus, it is DJN (meulti-media artist Dan Newnham) of Drone, guitarist Sean O'Reilly of King Loser and others – it's a surprise it has gone woefully un-reviewed and largely undiscovered. Perhaps the recent Sheen of Gold doco on the Skeptics... > Read more

Robo

Various Artists: A Road Leading Home; Songs by Dan Penn (Ace/Border)

5 Aug 2013    1

Those drawn to the more senior end of the Americana practioners -- who tend to deal less with death ballads and that ol' time religion which seems weirdly attractive to young secular artists -- found their band in the Hacienda Brothers. Their self-titled debut of 2005 and What's Wrong With Right the following year brought a mature ease, and both were produced by the great songwriter... > Read more

One More Time With Feeling

Luke Haines: Rock and Roll Animals (Cherry Red/Southbound)

5 Aug 2013    1

Formerly of Brit-pop band the Auteurs, Luke Haines has pursued film music, writing and interesting conceptual albums, and been the subject of a novel, a comic book and a doco. For this album he's being selective about his audience, we might say. It's a story whose characters are Jimmy Pursey (from punkers Sham 69) as a fox, a badger named Nick Lowe and rock'n'roll era Gene Vincent... > Read more

A Badger Called Nick Lowe

The Prophet Hens: Popular People Do Popular People (Fishrider)

5 Aug 2013

Although the promo sheet says this four-piece from Dunedin “is marinated in the melodic sounds of that mostly fictional 'Dunedin Sound' – think the Chills, The Bats . . .” you'd have say on this debut album they conclusively prove it was no fiction at all. They jangle like a new generation out of the Flying Nun school and frequently don't move too far from the templates... > Read more

All Over the World

Low Speed Bus Chase: Breathe (lowspeedbuschase.com)

30 Jul 2013

Singer Jack Parker here is a graduate of Graeme Downes' excellent popular music course at Otago University but this band -- which formed in Dunedin -- is now based in Melbourne . . . and one listen to their edgy, sometimes aggressive music will tell you that is perhaps a better place for them. They make the kind of tough mainstream rock which plays well in Aussie pubs and clubs (and gets on... > Read more

Ballad of JD