Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Wagons: Acid Rain and Sugar Cane (Spunk)

21 Jul 2014

The wide sonic sweep, aggregation of poetic images and ragged-swagger of Australia's Henry Wagons – here back with a band, and guests – gets the producer he deserves for this: Mick Harvey of the Bad Seeds. If anyone understands tumbling lyrics and melodramatic music delivered with menace it's a man who has worked with Nick Cave, to whom Wagons owes quite some debt. As he... > Read more

Search the Streets

Jimi Goodwin: Odludek (Heavenly)

14 Jul 2014

Some years go when Mojo magazine picked 40 Cosmic Rock Albums – prog-rock in other words – there alongside the inevitable (Floyd, Yes, Genesis, King Crimson etc) were Radiohead, the Mars Volta, Tool and Sigur Ros. Proof again prog wasn't killed off by punk in the late Seventies, and that adventurous musicians will always push the boundaries. Goodwin – singer,... > Read more

Man V Dingo

Steve Gunn and Mike Cooper: Cantos de Lisboa (FRKWYS)

14 Jul 2014

New York singer/guitarist Steve Gunn (often in Kurt Vile's touring band) has appeared at Elsewhere previously with his highly recommended Time Off album of last year, but British singer/guitarist/electronic experimenter Mike Cooper --a few decades Gunn's senior -- was, until recently (see below), a name new to us. But if experimental acoustic guitar duets with sometime vocals, some strange... > Read more

Song for Charlie

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

14 Jul 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. Toni Huata: Tomokia (Ode): Wellington singer-songwriter Huata (who won... > Read more

Deep Steady Hum

The Gary Harvey Band: Ghost Dance (

11 Jul 2014

The familiar line about singer/songwriter and bassist Gary Harvey is that he is a mainstay of blues-influenced rock in New Zealand who has been around for exactly the right number of decades, which is many. Eighteen months ago we had Gary answer the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire on the back of a live album with guitarist Tony Abbott as G'N'T Unhinged. Despite the indifference of mainstream... > Read more

Mr Healy

Dean Wareham: Dean Wareham (Double Feature/Southbound)

7 Jul 2014

When one-time Kiwi/longtime New Yorker Dean Wareham's former band Luna got to open for Velvet Underground at their brief reunion in '93 it must have semed like a dream come true: Luna owed a considerable debt to VU . . . and a few years ago Wareham and Britta Phillips (also in Luna) supplied the music for Andy Warhol's silent footage of Lou Reed, Nico and others from that hallowed... > Read more

Beat the Devil

Kishi Bashi: Lighght (Inertia)

7 Jul 2014    1

The debut album 151a two years ago by Seattle's songwriter/violinist Kaoru Ishibashi was an impressively upbeat-then-melancholy collection, equally confident in dance pop as melodrama. Here he's barely fiddled with the formula of early Mika/Empire of the Sun-meets-Of Montreal, although on Carry On Phenomenon he's dangerously close to Supertramp which, to these ears, is rarely a good... > Read more

In Fantasia

Various Artists: Black America Sings Bacharach and David (Ace/Border)

30 Jun 2014

It's one the great ironies that Hal David's name is less familiar today than that of his most famous writing partner Burt Bacharach. It sometimes seems that the shorthand of pop speaks about Bacharach's songs . . . but that rather ignores that Hal David provided all those memorable words which people sing. David -- who died in September 2012, aged 91 -- was a poet of pop who could... > Read more

Another Tear Falls

Various Artists: What Did You Do in the Beat Era . . . Daddy!!!; Let Me Take You Down . . . Under (both Frenzy)

23 Jun 2014

The signature sound of the Beatles – three guitars, three singers and a backbeat – so changed the musical landscape in the early 60s that artists everywhere scrambled to catch up and copy it. Kiwis were no exception. From Ray Columbus and the Invaders' She's a Mod (an obscure British b-side) and the mop-tops (the Librettos), to polo-necks and suits (just about every... > Read more

The Inner Light

Ian McLagan: United States (Yep Roc/Southbound)

23 Jun 2014    1

Many years ago it was my great pleasure to spend a bit of time with keyboard player Ian McLagan when he was in Auckland playing with an artist whom I have forgotten. McLagan -- who was, in the words of Noel Gallagher, jammy enough to be in two great bands (the Small Faces and Faces) -- was very amusing and well-balanced and happily took time out to hammer the lobby piano to the amusement of... > Read more

He's Not For You

Lykke Li: I Never Learn (Atlantic)

20 Jun 2014

Recently while talking with one of my sons who lives in Stockholm I asked him what the hell was going on in Sweden, it seems every week I am hearing great music from artists out of that northern clime . . . and it crosses all genres from psychedelic (Les Big Byrd) to jazz (Jonas Kullhammar). Just have a look here at what has popped up at Elsewhere from Sweden -- between the travel stories,... > Read more

Never Gonna Love Again

Jones: To the Bone (Meme)

16 Jun 2014    1

On the basis of this, his previous solo albums and those with Miracle Mile (with Marcus Cliffe, the multi-instrumentalist here who also produces) you'd imagine Britain's Trevor Jones this way: it's late afternoon in his beautifully modern home with a view over the Med and he's in a wicker chair by the open glass door, the book of Romantic poetry lying in his lap, a glass of fine wine on the... > Read more

Somewhere North of Here

Les Big Byrd: They Worshipped Cats (A Recordings/Southbound)

16 Jun 2014    1

On the label founded by Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe, this tripped-out keyboard-and-guitar Swedish duo recorded some of this – with an expanded band – in Newcombe's Berlin studio in what must have been cosmic sessions if these rolling, spaceflight grooves are any measure. Their vocals are the least of it (flattened but sometimes appropriately droning) however... > Read more

Just One Time

Tom Vek: Luck (Moshi Moshi)

11 Jun 2014    1

This UK jack-of-all-trades (electrorock, synth-punk, Seattle grunge, stentorian trip-hop, an acoustic song etc) only proves here that, for the most part, he is master of none. On this third album in a staggered and staggering career (his debut was almost a decade ago, his second album three years back) one gets the clear impression that he is not too far above the dilettante threshold and... > Read more

Let's Pray

Mark De Cive-Lowe: CHURCH (ropeadope)

9 Jun 2014

When I interviewed expat keyboard player/producer and remixer Mark De Clive-Lowe during his recent 36-hour visit to Auckland he was aware – after 10 years in London and five in LA where he lives with his wife, singer Nia Andrews, and two children – he was seen as a former Kiwi by some, although was insistent ours was the flag he flew, and how he was known internationally.... > Read more

The Processional

Brian Jonestown Massacre: Revelation (A/Southbound)

2 Jun 2014

The music of BJM has largely been overshadowed by the doco DIG! in which the seemingly career-destroying frontman Anton Newcombe's antics were aligned with the more canny Dandy Warhols. But that was a decade ago and -- given recent albums have erred towards interesting, stretched-out but economic psychedelic rock-cum-shoegaze pop – a re-evaluation is in order. It made sense... > Read more

Food for Clouds

Eleni Karaindrou: Euripedes, Medea (ECM/Ode)

2 Jun 2014    1

Although the Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou writes mostly for screen and theatre productions, her albums are always like stand-alone statements of great beauty or drama. This entrancingly dark album is no exception. It is the music for a modern stage production of the solemn play by Euripedes, one of the great ancient Greek tragedies of vengeance, murder, dark passions and retribution.... > Read more


Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires: Dereconstructed (SubPop)

26 May 2014

With young bands naming for cute fluffy animals and avoiding any pretense of rock music, it's a pleasure this Alabama outfit takes Seventies' Stones, the Clash and fuzzed-up punk fury as their sonic reference point while extending the contract of Southern rock laid down by the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Crowes and Drive By Truckers. It makes for a furious 36 minutes,... > Read more

The Weeds Downtown

9Bach: Tincian (Real World/Southbound)

26 May 2014

On the Real World label founded by Peter Gabriel, this Welsh duo of singer/pianist Lisa Jen and guitarist Martin Hoyland (with guests on percussion, harmonium, bass, harp and backing vocals) deliver an album of gorgeously featherweight trip-hop which sits somewhere between Clannad and early Portishead, but has a far more delicate touch than either. By all being sung in Welsh it also... > Read more


Various Artists: A Day in My Mind's Mind Vol 4 (Frenzy)

26 May 2014    1

Although the recent initiative by has brought some lost treasures (and some pretty ordinary music) back into public domain, this on-going compilation series pulls up some real obscurities. The work of researcher and archivist Grant Gillanders, the series turns the spotlight on a period in New Zealand music when the barriers between genres (not to mention brain... > Read more

Gracious Lady Slice Dee