Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Music at Elsewhere

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Jonathan Bree: The Primrose Path (Lil' Chief)

Jonathan Bree: The Primrose Path (Lil' Chief)

If we think of "album" in the more traditonal sense of the word -- a collection of photos, memorabilia etc - then this quiet and remarkably honest album by Jonathan Bree (formerly one half of the Brunettes with Heather Mansfield) certainly qualitfies. This is not just the post-breakup record with all the self-centredness and slightly misanthropic tone which often comes with that,... more >>

Seven

29 Jul 2013

Jon Hopkins: Immunity (Warners)

Jon Hopkins: Immunity (Warners)

British electronica artist Hopkins' discreetly understated third album Insides four years ago deservedly won followers in cinema, downbeat, trip-tronica and chill-out rock. It was less an album than something which just “was”. Consequently Hopkins is now on film scores, alongside Brian Eno in the credible ambient-cum-atmospheric world, favoured at UK arts festivals,... more >>

Breathe This Air

29 Jul 2013

Sugarbug: Flutterbye (Powertool Records)

Sugarbug: Flutterbye (Powertool Records)

As I understand it, this quietly fascinating collection by a Wellington four-piece is a reissue of songs previously unissued. To backtrack then: Some of these 10 songs topped the capital's Radio Active charts in the 90s and others did well on bNet stations. Hardly surprising as they mine that profitable post-Flying Nun ethos (they do the Clean's Do Your Thing as an eloquent soundswell... more >>

Shadows

29 Jul 2013    1

Pet Shop Boys: Electric (x2)

Pet Shop Boys: Electric (x2)

The PSBoys' aural fingerprint is so distinctive that it might be possible to go two ways on this one. You could say "heard it all before" in terms of dancefloor-directed beats, cool observations, themes of ennui and loneliness . . . Or you could say you love these dancefloor-directed beats, cool observations, themes of ennui and loneliness . . . You cannot deny how much... more >>

22 Jul 2013

Steve Gunn: Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound)

Steve Gunn: Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound)

In the late Sixties/early Seventies there were many acoustic/electric guitarists working the territory between British folk, Indian raga tuning and Middle Eastern sounds. But there are fewer today, which makes this album by New York-based Philadelphian Gunn – who is in Kurt Vile's touring band – quite refreshing. And he brings a slightly trip-folk style to his dreamy... more >>

New Decline

22 Jul 2013

Guided by Voices: English Little League (Fire)

Guided by Voices: English Little League (Fire)

Longtime loyalists of this once important alt-rock band from Ohio (b. 1983) enjoyed their exciting outsider pre-grunge rock then endured indifferent albums, line-up changes around core characters Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout, the inevitable break-up and farewell tour a decade ago, and the equally inevitable reunion these past few years. So, even for fans, they've tested patience.... more >>

The Sudden Death of Epstien's Ways

22 Jul 2013

Various Artists: Greatest Hits from Outer Space (Ace/Border)

Various Artists: Greatest Hits from Outer Space (Ace/Border)

Aside from the broad theme there's little to determine what “outer space” music might be, given this opens with Richard Strauss' dramatic Also Sprach Zarathustra (the 2001 theme and Elvis' intro music) then moves into the Ames Brothers' close-harmony 50s pop hit Destination Moon and the Les Baxter Orchestra with Lunar Rhapsody (featuring Samuel Hoffman on theremin).... more >>

Two Little Men in a Flying Saucer

22 Jul 2013

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Royksopp (Southbound)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Royksopp (Southbound)

Another installment in the “you are feeling sleepy” series, this time music chosen Norway's premier electronica duo Royksopp who offer an eclectic selection and numerous nods to MOR with Australia's polished-smooth Little River Band (the startlingly lovely seven minute Light of Day), France's F.R. David (not his electro-pop hit Words but the similar ballad Music), English... more >>

Blade Runner Blues

22 Jul 2013

Masaaki Hirao and His All Stars Wagon: Nippon Rock'n'Roll (Big Beat/Border)

Masaaki Hirao and His All Stars Wagon: Nippon Rock'n'Roll (Big Beat/Border)

How global was Fifties rock'n'roll? In New Zealand we had Johnny Devlin, "the Wanganui Elvis" and within four months of Heartbreak Hotel and All Shook Up, Kazuya Kosaka and the Wagon Masters in Japan had covered them.  Rock'n'roll went global very quickly. Kosaka wasn't alone in Japan either. Or in his use of a band name with "wagon" in it. This 23... more >>

Jailhouse Rock

21 Jul 2013

Bannerman: Clawhammer (bannerman.com)

Bannerman: Clawhammer (bannerman.com)

As in most countries, New Zealand musicians can usually be placed in a genre or style. Not so Richard Setford who is Bannerman. His two previous albums (considered "outstanding" at Elsewhere) were so musically diverse you would be unwise to attempt any kind of labelling. And in places they sounded nothing like his EPs. It is an impressive back-catalogue and now Bannerman... more >>

Echoes

15 Jul 2013    1

Rose Windows: The Sun Dogs (Sub Pop)

Rose Windows: The Sun Dogs (Sub Pop)

Credit where it's due. Few bands simultaneously conjure up broody Black Sabbath, prog-pomp King Crimson, desperate Siouxsie Banshee and the hippie-vibe of the Incredible String Band . . . and expect to get away with it. Especially not if they add – to pile-driving metal guitars and the Middle Eastern exoticism of their singer Rabia Shabeen Qazi – wide swathes of... more >>

Native Dreams

15 Jul 2013

Tom Odell: Long Way Down (Sony)

Tom Odell: Long Way Down (Sony)

In Britain this critically favoured, chart-topping 22-year old pianist/singer has made no secret of his admiration for Elton John and that's hardly surprising: the opening piano passages in the sentimental Grow Old With Me are pure Elton, later he includes the line “I sat on the rooftop” (he watched birds, didn't kick off the moss) and occasionally gets within a whisper of... more >>

Can't Pretend

15 Jul 2013

Chris Priestley: Unsung Heroes (Ode)

Chris Priestley: Unsung Heroes (Ode)

The firmly held belief here at Elsewhere -- which is a quorum of one, and I have the deciding vote -- is that New Zealand folk music has never been cool or interesting for most of the Sixties Generation And Beyond People because this musical tradition became uncoupled from popular music (ie. pop music) at about the time we were slightly embarassed about our origins and were looking to engage... more >>

Captain Lorraine

12 Jul 2013

These New Puritans: Fields of Reeds (Infectious)

These New Puritans: Fields of Reeds (Infectious)

Start as you mean to go on, they say. And TNP's Jack Barnett certainly leads you into this project gently with an opening track where the slow piano and horns are in the foreground and somewhere down a long corridor a woman seems to be singing her way through something akin to Bacharach-David's This Guy's in Love With You. This isn't a collar-grabbing start but one which immediately makes... more >>

Dream

11 Jul 2013    1

Gray Bartlett: The Sixties Collection (Frenzy/Ode)

Gray Bartlett: The Sixties Collection (Frenzy/Ode)

Although Gray (Graeme) Bartlett is best known today by that lovely old catch-all word "entrepreneur" -- he promotes concerts, discovers talent, tours national and international acts etc -- he was and remains a very fine guitarist, which was how he got his start in "show business". At the end of the Eighties I accompanied him and his small band on a brief tour into... more >>

Surf Rider

10 Jul 2013

Eric Lichter: ELKS in Paris (Diamond Market)

Eric Lichter: ELKS in Paris (Diamond Market)

Any New Zealander hearing the downbeat chorus-cum-hook of the opener on this album -- "how could a plan so beautiful go so pitifully bad" -- might think they have tuned in to a Greg Johnson album. It's all there in the seemingly effort marriage of words and melody, the balance of sentiment between yin and yang, the worn-out but tuneful delivery . . . And then the rhythm picks... more >>

I Still Insist

9 Jul 2013

The Map Room: All You'll Ever Find (Rhythmethod)

The Map Room: All You'll Ever Find (Rhythmethod)

The Auckland duo of recording engineers/producers and sound mixers Simon Gooding and Brendon Morrow (York St, television and film work etc) craft the most unfashionable music. And it's some distance from what their professional careers might suggest. Far from deploying all the technology available to them, here they offer up 10 atmospheric, frequently weightless and often delicate songs... more >>

Memory

8 Jul 2013    1

Mark Mulcahy: Dear Mark J Mulcahy I Love You (Fire)

Mark Mulcahy: Dear Mark J Mulcahy I Love You (Fire)

Neither Mulcahy's previous band, the US indie.rock outfit Miracle Legion, nor his solo albums created a ripple here, but this new direction might just get traction. Following the death of his wife five years ago he took time out and has reappeared as an abrasive streetwise singer-songwriter who even references the Velvet's I'm Waiting for the Man in the acerbic opener I Taketh Away.... more >>

He's a Magnet

8 Jul 2013

Fat Freddy's Drop: Blackbird (The Drop)

Fat Freddy's Drop: Blackbird (The Drop)

Given this album debuted at #1 on the New Zealand charts -- and deservedly so, it sounds extraordinary -- it hardly needs any comment at Elsewhere. But . . . And there is a "but". Because despite the fact it will be warmly embraced by longtime fans, that these long and loping songs (the opener 9.30, only one of the nine coming in under five minutes) will doubtless get the... more >>

Bones

8 Jul 2013

John Murry: The Graceless Age (Universal)

John Murry: The Graceless Age (Universal)

With all the high-profile, well-marketed albums around it's inevitable small players from darker corners go overlooked, but this extraordinary debut of original material by a Tupelo-born survivor deserves serious attention if damaged singer-songwriters have any appeal. Somewhere between backroads alt.country, early Leonard Cohen and the storytelling of James McMurtry, The Graceless... more >>

John Murry

1 Jul 2013    2