Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Golden Curtain: Dream City (cosmicolitanrecords)

12 May 2014

Elsewhere was mighty impressed by the unpretentious pop-rock of the previous Golden Curtain album English Tuning and we're now pleased to note that was an opinion shared – according to their bio – by the Toronto Star and some reviewer in San Francisco. Not bad for a New Zealand trio with a very low profile, despite their prior form in bands like Garageland and Grand Prix.... > Read more

Sweet Louise

Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire For No Witness (Jagjaguwar)

12 May 2014

Perhaps like most Elsewhere readers, I'd never heard of this quite remarkable woman previously, but a bit of research shows she was born in Missouri, is now based in Chicago and had a previous album Half Way Home on a small indie label out of North Carolina. She's been part of Bonnie Prince Billy's circle too. So, never having heard a note, this one hits the player and comes up with some... > Read more

Enemy

Dodson and Fogg: After the Fall (Wisdom Twins)

5 May 2014

Some weeks ago Elsewhere invited its readers/listeners and the curious to be interested in a wonderful compilation album of the quietly excellent Dodson and Fogg. It was presented by The Active Listener website out of Wellington, New Zealand (an unprofitable labour love by Nathan Ford, interviewed here, much like Elsewhere) As a result Chris Wade from Leeds who is the one-man... > Read more

Here in the Night

Chad VanGaalen: Shrink Dust (SubPop)

5 May 2014

Recorded in VanGaalen's own Yoko Eno studio in Calgary and described by him as his “country record” or some of the soundtrack to the animated film he's drawn, this 12-song collection opens with delicate acoustic guitar (fingers slipping on steel strings as loud as his voice) and him gently singing “cut off both my hands and threw them in the sand, watched them swim away... > Read more

Lila

Various Artists: Naga; New Music for Gamelan (Rattle)

3 May 2014

Those of us lucky enough to have been to Java or Bali -- and who have ventured further than the beach or pool for cultural experiences -- will attest to the extraordinary sound of a gamelan orchestra in full flight. Whether it be on metal or wooden xylophones (for want of a better word), gongs large and small or massive vertical bamboo chimes, the sound can be hypnotic and exciting . . .... > Read more

Volcano Song

Neil Young: A Letter Home (Third Man)

2 May 2014

In a couple of weeks there will be an expanded edition of this album -- two vinyl albums, a DVD, a CD and seven singles and more in handmade box -- but here we are just dealing with the single vinyl album, recorded at Jack White's Third Man Studio in Nashville. At one level you could say it's a vanity project -- Young covering 11 songs which mean something personal to him -- and the record... > Read more

My Hometown

Yellow Ostrich: Cosmos (Barsuk/Southbound)

28 Apr 2014

Although taking its title from Carl Sagan's 80s television series about the universe, the cosmological and astral references are musically few on this electronica-cum-alt.rock album by the Brooklyn four-piece around songwriter Alex Schaaf. The music beyond the electrobeats and sonic washes most often sounds grounded and even gritty, but it is in Schaaf's lyrics and an edgy ambience... > Read more

You Are the Stars

Tim Guy: Dreaming of a Night Mango (Lost and Lonesome)

27 Apr 2014

New Zealand singer-songwriter and producer Tim Guy has appeared at Elsewhere previously, notably for his delightfully thoughtful and airy 2007 album The Hummabyes, and when he answered the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire in 2011 when he toured his Big World album. Elsewhere lost touch with him in recent years but then was delighted when a vinyl-sized parcel turned up from him, and it... > Read more

Many People I Know

Scott H. Biram: Nothin' But Blood (Bloodshot/Southbound)

21 Apr 2014

When this whisky-fueled, profanity spoutin' and somewhat misanthropic Texas singer-songwriter – who joins the dots between one-man electric blues and psychobilly rock - drops the energy levels he offers some terrific songs: Never Comin' Home is in the Kristofferson tradition of worldweary reflection and tells a convincing story in the manner of Hayes Carll or Steve Earle (the vet on... > Read more

Never Comin' Home

The Luck of Eden Hall; Greatest Hits Vol 1 (theactivelistener)

16 Apr 2014

Another in The Active Listener Introduces . . . series, this one comes with an amusing title. This psych-pop outfit from Chicago may have been going for two decades but their "greatest hits" might not stretch to one side of a single. However this 12 track collection pulled together by the band themselves -- and drawing from all parts of that long history -- is a very impressive... > Read more

Chrysalide

Liam Finn: The Nihilist (Liberation)

14 Apr 2014

What a remarkable year it has been so far in New Zealand music: bristling pop-rock from Clap Clap Riot, Grayson Gilmour's multi-layered album, singer-songwriter Greg Fleming stretching himself in various directions  . . . And now this excellent entry from Liam Finn, one of the sons of a senior statesman whose most recent album Dizzy Heights is among that favourites list. Critics... > Read more

Dreary Droop

Lydia Loveless: Somewhere Else (Bloodshot/Southbound)

14 Apr 2014

Reviewers overseas have ticked off flattering references about this gutsy singer from Ohio. Names dropped include Chrissie Hynde, The Replacements, Liz Phair and Stevie Nicks. Let's add early Lucinda Williams and Lone Justice, angry Bonnie Raitt and the pop-rock smarts of Genya (Ten Wheel Drive) Ravan. Loveless has plenty of rock'n'roll in her system with a smidgen of tough country to... > Read more

Verlaine Shot Rimbaud

ONE WE MISSED: Various Artists; Stand Up People (Vlax/Southbound)

13 Apr 2014

Our rationale here is that we did not so much "miss" this, as just didn't write about it when it was released in New Zealand during the last quarter of 2013. And what is it? Well, it's more the newly hip sound of the Balkans. New Zealand's various "gypsy" groups and Balkanista (who played at Womad 2014) have been mining this particularly danceable line for a couple of... > Read more

Gilava Amare Romenge

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

10 Apr 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. Various Artists; Wolf Party (Voodoo Rhythm/Southbound): Subtitled... > Read more

Carmen on Ice

Flip Grater: Pigalle (Maiden/ Rhythm Method)

7 Apr 2014

At the time, Elsewhere critically noted Flip Grater's previous album When I'm Awake I'm At War was weighed down with the first person singular. Every song was "I" (and invariably "you") and this trait can be endemic in singer-songwriters. The best get past that cloying self-obsession and use events in their lives or personal emotions to address more universal things.... > Read more

Exit Sign

Drive By Truckers: English Oceans (ATO)

7 Apr 2014

After albums which redefined Southern rock – notably Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day and Brighter Than Creation's Dark – the Truckers lost their way a little. Perhaps the departure of songwriter Jason Isbell (playing solo at Auckland's Tuning Fork, April 12) before Creation's Dark in 08 or the distraction of other projects diluted their winning formula of hard-times... > Read more

When Walter Went Crazy

Sun Kil Moon: Benji (Spunk)

7 Apr 2014    2

Because I always thought Benji was the name of a dog I can't resist saying this: Benji is a dog of an album. And a damn dull self-obsessed dog at that. Okay, it is emotionally naked, stories about burying uncles and dead second cousins, titles like I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love and I Love My Dad are here (alongside Ben's My Best Friend) . . . and just think about a low acoustic... > Read more

Micheline (live)

Dog Age: Good Day (theactivelistener)

6 Apr 2014

Here's the problem when neo-psychedelic artists posit themselves too exactly into a period and style, in this case specifically Lennon '67. These Norwegians have certainly got the trippy ethos but here -- their two albums from '89 and '91 plus an extra track -- the nasal monotone of their Lennonesque vocals detracts from their rather fine folk-rock coupled with (occasionally orchestral)... > Read more

The King of Ing

The Brothers and Sisters: Dylan's Gospel (Light in the Attic/Southbound)

5 Apr 2014

There have been any number of tributes to Bob Dylan – from the Hollies in the Sixties through country, jazz, quasi-classical, latterly alt.country, black Americans, actors reading his lyrics, world music artists and doubtless by creatures on other planets. But this album, produced in '69 – the same year as The Hollies Sing Dylan – by Lou Adler with the Los Angeles... > Read more

Mr Tambourine Man

Tami Neilson: Dynamite! (Southbound)

31 Mar 2014    5

Country singer Neilson (originally from Canada) set the bar high on three previous award-winning albums. But this exceptional outing – five songs co-written with Delaney Davidson who also co-produces with Ben Edwards -- confirms her gifts beyond country. This world-class album is a major statement from an artist at the top of her lyrical and vocal game. One listen... > Read more