Music at Elsewhere

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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

Jonathan Bree: The Primrose Path (Lil' Chief)

29 Jul 2013

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,... > Read more

Seven

Jon Hopkins: Immunity (Warners)

29 Jul 2013

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,... > Read more

Breathe This Air

Sugarbug: Flutterbye (Powertool Records)

29 Jul 2013    1

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... > Read more

Shadows

Pet Shop Boys: Electric (x2)

22 Jul 2013

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... > Read more

Axis

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

22 Jul 2013

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... > Read more

New Decline

Guided by Voices: English Little League (Fire)

22 Jul 2013

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.... > Read more

The Sudden Death of Epstien's Ways

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

22 Jul 2013

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).... > Read more

Two Little Men in a Flying Saucer

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Royksopp (Southbound)

22 Jul 2013

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... > Read more

Blade Runner Blues

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

21 Jul 2013

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... > Read more

Jailhouse Rock

Bannerman: Clawhammer (bannerman.com)

15 Jul 2013    1

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... > Read more

Echoes

Rose Windows: The Sun Dogs (Sub Pop)

15 Jul 2013

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... > Read more

Native Dreams