Music at Elsewhere

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Neil Young and Bluenote Cafe: Bluenote Cafe (Warners)

23 Nov 2015    2

Even diehard Neil Young fans would have to admit his most recent studio albums have been disappointing if not bloody awful . . . like the never-play-again rubbish A Letter Home and The Monsanto Years. Anyone who gave The Monsanto Years a four star (or even more idiotically a five star) review -- and some did -- had mistaken right-on politics for crap songs and should be forced to listen... > Read more

Bad News Comes to Town

Baio: The Names (Glass Note)

23 Nov 2015

Not to be confused with small-screen star Scott, Chris Baio -- bassist with Vampire Weekend -- here gets playful and poppy (the bright Sister of Pearl) with this debut solo album. It mines a small but rewarding vein of electro-pop in the manner of Hot Chip, but he comes off his own man with deft funk flourishes, subtle allusions to world music-cum-disco (the lengthy opening overs of I... > Read more


Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Nils Frahm (latenighttales/Southbound)

23 Nov 2015

Elsewhere has most often enjoyed these Late Night Tales compilations (and has written about quite a few) where someone famous (or little known) is invited to make a vaguely themed collection, and this one by Berlin-based composer Nils Frahn -- whose idiom is sort of electronica-classical -- is a real gem. It opens with his cover of John Cage's famous 4:33 (and it's not what you might think... > Read more

Peaks by Dictaphone

Adele: 25 (XL)

23 Nov 2015

A week before the release of this album, Elsewhere was having a lunchtime conversation with someone at the very pointy end of the music business. He runs a chain of stores which sells something called “CDs”. We agreed that good, bad or indifferent, this new and obviously much-awaited release by British chanteuse Adele was going to be A Very Important Album Indeed.... > Read more

River Lea

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Chris Knox; Seizure (Flying Nun)

23 Nov 2015

For quite some time now Flying Nun has ben working on a reissue campaign of all Chris Knox's solo albums, and the Tall Dwarfs catalogue (the dup of Knox and former Toy Love pal Alex Bathgate). Seizure is the sensible first blast in the lovingly restored vinyl/CD reissue of Knox's vast catalogue because it contains The Big Hit (Not Given Lightly) as well as important Knox statements... > Read more

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Scott Fagan; South Atlantic Blues (Atco/Southbound)

19 Nov 2015

First let's be clear. This reissue of an album which disappeared on its release in '68 doesn't reveal some great lost classic. Nor will it suddenly elevate its creator to the realms enjoyed by Rodriguez after that documentary Searching for Sugar Man. And it might not even make you yearn for the second and equally obscure album by this guy. But it is recommended here because it is... > Read more


Trillion: Perfect Freq (trillion)

16 Nov 2015

Many have doubtless lost track of Jody Lloyd, the Christchurch producer/rapper with his Dark Tower outfit who delivered the excellent Shadows on a Flat Land debut almost 20 years ago and the award-nominated follow-up Canterbury Drafts in 2001. That's becase he has continued to operate under a number of pseudonyms, the most prominent (but still somewhat off the grid) Trillion. Most... > Read more


Little Bob Story: Off the Rails/Live '78 (Chiswick/Border)

16 Nov 2015    1

Many decades ago a friend was in London just as punk was gripping the city, but also while there were still great pub rock bands coming through and even the first song from Dire Straits. He would send me tapes (one had Sultans of Swing on it and I went to their local label and suggested they release it, they declined until . . .) and that was when I first heard Patti Smith's Piss Factory,... > Read more

Hot'n'Sweaty (live)

Wreckless Eric: amERICa (Fire)

13 Nov 2015    2

The cheeky post-punk rocker Wreckless Eric was among the many interesting and somewhat eccentric choices to be on Britain's Stiff records, alongside Ian Dury, Jona Lewie, Lena Lovich and Rachel Sweet. Eric – Eric Goulden – delivered some of the most enjoyably ragged rock and thrashy folk-framed songs (a recently reissued album from the early Nineties was entitled The... > Read more

Space Age

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

13 Nov 2015

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, in the same way it does IN BRIEF about international releases. Comments will be brief.... > Read more

Better Pickups by Salad Days

Greg Johnson: Swing the Lantern (

12 Nov 2015

When it comes to metaphors, similes, cultural references and astutely hard-crafted images or couplets, as a lyric writer Greg Johnson would seem to have the inside running and be well ahead of the field. That he has in recent years most often hitched these essentials of wordcraft to memorable – sometimes downbeat – melodies has pushed him into the frontline of New Zealand... > Read more

Never Turn Back

Fat Freddy's Drop: Bays (Rhythmethod)

9 Nov 2015

  There are concept albums and live albums, but this new album from a band which has juggled studio and live releases sound pleasingly close to a studio-created concept of a live album. It opens slow and stakes out its ground with some fairly familiar Freddy grooves on  Wairunga Blues, their archetypal rolling reggae groove on Slings and Arrows (which devolves into a natty,... > Read more


Various Artists: The Birth of Surf Guitar Vol 3 (Ace/Border)

9 Nov 2015    1

It seems odd that surf guitar rock should be so enduring. For some it was just a brief phenomenon of the late Fifties/early Sixties but here at Elsewhere we've recently written about surf guitar rock influences (sometimes with a weird spaghetti western spin) in bands out of Israel, Spain, Croatia and of course the USA and New Zealand. This 26 track collection goes back to origins with... > Read more

Storm Surf

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: the feelers; Supersystem (Warners)

9 Nov 2015

New Zealand critics never much liked the feelers, but that hardly slowed them down. Knowing that living well is the best revenge they just kept making big selling albums and embarking on highly profitable tours when their massive audience came out to cheer them on. This debut album from '98 -- here remastered and with four extra tracks -- topped the New Zealand charts, and was not their last... > Read more

Honey God

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

2 Nov 2015

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up New Zealand artists. Comments will be brief. Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; If I Can Dream (RCA): Presley's reputation was tarnished so badly by cheap releases... > Read more

Steamroller Blues by Elvis Presley and RPO

The Chills: Silver Bullets (Fire/Flying In)

31 Oct 2015    1

In the past few decades we've become so conditioned to long periods between albums (talkin' 'bout you Blue Nile and Scott Walker) that these days we think nothing of a gap of five or even 10 years. But to learn that the British post-punk band Penetration are releasing their first album in 36 years – yes, thirty-six years -- still catches you off guard. Jeez, how many people... > Read more

America Says Hello

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

27 Oct 2015

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up New Zealand artists. Comments will be brief. The Brian Jonestown Massacre; Mini Album Thingy Wingy (Southbound): Aside from the interesting but hardly essential Musique de Film... > Read more

Mercury Rev: The Light In You (Bella Union)

26 Oct 2015

With their breakout album Deserter's Songs (98) and its follow-up All I Dream (01), New York's Mercury Rev were the gold standard for an elegantly psychedelic alt.rock band, and their association with Flaming Lips (Rev's multi-instrumentalist Dave Fridmann has been a longtime Lips producer) enhanced their allure and status. Then there were diminishing... > Read more

Rainy Day Record

B2KDA: Rising (

25 Oct 2015

New Zealand's Batucada Sound Machine were rightly hailed -- that is, danced furiously to -- by audiences across the globe for their well oiled take on horn-driven upbeat party music with a South American vibe. But that was then and this -- at least on this exciting and more musically diverse album from a phase two of the band -- is a beast of another bloodline. With a change of... > Read more

We Do It

The Broken Heartbreakers: How We Got to Now (

24 Oct 2015

While the Broken Heartbreakers were preparing for their current New Zealand tour (see dates below) it was the first anniversary of the passing of their longtime friend and sometime collaborator Sam Prebble/Bond Street Bridge, whose death has left a gap in the musical life of this country which remains impossible to fill. It may be possible to discern Prebble and the loss the BH suffer in... > Read more

Tripping Through the Ruins