Music at Elsewhere

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IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column picks up New Zealand artists. Comments will be short . . . Richard Thompson; Acoustic Classics (Proper/Southbound): The great British singer-songwriter Thompson has made frequent appearances at Elsewhere by way... > Read more

Dimming of the Day

11 Aug 2014    2

Murray McNabb Group: Every Day is a Beautiful Day (Sarang Bang)

Murray McNabb Group: Every Day is a Beautiful Day (Sarang Bang)

In the final days of his life -- which ended in early 2013 -- the New Zealand composer and keyboard player Murray McNabb was still working, despite being on morphine for pain relief from the cancer which would kill him. Towards the end it was my privilege to interview him about his long career, and I was struck by his philosophical approach to the inevitable as much as I had been by the... > Read more

Standing Babas

5 Aug 2014

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye (Warners)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye (Warners)

Most rock fans agree TP and his cracking Heartbreakers had a decade-long dream run after their self-titled debut in 76. Their taut Beatles/Byrds pop-rock welded to a nuggety rock'n'roll attitude and Petty's economic songs made their albums sound like collections of snappy singles. And when this Florida-native expanded into “Southern accents” (the title of their impressive... > Read more

Shadow People

4 Aug 2014    2

Hans Chew: Life and Love (Proper/Southbound)

Hans Chew: Life and Love (Proper/Southbound)

This is interesting, odd and unexpected. On the inside cover Chew -- shaven head, bearded -- looks pretty hardcore . . . but he plays grand piano. And he doesn't play the classical repertoire but rocks out in a Southern boogie style with a tough little band (which includes Dave Cavallo on guitars, including slide). The result is an enjoyable meltdown of blues, country, soul and rock... > Read more

Strange Love

4 Aug 2014

Death Vessel: Island Intervals (Sub Pop)

Death Vessel: Island Intervals (Sub Pop)

It does seem odd that the label which brought us Nirvana should now be so attached to alt.folk (and sometime mope.folk) with Luluc and Death Vessel. DV is in fact singer Joel Thibodeau (born in Germany, raised in the States) and any number of fellow travelers for the past decade, although for this album -- his third as Death Vessel -- he has honed it down to mostly just three or four pals.... > Read more

We Agreed

4 Aug 2014

Fink: Hardbeliever (Ninja Tunes)

Fink: Hardbeliever (Ninja Tunes)

The first and only time Fink (known as Fin Greenall to his family) has appeared at Elsewhere was with his debut album Biscuits for Breakfast and although his career gone extremely well for this Britsh DJ, singer-songwriter and producer, he still sounds glum'n'moody. Which is no bad thing as he brings an intensity that is convincing, and he can back it all up with memorable melodies.... > Read more

Truth Begins

31 Jul 2014

The Unsemble: The Unsemble (Ipecac/Southbound)

The Unsemble: The Unsemble (Ipecac/Southbound)

If supergroups still exist this might not be one, but perhaps in the world of alt.rock and out-there readers of The Wire they could qualify. Here are drummer Brian Kotzur who has "worked with" Silver Jews, guitarist/keyboard player Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk) and bassist/electronics player Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten, Crime and the City Solution). These... > Read more

Voices

30 Jul 2014

The Antlers: Familiars  (Inertia)

The Antlers: Familiars (Inertia)

Peter Silberman, the mainman behind and up-front of New York's Antlers, has been making steady and stealthy moves towards greater acclaim with a series of lovely and sometimes pained albums which have increasingly become more musically complex. They've also managed to retain a sense of the hurting heart within the orchestration. Their 2010 album Hospice was a 10-song cycle about... > Read more

Hotel

28 Jul 2014

Luluc: Passerby (SubPop)

Luluc: Passerby (SubPop)

The early Seventies genre “sensitive singer-songwriter” was enjoyed by similarly attuned souls or ridiculed by those for whom moping around just seemed weak and pointless. The genre is back in other hands, as an offshoot of alt.folk, and we couldn't count the number of duos – like Australians Zoe Randell and Steve Hassett who are Luluc – which explore that... > Read more

Winter is Passing

28 Jul 2014

Jungle: Jungle (XL)

Jungle: Jungle (XL)

It's sometimes said that every music that ever existed is still being played somewhere in the world today. It's certainly true that Jungle -- an unusually secretive London duo heading a collective -- have taken Seventies disco and cool funk to their hearts and here on their debut album offer up a post-electronica version of these styles which is snappy, clever, groove-orientated and just... > Read more

Son of a Gun

28 Jul 2014

Morrissey: World Peace is None of Your Business (Universal)

Morrissey: World Peace is None of Your Business (Universal)

Although no longer considered the monarch of misery he once was, Morrissey doesn't stray too far from the musical parameters he created for himself on this, the 10th studio album under his own name. For that he leaves it over to his brittle band to add grit and texture behind his familiarly melodic vocal style. That's when he isn't setting that effortless singing style against strings or... > Read more

21 Jul 2014

ONE WE MISSED: Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa: Live in Amsterdam (Southbound)

ONE WE MISSED: Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa: Live in Amsterdam (Southbound)

In a recent doco about Muddy Waters, American guitarist Joe Bonamassa was talking about the blues and said, "The British blues for me was more immediate and more exciting. It was louder, a Les Paul guitar in a Marshall amp, it was more rock". While there's no doubt Bonamassa can play the blues, he is at heart a rock guy and that's why his longtime paring with singer Beth Hart --... > Read more

Someday After a While

21 Jul 2014

Wagons: Acid Rain and Sugar Cane (Spunk)

Wagons: Acid Rain and Sugar Cane (Spunk)

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

21 Jul 2014

Jimi Goodwin: Odludek (Heavenly)

Jimi Goodwin: Odludek (Heavenly)

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

14 Jul 2014

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

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

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

14 Jul 2014

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

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

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

14 Jul 2014

The Gary Harvey Band: Ghost Dance (garyharvey.co.nz)

The Gary Harvey Band: Ghost Dance (garyharvey.co.nz)

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

11 Jul 2014

Dean Wareham: Dean Wareham (Double Feature/Southbound)

Dean Wareham: Dean Wareham (Double Feature/Southbound)

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

7 Jul 2014

Kishi Bashi: Lighght (Inertia)

Kishi Bashi: Lighght (Inertia)

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

7 Jul 2014    1

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

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

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

30 Jun 2014