Music at Elsewhere

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The Milk Carton Kids: Monterey (Anti)

15 Jun 2015

As their name suggests, the LA duo of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan are sensitive guys with a strong measure of empathy. It also cannot go without being said that they evoke the spirit of the Simon and Garfunkel's sensitive, acoustic folk (no more so than on Secrets of the Stars here)  . . . but fewer commentators have referenced the Everly Brothers (S&G's role model) for the... > Read more

Monterey

Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes (Caldo Verde)

14 Jun 2015

When my oldest son in London recently told me that he was going to see Sun Kil Moon (aka Mark Kozelek) in concert I said something to the effect, that'll be cheerful, a bundle of laughs. That glib comment was driven by having endured his album Benji which I conceded in my review might actually be a classic. I just found it intolerably self-indulgent . . . and worse, his monochrome... > Read more

Little Rascals

Mariame: Bloom (N'we Jinan)

11 Jun 2015

When a North American singer is presented as the “Cree Rihanna” it's hard to know how to respond. Are you being invited to show more interest just because she's singer from the First Nation people in North America? But if that is somehow her point of difference then why make the immediate association with a singer who has an established... > Read more

Native

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Tori Amis; Little Earthquakes (Rhino/Atlantic)

10 Jun 2015

As with Kate Bush, this American singer and songwriter -- a longtime-sometime resident in Britain -- has a reputation among critics and her loyal fanbase which far outstrips her recent sales. With her move into classical music, her reputation -- as with that of Joan Osborne who has also gone to make excellent if largely overlooked albums -- rests quite firmly on this, her impressive debut... > Read more

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Bill Morris; Hinterland (billmorris.co.nz)

8 Jun 2015    1

This beautifully played and arranged folk-cum-country rock album from the Dunedin singer-songwriter comes with a stellar cast including guitarist/mandolin player John Egenes and Red McKelvie on pedal steel. Morris writes lyrics which are nailed down by visual detail (the excellent title track, the speak-sing Ruby in the Dust located in outsider Australia, the superb and sad Roses in a... > Read more

Roses in a Drawer

Aly Cook: Horseshoe Rodeo Hotel (alycook.com)

8 Jun 2015

Mainstream country music – more Nashville than Austin, and not remotely alt. – barely gets acknowledged in New Zealand outside of specific regions and outlets, which makes you admire singer-songwriter Aly Cook's persistence all the more. She had taken her music global (tours in Europe, across Australia which seems her second home and of course the US), has an Australian... > Read more

Midnight Cowboys

The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers (released 1971, reissued 2015)

8 Jun 2015    4

When the Rolling Stones entered the Seventies they were broke, battered and staggering. In '69 Keith Richards had started snorting heroin (while drinking Jack Daniel's and beer) which would lead to addiction, and at the end of that year they played the sulphurous cesspit of Altamont, a violent festival which effectively buried the spirit of the Woodstock Generation. In July '70 --... > Read more

I Got the Blues

Soak: Before We Forgot How to Dream (Rough Trade)

8 Jun 2015

Over 11 songs and some ambient bits in just 43 minutes, Northern Ireland's 18-year old Bridie Monds-Watson – aka Soak, who played a short set at Golden Dawn in April – burns a subtle and very impressive trail which at times might call to mind This Mortal Coil, Lykke Li, throaty alt-folk and the earnest adolescent poetry some wrote for their highschool magazine. However... > Read more

Hailstones Don't Hurt

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Gil Scott-Heron: Small Talk at 125th and Lenox (Ace/Border)

3 Jun 2015

This debut by the late, early black revolutionary poetry is of great historical resonance because it contained the first recordings of his classics The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and the equally powerful Whitey on the Moon. At the time – the live session recorded in 1970 for Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label and released the following year – Scott-Heron was 21, a... > Read more

Brothers

Paul Weller: Saturns Pattern (Parlophone)

1 Jun 2015

You certainly have to give Paul Weller  a tip of the hat for his capacity at reinvention (the Jam, the Style Council, a lengthy and diverse solo career) and the energy he has put into it. He certainly shows no signs of slowing down as he gets closer to 60 (he turned 57 about 10 days ago) and played a blinder of a show at Auckland's Powerstation five years ago. On this diverse... > Read more

These City Streets

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

1 Jun 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 wil be brief. Bill Fay: Who is the Sender? (Dead Oceans): British folk-pianist/composer sees the world as the Garden of Eden corrupted, Nature as a... > Read more

The Big Hurt

Various Artists: Main Divide (Loop free download)

31 May 2015

Everyone likes free stuff, right? The good people at Auckland's Loop label know that and so to close off New Zealand Music Month they are offering a free download of a mixtape of their artists which includes terrific and warming-you-up grooves on these wet-weather days by the likes of Bailey Wiley, Lord Echo, Sorceress, P-Money, Jr Kong, Sola Rosa, Electric Wire Hustle and more. Very... > Read more

Teacups by Sorceress

Ozric Tentacles: Technicians of the Sacred (Madfish)

29 May 2015    1

Although it's possible to let the thirtysomething year career of this British band go past you, your life is considerably poorer for not having heard their blend of psyched-up, tripped-out spaceflight ambient instrumentals which frequently unfurl to the 10 minute mark. Their galaxy-exploring ambition is here spread across an impressive double disc which is, according to founder and... > Read more

Butterfly Garden

Torres: Sprinter (Partisan)

28 May 2015

For her second album Brooklyn-based Mackenzie Scott aka Torres shreds her past and soul on nine gripping songs. Some throb with love but latent menace (Son You Are No Island), some compelling for quiet intimacy (the seven minute-plus closer The Exchange about a child given up for adoption) and others furious synth'n'guitar-rock, close to poetically revealing Patti Smith and howling... > Read more

Son, You Are No Island

Various Artists: Sweet Things from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook (Ace/Border)

27 May 2015    1

While it would be easy to dismiss a collection like this by a cursory glance at the titles -- Gee, you just collect a bunch of Brill Building hits from the Sixties, right? -- there is so much more going on here than first meets the eye. Okay, hits penned by Greenwich and Barry (together or solo) are here: Why Do Lovers Break Each Other Hearts by Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans; Then He Kissed... > Read more

I'm Nobody's Baby Now

Various Artists: Nippon Girls (Ace/Border)

25 May 2015

Elsewhere has happily passed this retro J-pop path previously with Nippon Girls 2  . . . but with the "prequel" now available -- also on vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and again with an excellent essay by New York's Sheila Burgel who has a great girl pop website -- we once again immerse ourselves in "Japanese Pop, Beat & Bossa Nova 1967-69" (as the subtitle has it).... > Read more

Black Room

Shilpa Ray: Last Year's Savage (Northern Spy/Southbound)

25 May 2015

Perhaps because of her formative experiences as an outsider – her strict Indian immigrant parents forbade Western music and so she was secretly a Goth-punk in New Jersey – and musical influences from Patti Smith, classic rhythm and blues-pop and the drone sound of harmonium (not too far from Velvet Underground), the extraordinary Shilpa Ray manages to sit between accessible if... > Read more

On Broadway

Little Lapin: Remember the Highs (bandcamp)

25 May 2015

Little Lapin -- aka Lucy Hill -- might almost be considered a New Zealand songwriter: She lived here for about five years and, although British, her time in Aotearoa (living in Raglan, this debut album recorded in Auckland with Ben King of Goldenhorse producing) was certainly useful for her. She received some NZ on Air assistance and did national tours. That Kiwi cash we gave her (it's... > Read more

Sound of Summer

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Multi-Love (Jagjaguwar)

21 May 2015    1

Ruban Nielson's gift for a melodic twist coupled with lyrics which say something hasn't deserted him. If anything it has deepened and become more soulful and nuanced on this collection which refers to Prince-style soul with a disco bass line (the opener I Can't Keep Checking My Phone), deep funk (the brittle danceable pop of Like Acid Rain), the grandeur of contemporary soundtracks... > Read more

Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty)

18 May 2015

This exceptional album is named for Stevens' schizophrenic and drug-addicted mother who died in 2012 and the stepfather (married to Carrie for five years when the singer was a young boy) who was his stability and currently runs Stevens' record label. The songs fold back into the past but are also very much located in present emotions. They find Stevens at his most revealing... > Read more

Should Have Known Better