Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Various Artists: Follow Me Down; Vanguard's Lost Psychedelic Era 1966-70 (Vanguard/Border)

27 Feb 2015

Fact is, if  -- as the cover title suggests -- the psychedelic era was "lost" to anyone during the four/five years on this collection, it wasn't to the label's tripped-out audience at the time. It was perhaps to the label itself. Vanguard released many psych-albums including the exceptional debut by Country Joe and the Fish, Electric Music for the Mind and Body.... > Read more

A Nickel's Worth of Benny's Help

Kiasmos: Kiasmos (Erased Tapes/Southbound)

23 Feb 2015

One of the most interesting, if not visually engaging, artists at Laneway was electronica boffin Jon Hopkins who added edge and scratchy beats to elevate his sound above the quasi-ambience of his albums. As with Hopkins, you suspect this duo of Iceland's Olafur Arnalds and Faroe Islander Janus Rasmussen, could also up their game for a live audience. Because here across eight... > Read more

Dragged

Various Artists: Nippon Girls 2 (Big Beat/Border)

23 Feb 2015

From the same New Zealand distributor (Border, see here) as brought us the largely terrific Girls With Guitars album comes this, subtitled "Japanese Pop, Beat and Rock'n'Roll 1966-70". (Others in the series are "Pop, Beat and Bossa Nova") Although the Japanese very quickly got the original rock'n'roll of the Fifties (guys like this) and of course the Beatles, their... > Read more

Furi Furi 5

Ryan Bingham: Fear and Saturday Night (Universal)

23 Feb 2015

This 33-year old Americana/alt.country singer who played the Tuning Fork last year with his new band has a road-hardened, Bourbon'n'catarrh voice which belies his years. As some wag noted, he sounds more like Steve Earle's father. After a bender, I'd add. But, as with Earle, sometimes that raw edge is less expressive than it could be. Fortunately, if we may say this, Bingham... > Read more

Snow Falls in June

The Aquadolls: Stoked On You (Burger/Southbound)

16 Feb 2015

If there were a missing link between Sixties girl groups, California surf-pop, Nineties skater rock and Taylor Swift's assertive pop-sassiness it might be this lo-fi band helmed by singer-guitarist Melissa Brooks from Southern California who does a neat line in simplistic pop-rock with catchy choruses, a slightly flat (or indifferently “Whatever”) delivery and looks the part on... > Read more

Our Love Will Always Remain

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

16 Feb 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.  Comments will be brief. Sparrow Thieves: Lethargic Caffeine (sparrowthieves): There are a... > Read more

Le Printemps Arabe

Punch Brothers: The Phosphorescent Blues (Warners)

14 Feb 2015

Recently guitarist Chris Eldridge from this band said in an in-depth interview with Elsewhere that Punch Brothers wanted people to have to make time for this album and peel back its layers. Indeed. This collection opens with a 10 minute-plus piece which at times refers to the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys and minimalist classical composers like Steve Reich, and also has... > Read more

Little Lights

One Man Bannister: Birds & Bees (Thokei Tapes/bandcamp)

12 Feb 2015

Releasing an album on cassette in an age when most people no longer have a turntable let alone something as archaic as a tape player seems a bit like that Spinal Tap thing: Being more selective about your audience. It is however an interesting way of getting attention and I for one -- when I was offered a cassette of these songs, which prove to be quite sophisticated home recordings -- was... > Read more

B5 instrumental/A Boy and A Girl

Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love (Sub Pop)

11 Feb 2015

If you are bit over bands reforming to tour their classic album or just to pick up the cheque, then put aside such cynicism for this, the return album from former riot grrrls Sleater-Kinney who broke up a decade ago and seemed to have gone their own ways. But from the thrilling, fuzzy riff on the opener Price Tag here right through the furious 33 minutes which follow, here's a band which... > Read more

Fangless

Bob Dylan: Shadows in the Night (Sony)

9 Feb 2015    4

No one should be surprised by this 36th studio album from 73-year old Dylan being covers of standards. Even when he first appeared he was looking backwards (to old folk and blues), during his retreat in 66 he and the musicians who would become The Band played around on 50s pop and standards, he contributed a gorgeous version of You Belong To Me (from 52) to the Natural Born Killers... > Read more

Some Enchanted Evening

Father John Misty: I Love You, Honeybear (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

9 Feb 2015

Before we even address the music on this new album by Josh Tillman (aka FJMisty) who was previously in Fleet Foxes, let's just tip the hat to the value-added packaging here. The gatefold sleeve comes with a pop-up centrefold, there's a large fold-out poster with lyrics on one side, and a booklet with "Exercises for Listening" which reads a bit like a 21st century computer-literate... > Read more

I Went to the Store One Day

Various Artists: Girls With Guitars (Ace/Border)

9 Feb 2015

At the end of the first side of this record -- yes, it's a record, bright red vinyl too -- is a great lost classic. It is soulful belter Gail Harris from Washington state with the semi-legendary local group The Wailers (not Bob's band) tearing into Ike and Tina Turner's I Idolize You. The song was lifted from the album The Fabulous Wailers at the Castle (which you can stream free here, and... > Read more

Stones

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Psychedelic India (Rough Guide/Southbound)

2 Feb 2015

The on-going Rough Guide psychedelic series certainly throws up some fascinating – if not always strictly psychedelic – music from many corners of the globe. Elsewhere unequivocally recommends The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Bollywood and The Rough Guide to Psychedelic Cambodia (both of which come with a bonus disc) for their sheer mind-bending sounds which are exotic,... > Read more

Satyam Shivam Sundaram

Various Artists: The Active Listener Sampler 28 (activelistener)

2 Feb 2015

The generous Nathan Ford out of Wellington continues his unique vision of psychedelic-cum-tripfolk compilations with this wee gem, one of the most persuasive in his already vast catalogue. A labour of love, The Active Listener (see here, and an interview with Nathan here), really is quite a find for those of us who have limited time but know there is a galaxy of such music out there we can... > Read more

Sunfire Drug Haus

The Waterboys: Modern Blues (Kobalt)

23 Jan 2015    1

There are two difficulties writing about this new album by Mike Scott's Waterboys: The first is he's such a strong image-maker, storyteller and wordsmith you want to quote large chunks of his lyrics, like . . . “I saw three crosses pierce the sky above the distant hill, the sky burned red as I turned my head and left that scene behind, I took another... > Read more

November Tale

DYSE: Das Nation (Cargo)

23 Jan 2015

Don't believe the publicity material, let alone the hype. Right? The advance PR for this duo of guitar/drums/vocalists -- who play in New Zealand soon, see dates below -- bills them as a "German experimental noise-rock" band. But frankly, while they may be German and noisy, they do rather fall well short of "experimental". There's nothing "experimental"... > Read more

Dysenation

Belle and Sebastian: Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (Matador)

19 Jan 2015

One of the must-see acts at Laneway, B&S from Scotland have over two decades quietly built a large fanbase for their gorgeously melodic, cleverly literate and often wry pop-rock which owes nods to embellished Bacharach as much as crafted Anglofolk. And they haven't been averse to stretching into glam-style pop. So here when they go all Sparks-styled disco (on the seven-minute... > Read more

Ever Had a Little Faith?

The Remarkables: Swinging on the Gate (Fragile Colours)

19 Jan 2015

When Tim Julian of the record company Fragile Colours got in touch about this album, told me who was on it and asked if Elsewhere might be interested I replied immedfiately. I said, "You had me at 'Robbie Laven'." People of A Certain Age fondly remember the gifted multi-instrumentalist Laven for his band Red Hot Peppers in the Seventies, and in fact we have previously posted a... > Read more

Minuet in G

Jim White Vs The Packway Handle Band: Take It Like a Man (YepRoc/Southbound)

15 Jan 2015

If he weren't so popular in various spheres (albums which have been hailed at Elsewhere, his film Searching For the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, art exhibitions etc) and is often surrounded by high-profile pals, you'd argue Jim White was an outsider artist. But there he is, quite solidly within the frame of Southern music and alt.country and, if not quite a household name, enjoys a degree of... > Read more

Sorrow's Shine

Over the Rhine: Blood Oranges in the Snow (GSD/Southbound)

12 Jan 2015

Because this is a Christmas album we should perhaps have mentioned it a few weeks ago. But frankly I'm still trying to hold on -- even this far into adulthood -- to the vague idea that Christmas can be the season of good cheer. Not for these people, obviously. This is seasonal folk-misery from the usually interesting Over the Rhine which is at times hilariously maudlin and kitschy (the... > Read more

Another Christmas