Music at Elsewhere

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Trinity Roots: Citizen (Trinity Roots/Rhythmethod)

30 Mar 2015

Those many of us who believed the two albums by the first incarnation of Trinity Roots were important statements about life here in Aotearoa will be disappointed – if not insulted – by this superbly produced but woefully undercooked album. There are frequently threadbare lyrics (“We got to find the diamond in the rough” is the least of it) and it's mostly dated... > Read more

El Kaptain

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

30 Mar 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. Paper... > Read more

Skulls

Surf City: Jekyll Island (Fire/Southbound)

30 Mar 2015

On previous albums the Auckland-bred but now much traveled Surf City delivered increasingly impressive opening salvoes and you heard an increasing confidence . . . and a band finding its own voice. They have always worn their influences overtly -- Flying Nun, Jesus and Mary Chain, Ramones -- so they certainly weren't about reinventing anything. In part that was a measure of their success... > Read more

Hollow Veins

Anthonie Tonnon: Successor (Canape King/Southbound)

23 Mar 2015

Strange isn't it, how a single song by an artist can resonate in ways you can't comprehend? For me Anthonie Tonnon's song Barry Smith from Hamilton (on his Fragile Thing EP of 2010, when he was Tono and the Finance Company) had a strange frisson of sadness about it, and I played it repeatedly after a first hearing. Then I moved on to the other songs on the EP -- all equally good as it... > Read more

The Songs of Our Youth

Mark Knopfler: Tracker (Universal)

23 Mar 2015

Mark Knopfler's double album Privateering three years ago was his finest solo outing for its intelligent diversity of his often dour songs and his ability to weave a narrative. These 11 songs follow in the self-created genre (with thanks to the late J.J. Cale, notably on the boxer's story of Broken Bones) so there are slow shuffles, street songs and the occasional upbeat track.... > Read more

The Lights of Taormina

Gang of Four: What Happens Next (Shock)

16 Mar 2015

Among the remarkable things about Britain's post-punk Gang of Four – aside from their excellent albums Entertainment! and Solid Gold (in 79 and 81) where they pulled pulled politics, sonic punch and aggressive dance into the same space – is that they are still here . . . Albeit after various periods off-duty and now without founder member/singer Jon King whose style... > Read more

First World Citizen

Steve Earle and the Dukes: Terraplane (New West/Warners)

9 Mar 2015

The only surprising thing about Earle making a blues album – given he's done rock, country, folk and bluegrass – is that it took him so long. As a Texan where the tough electric players and Lightnin' Hopkins' backporch acoustic style came from, blues was certainly in his blood. And these songs – many written while back-packing around Europe by himself, presumably... > Read more

The Tennessee Kid

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

9 Mar 2015    1

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. Various... > Read more

Tuareg

Various Artists: Black America Sings Sam Cooke (Ace/Border)

9 Mar 2015

It was perhaps obvious that the on-going series Black America Sings -- which has seen compilations of black artists singing the songbooks of Bob Dylan, Lennon and McCartney, Bacharach and David, and Otis Redding: see here -- would come around to compiling covers of the smoothest and, some might say, the most popular soul singer of them all. Sam Cooke's move from gospel to soul-infused pop... > Read more

When a Boy Falls in Love

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent releases

6 Mar 2015

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 brief. Jake Xerxes Fussell; Jake Xerxes Fussell (Paradise of Bachelors/Southbound): North Carolina singer/guitarist Fussell's father was a folklorist and... > Read more

Star Girl

Various Artists: Hang on Sloopy; The Bert Berns Story Vol 3 (Ace/Border)

4 Mar 2015    1

In his excellent 1989 collection of writing Ball the Wall, Nik Cohn included a superb and insightful piece about Phil Spector, who at that time – the very early Seventies – had retreated behind the walls of his LA mansion. “Money, music, style: in each of them his breakthrough was absolutely basic,” wrote Cohn.  “In the early Sixties, he seemed... > Read more

Am I Groovin' You

Public Service Broadcasting: The Race for Space (Southbound)

2 Mar 2015

The 2013 debut album Inform-Educate-Entertain by this British duo married sometimes driving rock or evocative soundscapes with spoken word samples from old British and American documentaries and films. The result was a thrilling mix which, with almost Futurist enthusiasm, embraced a time when progress (mail trains of the Thirties, the Spitfire), adventure (the ascent of Everest)... > Read more

Tomorrow

Proton Beast: Digitizer (Muzai)

2 Mar 2015

The naked light bulb on the cover of this debut album by Auckland's self-described "disco doom" trio is more apt than that mirrorball. This is sonic density -- mastered by Brad Boatright who has done the deed for Sun O))) among others -- from a band which has supported Boris and Beastwars. So there you have your visual and aural references for eight tracks (recorded... > Read more

Cimmerians

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