Music at Elsewhere

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Joey Ramone: " . . . ya know?" (Liberation)

13 Jun 2012    1

Tall, skinny, not especially attractive and a bundle of emotional problems, Joey Ramone was one the most unlikely icons in rock. He hid behind hair and shades while the turmoil of the warring personalities in the Ramones battered him in ways which we will never fully understand. Yet it was because of that and his commitment to the cartoon cleverness of their music -- closer to the Bay City... > Read more

Waiting for That Railroad

Bobby Womack: The Bravest Man in the Universe (XL)

12 Jun 2012

In addition to the trouble he inflicted on himself -- notably drugs, shot at by his wife when she discovered his affair with a step-daughter -- it seems life continues to deal hard blows to the great Bobby Womack. He grew up in poverty and now in his late 60s, as this -- his first album of new material in 13 years -- is released, he has been treated for a growth on his colon and pneumonia.... > Read more

Please Forgive My Heart

Giant Giant Sand: Tucson (Fire/Southbound)

11 Jun 2012

Sounding like a dust-driven Leonard Cohen and/or Elvis and/or Neil Young who has walked out of the desert, the prolific and always interesting Howe Gelb here appears under yet another moniker. His longtime Giant Sand ensemble is expanded for this "country rock opera" to become, appropriately, Giant Giant Sand.  What that means is Tijuana trumpets alongside Johnny Cash... > Read more

Hard Morning in a Soft Blur

Brian Jonestown Massacre: Aufheben (A Recordings/Southbound)

11 Jun 2012

From the Middle East-influenced opener Panic in Babylon and the melodic-meets-drone of Viholliseni Maalla here, Anton Newcombe and the BJM announce they have moved well away from the battered garageband sound of previous outings and are aiming for something much more tripped out and warmly engaging. For New Zealand listeners there may be a sense of Clean-meets-Chills in places as rolling... > Read more

Panic in Babylon

Rumer: Boys Don't Cry (Atlantic)

11 Jun 2012

The covers album usually appears after about four others and the double live, usually as a stop-gap in a career going too fast. But after the acclaim which attended her debut Seasons of My Soul, Rumer has hit that fast lane quicker than most. (See interview here.) This step back from "the difficult second album" is a collection of interesting and unexpected covers, mostly by male... > Read more

Be Nice to Me

The Shifting Sands: The Shifting Sands (Fishrider)

11 Jun 2012

While no one in their right mind would have ever argued the idea of a "Flying Nun/Dunedin sound" other than a few lazy writers back in the day, you'd have to say after even just one quick listen to this album by singer-guitarist Michael McLeod that it has a sort of . .  hmmm . . . Flying Nun sound about it. So let's flip all the cards and tell you McLeod has worked in Dunedin... > Read more

Whatever We Can

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Americana (Reprise)

5 Jun 2012    2

The thing about unpredictable Neil Young is just how predictable he has become, shuffling the deck of acoustic, country, self-referencing and noisy rock. Here he again links up with Crazy Horse for the first time on record in almost a decade and they, predicably, deliver most things here with their loose, open rehearsal feel. Behind the provocative title -- a swipe at the whole... > Read more

Get a Job

The Beach Boys: That's Why God Made The Radio (Capitol)

5 Jun 2012    1

For those who stepped off the planet for quite a few decades, you should know that the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson did too. For him the world stopped around 1968 and since then -- when not sidelined by emotional damage -- he has been reliving and recycling his greatest work created between '65 and '67. In recent decades he has toured SMiLE and Pet Sounds, and even released two versions... > Read more

Summers Gone

Best Coast: The Only Place (Pop Frenzy)

5 Jun 2012

Their debut Crazy for You might have been a bit too cute and calculatingly aimed at teenarama, but this Californian band -- formerly a three-piece, now down to singer-guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, plus multiple threat session player Jon Brion -- here hit a point between the bright pop of the Sundays and the sadder end of Sixties girl groups. And they kick... > Read more

How They Want Me To Be

Sigur Ros: Valtari (EI)

4 Jun 2012    1

It has been some little while -- about four years -- since Sigur Ros last delivered a new album of their glacially epic sound, which for many had become beautifully executed and hypnotic but rather interchangeable. So you wonder what they might come back with. Last year they seemed to have put a punctation point on the first phase of their career with the live album/DVD Inni. ... > Read more


The Green Pajamas: Summer of Lust (Green Monkey)

4 Jun 2012

Green Pajamas out of Seattle are one of the great, if largely ignored, pysch-pop band (think Rubber Soul/Revolver) and at last they have got around to releasing . . . their debut album? Re-releasing in fact (Summer of Lust appeared on cassette in '84 and on vinyl in '89), but here for most people are their debut recordings, first committed to reel-to-reel tape in bassist/singer Joe Ross'... > Read more

Anna Maria

Dave Lisik: Rail 16 (Rattle)

30 May 2012

The prolific Lisik (see here) offers this new and complex single suite which exists somewhere between improvised music, art music and a long tone poem (more like a tone short story) which has an over-arching, if sometimes aurally elusive concept, the kidnapping of American aviation hero Charles Lindberg's son in 1932. With an ensemble of classical and jazz musicians including... > Read more

Rail 16 (extract only)

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Live; Everybody's Talkin' (Sony)

28 May 2012    3

Anyone who saw singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi and her husband/guitarist Derek Trucks in concert at Auckland's Powerstation last year -- or who has heard albums under his or her name -- will need no firther invitation to this double disc live outing where all their exceptional and diverse talent is on display. From her a gutsy, blues-soaked but highly melodic ballad voice and pointed... > Read more

Wade in the Water

Bonjour Swing: The Flame (

28 May 2012    2

Those with a long memory may recall multi-instrumentalist Robbie Laven who impressed discerning ears back in the Seventies with the short-lived band Red Hot Peppers. Their Toujours Yours album (see here) is much sought after. This band -- which includes Laven, his wife Marion Arts, also a Pepper back in the day, their son Oscar on saxes and trumpet, with bassist Milan Wilshier -- explore an... > Read more

The Flame Once High

The Golden Awesome: Autumn (M'Lady's)

21 May 2012

Having been very impressed by the Amazing (although rather underwhelmed by Gold Medal Famous) I am a sucker for a band that doesn't under-sell itself on the naming front. Toad the Wet Sprocket were never destined for the big time in my world. So Golden Awesome originally out of Dunedin who recorded this debut in Wellington? Turn it up and this certainly has a shimmering golden feel... > Read more

The Waves

Great Lake Swimmers: New Wild Everywhere (Nettwerk)

21 May 2012

In the manner of fellow Canadians Cowboy Junkies' breakthrough album The Trinity Sessions which was recorded in a church, this award-winning Toronto-based band – the vehicle for songwriter/singer Tony Dekker – built a reputation for albums laid down in places like an abandoned grain silo, old halls and remote locations. Here however only one song, the Neil Young-like The... > Read more

On the Water

Various Artists: Memphis Boys; The Story of American Studios (Ace)

14 May 2012

American Studios in Memphis -- founded by producer/musician Chips Moman -- might not be written as large in the popular imagination as the Sun and Stax studios in the same city, but a wealth of music came out of it. As this 24 song collection testifies . . . and sometimes really testifies at calls down the Southern soul spirit. The studio was (sometimes briefly) home to great names like... > Read more

I'm Movin' On

The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow (Sony)

4 May 2012    4

Even the most cursory listen to this alt.folk duo (who err to the traditional side also) and you can hear why they picked up two Grammies (best folk and best country duo/group performance). They hit the genre right down the middle, even to the point of mentioning "praying for redemption" in the opener. So, old time religion, crystalline vocals from her (Joy Williams originally... > Read more

Billie Jean

Loudon Wainwright III: Older Than My Old Man Now (Proper)

2 May 2012

On the second song here the venerable Wainwright names his "favourite protagonist. Me" and that song follows the autobiographical The Here and Now in which he counts down marriages, failures, kids and his career. And then there is the title track which is about his father, but equally about himself. If anyone can write this convincingly and often about himself/family/etc --... > Read more

The Here and Now

Sherpa: Lesser Flamingo (Little White)

30 Apr 2012    2

While I have yet to hear the album, I found it very easy to walk away from Opposom at this year's Laneway Festival asking myself, "If it wasn't who we know it is up there, would we really care?" I found them dull and the songs incomplete . . . and anyway I wanted to see Auckland band Sherpa who drew a much smaller but more appreciative crowd -- and not just because singer-frontman... > Read more

Lunar Bats