Music at Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

Neil Young: Psychedelic Pill (Warners)

5 Nov 2012  |  1 min read  |  2

Now this makes more sense. Although some enjoyed Young's recent Americana which saw him reunited with Crazy Horse after a decade, it was clear that was just the throat-clearing rehearsal on old folk and American roots music. This sprawling double disc is what it was leading too, but typically it isn't quite what we might expect. With Crazy Horse, Young had delivered some of the... > Read more

For the Love of Man

Zen Mantra: How Many Padmes Hum? (Muzai)

5 Nov 2012  |  <1 min read

As so much New Zealand music -- especially what was once called "alternative" -- gets codified for radio play and aims for a middle ground, the Muzai label out of Auckland (with a slogan "independent fighting spirit") has provided some exciting, unpredictable and genuinely alternative listening. In recent times Elsewhere has mentioned the Wilberforces, Sunken Seas and... > Read more

I Wonder What It's Like Out There

Kora: Light Years (Kora)

4 Nov 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

Among the encouraging signs in New Zealand music at present -- the counter argument to all the pop which seems aimed more at radio programmers and funding money than coming from the heart -- is that some bands are moving past reggae as their default position. The ubiquity of reggae (and its cousins dub and ska) has meant it has become the most cynical of styles in that it's the easy option... > Read more

Last Generation

Waylon Jennings: Goin' Down Rockin' (Southbound)

4 Nov 2012  |  1 min read

Subtitled "The Last Recordings", this 12 song collection appears a decade after Jennings' death at age 74 but the title almost came true many decades previous. Jennings had been playing with Buddy Holly and gave up his seat on that final flight which killed Buddy, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens. If the plane had been any bigger it might have taken not just Waylon but also Dion... > Read more

The Ways of the World

Slim Chance: The Show Goes On; The Songs of Ronnie Lane (Fishpool/Southbound)

29 Oct 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

There is a lovely but very sad doco The Passing Show about the life of the late Ronnie Lane, formerly of the Small Faces and Faces, who died -- more correctly wasted away through multiple sclerosis -- in '97. Lane went his own unique way after he quit the Faces and lived like a genuine back-to-the-land gypsy/hippie lifestyle and toured with his band Slim Chance like some traveling circus.... > Read more

Rats Tales

The Doors: Live at the Bowl '68 (Warners)

29 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

Anyone charting the career trajectory of the Doors would doubtless have it as a rapidly rising inverted V with an equally sudden if rather more bumpy decline after the peak and perhaps a little leap up at the very end. That peak was 1968 after their exceptional self-titled debut album and Strange Days and before the popular but less interesting Waiting for the Sun. That last flicker was... > Read more

Moonlight Drive

Various Artists: Country Soul Sisters (Soul Jazz/Southbound)

28 Oct 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

In a cover which bears no relevance to its contents and a 25-song decade-indifferent pastiche which roams freely between Jeannie C. Riley (the great Harper Valley PTA, of course), Lynn Anderson's white trash fantasy of Fancy (yeah, you wish!) and on to Patsy Cline's Ain't No Wheels on This Ship, this scattershot collection of assertive Southern women singers probably aims towards a feminist... > Read more

Two Whoops and a Holler

Daniel Boobyer: Time Killed the Clock (Tasman Records)

23 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

When Wellington musician Daniel Boobyer sent an e-mail to Elsewhere asking our interest in his forthcoming album the reply was quick. I said he had me at "vinyl". Yes, Boobyer has released this album on limited edition vinyl -- damn fine sound too, I have to say -- but he thoughtfully includes a free download code so you can also access it that way. If you don't want the vinyl... > Read more

Hollow Days

Various Artists: Don't Fake the Funk (Sony)

23 Oct 2012  |  <1 min read  |  2

There are some people whose knowledge of black music -- old school r'n'b, soul and funk in particular -- is so deep and wide as to be unimpeachable and impeccable. One such person is Murray Cammick, the former editor of Rip It Up, so when you see the liner notes to this locally compiled double CD set are penned him you stand back and bow deeply in his direction. He da man. And here... > Read more

Shake Your Rump to the Funk

Hello Sailor: Surrey Crescent Moon (Warners)

22 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

The mythology and facts surrounding Hello Sailor as the Famously Dissolute Ponsonby Rock Band of the Seventies probably does them a disservice these days. They long since ceased to be that band and those people. And while they've been an occasional working band they haven't been represented by albums which means this new one – their first in 17 years and perhaps encouraged by last... > Read more

Bungalow Ave

Ann Peebles: The Original Soul Sister (Music Club)

22 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

How do you judge the greatness of artists? One way is by how many of their songs are covered by others (we call on the songbooks of Little Richard, Otis Blackwell, Diane Warren, Ellie Greenwich, Lennon-McCartney, Bacharach-David etc). Another way is if someone is so singular that few would dare cover their songs (Nick Cave, Madonna, add your own names).  Ann Peebles, the powerful... > Read more

I've Been There Before

Spiro: Kaleidophonica (Real World/Southbound)

16 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

One of the most insightful and enjoyable books I have read in recent months is Rob Young's Electric Eden; Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music. Young's musical landscape encompasses Delius, William Morris and William Blake as much Donovan, obscure traditionalists, Fairport Convention and John Martyn, the Incredible String Band, the Beatles' Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane, Davy Graham, Julian... > Read more

Spit Fire Spout Rain

Jimmy LaFave: Depending on the Distance (Music Road/Southbound)

15 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

It has been five years since Texas singer-songwriter (and foremost Dylan interpreter) LaFave's much recommended Cimarron Manifesto. Too long for those of us who immerse ourselves in his emotional, cracked and intelligent delivery of lyrics which cut to the heart of relationships (intact or broken) or conjure up the mythic. The latter is evoked on his stark treatment of Dylan's Red River... > Read more

Clear Blue Sky

Crime and the City Solution: A History of Crime; Berlin 1987-1991 (Mute)

15 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

Subtitled An Introduction to Crime and the City Solution, this 16 track collection puts this dark and often demanding band -- mainman Simon Bonney pitching somewhere between Jim Morrison and Nick Cave -- under the spotlight in the years when they were in Berlin, appearing in Wim Wenders Wings of Desire and had Birthday Party/Bad Seed Mick Harvey in their constantly morphing line-up. Founded... > Read more

New World

Lee Hazlewood: A House Safe for Tigers (Light in the Attic/Southbound)

15 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

Following the release of the collection The LHI Years; Singles, Nudes and Backsides, comes this reissue of a film soundtrack, a film which by every account was pretty bizarre. Filmed on the Swedish island of Gotland in '74 -- four years after Hazlewood had moved to the country so his son could avoid the US military draft -- it is considered a "semi-documentary" at best and... > Read more

Souls Island

Diana Krall: Glad Rag Doll (Verve)

15 Oct 2012  |  <1 min read  |  2

Canadian jazz singer/pianist Diana Krall had an assured if undramatic career until her 2004 album Girl in the Other Room, mostly co-written with new husband Elvis Costello, which included more interesting songs (Tom Waits' Temptation among them). This album – in a cover where she's draped like a sultry dominatrix – pushes further. Longtime producer Tommy LiPuma is... > Read more

Prairie Lullaby

Grizzly Bear: Shields (Warp/Border)

9 Oct 2012  |  2 min read

Right now I'm reading I Hate New Music; The Classic Rock Manifesto. And it's not the best preparation for this new album by Grizzly Bear. Author Dave Thompson's credo is simple: "You look at the Cult and you see the Doors. You look at the Black Crowes but you see the Faces . . ." Yes, he's a grumpy old man arguing (in a very funny way) that classic rock of the most maligned... > Read more

A Simple Answer

Beth Orton: Sugaring Season (Warners)

8 Oct 2012  |  1 min read  |  1

Beth Orton has been one of the most interesting women singers this side of Kate Bush whose albums have always been rewarding and pushed the boundaries of the expected without being alienating. She still commands a pop hook and her engaging voice is a flexible instrument which she has placed into different and interesting settings. This, her first album in six years after time out for... > Read more

Call Me the Breeze

Flying Lotus: Until the Quiet Comes (Warp/Border)

8 Oct 2012  |  1 min read

Flying Lotus -- aka Californian Steven Ellison -- is the kind of artist who is giving tripped-out ambient electronica a good name with this deliberately noctural sounding outing. His music, as witnessed on this dreamscape fourth album, doesn't entirely float off into the ether but remains cleverly grounded through influences from world music, downbeat neo-jazz, hip-hop and soul while still... > Read more

See Thru to U (ft Erykah Badu)

Various Artists: Lawless soundtrack (Sony)

8 Oct 2012  |  <1 min read

Music to a movie with interesting credentials. From the novel The Wettest Country in the World by Matt Bondurant about his bootlegging grandfather in Virginia, a screenplay by Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, Cave's Proposition and Ghosts of the Civil Dead), it is a Depression-era gangster-cum-bootlegger story starring Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman. And... > Read more

Fire in the Blood/Snake Song